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Friday, October 10, 2008

Conservatism Big G Style - Introspective Series part 3

With the Nov elections in the US coming up soon, it may be instructive to see why I, a non-American, self-identify so closely with the conservative Republican framework. It certainly is true that my take on the matter is uniquely my own; however, it does track quite closely to that of the typical right-winger.

However, before we get started, let's have a look at the framework I work off - Christianity.

- Religious Belief - Christianity
Now, all kinds of people have all kinds of ideas about what religion is. I prefer to think of it as your fundamental life axiom. Regardless of your upbringing, everything around you - your social interactions, the world, events, information, life itself - in short, all you think, all you sense, all you experience - feed into your sense of how things 'ought to be'. You can call it metaphysics if you like, but really, it's just your platform, your foundation, upon which everything else is built.

By this working definition of mine, atheism is a religion. Naturalism is a religion. Marxism, even, can be a religion. And certainly, if you see everything through a political lens, then Leftism is a religion too.

You can't run away from this, by the way. Axioms are unprovable assumptions; first principles, upon which everything else is derived. Even if you say you are a freethinking rationalist, you are working off the assumption that everything has an rational explanation, the vast majority of the time, such an explanation will involve only that which is bound by space/time and matter/energy. Which you can't prove. Ever.

For me, that framework, the foundation and the lens through which everything else is experienced and interpreted, is called Christianity. God, in the Persons of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, created the universe and all within it ex nihilio (out of nothing), and in 6 days (the 7th being Their day off). Mankind was given great responsibilities and unbelievable freedoms, but managed to screw up a pretty sweet deal anyways. Throughout history, God has been hard at work doing things both behind the scenes and in open view to reverse the effects of Man's screwups. This work got focused through the children of Abraham, known as the Israelites, and later on also known as the Jews, who God does not give up on even though they, like the rest of mankind, kept messing things up. It culminated in God the Son coming down to Earth, dwelling amongst us, and we now know Him as Jesus Christ.

See, this is what I'm all about. The Christian framework, in my case, was arrived at through reason. Now, God chooses many ways to initially hit someone over the head with the truth - in my case, He used my thinking. In other instances, He uses dreams, visions, even implants convictions. It matters little - the end result is that eventually, we put our faith in Jesus. And we start using our heads, our hearts and our bodies to live for Him.

What are the implications? Why would conservatism work hand in hand with Christianity so nicely?

1. Mankind is innately sinful; hence, in a world that has abandoned Judeo-Christian values, it is best to appeal to enlightened self-interest. Hello, free markets!

2. God is a personal God, and He demands personal commitment from His children. Hence, no letting the 'government' handle charity - this is meant to be our work, done in private enterprise.

3. Jesus said to render Caesar's stuff to Caesar, and God's stuff to God - creating the very first separation of Church and State. This was true during Israelite times, too, after Saul became King. But it wasn't 'Church' then. :)

4. God created us in His image, hence human life is of great value because God values us. Therefore, death is a very serious issue, to be used as a form of punishment and deterrence only when absolutely necessary.

5. We march inexorably towards the end of history, but we do not know when that will be. Hence, we should continue to be watchful, alert and vigilant, ever-ready for whatever may come. This is a very short distance to having strong and well-trained, well-educated military, and disaster preparedness.

These are just a few of the things that I will be looking at over the next few posts, but it should give you the idea that Christianity and conservatism go together quite well. Not that you can't be a Hindu conservative Republican, of course - look at Tushar D! :)

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