Electronic Christianity Five

This is a good time to consider the relationship of politics to eChristianity. I am in no place to tell you what your politics should be but I think I can give you some things to consider in regard to our relationship with the government.

First, we need to remember that we are subject to at least one government. When we read both the Old and the New Testament we see that believers are affected both by the form and the quality of their governance. This could lead us to think we are responsible for both these aspects of government and create a desire in us to rectify what is wrong. However, history shows us, in both biblical and secular accounts, that Christians either embracing a government or resisting one generally leads to adverse consequences for Christianity or Christians or both.

As we eChristians are also citizens of the nation of God, we need to be careful not to grab at the “tar baby” of political influence or the idea that we know perfectly God’s will for how we should be governed and by whom. Holding power leads to an attachment to the events taking place and, as Menno Simons thought, creating actions that it is not proper for Christians to instigate. Resisting a government is as foolish as thinking we know what the weather should be since a government is something that is too large for our understanding and subject to God’s purposes.

However, Jesus in Matthew 16:2-3 told the Pharisees and Sadducees that they had a proverbial saying that went like this: If the sky is red in the morning it means a stormy day, if it is red in the evening it means good weather is coming. So he asked them since they could interpret the signs in the sky why they could not see the signs of the times. This is a second aspect of our relationship to government and politics. Just because we have little influence does not mean we should not be very aware of what is going on and be prepared to adjust ourselves to what may occur. We are in a time of changes, and it is certain that what has happened, what is going on, and what will happen in the political realm will affect our lives.

When Jesus commissioned the Twelve Disciples before sending them out to proclaim the kingdom of Heaven (Matthew 10), he told them to be wary as serpents and innocent as doves. This is good advice for us as we evaluate and participate in a turbulent time of political change and unrest.

Transgender Delusion

When Richard Corradi wrote “Human nature does not change” (“Transgender Delusion” First Things, October 2015) it appears that he conflated our physical and our spiritual natures. It is the hope and teaching of Christianity that our spiritual natures will be changed by the Holy Spirit to ones like that of Christ. When I write “like that of Christ” I do not mean into a masculine gender. Our spirits, and resurrection bodies, become as Christ’s when we are given the perfection of our creation as envisioned by God the Father before anything physical came into existence.

The Genesis account of the creation of Adam and Eve and their subsequent experiences tell us much about how deep male and female differences are in our human existence. First, Adam and Eve are separate creations. In some sense we might think of Adam as the “beta” version and Eve the final release. The exposure to temptation was different for each of them and the punishments for their transgressions were also “personalized.” We can also note that it is Eve, not Adam, whose offspring are described as both striking the tempter and being injured by him.

A long time ago I attended a meeting of college feminists. I was surprised to learn that their objectives were to obtain the freedom to use bad language like men and to sleep around, again like men. At present, women, of course, have obtained these objectives, and others, to make their contributions to the corruption of our society. There was no hint back then, nor is there one now, of any desire to emulate masculine virtues such as Rudyard Kipling outlined in his poem “If.” Perhaps there was not any awareness among them that there were ideas at certain times and places that men should be good in contructive ways.

The feminist distortions of reality stem from spiritual deceptions as does the transgender delusion—as do all the others Corradi mentions. The psychiatric profession is unable to deal effectively with delusions because they suffer from the ones common to our society. Also, having eliminated spiritual causes as a source of human behavior they have no foundational reality to offer their patients. Psychiatry also is made ineffective due to the lack of a medication for the problem. In science-fiction worlds all human delusions seem to be remedied by physical solutions. However, almost all visions of a science-based future are dystopias. Like the society being created by the delusions of our time.

Let’s Hear a Cheer for Metaphysics

The rather immodest aim of metaphysics is the comprehension and unification of all understanding. However, we have passed the point where any one mind or even any one system can encompass all of our expanding knowledge of the wonders surrounding us. Nevertheless, there is something from metaphysics we need to retain and this is its search for the reality underlying all appearances. It was the goal and the hope of the metaphysician to find a unifying concept of reality that would invest all things with value. Today we lack a recognized and agreed upon set of values and therefore we need the return of the metaphysical ideal.

Some time ago metaphysical studies were divided, and by the division reduced, into theology, philosophy and science. Contemporary theology is chaos, and even if it were not most of it is unrecognized and unheeded in a secular world. Philosophy, instead of studying our minds, studies words and what is left of the noble pursuit is mostly historical studies of past philosophers and critiques of their systems. As for science as a guide for humanity, the magic has mostly departed. Few think today that science is the road to peace and prosperity. Science is good with facts but poor about values.

Politics, the art and practice of government, has much to do with facts, but its ultimate choices have to do with values. And it is in making choices that our political system is floundering. A quick contrast can be made between the current politician, who tends to obtain his or her value system from public opinion polls, and the founders of our country.

The politicians then generally believed in a transcendent deity who was the source of political values and human dignity, and who was the judge of their actions. The judge of contemporary politicians is the election. And their highest aim is reelection.

This decay in the political value system is not the entire fault of the politicians. It is the result of a declining metaphysic. Instead of a nation with a common set of shared values, our culture has allowed values to become so privatized that it is impossible to reach anything approaching a consensus on any given issue. In fact, many people would argue against the possibility or even the desirability of a shared value system.

Governing, though, is an exercise in reality. Real choices have real consequences in real lives. Political actions based either on wishful thinking, or arbitrary or non-existent values, will in the end be destructive. What we need is a politics based on reality. And knowledge of reality comes from a search for truth. And the search for truth leads us back to metaphysics. Therefore, let’s hear a cheer for metaphysics.