Conservative - Liberal spectrum

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Lew Worthington | Forum Activity | Posted: Mon, Mar 16 2015 2:07 PM

The current discussion regarding the QBC made me curious about the how conservative or liberal participants in these forums regard themselves. So I want to ask some basic perspective questions. I know we'll have enough love and consideration not to zap folks down because they're on the other end of the spectrum. Similarly, I think we can have enough humility to know that "liberal" is not a dirty word if we're conservative, and "conservative" is not a dirty word if we're liberal. Finally, please don't pick decimal numbers. "A scale of 1 to 10" involves an even number of possible responses; 5 is closer to 1 than to 10; so there's no sitting on the fence! Smile

So, I'd like to know:

1. On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being most conservative and 10 being most liberal (however you want to define these terms and however you regard the average), where do you put yourself?

2. On the same scale using the same definitions as in question 1, where do you see the average Logos user.

3. On the same scale using the same definitions as in question 1, where do you see Faithlife as an entity?

Thanks!

Lew

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DMB | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Mar 16 2015 2:19 PM

Well at least the QBC was a resource question/suggestion.  This would be maybe a software glitch?

It's naive to use a 'scale'.  I'm conservative relative to the evangelicals.  But they'd say I'm liberal since I don't agree with them.  

Goodness, Lew? 

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Rich DeRuiter | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Mar 16 2015 2:26 PM

I won't classify myself with these categories as how one defines the terms "liberal" and "conservative" vary so widely that it quickly becomes unhelpful. Liberal about what? Conservative about what? Nowadays, terms like "Evangelical" or "Mainline" are losing some of their meaning. I was even part of a discussion (off these forums) where there was a battle of words over "Reformed" vs "Calvinist" (with some claiming to be Reformed but not Calvinists -- I don't get it either).

In short, such classifications are often so esoteric as to be useless.

Further, this really has nothing to do with how to use Logos software, nor is it a suggestion for what Logos ought to include or change. 

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Mar 16 2015 2:26 PM

Assuming the standard social science division of conservative=conserve the status quo and liberal=change the status quo .... and assuming only in the religious context ...

I'd love to participate but I have a problem. Two priests who knew me well would describe me as so conservative as to be positive Mediaeval which is our society is mistaken for liberal. And, as taught by my very academic grandfather whose was interested in everyone and everything, I find that curiosity and suspension of judgment is often taken as liberal in these forums. So I would self rate as a 3 and expect many on the forum to rate me 9 Smile

I can't rate the average Logos user but the average forum regular I'd rate around 3 with a vocal handful who would push into negative numbers. - or perhaps imaginary numbers as they wish to preserve a past that is so idealized as to have never existed.

Faithlife as an entity I cannot rate, only its target market which is in a state of flux. They were a 3 but are edging close to a 4 and clearly have a mixed goal of a neutral 5 on the resources offered and a 3 on the resources they publish themselves. This strikes me as a very evenhanded way to broaden their market share while sticking to what they know and serving their (current) largest market.

But then again, if I were writing the original post I'd be more apt to warn that "conservative" wasn't a dirty term. (just kidding). But Rich is right - this belongs on ChristianDiscourse.com more than the Logos forums.

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Veli Voipio | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Mar 16 2015 3:09 PM

Just slightly off-topic: I am tagging my library and I haven't found a good English term to a sort of diplomatic middle theology that many pastors use in a state church to keep the audience happy. It sounds conservative but it is not particularly biblical nor liberal, and is not intended to start any religious awakening. Could you suggest a suitable short tag for that kind of theology?

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Mar 16 2015 3:18 PM

wishy-washy? Big Smile

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Matthew C Jones | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Mar 16 2015 3:31 PM

Lew Worthington:
So, I'd like to know:

FWIW

  1.  me,              2
  2.  others,         7
  3.  Faithlife,      6

Logos 7 Collectors Edition

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Rayner | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Mar 16 2015 3:58 PM

Lew Worthington:
On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being most conservative and 10 being most liberal (however you want to define these terms and however you regard the average), where do you put yourself?

I can't answer this because I don't really see discipleship as a sliding scale.  Is belief that Jesus is present in bread and wine liberal or conservative?  What about Christian pacifism?  Where do views on, say, birth control fit in?  Or is conservatism about biblical infallibility?  Or papal infallibility?  Or belief in evolution?  There is a political compass that at allows for movement across four quadrants which I think would be more useful here.

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Dan Francis | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Mar 16 2015 4:20 PM

I really do not know how to answer this.. I affirm fully the tenants of the Nicene and Apostles Creeds... This  would tied me firmly into the more conservative spectrum. I do not read the Bible as a Black and White rule book but a guide as to How best love God fully and neighbour as self. It is easier to live in a world of absolutes, but then if you do you would often be standing against Jesus historically... I personally follow very much Tony Campola who once told the draft board he could only do What Jesus Would Do, who caused them to respond Jesus is not going to kill someone. The notion of Birth control and abortion were not topics too far thought of to cause a miscarriage in the OT had a penally that was very low, masturbation to avoid fulfilling ones duty in leverite marriages was seen as a grave sin. I personally would not make abortion illegal but at the same point I would not likely encourage anyone to procure one. God is infallible men who were used by God to write the Bible and transmit it were and are. Evolution is not the enemy of the Bible nor incompatible with it. Although some ardent supports on both extremes would disagree. 

-Dan

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EastTN | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Mar 16 2015 5:10 PM

It depends on who I'm standing next to Stick out tongue

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Scott E. Mahle | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Mar 16 2015 5:18 PM

Lew Worthington:

So, I'd like to know:

1. On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being most conservative and 10 being most liberal (however you want to define these terms and however you regard the average), where do you put yourself?

2. On the same scale using the same definitions as in question 1, where do you see the average Logos user.

3. On the same scale using the same definitions as in question 1, where do you see Faithlife as an entity?

1. 2

2. 5

3. 5

Super.Tramp:

others,         7

That was an interesting choice . . . really? Hmmmm . . .

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JRS | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Mar 16 2015 5:26 PM

Veli Voipio:

Just slightly off-topic: I am tagging my library and I haven't found a good English term to a sort of diplomatic middle theology that many pastors use in a state church to keep the audience happy. It sounds conservative but it is not particularly biblical nor liberal, and is not intended to start any religious awakening. Could you suggest a suitable short tag for that kind of theology?

Vanilla.

JRS has left the building.

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fgh | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Mar 17 2015 6:57 AM

Good thing MJ answered before me: I was so sure the scale would be liberal 1, conservative 10 that I misread it as such. (Public confession: I was, in fact, so sure of it that I first assumed she was the one who'd misread.Embarrassed)

OK, then, turning my first intuitive rating upside down:

1) Between 1 and 2.Smile

2) Hard to know since we're not supposed to discuss our theology, but given that I consider Protestantism to be a very liberal movement, and Evangelicalism to be an extremely liberal movement, and wouldn't dream of giving anything below 7 to anyone who denies the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, I'm guessing the vast majority of forum regulars would fall somewhere between 7 and 8.Big Smile

3) Probably about the same. Though I would hope the Verbum department to be somewhat lower.Smile

Now you know why you shouldn't ask this kind of question on the forums...Smile

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Bruce Dunning | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Mar 17 2015 7:59 AM

Rich DeRuiter:
In short, such classifications are often so esoteric as to be useless.

I am of the same opinion. Definition of terms vary so greatly that I would not want to classify myself, others or Faithlife.

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Tanner Thetford | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Mar 17 2015 8:01 AM

Wow, glad I read a bit. I'll give you where I thought I was at and why, then where I would adjust myself.

When I first read, I thought:

1. 5

2. 3

3. 4

I consider myself to be pretty conservative theologically. However, I am happy to read liberals and glean what I can from them. I'm happy to read secular philosophers and other religions as well and glean what I can. I have seen some backlash in some of the materials that Faithlife has offered before and I was frankly surprised to see it.

As such I figured that Faithlife themselves were slightly more liberal than their customer demographic (at least the vocal majority), and yet I was slightly more liberal than even Faithlife, wanting them to offer much more.

After reading others' responses however, I think I would revise my answers to:

1. 2

2. 3

3. 4

Rather than thinking in terms of broad reading spectrum, I am thinking more of inclusive/exclusiveness of beliefs and faith. I believe in inerrancy and infallibility of Scripture, that practicing homosexuality is a sin, and I am complementarian in my view of men and women in the church (not arguing for any of these, just providing context). These all strike me as more consistent with conservative values than liberal ones.

That said, I don't think one absorbs heresy through osmosis. I don't think that you can only go to heaven if your theology is perfect or if it lines up with mine (not saying my theology is perfect). And I think the Harry Potter series is a good bit of fun. Maybe I am a 3, not sure.

Good thought provoking question, thanks!

Posts 4138
abondservant | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Mar 17 2015 9:04 AM

Someone asserted that protestantism is a liberal movement. we southern baptists (at least the ones I know, not sure about ST and others on the forum) are a bit of reform, and a bit of restoration. while I don't argue for the trail of blood - I do believe we have returned as far as we can to belief in the things, and in the way the NT authors believed.

In that sense then, we would be the conservatives.

I suspect most of us on the forum (though maybe not unix) would argue our positions are pretty close to what Jesus himself believed.

I would argue I'm about a 2 in terms of adherence to what Jesus + the disciples believed (1 in that schema would probably be arrogant - 2 may be as well, but I do try hard...).

The average forum person is probably a 5-7. Faithlife is pretty conservative as well, maybe 3 or 4 based upon what I know. Perhaps more liberal than I am, but not liberal at all really. Nor liberal compared to the average person on here.

But who knows. When we get to heaven, maybe i will find out I was a 7 all along, and Unix or MJ, or Denise a 2...

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Alan Macgregor | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Mar 17 2015 9:08 AM

Veli Voipio:

Just slightly off-topic: I am tagging my library and I haven't found a good English term to a sort of diplomatic middle theology that many pastors use in a state church to keep the audience happy. It sounds conservative but it is not particularly biblical nor liberal, and is not intended to start any religious awakening. Could you suggest a suitable short tag for that kind of theology?

In the Church of Scotland we call such people "Churchmen". Whether that means anything outside the Church of Scotland I have no idea. 

Every blessing

Alan

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Lew Worthington | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Mar 17 2015 9:51 AM

I want to thank you all for the responses. As many have pointed out, such categories can be misleading. Further, some have even called these categories as "useless", which is generally true as a set of theological/ethical/biblical-interpretive silos into which people or ideas fit. I would go so far as to say that one of the most worrisome psychological tendencies is "categorical thinking" whereby we generalize what people are based on a small number of tags we put on them. We all do it. And labeling people "conservative" or "liberal" (always a relative term, anyway) can be "useless" as a means of understanding what they believe or who they are.

But that was not what I was after. I really wanted to see how people saw themselves, and for this reason, I think responses have been extremely helpful for me. (I would think, for marketing purposes, such an understanding might be helpful for FL, too. This topic was one of the core issues surrounding the discussion of the QBC.) And it's helpful for me to understand FL's perspective because of the resources they offer. I love that they are starting to offer resources of perspectives that do not completely overlap their apparent theological perspective. As a tool for preparing serious academic work, Logos would be greatly enhanced if it could provide a broader spectrum of viewpoints. Take a look, for example, at the March Madness authors. Many great scholars, to be sure, but a very large number of them are evangelicals. There's nothing wrong with that, of course, but in the scholarly debate that takes place in papers and books, it's required to present other sides to even be conversant about what the issues are.

Furthermore, in spite of the legendary uselessness of such categories, certain tendencies are revealed simply by the vocabulary that one uses. For example, the use of the word "heresy" or "error" or "correct" when discussing one's theology reveals something beyond just the content of that theology, per se. Likewise, to focus on things like feminist hermeneutics or third world ideologies also reflects something about the respondent. And, in my view, it's all good.

Finally, a bit of self-disclosure. I intentionally did not provide my own numbers because I thought it might dampen the discussion. But I will say that my situation is a bit complex because my biblical interpretation is pretty conservative, and because of that, theologically, I'm fairly liberal. Some would find this an oxymoron, but I assure you, I'm much more "oxys" than I am "moros", and I have given my perspectives a lifetime of thought and reflection. So here are my numbers:

Me: 7

Others: 3

Faithlife: 2

And isn't it interesting how the "average" is a function of how we see ourselves?

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With deep love and respect,

Lew

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abondservant | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Mar 17 2015 11:43 AM

interesting article that is sort of related, finds that liberal denominations in protestant circles are on the decline.

http://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/factchecker-are-all-christian-denominations-in-decline

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Lee | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Mar 17 2015 12:03 PM

Veli Voipio

I would say the "Itching Ears" Theology. I say that because I take it that the state church wants to keep them happy but not teach the truth of the Bible. But that is me..

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