I really like being a Christian, and I could list quite a few reasons for that affection, none of which could come under the heading: Because it is easy.
In fact, by no means my favorite thing about being a Christian, but one thing I like a lot, is that the Firstborn, He who laid down the principles and revealed the doctrines of the faith, made a point of forcing His followers to think. Like adults.
As a result, while some Christian communities have certainly opposed the effort, I have always found a great liberty to think closely and carefully about – well, everything.
Take politics, for example.
There is no “Christian” theory of politics. Should we have a king? Well, God always intended to give Israel one, so it must be OK.
Or should we be a republic? Calvin sure seemed to lean that way.
I could go on and on with the options, but the great thing is, Christianity is not a religion of abstract speculation. If there is a political principle to the Bible it would seem to be summed up in one or two words, “adaptation,” or “sensitivity.”
Maybe an even better word would be reverence.
So no Christian can point to either the Bible or their own tradition and say, “This is the divinely inspired form of government that we should incorporate on earth.”
Good thing too, because if the Bible did say that, people would bloody each other to make it happen. In fact, I think too much attention paid to forms of government distracts people from the principles of sound politics, the core of which is the question: How can we produce virtuous citizens, in this time and in this place.
I got thinking about this joyful lightness of responsible thought while reading about the Swiss vote to outlaw minarets in this article. The connection may not be obvious, but that’s because my mind leaps for joy sometimes.