Tuesday, 22 January 2019

Christ and Liberalism

One of the new arbiters of public morality, that's to say, a female pop star, has recently criticised somebody who taught in a school that refused to accept homosexual students as the worst of all Christians. This is not unexpected from a person of that background. What is relatively new is the seriousness with which this pronouncement has been taken by the media. It shows how far the takeover of the establishment by the left has proceeded. Even if you say that it's to sell copy, which is undoubtedly true, in the past that would still have been a priority but it would not have resulted in such widespread reporting of the incident, with the sub-text that any right-minded person will obviously agree with the pop star. 

Now, I certainly think that to refuse to accept homosexuals as students is wrong as long as they abide by whatever the rules of the school they go to may be. That should go without saying. But that was not really the point being made. The point is the old one of how being a Christian means loving your neighbour and being tolerant (for which read not put up with but be fully accepting of) any differences he might have. We're all one and no one is better than anyone else as regards their 'lifestyle' choices, and most other things as well. 

But this is not what being a Christian means at all. If it were, you might as well say we should love Satan and think his behaviour was also a 'lifestyle' choice, no different, really, to that of Jesus. Christianity means loving God and "if you love me, keep my commandments". That's to say, there are two things for the Christian and both are equally important. There is love, intelligently directed, and there is the law, and you cannot have one without the other. If there was no law, as the pop singer appears to think, certainly in this case, then there could be no sin but the idea of sin is a fundamental part of Christianity for that is what Christ came to save us from, the sin of ignorance of the law, on the one hand, and rebelliousness against it, on the other.

For Christians there are two acceptable states as regards the sexual instinct. There is marriage and there is celibacy. Because the sexual instinct is the strongest we have, its proper functioning is essential, and past societies, Christian or not, have mostly known this and sought to regulate it. But we have jettisoned this wisdom with the result that we are separating ourselves more and more from any spiritual connection. For it is the case that atheism leads to sexual licence and that in turn feeds back into more atheism. It does this partly because it increases identification with the physical body and partly because it accentuates self.

Christians are enjoined to love their neighbour, yes. But they are also enjoined, primarily enjoined actually, to love God. God is truth. If my neighbour flouts truth in his behaviour, which the practice of homosexuality obviously does as it distorts and deforms the creative energy which is a sacred thing,  I should still love him but I do not love his behaviour and am entitled, or even obliged, to condemn that.  Love your neighbour means exert yourself to his spiritual good. It does not mean accept behaviour which will lead him away from God. It certainly does not mean giving sinful and virtuous behaviour equal consideration. That is not love. It is contempt for the good.


JMSmith said...

Do you think we should distinguish between loving a neighbor who has embraced his sin and befriending him. I'm using love to describe a more detached relation than friendship. It seems to me that it is possible to "love the sinner but not the sin," but that it is much harder to be friends with the sinner without, sooner or later, defending his sin. I suppose this assumes that he is subject to attacks, and so far as sexual sin is concerned, this is unlikely in our permissive society. But it is natural that I hate to see my friend suffer, and if he is ostracized or censured for his sins, loyalty to my friend will very likely make me see injustice in his suffering. And this is why befriending an unrepentant sinner poses such a danger to our moral sense.

I think we should all do our best to honor the humanity of sinners given to sins other than out own, but that it is sometimes best that we do not get to know them and become their friends. Jesus was safe in the company of publicans and sinners, but since I'm much more of a P&S than I am like Jesus, I'm not sure the same goes for me.

(btw. I'm JMSmith from the Orthosphere, writing from a different account.)

William Wildblood said...

Yes, I think the distinction you draw is a good one. We have to be very deeply rooted spiritually to be able to mix on friendly terms with unrepentant sinners if we are to avoid, at the least, some kind of compromise. The balance between truth and love is always a tricky one but seems to have become even harder in the modern world.

I suppose that if we do get drawn into a friendship of the sort you describe, and we might because no one is just their sins, then we have to be very careful and not seek to justify wrong behaviour because of personal feelings. Discretion is probably the better part of valour, though, unless we are very valorous! On the other hand, it is not impossible that God might send us into certain situations for purposes of his own and if we find ourselves in one then we just have to manage as best we can.