Thursday, November 13, 2008

Christian Society

I recently started reading "Mere Christianity" by C.S. Lewis and have found it intellectualy satisfying and spiritually uplifting. Today I came across a great quote that applies to the events that have followed the passing of Prop 8 in California, including the surfacing of fresh anti-Mormon sentiment. C.S. Lewis, theorizing about a true Christian society (not just a society where everyone is Christian, but a society where everyone actually does what they should), says that if we were to visit such a society, we might come away with the impression that its economic life was very socialistic and in that sense, advanced, but that its family life and code of manners were rather old-fashioned.

He goes on to say, "Each of us would like some bits of it, but I am afraid very few of us would like the whole thing."

Delve deeper into what he is saying here. A true Christian society would, in part, look like a system built on both Republican and Democratic principles.

I feel our church is like that. From a protestant standpoint, we are very liberal in that we accept scripture and revelation beyond the Bible. From, say, an atheistic standpoint, we are very conservative because of our focus on family values and traditional marriage. What makes the recent Prop 8 protests at Mormon temples so interesting to me is that they are coming from the left side of the spectrum, and I feel that we are are more often targeted by the rightwing Evangelical churches (like at the Conference Center during General Conference).

One of the charges I have heard levied by Prop 8 opponents in the past week is that our church, by supporting Prop 8, is not being Christian. Other churches, who stood with us in support of Prop 8, have also said in the past that we are not Christian. But both sides are really saying different things. Evangelicals hate our church because it is too liberal. Prop 8 opponents hate our church because it is too conservative.

One other C.S. Lewis quote is telling on this subject. He says in his book, "Most of us are not really approaching the subject [of Christianity] in order to find out what Christianity says: we are approaching it in the hope of finding support from Christianity for the views of our own party." Well said, and a good thought for all of us to remember when we try to claim that our personal political viewpoints are more in line with Christ's teachings than our neighbor's viewpoints.

And now here's Peter being a spaz.


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