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This is Previous-Essay <== This-Essay ==> Following-Essay Click HERE on this line to find essays via Your-Key-Words. {Most frequent wordstarts of each essay will be put here.} ========================================================== %CONFLICT FUNDAMENTAL CONSERVATIVE LIBERAL SEX SIN+971126 %COMPLEMENTARY PRINCIPLES FEARS ISSUES COMMANDMENTS 971126 Conflicts between conservative fundamentalists often exist at levels which are not obvious to the participants, and so are not addressed in ways which might lead to their resolution. While some of the participants, in principle, want to resolve their conflicts, other participants are dedicated to conflict as a way of life; a virtue which must not be given up. The latter behavior- pattern needs to be addressed, but is not the focus here. Liberals are often concerned with behaviors which engender alienation; which they regard as the essence/root of most evil. Liberals seek to promote reconciliation and mutual understanding through open and honest dialogue. Conservatives are often concerned with behaviors which violate proscriptions, prescriptions, commandments and laws which call for conformity to standards which they respect. Conservatives seek to maintain law and order through the enforcement of respected behavioral standards. Liberals find fault with conservatives because they see conservatives: 1. Engendering alienation and evil behaviors through the use of unnecessarily coercive and violent enforcement procedures. 2. Preoccupied with prescriptions and proscriptions which seem capricious, arbitrary and prejudicial --- serving no discernible practical purpose in terms of principles grounded in love, justice, honesty, personal integrity, communal integrity, health, etc. Conservatives in return find fault with liberals because they see liberals as: 1. Having no clear commitment to any standards --- because liberals are willing to ignore sacred scriptural prescriptions and proscriptions which are the foundations of Christian law and order. 2. Willing to tolerate non-conformist individualists who seek to satisfy their personal desires, wishes and wants without regard or respect for sacred scriptural prescriptions and proscriptions which are clearly and authoritatively central to what the Christian Church has stood for from the beginning. Liberals and conservatives see each other as wailfully doing violence to what is clearly central to the Christian Gospel --- while seeing themselves as truly dedicated to what is most important, even though they are unable to live up perfectly to their own conceptions of how they should behave. Each tolerates their own imperfections because they find it necessary to compromise in ways which maintain their own sense of standards --- while doing violence to the principles which are most highly honored by those on the "other side". Liberals and conservatives cannot trust each other ---because they see each other as compromising the principles which are (in their own respective views) central to the Christian Gospel. Those on the "other side" place secondary things first --- in ways which do not make sense. Their behaviors are not consistent in terms of a coherent and well informed interpretation of what is found in the scriptures by respectable authorities. People on each side of the divide fear the consequences of compromising with people on the other side ---who behave in incoherent ways which threaten the integrity of the church, by showing indifference to what is central in the Christian Gospel --- compromising in favor of concerns which are of little importance. If Christians will allow it to do so, the Christian doctrine regarding justification can liberate both conservatives and liberals from their compulsive preoccupations with being defensive; with defending their rights to belong in the Family of God --- as God's Children who are Loved by God, regardless of the family-fights among the Children of God, about who is one-up in the Family. Letting go of long honored defensive strategies is hard; especially when reading long honored scriptures in which the defensive strategies are described as working effectively and so encouraged. Newer texts can be approached with the attitudes and mind-sets of older times; and meanings can be found in the newer texts which are consistent with the old defensive ways. Defensive ways encourage increased levels of defense; undermining the reconciling possibilities of Love. Defensive ways undermine people's willingness to take risks of being vulnerable in open and honest dialogue; and so alienation and fears rule. Love is set aside for more "secure" technologies ---because Love is seen as being unreliable. Holy Spirit is too subjective and subject to human prejudices and self-interests in interpretations. It is important to rely only on objectively verifiable absolute truths --- as found in the eternal scriptures given by God, and accepted as authoritatively true by the Church of God, which never makes mistakes. There are some things upon which Christians must not compromise. No matter what the cost, Christians must defend the Truth and all the standards which are essential to defending the Truth. If Christians do not do so, who else will? Christians must be willing to go to battle to defend what is right --- even if that means destroying many communities and many lives. Righteousness must prevail! The self-righteous will be saved by their own efforts. If they do not make the effort, who else will? (c) 2005 by Paul A. Smith in (On Being Yourself, Whole and Healthy) ==========================================================