Evangelical Update

A resource for lefties who want to understand conservative Christians.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Conservative Christianity: The Simple Way Out?

WARNING: I try to keep this page objective, but this topic requires what may be considered opinion. I'm not out to offend. If you think I'm wrong, please respectfully say so in the comments.

This is Alice...I'm back.

Over the years I've thought of conservative Christians (CC's) as people who enjoy their religion because they do not have to think. After all, when any new issue comes up, why think about it when your church or peers tell you what to think? It is obvious, however, from this website alone, that not all CC's are on the same page on every issue, and that they do think about issues, albeit in a Christian light.

I still contend, however, that CC's are restricted in their ability to come to their own conclusions if they want to continue in their strict religious observation. If a CC wakes up one morning and decides that a woman should have the right to choose abortion, she is no longer a CC. This scenario is not true of other types of Christians (mainline, Catholic, non-conservative Evangelical). But I digress...my main point is that should a CC choose to not be interested in moral issues or politics, all of her opinions are spelled out for her via either the Bible or her church. No thought is required.*

I can see how a simple faith is immensely comforting, especially when confronted with a difficult issue such as war or the death penalty. Not only is there comfort in knowing what to think, but in the sincere CC belief of moral correctness based upon the higher word of God (from the Bible). Non-Christians, or more liberal Christians, may not be so sure of themselves. A review of non-Christian philosophy leaves one with nothing but doubt. A belief in Christian philosophy, however, allows one to leave all doubt behind.

But is it fair to call conservative Christianity "simple?" Though there may be much thought and philosophical writings behind CC thought, it is based upon and restricted to one book: The Bible. Even the consideration of ideas such as moral subjectivity, is completely out of bounds. When a philosophy is based upon such a restricted set of rules, I think it IS fair to call it simple, though not with the negative connotation that this word may imply (I got in trouble with this scenario before by calling CC's narrow-minded while trying to use that term in a non-negative way!). The other night I was reading about Kant, and realized that if a CC were reading this same thing, it would be completely irrelevant to her because his philosophy, and the philosophy upon which his is built, does not pre-suppose Christianity. It does not even pre-suppose a Creator. Yet that philosophy is part of our every day life and colors our perceptions (see "The God Who is There" by Francis Shaeffer for a good discussion on this topic).

While a CC is not required to ignore other philosophies, she lives on the premise that her way is the only righteous way while enjoying the fruits of alternative philosophies (surely Jesus would not have been pro-Capitalism, yet CC's wave their capitalist American flags the hardest). Does this mean that they should dig themselves into a hole and pray for the redemption of the masses? No, but their condemnation of the rest of society does require at least some hypocrisy if they are to be a part of that society.

Members of "The Cast" highlighted here do live on what would be considered the margin of American society. Some homeschool, some do not shop at Wal-Mart, some do not practice birth control, etc., etc. They are doing their best to live out their faith in a non-hypocritical fashion, which is not easy to do, and I applaud them for it.

*Before you CC's freak out over this statement, I know that this is also true of any group affiliation, liberals included.