Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas

Really. I believe I posted many moons ago about Richard Dawkins's idea to make "Atheists for Jesus" T-shirts.

I was just talking to a friend yesterday about the ascendancy of I-got-mineism in our politics, and the delusions that come with it -- that everything you have you deserve, nobody and nothing outside of yourself contributed to your deserved fortune, and every penny you pay in taxes is stolen to give to lazy parasites. That's not so weird in itself, but the alliance of this philosophy with the predominant form of Christianity in the U.S. is pretty strange.

My uncle was a preacher -- the pastor of Trinity Church on the Green in Branford, Ct, which is a national historical landmark. My mother was a Sunday school teacher. I got several perfect attendance medals for Sunday school, and I was talking about getting confirmed when I got old enough to figure out for myself that religion is bunk, i.e. thirteen years old.

But, the Christianity they taught me was the exact opposite of Rich Warren and Pat Robertson and Franklin Graham. They claim to interpret the Bible literally, and live by it. So how do they interpret this?

Matthew 25:31

31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

Or this?

Mark 12

13 Later they sent some of the Pharisees and Herodians to Jesus to catch him in his words. 14 They came to him and said, “Teacher, we know that you are a man of integrity. You aren’t swayed by others, because you pay no attention to who they are; but you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. Is it right to pay the imperial tax[b] to Caesar or not? 15 Should we pay or shouldn’t we?”
But Jesus knew their hypocrisy. “Why are you trying to trap me?” he asked. “Bring me a denarius and let me look at it.” 16 They brought the coin, and he asked them, “Whose image is this? And whose inscription?”
“Caesar’s,” they replied.
17 Then Jesus said to them, “Give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.”
And they were amazed at him.

Or this:

Matthew 19

16 Just then a man came up to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?”
17 “Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, keep the commandments.”
18 “Which ones?” he inquired.
Jesus replied, “‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, 19 honor your father and mother,’[c] and ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’[d]
20 “All these I have kept,” the young man said. “What do I still lack?”
21 Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
22 When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.
23 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”

Now, I know that the scammers have all sorts of arguments as to why these passages don't actually mean what they appear to mean. But why don't we ever hear from other Christians who do believe in the words attributed to Jesus in the Gospels? Why do they cower under the pews? Just askin'. 


Daniel said...

If this is true, why did God make goats more useful than sheep?

roger said...

hoisted on their own petard. in a literary sort of way. nicely done. much more meaty than the stuff about mixing wool and linen.

none of it is true. i've raised and cared for both sheep and goats. they are useful in different ways.

kathy a. said...

got nothin' on goats and sheep, but these are the kinds of sentiments from my early years in the church that more or less stuck. even though i'm a heathen.