Sometimes the things we don’t have a choice about are things to which we’re supposed to submit.
That’s the thought I’m starting with today. I have a point I want to make–I probably won’t though–and have too many issues between me and it. Each of my posts for the last several days–since I started this strange exercise–have been me approaching a single topic from a different direction.
This is actually one of the things I like about theology, or philosophy, and why Christianity is–in my estimation at least–the most rational available. Everything ties together. At least in the sense of there not being loose ends. It’s thorough, and thoroughly consistent, but not circular. (Whereas, as an obvious example, the atheism of Richard Dawkins is consistent only when shallow, and circular at the best of times. I could talk about his views for a while; they’re annoying proportional to their popularity, which is greater than they could possibly earn on their own merits.)
Either way, as I meandered around yesterday, my society tends to view submission to anything, even, nature, as contrary to freedom. One political party tends to focus liberty on the economic side of things–we should not be egregiously subject to regulation and government–whereas the other tends to focus liberty on the social side of things–regulation and government protect us from being egregiously subject to our neighbor–but both have their “hot button issues.” (What is a hot button? Wouldn’t that be a sign of some sort of electrical problem?)
And see, I’m meandering again. I try very hard not to care about politics, possibly the way that an alcoholic tries not to drink. But it comes up. I try to sound impartial, but I’m really not. I generally despise both sides. Despising is a failure, I suspect, but objection isn’t.
Contrary to the occasional pundit, Christianity is pretty clearly against the sort of gluttony that undergirds one of the prominent political positions. I won’t spend much time on that, because it’s obvious. The occasional Christian thinks that Christianity is about getting rich on the backs of the poor, but that’s an individual failure to appreciate what the overwhelming majority understand.
More dangerous I think, at least in terms of its insidious attractiveness, is the message of the other side. Christianity is also pretty clearly against the sort of easy egalitarianism that’s called “liberal.” (Christianity is constant, and constantly a corrective. The world dances around it and tugs at it, but the world’s philosophy’s are always distortions or reductions. More on this another time.)
I tried to say this the other day. Couched in language of justice, freedom, and love, is an evil that belittles the value of the very people it claims to help. In very broad terms, it’s a cultural trend to pursue equality at the expense of difference, to pretend that differences don’t matter so that we can pretend that they don’t exist.
Sigh. I’m trapped trying to say something more complicated than I am.
And I’m running out of time again.
Christianity has no interest in treating everyone the same; it would be a bad theology of Creation. The theology of Creation is the theology of difference. This idea is immediately unpopular. I’ve typed it and am struck by the way it offends people from my culture. (Since I’m a person from my culture.) Nevertheless it’s true, and Christians abandon it only as they conform to culture rather than Christ. It seems loving but is not loving to be as egalitarian as Culture tempts us to be.
Some inequalities are social. They’re the product of sinful humanity and should be combated. (Racism and poverty spring to mind as obvious examples.) We ought to be free of those things, and ought to work to make sure that other people are free of them as well.
Other inequalities are part of how we are each created. They’re the product of a good and gracious God. It isn’t Christian to oppose God, even his will as expressed in our births. The most obvious example here is sex. I’m a man, which entails certain things. My wife is a woman, which entails other things. We trod upon that difference at our peril. Sometimes the things we don’t have a choice about are things to which we’re supposed to submit, for our own and everyone’s benefit.