Liberalism as a White Man's Religion
Mark Driscoll has some very interesting comments on liberalism (the religious kind) and its insistence that all religious beliefs are equally valid. Basically, he looks at what's going on in the Episcopal church and says this infatuation with religious tolerance it has all the earmarks of a "white man's religion." Here's the crux of his comments:
In a curious plot twist, last summer the African bishops of the Anglican Church showed up unannounced at the family feud to condemn their liberal American counterparts as heretics promoting a different religion. American Episcopalians now have their robes in a bind trying to figure out how to spin their defense as Civil Rights nobility: the generally white, educated, and affluent First World American women and homosexuals fighting unjust opposition at the hands of generally black, less educated, and less affluent Third World African heterosexuals.Did you catch that? What he's saying here is that 'religious tolerance' is actually a product of a specific culture: the rich, white, upper-middle class, American/European (liberal) religious establishment. In other words, religious liberalism is biased to allow us Westerners to do whatever we want (with whomever we want). Driscoll points out that this 'anything goes' attitude is actually antagonistic to the religious convictions of the new center of Christendom - poor, ethnic, non-white Christians in the southern hemisphere (think Africa and South America).
Admittedly, whatever one’s position on the issue you have to admire the Africans’ willingness to lean over the plate and take one for their team. In doing so they have exposed three very glaring weaknesses of liberal American Protestantism:
- The liberal insistence that all religious beliefs are equally valid is a very white, Western European bias left over from the Enlightenment’s concept of knowledge and values. This bias has no right to be preeminent over other views, including heterosexual black African fundamentalism.
- The Bible’s stance on homosexuality and feminism is "offensive" because of cultural prejudices held by white Americans; the controversy is not universal and is therefore little more than a form of cultural discrimination masquerading as tolerant open-mindedness.
- The moral outrage expressed by liberals in defense of feminism and homosexuality is hypocrisy because while they espouse tolerance of all views (especially those from the Third World), they disdain the African position. They’ve exposed themselves as equally narrow-minded fundamentalists.
Regardless of what you think about Driscoll (or the issue of feminism/homosexuality), the point he's raising deserves consideration. What makes relativism a 'better' value than the idea that some things are right and some things are wrong?
I'd love to get some feedback from those of you who would be sympathetic to the liberal positions here. Specifically, what do you think of Driscolls argument, and why?