I cannot redefine liberal values. By the year 2011 there is so much truth to be had – at the flick of an ‘on’ button, the click of a mouse – that it is over-facing. Engagement with social, moral and spiritual questions has perhaps never been more tricky, because there is no starting point. Or rather, there are many adoptable starting points, but which has credibility? Global credibility? Is the interaction between theology and politics the rarified subject-matter of a special-interest group? A hobby group? Is it a side-alley?
Without a starting point – a fixed frame of reference, the quest for truth (for meaning, for values) is an almost impossible journey, with arbitrary, shifting footholds. We are standing on the globe itself. How wobbly is that? Trying to stand on a sphere. A turning one. Unanchored, we have to somehow define a context – our own context at least – before we can even start to think about how to behave, and what is good. And we need to accept that in other contexts, our moral definitions may not apply.
I am a Quaker attender of Methodist heritage who will claim to have divested myself of all the baggage of my religious upbringing until someone tries to sell me a lottery ticket. This activity I will reject, as though it were inherent in my very genetic make-up to do so, until the end of my days. There are things I was taught. If I had a child, I would be teaching her too. And the teachings would come from somewhere...
NOTE: For a 21st century liberal woman’s discussion of art, poetry, life, love and living alone, see Suki’s blog on sukithelifemodel.co.uk