Labels such as liberal or conservative almost always mislead, especially when applied theologically. Whilst insisting that I am not a Christian conservative I do, as a Calvinist, reluctantly accept the designation of conservative Christian. This can give rise to challenges, especially from those who rarely think, that there is little difference between conservative Christians and conservative Muslims, by which they mean Islamists.
Indisputably surface similarities between conservative Christians and main-line Muslims exist. Both groups believe in and order their lives by what they hold to be divine revelation. Both are appalled by the moral relativism of society. Both reject the glorification of violence, vulgarity and promiscuity prevalent in society. Respect for education, the family and an enviable work ethic, once the mark of working class Scottish culture, are everyday attitudes amongst our Muslim communities today.
Whilst there are social similarities between the conservative Christian and the mainstream Muslim there are vast differences between the conservative Christian and the Islamist. Let me assure you that, despite what Dawkins implies, just because I believe in God and have a beard does not mean that I wish to explode airliners in mid-flight.
The conservative Christian wishes to see our society flourish. We want our civilisation to rediscover it own foundations. The Judeo-Christian principles and values which undergird our culture have been eroded. The gradual chipping away which has accelerated under post-modernism has left our society resting on increasingly shaky foundations. The conservative Christian wishes to see our culture restored, free and vibrant.
To do this we are willing to engage with the secular modernist on the basis of rational discussion of objective evidence. Try as you might it is impossible to engage with post-modernists who have deliberately abandoned rationality and plunged into a miasma of mindboggling circumlocution.
Christians uphold the primacy of truth John 17:17, want to use reason I Peter 3:15, and value the dignity of the individual Genesis 1:27. The Islamist violently rejects these, they are to be overthrown, not by rational argument but by military assault.
The difference in tactics arises from the vast differenced in theological foundation. Reformed Christians, like most other Christians, place an enormous emphasis on the personal significance and responsibility of the individual. Only the Pollyannas of neo-Protestantism are so enamoured of the touchy feely they see humanity through pink tinted soft focus where all ills are the fault of society. Realist Christians know that what the individual thinks and does is her or his personal responsibility. We dignify people and show them the respect of taking them seriously as responsible individuals.
The Islamist has no respect for the individual as an individual. The purpose and dignity of the individual can only be found as he or she acts as a vehicle for the dictates of Allah. This means that there can be no acceptable human position other than complete submission to Allah, the very meaning of the word Islam.
This means that for the Islamist the only acceptable form of government is a theocracy. Western democracy, which we hold to be essential to civil freedom, is for the Islamist a subjugation to man’s basest instincts, it is open rebellion against Allah.
Without recovery of the foundational concepts of our civilisation we will be unable to confront those whose stated aim is to destroy us.