Monday, September 04, 2006

postal scrotum: Charles on Jesus' political views

Charles of Liminality writes with regard to my post on Jesus' politics:


I gave Burton's post a read (despite the wall-to-wall text, lack of formatting, etc.) and thought it was rather interesting. I agree with you that it is pointless to argue that Jesus was a liberal or a conservative. If Burton made a mistake in his argument, it was singling out liberalism and not simply arguing that Jesus was apolitical (although he hints at this throughout the post). Addressing the question piecemeal may make for interesting arguments, but these arguments become moot when you address the root of the matter--the fact that Jesus did not come to this Earth for the first time as a political figure, he came as a spiritual figure.

The Scriptures, of course, tell us that Jesus will come a second time, and next time he will not be coming as a Savior but as a king. When he came the first time he said (I paraphrase), "I have not come to judge the world but so that the world through me might be saved." When he comes the second time, there will be a judgment. Burton says that the ideas of Jesus leading an army and presiding over torture are preposterous. Well, when Jesus comes again he will be leading an army of angels and his enemies will find themselves tortured. And when the war is over, he will rule as a political leader for a millenium.

So arguing about the political affiliations of Jesus *as he acted on Earth the first time* is akin to arguing that whether or not Captain Picard could beat the snot out of Captain Kirk. But Jesus will most definitely be a political figure the next time he comes, and since he is God and God is described as being "the same yesterday, today, and forever," it is safe to assume that Jesus does in fact have political inclinations, he simply didn't act on them during his first visit because, as Burton rightly pointed out, that wasn't his goal.

Having said all that, I still think it is pointless to argue about Jesus' political affiliation in terms of liberal, conservative, communist, etc. Why? Because these are human attempts to embody the ideal science of government. Human beings are fallen creatures, and the Scriptures repeatedly say that what we may consider wisdom is foolishness in the eyes of God. If God is indeed omniscient, then it stands to reason that his understanding of politics will be on a vastly higher plane than our own. This is why it is pointless to try to hammer the round Jesus peg into a square hole--not because of the gap in understanding between "Jesus' time" and our time, but because of the gap in understanding between human beings and God. Jesus was not a political figure when he was first on Earth, but there certainly is a political aspect to his character. We simply cannot hope to encompass the entirety of this aspect with human political labels.

So that's my view, the view of a Christian who himself has something of a distaste for politics (or at least political labels).


In my previous post, I failed to note how the author, Steve Burton, ended his post:

Obviously, none of the above is meant to suggest that Jesus would be a conservative. That's a question for another day.

I'm glad Burton ended that way, but by engaging the liberal question and attempting to "wrest" Jesus away from liberal clutches, Burton still consented to play the Jesus-as-object game.


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