I am a Christian idealist, and that has come out in a variety of ways over the past few weeks. I compared myself to Jefferson Smith from Mr. Smith Goes to Washington because of his idealism. I voted for Michael A Maturen for President of the United States because I do not believe that it is wise to compromise your values and vote for the lesser of two evils.
Before we go any further, I want to specify what I mean by idealism. I am not using it in a philosophical sense. I am also not using it in an eschatological sense. Rather, I am using the popular definition of idealism. Therefore, whenever you read idealism in the upcoming series, please remember that I am speaking about someone who is full of hope, even if it seems to be an entirely false hope, and would rather remain committed to ideals.
However, I want to take a little bit of time to talk about idealism from a Christian worldview. Is it responsible for a Christian to simultaneously be an idealist? After all, Christianity teaches that we live in a fallen world. In other words, we live in a world that is inherently corrupted. Ever since the Fall, this world has been stained with the blemish of sin. Idealism certainly seems inconsistent with this type of worldview . We’re never going to reach the ideal, so it might seem kind of irresponsible of me to aim for something that is never going to be achievable.
Similarly, again, as a Christian, I don’t only believe that the world around us is fallen. Our intellect is fallen as well. As a result, my conception of what might be the ideal outcome in any given situation could be incredibly wrong. I might think that a certain law will have positive effects, but because I’m not intellectually perfect, I can certainly be wrong. Even my will is fallen. I might want something that is entirely wrong. My idealism might be entirely contrary to the will of God if I’m not careful and don’t listen to God’s leading.
Therefore, idealism is something that we need to enter into carefully and cautiously. This is going to be a rather substantial series in order to address this as completely as I possibly can.
For the remainder of this week, we’re going to talk about what Christian idealism is and what idealism is not. Following that, for the next week, I’m going to put together some thoughts about each of the two objections outlined above. Why would I even bother being an idealist in a world that is inherently corrupted and will be that way until Jesus Christ returns and sets it right? Why should I even trust my own ideals in the first place? Perhaps my own idealism is going totally opposite from what God would want.
Finally, there will be a series of posts reconciling all of this. Once we know what idealism is and address some common objections, I will wrap this entire thing up with some practical conclusions about being a Christian idealist. Obviously, as one who identifies as a Christian idealist, I believe it is possible to be both simultaneously, so I hope you will enjoy this series.