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Monday, February 22, 2010

Left & Right

Liberals. That's what we call them. And the worst of them are called "left-wing" or "leftist." Have you ever considered what this means? A quick Google search will give you all kinds of definitions. But this leftist way of thinking seems to have some common themes.

I don't trust the leftists to tell me what they stand for. I'm not sure they can be honest. (you'll see why later.) The best definitions of left-wing thinking are probably found in more neutral places. Wikipedia, or any of the traditional encyclopedias are probably better places to find out what the leftists believe and how they think.

Left-wing thinking has been around for centuries. It's not an American invention. It's been consistent with other terms - like Marxism, communism, socialism and others. It's been associated with concepts like labor unions, welfare states, etc. And it's been applied to social reform, revolutions.

You see, leftists tend to worry about the rich having too much power or influence. They want to make sure the labor classes are empowered. They tend to fret about feminism, racial equality, and other social ills that they believe are destroying civilized society. Needless to say, leftists aren't very good with capitalism. They seem to believe that capitalism preys on the weak, empowers the rich, and disenfranchises the unfortunate.

I've seen people describe themselves as religious conservatives or religious liberals. The latter group will profess their faith in God and Jesus Christ, but describe themselves as leftist or liberals. It leaves me wondering if they've really thought through their position. Quite frankly, this left-wing thinking hasn't really produced much in the way of free society, human equality or positive social change.

But the liberals and the conservatives, the leftists and the right-wing thinkers, remain diametrically opposed in terms of how we think the world should function. We remain on opposite sides of the fence when it comes to how decisions should be made. Politically, it escalates into nothing short of a feud as our political leaders (in America, at least) talk about "reaching across the aisle."

Today, we're led to believe that something called "bipartisanship"is really possible. Our leaders tell us that the left and the right can get together on the issues that really matter. They insist they can make sound decisions and lead our country forward, with this 'reaching across the aisle" to produce bipartisan solutions that everyone will embrace. Frankly, I am suspicious of such claims.

The heart of the wise inclines to the right, but the heart of the fool to the left. (Ecclesiastes 10:2)

King Solomon wrote these words. He's the Old Testament hero who prayed for wisdom and got it. In fact, God said he would be "the wisest man who ever lived." I take that to mean he was wiser than anyone alive today. So whatever King Solomon had to say, I tend to take seriously. After all, his wisdom came from God above! And look at his words. Right = wise. Fool = left.

Don't get me wrong. I'm in favor of everyone being taken care of, treated fairly, etc. But I realize that we can't become an issues-based society either. We can't respond to the individual issues and allow our collective thinking across the issues to become our morality. Our feelings cannot be allowed to become our moral compass or our standard for making decisions. I believe that's what happens to the leftists.

So how should we think? We should ground ourselves in God's truth, and then apply it to the issues that confront us. If we would decide who we are or aren't, what is right and what is wrong, and how decisions are to be made - then issues like abortion, homosexuality, feminism, welfare, and other matters become much more clear to everyone. And it isn't a matter of who is right or who is wrong. Rather it is a matter of who is grounded in truth.

You can probably guess that I'm a member of the religious right or the religious conservative. I don't apologize for that either. Ironically, I didn't decided to be right-wing or rightist. It's not a filter I try to run things through. I just do my level best to understand God's truth and His standards. Then I try very hard to look at issues in the context of that truth and those standards. Frankly, it has never led me to a leftist position on anything.

I'd like to see this notion of left or right die out. I'd like to think that modern-day Christians can get together on God's truth and go forward from there to confront the issues. Sadly, I don't think that's going to happen. Unfortunately, even the Christians bring their biases. Despite the Bible's warning not to do so, they lean on their own understanding. In fact, they insist on their own understanding - and challenge the opposing party to prove them wrong.

Perhaps it is time we start a third political line in this country. In addition to the leftists and the rightists, maybe it's time we start with the "truthists", or the "truth-winged" thinking. It would be a group of people who never come into any issue with an agenda or a predisposition. Rather they would be agnostic about the issues, and just ground themselves in Biblical truth before they consider anything else.

How different do you supposed American politics and culture would be if my new political party were to "get into power?"

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