Christians, Free Expression, and the Common Good: Getting by Gordon S. Jackson

By Gordon S. Jackson

This ebook argues that during Western democracies, Christians of all theological and political backgrounds needs to be ardent advocates of advancing, no longer curtailing, freedom of speech. they must achieve this either inside their very own ranks and within the more and more secular societies within which they reside.

This examine offers the concept that of unfastened expression, and its contrary of censorship, as a device for the Western church (and the united states church specifically) to reply extra correctly and successfully to controversy. of their so much critical shape, those controversies bring about either formal and casual barriers on unfastened expression, as Christians search to silence people with whom they such a lot stridently disagree. This research is well timed given the Western church’s present nation of flux because it attempts to figure out its id and challenge in a post-Christian atmosphere. The e-book will entice a variety of considerate Christians who may welcome rules on how the church may still refine and reside out its project within the early twenty-first century.

The learn hence explores the church’s perpetual quest for stability on fronts. First, in the church, there's the necessity is to welcome all who input its doorways, but additionally to proclaim and cling faithfully to the gospel message. moment, as Christians have interaction with their host tradition, they should take the gospel message to the area with no being infected via it. Neither of those demanding situations is new. yet taking a look at them throughout the body of unfastened expression is, as are the insights anticipating the considerate reader.


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Extra info for Christians, Free Expression, and the Common Good: Getting Beyond the Censorship Impulse

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37. 48. Küng, “Freedom, Intellectual,” 943. 49. Robert Rakauskas, “Censorship,” In Encyclopedia of Catholic Social Thought, Social Science and Social Policy, vol. 1, ed. Michael Coulter et al. (Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 2007), 159. 50. Wolterstorff, Educating for Shalom, 248. 51. , 249. 52. Personal communication from Prof. Adam Neder at Whitworth University, June 2011. 53. Craig Hovey, “Free Christian Speech: Plundering Foucault,” Political Theology 8 no. 1, (2007), 65. 54. This case is referred to in chapter 5, where the topic of violence is revisited.

For now, our focus is on a Christian rationale for the importance of free expression. If we are made in God’s image, as communicative beings, it is an easy step to see that God would expect us to exercise our capacity for expression with the freedom we have received. Christians should care about free expression if for no other reason than it is integral to how God intends us to live our lives. To underscore the obvious, free expression occurs between or among people; free expression is by definition relational, whether it be with one other person, in a classroom, or in an entire society.

But the point here is that far from being known for advancing free expression in our society, many Christians—of all theological persuasions—are far more inclined to abandon a commitment to free expression than to work through its implications in any given situation, and to be mean-spirited, arrogant and judgmental as they do so. There are two reasons why all citizens, including Christians, should be more enthusiastic advocates for free expression than we in the Western church typically have been.

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