Back of the North Wind

Discussions of theology, philosophy, religion and life inspired by the writings of George MacDonald (and perhaps others such as CS Lewis) posted by "recovering fundamentalists".

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I am a "recovering fundamentalist". The trick is to figure out how not to throw out the Baby with the bathwater. I learn through dialogue, and so invite commentary on my posts to Back of the North Wind.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

The Kind of Liberal I'd Like to Be

George MacDonald describes, in The Seaboard Parish, ch 23, a somewhat different kind of liberal than is common either in current theological or political circles:

"...Yes. But that was not what I meant by liberal. It is far easier to give money than to be generous in judgement. I meant by liberal, able to see the good and true in people that differ from you--glad to be roused to the reception of truth in God's name from whatever quarter it may come, and not readily finding offense where a remark may have chanced to be too sweeping or unguarded."

CS Lewis once wrote that Christians have the advantage over atheists, in that atheists have to believe that the majority of the world is mostly or all wrong in their belief about God, while the Christian can (and should!) accept that the majority of the world has something to offer, some light to shine, on our understanding of God.

The Christianity in which I was raised would admit that the rest of the world knows something about God, but I think it would be very difficult for them to admit that there may be ways in which the rest of the world understands God better than Christians do. But that's the liberality that MacDonald embraces here, and also to which CS Lewis subscribed.