Does anyone even read my Stanley Fish links? Anyone?
Earth to anyone!
Because now Fish has taken a long enough break from revealing everyone else’s presuppositions to reveal one of his own, and I think that’s pretty interesting. Have a listen.
[The liberal notion of fairness] asks you to regard ideological/political differences as articles of clothing; they are cosmetic rather than essential; the person is what he is apart from them and it is the person, rather than the accidents of birth or belief or nationality, who merits your respect.
This Fish denies. People can’t be separated from their beliefs or their ethnicities. And he’s partly right. Modern Western Liberalism is wrong, for example, to say that religious people should be able to set aside their beliefs as they enter the public square. It’s as if they regard those beliefs as inessential—you can take them on and off and still be you. Religious people know this is not so. My religion is an essential part of me.
However. Fish is still wrong. The provocative title of Fish’s article reveals this fact: “Favoritism Is Good.” Any Christian who knows his Bible knows that Fish has to be wrong somewhere with a title like that, even if he’s partly right. Because the Bible says very specifically that God shows no partiality (Acts 10:34), and we’re instructed to be like Him in this respect (Jas 2:1, 9; cf. Eph 6:9; 1 Tim 5:21). When someone who is not part of my tribe comes into my church, I’m not supposed to give him short shrift.
Here’s where biblical presuppositions are so necessary. According to Genesis 1 (and Gen 9:6, and James 3:9), there is an equal amount of God’s image in every one of us, and this is what demands mutual respect among all tribes and all individuals. Every man, woman, and child on earth—including the unborn, the elderly, and the disabled—is made in the image of the immortal, infinite creator God.
Fish has deconstructed his world and, quite rightly, shown that liberalism isn’t really as evenhanded as it claims. It is just another tribe. But in Fish’s view that’s all we’re left with. A bunch of tribes scrabbling for advantage. In God’s view, something links us all, something more fundamental than our tribal affiliations. A bit of the divine.