Realizations

Philosophy in the Middle of the Desert

CASTING [BAL]LOTS September 25, 2012

[as written 51212-61312, with additions on 92412]

 

Is it wrong to vote for something good, if it means that that same vote will support something bad?  When it comes to voting, it’s always a packaged deal.  And unfortunately, while politics used to just be about how the government operates, now America is so perverted and complicated that you’re forced to vote for and against moral issues.  And it’s come down to voting for the lesser of 2 evils.  Every single election. There’s just too many things you have to vote for these days.  But voting for 3 out of 4 good things isn’t bad, right?  I mean, if abortion is really the same disgusting holocaust in God’s eyes that it is in ours then it trumps all other political issues.  Shouldn’t we do whatever it takes to stop it just like we would stop Hitler if given the chance?  It seems obvious!  But it isn’t.  If killing a baby is murder and intrinsically wrong simply because it’s killing a human life, then why is it less evil to kill Hitler?  Is it less intrinsically evil to kill human lives if those lives are evil (or what your country sees as evil)? Maybe.  Maybe not.  Jesus is silent about it and so people are forced to disagree.

 

Stereotypically if I vote against abortion I’m also voting for a government with tendencies to enforce capital punishment and prolong war.  So it ultimately comes down to killing the unborn vs. killing adults.  With something as important as people’s damnation on the line, if you’re going to truly determine the “lesser of two evils”, you need to over-analyze all-case scenarios, taking logic as far as it can possibly go; and you’ll inevitably end up on metaphysical grounds.  It’s wrong to kill, as God commanded in the Ten Commandments right from the start, but which is worse: killing the unborn or adults?

 

Looking at it from a politically conservative side, the unborn are innocent and have absolutely no guilt worthy of punishment, whereas a criminal on death row has been tried and convicted for a crime which the country/state’s majority has deemed deserving of death.  It’s not unfair for the man on death row because he knew the consequence for his action before he did it; it is unfair for the innocent infant.  And when it comes to war, the soldiers that die died for a cause, usually a noble cause like defending their country and family or liberating an oppressed people group, and they also die with honor as a hero in their country (most of the time freely signing up for it).  Whereas the “noble cause” of abortion is to retain people’s careers, convenience and money.  And in the miniscule cases of rape, incest, or potential birth defects (which is often a wrong diagnosis on the doctor’s part), the benefit of abortion is that the child won’t have a potentially miserable life (by not existing at all).

 

But now we get to the crux of the whole issue.  As Christians we don’t live according to a physical perspective, but we need to see everything through the lens of eternity (aka salvation and damnation).  Our first and foremost goal in life should be to help the most possible souls go to Heaven and the fewest possible souls to go to Hell.  This includes the area of politics.
But coming from this traditional Christian perspective, if you’re completely honest, which is really worse: abortion or just war?  What happens to an aborted fetus in the spiritual realm?  Sent to Hell for the sins it didn’t exist long enough to commit?  Most Christians I know (clergy and laity alike) consider this unjust and they assume there must be an age of accountability, in other words a soul isn’t responsible for its sin until it becomes old enough TO sin, or at least consciously reject God’s salvation.  If this turns out to be how God really does things, then all abortees (over 50 million by now) are in Heaven.  But what happens to a “soul-dier”?  Chances are he goes straight to Hell, especially if he’s from a non-Christianized country.  And Death Row?  If they committed a sin worthy of capital punishment they probably ain’t going to Heaven.  Legalize abortion, no one goes to Hell.  Outlaw war/capital punishment and people have a better chance of finding salvation through Christ.  Outlaw abortion and you’ll possibly get a sudden surge of juvenile delinquency.

 

By that reasoning infanticide must be good!  And why stop at the infants?  Why not take it up to the very age of accountability?  Some say it’s 13 as that’s when a Jewish boy officially becomes a man, but other, more lenient, Christians point to the Biblical passage of men going to war at age 20, as if that’s the age that they truly became adults.  So then we should exterminate all people under 20?  And then we’d have to keep people from having any more kids lest they go to Hell.  So amp up the birth control and abortion, and bring back eugenics.  And soon there would be no one to repopulate the Earth and we’d all die.  But surely less souls would be in Hell!  With that line of reasoning you might as well just nuke the whole Earth right now because inevitably there are less people to go to Hell now than in 100 years when the population is doubled!

 
Hold on.  Take a breather.  How’d we start with “who should I vote for’ and end up with nuking the Earth?  Isn’t it always right to save a soul from Hell no matter what it takes?  At that rate it’s better to kill them and essentially save them from Hell in doing so (Hell being infinitely worse than death).  But then we’re playing God.  Taking vengeance when “Vengeance is Mine,” says the Lord.  Breaking His clear, certain commands for an uncertain greater good.  Isn’t there something intrinsically evil about murder?  Should you ever do evil, even if it produces a good deemed as more significant/influential than the evil?  Isn’t there really absolute truth and morality?  So that if it’s wrong to kill then it also must be wrong to kill Hitler, even if ending 1 evil, guilty life saves 6 million lives.  But isn’t that essentially the sin of omission?  You personally commit no murder, but by your refusal to murder you murder 6 million innocent people instead.  And here we are back to the “lesser of two evils” stale mate.

 

[Checkmate:  While it’s wrong to kill, isn’t it worse to assist in someone going to Hell?  In the case of the holocaust, it isn’t as much about saving the lives of 6 million Jews as much as it is about saving 6 million souls from being sent to Hell early.  Isn’t it better to send one undeniably evil man to Hell in exchange for the souls of 6 million Jews ?  Surely many of those 6 million (though many were undoubtedly Christians), if they were rescued, would have sought and found Christ after the horrors of the holocaust.  This is the one valid argument for killing I can think of.  Still I feel safer not killing anyone and leaving the mysteries of the after life to God.]

 
All this to say, no one really knows what’s truly right and wrong on these issues, because quite simply we don’t know for certain exactly how the after-life operates.  We outlaw an obvious evil like abortion (only for it to cause more souls to go to Hell), and we hasten the hand of God’s “obvious” justice by wiping out the Hitlers and Charles Mansons (but they, along with the evil and good soldiers fighting around them, go to Hell in the process) before they murder the innocent (which are more likely to go to Heaven when killed than the enemies when killed).

 

But abortion is an obvious evil which surely God wants stopped as soon as possible, and war is a less obvious evil, some would argue a necessary evil (as it’s always been around, has been used for many noble causes, and was even God-ordained in the Old Testament).  And when you consider how many deaths we’re talking about here, when it comes down to it, nothing touches abortion.  All the murders of Hitler and Stalin combined are less than the number of abortions in America alone.  And there’s no way to know how many executed criminals and fallen soldiers will actually go to Hell, versus how many un-aborted juvenile delinquents will go to Hell.  Maybe one is more than the other, maybe they’re the same.  But the whole point of this is to show that you can only follow the logic so far before you get sucked into a whirl-pool of circular arguments where philosophical speculation is the basis of your conclusions.  Are you willing to take the gamble?  There’s nothing in the Bible that definitively says “there is an age of accountability” or how many “infidel” soldiers go to Hell.  But you make your theoretical calculations and cast your lots.  Inevitably voting for someone’s damnation.

 
So.  When all the arguing dies out, you’re left with one question:  Is it right to support something that seems good even though it will have some consequences that seem bad?  Good luck with that one.  In other words, which would you vote for?  Blowing up Africa, Europe and Australia, or just blowing up Europe and Australia? Obviously I’d never vote for Hitler, but if he was running against Stalin, I’d have to think about it.

 

Or should you wash your hands of the whole thing, being innocent in your own eyes but essentially assisting evil by not stopping it? It’s because of your uninvolvement that the world keeps getting worse and worse.  The sin of omission again, perhaps even worse in this case since you did no good at all, neither to the 1 man nor the 6 million.  Was Pilate really guiltless just because he publicly washed his hands of the whole affair, protesting it?  No.  The blood of the Son of God was on his head as well, even though he didn’t scream with the jews “his blood be upon us and our children”. (Matt. 27:25)

 

But what if by voting for the lesser evil you’re withholding your vote for good, withholding your vote from a candidate who is not evil?  Who would you vote for: Hitler, Stalin, or Jesus?  Jesus has no shot at winning, because he tells the truth and not what people want to hear.  By voting for Jesus (who won’t win) you’re essentially voting for whichever candidate does win (which is inevitably going to be a worse candidate than Jesus, but more than that will promote some form of evil).  But wouldn’t Jesus want you to vote for Him?  Your vote for Jesus is a vote for the right thing in every area of politics.  Even though he doesn’t win you are still voicing your opinion as to who you want to win, and what policies you want the government to have.

 

After all this, past all the questions and ambiguity of my own personal opinion, politically I’m leaning towards finding the best possible candidate (even though he isn’t likely to win) and getting involved to do whatever I have to to make it likely for him to win.  Even if he doesn’t win this election, I’ve made it more likely for independent candidates like him to get elected in the future, outside of the 2 party nominations.  Isn’t that what Jesus would want?  If He was running for president, we’d feel obligated (but excited) to vote for Him (a vote for nothing evil, unlike the other candidates), but also forced to realize that the only way for Him to get elected is for us to get involved and make people want to vote for Him.

 

I end with an open-ended statement:  Vote for the candidate that will allow the most souls to go to Heaven, and the fewest souls to go to Hell, but is there any way to truly know which candidate that is?  I know one that definitely is, but he won’t win…yet.

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