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How to Participate in Politics and Still Save Your Soul

  • Nov 14, 2010
Rating:
+5
It has been stated often, in fact so often that it seems like a truism now, that one should not discuss religion and politics in a polite society. Or something to that effect. Each one of those two topics is known to rise a lot of passion and conviction, to the point that any form of good-faith exchange of respectful opinions is automatically precluded. In that context discussing religiously-inspired politics or the politics of religion would seem to be topics particularly froth with a potential for conflict. However, insofar as we want our political arrangements to reflect some higher ideals and not be just a least possible evil arrived at through opportunistic machinations, we owe it to ourselves and everyone else who depends on our judgements to be thoroughly informed about the internal consistency and integrity of those ideals. Chief among these ideals are those that derive from the religious convictions. This book is written for Christians, primarily in the United States, who take their religion seriously and who want to be thoughtful participants in the political process as well as faithful to their own Christian convictions.

Every few years, especially in the election years, there are many books that aim to inform Christians about their duty and responsibility in the exercise of their civic duties. Most of these books are well written and give the potential voters a good overview of some key issues of relevance to Christians and what an appropriate Christian attitude towards them ought to be. Francis Beckwith "Politics for Christians" aims to go deeper than any other book in this genre that I had read. Beckwith is a professor of philosophy and church-state studies at Baylor University, and holds a graduate degree in Law. His extensive research and writings in theology, philosophy, and law make him one of the most qualified and authoritative voices on matters that pertain to the intersection of religion and politics.

This book is a subtle and careful analysis of the way that Christians ought to root their political preferences in their Christian faith. The arguments are subtle, well thought out and engaging. They are based on Beckwith's extensive knowledge of theological, legal and political material to which they pertain. They also require an involved reader - someone who is willing to read carefully and attentively and invest enough time in order to appreciate all the ramifications of the points that are bing made. If you have the inclination to go through all the insightful points and arguments that Beckwith makes in this book, you'll come away that much more enriched and well grounded in your Christian faith as it pertains to the political process. And as the subtitle of the book implies, by building a better state you may actually build up a better soul.

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review by . November 11, 2010
It has been stated often, in fact so often that it seems like a truism now, that one should not discuss religion and politics in a polite society. Or something to that effect. Each one of those two topics is known to rise a lot of passion and conviction, to the point that any form of good-faith exchange of respectful opinions is automatically precluded. In that context discussing religiously-inspired politics or the politics of religion would seem to be topics particularly froth with a potential …
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Bojan Tunguz ()
I am a benevolent rascal. I love lounging in bed on a Sunday morning. Rainy days make me melancholy, but in a good kind of way. I am an incorrigible chocoholic. I hate Mondays, but I get over it by Wednesday. … more
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Politics is concerned with citizenship and the administration of justice--how communities are formed and governed. The role of Christians in the political process is hotly contested, but as citizens, Francis Beckwith argues, Christians have a rich heritage of sophisticated thought, as well as a genuine responsibility, to contribute to the shaping of public policy. In particular, Beckwith addresses the contention that Christians, or indeed religious citizens of any faith, should set aside their beliefs before they enter the public square. What role should religious citizens take in a liberal democracy? What is the proper separation of church and state? What place should be made for natural rights and the moral law within a secular state? This cogent introduction to political thought surveys political science, politics and government while making the case for how statecraft may genuinely contribute to soulcraft.Politics for Christiansis part of The Christian Worldview Integration Series.
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ISBN-10: 0830828141
ISBN-13: 978-0830828142
Author: Francis J. Beckwith
Publisher: IVP Academic

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