, , ,

Ever noticed how many different types of liberals there are out there?

Australian conservatives vote for the Liberal Party because they want a small government which will allow people to make their own choices, instead of a nanny-state dictating what you can and can’t do.

American liberals support big government which will protect the individual rights of everyone, including minorities who do not have enough power to pursue their choices in the face of the dominance of the majority.

Liberal theologians elevate human reason and feelings about God, instead of trying to match those expectations to what God has said.

All three types of liberals are very different but they all share a common thread: they idolise the individual. The individual’s choices should be respected; the individual has the right to make what they want of their life; we shouldn’t force our lifestyle upon others; these are all mantras of individual-centric liberalism.

Liberalism, in one form or another, seems like a very Christian philosophy. After all, does not the Bible teach that all men are created equal and granted inalienable rights by their creator? Is not everybody equally made in the image of God? Does not God love everyone?

That is all true, but God has a bigger picture than just individuals. He said it was not good for Adam to be alone in the garden, so he created the family. God’s prophets preached against the collective wickedness of Israel as a collective, not just of each individual. Jesus ascended into Heaven, leaving a group of disciples behind to create a church, which Paul famously described as the “body of Christ”.

The Bible is very clear. Individuals may be priceless, but they were created to live together. God created and commands community. Individuals should belong to something bigger than themselves.

Because it does not have an appreciation for community, liberalism as a political theory falls apart.

If individuals are free to make any choice they want, then they are free to choose to interfere with the freedoms of other individuals. This harms some individuals. Conservative liberals rely on the free market to provide opportunities for this problem to fix itself, but the “invisible hand” doesn’t always work, and sometimes it doesn’t work right away, leaving harmed individuals in its wake. Progressive liberals put it upon the state to protect all individuals (including minorities), but this means creating a “nanny-state” which dictates what you can and can’t do, which also restricts individual freedom. Either way, individuals find their freedoms limited by other people.

This is inevitable in a community, which is why the Apostle Paul commanded the Romans to bear each other’s burdens, forgoing rights for the benefit of “the weaker brother” and living together in harmony and love. Liberalism is not a Christian philosophy, although it borrows elements from it, because it denies this God-given community for the sake of the individual.

And the LORD God said, “It is not good that man should be alone. I will make him a helper comparable to him.” Genesis 2:18