Friday, April 4, 2014

A "Progressive" Problem, and an unfortunate decision

By political and intellectual temperament, I'm broadly conservative. I'm against gay marriage. I favor small government. I prefer charity over government welfare. I believe illegal immigrants should largely be sent back to their country of origin. I oppose abortion. I oppose racial preferences in work or school. The list goes on. I argue with conservatives often, and many times I come to conservative conclusions through a different intellectual route than many others do - but at the end of the day, I'm largely an economic and social conservative with some caveats.

But I also reject clannish mentalities. Just as the fact that I'm Catholic doesn't mean I can't find common ground with many protestants, jews and otherwise, the fact that I'm conservative doesn't mean I don't try to find common ground with liberals. I can't prove this to anyone - I can point at some past conversations here and there where I talked with liberals and kept cool, just as I can point at many friendly atheist conversations - but it's never going to be beyond dispute. All I can tell you is that I have - for many years now - tried to find common ground. I've tried to keep in mind that the socialist-inclined person may well be acting out of a sincere concern for the poor, and if they are Christian, this may ultimately be rooted in their faith. I've tried to keep ultimately benevolent motivations in mind for everything from the agitation for gay marriage to the demands to grant mass amnesty to illegal immigrants to otherwise. This has been a point of pride for me, I will say outright - instead of going right to the conservative or, God forbid, GOP clan behavior, I try to remain calm and cool. I do not want, especially among Christians, yet another bit of pointless fracturing.

I am fast starting to come around to the view, however, that this approach - indeed, this mentality - is flawed. No, more than just flawed. I'm beginning to think that it's counter-productive, pointlessly idyllic, and ultimately dangerous to regard any self-described "progressive" as anything but, intellectually, a hostile individual.

Pardon me if this post is more about my own experiences and psychology than the broad topics I normally deal with, even if flippantly, but I feel it must be said.


I wrote recently about the worry I have with "progressive" Christians: that the only reason they even stand in opposition to the New Atheists is because the Cultists of Gnu are openly hostile to them, and that this is actually a relatively recent intellectual development. Prior to the New Atheists, atheists and "progressive" Christians were, more often than not, social and political allies. They both favored very liberal cultures. They both despised conservative culture and politics, and wanted them wiped out. They voted the same way, thought the same way about many issues, and even rejected much of the same religion. The only reason they are not working hand in hand anymore is because the atheists have gotten aggressive and decided they don't need the "progressives" anymore, and that it's a net liability to work with them. You can see this in Richard Dawkins' own writings, among others.

Now, I've thought about this for a while - but I classified it merely as a worry, intellectually. A possibility, something to pay attention to but which I wasn't quite willing to invest myself in as accepting as true. But I've finally been forced to realize... in each and every situation where I have encountered a self-identified "progressive" - not necessarily a "liberal" (which is fast becoming a word for a certain kind of older generation of thinker), but a "progressive" - I have found a person who was keenly interested in building bridges with atheists, and wiping conservatives off the map. I don't merely mean disagreeing with social conservatives and arguing against them. I mean thinking up ways to pass laws to make it, quite literally, in practice illegal to even have (particularly socially) conservative beliefs, much less to act on or spread them.

I have seen the "progressives" defend laws that force Christians to take part in gay weddings - knowing full well that these Christians will be targeted by activists and forced to compromise their principles. They do it with glee, smiling happily and feeling all warm at the thought that somewhere out there a person who disapproves of gay marriage is going to have their feet put to the fire, and that if they don't do as they're fucking told, the government will step in and punish them severely. I see these "progressives" cheering when someone is fired from their job when they're outed as having supported Proposition 8 in California, or if they disapprove of gay marriage. I do not consider these minor issues. These are situations where government - the men with guns and the power to take your property, your children, your livelihood - are being used as the tool of choice to advance a political agenda that ultimately comes down to requiring people to give their active blessing to any and all sexual acts deemed 'good' by the morality police. The "progressive" Christians know this. They embrace it. They say "Civil Rights!" and that's all that needs to be said, as far as they're concerned, no matter how goddamn inane it is to try and extend civil rights to a sexual act.

And before someone says "not every "progressive" Christian is like that", all I'll say is - if there are ones who oppose such things, they are apparently so small in number as to be considered functionally irrelevant.

That's only the tip of the iceberg on the broad political front. The problem is, the personal front has not been any better - the "progressive" Christians I've met and interacted with. I documented my exchange with James McGrath, where he tried every which-way to justify his little hate campaign, complete with fellow "progressive" allies. I've watched "progressive" Christians I know of pipe up in conversations about gay marriage, subtly presenting themselves as opponents of gay marriage but whimpering that 'we're losing the younger generation by pushing this' and how we should temporarily be quiet about it 'so we can save more souls', when the reality was they were lockstep in favor of gay marriage and were just doing their part to encourage dissent (and in this case I knew, because I saw them argue as much elsewhere). In each and every encounter I've had with a "progressive" Christian, I have ultimately lost respect for them - not because they differ with me on various issues, but because of their tactics of choice, because of their focus. It became obvious to me that if they had to choose between a fellow Christian becoming an atheist who was in favor of liberal politics, or remaining a Christian with conservative leanings, they would push for atheism every time. And before anyone acts offended that I would infer this about them, now's a good time to mention I really don't give a shit who's offended by this. It's the impression I've gotten, and I'm speaking frankly.

But I think the last straw for me - the final blow - was when I went to Lothar's blog recently, and read the following:
I agree with anti-theist Richard Dawkins that stressing this to small kids is a form of child abuse and that this damnable doctrine ought to be jettisoned.
I want to stress something here. When Lothar embraces this kind of anti-scientific, unfounded (save for a very interesting case of philosophical and metaphysical commitment) view, he is saying something along the lines of the following: Take a parent who teaches their children that some people are sent to hell for eternity. Put them alongside a father who fingered his son's anus, and a mother who punched her daughter so hard she knocked a tooth out. These three people are all, in a broad sense, guilty of the same general crime, and should be treated accordingly.

Let me highlight this point: if someone claims that teaching a child about hell is child abuse, they have been put in the following dilemma: they must either believe some forms of child abuse should be legal, or they must believe that children with parents who teach them this belief should be punished and have their children taken away from them by the state. The fact of it is, it's not a fucking minor point, nor is it a game. To make that commitment - to decide that your personal preference about religious doctrine should be enforced by the arm of the state - is not just a bridge too far. It is a country too far. And, I will note, this kind of "progressive" Christian talk never gets directed at atheists. Show me the "progressive" who believes that teaching children naturalist or atheist beliefs about death and even existence - and these are not 'pretty' or 'encouraging' things - constitutes child abuse. They are nowhere to be found.

I do not say this lightly. I've liked Lothar. He's interacted with me pleasantly, considerately. He has done me, personally, no wrong. But I can't turn a blind eye to this sort of thing anymore and convince myself that we are in any real sense on the 'same side'. I'm tired of watching the New Atheists, a collection of people which included actual marxists and certainly very loud left-wingers, being cast as 'a right-wing hate group'. I am tired of watching 'conservative' evangelicals come in for a repeated beating as the people who are somehow doing the most the harm Christianity, when the fact is that if someone ever tries to persuade you that Christianity is true then 9 out of 10 times it's probably a conservative, because "progressives" largely think belief in Christianity is near-irrelevant anyway and would find such preaching mortally embarrassing. I am tired of watching the agitation for every sect of Christianity in the world to quickly start ordaining women because it's just so damn important and no dissent is ever to be tolerated on that issue either. I am tired of every passage in the bible that involves God saying or doing something a "progressive" does not automatically approve of being jettisoned with the 'well the bible isn't inerrant so we'll just interpret God as meaning something else' line - and treating dissent or disagreement on this topic as itself damnable. I am tired of the mental gymnastics where the only real and clear sins someone can engage in are to believe the earth is young, to vote against universal health care, or to oppose gay marriage, feminism, global warming initiatives or whatever else is trendiest this week.

But most of all, I am tired of trying to ignore the fact that in practically every one of these cases, the "progressives" are not only venomously hostile to dissent, but they openly agitate for their opponents to be squelched, crushed, persecuted, fined and even jailed. And I'm tired of having to pretend that such people are not, put simply, monsters.

This is not specific to Lothar. It is, in my personal experience, near universal among "progressives", Christian or not. But I will say one thing. Lothar has written critically about France's historical attempts to purge the german language from their country, in the interests of having a nice, unified french-speaking nation. He has called this cultural genocide. But the fact is, cultural genocide is exactly what he ultimately endorses with regards to conservative Christians, more or less across the board. I say it with a heavy heart - it is hard to criticize someone who has been consistently considerate with me like this. But the idea of having common ground with "progressives" now truly appears to me as little more than the grounds for a work of fiction, one that is particularly fantastical - and it was that hope for common ground that drove a lot of my silence and hesitancy previously. The hope is gone.

So, I suppose, this little blog post in the middle of nowhere can stand as a testimonial on behalf of one broadly conservative, Catholic individual. If you are a Christian conservative who has thought that maybe a shared belief in God or Christ can build some bridges between conservative and progressive Christians, take it from someone who has talked with a number of them, watched them, and thought about this for years: they do not want cooperation. They want you, and anyone who thinks like you, converted or pushed to the absolute margins of society. They would sooner have you be a "progressive" atheist than a conservative Christian if the option were available. They are engaged in a war of cultural genocide against you, and they are not above carrying this war out through any means necessary, from having you fired to making it illegal to even raise your children with your values and beliefs in mind.

Behave accordingly.

29 comments:

Syllabus said...

I see these "progressives" cheering when someone is fired from their job when they're outed as having supported Proposition 8 in California, or if they disapprove of gay marriage.

It's worse than that. Brandon Eich - who I assume is who you had in mind - did donate to Prop 8, but it turns out that he actually changed his mind on the issue in the intervening years and apologized for it. Despite this information being readily available to anyone who had the least interest in actually being honest about the issue, all the people who were offended still kept on being offended and campaigning to get him fired.

Which I guess puts the nail in the coffin of the possibility that they were trying to go about it in an honest way, doesn't it.

Crude said...

I believe the problem there is, in part, the belief that anyone who would say they changed their mind is possibly lying - after all, the "progressives" are shameless in that particular act - and so the stain can never be eradicated, and an example must be made, again and again.

I see Andrew Sullivan is now coming out and saying he's against this. I'm cynical to the point that I won't even buy that - it's just the good cop playing to the bad cops.

Vand83 said...

I think what I've found increasingly annoying as of late is the notion that my taking Church teaching seriously and authoritave in nature is damaging to christian unity. Especially in regard to sexual ethics. Apparently you can't be a good Catholic christian and defend these teachings anymore. Or so I'm told.

At times when I felt the urge to be annoyed, I'd glance at Lothars blog. It seems he loves taking the position that is conducive to the idea that he's not judgemental. Which would be fine (yet still ridiculous) if he was consistent in the case of Christians holding a conservative stance.

RD Miksa said...

The fact is, the Progressive Christian's compromised position as a Christian ally can be seen in the very label which he gives himself. He is a Progressive Christian, which indicates that his progressivism is as important as to him as his Christianity is. And since it is inevitable that what is considered progressive will clash with what Christianity is, then it is also inevitable that the Progressive Christian will be placed in a position where he has to sacrifice either his progressive ideals or his Christian ones. And since the Progressive Christian, by the very fact of being a Progressive Christian, has already sacrificed his Christian ideals in the past, it is not surprising that when a new dilemma between his progressivism and his Chriatianity arises, he chooses progressivism rather than not.

After all, as a wise man once said: "A man cannot serve two masters." And the Progressive Christian is doing exactly that.

RD Miksa
www.idontgiveadamnapologetics.blogspot.com

PS - This is also why I do not call myself a Conservative Christian, but rather just a Christian. And the fact that my Christianity just happens to be in line with what is called conservatism today is just a happenstance of terminology and culture. If conservatism was presently defined as something that did not match Christianity, then I would be as opposed to conservatism as I am to progressivism.

***Note: Sent fron cellphone. Sorry for any errors.

Crude said...

Vand,

I like Lothar. I really do. But the last straw for me was seeing an explicit endorsement of Richard Dawkins' "teaching children about hell is child abuse" gimmick. If even Lothar, the most level-headed "progressive" I know, succumbs to that level of anti-scientific, would-be thought police and fascism, well, then that's it. I know where the battle lines are drawn at that point, and I know who's on what side. There is no opportunity for cooperation or tolerance, and there never was.

People who talk about the importance of Christian unity in this context are full of it. As I said, they would much rather a conservative Christian become a liberal atheist than remain conservative in their social and political beliefs for a day longer.

And the best part is the hypocrisy. I would bet anything that the same people who support things like the Mozilla CEO firing would scream and cry in the case of a conservative Church or university or business firing a man for being in favor of gay marriage. Suddenly we'd hear all about the importance of tolerating dissent and having a diversity of views and an open mind.

Vand83 said...

"I like Lothar. I really do. But the last straw for me was seeing an explicit endorsement of Richard Dawkins' "teaching children about hell is child abuse" gimmick. "

Yeah, to be completely honest his endorsement didn't surprise me in the least. I'm of the opinion that Lothar and those of like mind are evolving into a group willing to utilize whatever tool they can to purge conservative Christian thought from the world. The ends justify the means tactic is the preferred method in progressive thought.

Many times I got the feeling that Lothar doesn't believe in hell. The one time I came across him at least considering it as a possibility was in reference to bigoted, conservative, pharisaical Christians. I could be way off though. I admit my familiarity with his thought is lacking when compared to yours. I do think he is sincere and generally very charitable. So perhaps there's something I can learn from him after all.



Vand83 said...

"PS - This is also why I do not call myself a Conservative Christian, but rather just a Christian. And the fact that my Christianity just happens to be in line with what is called conservatism today is just a happenstance of terminology and culture. If conservatism was presently defined as something that did not match Christianity, then I would be as opposed to conservatism as I am to progressivism."

Good point. Wish I'd had the presence of mind to notice this. Oh well, lesson learned. Adios Conservative Christian!

Crude said...

To be clear - and I tried to get this across in the post - my problem isn't 'person doesn't believe in hell' or 'person supports same-sex marriage' or, etc, etc. I can deal with disagreement.

But I cannot deal with A) this constant elevation of their opinions to the level of dire existential urgency such that their views must be defended and enacted by force, and B) all too often, the convenient dishonesty. I'm tired of much more than that, but those are the things that broke the camel's back for me.

As I said before, their opposition to New Atheism stems almost entirely from the fact that they don't get treated as exceptions. If the New Atheism bile was directed exclusively at conservative Christians, they'd be cheering on Dawkins and company.

Vand83 said...

"To be clear - and I tried to get this across in the post - my problem isn't 'person doesn't believe in hell' or 'person supports same-sex marriage' or, etc, etc. I can deal with disagreement."

Sorry, you were clear. I often lack the focus needed in discussions such as these. I was just hoping to explain my lack of surprise. I thought Lothar's chumminess with the theology of ultimate reconciliation except in the case of "bigoted" Christians was telling.

Crude said...

Nah, don't mind my clarifications. I just am perpetually trying to make sure I'm understood. Wasn't you that did it.

I admit, when someone tells me with a straight face that Christ didn't care too much about sexual morality or the like but man, He'd be seriously upset if someone voted against the candidate who was in favor of universal health care (in addition to unrestricted abortion paid for by the state)...

Marc L├╝ttingen said...


Okay Crude, I recognize this was an (incredibly) silly sentence, I should have said that "traumatizing a kid with hell CAN be a true child abuse".

After all, my own parents are nominal Catholics (and nominal Christians) and they taught me that evil people would suffer eternally, yet this didn't terrorize me by any means.

I have (alas) a very impulsive personality (having ADHD) which leads me all to often to "shoot from the hip" while regreting it in hindsight.


I agree with you that liberal and progressive Christians can be extremely self-righteous and smug towards Conservatives.
I think that neither camp in the culture war tries to foster love and mutual understanding.

And I haven't done so by my sweeping generalizations which were (indeed) utterly unscientific :-(


This should be a lesson for me and push me to always try to understand the complexity of other people's views instead of using a political rhetoric.


Would you mind me still commenting on your blog in the future?

I could focus on philosophical themes where we obviously have common ground.


But if you don't, that's entirely okay, after all I deserve it.


Lovely greetings in Christ and (if it is your desire) farewell.



P.S: France hasn't purged just German but all dialects from its territory.

Crude said...

Marc,

Okay Crude, I recognize this was an (incredibly) silly sentence, I should have said that "traumatizing a kid with hell CAN be a true child abuse".

At the end of the day, the qualification doesn't change anything. You're still explicitly in Dawkins' corner on this one by your own account. You're still not only someone who rejects the doctrine of hell, but who has decided to buy the one approach to religion that truly is scorched earth - to get rid of a doctrine you dislike.

This is not a problem of miscommunication. You communicated clearly.

I agree with you that liberal and progressive Christians can be extremely self-righteous and smug towards Conservatives.
I think that neither camp in the culture war tries to foster love and mutual understanding.


This isn't about self-righteousness, it's about dishonesty and, frankly, extermination. People's livelihoods are being threatened, they're being fired from their jobs, in Eich's case for merely once, half a decade ago, opposing gay marriage. This isn't mere social snubbing, this is people getting fired, fined, and more.

"Progressive" Christians are cheering. This chips are down, and they've picked their side, and they want social conservatives purged and villified.

See, here's what's even worse. You're apologizing, you say you're backing off. Can I even believe this anymore? I've lost count of the number of times I've caught "progressives" engaged in active, intentional deception, and who regarded apologies as tactics, not expressions of sincerity. Are you different? Or are you just thinking you miscalculated and your position is a current net negative when honestly revealed, so better holster it until the climate is more conducive to your goals?

Would you mind me still commenting on your blog in the future?

Comment wherever you like, on whatever topic you wish. I don't care about disagreement showing up here, so long as it doesn't get godawful annoying, which I doubt in your case. But I'm not going to pretend that there's much common ground anymore. At the risk of Godwinning my response, I don't feel much fraternity with a social group whose biggest apparent problem is that the Cultists of Gnu and/or secular elite won't allow them to operate as J├╝discher Ordnungsdienst on their behalf anymore. 'Oh, but they both go to the synagogue and keep kosher, they have some common ground!' meant little.

lotharlorraine said...

I take full responsibility for believing there are ways to teach hell to kids which are clearly child abuse (think on the Westboro Baptists for instance).

My mistake lay in writing this as if ALL people teaching conscious torment are abusing their child, which is indeed incredibly silly and offensive.


"This isn't about self-righteousness, it's about dishonesty and, frankly, extermination. People's livelihoods are being threatened, they're being fired from their jobs, in Eich's case for merely once, half a decade ago, opposing gay marriage. This isn't mere social snubbing, this is people getting fired, fined, and more.

"Progressive" Christians are cheering. This chips are down, and they've picked their side, and they want social conservatives purged and villified."


Political correctness is a problem everywhere.
I think that even racists should not be fired from their job but should instead get educated.


I consider it horribly wrong to use social pressure for eliminating ideas you don't like and I explain this here in the case of homosexuality in France:
http://lotharlorraine.wordpress.com/2013/08/10/gay-marriage-in-france-mariage-homo-en-france-homoehe-in-frankraich/

This is egregious intellectual cowardice.

I obviously cannot prove you I am not insincere or deceptive.
I hope that this will become clear as time goes by.


But I hope you will start critically analyzing the misbehaviors of Conservatives in the same way you do for liberals.

Jesus was the first to point out preach against this entrenched tendency to just see flaws in out-groups and call all of us to a higher reciprocal ethic.
I, of course, am sinning in that respect like everyone else.

Vand83 said...

"My mistake lay in writing this as if ALL people teaching conscious torment are abusing their child, which is indeed incredibly silly and offensive"

You did profess your agreement with Dawkins on this issue. So despite your new fallback position I think it's worth quoting your new partner in arms at least once.

"Horrible as sexual abuse no doubt was, the damage was arguably less than the long-term psychological damage inflicted by bringing the child up Catholic in the first place.’"

malcolmthecynic said...

But I hope you will start critically analyzing the misbehaviors of Conservatives in the same way you do for liberals.

1) Crude doesn't normally analyze people's "misbehaviors", he analyzes their positions and whether or not they're worthwhile. I'm not Crude, but I think in cases where conservatives "misbehave" Crude would probably respond that they're acting liberal.

2) That's rich coming from you, Marc.

Crude said...

Malcolm,

Actually, I recall the first time I encountered you it was over at WWWtW where I was arguing about conservative problems on the LGBT topic itself. And I wouldn't say that a conservative who, say... lies about their position or the evidence or whatnot is behaving like a liberal. Lies exist outside of the "progressive" culture, but I do think said culture is uniquely acclimated to lying as an acceptable way of dealing with some things. But yeah, normally I try to focus on arguments, though methods are becoming more and more a concern of mine.

And, I'm not sure what you're getting at with the rich comment. I think Marc does truly consider some topics from a perspective that is broader than merely 'progressive'. His talk about race, his talk about sex (monogamy, etc) violate the normal "progressive" talking points and culture. I think, ultimately, he is a "progressive" and that association has meanings and repercussions, but for all my disagreements and consternation, I'm still going to give him his due there.

I am being forced into an "us versus them" mentality, but even if I have to end up there, I'm going to try for honest and frank evaluations and giving credit where it's due. Though I'll have more to say about that soon.

malcolmthecynic said...

And, I'm not sure what you're getting at with the rich comment.

The only liberals I've ever seen him actively criticize are the new atheists - and when he does so he makes a very specific point to rationalize them away as theists.

Otherwise, I have literally never seen Marc actually criticize a liberal - at worst he'll say "I think his position on sexual morality is wrong...but otherwise, he's great!"

Contrast that with his attitude towards fundamentalists.

I actually like Marc too, the fact that he has no problem telling it like it is to the new atheists is admirable in itself, but I don't think he's as fair as he thinks or acts.

I think he's SINCERE, but that's not the same as even-handed.

And actually, you are correct - the first time we've ever communicated was on that thread. I like WWWtW, but they can be a rather nasty bunch down there. They don't suffer fools gladly, or dissenters.

malcolmthecynic said...

Bleh, should be "rationalize them away as conservatives".

Acatus Bensley said...

I told you Crude. Anybody calling themselves liberals will eventually disappoint you. I feel sorry for Lothar though.

lotharlorraine said...

Malcom:

"I actually like Marc too, the fact that he has no problem telling it like it is to the new atheists is admirable in itself, but I don't think he's as fair as he thinks or acts."

I TRY to be fair but am well aware I fall short, being human.

This whole unfortunate episode shows me I should always spend much more time understanding the complexity of things I am criticizing and not acting impulsively.


While fundamentalist education can all too often be a form of child abuse, I agree it is extremely dumb to say that all people teaching to their child that there is a place of eternal pain are abusing him or her.

As I said, this was taught me by my own parents who aren't even particularly religious.


Crude said...

While fundamentalist education can all too often be a form of child abuse, I agree it is extremely dumb to say that all people teaching to their child that there is a place of eternal pain are abusing him or her.

No, see... I know you're trying to qualify your statement, but it still doesn't wash.

Why? How is it a form of child abuse? What is your evidence? What do you base this on?

You say 'all too often', as if this is plainly obvious and is just a truth everyone can accept. But I have the suspicion that the actual evidence for the claim you're defending here is going to amount to 'anecdotes and online testimonials, often from atheists'.

I'm willing to be proven wrong here. But the fact is, you don't get to level the child abuse charge for free.

Vand83 said...

I found this line worthy of exploration.

"Show me the "progressive" who believes that teaching children naturalist or atheist beliefs about death and even existence - and these are not 'pretty' or 'encouraging' things - constitutes child abuse. They are nowhere to be found."

I'm curious about Lothar's thoughts on this point.





The Deuce said...

And before someone says "not every "progressive" Christian is like that", all I'll say is - if there are ones who oppose such things, they are apparently so small in number as to be considered functionally irrelevant.

And furthermore, just about the only reason for anyone to say that is to talk us out of waking up and taking the appropriate and much belated action against the vast majority of progressive Christians who ARE like that.


Show me the "progressive" who believes that teaching children naturalist or atheist beliefs about death and even existence - and these are not 'pretty' or 'encouraging' things - constitutes child abuse. They are nowhere to be found.

Indeed. And this demonstrates the inherent intolerance of progressive leftism by contrast to conservatism and actual Christianity. Teaching children atheistic naturalism has documented ill-effects for them by comparison with teaching Christianity, to say nothing of the fact that parents who teach their children atheism are setting them on the path to eternal damnation. We Christians have more grounds for accusing atheist parents of child abuse than they have for accusing us, but we respect other people's right to their own beliefs and their right to raise their own children. But both the progressive atheists and the progressive so-called "Christians" cannot extend that same tolerance.


I am tired of watching 'conservative' evangelicals come in for a repeated beating as the people who are somehow doing the most the harm Christianity, when the fact is that if someone ever tries to persuade you that Christianity is true then 9 out of 10 times it's probably a conservative....

Precisely. The "you're harming Christianity!" line is a red herring. Progressives care about progressivism, not Christianity, period. If they were really motivated by a desire to promote Christianity, they they'd actually promote it, and they'd be worried enough about their own dwindling numbers to do something about it.

The fact is, nobody who isn't already a Christian ever converts to "progressive Christianity" because they aren't trying to convert anyone, and because there's not even a real religion there to convert to. Progressive Christianity is a mere stopping-off point for ex-Christians who have abandoned the substance of the faith but still have emotional/social ties to the trappings of Christianity and so can't "officially" embrace secularism completely. But their moral and social worldview is driven 100% by secular leftism, without remainder, and 0% by Christianity (except to the obvious extent that secular leftism borrows its morality from Christianity without attribution).

The Deuce said...

If you are a Christian conservative who has thought that maybe a shared belief in God or Christ can build some bridges between conservative and progressive Christians

The problem is, while progressive Christians use the words "God" and "Christ," they mean very different things than Christians do, so the common ground is illusory.

For the Christian, God is the Creator of heaven and earth, Author of life, foundation of all reality, and also the author and foundation of the Natural and Moral Law. To know right from wrong is to learn God's will, which is both possible and necessary.

For the progressive Christian, God's will is inscrutible and irrelevant, and to claim to be able to know it, and to be on God's side, makes you a dangerous reactionary "like the Taliban" or somesuch. The human progressivist zeitgeist replaces God as the source of all morality, and hence right and wrong are subjective and constantly changing, and to do the right thing is simply to espouse the latest herd narrative at all times and to have the herd's approval. "God" is reduced to nothing more than an abstraction, and not the sovereign authority that He really is.

For the Christian, Jesus Christ is the Son of God and God Incarnate, come to earth to suffer and die for our sins in place of us, and to defeat sin and death by rising again, so that by repenting and believing in Him, our sins can be forgiven and we can be spared the fires of hell and gain eternal life.

For the progressive Christian, we don't have any sins that need to be forgiven. Since God's will and unknowable and irrelevant, and since what passes for "morality" comes from the human Zeitgeist, sin (in the Christian sense of an offense against the objective Moral Law of the sovereign and eternal God) simply does not exist. And since there is no sin that a just God must punish and for which we need His forgiveness, there is no hell for Christ to save us from, and hence Jesus is out of a job and not really Christ after all.

Instead he was just a really nice guy for his place and time, who showed us all that we should be nice to moral degenerates who we disagree with (as long as they aren't absolute monsters like Sarah Palin or something, in which case Burn The Witch). His unfortunate endorsement of the awful moral code of the Jewish scriptures just reflected the human limitations of his time, and if he were around today, no doubt an enlightened guy like himself would embrace gay marriage, and abortion, and burning Sarah Palin, and all the rest of the secular Zeitgeist that all enlightened individuals follow.

So while progressivist Christians may use some of the same language as orthodox Christians, and even use the same creeds, they mean entirely different things by those words (to the extent that they mean anything and aren't just engaged in rote repetition). The common ground is an illusion and the two aren't even members of the same religion. For the progressive, whether "Christian" or not, progressivism is the religion.

Acatus Bensley said...

Crude maybe most people are Deist. I wouldn't be surprised. That would explain them not actually considering Christian morality relevant. I'm more of Deist than a Christian myself. But I don't pretend that morality isn't derived directly from God.

Crude said...

Acatus,

I think many people do tend to be a bit airy in their religious leanings, yes. And I don't think that's necessarily new. On the other hand, I also don't think most people think much about morality beyond cartoon-level depictions of it.

Acatus Bensley said...

Cartoon level depictions?

Crude said...

Acatus,

I mean real primitive.

X said something that hurt Y! X is being mean!

X lives in a run down house. Someone should give X a good house!

Y is a (professor/priest/academic) and says Z is a bad thing. Z is bad!

People just don't think things through deeply, especially on the broad levels of policy, law and government. They may think more deeply on a personal level at best, and even there I think the default is 'what makes everyone I know and like the happiest' rather than serious reflection.

Did I mention I have a very cynical view of human nature?

Acatus Bensley said...

You know it's strange how atheists depict themselves as the misunderstood, analytical, and cynical but that describes Conservatives more than it does them. In fact in a time of moral relativism and degeneracy they seem to assimilate better, granted they're not too anti theistic. Us thinking Conservatives are the real outsiders.