I got a lot of hate mail last week in response to my column about Joel Osteen. Much of the hate mail was from the usual sources. But much of it came from so-called conservative atheists. These conservative unbelievers thought I should stop talking about my religious views on a conservative “political” website. But I refuse to do so for two reasons: 1) Because God is a conservative. 2) Because Joel Osteen is bad for both Christianity and conservatism.
The assertion that God is a conservative may sound strange to some. But I’m completely serious. A conservative is simply one who believes that man is born with a propensity to do evil things and that this propensity has important implications for the way we govern.
For example, the conservative believes the hedonistic tendencies of all men require a strong emphasis on family values. Children must be taught such values at an early age lest their hedonistic tendencies translate into criminal conduct. This is just one of the many ways that religion and politics intersect.
Of course, the conservative also believes there must be a backup plan to prevent crime among citizens who have not internalized certain values. That backup plan involves punishment, which is swift, certain, and severe. Conservatives talk about punishment because it is necessary given the conservative view of human nature.
That same view of human nature requires that we conduct foreign policy through a position of strength. Just as we want a potential criminal to fear transgression against our laws, we want rogue nations to be fearful of the consequences of military aggression.
But the liberal will have none of this. He believes that man is innately good. Therefore, the liberal considers it the duty of the criminal justice system to “reeducate” the criminal who was doing just fine before he was corrupted by “bad” society.
Because he sees man as good, the liberal sees war as nothing more than a terrible misunderstanding. Such “misunderstandings” are best prevented by diplomacy. Bombs are not needed. We only need the United Nations (and good translators).
God is not neutral in this debate. He holds the conservative view of human nature. He is the original Author of that view. In Genesis 3, it is made abundantly clear that man will not experience utopia on this planet. Two humans cannot follow one simple rule in order to live a life of bliss on earth. Man constantly seeks to compete and to get ahead. And he trips over others in the process.