“The Big Issue”


Not the publication hawked in train stations in the city, but the big question in my mind…

For a number of years now, I have been frequenting these sites:

The Sydney Institute

www.thesydneyinstitute.com.au

Quadrant Online

www.quadrant.org.au

Phillip Jensen

www.phillipjensen.com

Andrew Bolt (Blog)

http://blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt/

Christianity Today

www.christianitytoday.com

Centre for public Christianity (“CPX”)

www.publicchristianity.org

Does this make me a Christian conservative who cannot be objective?

When I found myself being taken aback – shocked even – but otherwise generally not angered or raged, when Alan Jones said what he said (that the PM Julia Gillard’s father died of shame of her lies), was it because I have been immersing myself in such an environment?

I am 47 years old, a Christian, a lawyer who works primarily on financial services matters, comes into work every day in a business environment and have to this day, been spared of a need to resort to government help in the form of welfare or any other means.

I believe in an order of society, where rule of law is based on a legal system which is an outcome of public debate between competing values. I believe these values ought to reflect what the community wants.

The community at large, that is. Not just narrow de facto carve outs like journalists, politicians or special interest groups.

I also believe the community needs to be given the freedom to decide for itself, without the undue influence of academics, journalists and other groups who purport to be liberated know-better types.

That is a risky thing to said however because of my next statement, which is this: The community needs nevertheless, to turn to a God who loves them and wants to the very best for them, but on His terms.

That would appear to allow an exception to my earlier statement and I am suggesting Christians are somehow a liberated know-better group who is more acceptable than the academics, journalists and other groups who purport to also be liberated and know better – which is why the debate between Christians and atheists becomes important.

What Alan Jones and others of his ilk says which resonates with me, traces its roots to that thread. Christianity teaches an order to things where authority is key.

Yet what this group often fails to address is the real needs of large sections of the community, for care and support. There are single mothers, disabled men, homeless youth, and unemployed parents, who did not choose to be where they are and did not have a choice to be in a different state to that which they find themselves. They have not acted irresponsibly and do not want to remain where they are. They want opportunities to pick themselves up, find work, discharge their responsibilities and be contributors not recipients of help.

Unfortunately a debate of ideas and values are often undergirded by a competition for limited resources. Financial and labour capital resources are finite and competition for them depends on who can best make use of them, to produce the maximum outputs. Presumably this is of greater priority. How this balances with the need to look after labour capital is I’m sure an area many have spent their lives looking into.

Somehow – whatever the intricacies of the theories, arguments and empirical historical data – the intuition for me is you fix the system in terms of financial capital and apply the principles of the Scriptures in terms of labour capital. On this credo is my inclination toward the conservative and away from the liberals (lower cap “l”) based. Fixing the system for labour capital will simply lead to financial capital flowing elsewhere.

It is a vexed area, full of complexities and minefields. I am simply trying to work out why I am not worked up over a patently stupid and heartless comment, and wonder if I need to be reading more from sources other than those sites and works associated with them.

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2 thoughts on ““The Big Issue”

  1. Short answer to your question “Does this make me a Christian conservative who cannot be objective?” is a pretty resounding yes. No matter what side you support, no matter what your perspective is, it’s imperative to read from all angles because otherwise I think one runs the risk of straw-manning, or worse, dehumanizing the ‘other’ party.

    By reading something like The Age (gasp, shock horror, I know!) or even better, having a genuine discussion with someone (preferably not in the legal business) who is emphatically a left-wing supporter, a liberal intellectual, or a feminist or even an LGBTQI ally, I think we gain an insight into their views – we realize that the other side can be just as genuine, just as ‘justified’ (as far as human understanding allows) and just as complex.

    I think it:
    (a) mitigates the dogmatic nature that someone who is simultaneously a Christian, an LNP supporter and a lawyer can risk tending towards.
    (b) helps the other side respect you, because you’ve taken the time and effort to see where they’re coming from too.

    Your views have influenced a lot of what I think, of course, and obviously as Christians we value similar things in terms of what society should be like and what kind of policies should be implemented. It’s true that the loudest in this discourse are often those who purport a ‘liberated intellectual’ stance that so often belittle Christianity (or any religious belief) when you read between the lines. As Christians we should stand our ground and voice our beliefs. (After all, voting is compulsory even in the non-swing states, right?). That said, those loud voices are the extremists of a particular group that, for the most part, hold justifiable and moderated views. By clumsily grouping every left-wing stance into one homogenous group, we’re being just as intolerant as those who condemn Christianity for the brutality of its human history.

    Last night I was having a conversation with my group of friends, all of whom wholeheartedly support gay marriage, and most of whom reside in that empirically based paradigm of ‘if I don’t see the proof, it can’t exist’. These were the kind of people who tend to believe that there is no difference (beyond biology) between men and women. Who find it ridiculous that the Bible calls for wives to submit to their husbands. But because I had demonstrated my awareness of their point of view for the last seven months, they were generally interested in what I had to say about the Christian point of view. (In other words, they knew I that wasn’t a whack job Christian and were thus more open to hearing my opinions).

    As it is, Christians don’t exactly have a great reputation amongst atheist (or even agnostic) society. I’m not saying we should conform to social norms at all, but understanding where they’re coming from and treating them as people, not a frustrating ‘mob’, is loving them and that sort of love will be tangible to them.

    Like

  2. Short answer to your question “Does this make me a Christian conservative who cannot be objective?” is a pretty resounding yes. No matter what side you support, no matter what your perspective is, it’s imperative to read from all angles because otherwise I think one runs the risk of straw-manning, or worse, dehumanizing the ‘other’ party.

    By reading something like The Age (gasp, shock horror, I know!) or even better, having a genuine discussion with someone (preferably not in the legal business) who is emphatically a left-wing supporter, a liberal intellectual, or a feminist or even an LGBTQI ally, I think we gain an insight into their views – we realize that the other side can be just as genuine, just as ‘justified’ (as far as human understanding allows) and just as complex.

    I think it:
    (a) mitigates the dogmatic nature that someone who is simultaneously a Christian, an LNP supporter and a lawyer can risk tending towards.
    (b) helps the other side respect you, because you’ve taken the time and effort to see where they’re coming from too.

    Your views have influenced a lot of what I think, of course, and obviously as Christians we value similar things in terms of what society should be like and what kind of policies should be implemented. It’s true that the loudest in this discourse are often those who purport a ‘liberated intellectual’ stance that so often belittle Christianity (or any religious belief) when you read between the lines. As Christians we should stand our ground and voice our beliefs. (After all, voting is compulsory even in the non-swing states, right?). That said, those loud voices are the extremists of a particular group that, for the most part, hold justifiable and moderated views. By clumsily grouping every left-wing stance into one homogenous group, we’re being just as intolerant as those who condemn Christianity for the brutality of its human history.

    Last night I was having a conversation with my group of friends, all of whom wholeheartedly support gay marriage, and most of whom reside in that empirically based paradigm of ‘if I don’t see the proof, it can’t exist’. These were the kind of people who tend to believe that there is no difference (beyond biology) between men and women. Who find it ridiculous that the Bible calls for wives to submit to their husbands. But because I had demonstrated my awareness of their point of view for the last seven months, they were generally interested in what I had to say about the Christian point of view. (In other words, they knew I that wasn’t a whack job Christian and were thus more open to hearing my opinions).

    As it is, Christians don’t exactly have a great reputation amongst atheist (or even agnostic) society. I’m not saying we should conform to social norms at all, but understanding where they’re coming from and treating them as people, not a frustrating ‘mob’, is loving them and that sort of love will be tangible to them.

    Like

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