Commentary: Liberalism is not mandatory

Magyar Nemzet columnist István Pálffy takes a look at Christianity.

editor: REMIX NEWS
author: István Pálffy

To consider what a Christian person is and how they relate to oft-mentioned liberty, I will begin by positing two things: 1. A Christian is free. 2. A Christian is helpful.

People nowadays examine this “Christian liberty” thing from various angles. There is ignorance and ridicule from the left – which we’ve become accustomed to – while on the right we find competing interpretations.

The very existence of Christian liberty is essentially philosophical. We should thus examine Christian liberty using all the tools philosophy puts at our disposal, not from a leftist political perspective.

The philosophical roots of Christian democracy go back milennia and it is a comprehensive world view, offering guidance in life, nature, knowledge and transcendent issues. Political thinking based on Christian ideas is also a complete belief system.

Logic thus dictates that the “life built on the ideal of Christian liberty” – as Prime Minister Viktor Orbán puts it – is a comprehensive system of ideas.

Comparatively, the liberal world view does not have a similarly deep and broad foundation. It plucks the individual out of the world, giving him only liberties, without any sense of social responsibility or commitment to nation and culture. Moreover, the very basics of liberalism, the first generation of human rights all have their roots in the teachings of St Paul.

“Christian liberty,” far from being a contradiction in terms, is in fact the foundation of the liberal ideals of freedom and human rights.

We have a difficult job in explaining to our liberal friends – or even more difficult in the case of someone from a fundamentally different, Asian culture – what Christian liberty stands for. Convincing Western public opinion about the legitimacy of Christian liberty does not look like a hopeless task. On the contrary, Anglo-Saxon cultures will understand references to John Locke, who said that faith cannot be forced.

By the same logic, liberal democracy shouldn’t be forced on anyone either. In a liberal democracy, personal faith has no field of interpretation while its values must be accepted unconditionally. This is why Christian liberty is a threat to liberal democracy: the Central European model of Christian liberty leaves everyone free to express their own identities.



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