Saturday, March 14, 2009

It's all in the label.

I like Canadian politics. Straightforward labels, easy to understand.
Yeah right.
You could probably safely assume that a Liberal is liberal, and a Conservative is conservative. At the very least we can figure out what those political parties originally believed in. (Not like those pesky US political parties of 'Republican' and 'Democrat' that aren't nearly as straightforward.)
The same would be true for using the same labels to categorize your religious beliefs.
But, of course, it depends on your definition of 'liberal' and 'conservative'.
I grew up in a home and church that would be considered Conservative, conservative, and Conservative Evangelical. Pretty much, anyway.
So, from my vantage point, conservative was obviously a good thing. Politically, ideologically, and theologically it meant fundamental, orthodox, down to earth, sober, steady, reasonable, restrained, moderate, temperate, traditional, clean, decent, moral. All of these sound pretty laudable.
And the liberals were other-wise. Lenient, indulgent, permissive, loose, unorthodox, casual, wanton, licentious. (You've got to love a thesaurus!)

Now, from the other side of the fence, other words could be used to describe things.
A liberal could say he was advanced, broad-minded, flexible, intelligent, progressive, tolerant, understanding, unprejudiced, humanitarian, receptive, unbiased.
And he could describe conservatives as die-hards, fearful, inflexible, obstinate, redneck, timid, unimaginative, unprogressive, obstructionist.
It's very easy to put quite a slant on something by the words you use to describe it.

Now lets see how a dictionary would define these two terms.
Conservative: disposed to preserve existing conditions , cautiously moderate, tending to conserve, opposed to change or innovation.
Liberal: favorable to progress, given freely or abundantly, generous, profuse.

You will notice:
1.many of the synonyms don't necessarily reflect the actual meaning of the words, but more the bias we might want to put on the label.
2.most people would consider progress a good thing, as well as generosity—both 'liberal' traits.
3.Jesus wasn't very conservative, and was very liberal as far as the actual definitions of the terms goes.
4.if we are looking to attract John Q Public into joining our Christian club, chances are he would likely want to be a part of something that is considered progressive and generous, rather than something opposed to change and uncharitable.

So, tell me again why being a conservative evangelical is considered by some people to be a good thing?

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