Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Doctrine, principles, and ideas "versus" People?

As I've sought to engage progressives (secular and Christian) in dialogue over the past several months, I've realized that many (certainly not all) progressives have the idea that conservatives elevate doctrine and/or ideas over people. That is, conservatives are more concerned with right ideas than with loving people.

I find this to be a very vexing proposal, almost to the point of incredulity. There simply is no conflict between right and true doctrine and (love for) people. Why? For a very simple reason: to say that something is true (whether it be religious, philosophical, or otherwise) means that it tells us something about reality. Thus, truths which refer to questions of human morality indicate what is true about being and living as a human. Truths which are theological indicate what is true about God and His plan of salvation for humanity. And so on.

As such, there can simply be no conflict between true doctrine/ideas and love of people, and to suggest otherwise is mistaken.

Now, it's possible that a doctrine or idea might be wrong, and in that case, there is most definitely a conflict between that proposition and loving people. But to arrive at such a judgment, the idea needs to be discussed first. And that is precisely what I'm attempting to do in my discussions which progressives.

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