Christian Theology

August 14, 2013

Conflict is an aspect of any relationship from parenthood to politics

Filed under: christian theology — Christian Theology @ 10:59 am
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Conflict is an aspect of any relationship from parenthood to politics.

The absence of conflict is rare because imperfection suggests different ends, different means to achieve those ends and different powers in the parties.

Even those with common ends can differ as to the best means to achieve those ends.

If a given resource is scarce, the control over and use of that resource can be the root of conflict.

Thus argument over who is right in regard to the “best” while potentially helpful often simply emphasizes the difference in personal desires in regard to resources, ends and means.

“Rational” can mean using reasonable actions to achieve objective goals, for subjective reasons that can be completely non-rational (not to be confused with “irrational”).

A resource is anything a person might want (will), an end is the provocation toward a resource (hunger provokes eating food as a means of personal peace; a man wants to marry a woman as a means of companionship, procreation and godly children), a means is any of a hypothetically infinite variety ways that a person can achieve their desired end through an existing resource.

When we say conflict, there are really only two options: either one of the parties is right and the other is wrong or both are wrong. A misunderstanding still implies error.

One party might convince the other party of their position but that seems pretty rare as we see in politics through the general irreconcilability of the sides involved.

Normal, healthy, reasonable people often disagree regardless of the available information and a clear understanding of the argumentation.

Thus while ideally we might conceive of conflict resolution as an exercise in logic, or reasoning, the heart has a different logic rooted in unsophisticated desire that in Christian theology, we might characterize as a bit twisted.

This is to say, modernism strives to advance interpersonal conflict and political theory as resolved through mere information and reason without taking into account the true depth of bias, perspective, human nature and preference so that what is imagined to be a debate over facts is often merely a recitation of preferences.

Preferences of course, merely by their existence leave no external means by which they can me measured against each other.

Liking evil is as much a liking as liking good.

Here that which is often displayed as an epistemic consideration is often a battle of wills; the intellect and the will are related but non identical aspects of the soul but which had dominance?

That’s a riddle I can’t answer and Augustine, Aquinas, Luther and Calvin all carry subtle differences but minimally speaking (in the effort to reserve to scripture the highest authority) the corruption of the human will makes any affirmation of unaffected human reason impossible.

With all our might, with prayer and with subjection to the Word we carefully attempt to navigate and discriminate between truth and error, the desire of our heart and what is actually the case, the world as God made it and the world as we would like it to be.

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3 Comments »

  1. Original sin pervades all of our Humanity, including our reasoning. I become wary of those who stress natural revelation to such great lengths and who uplift the intellect as unreached by Adam’s blunder. You may be interested in Van Til or Poythress on the nature of the infralapsarian human mind.

    Comment by johnofpinebrook — August 27, 2013 @ 10:37 am | Reply

  2. great issues altogether, you just won a brand new reader.

    Comment by relationship — November 6, 2013 @ 7:22 am | Reply

  3. Interesting topic. Even the strongest Christians will have conflict within their relationships. Do you think that it’s ever possible to have a relationship that doesn’t involve conflict?

    Comment by Fletcher Roberts — November 19, 2013 @ 9:27 am | Reply


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