This is our truth, tell us yours
One of the great divisions of christianity has been between free will and predestination. If our names, and lives are known to God, then do we have to do anything to be saved, can anything we do stop us from being saved? Are we actors in our own lives or mere bit players in Gods great plan.
I am no theologian, and part of me wonders if the fact mainstream churches have generally decided on the line of free will because practically it works better. There have been a number of groups, generally described as heretical who decided everything was predetermined. It led to either disengagement with others, or the idea that actions have o impact. People being what people are the actions they usually indulge have been ones that are harmful to others. Murder, rape and abuse excused because entry to heaven has been predetermined.
On a smaller scale people can be disempowered when it comes to predestination, or to give it another name fatalism. If we believe we have no power then what is the point in doing anything? This is a common feature of depression, it can also lead to depression, the idea that nothing we can do will change things, that we are stuck,
Which brings me to the UK elections, yes, there is a link.
Its common for people, even people I respect, to say, dont vote, it makes no difference, they are all the same. I am sure you know the arguments. It sounds a lot like me to the fatalism I already mentioned, the belief the future is predetermined, and there is nothing we can do.
Part of this is, I think, the idea that only big acts matter, the grand gesture. Its an oddly patriarchal way of thinking from people who usually vow that they want to smash patriachy. Which is not to say they are being hypocritical, we are all told, by patriarchy that we dont matter, that the little things dont matter, that our opinions dont matter. No wonder some people believe it. It might be worth pointing out though that the argument about not voting is made loudest by Russel Brand, an exceptionally privilged white cis man who has nothing to gain and everything to loose from change.
Ahhh but I hear you cry, its just a vote, just one vote, what difference will it make? Which takes us back to that idea we either have free will or everything is predestined. If we give up on the idea that our vote matters, are we not, like the fatalist giving up on what we think mattering. Some people of course will try to make their voice heard in other ways, lobbying or campaigning, but I am not sure why it must be an either or.
Another argument used by the dont vote folk is that all the parties are the same. Again this just seems to be old fashioned fatalism. Look there isnt going to be a revolution, anarchy isnt going to break out, no one is going to be put against a wall. Sorry, but arguments about what might happen are as useful as the old would sex work exist in Utopia argument. This is the world we have, this is the politics we have, sitting around wishing things were different, frankly, helps no one. Given this then we need to accept the parties are what we have. Opting out is behaving like a child who hasn’t got exactly what they want for christmas and refusing to open the rest of their presents.
The parties may be similar, they all for example (except possibly the greens) support capitalist patriarchy. However they are not identical, they have different practical policies, different ideologies and different myths, Voting might be a tiny thing, but no one said we are special snowflakes, sometimes tiny things are all we have to say I am here, and I matter.