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Thursday, February 18, 2010

Thoughts on "The Heart of Liberalism..."

This is a draft that has been in my folder for 9 moths or so. I was conflicted about putting it out there because I thought maybe I should go to the author to express my concerns, but on the other hand the article is out in the public domain and this is just my take on it. Plus, the number of people with the author's point of view is not small, so it may be a relevant thing to put out there and discuss in a bigger format than just a confrontation of reader to author. If anyone has thoughts on that, definitely write me. I may yet contact the author or publication (if it's the right thing to do), but it may have to come from a less emotional place...

Anyway, here it is:

I read an article in the June 2009 issue of the Carolina Messenger that reinforced the fact that you should be reading the Bible more than bothering with Christian publications, no matter how sound or great a preacher they might be. I suppose since the article had this effect, one could argue that it did some good. But, I think the article wasn’t exactly on target and it generally just ruffled my feathers.

'The Heart of Liberalism...' was the title, and I should have just stopped there. If one has read enough (conservative) religious material, one can see where this is going.

Before I go further and get off my chest what is bothering me about this, I will say that I imagine (and hope) it was well-intentioned and did eventually make a few points I wholeheartedly agree with. The point was slow in coming (as it started out with politics) and not as clear as it could have been (as it only discussed liberalism and not all political persuasions and/or man made teachings), but I did see a point. This point is:
When liberalism attacks or replaces the foundation, it becomes a cancer. I agree. Though, I fully believe the Bible can withstand attacks and I hope people question and search the scriptures and don't take people's word as gospel. But, where the article isn't completely honest is that this is true for conservatism or any other belief system as well as liberalism.

I do think it was too broad in that it began with politics and moved to the church, which I don’t think was especially factual except in certain cases (a trend toward “change” that translates to denominationalism among some in the church). Or perhaps the wrong definition or impression of liberal was applied. Political liberalism is not the same force as the "agents of change" or the force that would like to see compromise on scripture such that everyone is right and truth is not absolute. The two are often confused and I think this is where some begin to see some political issues get pulled in- like unregulated free market is good versus whatever liberals want is evil, etc.

The article rather one-sidedly also focused on evils of liberalism when certain evils being spoken about (anarchy, going to extremes, bringing politics into the church, losing focus on Christ and his message in favor of said political views) are equally true of conservatism or other political and assorted movements.

Calling liberalism a "religion" and "war cry" (to quote the article) could be said of the conservative movement as well. In fact, I think allying with denominations on certain elements we have in common- Jesus as the Christ, being against abortion and gay marriage/rights could lead us to adopt their agenda which is often influenced heavily by premil doctrine (think blind support of Israel). I think it has led some well meaning members of the church to go off course in advocating other denominational/premil side issues like fear of a conspiratorial New World Order, fear of UN strength, various Obama urban legends (birth certificate isn't real, he's really a Muslim but doesn't want you to know that, etc), obsession with support for Israel to name a few. Perhaps snuggling up to denominations has created a false division among political lines in the church that really shouldn't be there. Just as liberals have to be careful they don't compromise on truth to keep peace or seek change over God's old and consistent truths, conservatives also have to beware of their political bedfellows and not let it influence or replace God's word as their focus.

Some choice quotes that got me going:

He calls peace "the Big Deal,". He also says that now "it's all about 'peace'." Like peace is an unrealistic childish fad he hopes will go away soon. The flippant attitude toward peace is quite appalling. Is peace so contemptible? I understand and agree that we must not compromise our Bible beliefs to keep the peace, but as far as politically where we aren't dealing with the church and compromising truth, what's so bad about peace?? Must we be ready to fight and up in arms at the smallest thing? What about as much as it depends on us be peaceable to all men? Must we invade every country that doesn't "look right" to us and impose our will and our style of freedom and government on them? I felt like he was alluding the the "liberal" anti-war protest for Iraq, but I don't know if he was. That was far from bleeding heart. People are always right to question and find the truth and once we did, we had good reason to oppose the war. It wasn't about pacifism for a lot of folks. It was the reason, or lack thereof, for the war. I'm getting off topic again...

you cannot get a dedicated liberal to stand by your side in any real struggle for right

safety in overthrowing parents, private property and patriotism (?? )

"acquiesce to the Moslems for peace" even if we lose religious freedom (?? )

liberals believe: don't believe anything so much you go to war over it

liberals have a blanket disregard for anything worth dying for

And then we come to the last premise. The one that begins in the title- "The heart of liberalism
is not the heart of Christ." I don't know that Christ would have advocated either movement, liberal or conservative. Would Jesus have protested war? Probably not. Would he have condemned or belittled people who valued peace or the idea of peace, though? I doubt that as well.

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