Mises.org has an interesting article entitled, “Socialists vs. Civil Society“. It is worth reading as a provocation to thoughts on the religious underpinning of moral philosophy and political philosophy in western civilisation.
As I was musing about the article, I recalled my previous thoughts, written in a post here at AATW, about tolerance. Without a shared philosophical framework, derived from the truth of the Judeo-Christian God, no society can last forever.
The Christian concept of toleration, advocated by authors such as John Locke, was based on Judeo-Christian ideas about objective truth. Toleration in Locke’s framework was a concession to the frailty of our consciences. It is an epistemological concept, placed in an ethical and political context.
Objective truth is presupposed, and allowances are made for those at variance with it. Their variance, however, is neither lauded nor permitted to spread beyond certain bounds.
The modern ideologies that have wrapped their tentacles around our culture and institutions are not part of Locke’s doctrine. Locke’s framework can be understood as a development of the principles found in John’s account of the woman caught in adultery. Christ criticised the hypocrisy of those who would judge the woman, but He did not condone her behaviour: He told her to repent of it.
The modern “tolerance” framework knows nothing of Christ’s principles found in John’s Gospel. In its denial of objective truth, it sows the seeds of destruction for civil society. Society needs more than internal consistency – not that the modern ideologies provide even that much – it needs to be connected to objective reality.
For most of our history this last criterion has been unsatisfied. Without Christ, man is apart from God. Christ is the basis for a lasting civil society. His is, in real terms, the only kingdom.