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I’m just not buying what they’re selling

Posted by Chance on December 13, 2007

Let’s look at who Jesus was and what he valued. In many ways he embodied what is the “conservative morality”. He echoed the Old Testaments views on the family and had absolute standards of sexual morality (not saying liberals don’t view these things as important, I am just speaking in terms of emphasis). And despite what many people say, I do believe that Jesus affirmed the two-fold path of “one man, one woman” or celibacy.

But Jesus also echoed many things that liberals consider important. Love your enemy. Love the sinners. Turn the other cheek. Help the poor and needy.

I want to focus on the last bit. Liberals have embraced the idea of helping the less fortunate, and that is very commendable. Christians in general seem to focus on keeping the letters of the law but forgetting the points of mercy and justice. In some aspects, the liberals have embraced the proper attitude concerning the poor. It’s about giving people what they need, not what they deserve. Conservatives tend to focus on the work ethic aspect and whether or not somebody deserves to be helped.

But I still disagree with liberals on one important thing, the vital thing when it comes to the political. That thing is the role of government. For many of the Christian left, the government is the primary means for carrying out the work of God’s kingdom.

I disagree with this method for philosophical and utilitarian reasons. Concerning the philosophical, Christianity is a spiritual viewpoint focused on free will, and it is about relationships. We enter into a relationship with Christ out of our free will. Think about evangelism. Trying to force conversions is self-defeating. Also, Jesus’ mission did not concern the political. Granted, he had a certain goal at the time, but he didn’t really irritate the political establishment by himself. It took the religious leaders to motivate his execution.

In addition, the Bible focuses on voluntary giving. Also, Jesus ministered to the spiritual as well as the physical. That’s something not easily done by government services.

In my own opinion, I just believe charity is more effective than government programs. The giver has an opportunity to willfully choose to do something for other people, and the receiver sees the gift as just that, and not an entitlement.

I am not saying there is no room for government programs. And reasonable people can disagree on where government should get involved. But the Christian left have to reason and defend their position that government involvement is a given. I think when we look to the words of Jesus and try to further his kingdom, we should be focusing on the sphere of life outside government.


3 Responses to “I’m just not buying what they’re selling”

  1. dolphin said

    I think when we look to the words of Jesus and try to further his kingdom, we should be focusing on the sphere of life outside government.

    Except when it comes to “conservative morality” in which case we should march the government in and start throwing around constitutional amendment and over turning court cases?

  2. Chance said

    I’m not always a fan of the conservative approach either. I was just focusing on this particular thing with helping the poor, but maybe it would only be fair if I talk about both things.

    I’m not in favor of the constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, but think maybe it should be a state issue. I’ve also thought maybe the state shouldn’t be involved in marriage at all, and it would just be a church or justice of the peace issue.

    I am pro-life, but I take that position not from the standpoint of enforcing morality, but from a protection of life standpoint. I see the right to life as outweighing the right to privacy. I won’t go into it here but do a search and you’ll see my position.

    But even in that case, I think Christians should not focus strictly on the political side, but on the serving others side as well, such as volunteering at a crisis pregnancy center, reaching out to those they know in that are in that situation, etc…

    But I do believe that for conservative morality as well, the best ways are not through the government. Pornography destroys but I’m for freedom of speech. I disagree with homosexuality but I don’t think it should be outlawed. I don’t believe in government funding of faith-based charities.

    I try to be consistent as I can, and I’m not perfect in that regard. Does that provide any illumination? I wasn’t just trying to pick on the liberals, it was just something I was thinking about.

  3. Neil said

    Excellent points, Chance. I think you are very balanced. Charity is only charity when it is your money being given away.

    The life issue is a logical one for the government to enforce. If abortion kills an innocent human being (and it always does!) then that would be part of the government’s responsibility to protect human beings.

    One can argue against government recognition of same sex unions without even making religious points. Among other things, the gov’t may have an interest in heterosexual unions since by nature and design they produce the next generation. Homosexual relationships only do so by exception and in a tiny minority.

    And having government sanctioning of same sex unions leads to all sorts of horrific things being taught in schools.

    I reject the foolishness that says we shouldn’t let our religious beliefs inform our political views. What does the ACLU-types expect us to do – vote the opposite of our religious beliefs? That would make me pro-stealing, pro-murder, etc.

    Having said that, churches should not look to the government to further the kingdom. That is our job.

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