The nonreligious conservatives and libertarians who visit must be getting a bit bored, but this is where the conversations have been going for awhile. Perhaps tomorrow will be different.
Rightwingprof was curious about my take on the language and conceptual differences between Christian denominations. I imagine there might be book-length treatment of this somewhere, but I had only a few thoughts.
Evangelicals don’t reference “mercy” that often. They will speak about the related concepts of forgiveness and generosity, and they certainly have a clear conception of mercy, but they don’t frame things that way. “Hope” is similarly less used. Evangelicals are more likely to focus on faith and love. The liturgical churches have references to mercy and hope built into their cycles of worship, so these thoughts tend to rise to prominence more. This is not a mere language change, but an emphasis that expresses a slight difference in thought.
The approach to God is different. In the Roman Catholic, and even more especially in the Orthodox churches, there is a strong sense of a spiritual world running independently and in parallel to our own experience. It touches this life at an infinite number of places, but is separate and must be sought. The evangelical picture is much more of God and the spiritual world invading this world and transforming it. Both groups would agree that the other is correct, and that the two are not mutually exclusive. The twin pictures, in fact, describe the same phenomenon. But the difference in emphasis leads to different approaches, particularly in the political realm. The evangelical would change events in order to influence society to change at a deeper level; the Catholic and Orthodox approach would be more to work on the deeper realities and do more rescue work than transformational work on the world’s ills.
Catholic and Orthodox believers have a strong concept of the different roles or descriptors of God. Pancrator, healer, victor, comforter, etc. Evangelicals tend to blend those. It’s a plus-minus thing. There is truth and advantage on both sides.
Orthodox churches remain strongly ethnic, which is a plus-minus for the expression of the Church Universal.