Liberal society celebrates and views plurality as an objective value – that should be an ordering axiom of society. We Christians are living in that world; and some Christians; unconsciously or consciously imbibed that belief system. However, have you ever stopped to ask these two important questions: the first being is plurality an objective Christian value; and if it is not; what are? This first question serves as an opener in this article to its main thrust, which is properly about the second question.
Let us be clear about what the Liberals are trying to achieve in terms of plurality. They see it as an end in itself to achieve, to build a society that is diverse in ethnicities, cultures, and beliefs, where different groups live out different lives around one another. They believe – that somehow by magic, this melting pot will produce a richer world – a blended international culture; or possibly a beautiful mosaic in which different identities will all live in peace and harmony. Where we celebrate the uniqueness of each individual, as they discover who they are; and express it for all to see! [Unless you are a white, male, Christian].
One need only spend an hour or so; studying the civil war that have been fought in the last 100 years; to realise that we have as much the ingredients for a bomb in our society as we do the makings of some utopian civilisation. What is certain, is that is certain, is that for everything there is a season; and as much as we are having our time of peace, there will tragically and inevitably be a time for war. The rumblings have already started; people are talking about; small numbers to be sure, and only amongst the most disgruntled, but the fracture lines are obvious to anyone who wants to trace them out in the blood already spilled.
Still our liberal elites continue with their project, because for them it is a metaphysical belief – to believe in the goodness of humanity – despite all the evidence to the contrary. I want to however, focus on whether and to what degree we Christians can go along with this project. I am sure many who read this along with myself; can be forgiven for thinking that many of our Bishops – think we have arrived – that the job is done, because we have a nice non-Christian diversity; and that all that is left is to fight racial injustice and the privilege of the white male Christian.
However, where in scripture would they be getting that from; certainly, racial diversity is scriptural; the Church speaks that many peoples will worship the GOD of Israel in many tongues; and it speaks of the gentiles coming from every nation to worship YHWH at mount Zion. Furthermore, the church being Catholic is for all tribes and tongues; and so – yes – racial diversity is something that Christians can be all in for; and that includes inter racial marriages.
What then of culture; well, Christianity has no concept of judaising – that is expressly condemned in the teachings of the apostles, and the writings of the Church fathers, do not celebrate anyone culture, but rather a common morality and belief system – so if we can have multiple ethnicities in the Church; with multiple languages, then it follows that we can have multiple cultures within the Church; in so far as those cultures have all been screened by the Christian message; filtering out those aspect of that particular culture incompatible with Christianity.
Therefore, it is clearly obvious the sticking point – the beliefs! Christians are taught to worship only the GOD of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and not any foreign GOD. We know we cannot be unevenly yoked with the unbeliever; and that those who teach another gospel apart from the one received in the Church – is accursed. Therefore, we cannot desire, strive or work towards a society that has a plurality of beliefs; but rather one that has the same beliefs; Christian beliefs. I would strongly suggest that any Christian leader seeking to celebrate – false beliefs – has lost the plot! Christians should aspire – to see the closure [and I would argue; peacefully and legally, through conversion] of every mosque, hindu temple; buddhist temple, and Sikhi gurdwara. If we do not commit to this end, then we have failed; to allow the vision of the world laid out for us in the apostolic teaching to inspire us.
This though brings us to a question; I do not think is discussed often enough in Christian circles; and something that I do keep having a stab at in this blog; which is what the objective values of the Christian faith are; what the organising axioms of are being a Christian. I’ve certainly spoken of this before – however – whilst I want touch on it again; perhaps to bring more of it to light; I hope not to repeat myself too much.
Let us just try to distil what values are: there are internal values in that we try to behave according to a certain set of principles, like: hopefulness, charity; and honesty; and then there are social values in that society values a particular form of organisation; way of life like: family, the army, fame & celebrity. Values are the way we describe collective and individual behaviours; and groups can have a similar behaviour that they value but interpret it very differently as we shall see in the following examples. It is only when we are alive to this fact that we can begin the process of changing our minds to being more Christ like and less like the world. We need to be talking about this more not less in our Christian circles. I am confident as clarity rises on this topic, Christians from all denominations will find themselves in common cause; more often.
So, to help start you off thinking about this question here is a sample list. My list will not be a complete one; such a list could take a while; but here are some Christian values and how Liberals and Christians view them differently:
Family: Christians believe that families are constituted in two ways, blood lines of extended families brought together and created in marriage; between one man and one women; or when a father and a mother adopt children for their own. Liberals: whilst acknowledging the family exist, refuse to give it a definition; a family can be any collection of individuals in any matrix with or without children; can be called a family. The Christian definition offers something solid; something society can build upon collectively and use as part of the social web of society; working as the ‘brick’ in the act of civilisational building.
Marriage: to the Christian, the act of union between a man and a woman, is an act administered by GOD himself; this means for us, marriage is a covenant relationship; that can only be dissolved in the most extreme of situations such as infidelity. Christians must guard their marriages with jealousy and the Christian community as a whole must protect the marriages within its community, as they would any other sacrament. The Liberals see marriage merely as a social contract, which if it breaks down, well it is sad, but nothing truly terrible has happened. Christians understand the importance of families to society, and civilisation; and so we understand the importance of marriage as the underpinning of this social unit. We cannot prize families if we do not also prize marriage.
Freedom: for the Christian, freedom is very much attached to the truth; it is a faculty of knowledge, the more you know, the freer you are. However, for the Liberal freedom, is not connected to truth at all, but rather choice; the more choices you have – the freer you are. The Christian definition is based upon a reality, that people will make choices based on what they know, and therefore, if they know the ‘truth’ they will different choices from a scenario in which they do not.
Truth: For the Christian truth is in Christ who describes himself as nothing less than the truth. This means; for the Christian we have an objective understanding of truth, that; therefore, there is a way of describing that matches with reality; and more we correspond our lives to that reality the better it is did you see how truth immediately leads to discussion of value. The Liberals have abandoned truth as a concept – truth is a subjective creation; each can fashion their own; even to the degree now, that the sciences themselves are being questioned. A Christian world view connects man to reality and allows him to explore it and learn about it.
Church: The Liberals have no such thing. Christians are a people; and thus we have as a value the life of our own people. The focal point of the Christians energies is to the Church; to build her up, to strengthen her, to empower her, to defend her, to beautify her and for her to prevail over all!
Service: Christians prize service as one of the highest activities a Christian can perform; to serve someone else; underpins our very social paradigm; this debases the server, humbles them, expresses a lowliness, and when done properly; cultivates an inner strength; as one overrides ego, girdles love, and serves the other no matter the cost or danger. Here the Liberals remain, still largely influenced by their Christian parents; however, increasingly, whilst they still think of their leaders as public servants, the ethic is slowly eroding from the life of Liberal society; with many influencers; and leading figures behaving more in a way of self-interest and self-aggrandisement; only paying lip service to the idea of being a public servant; without cantering themselves truly on the idea of being a servant of those around them.
Faithfulness: Christians prize this idea amongst themselves most highly – or should! A Christian must be faithful to their word and responsibilities, carrying them out with integrity, due diligence, enthusiasm, with honesty and integrity. Liberals – also value faithfulness, but increasingly, it is giving way to a disposable ethic of personal convenience. The truly faithful man is the one who keeps to his commitments when they are not convenient to himself; and when no one is looking over his shoulder. Society functions better, in every respect, when a culture of faithfulness is imbibed by all; and when it is a scandal; to be otherwise, because nearly all things in a society need trust and reliability. The west is suffering because, this value is no longer being cultivated. Liberals want faithfulness, but they do not want any of the axioms of belief or disciplines of practice that cultivate it!
Life: Here Christians and Liberals have parted company radically. The Christian believes that life is of value, regardless of its social capacity – thus we value the lives of the terminally ill, the physically incapable, and the unborn as much as we do the able bodied socially productive person. This is because this value expresses so many other concerns of the Christian life; most particularly the belief in the image of GOD into which we are made. The Liberal values different lives, differently, the unborn, only as much as the mother wants it, the terminally ill, only as much as the pain they can bare, the physically incapable; only as much as they value their own. A real see changes occurred decades ago; and more people have died because of this Liberal belief than because of the Nazi belief, in a perfect race. The testimony of blood is sufficient proof against the values of the Liberals in this matter
Now this list is in no way a complete list; call it a taster, the point I am making is that we Christians should be careful discern, that we are organising our lives around the Christian world view and its values; and not as so many of our brethren fall into the trap of doing – of ordering their lives around values that are not Christian; or not understood through a Christian belief system – nearly all values fall into this latter point. Christians to live better Christian lives need to discern the differences and fault lines, so we can build our lives upon our faith; and not be swept up, by the tides and currents of this Liberal culture.