Modern political movements such as Communism, Socialism, Nazism, and Fascism have all been driven by a desire to create a new heaven on earth, denying that there is or could be an effective separation of politics from the spiritual life. Politics itself becomes the essentially spiritual activity of the human soul, and provides the meaning to life that used to derive from religious activity.
The history of these movements should give us all pause. Out of them has sprung the worst bloodshed in human history.
Christians are certainly not immune from the lure of the politics of meaning, but in general it is the skeptics who are most drawn in. The spiritual hunger does not disappear when faith does, but is displaced into politics.
Can politics satisfy this hunger? No, but the attempt leads to the kind of comprehensive government intervention into our lives that the Western democracies have been creeping toward over the past 100 years—and have been galloping towards over the past few. A truly spiritual politics is a politics in which there is little or no room for human freedom.
Political freedom as we know it is based upon the separation of politics and religion. Our freedom of speech and conscience is based upon the belief that politics, the ruling of the body, should be separated from religion, the governance of the soul. Spiritualized politics will inevitably become unfree politics—or worse.
That is why I am not inspired, but scared of a political movement which has as its appeal that it “never allow you to go back to your lives as usual” because it promises to fix our souls. In trying to fix our souls, what will such a politics break?
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