Many of us in the left-wing blogsophere take great pains to intellectualize our conception of religion. We have pulled it apart and analyzed it critically in an effort to seek the most correct, most perfect interpretation. There's nothing wrong with doing this, per se, but those of us who take a critical eye towards religion may need to be reminded of how many people there are in this world who don't question. I probably don't need to remind any of you of how powerful a force religion is and I daresay you are also likely very aware of the fact people will fight to the death to defend it.
I see President George W. Bush as a prime example of a recovered alcoholic, born-again Christian. Having conquered the demons of addiction as well as a period of young adulthood characterized by aimlessness, hedonism, and irresponsibility he used the Christian faith as a means to get back on the straight-and-narrow. Many people do this. This is one of the great strengths of Christianity.
I must admit that I am a Christian for many of the same reasons. One of the great strengths of the faith is that salvation is promised to everyone, provided they confess their sins, accept Jesus into their hearts, and resolve to do better. All prior sins are washed away if any human repents with contrition.
However, the problem with many who converts is that, having put aside their personal problems, they often move from one extreme to the other, exchanging the fluidity of past viewpoints for a one-sided, black-and-white view of reality. In doing so, they compartmentalize their lives neatly in two: before and after. As we all know, thinking critically is an often lonely, confusing experience which reveals no cut-and-dry answers. Many former alcoholics have a tendency to overcompensate, believing that doubt was a product of their lives before they came to sobriety. These people had prior problems setting boundaries for themselves, and thus they often delight in a cut-and-dry philosophy which defines things concretely. Good is good and bad and bad. No overlap exists. If doubts do creep into the mind, they can easily be explained away as merely a manifestation of Satan's temptation.
Thus, it comes as no surprise to me that President Bush has taken such a firm, unwavering stance in Iraq. I really do believe that he sees the conflict as a struggle between absolute good and absolute evil and he will not allow himself to think otherwise. Unfortunately, it also means that his actions are effectively defying the will of the American people, who have long since grown weary of this conflict.