Can Sound Political Theology Produce Civility?

March 21, 2013 at 8:03 AM

In a very real sense, conservatism – whether biblical or political – is under fire today because it is said that a belief system based on conservative ideas often serves to benefit only one group:  heterosexual, able-bodied, Christians (mainly male at that).  That belief is faulty at best, but that does not stop those opposed to conservative values continuing the attack.

On many fronts, the notion that conservatism can be or is a good thing, is highly debated by many (especially from the politically correct Left); enough so that there is a felt need to continue to malign and castigate those within the community of conservatives.  Ultimately, the feeling is that it should be overturned and replaced with something else entirely since it is also believed that conservatism falls woefully short of creating true equality and freedom within society.

Of course, what people say and believe is one thing.  What they can prove is another altogether and we saw shades of this with our last article on Critical Race Theory.  Truth really does not seem to matter to the politically correct.  The only thing that matters is what sounds like it could be true and whether or not it fits their unspoken agenda.

I was reading an article by Dr. Michael Bauman called, Begin Here: Civility or Equality? [1] and it struck a nerve, largely because the things he discusses resonate within me as I see how they impact society.  Obviously, the idea of a “civilization” is based on people being civil to one another.  His thesis statement is that sound political theology is the best way to bring that about throughout all of society.

But of course, what we have throughout society today is anything but sound political theology, in my opinion.  It is more like open season on anything that even smacks of true conservatism because conservatism should be disallowed.  The rhetoric from those opposed to conservatism is heated, often libelous, and too often absurd, though they refuse to see it that way, or admit to it, even when it is clear they are making statements that are patently false and even irrelevant.  Yet, the vehemence with which they address the issue of conservatism is done to polarize those who firmly believe that conservatism best represents the actual biblical revelation from God as well as the attendant mandate for society.

Bauman notes several things about what he refers to as sound political theology.  “Sound political theology is the means by which we can identify the insights of revelation and apply them prudently to the political order.  Sound political theology is the wisdom and moral imagination that springs from revelation properly understood and wisely applied.  Sound political theology is the theologically and historically informed prudence necessary to preserve the best of the past for ourselves and for our posterity in light of what God has done and said.  Sadly, even tragically, political theology of this high order is as rare as it is necessary.” [2]

In truth, sound political theology as referenced by Bauman is fast becoming outmoded, pushed to the side by the politically correct militants of our day, who desperately feel the need to throw off the fetters that remind us of God’s authority over His Creation.  The desire of today is to replace, redefine, and renege.  But like many things emanating from the politically correct arena, the premise of many within those groups that purpose to accomplish this, is flawed at best.

That premise starts with something that has nothing to do with God’s absolute truth and everything to do with a thorny relativism that impinges and contorts reality into something that is not discernible, yet claims to be the actual and informed meaning of God’s truth.  In short, it sets out to produce what – by God’s standards – is a very poor shadow of His absolute truth; a very poor shadow indeed.  Yet, in reality, this is the best that Satan can come up. What could possibly be better than God’s absolutes for a people or a nation; for the world and all of God’s Creation, for that matter?

Bauman speaks of the fact that many in society chase after and even demand equality and freedom when they should instead be pursuing justice since both equality and freedom are to him, antithetical.  The more we pursue equality and/or freedom, the less justice there is in the world, because for each person, there is a new definition of freedom…for them.  This ever-changing definition of freedom creates injustice for someone else.  When someone desires more freedom, as Bauman notes, the first rational question to ask is, freedom to do what?  There is no definitive notion of freedom that works for everyone.  It is not a one-size fits all commodity.

Therefore, he notes further that, “unlike equality and freedom, justice is not an impracticable metaphysical abstraction.  Justice is getting what you deserve.  The pursuit and preservation of justice maintains the order of soul and of society necessary for human flourishing. 

“To the requirements of justice, we all are born subject.  No contrivance, political or otherwise, can or should extricate us from its obligations, which come from God Himself.  To reject these obligations is to tear apart the fabric both of soul and of society.  No person, no polity, can long endure, much less prosper, outside the obligations of justice.” [3]

When contemplated, the facts inherent within the above statements speaks for themselves.  But unfortunately, the opposite is what is happening within society today because of the dereliction of duty by our elected officials (who have sworn to uphold the rule of law of America, but fail to follow through on that promise) as well as the fallacies instilled in America from those within the politically correct arena that are given too much sway in society.

We cannot at the same time allow those opposed to God’s morality and absolute truth hold their position of power in society, while believing that their understanding of truth is as good as any, since it is clear that they reject God’s absolutes in favor of their own thorny relativism.  These forces are at odds and there is no way to marry them.  The choice then becomes, which one to follow?

Bauman speaks of the metaphysical aspects of “equality” and “freedom” and how emphasis on these areas confuses the difference between the absolutes of God’s revelation with what he calls the “sloganeering” of those opposed to them.  Of course, the politically correct love to create slogans and labels that they can quickly attach to anyone who opposes them.  This is done to shut down dialogue and debate because those within politically correct circles cannot muster the strength or intellect to adequately respond to the facts of the matter.  It is far easier and more beneficial that they do what they can to immediately squelch discussion.  For them, “sloganeering” is one of the primary ways for this to be accomplished.

Imagine attempting to discuss your concerns with one of the keynote speakers from our last article dealing with “CREATE Wisconsin.”  Imagine how quickly you would be called a racist (or something else, depending upon your race) if you dared question the motives, the rationale, or the facts surrounding what these individuals believe and propose regarding critical race theory.

If you watched the video, you saw how the Superintendent of Public School Instruction of Wisconsin was really unable to answer the question and did what he could to misdirect and foist blame back on the individual asking the questions.  This is the game as far as they are concerned.  It has to do with kowtowing to a group – whether or not facts support the direction that group is moving.  Because of political correctness, ideas are often deemed correct in spite of the lack of factual support for those ideas, especially when it has to do with things like “white privilege.”

Bauman notes, “In short, we must not begin with metaphysical abstractions, no matter how desirable we might think they are.  We begin with revelation  and with the world as it is in all its incalculable complexity, a complexity that mocks the facile imposition of abstractions and easy recourse to metaphysical sloganeering.  Sloganeers are fools, as are those who vote for them.  Justice, for those requiring a reminder, is not an abstraction but a moral, social, and judicial obligation placed upon us by God.  As much as we can do so, we are obligated to give folks what they deserve.” [4; emphasis added]

I have met too many “sloganeers” as I’m sure you have as well.  They believe for all their pontificating, labeling, huffing and puffing, they make great strides in society, helping to push civilization to the next higher level.  Unfortunately, they do nothing of the kind, but in fact, simply help the downward spiral within culture to advance that much more quickly.

Surely, Bauman’s clarity here is unmistakable, even to the most intellectually disingenuous.  Truth begins with God’s revelation as it applies to the complexity of this world.  To address the world from any other vantage point simply reduces things to perceived quick fixes that wind up not only not fixing, but making things far worse.  The world is very complex, but God has the answers for that complexity and the answers are not found in the easy recourse so often focused on by politicians and the politically correct of this world.

It is like Harry Reid blaming the recent explosion and resultant deaths of the Marines on sequestration, when in point of fact, the two are not related, except in his twisted mind.  Yet when Reid stands up to announce the two are related, the politically correct jump on that bandwagon in agreement.  Why?  Because their mandate comes not from God’s absolute truth (which would cause them to see the fallacy of their position), but on the meandering and pointlessness of satanically-inspired relativism.

In essence, righteousness – or the desire to do right by seeking and imposing true justice on the citizens any given culture – is what solidifies a civilization’s reflection and representation of the truth (and that is God’s truth, not ours).  Apart from this and without it, that civilization has simply sunk to a point clearly defined for us by Paul in Romans 1, as we have previously discussed.

An example of a lack of true justice is seen in the Obama administration’s recent approval of a program that allows Saudis to bypass normal airport security. [5]  This decision is neither fair, nor just, especially if we consider the fact that many of the hijackers in the original 9/11 event came from Saudi Arabia.  Yet, the Obama administration believes that this fact should not dissuade them from creating a special category for Saudi citizens.  Politically Correct “visionaries” will hail this decision as one that portrays an agenda of freedom and equality, yet in reality, it does neither.

Nations are defined by their righteousness, or they are destroyed by its absence.  That fact is bad news for a nation that sets aside the immutable principles of God and that replaces them with a new (but not improved) brand of culturally relative ethics.” [6]  The United States – as one example – has been actively moving away from its righteousness that was tied directly to God’s unbending truth, for too many decades.  We have ourselves to blame for it.

Yet, in spite of this truth, the politically correct continue to try to, on one hand, throw off the “shackles” of God’s truth (cf. Psalm 2), replacing it with the aimlessness of relative truth, which of course, is no truth at all.  It is a “truth” that focuses on the freedom and equality of individuals, but not on the justice for society as a whole.

I will end this article with a final quote from Dr. Bauman.  “Given the self-destructive foolishness of human nature, the real question we need to ask and to answer is ‘How are we to spare ourselves the ravages of anarchy and evil?’ 

“The answer is revelation, solid families, prudent government, and the wisdom of the ages.  Nothing else can domesticate the savage lurking just beneath our skin.  The less fully we recognize that savage’s existence and identity, the more control he has over us — indeed the more fully he is us.” [7; emphasis in original]

[1] http://www.theimaginativeconservative.org/begin-here-civility-equality/#.UUneXVd5ckV

[2] Ibid

[3] Ibid

[4] Ibid

[5] http://directorblue.blogspot.com/2013/03/white-house-approves-program-allowing.html?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

[5] http://www.theimaginativeconservative.org/begin-here-civility-equality/#.UUneXVd5ckV

[6] Ibid

Entry filed under: Religious - Christian - Prophecy. Tags: , .

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