A Religious Liberal Blog

This site hopefully can provide some vehicle by which I can comment, complain, and once in a while praise the state of religion in this country and around the world from a liberal protestant perspective.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

"George Bush has claimed he was on a mission from God when he launched the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, according to a senior Palestinian politician in an interview to be broadcast by the BBC later this month." This passage from Reinhold Niebuhr's work The Nature and Destiny of Man seems relevant:

Man is ignorant and involved in the limitations of a finite mind; but he pretends that he is not limited. He assumes that he can gradually transcend finite limitations until his mind becomes identical with universal mind. All of his intellectual and cultural pursuits, therefore, become infected with the sin of pride.

The Bible defines sin in both religious and moral terms. The religious dimension of sin is man's rebellion against God, his effort to usurp the place of God. The moral and social dimension of sin is injustice. The ego which falsely makes itself the center of existence in its pride inevitably subordinates other life to its will and thus does injustice to other life.

7 Comments:

At 4:49 PM , Anonymous ~dawn said...

"The Bible defines sin in both religious and moral terms. The religious dimension of sin is man's rebellion against God, his effort to usurp the place of God. The moral and social dimension of sin is injustice. The ego which falsely makes itself the center of existence in its pride inevitably subordinates other life to its will and thus does injustice to other life."

Thanks for this info, good stuff and where would I locate this in the bible?

 
At 5:10 AM , Blogger wild bill said...

So, your saying that Bush has a God-complex? Do you know the man personally, that you can make this accusation? It seems to me that you have an enormous Ego that you will damn a man you hardly know.

 
At 5:46 AM , Blogger Dwight said...

wildbill
Unless there's no correlation between Bush in his public role, statements, and acts and those of himself as an individual, we have some basis for raising this as a concern. I'm not "damning" a person, it's identifying a problem which has marked his administration but marks all of human life.

Dawn
I'm not sure all the pertinent passages but the mistaking of the creator versus the created, which this passage from Niebuhr highlights can be found in Romans 1.

 
At 5:49 PM , Blogger thomas in doubt said...

I don't really understand why US had to invade Iraq. And moreover, WHY Bush is justifying this with the Bible, "war on terror" and "freedom & democracy". I don't know about Bush's God but I can't find justification for war in the New Testament.

And yes, oil is running out on this planet.

 
At 11:31 AM , Blogger Bill Baar said...

Here's the final paragraph from a story on the alleged report of Bush's calling from God.

While the White House denies the remarks, much has been made of Bush's evangelical Christian faith and its relationship to his governing. In the wake of the 9-11 attacks, a close friend of president, Commerce Secretary Don Evans, said Bush believed he was called by God to lead the nation at that crucial time.

I'm a Religious Liberal who believes God's not indifferent to injustice, and that God does call everyone (not just Bush) to make a difference.

Indeed it's our sense of injustice, and our shame at our sometimes indifference, that is one of God's deepest revelations to us of his presence.

Nick Cohen wrote that the

...great intellectual struggle of our time [is] between incompatible versions of liberalism. One follows the fine and necessary principle of tolerance, but ends up having to tolerate the oppression of women, say, or gays in foreign cultures while opposing misogyny and homophobia in its own. (Or 'liberalism for the liberals and cannibalism for the cannibals!' as philosopher Martin Hollis elegantly described the hypocrisy of the manoeuvre.) The alternative is to support universal human rights and believe that if the oppression of women is wrong, it is wrong everywhere.

God (and Niebuhr) not indifferent to our choice between the incompatible versions of Liberalism here.

Bush has chosen Democratic Universalism (as did Neibur in the 1930s unlike many of his fellow Religious Liberals) and my Liberal Religious faith calls me to support him knowing another American President's invocation of God's calling and judgement rings true,

With a good conscience our only sure reward, with history the final judge of our deeds, let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking His blessing and His help, but knowing that here on earth God's work must truly be our own.

 
At 5:50 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is no real surprise to me. It has been documented and collaborated by his own allies and friends that Bush collected a group of supporters on the day of his second innauguration as Texas Governor where he stated that =GOD= wanted him to run for President.

Whether or not it is vanity, sin, or whatever...it is in character.

 
At 7:20 AM , Blogger Bill Baar said...

Re: Niebuhr: Peter Beinart's essay on Tough Liberalism describes Niebuhs founding of the Americans for Democratic Action together with Arthur Schlesinger, Walter Reuther, and Eleanor Roosevelt in response to Henry Wallace's brank of Liberalism which saw the United States and not the Soviet Union as the greatest threat to the world's Freedom.

Beinart farms today's question for today's liberals as this and I fear we have few Niebuhr's among us today to answer,

The fundamental divide is whether you believe that jihadist totalitarianism is produced by a lack of freedom and opportunity, or whether you believe that jihadist totalitarianism is created by American and Western imperialism. The Democratic Party has not fundamentally, internally decided about which of those it believes. Much of the Kerry campaign's inability to be totally coherent on these issues was, I believe, an attempt to straddle rifts in the party that had not yet come to an honest debate on this basic question.

What would liberal anti-totalitarianism mean today?

 

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home