What is your definition of a Liberal?

Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by Wisdom Seeker, Apr 26, 2003.

  1. Wisdom Seeker

    Wisdom Seeker
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2002
    Messages:
    5,702
    Likes Received:
    0
    Someone just took something I said about language and said "That's liberals for you" and it got me to thinking. What does this word really mean? What are they trying to say? I got the impression that it wasn't good, but after looking the word up, I don't know why.

    This is what my dictionary gives as a description:

    liberal adj. Abbr. lib.
    1.a. Not limited to or by established, traditional, orthodox, or authoritarian attitudes, views, or dogmas; free from bigotry.
    b. Favoring proposals for reform, open to new ideas for progress, and tolerant of the ideas and behavior of others; broad-minded.
    c. Of, relating to, or characteristic of liberalism. d. Of, designating, or characteristic of a political party founded on or associated with principles of social and political liberalism, especially in Great Britain, Canada, and the United States.


    I would really like to know what you all think this word means. Because quite frankly I identify with the description above in many ways...but never considered myself "a liberal" probably because the term is usually used with such disdain that it couldn't possibly apply to someone like me.

    What does "Liberal" mean to you? And what exactly are you really saying when you call another person a liberal ?

    Thanks,
    Laurenda
     
  2. Tim

    Tim
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2001
    Messages:
    967
    Likes Received:
    0
    I don't think dictionary definitions apply here. Religiously, liberals believe that "mercy" is greater than truth. Politically, how you "feel" about an issue is more important than the facts. It's being out of balance toward the emotional side. And yes, you can be out of balance the other way, too--hence I like the term "compassionate conservative" (at least in theory).

    In Christ,

    Tim
     
  3. Wisdom Seeker

    Wisdom Seeker
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2002
    Messages:
    5,702
    Likes Received:
    0
    You don't think dictionary definitions of a word in the English language apply here?

    I think this is another case of Christians adding their own connontations to words and making them fit what they want.

    I think some words in the English language have been altered somehow and are taking on the characteristics of a sub culture , much like Ebonics or Southern.

    Perhaps there should be a Christian word dictionary...for alternate definitions of words than what they mean in common every day English. .

    This just baffles me.

    In Christ,
    Laurenda
     
  4. Baptist Bible Believer

    Baptist Bible Believer
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2002
    Messages:
    165
    Likes Received:
    0
    BBB:

    Fine, Let us just consider the evidence as provided by your dictionary and consider the word - Liberal.

    First, however, I do not believe that Tim was saying that we ought to just throw out our dictionaries as he is admitting to the fact that the essence of some words are not easily captured by a dictionary unless it was published yesterday, and even then may be outdated by next week. This is because word meanings are constantly changing - especially a buzzword like "liberal".

    Anyway.

    The dictionary definition of liberal again:

    liberal adj. Abbr. lib.
    1.a. Not limited to or by established, traditional, orthodox, or authoritarian attitudes, views, or dogmas; free from bigotry.


    -- In understanding the word liberal, one can only understand it in the context of its being an opposite of conservative.

    A conservative holds to an established Book - the completed canon of the inerrant, verbally inspired Word of GOD - that is to say, a static document.

    A liberal, on the other hand, considers the Bible to be in flux - still dynamic in the sense that it meant one thing back in those days but it can mean something entirely different in these days.

    A liberal would accept much easier the notion that GOD is still revealing truth today - not limited to an old dusty book.

    A liberal would naturally hold to a view of interpretation that insists that the Bible contains the Word of GOD but that not all of it is necessarily the His Word. Within this camp are the notions that the Bible contains only the opinions of the apostles and not the actual thoughts of GOD.

    How often have I been referred to personally as a "bigot" because of my view that the Bible IS the Word of GOD from Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22:21.


    b. Favoring proposals for reform, open to new ideas for progress, and tolerant of the ideas and behavior of others; broad-minded.


    According to this part of the definition, a liberal would be one that would say that the church needs to change to fit its culture and generation. That the Bible needs to be reevaluated and simplified by modern methods of translation. A liberal would want the church to be a "big umbrella" wherein all are accepted - whether they hold to a new age theology or none at all. A liberal often objects to the use of the word "Christian" as it tends to exclusivity.

    A liberal would clamor for the ordination of homosexuals, for instance. They would accept gay men as Sunday School teachers for their young children.

    A liberal is open to new ideas, such as the idea that Salvation in its present form is simply passe, and that we much make room for those that were saved while chanting to the earth mother or after hugging a tree. A liberal would consider it in bad taste to insist that "there is one name given under heaven whereby men must be saved . . ."


    c. Of, relating to, or characteristic of liberalism. d. Of, designating, or characteristic of a political party founded on or associated with principles of social and political liberalism, especially in Great Britain, Canada, and the United States.



    -- The liberal mindset is open fodder for the concept of a one world government ruled by the United Nations. My goodness, if the liberals had their say, children would still be in prison in Iraq.


    So, even from your limitations of using the dictionary definition, I believe that it is still possible to see the insiduous talons of the god of the world in the liberal mind.

    And wisdomseekers, the Churches are full of them.
     
  5. Wisdom Seeker

    Wisdom Seeker
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2002
    Messages:
    5,702
    Likes Received:
    0
    If you would like to know which scriptures I got my user name from, all you need to do is ask. But if you meant this to be insulting, please explain why you feel that is appropriate.

    I think that the Bible is not static...I think it's God's living word, it's as true today as it was 2,000 years ago,and it will be just as true tomorrow.

    I am however open minded and I am not a bigot...I'm for the understanding of fellow human beings, and I don't think it's okay to throw the term of Liberal around so cavalierly as if it was a weapon. Jesus loved sinners and believers, Jesus loved people that had different religious beliefs. I'm not sure why we as Christians who are supposed to fashion ourselves after Christs teachings don't adopt this doctrine more readily. My Pastor often says "Hate the sin, love the sinner" The Bible says "Be angry and sin not" I believe that is what this scripture means.

    I think Christ himself would be considered a liberal by some Christians of today. And it makes me shake my head in wonder. Have we lost our way? Labels aren't who we are? This is trivializing people by attaching labels to anything that opposes us...this is bigottry.

    The Bible says to be not unequally yoked with unbelievers. It doesn't say to treat people who are saved, who disagree with our standards and doctrine, etc. as if they should be hated.

    This is one of the things that seems to be a contradiction to me...Christians are supposed to be Christ like. God is love. Christ is God. Why aren't some Christians more like love?

    Name calling just provides more excuses for Christians to justify acting ungodly. I don't like it. It doesn't make sense to me.

    Can we please get back to the topic now? I think we might be vering off topic a little.

    In Christ,
    Laurenda [​IMG]

    [ April 28, 2003, 12:57 AM: Message edited by: Wisdom Seeker ]
     
  6. Lace

    Lace
    Expand Collapse
    Guest

    Hi Laurenda......

    "Someone just took something I said about language and said "That's liberals for you" and it got me to thinking. What does this word really mean? What are they trying to say? I got the impression that it wasn't good, but after looking the word up, I don't know why."


    I am the "someone" that made the comment you base your opening post on. You are very perceptive...I did not mean it to be flattering..."liberal" is yet another fine example of how modern meaning has little in common with "tradional" definition. "Liberal" has taken on a whole new meaning.....or twisted meaning....and is a "lable" for the "left-wing" sector of the population whether it be the religious crowd or the political crowd. They seem to think their "broader-minded" viewpoint is a superior viewpoint. To them "fundamentalist" is a slur directed to those they believe to be "narrow-minded" because they are not willing to change with the tide.......and call sin sin and wrong wrong and don't recognize shades of gray.

    The why factor is merely a matter of fact.
     
  7. Baptist Bible Believer

    Baptist Bible Believer
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2002
    Messages:
    165
    Likes Received:
    0
    wisdomseeker writes:

    "I think that the Bible is not static...I think it's God's living word, it's as true today as it was 2,000 years ago,and it will be just as true tomorrow. I am however open minded and I am not a bigot...I'm for the evolution of understanding of fellow human beings, and I don't think it's okay to throw the term of Liberal around so cavalierly as of we had some right to."

    BBB:

    Perhaps you need to define for yourself what the Word "Static" means.

    Something that is dynamic is changing constantly. The Word of GOD is certainly a living document but it is not a changing document.

    If you do not agree with this, what part of the Bible would you like to change?
     
  8. Wisdom Seeker

    Wisdom Seeker
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2002
    Messages:
    5,702
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hi Lace,

    Your post just got me to thinking. Thank you for takiing the time to post to this thread.

    The thing is I am an Independent Fundamental, Bible Believing, Born Again, Saved By Grace alone Christian. But I also identify with the dictionary description for liberal, because the definition I found, doesn't seem to say anything negative...the way it seems to when used by Christians today.

    Just like the word Feminist. I never thought of myself as a feminist because it's a word that is always said with such a negative connontation. Then one day, I looked it up in my dictionary...and I said to myself...what's wrong with that?

    My head is spinnning. I'm serious...I think that we should write a new dictionary... maybe an English to Christian English dictionary...for people like me, who like things to make more sense.

    Wisdom Seeker
     
  9. Lace

    Lace
    Expand Collapse
    Guest

    Hello Wisdom Seeker

    I think a different dictionary would be a great benefit, too. However, I would not opt for a new one. My dictionary of choice is American Dicionary Of The English Language .... Noah Webster 1828.

    In 1828....the word "feminist" was not a word. There were no feminist!

    In 1828....queer meant odd or unusual...strange.

    In 1828....gay was happy.

    In 1828 society had not progressed to the level of degradation we see today.

    Wow.....
     
  10. Wisdom Seeker

    Wisdom Seeker
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2002
    Messages:
    5,702
    Likes Received:
    0
    Static: adj.
    1.a. Having no motion; being at rest; quiescent. b. Fixed; stationary.
    2. Physics. Of or relating to bodies at rest or forces that balance each other.
    3. Electricity. Of, relating to, or producing stationary charges; electrostatic.
    4. Of, relating to, or produced by random radio noise.

    Is this another word that means something different to you than it does to me? Static is often a characteristic that is applied to inanimate objects like tables, chairs or the dead.

    What would I change in the Bible?...nothing...I don't have a problem with the Bible...I have a problem with commonly accepted Christian language which is contradictory to the English language. Quite often as in the case of the word, Liberal, with the description that has been attached to it by modern day Christians...isn't found in the Bible anyway. Why would you make that comment?

    I would appreciate it if you would try to stick to the topic. This thread is about the word Liberal and it's various meanings. Thanks.

    Wisdom Seeker

    [ April 26, 2003, 11:13 PM: Message edited by: Wisdom Seeker ]
     
  11. Wisdom Seeker

    Wisdom Seeker
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2002
    Messages:
    5,702
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks Lace...in 1828...woman would probably not be allowed to discuss the Bible let alone read it...and in that day and age, not many woman were considered much more than chatel. We've come a long way since then. P.T.L.

    [ April 26, 2003, 11:49 PM: Message edited by: Wisdom Seeker ]
     
  12. Baptist Bible Believer

    Baptist Bible Believer
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2002
    Messages:
    165
    Likes Received:
    0
    Tables and chairs are often considered as static. Tables can also be considered as dynamic.

    I am a DataBase Administrator and a table is the underlying element that stores data in the database. So I hope you will cut me some slack here. Words are to be defined according to their contextual use.

    I am not here to question your faith. However, if you are going to ask a question and don't want us to give you an honest response - perhaps you should not ask the question.

    I see the Bible as a "Fixed" document. The liberal does not.

    Perhaps we are somehow mincing semantics here. Proverbs tells us that the "liberal soul shall be made fat." This speaks of the generous giver to the LORD's work and to the needs of the poor.

    Just as our sister Lace mentioned, many words have both a negative and a positive connotation. It is also true that some words did not exist.

    What I was telling you earlier is that a word's meaning is determined by its use: i.e., its context.

    If you ask me to define a liberal politician or a liberal preacher - you are probably going to get the negative use. On the other hand, if you asked me what a liberal Christian is, I would probably quote to you Proverbs 11:25, because, in the negative sense, a "liberal Christian" is an oxymoron.
     
  13. Lace

    Lace
    Expand Collapse
    Guest

    "Thanks Lace...in 1828...woman would probably not be allowed to discuss the Bible let alone read it...and in that day and age, not many woman were considered much more than chatel. We've come a long way baby. P.T.L."

    "We've come a long way baby. P.T.L."

    Poppycock!

    Interesting a cigarette slogan would be used to make that point.

    See how easily entwined into our "Christian" thinking and vocabulary world standards are.

    "Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made."

    I bet that subtle serpent had Eve convinced she "had come a long way" until she had her next meeting in the garden with God.
     
  14. Wisdom Seeker

    Wisdom Seeker
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2002
    Messages:
    5,702
    Likes Received:
    0
    If you want to discuss whether a person thinks the Bible is living or dead, or whether a person wants to change it...than maybe you should start your own thread. This one isn't about that....no matter how much you try to lead it in that direction, sorry.

    I think you already provided a lot of thoughts on the word Liberal. Thank you so much for your contrabution.

    Laurenda [​IMG]
     
  15. Baptist Bible Believer

    Baptist Bible Believer
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2002
    Messages:
    165
    Likes Received:
    0
    What a cop-out. If you want to discuss whether a person thinks the Bible is living or dead, or whether a person wants to change it...than maybe you should start your own thread. This one isn't about that....no matter how much you try to lead it in that direction, sorry.

    I think you already provided a lot of thoughts on the word Liberal. Thank you so much for your contrabution.

    Laurenda:wavey:
    </font>[/QUOTE]Your OP Question was:

    What does "Liberal" mean to you? And what exactly are you really saying when you call another person a liberal ?

    I'm sorry for copping-out, I thought you wanted an answer to this question: "What does "Liberal" mean to you? And what exactly are you really saying when you call another person a liberal?"

    Apparently you meant something else.
     
  16. Pennsylvania Jim

    Pennsylvania Jim
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2000
    Messages:
    7,693
    Likes Received:
    0
    I'll share a few thoughts then dive for my foxhole.

    Laurenda, words in popular usage pick up baggage along the way that must be considered as well as the dictionary definition.

    For example, if you were in a good mood, would you go around telling people "I'm gay"?

    Sure, by the dictionary definition there would be no confusion. But, it would be understood by the popular usage, not the dictionary definition. So, if I were a betting man, I'd put my money on the side that says that you don't use the term "gay" to describe yourself.

    To understand the term "liberal" and its usage, one thing that needs consideration is some recent church history. In the early 20th century there were great upheavals in the mainline Protestant denominations. Arguments over big things, such as the Deity of Christ, the Blood Atonement, the nature of Scripture, etc. etc. In the terminology of the day, the two sides became labeled "Fundamentalists" and "Liberals". Those terms have stuck...in fact, you used one of them to describe yourself, and the other is the topic of your thread here.

    I don't particularly like labels. And, you are correct that we should better understand the real meaning of words. But, like it or not, labels are almost a necessity, or else it would take an essay to say what we express in a few sentences.

    So, to answer your question "what does liberal mean to you?"...well, it depends on how you difine it. ;)
     
  17. Artimaeus

    Artimaeus
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2002
    Messages:
    3,133
    Likes Received:
    0
    liberal adj. Abbr. lib.
    1.a. Not limited to or by established, traditional, orthodox, or authoritarian attitudes, views, or dogmas; free from bigotry.


    The degree to which you consider yourself diverse from the established, traditional, orthodox, or authoritarian attitudes, views, or dogmas is the degree to which you could be considered a liberal. If you are diverse from the established view that Jesus is the only way to heaven then you are a liberal according to your quoted definition and that would be a bad thing. This does not mean that you are a liberal if you are diverse in ANY of these ideas but that you are a liberal if it is a gererally defined characteristic of your positions on these same ideas. If, as I am, you are generally in agreement with the traditional (etc) views then you would be considered a conservative. According to the American Heritage Dictionary a bigot is defined as a person who is intolerantly convinced of a particular creed, opinion, practice, etc. If you tolerate (put up with) those who are in conflict with your convinced creed (your Christian beliefs) inside your home, church, or anywhere you have the authority to do something about it, then, you are indeed free from bigotry. Liberals believe that if I stand up for what I believe that that is bigotry and a bad thing. They want us to be free from that and not stand up for our beliefs. They are the only ones who can do so. Do you stand up for your beliefs when faced with conflict? If so, then you are not a liberal but a bigot and that is a good thing.

    b. Favoring proposals for reform, open to new ideas for progress, and tolerant of the ideas and behavior of others; broad-minded.

    Everyone is in favor of reform if the form is wrong. What makes a liberal a liberal is that reform is automatically viewed as a good thing whether reform is needed or not. No one believes that ALL change is good and no one believes that NO change is good. We are all somewhere in the middle and the designation of liberal vs conservative depends on the degree to which one leans toward one or the other of those two concepts. New ideas for progress is also a good thing but what makes a liberal a liberal is that they think they get to define progress and new ideas tend to be v iewed favorably whether they are actually progressive or not. The last part of definition (b) may be the most twisted of all. I am tolerant of the ideas and the behavior of others (If they are right). I am intolerant of the ideas and behavior of others (if they are wrong). A liberal is someone who is tolerant of the ideas and the behavior of others even when they are wrong. Broad-minded doesn't mean you are willing to listen to other opinions but that you are willing to accept as equally legitimate other opinions with which you disagree.

    I am a liberal AND I can be a conservative given your defintion if I get to determine what all of the connotations of each phrase in the definition means.
     
  18. Wisdom Seeker

    Wisdom Seeker
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2002
    Messages:
    5,702
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thank you Pennsylvania Jim and Artemeas, I appreciate your posts more than I can convey in words...was that a pun? I didn't mean it to be...anyway. Your posts were more in line with what I was hoping for when I asked the question.

    Thank You so much...You guys are great. [​IMG]

    In Christ,
    Laurenda
     
  19. Daniel David

    Daniel David
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2002
    Messages:
    5,316
    Likes Received:
    0
    Laurenda, liberals are those people who are on the left side of me on any issue. I am a bona-fide biblicists so I must be right.
     
  20. Wisdom Seeker

    Wisdom Seeker
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2002
    Messages:
    5,702
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hi P.T.W., How's the baby? Glad you could post to this thread, I was hoping you would. I have never questioned your love of God or your earnest responses using the Bible as your authority. But to be honest, I sometimes disagree with you, not on what the Bible says, but sometimes your interpretation vs. mine of what it means. I have a great deal of respect for you. And I think of us as being on the same side. I hope you will agree.
    ***********************************************************************************************


    This thread was only meant to help me better understand what a word that I don't use myself means, and why the description that I looked up, didn't convey the anger and emotion with which it is sometimes used towards people by Christians. When it was used by someone here, it got me to thinking and I posted this thread so as not to go off topic on the other one.

    I'm sorry to say that because I earnestly wanted to understand something that I was having trouble understanding, and was bold enough to ask "why?" I have left myself open to somehow become a target. It happens sometimes, when a topic has some emotionality attached to it.

    I don't mind if someone disagrees with my thoughts or opinions, that is the nature of debate, occasionally I gain a new understanding and change my opinion based on what people here convey to me. I try to remain flexible to that. I know this is a debate forum, but I felt being a fundamental baptist and this being a term that is commonly used by people who are fundamental baptists, this would be a good place to ask it.

    But I think some responses on this thread went off topic and could have been left out of the discussion to maintain the peace. I ask you all to forgive me if in some way I insighted this in any way.

    In Christ,
    Laurenda

    Please Lord renew a right spirit in me and fortify me with your word and your grace. Please forgive me if I have done anything to make you ashamed of me or have hurt another person here in any way. I desire to do your will, and keep my own testimony for you Lord. Please give me the strength to be able to take critisim, without personal offense or heartache. Please protect the Baptist Board from strife, and make us post the truth in love. Please give me your words or keep me silent Lord. In Jesus Name, Amen
     

Share This Page

Loading...