Have your heard American politics described as Left and Right? Or perhaps Liberal and Conservative, but now there is this new designation, Left or Progressive? What does all this mean?
Hi, I’m Rex Rogers and this is episode #27 of Discerning What Is Best, a podcast applying unchanging biblical principles in a rapidly changing world, and a Christian worldview to current issues and everyday life.
American culture and therefore politics is divided. Actually, more than divided, it is polarized. We don’t just disagree. We disagree vehemently, sad to say, often hatefully.
This polarization has affected every corner of our culture, including education, entertainment, sports, and religion. On every issue, people line up on one of two sides, what is called the Right or what is called the Left.
The Right is generally considered synonymous with Conservative, and maybe Republican, but not all Republicans are Conservative and not all Conservatives are Republican.
The Right tends to believe in God and country, the existence of absolute truth, personal initiative and responsibility, individual liberty and freedom of religion and speech, national identity and patriotism, capitalism or free enterprise along with equal opportunity, the traditional family, and justice based upon objective and equal law and order.
There was a time not long ago when we typically did not say, Left, but said Liberal.
Interestingly, now forgotten, those who embraced a Liberal point of view were not that different from those who embraced the Right or a Conservative point of view. Sure, Liberal and Conservative differed on the extent of government involvement, but Liberals then and, actually now, tend to believe in God and country, the idea of truth, liberty and freedom of religion and speech, national identity and patriotism, the traditional family, even free enterprise and certainly blind justice based upon identifiable principles of law and order.
Sound familiar? Both Conservatives and Liberals acknowledged America had made terrible mistakes in its past, for no country comprised of sinful people is perfect. But both also celebrated the historical fact that America had made sacrifices and progress toward realizing its founding ideals, that it was the home of the brave and the land of the free.
Then along about the time of the 1960s things began to change. Something called the Left, and more recently Progressives, began to emerge with a set of beliefs diametrically opposed to what the Right or Conservatives believe.
And though media still often uses the terms Liberal and Left interchangeably, this is misleading at best and does not recognize the profoundly different values promoted by the Left, not the least of which is rejection of their own country.
The Left now represents a set of beliefs sharply distinguishable from Liberals and certainly of Conservatives or the Right.
Think of the comedian Bill Maher, a self-avowed Liberal in the classical sense, an atheist or at least agnostic, a brilliant mind and talent capable of hilarious observations and comebacks. He is a Liberal, a late-night talk show host you’d think would embrace the Left and its so-called progressive ideas. But he does not. In fact, he has repeatedly and incisively skewered the illogic, arrogance, and utter lack of realism of the Left, labeling them a threat to liberalism and a free society. He thinks the Left is, well, Nuts, and he’s a Liberal.
What’s ironic if maybe sad is that the best critic of the Left is not someone on the Right but a Liberal, Bill Maher. His monologues on the Left’s excesses are a call to sanity, something the Left with its pell-mell rush to embrace of Woke philosophy does not understand.
The Left tends to eat its own if anyone dares to question basic ideas. This is what cancel culture is about.
J.K. Rowling, the incredibly successful British author of the Harry Potter books, is and always has been a Liberal, clearly and unapologetically. But now she has been systematically vilified, disinvited from a celebration of one of her own movies, criticized by the young actors her books help to make rich and famous, and in general, cancelled. Except she is so wealthy, smart, and therefore powerful, she can push back.
What was J.K. Rowling’s grave offense? She believes in biology. She thinks men are men and women are women, and she argues transgender ideology is a threat to girls and women. Interestingly, she’s not opposed to LGB, nor does she moralize on any of this, she just thinks science is real and gender is not fluid. That’s it.
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So, what does the Left believe?
- Secular – no creed or Scripture, hostile to religion, no God, generally supports secularizationand total separation of church and state.
- Since God did not create human beings in his image, we are socially constructed, either through some social determinism as if we are animals, or through a humanist belief we can make ourselves anything we want to be.
- Reject the moral categories of Judeo-Christianity and believe truth is not identified or received but created.
- The Left’s compass is guided by power, race, and class.
- Since there is no Sovereign God there is no personal sin, so our problems are not moral but social and economics explains most behaviors.
- Human beings define their own existence based upon their feelings, subjective, so we end up with rollercoaster emotions and a mentality of endless victimhood.
- The Left’s view of humanity promotes a sense of entitlement and a lack of gratitude, hence we are forever unhappy.
- The source of improvement is inside us, thus we need to know ourselves and to “dialogue” with others because through dialogue, not debate that implies disagreement or antithesis, but discussion that always must end in a synthesis of ideas, for no idea is wrong or bad.
- The Left affirms a strong centrist government and distrusts freedom of speech.
- The Left tends to reject national identity and patriotism, then proclaims we are world citizens, typically anti-American, anti-Israel, and anti-Western Civilization, which for the Left’s is an euphemisms for White Supremacy.
- Sexual liberation including LGBTQ+, new socially defined gender identity, so biology is irrelevant.
- The Left promotes fear and hysteria, anxiety, hence safetyism, for all this increases its power.
From a Christian worldview point of view, the Left is wrong in its pre-theoretical assumptions top to bottom. Once any philosophy rejects God and truth, there’s nothing left but power, which is the Left’s stock in trade.
Sadly, Leftist ideas have hugely and maybe surreptitiously influenced Christian churches and Christian nonprofit organizations in both Europe and the United States, meaning these churches and organizations offer a message little different from the culture around them. Of worse, are often presenting a view contrary to the Word of God as one that advances it.
The Left’s views are morally unsustainable. No human beings can live long and certainly not in a healthy or joyful manner based upon Leftist unbiblical philosophy.
The results of Leftism include: ennui, loss of sense of purpose and creativity or intellectual curiosity and excitement, declining industrial innovation, loss of hope including a desire to marry or have children, fear rather than risk-taking, division, disillusionment, anxiety, despair, a culture of death, an existentialism that gives way to secular nihilism, and…hopelessness.
The Left is now promoting social justice ideology in schools, entertainment, business, and churches. This ideology rejects transcendent biblical morality in favor of an arbitrary, ever-changing “do what’s right in our own eyes” ethic that is sexually licentious and racially divisive. While this is done in the name of advancing what the Left calls the oppressed, what really happens is it creates power for a new set of Leftist oppressors who do not believe in God, grace, or forgiveness.
The Left is godless, irrational, and seductive.
There is no room for Christian compromise with the Left.
Our task in this moment is both great and strategic. Believers must learn to articulate biblical theology. We must learn how to apply our faith in a rapidly changing world, and we must stand for truth in the face of error.
Well, we’ll see you again soon. For more Christian commentary, be sure to subscribe to this podcast, Discerning What Is Best, or check my website, r-e-x-m as in Martin, that’s rexmrogers.com. And remember, it is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm.
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