A few things I read over coffee this morning…while watching the talking heads discuss Iowa:
Morton Guyton, writing at Patheos blog Mercy Not Sacrifice, discusses an ideological perspective he calls ” White Evangelical Nihilism:”
There’s a genuine ideological foundation for the ethos that makes Trump and Cruz so popular. I call it white evangelical nihilism.
When you’re told by your pastor that all the people outside of your ideological tribe are utterly wicked and deserving of eternal torture, that’s how it becomes a sin to compromise with your opponents politically and work together for the common good.
Everything about secular liberalism must be utterly antithetical to the Christian gospel and profoundly offensive to God. It has to be, or else secular liberals wouldn’t be worthy of damnation. So everything about liberalism is put into binary opposition with “God’s truth.” To believe in climate change is to believe that God is not in control of the environment. To believe that the government should provide for the poor is an emulation of atheist communism and a usurpation of God’s sovereignty. To promote “political correctness” is to silence the courageous proclamation of “Biblical truth.”
This tracks with a point I make when discussing today’s polarized American political climate. Conservatives run on a set of existential issues on which there can be no compromise: abortion, homosexuality, taxes, and guns. Two of these have their basis in religion and two in racism, but all four depend on the fundamental premise that only wicked, lazy or authoritarian people disagree with the right wing on these issues. This is the fundamental American political problem we need to resolve.
Guyton goes on to reframe salvation. Rather than a search for God’s help in saving individual sinners from themselves, he argues we should seek His help in saving other people from our sin:
Philippians 2:3 says, “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves.” Imagine if Christians, and especially Christian politicians, were known as the people who regard everyone else as “better than [them]selves.”
Read the whole thing. Excellent essay. Continue reading →