Monday, October 10, 2011

Conservatives No Better Off Than Liberals

"... the strong belief in Jesus's bodily resurrection among conservative Christians in many parts of the world, especially in the United States, has taken that belief out of its biblical context and put it instead in a different one, where it serves agendas diametrically opposed to the biblical ones. For many conservative Christians today, belief in Jesus's bodily resurrection is all about God's supernatural action in the world, legitimating an upstairs-downstairs view of reality- a dualism, in other words- in which the supernatural is the real world and the natural, the this-worldly, is secondary and largely irrelevant. The resurrection is thus affirmed as the orthodox belief against liberal modernism (or theological liberalism if you prefer), but what you get instead is conservative modernism (not so much a denial of the supernatural as much as a denial of the natural), which leaves intact the modernist split between heaven and earth and indeed reinforces it. From this viewpoint, of course, what matters is the supernatural world-denying salvation offered by the gospel. Any attempt to work for God's justice on earth as in heaven is condemned as the sort of thing those wicked antisupernatural liberals try to do. That is precisely not what the resurrection is about, and in defending the orthodox position on Easter, I have become aware in the last few years that many liberals are really attacking not Easter itself but the escapist and socially conservative politics of those they perceive to be defending it...." (Surprised by Hope, p. 220)

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