Friday, January 22, 2010

Liberal and Conservative Worldviews

This week a post of mine garnered much attention on Facebook. While it was about Scott Brown’s win in Massachusetts, it turned into more of a conversation (err… debate) on the role of the Bible in determining one’s worldview – specifically in regards to politics. It has been my observation that conservatives use the Bible to define their worldview, values, decision-making, etc.. Conversely, liberals use the Bible when it's not inconvenient to their own personal agenda, at which point they discard it as "out of date" or "culturally irrelevant".

As one might expect, my liberal friends do not agree with my observation. In fact, one of my friends went so far as to say, “conservatives use Scripture to support things that aren't in scripture at all (such as their arguments against abortion) and ignore it in terms of sex education (not just abstinence-only education, which has proven to be ineffectual in greatly reducing unwanted pregnancies).” It is obvious that what is being ignored is any and all teaching on the sanctity of life and the institution of marriage, and God’s provisions for sexual relations.

This leads to the question of how to interpret Scripture, of which there are 2: Exegesis and Eisegesis. Francis Chan explains the two:

Exegesis is an attempt to discover the meaning of the text objectively, starting with the text and moving out from there.
Eisegesis is to import a subjective, preconceived meaning into the text.

I was taught to interpret the Scripture through exegesis alone. Start with God’s Word; pray that the Spirit give you clarity; then study to see what the text actually says.

To me these two means of interpreting Scripture explain the difference between being conservative and liberal… in regards to how we live our lives and view the world.

Thus, for Christians, the Bible, properly interpreted through exegesis, should be the starting point and foundation for your political worldview, and not the other way around or cherry picked to support a particular political policy. Let me also add this is not just about politics, but for the Christian’s worldview in general.

1 comment:

the.fortes said...

Cole, I think there is a good possibility we will get along quite well:).