Relevant articles:

 

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/guest-voices/post/from-jesus-so...

 

http://www.lcurve.org/writings/BiblicalLiberal.htm

 

 

 

Whether it's a well-known concept or not, the hypocrisy of modern Christians is startling. Well, not startling when you realize (to even their admittance) that they do not read their own Bible. But startling to us who have, and have gleaned from its pages some positive things.

 

Don't get me wrong, the Old Testament is worth being burned (and as a hard-core reader, who faints when the page of a book is torn, that's something for me to say). But if we look at Jesus' life specifically, without the hubbub of God, the supernatural, and look at it specifically from an economic and socio-philosophical examination of somebody's life, we see something that most Christians would become angry to even hear about.

 

And that's that Jesus was in fact a libertarian socialist.

 

Yes, Jesus was a hard-core liberal.

 

We can't pin Jesus as being socialist alone, only because he obviously does not support the government as being the means through which the needy are taken care of and shared with; the government is not pushed as the entity through which these deeds are moderated. He believed that this was an issue for the people, and that the only government by which people should be governed is the laws and regulations set down by God. In other words, no earthly government should have that power or responsibility, but your wealth that comes from work and production should be shared, given to charity, of your own accord. He himself said that the wealthy making it to heaven would be like a camel passing through the eye of a needle, that it made no difference how much money you had, and made it clear that your time on earth was a time to SHARE the wealth and good fortune you had with those who did not. "The meek shall inherit the earth"; the poor were glorified in early Christianity, those who worked hard, earned little, and yet were humble and giving of what little they had.

 

Jesus as a man, regardless of whether he existed, represents the humble, warm-hearted, but stern teacher that is reminiscent of Buddha. In fact, many of his teachings that give off this very anarchist view of the world and that warn against the evils of wealth are very similar to the teachings of Buddhism (which was present in the area he lived contemporary to Jesus' estimated lifetime, IF he in fact existed; his life does also read as very similar to the life of Buddha, who also performed miracles like walking on water).

 

I am not against these philosophies. In fact, that's why I do not bad-mouth Jesus when I criticize the Bible as strictly as I do. I do not think Christians are wrong for investing love in a man who thinks that way.

 

My problem?

 

Christians, by and large, do not agree with their own mentor.

 

My problem with Christianity is not just hypocrisy of belief, but hypocrisy in even following what they're meant to believe. I can respect the few Christians who identify as some sort of socialist, who give to charity, who are poor by choice, and who agree most of the Bible is bogus but that they still admire the monologues and dialogues involving Jesus himself; socially liberal Christians who don't get the Bible-thumpers either. Although I will always disagree with them on the matter of God, I will never criticize their following of Jesus if they in fact follow what's actually written, any more than I criticize a Buddhist for following the original non-theist teachings of Buddha.

 

I don't think I've ever met a reasonable Atheist that would bad-mouth the actions of Jesus personally in the Bible, even when we tear through the Old Testament, Revelations, and every other ridiculous part of the book that we recognize is a superstitious interpretation of word-of-mouth stories about possible historical events.

 

This is something both secularists and Christians fail to understand. Atheists are rarely 'anti-Jesus', although yes, we can attempt to dispel his existence as myth (or a real person whose biography was exaggerated and combined with myths from other cultures over many years, even), but that does not mean we can't respect some of the things he tried to teach in the literature.

 

My point?

 

Why are so many Christians today so devoutly conservative, Republican, capitalist, and otherwise in the manner of their philosophies, so hellbent on pushing the agenda of the greedy corporate world, when it's clearly not what Jesus would approve of?

 

Does this have something to do with the same statistics that show, that although around 70-80% of Americans identify as being devoutly religious, less than half of them actually observe all of their religious traditions, requirements, or lifestyle factors? Do we have an epidemic today of what we can call 'social Christians'? Those who identify as religious only because society expects it, because their parents expect it, without ever understanding what it is they're supposed to be identifying with?

 

Perhaps.

 

It's extremely discouraging to know people are so backwards.

Tags: anarchism, anarchy, bible, christ, christianity, christians, conservative, jesus, liberal, libertarian, More…secularism, socialism, socialist

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Ava, put down the matches. If you think the so-called "old testament", better called the ancient Jewish library, is only worth being burned, it is clear that you have no understanding of its place in history, literary value and that you only find your cherry-pickings of the Christian writings to be of interest.

First off, the Jewish writings are a record of the mythology of an ancient culture -- no less valuable or interesting than the mythology of the Greeks, Romans, Norse, Chinese, Japanese, Africans, Native Americans, etc. Why are you so biased against that?

Second, they offer a window into an ancient culture that was very much like the cultures around it -- they were competing to see whose god was stronger -- when they had wars, the losers usually adopted the god of the winners, because obviously that god was stronger. There are clues that the ancient Jews were actually as polytheistic as their neighbors, and only gradually came to monotheism -- that is anthropologically interesting.

Third, there is a LOT of debate, questioning, and argument about what their god wanted from them. So you can cherry-pick the Jewish writings just as thoroughly as you have done the Christian writings, and find some gems in there. There is clearly an emphasis on finding a moral way of life, in the context of the times. It has to be read in a historical context. Things that seem gross, like the lex talionis (an eye for an eye) are actually an attempt at fairness -- the people around them were killing people for injuring a person of superior status, surely that wasn't fair. That we have come farther than that is not a stain on people from a more primitive time. And some of the things it says DO apply to current culture, but they have to be interpreted appropriately.

Fourth, there is poetry, proverbs and philosophy in there. I wouldn't want to lose the Song of Songs, just for its clearly sexual beauty -- those Christians who say it is a song of love of the people for God, aren't reading the actual words! The psalms, although theistic, are nevertheless literature, and deserve as much appreciation as the far vaster body of theistic Christian literature, and the proverbs are also worth thinking about.

None of this in any way implies that I believe in god, neither the Christian one, nor the Jewish one, nor any others, but it DOES mean that I place value on the records of the culture, and it saddens me when I read that someone like you says our human anthropological heritage should be burned. You sound like the guy who wants to burn Korans -- just because it is not YOUR cultural heritage doesn't make it worthless.

And the last thing I want to say is that the image of the Jews in the Christian writings is GROSSLY distorted -- Jesus never said anything that wasn't being said in the culture of his time. Would-be messiahs were a dime a dozen at a time when there was much unrest among the Jewish people. Revelations is actually an anti-government screed wisely disguised and hidden so that the author wouldn't be executed by the Romans. But also remember that most of the Christian writings were expressly written to convert people to Christianity -- they are NOT historical in any way -- they are distorted to appeal to the audiences at whom they were aimed. Paul was nothing if not a skilled propagandist! And most of his letters weren't written by him anyway. Nor were the gospels written by their purported authors. So how much of what is attributed to Jesus was actually authentic is open to much question.

So go ahead and sift the dross to find the gems, but realize that there are gems in pretty much all religious writing, and don't dismiss any of it out of hand. You don't have to believe in supernatural gods in order to appreciate ancient peoples' attempts to explain their world in the absence of modern science, and to define a moral way of life. Even if we have progressed beyond that.

Ouch. The problem isn't my not understanding the Bible, it was your lack of understanding of the topic.

 

I am a History fanatic. I read everything about History I can get my hands on. It's my Aspergian special interest. I've read the Bible, and I understand 100% its place in history. The problem is not its value as a piece of literature in our historical record, but the influence it has on people to follow what it teaches. Let me be more SPECIFIC, if it pleases you:  I would enjoy burning specific books in the Bible, including, for instance, Leviticus. Again, it's not the book as a piece of literature, it's human incapability of being responsible for their actions, for being gullible and easily persuaded to follow anti-feminist, homophobic, Geno-and-infanticidal, misogynistic garbage. Note:  I haven't said 'Let's burn Mein Kampf!', because not only does it have a place in history, but modern man knows it's just literature from a psychotic drug-addict and not something to be followed on a large social scale; we had our hit and run with Nazism, and it currently only exists in small closet sects of interest-- it's garbage, but it's able to be acknowledged as a piece of literature you read for historical value, and not to learn from its teachings. The Bible has not reached that level. Until people can look on the Old Testament laws and instructions the same way they look at Mein Kampf, I will stand by what I said-- certain books in the Bible are better off being burned. Again, not because of the people that wrote it, or its impact on history, or for any other reason-- but because of the people who read it and preach it, and use it as a fuel for hatred on a massive scale.

 

And about Jesus-- I know. I've said this in quite a few other topics. The point of THIS topic was under the hypothetical assumption of taking Jesus in the Bible at face value like Christians do, and assuming his existence, and then proposing a question about their current lifestyle. The fact is that Jesus was a dime a dozen in his time. It's possible he did exist in some form but was combined over time with many others like him, on top of myths (Egyptian, Greek, Sumerian, etc) to create the idea of 'Miracles' and 'Wonders'.

 

So for the most part, your entire post was conceived out of misinterpretation.

No, I don't think I misinterpreted what you said. Nobody follows Leviticus at this time anyway. While it is true that some Muslims are executing homosexuals in Nigeria, they are Muslims, not Jews or Christians, and when they cut off the hands of thieves in Saudi Arabia, again, it's because they are following the Koran, not Leviticus.

Christians CERTAINLY don't follow what they call the "old testament" -- I think Paul attributed to Jesus the instruction that if you weren't born Jewish, you didn't have to follow the Jewish laws. So Christians don't keep kosher, and they don't stone adulterers, both of which are commanded in the Jewish writings. Christians derive almost ALL of their behavior from their own writings.

Even ultra-Orthodox Jews don't follow all the commandments literally any more. They've been arguing over exactly what the Torah (first 5 books of the "bible") means for centuries, and continue to do so. Even they understand that modern times call for modern interpretations.

So, no, I don't see where your argument that we should burn the Jewish writings makes any sense. They are no more influential at this point than Mein Kampf is, and you seem a lot more accepting of a much more horrifying document than the ones you want to burn.

I wouldn't be so sure that such an overwhelming majority of people worldwide look at Mein Kampf and realize it's a crock of shit when Holocaust denial, Zionist conspiracy theories and admiration of Hitler are popular in Arab countries and antisemitism is becoming trendy again in Europe.
Those people are still a minority, even if they exist. Even Holocaust deniers by and large know that Mein Kampf was a crock of shit. Holocaust Denier does not equal Holocaust supporter; it's simply the denial that the Holocaust even happened, even if they disagree with the philosophies that led to its execution in reality.
Reading about how Tea Partiers actually cheered when the idea was brought up at the recent GOP debate that people who aren't insured should be denied even ER care and allowed to die physically makes me nauseaous.  I hope I never understand their point of view.  What a horrible way to think.  I think Rick Perry was a little shocked by the yelling and cheering for that one.

@Grace -

I found an article & video here:

Tea party audience cheers letting the uninsured die

 

Yeah, it's really appalling.

 

Seriously, that is exactly why I vote.  People that think freedom means letting people die, that religion "solves" problems, that violence is the answer, that the death penalty reduces crime, that concealed carry means communities are safer need to be kept out of office.  Preferably I support a candidate that talks about doing the work of the electorate.  Obama has only been moderately successful at being able to bring disparate parties together.  That was what I voted for him to do.  Standing with a chip on your shoulder and using divisive language eventually destroys the underlying fabric that used to join us.  Saying "that is what freedom means" distorts and destroys the meaning of the word.  It makes me angry to hear people abuse the word freedom.  The government is responsible for maintaining safety and security in this country.  For pity's sake, this isn't soylent green.  I guess the truth really is stranger than fiction...

The only problem with voting is when you get outvoted by an ignorant, bigoted majority. "Majority rules" is not always (or even often?) a good thing. That's why we have our Constitutional Bill of Rights, but the loonies seem determined to destroy it. I am really disappointed with the American Electorate who seem to be leading us down the road to bread and circuses without the bread (I stole that from someone else, but don't remember who).

I am old enough to remember an optimistic America which really WAS concerned with equality and justice for all, and it appalls me how far from that concept we have descended.

I agree Natalie that the majority is not always and more than likely is not even usually right.  The herd mentality takes over.  Especially today when we are bombarded by information from all corners.  How do you sort through it and make sense of it?  It is difficult.  I need to be more active and get out and talk about the ills of - not conservatism, not the political right - but the philosophies that divide people into us and them.  Divisive vitriol does not help any conversation.  Disagreeing simply to disagree is a grade school tactic that apparently some political individuals have mistaken for moral high ground.  I cannot control what others do and think, but I have every opportunity to talk to people and try to share my experience and hopefully they will see the proverbial light.

you mean isolationist?
and they have a auto-worship the white xtian guy w/suit and tie

the character of jesus was/is a slavelike pile of crap

we're not slaves as much as some have become through the 80s and 90's
never accept that crap ideology of being a conslavative

they wanna save it all for the afterlife?
LOL

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