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Progressive? Liberal?


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Guest wayfarer2k

What are the major differences between progressive and liberal viewpoints? Is there a difference? Are they synonymous? Why or why not?

 

(BTW, I'm not necessarily asking for doctrinal differences. I'm interested in any pragmatic differences also.)

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Sometimes they are the same thing. I have also heard that progressive might imply more of an attempt to encompass or include the "spiritual" and "personal" aspects of Christianity vs a more or less basically just being socially liberal social gospel.

 

 

--des

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Guest wayfarer2k
Sometimes they are the same thing. I have also heard that progressive might imply more of an attempt to encompass or include the  "spiritual"  and "personal" aspects of Christianity vs a more or less basically just being socially liberal social gospel.

 

 

--des

 

Thanks, Des.

 

Personally, I have no problem with a "social gospel". I think Jesus' gospel was both personal and social. So I have no problems with the term liberal either.

 

But I recently asked a moderator on another huge Christian forum to create a category for "progressive" Christians and the reply I received was that progressives and liberals are exactly the same thing. I don't think they necessarily are but I'm not sure if there are lines of division and what they are. In fact, I tend to think that progressives try to do away with the constant drawing of lines. :)

 

I don't mind at all being labeled a liberal. I'd rather gladly be in that camp than in conservative fundamentalism. But I wonder if the term "progressive" was invented because liberals didn't like being called liberals. :)

 

Or are there other factors?

 

wayfarer

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I think it depends on the person.

 

I went to m-w.com and Webster defines progressive as the following:

 

Main Entry: 1pro·gres·sive

Pronunciation: pr&-'gre-siv

Function: adjective

b : making use of or interested in new ideas, findings, or opportunities

 

or as a noun

 

Main Entry: 2progressive

Function: noun

b : one believing in moderate political change and especially social improvement by governmental action

 

 

liberal is defined as the following:

 

 

Main Entry: 1lib·er·al

Pronunciation: 'li-b(&-)r&l

Function: adjective

 

5 : BROAD-MINDED; especially : not bound by authoritarianism, orthodoxy, or traditional forms

 

 

Main Entry: 2liberal

Function: noun

: a person who is liberal: as a : one who is open-minded or not strict in the observance of orthodox, traditional, or established forms or ways

 

 

When I first heard "progressive" as in a progressive Christian I took it to mean just another word for liberal. Since a lot of conservatives use "liberal" as a "4 letter word" I suspect some decided to change labels. It also throws some off ;) I also think those who are turned off the label of liberal might be more comfortable using progressive.

 

Personally I differentiate liberal from progressive this way: Liberal pertains primiarly to how unimportant doctrine/dogma is to a person in comparison to social action and justice. I usually see progressives as being the thinking part of any group on the spectrum. They are the ones in the conservative movement who started to ask the questions about women's ordination. They are the ones who decided it was okay to have a Sunday school in a church (A prof. told a story about a church that split over the issue). Progressives, in my mind, are the ones who are challenging the status quo and never quite settled into a system of belief. So, in my mind, you can be progressive and be a fundamentalist. You might not last long there if you start talking about what you are thinking... but that is a different story.

Edited by October's Autumn
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Yeah, I think there is a bit of a stigma on the word "liberal". I said I was a liberal Christian to someone and she said "I hate that word 'liberal'." Why would she feel this way? It seems that conservatives have made it a "bad word". There is also a term a liberal problem with the word liberal. For example, a "white liberal" is a bad thing, or at least perhaps a well-meaning but not particularly smart one. OTOH, there is a long running feeling for the word "progressive" that goes way way back in US history.

 

Personally I am comfortable saying I am liberal though.

 

I think the word progressive means to me a little more than liberal. I also think the social gospel is a big part of the message Jesus.

 

 

--des

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  • 1 month later...
Yeah, I think there is a bit of a stigma on the word "liberal". I said I was a liberal Christian to someone and she said "I hate that word 'liberal'." Why would she feel this way? It seems that conservatives have made it a "bad word". --des

 

 

But many liberals also treat conservative as a bad word.

 

I'm floundering somewhere in between. The us/them mentality that is prevalent in evangelicalism is present on both sides of the political fence, and it is tiring. I would like to consider myself a progressive Christian, but not a politically liberal one (not necessarily conservative either--frankly, nothing really satisfies me).

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The word "liberal" was popularly and effectively demonized in the 1986 presidential campaign by George the First when he coined it as the "L word", meaning of course that subliminally it was akin to other unmentionable words that are popularly used in our everyday language.

 

Of course when that was done nobody spoke up to explain that practically every social improvement begun in 19th and 20th century America was a result of the liberalization of social policy through law. The works of John Dewey, Susan B. Anthony, and Jane Addams come most prominently to mind.

 

flow.... :(

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.

 

 

 

or as a noun

 

Main Entry: 2progressive

Function: noun

b : one believing in moderate political change and especially social improvement by governmental action

liberal is defined as the following:

 

 

Main Entry: 2liberal

Function: noun

: a person who is liberal: as a : one who is open-minded or not strict in the observance of orthodox, traditional, or established forms or ways

 

 

 

 

We must also consider the stigma of lawlessness and the nature of control. Liberals and conservatives must

both obey the law. Liberals are not under the control of conservatives. Liberals are free from control but not free to break the law. Some bad laws are made to enforce control. The constitution protects freedom of speech and freedom of religion.

 

I am glad I am a liberal under the law but not under the control of silence or religion. I respect the laws of physics and common sense. I am in doubt about the ACLU. Too extreme for me. Progressive describes my hope. I hope for inclusiveness of those bearing a stigma. I hope for inclusiveness of those not having access to universal healthcare, etc.

 

Dave :)

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I like the way you put that, Dave. I wholeheartedly agree.

 

 

 

My stigma is mental illness. I was diagnosed bipolar in 1990. I have had trouble with stability most of my life.

 

No obligation to respond you all, but would anyone like also to share a stigma? I realize this may or may not apply to you.

 

In a sharing mood,

 

Dave

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Dave:

 

If it's any comfort to you I believe that it's impossible to live in today's America and NOT have some sort of mental aberration. I feel that we are all under constant attack by our environment, especially in urban areas. However where I live now is better than where I used to try to be.

 

flow.... :blink:

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Dave:

 

If it's any comfort to you I believe that it's impossible to live in today's America and NOT have some sort of mental aberration. I feel that we are all under constant attack by our environment, especially in urban areas. However where I live now is better than where I used to try to be.

 

flow.... :blink:

 

 

Flow,

 

To be human is to acknowlege "I have a flaw"! I agree humanity is plagued with flaws. I like your honesty to admit you are also human. Maybe the american cultural flaw is to impose onto others - our flaws - as the best flaws. :lol:

 

I am curious where did you used to live? I live just outside the city limits of St. Louis, MO. We are fairly mixed racially and I hope to spread my optimism to the inner city neighbors as well as other suburbanites. I believe in Jesus' love to all. :rolleyes:

 

Dave

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  • 2 weeks later...

For me the term "Progressive Christianity" goes much deeper then the term "liberal Christianity". Yes, compassion, tolerance and social justice are extremel important. However, fighting for tolerance for Gay and Lesbians or for the rights and value of people with disabilities, takes a great deal of inner strength when up against homophobia or the trend to do away with the lives of people with disabilities.

 

Where does one get this inner strength. The literalist interpetation of the scriptures just doen't do it for me as it does forome people. I have been exploing the image of Christ as representing the Devine within all of us. The early Gnostics describe this as an eperience of intuive knowledge rather then a belief. I strengthens their life and made their lives meaningfull. I want this. I want the strengthen to speak up when I know I will be shut down. I want the strength to speak out where social justices only care about the people who control the money. I want the inner to fight for the person with a disability who is dying in hospital because they are neglected,

 

For me Progressive Christianity is a chance to explore with others the ideas and experience of the Divine as represent the force of unity within the Whole of Creation and to discover my part within this Whole. In my Church, Holy Trinity, I feel part of a social justice congregation where members have this inner strength I am looking for.

 

Christ in you, may s/he fill thy Spirit

 

Marilyn

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Yes, compassion, tolerance and social justice are extremely important. However, fighting for tolerance for Gay and Lesbians or for the rights and value of people with disabilities, takes a great deal of inner strength when up against homophobia or the trend to do away with the lives of people with disabilities.

 

Where does one get this inner strength?

 

Christ in you, may s/he fill thy Spirit

 

Marilyn

 

 

Marilyn,

 

I find your inner strength to be an inspiration to me. You carry the fight very well. I commend you. Homophobia is a formidable enemy as is the apathy and neglect toward those with disabilities. I admire you for even mentioning these disorders on this website. Bravo, girl! U da woman!

 

I am from St. Louis, MO... where r u from?

 

Dave

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The terms "liberal" and "conservative" are both very subjective.

Today's conservative was yesterday's liberal - as the issues and ways of thinking change.

Also a liberal in one denomination will be considered a conservative in another.

While most people today would identify me as both a theological and a political liberal, an identity that I do fully embrace, I prefer to self identify as a progressive for two main reasons:

 

1. I think that the term "Progressive Christian" communicates the idea that I view the realm of God as a developing process that is always growing and expanding, instead of an unchanging institution that should be the same forever. My attraction to Process Theology is affirmed by the term "Progressive" as there is a process to progression. Although, one certainly does not need to embrace Process Thought to be a Progressive Christian.

 

2. The term "progressive” has less political connotation than the term "liberal".

When people hear the word "liberal" their minds fill with images, some good - some bad - some accurate - some inaccurate. When I say "progressive" people keep more of an open mind about what I have to say, thus I am able to communicate with fewer barriers, which is generally a very good thing.

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Where does one get this inner strength. The literalist interpetation of the scriptures just doen't do it for me as it does forome people. I have been exploing the image of Christ as representing the Devine within all of us. The early Gnostics describe this as an eperience of intuive knowledge rather then a belief. I strengthens their life and made their lives meaningfull. I want this. I want the strengthen to speak up when I know I will be shut down. I want the strength to speak out where social justices only care about the people who control the money. I want the inner to fight for the person with a disability who is dying in hospital because they are neglected,

 

For me Progressive Christianity is a chance to explore with others the ideas and experience of the Divine as represent the force of unity within the Whole of Creation and to discover my part within this Whole. In my Church, Holy Trinity, I feel part of a social justice congregation where members have this inner strength I am looking for.

 

Christ in you, may s/he fill thy Spirit

 

Marilyn

 

I like what you have to say-- I especially like your closing, "Christ in you, may s/he fill thy spirit"

 

ebloomer

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post-642-1152449272_thumb.jpg

I like what you have to say-- I especially like your closing, "Christ in you, may s/he fill thy spirit"

 

ebloomer

 

 

I have no problem with being called a liberal Christian, though I am not certain what that means. I am still a political conservative in some ways—I considered myself a liberal Republican for 40 years. That put me in the two percent minority of that party. I left the Republican Party after they stole to United States presidential election in 2001.

 

I mention this because some people confuse the terms “liberal” and “conservative” as we use them in different contexts. Any general abstract nouns can cause problems. The same applied to “postmodern.”

 

I really like the notion of redeeming the Enlightenment. I take the critiques of critics such as Horkheimer and Adorno or many Catholic commentators seriously. I am simply not all that impressed that postmodernism is yet that much of a change. Foucault’s work does impress me. :unsure:

 

post-642-1152449272_thumb.jpg

I have no problem with being called a liberal Christian, though I am not certain what that means. I am still a political conservative in some ways—I considered myself a liberal Republican for 40 years. That put me in the two percent minority of that party. I left the Republican Party after they stole to United States presidential election in 2001.

 

I mention this because some people confuse the terms “liberal” and “conservative” as we use them in different contexts. Any general abstract nouns can cause problems. The same applied to “postmodern.”

 

I really like the notion of redeeming the Enlightenment. I take the critiques of critics such as Horkheimer and Adorno or many Catholic commentators seriously. I am simply not all that impressed that postmodernism is yet that much of a change. Foucault’s work does impress me. :unsure:

 

Liberal connotes modernism to me. Progressive connotes postmodernims.

Edited by Ted Michael Morgan
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post-642-1152476869_thumb.jpg

post-642-1152449272_thumb.jpg

I have no problem with being called a liberal Christian, though I am not certain what that means. I am still a political conservative in some ways—I considered myself a liberal Republican for 40 years. That put me in the two percent minority of that party. I left the Republican Party after they stole to United States presidential election in 2001.

 

I mention this because some people confuse the terms “liberal” and “conservative” as we use them in different contexts. Any general abstract nouns can cause problems. The same applied to “postmodern.”

 

I really like the notion of redeeming the Enlightenment. I take the critiques of critics such as Horkheimer and Adorno or many Catholic commentators seriously. I am simply not all that impressed that postmodernism is yet that much of a change. Foucault’s work does impress me. :unsure:

Liberal connotes modernism to me. Progressive connotes postmodernims.

 

I really am radical in my politics and religion. I think about them in terms of domination and subjection—in economic terms. Many of those who talk the way I do had Marxist backgrounds. The only problem is that Marxists build their theories on a logical fallacy. You cannot assume as they do that something and its negation are simultaneously true.

 

The argument against that objection is that things are rarely as clearly distinctive as we assume that they are. There are ranges of gray. However, if you say that A and not A are simultaneously true, you can logically prove anything is true from those propositions. That is, of course, nonsense. That is the foundation of Marxism.

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