Do you ever have a moment where you think you are really clever only to suddenly realize you’re not? Like the guy climbing to an untouched mountain only to find a beer can at the top, reality can bring you down sometimes. I was in a conversation with someone recently when I randomly described myself as a political agnostic. Again, I thought I had just brilliantly attributed a spiritual concept and masterfully applied it to politics. Then I looked up the word agnostic in the dictionary and found this:
Definition of AGNOSTIC
1: a person who holds the view that any ultimate reality (as God) is unknown and probably unknowable; broadly : one who is not committed to believing in either the existence or the nonexistence of God or a god
2: a person who is unwilling to commit to an opinion about something <political agnostics>
It was number two that deflated me. There’s that beer can.
Acknowledging that I’m far from early at this party, I still think there is some merit in this idea. Where I would tweak Merriam-Webster is that I’d use the phrase found in the second definition and apply it under the criteria of the first.
When I think of myself as a political agnostic, I’m not saying that I’m unwilling to commit to a side or that I’m unwilling to get involved. Rather, I’m saying that I don’t think anything regarding politics is really able to be known. What is the truth in politics? How do you really become educated in it? Who do you trust for information when your sources disagree? I find myself incredibly conflicted whenever this season rolls around.
I found this definition in the Urban Dictionary that I like better:
One who is a registered voter and politically informed, but is basically indifferent and non-committal toward the popular political parties (Democrat or Republican in the US). Probably believes that the political parties are so ideologically similar and so mired in their own bureaucracy that they have outlived their usefulness. Voting straight-ticket out of allegiance to a political party would be considered heresy.
Still isn’t exactly what I’m arguing but it is definitely closer. I find myself struggling whenever major elections come around because there doesn’t seem to be an obvious way to live out your faith in politics. In America, I see some things in both the Democratic and the Republican party that seem to be on the side of biblical values. Some Christians don’t seem to have any tension with this. For me, it’s always been a struggle. I’m reminded of what Craig Gross said when I interviewed him:
This one might get mixed reviews but I’ve never voted. Some people don’t like that but yeah, I’ve never voted. I might have registered to vote when I got my driver’s license. Older generations have used their platforms to influence political movements and agendas but I’ve never been that interested. In these college debates with Ron Jeremy it always seems to be about Democrats vs Republicans and people assume “well you must be over here.” I’ve never taken much interest in that.
Maybe Craig’s view could be considered closer to political atheism. (And no, sadly I didn’t coin that term either).
Question: What’s your take? What is your stance when it comes to politics?