Tuesday, September 27, 2016

The Christian Left Blog

Some of you won't like this, but it's here. 

44 comments:

B. Prokop said...

I say this over and over and over again, and will probably have to keep on saying it until the day I pass on. Christianity has nothing whatsoever to do with "right" or "left" politics. You can be a sincere believer and be a Republican, Democrat, Socialist, Monarchist, Libertarian, Feudalist, Liberal, Conservative, or even an Anarchist (not so sure about that last one). God does not take sides in our political squabbles. (see Luke 12:13-14)

I don't know whether the story is apocryphal, but I've read that President Lincoln was once asked whether God was on the side of the Union. He is supposed to have responded, "You ought rather to be concerned about whether the Union is on the side of God." Or words to that effect.

I can name good Christians on both the far right and the far left (and squarely in the middle).

(Footnote: Don't get me wrong. There are indeed political "isms" that are outside the pale. Fascism and Bolshevism, in fact any flavor of Totalitarianism, come to mind. But these are cases where the unfairly maligned phrase, "That's different!" is valid.)

oozzielionel said...

I am trying this approach: Being a Christian is my primary loyalty and identity. I cannot call myself Republican or Democrat because these loyalties do not determine my identity. When I find myself taking a position because it aligns with a political party, that is the time to check where my allegiance lies at that moment with that issue. I also realize that each party from time to time tries to lure my loyalty. If I agree with a party's position on one issue, I often find several issues where I prefer the other party.

I find indications in The Christian Left site of holding political positions at a higher authority than biblical authority. The immediate example was reading gay into eunuch. This seems an example of making the Bible conform to one's politics.

B. Prokop said...

Another way of looking at this issue is to reacquaint one's self with The Screwtape Letters. To wit (the devil is speaking, in Chapter VII):

Let him begin by treating Patriotism or Pacifism as a part of his religion. Then let him, under the influence of partisan spirit, come to regard it as the most important part. Then quietly and gradually nurse him on to the stage at which religion becomes merely part of the "cause", in which Christianity is valued chiefly because of the excellent arguments it can produce in favour of the British war effort or of pacifism The attitude which you want to guard against is that in which temporal affairs are treated primarily as a matter for obedience. Once you have made the World an end and faith a means, you have almost won your man, and it makes very little difference what kind of worldly end he is pursuing. Provided that meetings, pamphlets, policies, movements, causes, and crusades, matter more to him than prayers and sacraments and charity, he is ours — and the more "religious" (on those terms) the more securely ours. I could show you a pretty cageful down here.

Or this, from Chapter XXV:

What we want, if men become Christians at all, is to keep them in the state of mind I call "Christianity And". You know — Christianity and the Crisis, Christianity and the New Psychology, Christianity and the New Order, Christianity and Faith Healing, Christianity and Psychical Research, Christianity and Vegetarianism, Christianity and Spelling Reform.

B. Prokop said...

I forgot to mention that The Screwtape Letters is by C.S. Lewis, but it's a fair bet than most readers of this blog already know that.

Ilíon said...

B.Prokop: "I say this over and over and over again, and will probably have to keep on saying it until the day I pass on. ... God does not take sides in our political squabbles. (see Luke 12:13-14)"

Your assertion is not true; and you're torturing that verse.

"You can be a sincere believer and be ... even an Anarchist (not so sure about that last one)."

And you *know* that your repeated assertion is not true.

Look, the reason you keep making this false assertion is to act as cover for your own long-term equating of Christianity with leftism. In the past couple of years, America's leftists have finally started making the political-and-social demands (that they were always going to make, as we conservatives had totally predicted years and decades ago) which you cannot bring yourself to equate with Christianity. But, as is so common with leftist fellow-travellers who have *finally* found a left-turn they are unwilling to take, rather than simply admitting that the problem is in the leftism, you start spouting the "A Pox On Both Their Houses" bullshit ... while still mostly voting for leftist politicians.


"(Footnote: Don't get me wrong. There are indeed political "isms" that are outside the pale. Fascism and Bolshevism, in fact any flavor of Totalitarianism, come to mind. But these are cases where the unfairly maligned phrase, "That's different!" is valid.)"

Really? So, God *does* hate some political views? (Of course he does, and we all know he does). Yet you keep asserting that "God does not take sides". Either he does or he doesn't; it can't be both.

And, if God does hate some politics, then he must favor the opposite politics. Right? After all, he who says 'A' must also say 'B'.

BUT, oddly enough, Fascism and Bolshevism are leftist "-isms"; so is Totalitarianism in general -- *all* flavors of leftism are totalitarian in nature, for *all* flavors of leftism intend to sit on God's throne. It's the nature of the beast.

B. Prokop said...

Fascism is rightist. Totalitarianism is what you find at both extremes of the political spectrum.

So let me ask you a question. Can a monarchist be a good Christian? How about a republican (in the classic sense of the term)? What about a proponent of pure, direct democracy? How about a capitalist? What about a distributionist?

See? The point is not whether God "sides" with any of these political views. It's do the followers of these isms side with God.

Servant of God Dorothy Day is on her way to Sainthood. So is Archbishop Oscar Romero. I firmly believe we will someday see Daniel Berrigan on that list.

JaredMithrandir said...

We are Citizens of God's Kingdom not any Earthly Nation. Therefor Believers have no business voting.

B. Prokop said...

Jared,

"Thy will be on on Earth as it is in Heaven."

I 100% agree that our true home is the Celestial City, but we have nevertheless been directed to execute His will here as well. If we lived in a Feudalistic society, we would be bound to be faithful to our liege lord. In a democracy, we are obligated to vote.

B. Prokop said...

Jared,

I just looked at your profile. You actually like The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith??? I am... speechless. (Now keep in mind, I am speaking as a person who thinks Star Trek (the original series) is infinitely superior to Star Wars.

Dave Duffy said...

For what it's worth:

I am the Senior Warden of an Anglican Church in the Diocese of San Joaquin. Our Diocese decided to "Leave the Fold" (as Ed B. would say) of the Episcopal Church because they have forsaken the gospel. As the blog writer, the Episcopal Church are superficially reasonable. In practice they are absolutely ruthless in their demands.

Perhaps it is coincidence that their politics and their theology are considered liberal. Living in California, liberal and demanding conformity seem to be about the same.

I'm with Bob and don't won't to equate the two. But how?

Joe Hinman said...

I've been linking to it for years. I've tried numeration times to strike up a dialogue with them but dont' care. so i don't care.

btw on metacrock's blog i am starting a three part series (chapter from next book) the blog piece is on on ethical naturalism (the book is God, Science, and Ideology).

Joe Hinman said...

Perhaps it is coincidence that their politics and their theology are considered liberal. Living in California, liberal and demanding conformity seem to be about the same.

right like conservatism isn't! why are right wingers such hypocrites? Jim Crow laws were not started by liberals. show me one lynching conducted by liberals. maybe those weren't conservatives either but they were on right wing spectrum. You are trying to say all liberals are totalitarian lets just look at historical fact..

Joe Hinman said...

I say this over and over and over again, and will probably have to keep on saying it until the day I pass on. Christianity has nothing whatsoever to do with "right" or "left" politics. You can be a sincere believer and be a Republican, Democrat, Socialist, Monarchist, Libertarian, Feudalist, Liberal, Conservative, or even an Anarchist (not so sure about that last one). God does not take sides in our political squabbles. (see Luke 12:13-14)

I agree. but it doesn't preclude being motivated by once faith to act in the political realm, I agree not to identify political positions with the Gospel ,i am totally against that,It does my faith good to see you write that

Joe Hinman said...

How many of you are peeved, shocked ,angered because these liberals are getting political with the gospel and totally ignore fact that certain parties on this site told me I am not a Christians because i'mo a Democrat? you can't be a Christian if you are not a republican, you think I haven't heard that living in Dallas? and the evangelical church has been towing that political line for decades.two wrongs don't make a right but they make for some rhetorical appeals.

Ilíon said...

^ What a liar this Hinman is. But, of course he's a liar: he's a bloody-minded leftist.

Ilíon said...

B.Prokop: "Fascism is rightist."

This is false; it's a Stalinist lie. Now, you're not stupid, and you're not ignorant about the matter. Ergo: you're intentionally spreading a lie.

B.Prokop: "Totalitarianism is what you find at both extremes of the political spectrum."

This is also false (and you know it is), invented by Stalin's American propagandists to support the previous lie. Rightism is about limiting government to its minimally proper roles; an "extreme" rightism would be that which ignores the qualifier.

You know as well as I do -- It is logically impossible to get totalitarianism from any "extreme" version of "Government must be kept bounded within its proper limits".

B.Prokop: "So let me ask you a question."

You're lying; you don't have the right to ask a question.

B.Prokop: "Servant of God Dorothy Day is on her way to Sainthood. So is Archbishop Oscar Romero. I firmly believe we will someday see Daniel Berrigan on that list. "

Well, yes: The One True Bureaucracy *hates* self-government, *hates* individual liberty; and *hates* America. So, who would be shocked if they proclaim that traitor to be a "saint".

Ilíon said...

"(Now keep in mind, I am speaking as a person who thinks Star Trek (the original series) is infinitely superior to Star Wars."

It figures; the Federation is a socialist military dictatorship.

B. Prokop said...

Here is a relevant take on this issue from C.S. Lewis.

"The danger of mistaking our merely natural, though perhaps legitimate, enthusiasms for holy zeal, is always great," Lewis wrote. "The demon inherent in every party is at all times ready enough to disguise himself as the Holy Ghost; the formation of a Christian Party means handing over to him the most efficient makeup we can find."

And this from the author of the article:

"For those of us who believe in the truth of Christianity and still believe in the good of politics, the last several decades — and the last 15 months in particular — have often been painful. Like water that refracts light and changes the shape of things, politics can distort and invert Christianity, turning a faith that at its core is about grace, reconciliation and redemption into one that is characterized by bitterness, recriminations and lack of charity. There is a good deal of hating and dehumanization going on in the name of Christ."

B. Prokop said...

Oh, and by the way...

Before Ilion labels Peter Wehner (the author of the article) a "bloody-minded leftist", he is a Republican who served in the last three Republican administrations.

Ilíon said...

Dave Duffy: "Perhaps it is coincidence that their politics and their theology are considered liberal. Living in California, liberal and demanding conformity seem to be about the same.

I'm with Bob and don't won't to equate the two. But how?
"

Some circles cannot be squared.

One the one hand, "demanding conformity" is very much a human thing to do; as such, one will find it everywhere. On the other hand, "demanding conformity" is very much a "core value" of leftism, as are so many other human weaknesses and/or sins.

James Madison, in Federalist # 51: "... It may be a reflection on human nature, that such devices should be necessary to control the abuses of government. But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself."

This is the rightist attitude and approach to men ruling other men. This is why you can't derive totalitarianism from rightist concepts or principles -- rightism starts with the recognition that all men are sinners, and that none of them can be trusted with power over the lives of other men.

The leftist attitude and approach is "*We* are the angels we have been waiting for!" This is why totalitarianism is inevitable when leftists exercise power over other men's lives.

Ilíon said...

While at the moment taking no position on this Peter Wehner, I simply must ask: When did it become logically impossible for a person simultaneously to be a RINO who has "served in the last three Republican administrations" and to be a "bloody-minded leftist"?

Ilíon said...

^ And, more importantly, until B.Prokop repudiates the Stalinist lie he is shopping around, I really don't care what he has to say.

I *will not* treat with those who are lying to me.

B. Prokop said...

Ilion,

It is standard nomenclature to label Fascism as rightist and Bolshevism as leftist. I see no need to invent my own definitions, or to go along with yours solely on your say-so. I have nothing to repudiate, since the terms are not mine to say what they mean. Words have meanings, and you can't just go around changing them (as the atheists are so fond of doing with "faith" or "atheism") because you don't like what they mean.

The Wikipedia article on Fascism says that it originally had roots in both ends of the political spectrum, but since the 1920s (and that's a long time ago) has pretty much been an exclusive province of the right. Illustrative of this trend is the following sentence for the article: "Contrary to the popular use of the term, Communist states have sometimes been referred to as "fascist", typically as an insult," implying that so labeling them is a misuse of the term.

So how am I "lying" by using the word as generally defined?

Joe Hinman said...

Blogger Ilíon said...
^ What a liar this Hinman is. But, of course he's a liar: he's a bloody-minded leftist.


>>>God knows your lies. God knows your heart he knows my heart, I'm mot afraid,

Joe Hinman said...

JaredMithrandir said...
We are Citizens of God's Kingdom not any Earthly Nation. Therefor Believers have no business voting.

September 27, 2016 7:58 PM>>>not in the Bible. nor is it logical. You don't have to cofuse the Gospel with politicos to do politics.

B. Prokop said...

"God knows [Ilion's] lies."

Oh, Ilion isn't lying. Lying implies telling a deliberate falsehood that you know to be false. Ilion apparently believes that everything he says is true. However, if someone mistakenly believes something to be so that ain't, well.. that's just being wrong. But you ought not to accuse someone who is wrong of lying, since that requires intent.

Take Ilion saying I'm a liar due to my use of a generally accepted definition of a term (which I happen to think is a good one). Now, since there is zero intent to deceive anyone on my part, then even if the definition I'm using is incorrect, the accusation of lying is simply inappropriate.

Steve Lovell said...

My view on Christianity and Politics has for some years been that a Christian should be left leaning on "social ethics" and right leaning on "personal ethics" ... not that there is a neat dividing line between the two quoted terms. In British politics that tends to mean that any vote is essentially a compromise and a case of choose the least non-Christian.

I'd be interested in what others make of my view.

B. Prokop said...

Steve,

Sounds like what I've heard described as "economically liberal and socially conservative".

Dave Duffy said...

Steve,

Yep, in California looking for the least takes some study.

Joe Hinman said...

Oh, Ilion isn't lying. Lying implies telling a deliberate falsehood that you know to be false. Ilion apparently believes that everything he says is true. However, if someone mistakenly believes something to be so that ain't, well.. that's just being wrong. But you ought not to accuse someone who is wrong of lying, since that requires intent.

he accused me of lying more than once, I think he did it above preach at him

Take Ilion saying I'm a liar due to my use of a generally accepted definition of a term (which I happen to think is a good one). Now, since there is zero intent to deceive anyone on my part, then even if the definition I'm using is incorrect, the accusation of lying is simply inappropriate.

he is lying he he calls us liars because he knows were are not, he just calls any enemy a liar. In his littlke code of fascosm anything an enemy says is a lie a priori,

Ilíon said...

^ What a whinging hypocrite.

Joe Hinman said...

you are a moron Idion . you are so shallow and childish, to so totally hate someone you don[t even know and refuse to listen to anything said just because they are on a different political side, you do nott know Jesus you are not saved your not born again, i doubt you care about anything like tat., you dont' know me you have no idea what i think you are just attack dog

the brain washing says here's the target so you attack. That is stupid, it;s childish it's so stereotypical. Jesus said everyone hate the enemy that's no bid deal you are not special.

Ilíon said...

For all my alleged faults, I'm not a lying whinging hypocrite.

Ilíon said...

B.Prokop: "It is standard nomenclature to label Fascism as rightist and Bolshevism as leftist. I see no need to invent my own definitions, or to go along with yours solely on your say-so. [blah, blah, blah]"

It is standard nomenclature to label Catholic priests as peodphiles. I see no need to invent my own denials, nor to go along with yours solely on your say-so.

As you surely know, I don't give a damn about "what everyone know"; I care about what is true.

B.Prokop: "I see no need to invent my own definitions, or to go along with yours solely on your say-so."

Even this little sentence is a lie (as is so often the case when people set themselves to dispute what I have said). I did not merely assert that Fascism was a leftist movement; I pointed to what is core with rightism, from which core it is logically impossible to derive totalitarianism.

Ilíon said...

Steve Lovell: "My view on Christianity and Politics has for some years been that a Christian should be left leaning on "social ethics" and right leaning on "personal ethics" ... not that there is a neat dividing line between the two quoted terms. In British politics that tends to mean that any vote is essentially a compromise and a case of choose the least non-Christian."

We have that sort of "Christian" in America, too, especially amongst the Catholics. One of their favorite slogans is, "I'm *personally* opposed to abortion, but support "a woman's right to choose"."

A man cannot serve two masters; either he will love the one and hate the other, or hate the one and love the other.

It is *impossible* to be leftist *and* Christian. And it is as impossible to "be left leaning on "social ethics" and right leaning on "personal ethics"" as it is to be "liberal" in matters of "public morality" while remaining "conservative" in one's "private morality".

There are no such things as "private" morality and "public" morality; there is only morality.

Steve Lovell: "My view on Christianity and Politics has for some years been that a Christian should be left leaning on "social ethics" and right leaning on "personal ethics"."

Well, it *does* sound so much more noble, so much more Christian to say, "Let's you and I organize a Party to hire some politicians to hire some thugs to loot that fellow over there and deliver us the swag" and to call that "democracy" than it does to say, "Let's you and I mug that fellow over there!"

Ilíon said...

Steve Lovell: "My view on Christianity and Politics has for some years been that a Christian should be left leaning on "social ethics" and right leaning on "personal ethics"."

And, for that matter, we all ought to understand by now that "ethics-talk" is about coming up with fancy, or at any rate, convoluted, rationalizations for why that which we know to be immoral is really quite "ethical", after all.

B. Prokop said...

Hey, for the record - I do not "[blah, blah, blah]", I "[Yada, yada, yada]".

Joe Hinman said...

íon said...
For all my alleged faults, I'm not a lying whinging hypocrite.

September 30, 2016 5:16 AM

bull shit

Steve Lovell said...

Ilion,

I agree that there is lots of nonsense in courses on ethics. But I get the impression you think that trying to actually think about what is right and wrong is a non-starter ... nothing but rationalisation. That is certainly a worry, but the alternative of simply not thinking about things "doesn't bear thinking about" ;-).

When I say I lean towards the right in "personal ethics", I don't just mean in "my ethics" or "in private". I mean as a view about everyone's personal ethics. This means I'm liable to endorse some views about sex and abortion which aren't very popular. I'm not inclined to think those views on sex should be enshrined in law, but abortion is very clearly different. Same for IVF. If the conservative view on these is correct they aren't a matter of one person's choice ... other people are involved.

But I notice you don't address my being left leaning on "social ethics" other than in the misunderstanding over issues like those I mention in this comment. I had in mind things like healthcare and public education programmes.

Ilíon said...

"But I get the impression you think that trying to actually think about what is right and wrong is a non-starter ... nothing but rationalisation."

Not at all. Did I not make it clear that I was talking about the people who bloviate about "ethics" -- which always seems to "conclude" thusly: "Sure, our religiously indoctrinated ancestors used to think that doing X-Y-Z was wrong, but now we know that it isn't" -- while doing their best to ignore, or even deny, morality.

"But I notice you don't address my being left leaning on "social ethics" other than in the misunderstanding over issues like those I mention in this comment. I had in mind things like healthcare and public education programmes."

But I *did* address that; you just don't want to see it -- Well, it *does* sound so much more noble, so much more Christian to say, "Let's you and I organize a Party to hire some politicians to hire some thugs to loot that fellow over there and deliver us the swag" and to call that "democracy" than it does to say, "Let's you and I mug that fellow over there!"

Ilíon said...

"Hey, for the record - I do not "[blah, blah, blah]", I "[Yada, yada, yada]"."

Don't you have to be a New York Jew to "Yada, yada, yada"? Or, at least, have some quantum of Jewish ancestry?

B. Prokop said...

Well, my ancestors are all from Poland, so there's undoubtedly some Jewish in that mix. In fact, one of the villages a cousin of mine traced our family to was majority Jewish at the time we Prokops emigrated.

Steve Lovell said...

Ilion,

It doesn't really matter since we apparently agree on the relevant point, but the answer to your question "Did I not make it clear that ... ?" is "No". You wrote, unqualified, about "ethics-talk".

As to your comment "addressing" my lean towards the left on social ethics, I think it's pretty obvious why I've put that word in scare quotes. Presumably based on your response you think all taxation is really a form of theft. Why on earth would you think that? To my mind a government that taxes, at least in theory, does so because they wish to reallocate resources in a fairer way and to centrally fund items which are social goods. This works as a net benefit for those who are least well off ... and therefore helps us to live out Christ's command to look after the poor and needy.

What is wrong with this line of thought? My feeling about those who oppose such systems of taxation "on principle" is that they are simply looking after their own interests and trying to keep their wealth to themselves. This is no more honest a motivation than the one you accuse some of in relation to their views on "personal" ethics.








Ilíon said...

"... one of the villages a cousin of mine traced our family to was majority Jewish at the time we Prokops emigrated."

I suppose that may do, especially if you find that you are able to "yada, yada, yada".

Myself, I have enough Jewish ancestry that I understood "yada, yada, yada" the first time I encountered it, but not enough that I can actually do it.