Liberalism: The Bible was originally written by a bunch of primitive, misogynist, violent, greedy, superstitious, Jewish slave-owning men who wrote about an awful, bloodthirsty, tribal god who requires ritual killing because people displease him.
Conservatism: We agree! (We don’t actually know we agree, but that actually sounds pretty good.)
Liberalism: Therefore the only parts that are true are the parts that we like most about Jesus.
Conservatism: No, the only parts that aren’t (really) true are the parts you like most about Jesus. The other parts sound pretty good.
Liberalism: We can prove scientifically that the whole book was pieced together and edited by ancient sexist, bourgeois, nationalistic, power-holders to maintain control over the proletariat.
Conservatism: We can prove scientifically that you’re a bunch of godless heathens who don’t know that women are gifted by god to be sexy, baby-making cooks who ruined everything by eating the apple first and therefore need to be subservient to men. Also, you want us all to go to hell and you hate America.
Liberalism: There is no afterlife. There is only social justice.
Conservatism: There is no social justice. There is only afterlife.
Liberalism (to itself): Let’s try to make America more progressive. Also, the Bible is terrible and Jesus is awesome.
Conservatism (to itself): Let’s try to make America less progressive. Also, the Bible is terrible and we like it that way. Also, Jesus is awesome but not the way they think he is.
Liberalism (back at conservatism): The Bible is a superstitious human construct and it’s just plain wrong and you don’t understand any of it! You should be more interested in Jesus.
Conservatism (back at liberalism): The Bible is inerrant and infallible and we know EVERYTHING about it! You don’t know ANYTHING ABOUT JESUS.
Liberalism: Down with the Bible!
Conservatism: Up with the Bible!
The Prophets: The Bible is the inspired and authoritative Word of God written by people in multiple contexts and languages and inspired by God’s Spirit. It is the context of Jesus whose story is its climax. If you want to know Jesus, you’ll need to read the Bible to do it because he’s the center of it. Conservatism and liberalism both share the same wrong and misleading foundational assumptions about the Bible. If you understood this you’d realize that Jesus spoke of himself as the fulfillment of the story of scripture (which he referred to as the Word of God), he’s the lens through which to read the Word of God. and he’s the best revelation of that loving God (whose story of bringing a people along through history for the purpose of revealing his will to all people is complex and not well understood by those people, by liberals, or by conservatives who all tend to be more impressed with power than they should be and don’t read the Gospels in their proper context). His message was handed to the apostles who spoke with his authority and wrote letters and books in the first century to help us understand how to apply his message to daily life together. He taught love and equality for all people and undermined all of the world’s power structures (like slavery, sexism, status, violence etc.) through love, peacefulness, and cruciformity rather than violent social revolution. He doesn’t want you to project your own violent, power-obsessed worldview on the Bible (which both of you do: one venerating it and the other dismissing it). His Kingdom is about the establishment of a strange and unique Kingdom on earth as it is now with the promise of a future restoration of this world and these bodies that we call the “Resurrection.” It is our hope in that Resurrection that empowers us to seek justice on earth as we follow Jesus on the way of the cross. We seek it in anticipation of the Resurrection and as a witness to it to the full justice we believe will exist in it.
Liberalism (to the prophets): You’re just more conservative, superstitious bigots who probably hate gays and women and believe in magic.
Conservatism (to the prophets): You’re just more flaming liberals who don’t believe in truth.
The Prophets (to themselves because they’re spread pretty thin and no one’s really listening anyhow): God, I’m lonely.
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