I see that there might be some misconceptions about what a Christian idealist really is. I thought I would use today to clear up some misconceptions that you might have about Christian idealism.
I said this on Monday, but because there are some other uses of Christian idealism, I want to clarify that I’m not using this in the philosophical or eschatological sense. I’m using the popular definition of idealism. I’m speaking about one who is full of hope, even if it seems to be an entirely false hope, and would rather remain committed to ideals.
I think I need to clarify this misconception that Christian idealism is incredibly naïve. I don’t think it is naïve for a Christian to have hope in a fallen world. After all, if we are Christians, we believe in an all-powerful God. Not only that, but we believe in a God who is love. Therefore, why would I not have hope? Like I wrote on Wednesday, I know that our world is a fallen place, but we can never forget a few verses of 1 John 4.
“You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world” (1 John 4:4, NIV).
“This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins” (1 John 4:10, NIV).
Therefore, I really don’t see it as naïve when the God of the universe is involved.
On the flipside, I think that some people might feel that Christian idealism as I have described it is incredibly pessimistic. Even in my last defense talking about hope, I referred to this assumption that this world is a pretty messed up place. You might want to argue that the world is a pretty good place and is continually progressing.
It doesn’t take very long to find evidence to the contrary. There is evil going on everywhere, and for those of us who live here in the United States, we’re spared from a lot of obvious violence that is ravaging so many other parts of the world. It is truly horrendous. Therefore, when I use even rather tame language to say that the world is fallen and not perfect, I really don’t think that you should call me a pessimist. Rather, as I said the other day, realism is a much more appropriate descriptor.
It is important to recognize that Christian idealism is not naïve or pessimistic. Rather, it is hopeful and realistic. It is a dedication to understanding that God is exactly who He says He is. It is a dedication to realizing that we don’t need to be slaves to our situation. We don’t need to buy into the opposing lies that there is nothing we can do to fix our world or that our world is perfect. Instead, we embrace the truth that there is one great Hope for mankind, and our mission is to follow Him and do what we can to help people understand that Truth.
Next week, it is going to be a little bit more of a philosophical discussion about why bother trying to change a world that is inherently sinful and why how we can follow our own ideas that could potentially be faulty anyway.