Realists & Materialists: You’ll find both on the ballot next month

October 1, 2014

Commentary

Vote ButtonsAnymore, there seem to be two kinds of people in the world.  The first group believes that there is nothing more than what they can see, touch, hear, smell and taste.  They think that all can be explained by atoms bumping into one-another, combining together and dis-connecting from each other.  These people necessarily believe that there is no pattern to all that exists rather, all proceeds from ‘chance’.

Consequently, “ought” or, “ought not” does not exist either.  There are no grounds for believing that we should or, should not behave in any specific way.  In fact, it is irrational to be anything but selfish, driven by our juicy impulses for power and pleasure – intent on having it “my way”, after all, why not?  Such a belief system results in a politics of voting benefits for oneself by stealing from your neighbor, a science of “might makes right” with theories supporting the survival of the fittest, an education system that pushes “value neutrality” and a culture where it doesn’t necessarily pay to keep your word, oath or, covenant if you decide that it is in your favor not to.

However, it is tough to believe that materialism is really true.  There is hardly anyone who would deny that there are some universal truths that we believe should be adhered to by all.  Who is there that thinks it is ok to lie, cheat, steal or murder?  Yet, if there truly is nothing going on but molecules randomly interacting, why shouldn’t we lie, cheat, steal and kill?  Where do the rules come from to say that these kinds of things are wrong?  Consequently, secularists lead an intellectually schizoid life, behaving respectfully but, with no logical grounds for doing so – their “world view” does not fit the world we all live in.

Or, as R.R. Reno observes, “Why same-sex marriage but not polygamy? Why a capacious commitment to free speech that permits pornography and at the same time endorses punitive speech codes that treat the N-word as cause for firing someone? How can we say that women aren’t different from men but at the same time need empowerment? Why heap shame on smokers but remain scrupulously non-judgmental about sex? These aren’t questions most liberals can answer, but that doesn’t alter their infuriating confidence that their sensibilities are meet and right.”

On the other hand, there is a second group of people, sensitive to their surroundings (and not just their inner urgings) who after a focused observation on and, reflection of the world they inhabit, come to the conclusion that the cosmos is indeed, a finely-tuned machine, compelling us to insist on the presence of a designer.  This group, sensing the inherent design in the universe, then reasons that design implies purpose, that even humans were thus necessarily created for a reason.  So, it must then consequently follow that there exists rules governing the proper means to achieving those ends.  Thus, ethics becomes a legitimate subject of study and application – because it makes sense under this world-view.

Now, it is has been my observation that the vast majority of all human beings have a moral awareness, like we discussed above.  Almost everyone has a sense of “right and wrong”.  Those that are materialists maintain their moral sense in a constant state of neurotic tension while those who acknowledge design don’t exhibit this neurosis.  This is because their natural inclination to believe in moral standards actually fits the structure of their world-view, making sense of creation and their place in it.

So, two groups of people: One believes all evolved out of ancient muck and one believes that God created all things.  And, ultimate power for each derives from the source of creation:  from below for materialism or, from above, the Holy Creator, for those sensible of design.

What does all this have to do with politics?  Well, doesn’t it make sense to vote for those whose world-view is most similar to our own?  If we elect materialists, we can expect continued pleadings to envy, class-division and other cultural fracturing appeals that increase political power for those in control, along with an uninterrupted loosening of legal and moral standards.  This is only natural as this group can only logically believe not only that “I’m ok, you’re ok” but, that “All things are ok”.  However, if we elect governors who are grounded in the ethical sciences, we can expect them to foster a more unifying culture where the political power of the state isn’t used to crush dissent but, is instead enlisted to set high standards of ethical behavior as a model for all to follow.  Materialists can only continue to lower behavioral standards while those with an artistic soul sensitive to reality will attempt to raise those standards to higher heights.

If you agree but wonder how you can discern the candidates’ world-view, I urge you to make use of CTV’s produced and or recommended resources.  The CTV staff has spent countless hours sorting through questionnaires and other sources of information to ascertain where hundreds of Michigan’s candidates for the legislature, judicial system and, other offices, stand.  Their research is boiled down to easy-to-read comparisons on key issues that are presented in their Voters Guide to help make it easy for you to draw your own conclusions on what a candidates view is.  Knowing this, it is easy then to make an informed and intelligent vote rather than pulling the lever for the most charismatic or, smooth-talking candidate.

Engage this Election – your vote does matter and ultimately you are helping choose what worldview and governing philosophy rules the order of the day. Make good use of your vote on Tuesday, November 4, 2014. It can change the world.

Watch the CTV Election Page for Resources
Check your sample ballot.

Terry and Val Applegate 2Terry Applegate serves on the board of Citizens for Traditional Values, the European Theological Seminary, and CIMA. He and his wife Val have three children and four grandchildren.
The opinions of guest columnists do not necessarily reflect the views of Citizens for Traditional Values.

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