Tuesday, November 01, 2005

The Christian Paradox

*Subtitle: How a faithful nation gets Jesus wrong*

I don't like Fundamentalists much. The reason for it is very simple, a Fundamentalist defines his or her own version of a particular tradition and then claims that that is the One True Tradition and other equally valid aspects of the Tradition is not part of it. Glenn argues that Tradition is information and that this information is fluid and subject to change. Yes, there is a core, but unfortunately most Fundamentalist seemingly create a core of their own. This is true whether one is a Fundamentalist Christian, Hindu, Muslim or even Buddhist. Which is particular sad because these are all religions of tolerance and peace (and unfortunately also evangelism) so it really comes as a huge surprise when Fundamentalist ignore that message and attempt to impose their version of the Truth instead.

The above is a very good article because it focuses on how Christianity is about a message of Love. Love your neighbour as unto yourself. Paul says, even before his commands to husbands and wives, Be subject onto one another. Obeying your husband as you would Christ and love you wive as you would Jesus came AFTER command. That is a reason for that.

Historically, Christianity was so threatening because it was not supportive of the status quo (though it eventually was made to be). It was the religion of the poor, downtrodened and outcasted, those who society had rejected and it was to those that Jesus (the man or Son of God) administered his aid and succour.

Which makes it so damning when the Religious Right opposes welfare, greater health benefits, higher taxation to pay for them and generally align themselves with the rich. Even when Jesus was purported to have said it was easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than it was for a rich man to enter heaven. When Jesus said "Follow me", he literally meant selling all your belongings and following him.

This leads me to a point that someone made somewhere on the net. Perhaps it isn't that the Religious Right captured the Republican party but the Republican Party caputuring the Religious Right, how else does one explain the religion of Christ expounding on terribly unChrist like beliefs like sock the poor, help the rich and worst, "God helps those who help themselves".

Gosh, for a nations that came by way of the Puritans and believe in Christian Values, that sure does not sound like what the Protestants believe, Justification by Faith and by faith alone. The Catholics believe that man is not justified by faith alone by through his works (I have great great sympathy for that position). The rejoinder is that good man do good works but as the article points out, that does not seem terribly evident.

Thought I do not share such a faith, I have tremendous respect for persons of such a faith when they are not Fundamentalist, for how does believing in the literal word of God (The Bible) lead one to the conclusions they have? Secularism: Render unto Caesar what is Caesar and unto God what is God. Equality of Man. Love, Peace and Tolerance: New Testament, the new covenant with God. Death Penalty: even in the Old Testament, the Jews believed that Vengence is Mine saith the Lord and they did not feel it was the duty much less the right of Man to kill another. They hedged the death penalty is so many exceptions and requirements that I doubt any one was killed. In the New Testament, there was "Jesus’ explicit refutation in the New Testament: “You have heard that it was said, ‘an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also.”"

If self-professed faith was all that was needed to make the world the better place, America should lead the world. But yet it is the seemingly 'Godless' Scandenavain countries doing the things like giving aid not just to their poor and needy and to other nations' as well.



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