When religious leaders endorse political candidates, there is an implied underlying assumption that they are ‘merely’ announcing the will of God to the people. And underlying that assumption is the unstated premise that these leaders are true recipients of divine revelation, hence, they appoint themselves as “Messengers of God”.
Although I have already quoted it before, I guess it doesn’t hurt to revisit what the deists have to say about ‘revelation’:
Revelation: The act of revealing or of making known. In the religious sense, revelation usually means divine revelation. This is meaningless, since revelation can only be revelation in the first instance. For example, if God revealed something to me, that would be a divine revelation to me. If I then told someone else what God told me it would be mere hearsay to the person I tell. If that person believed what I said, they would not be putting their trust in God, but in me, believing what I told them was actually true.
Unfortunately, a lot of people do not seem to appreciate this. They take their leaders’ words in good faith – as the true word of God – because who would dare use the name of God in vain?
Now I can’t help but wonder what would happen if the candidate a certain minister is endorsing does not win. Will this undermine the will of God – or just the preacher’s status as recipient of divine revelation?
Possibly neither. Just as the Problem of Evil never really succeeded in sowing skepticism in the minds of people who believe in an all-powerful and loving God, unfulfilled prophecies will probably do little damage to these evangelists’ credibility – at least among their followers. If they were able to come up with sophisticated theodicies whose logical fallacies escape even the supposedly smart people, it doesn’t seem like a leap of faith to imagine that they are already crafting “divine answers” in case their endorsements do not fare well on election day.
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