What Does “Liberal” Mean?

2014 Pastoral Visit of Pope Francis to Korea Closing Mass for Asian Youth Day  August 17, 2014  Haemi Castle, Seosan-si, Chungcheongnam-do  Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism Korean Culture and Information Service Korea.net (www.korea.net)  Official Photographer : Jeon Han This official Republic of Korea photograph is being made available only for publication by news organizations and/or for personal printing by the subject(s) of the photograph. The photograph may not be manipulated in any way. Also, it may not be used in any type of commercial, advertisement, product or promotion that in any way suggests approval or endorsement from the government of the Republic of Korea. If you require a photograph without a watermark, please contact us via Flickr e-mail. --------------------------------------------------------------- 교황 프란치스코 방한 제6회 아시아 청년대회 폐막미사 2014-08-17 충청남도 서산시 해미읍성 문화체육관광부 해외문화홍보원 코리아넷  전한The Pope’s visit to America is getting full media coverage and because of this, so is the difference between “conservative” and “liberal.” Years ago my Hasidic friend of many decades told me. “John, I have much more in common with you, religiously, than with any liberal Jew.” And just today I heard a Baptist pastor on TV say that he had much more in common with Pope Francis and the Catholics he knew than with any liberal Baptist pastors. I would say this is true for me too. Pope Francis is much closer to me as an Evangelical Presbyterian Church minister than any liberal Presbyterian minister would ever be. It makes me wonder if the term “liberal” really cancels any noun it modifies. This would mean that a liberal Christian is not a Christian. A liberal Jew, per my friend, is not a Jew. Although this thought looks like it might be provocative or offensive, it really is not meant to be. “Liberal” is just a funny word. It really is a negation. To be liberal is to be at odds with the original meaning of a thing. It is to present oneself as superior to the original meaning of a thing. Liberals know better in their minds than conservatives. This is the DNA of liberalism. Liberalism always views itself as an improvement over the original meaning of a thing. Those of us who are conservative disagree. The Bible, life, God, and faith for us must be what they always were, or else they lose all meaning.

2 Replies to “What Does “Liberal” Mean?”

  1. Thank you for this blog to post our thoughts or views. That is a good insight on what “Liberal” can do when added to one’s personal “worldview” or beliefs.
    Last night we were reading some comments from the Pope’s visit to America, below is an excerpt of what he said:

    “We know that no religion is immune from forms of individual delusion or ideological extremism. This means that we must be especially attentive to every type of fundamentalism, whether religious or of any other kind. A delicate balance is required to combat violence perpetrated in the name of a religion, an ideology or an economic system, while also safeguarding religious freedom, intellectual freedom and individual freedoms. But there is another temptation which we must especially guard against: the simplistic reductionism which sees only good or evil; or, if you will, the righteous and sinners.”

    While no Christian worth their salts wants hurt to come to any people of any kind, there is something in some of this wording that makes my Bible step back and say: “Whoa now”. Words have meaning. Jesus calls us to life, and to walk in redemption; yes, from Liberalism, but also from religious good works. I’d say our family resonates more with the Orthodox Jews, and some conservative, Catholics if it were choice of Conservatives of similar faith.

    But without Christ alone, and Him on the throne, it could all end up as Monism or Ecumenism anyway. More importantly, despite man’s favor and good works, Jesus and His word often speak of righteous and sinners and we know there is always distinction. That is: true salvation. After all, why did Jesus come to the world, but to save sinners, redeem them to be His kids, and bring them His righteousness. There are conservatives, after all, that don’t have saving faith. Liked Mother Teresa ‘though, cool girl in Him.

  2. The word “liberal” seems closely aligned with “tolerant” – both have negative connotation to me. “Liberal” means less stringent, e.g., I’ll give you or me a pass on this one – here’s some leeway – go and be well. “Tolerant” means less annoyed or affronted, e.g., even though I don’t agree I am purposefully choosing a reaction that will not upset you.

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