Saturday, August 29, 2009

Conservatives Should Give Up on Christianity

I've always been surprised that more conservatives don't convert to some sort of "Looking Out for Number One"--"God Wants You To Make Tons of Money"--"Screw People Over As Much as You Can"--"Torture Anybody You Please"--kind of religion.

Wait a minute. That's what conservatives have made of Christianity.

But Jesus objects.

Even an atheist like myself can see from the New Testament that Jesus and the authors of the New Testament gospels had enormous contempt for the wealthy and powerful and he hated the Pharisees mostly because he saw them as self-righteous pricks.

People like James Dobson.

Jesus thought of the poor as blessed and headed for heaven. In the Luke version of the Sermon on the Mount from Luke 6:20-24, Jesus proclaims "Blessed be ye poor for yours is the kingdom of God." That sounds nice and well-intentioned. But it's also part of the core of Jesus' theology. The poor are "blessed" and are saved whether they believe in Jesus or not because the human condition of being poor, abused, deprived, and suffering prefigures the sacrifice of Jesus himself. In other words, the poor are like Jesus while the wealthy and powerful are cursed and condemned to eternal suffering because they're a lot like the people who end up crucifying Jesus. Also in Luke 6:2024: "But woe unto you that are rich! For ye have received your consolation. (quotes from King James Version)

But where Jesus really nails the analogy between the poor and suffering and himself was in Matthew 25:31-46. I'll quote this at length.
"Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it unto one of these my brethren, even these least, ye did it unto me. Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into the eternal fire which is prepared for the devil and his angels: for I was hungry, and ye did not give me to eat; I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink; I was a stranger, and ye took me not in; naked, and ye clothed me not; sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. Then shall they also answer, saying, Lord, when saw we thee hungry, or a thirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not unto one of these least, ye did it not unto me. And these shall go away into eternal punishment: but the righteous into eternal life."
Jesus is already in those who are hungry, thirsty, naked, sick, imprisoned, and living in strange lands. That's why those who minister to the "truly disadvantaged" are blessed and welcome in heavy and those who refuse aid are damned and "shall go away into eternal punishment."

What the religious right is doing in the health care debate is "refusing aid" to the working poor, uninsured people, and illegal immigrants in the United States who need help assistance the most. People on the right could say that they just don't want "government" to provide that aid. Given the ferociousness with which Jesus damns those who refuse such aid, it's hard to imagine that he would accept such a lame excuse.

That's why it's hard for me to see why conservatives remain Christians. Who would want to be part of a religion that condemns people like themselves to eternal punishment?

1 comment:

Todd Mayo said...

Bingo!! I make the same points quite often.

It reminds me of their hypocricy regarding reproductive choice. They claim that they are anti-choice because they want to protect the life of the unborn. Yet, as soon as the unborn become..."The Born"..those same zealots either support lawmakers, or ARE lawmakers who routinely cut funding for programs like WIC, headstart, subsidies for daycare and after shool care, school lunch programs. And they oppose the expansion of anything remotely resembling a public health plan for these children or their parent/parents(typically single parents).

So, they are hell-bent on making sure women and young girls are forced to give birth in the name of "saving lives", but after those kids are born, they and their parent/s are on their own.

Some "culture of life!"