Thursday, June 15, 2017

Are your politics and your faith at war with each other?

Although there is much in the article outlining Tim Farron’s withdrawal from political life I would want to disagree with, it certainly exposes a modern-day truth: there is tension between contemporary political liberalism and Christianity. Here is the salient paragraph:

Tim Farron just resigned as leader of the U.K.’s Liberal Democratic party, and his statement explaining why should enter the history books: “To be a political leader — especially of a progressive, liberal party in 2017 — and to live as a committed Christian, to hold faithfully to the Bible’s teaching, has felt impossible for me,” Farron said.
The religious left will invoke Scripture when it appears to support their chosen pieties (such as social justice) and will condemn Scripture when it affronts their moral choices (chiefly revolving around sex). In other words, their invocation of Scripture is wholly opportunistic.

Setting aside the even greater and more fundamental problem for the religious left (regarding the identity, nature, and character of God Himself), there is a massive problem for the religious left as they seek to hitch their faith to their politics, a problem that has immediate and far reaching political implications. And that problem is the nature of man.

Three definitive biblical propositions expose the tension for the religious left. First, man is created in the image of God (a proposition having huge implications on how human life is treated, abortion, euthanasia, personal liberties, etc.). Second, man is by nature a hopelessly corrupt sinner—a violator of God’s law (a proposition which reaches into the foundations of political/economic systems and determines whether they will, or will not, result in human flourishing). Third, man is a morally responsible creature that must be held accountable for his choices in this life, and will be held accountable by God for his choices when this life ends (a proposition touching on civil and criminal law, social justice, and far more).

All three of these most basic biblical assertions are rejected out of hand by the philosophic underpinnings of leftist politics. For the thoughtful religious liberal this causes tension, a cognitive dissonance that will hopefully reach a crescendo demanding a personal reevaluation, as it has apparently done with Farron.

How do religious liberals handle the tension? Some are simply unaware of either the foundations of their politics or their faith, or both. Some choose to look the other way, pretending not to see the problem. For others, I suppose, their politics are more ultimate than their faith. But some, those who are committed to their faith, will awaken to the problem—and do something about it.

We all live with some degree of cognitive dissonance. I personally find Christ-less conservatism far more stinky than political liberalism. This short essay is not a sales job for conservatism, nor a screed against liberalism. What it is, is a challenge. Are the foundations of the political system you support irreconcilably opposed to the foundations of the faith you profess? 

It’s a question worth asking.

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