Sunday, December 11, 2011

Definitions and arguments

My fellow academics will understand the joy of considering a question, picking a position, and arguing to defend it, with little concern for consistency, integrity, or what we truly believe.  I invite you to consider the following question through that lens.

What political philosophy is most consistent with Brethren values?

Libertarianism?  Liberalism?  Neo-liberalism?  Classical Republicanism?

Democracy?  Post-scarcity anarchy?

Pick your definitions, pick your stance, and pick your argument.


Anonymous said...

I would offer the following gleanings from scripture to support "conservatism" as a viable choice to answer your question.

Individual responsibility: reference the Prodigal, who “came to his senses” and decided to return to his father’s home, subject himself to his discipline if necessary, and start working at the bottom of the ladder if he had to.

Appropriate stewardship of resources: reference the “Parable of the Talents.” And yes, it is true that we can clearly take this parable to speak of “spiritual gifts,” but the bottom-line fact is, Jesus was also clearly speaking of the appropriate use of physical resources - - in this case, large amounts of gold - - and the lesson was, “invest it to earn profit for him who owns it, if you are in that person’s employ.”

Scripture’s clear injunction to hold “the government” in a place of honor and respect, as the institution that works for your (and my) ultimate good. The implication here is to willingly subject yourself to the authority of those in government, insofar as that government is adhering to honorable and ethical principles. We also ought to remember that, at the time that Paul wrote this, Rome was the governing authority, and the laws of The Empire were not always “just”, and the emperors not always “Christ-like’” by any means.

Scripture’s clear statement to “. . .not love the world, or the things in the world,”
Fairly and properly combined with the statement that “We know that we are of God, and the whole world is in the power of the evil one,” provides a reasonably clear train of logic for us to assume, then, that we cannot and will not bring the Kingdom of God to “this world,” no matter our human desires, no matter our “good works and service.” As important as these things may be as a good response to the sacrificial love of Christ, scripture appears to call us to keep them in their proper place.

So. . . . you ‘left out’ conservatism as one of the choices available to us, as being compatible with ‘Brethren values.” I just wanted you to know that there is at least one of us Brethren out here, who finds significant instances of conservative theology in scripture, and the result in my life, at least, is that conservatism is very compatible with Brethren values in many areas. It is not exclusive, nor am I suggesting that. But we would certainly err if we left that option out.

Nico said...

"Anonymous," please sign your comment as per blog policy.