Thursday, October 08, 2009

Is Liberal Christian an Oxymoron?

I, of course, say no. Many conservatives would say yes.

There seems to be a continuum from people who accept that Liberal Christians are just Christians who look at politics differently to those who think that Liberal Christians might be sincere, but are sincerely wrong. Consider a post at Southern Appeal on the arguments that Liberals sometimes make that Jesus is a Liberal politically. He takes this argument apart (and in fairness it's not an argument I agree with either, for reasons I'll come back to). However, he then explains why Liberals make such a false argument.
The Christian left can rationalize all they want, but the fact of the matter is social issues are much more black and white, and Church teachings on matters such as abortion, euthanasia, gay marriage and other issues are absolute and unchanging. Left-wing Catholics and other Christians either ignore clear teachings on these matters or give aid and comfort to those who do. Therefore I think that when it comes to economic issues, they are driven by a need to prove their Christian bona fides by asserting that they are the good stewards on economic matters. It’s always rather sad when guilty consciences try to over-compensate for their shortcomings in other areas. But no one should be fooled by what’s really happening here.
And there it is. Liberals ignore Christs teachings in order to cling to their political beliefs.

So you have a continuum.
  • Some Christian Conservatives believe that Christian Liberals are just Christians who think different.
  • Some Christian Conservatives believe that Christian Liberals are sincere but wrong.
  • Some Christian Conservatives believe that Christian Liberals are hypocrites, pretending to Christianity for political or social gain.
  • Some Christian Conservatives believe that Christian Liberals are fifth columnists for satanic liberalism, trying to weaken and emasculate the Church.
It's hard to deny that there aren't Conservative Christians in all of those categories, nor is it hard to see the Conservative Bible as fitting into one of those categories. The pertinent question is which direction are Conservative Christians moving. Are they moving towards that last option? Or are they moving towards the first? Or are they largely static?

Certainly the latter two options have many vocal proponents, including such people as Rush Limbaugh and Doug Giles.

Going back to why I think the argument that Jesus is a Liberals has flaws, it's, in my opinion, using the Bible to answer questions the Bible cannot be intended to answer. The Bible teaches one how to live and how to draw closer to God (kind of the same thing). It is not intended as a text on biology, physics, history, economics, or politics. And when you try to use it as a text to answer political questions, well, the Bible isn't quite up to the task of definitively answering them.

In part I suspect this is because God wants us to work it out on our own, to a certain extent. And in part I suspect it's because living well as individuals and drawing closer to God is is more important than the legalities of taxation or even abortion. A woman deciding whether or not to have an abortion is probably of greater interest to God than whether or not a Congress or a Judge makes abortion legal or not. I could be wrong about that, but that's my opinion.

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