I was reading a WSJ commentary that recounted an anti-war newspaper editor lamenting the fact that her son had signed up to fight in Iraq. The editor, obviously sincere and anguished, nevertheless tipped an interesting mindset in her narrative as she described how surely her son joined up neither for “arrogant patriotism” nor “murderous bloodlust.” In other words, secular progressives tend to think of pretty much any war effort as being motivated by one of those two cited reasons. My opinion is that this simplistic thinking (people may join the army for a multitude of reasons) comes from, ironically, a form of fundamentalism.
By fundamentalism, I don’t mean a view of Christian orthodoxy. Surely I am a fundamentalist when it comes to believing in God and that the Bible is His inerrant Word. I mean an attitude of must-have outcomes that distorts logic and decision-making.
In the Christian world, that attitude informs a political activism that, ironically, has a teeny weeny aspect in common with the Taliban–fusion of church and state. That way, the government can “make sure” we are behaving morally. The desire for a Christian state, misplaced in my view, emanates from “must-have-outcome” thinking. For many reasons, I, probably like you, am not for that kind of state. I want to inspire, not require, morality.
I think Paul would say that secular progressives are “religous in every way.” They are addicted to must-have outcomes: you must be a fool to be anything but anti-war; you must commit to “diversity” or you are uneducated/unenlightened; you must believe in corporate conspiracy theories or you are “pro-rich” and “anti-poor.” The list can go on.
I would suggest that the only must-have outcome we should embrace is this: to fear God and keep his commandments; and this, in our own personal lives–let’s inspire it and not worry about requiring it.