Religion and Politics

1957 WordsJun 18, 20188 Pages
A popular bumper sticker plastered on an untold multitude of American SUVs declares that “God isn’t a Republican… Or a Democrat”. Now, if an entire system of thought can be fit onto the back of someone’s car and is readable from five feet away then the issue may require some rethinking—or is at least oversimplified. However, that sticker echoes some of the most fundamental dilemmas facing believers and political enthusiasts alike in the modern world. Where does Christianity fit in terms of one’s choice in elected officials? What about the Gospel of Jesus Christ in relation to one’s social circle, one’s choices in reading material, or one’s favorite bands? The tangled enigma of religion and society is pressingly relevant in this present…show more content…
Faith is at risk when the action associated with a belief system is motivated not by a conscious, dynamic morality but by a desire for social acceptance. Stephen encounters similar cultural policing when, while still in grade school, his English teacher announces to the entire class that “this fellow has heresy in his essay” (Joyce 69). The dramatic public criticism of a syntactic trifle that does not exactly align with Catholic doctrine serves as a humiliating reinforcement of religiously derived social standards and punishes Stephen for both original thought and individuality. The rigid religion that saturates Stephen’s surroundings conditions him to worship, to believe, and to belong without question or concern. The onset of Stephen’s adolescence is marked by renewed and heightened zeal for his religion as the gifted young man struggles to assert his own identity and to satisfy the yearnings of his artistic nature for spiritual and intellectual fulfillment. After receiving forgiveness for past transgressions (through a traditional Catholic confession), Stephen thought that “it would be beautiful to die if God so willed. It was beautiful to live if God so willed, to live in grace a life of peace and virtue and forbearance with others” (Joyce 127); he developed a strict regimen wherein “every morning he hallowed himself anew in the presence

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