Why Politics and Religion Don’t Mix

By admin ~ August 30th, 2011 @ 4:16 pm

Christ and the Buddha were wise men; they never talked about politics. They didn’t talk about politics because political opinions and campaigns are but afterthoughts in humankind’s evolutionary process. Politics, war, power, and ambition have never moved humankind to a fundamentally better position, where we are without war, ambition, and hatred. The Christ and the Buddha were not powerful political forces, and building a religion or an organization was never their focus. They both talked about personal transformation instead of politics. . . . Personal transformation; that grass roots energy that can truly alter politics, and perhaps the only thing that can.

The politics of their day, including the powerful kings and politicians of that time, have all gone away, evaporated from the mainstream pages of history. Their liberalism and conservatism, their rights and their lefts long forgotten. What remains are words of two men that unveiled methods to find liberation, not from tyrants outside of one’s self, but from the tyrant within.

They understood ambition and power, and the resulting hatred as well. They could see it played out every day even twenty-five hundred years ago. Would a change of kings, or political party, or government, or system – socialism, capitalism, feudalism, communism make a difference? They knew not. As long as men and women harbored delusion within their hearts, where they thought that power over others and violent ambition would make the world better place, they knew that all political experiments would eventually fall prey to an individual’s greed regardless of their altruistic ideals. Governments and systems are merely macrocosms of that microcosm we call our “selves.”

Preaching from the pulpit about how unfair things are and how others must change is giving up on religion and becoming political. The idea is that we are so holy that we can tell others what to do. We know best. We don’t have any more work to do on ourselves! Or, the capitulation is that it’s just too difficult to change ourselves, so instead we try to make others change and come around to our way of thinking. Can you see the absurdity of this; that we can’t change ourselves, but we can attempt to force others to change? Well . . . the others are just like us; they can’t change either! Their priest is politicizing from their pulpit as well, and it goes round and round with nobody ever changing internally, and internal change is what religion was originally supposed to be about. To become Christ-like or Buddha-like is not to become organized for a cause, regardless of how good the cause may be. They were the cause, and the result. How many causes do we need?

However, I’m afraid that politics is much more amusing than religion. Politics brings up great anger, and anger is the big engine of ego. Anger makes us feel alive, that we are indeed real. Religion on the other hand, true religion, has the opposite effect, the calming of ego. This is why Jesus was peaceful and a healer, not a war monger nor hateful in any way. He had no anger, no worldly ambitions, and certainly no political ambitions. The Buddha likewise suggested that we look at our anger instead of what we are angry about, and see the results of anger in our lives; the stress and problems that it causes and how delusional it is, pretending to be the answer to all of our headaches while actually being the cause.

It is exhilarating to politically shout, “I am a ___________!” That really builds an ego! And the people who shout these things, and rub other people’s noses in their ideals and beliefs to the point of becoming obnoxious, if not downright hateful, relish in the feelings of dominance and triumph, and are seldom aware of the downside.

The downside is that they must now forever protect their ideals, regardless of how things change around them. They must tenaciously hold onto and defend their political stance. Even when the times change and their ideals and philosophy change, seldom will they change from being a ___________! because to admit that one has changed is to admit defeat, and admitting defeat belittles one’s ego. The strange reality is that both defeat and triumph are but illusions in the mind. Neither is real if you think about it.

If you read carefully into the great religions, they all talk of giving up yourself, either to a savior or a God, or in the case of Buddhism . . . just giving up the notion of self itself. This is a commonality of religions, that there is something greater than the self. Yet politics strengthens the very thing that religions suggest we give up; our individual egos.

And this is where religion and politics become like water and oil; you just can’t mix ’em for long. Eventually they will separate (If we quit stirring them)!

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