Tuesday, June 9, 2009

On Pushing the Liberal Hot-Button

Often in Theological discussions, I hear the claim that a certain view is "Liberal" and "Spiritualizing" and does not adhere to a 'literal' interpretation (thus it should be ignored). Now, there are three BIG problems in taking this approach to different views of scripture:

First of all, it does absolutely nothing to refute their arguments. Slapping a particular taboo label on someone does not change the validity of their arguments. Call 'em liberal till you're red in the face and gasping for air, but you've not even come close to refuting your opposition. If you want to expose someone's view as wrong or dangerous, you show that with sound arguments and evidence (specifically from scripture), not with taboo labels.

Second, those who do this often come off as immature and insecure of your own views. Calling someone's view a Liberal/Spiritualized, especially if done in multiple instances, not only indicates that you're lacking in valid refutation, it also reeks of having no case of your own (or a very shoddy case). On top of that, it's really no different than calling someone a 'fatso' or a 'doo-doo head'. It's just name calling, pure and simple. This sort of thing is to be expected from Kindergarten kids, not from (young) adults who are discussing Theology.

Lastly, it's irrelevant. Ultimately, it's not a matter of whether or not something is literal, but whether or not it is Biblical. A figurative interpretation of certain passages, contrary to popular claims, does NOT undermine Christianity or the whole of scripture. If we were talking about making the gospels figurative, then that's a whole new shooting match (since we have clear evidence that they were in fact intended to be taken as historical. When it comes to passages like Genesis 1-11, not so much).

All in all, can we quit the name calling and label-slapping and get down to the points we've got to make?

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