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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Losing Our Religion: How Conservative Christians Ruined Christianity


Regarding western religion, Ghandi once said...

"I love your Christ but I don't like your Christians. Your Christians are nothing like your Christ."

Such a genius observation...

As a country... no... as a people, we have forgotten what Christianity is and how beautiful of a religion it is. What we know is a manufactured, perverted Christianity that is used for political gain and as a platform to judge and persecute others, something that was highly frowned upon in traditional Christianity.

Before I go any further, let me tell you that I myself am not religious. I don't go to church, I don't pray, and I don't care what religion you believe in, if any. That's your choice in your life and I'll never judge you for it. I am very agnostic. Which to me, means I plead the fifth. I simply don't know.

I don't know if there's a heaven or not. I don't know if Christ really existed. I don't know if the stories in the bible actually happened. I don't know if there's an afterlife... and neither do you. Pretending that you do know and thinking I am a bad person because of a doubt that you can't factually answer yourself, is in my opinion, ignorant. I am not trying to offend you if you are a person of faith. You see, that's just the thing. You have faith, you do not have facts. You believe, but you don't know. There is nothing wrong with you having faith, but there is nothing wrong with me for having questions and doubts.

And this is where part of the problem begins. In a "Christian Nation", politicians are governing and making decisions that effect our lives based on a faith, a belief, and not on the facts that we do know here on Earth. And don't give me that "Separation of church and state" crap. It's about as enforced as banking regulations. It's very well know that the republican party makes decisions based on their incorrect interpretation of Christianity. Some even think that God talks to them and tells them to run for office and then acts as a policy adviser. God tells them to screw poor people to benefit the rich. (See. Delusion, schizophrenia, hard drugs)

Which leads to the other part of the problem. We have leaders that govern based on religion, which I highly disagree with. Though if they are going to despite what we think, they could at least be true to that religion and serve it correctly. Because if you look at the bible and then look at Republican policy, you'll see that these are the complete opposite of each other.

If our leaders governed based on the Holy Bible, literally and by the words in it, we would be a complete socialist nation that cared for everyone and denied no one. If republicans understood Christ by his words and not as their mascot for free market capitalism, this country would be a completely different place for the better.

The Bible warns throughout against greed, love of money, and the corruption that follows. A Christian nation would not condone and support greed the way American does. Christ would not allow people to go hungry while others have more than they'll ever need in the richest country in all of the world. A true Christian nation based on the teachings of Christ would actually be the conservatives worst nightmare.

Republicans view Jesus Christ as a man who loved America even though it didn't exist in his time. A man who shunned gays and hated all sex in general. A very stern, strict man set in his ways against whom he considered the scum of the earth. Basically, they think of him as Ronald Reagan.

I Perceive Jesus, according to the bible, as a rebel peasant who through peace, unity, and love took on the corruption and greed which was the Roman Empire. A man who refused to play along with a system fueled on material possessions void of spirituality. A man who trumped his opponent's hate with love. A man who used love as a weapon, a weapon that never hurt anyone.  A Champion of the poor. More liberal in his views than any liberal alive today. Jesus didn't say to tax the rich, he said the rich should just straight up Give ALL their money to the poor. That makes even Alan Grayson seem like a Conservadem.

Jesus Christ simply started preaching to the poor about this idea of Christianity. A philosophy where love, companionship, and spirituality are the way of life. Where material possessions and money led to a path of greed and consumption, a path that is void of true happiness and contentment. A philosophy where the Lord is the savior of the poor and despite their struggle in this life, they will be blessed in the next and it will be their oppressors who are punished in the next life.

Jesus's congregation grew and grew until the Roman Empire started taking notice. They considered him a lunatic claiming to be the son of God, preaching to the public. They saw him as a threat because they heard stories of him healing the sick and fighting for the poor. They saw that the peasants found a leader to empower them against the system that worked exclusively for the rich and powerful. Jesus offered a spiritual alternative to a life of material possessions. He told those who were getting mangled in the game that they could simply stop playing along if they chose to. The rich and powerful of the day killed him for it.

What do you think would happen if Jesus came back right now? Appeared at a teaparty event and started preaching? Do you think the teaparty patriots would like what they heard?

How do you think they would react when their claimed savior said that the rich should just give their money to the poor and walk with him? That they should not judge gays, Muslims, and the poor, but learn to love the ones they hate? That the poor have a place in heaven and it is the rich who will struggle to get in? That his health care plan was to just heal the sick and ask nothing in return?

If Jesus Christ came back today, the teaparty would crucify him again.

How did this happen? How did Christianity become the official religion of the Republican Party? How did we become a Christian Nation that condemns and outlaws Christian ethics and principles? When did we become everything that the bible warned against?

What happened...

    Excerpt from "American Taliban" by Markos Moulitsas

     Christian evangelicalism always surges during troubled times. The 1930s was the time of the Great Depression, a time when communism was alive and well in the international arena, and when trade unions packed far more clout in America than they do today. it was in this context that Abraham Vereide, a Methodist evangelist, began to sponsor prayer breakfast meetings with business and civic leaders in several cities, including Seattle and San Francisco. On a fateful night in 1935, Vereide had a vision.
     "God came to him one night in April 1935 and said Christianity has been focusing on the wrong people, the poor, the suffering, the down and out," said Jeff Sharlet, author of "The Family", on NPR's Fresh Air. "'I want you to be a missionary to and for the powerful, 'those whom he calls the 'up and out.' They can dispense blessings to everybody else through a sort of kind of trickle-down religion."
      Vereide and his fellow evangelists were intensely concerned about the chaos of democracy, about uppity trade unionists on the rise, and about communist ideas seeping into America. Convinced that democracy was part of the problem, they looked to fascism for solutions. "They come up with this idea of a third way, that they later start calling 'totalitarianism for Christ,'"explained Sharlet. "And they predict that the United States will pretty quickly embrace this and will get rid of political parties because democracy doesn't work. They don't want a Republican Party, a Democratic Party. They want one big party---theirs."

This is when Jesus became a capitalist. Now 76 years after Vereide's re-imagining of Christ, the image has stuck. And the Republican Party has been getting more extreme and unChrist-like every decade since having Christ on their side.

And it was never that hard. All the they had to do was paint Democrats as communist hippies who love to kill babies in the name of Satan. Then implement decades of education cuts and legislation designed to weaken education and punish public teachers and their unions so that the masses are stupid enough to not ask questions or even care, and go along with the giant scam called modern conservatism. Smart people know when they're being swindled.

And finally, make Republicans the official party of Christianity. Tell the dumb, distracted, and scared masses that Republican policy is stemmed from the morals and message of the bible and those damned atheist, immoral democrats are trying to destroy family values and all that is good in the world. Tell them that free-market capitalism is what Christ was fighting for, and that giving workers better wages and guaranteed health care is the road to turning America into Hitler's Germany. Turn Christianity into a generic corporate dogma of privatization and selfishness, just like they try to do with everything else they touch.

And speaking of atheists, I want to talk about them for a minute. First off, even if you are a person of strong faith, how on Earth could you blame them? Some flat out don't don't believe there is a God or afterlife because they feel it's not factual or consistent. That it's a mad-made religion to apply spiritual and morally laws on the public to be a safety net for man-made laws. And if you are a true practicing Christian, you shouldn't hate them for it. Jesus wouldn't.

And others are simply turned off by the hypocrisy and corruption of the right-wing version of Christianity. Their judgemental views of gays, Muslims, women who have sex before marriage, and basically anyone who disagrees with them, the Pope covering for child molesters, pro-life people killing people, evangelicals getting filthy rich preaching from a book that condemns profiting off the Lord, Christian politicians supporting unnecessary wars and screwing the poor to benefit the rich, and Christian rock.

This is why more and more people every year are identifying as atheist or agnostic, and those identifying as Christians is dropping. They think that the conservative brand of Christianity is Christianity. Or they just don't want to be associated with what it's been turned into. As I said, how can you blame them?

And to be bluntly honest with you, most atheists I know or have conversed with have more humanity and compassion in their fingernails than most conservative Christians have in their entire body.

Accept for Ayn Rand. She was just honest enough to admit that selfishness is shunned in Christianity. You cannot serve both God and money. Some choose money.

Now to further show the difference between the "Party of God" and The Holy Bible, let's see how they sync up on the issues...



THE POOR

The Bible...

"If there is a poor man among your brothers in any of the towns of the land that the LORD your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward your poor brother. There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded towards your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land"  - Deuteronomy 15:7,11

"Jesus said to the man who invited him, "When you have a dinner or supper, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return and you will be repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just" - Luke 14:12-14

"You evildoers frustrate the plans of the poor, but the Lord will be their savior" - Psalms 14:6

The Republicans...

"We finally cleaned up public housing in New Orleans (After Hurricane Katrina). We couldn't do it, but God did." - Former Rep. Richard Baker (R-LA)

"You know, we should not be giving cash to people (Unemployed Workers) who basically are just going to blow it on drugs and not take care of their own children" - Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT)

"Poor people are, in fact, lazy - Glenn Beck

"You can't help those who simply will not be helped. One problem that we've had, even in the best of times, is people who are sleeping on the crates, the homeless who are homeless, you might say, by choice." - Ronald Reagan

"I don't understand how poor people think" - George W. Bush

WAR

The Bible...

"Then Jesus said unto him, "Put your sword back into it's place, for those who live by the sword, die by the sword" - Matt 26:52

"Blessed are the Peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God" - Matt 5:5-9

"But I say to you that hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good for those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same" - Luke 6:27-32

"Thou shalt not kill" - Exodus 20:1-13

The Republicans...

"I know people are saying we should have left things the way they were, but I changed after 9/11. I had to act. I don't care if I created more enemies. I had to act" - George W. Bush on Iraq War

"We must win in Iraq. If we withdraw, there will be chaos, there will be genocide, and they will follow us home" - Sen. John McCain

"We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and covert them to Christianity" - Ann Coulter

"This conflict can only end with their complete and utter destruction" - Dick Cheney

"Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran" - Sen. John McCain

"The only way to reduce nuclear weapons is to use them" - Rush Limbaugh

THE RICH

The Bible...

"Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God" - Matthew 19:24

"No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money" - Matthew 6:24

"Wealth is worthless in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death" - Proverbs 11:4

"Then Jesus said to them, Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed. A man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions" - Luke 12:15

"When Jesus heard him, he said to him, "You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in Heaven. Then come, follow me" - Luke 18:22

The Republicans...

"How about $5 million?" - John McCain, when asked at what point does one go from middle-class to rich.

"I don't sacrifice. Sorry, I don't participate in recessions. I am not going to sacrifice to make someone else feel good." - Rush Limbaugh

"We are struggling like everyone else" - Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-MT), Net worth upwards of $56 million.

"I'm also unemployed" - Mitt Romney to the unemployed. Mittens is worth $200 million.

"Part of the beauty of me is that I'm very rich" - Donald Trump on 2012 presidential run.

"I struggle to meet my bills right now" - Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI), annual salary of $174,000.

LOVE, COMPASSION, and FORGIVENESS

The Bible...

"Love thy neighbor as thyself" - Mark 12:31

"He who despises his neighbor sins, but blessed is he who is kind to the needy" - Proverbs 14:21

"Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you." - Luke 6:26

"If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion, how can God's love be in that person?" - John 3:17

The Republicans...

"I tell people don't kill all the liberals. Leave enough so we can have two on every campus. Living fossils, so we never forget what these people stood for" - Rush Limbaugh

"My only regret with Timothy McVeigh is he did not go into the New York Times building" - Ann Coulter

"I didn't think I could hate victims faster than the 9/11 victims" - Glenn Beck

"I hate those gooks and I will always hate them" - Sen. John McCain

"He was a fucker. A big ass motherfucker" - Andrew Breitbart on Ted Kennedy hours after he passed away

"You attacked us!" - Allen West to a Muslim American Constituent

"The fact is while the overwhelming majority of Muslims are outstanding people, on the other hand 100% of the Islamic terrorists are Muslims, and that is our main enemy today" - Rep. Peter King

"I'm thinking about killing Michael Moore, and I'm wondering if I could kill him myself, or if I would need to hire somebody to do it... No, I think I could. I think he could be looking me in the eye, you know, and I could just be choking the life out." - Glenn Beck

"I wish the American media would take a great look at the views of the people in congress and find out: Are the Pro-America or Anti-America?" - Michele Bachmann

"If you're oriented toward animals, bestiality, then, you know, that's not something that can be used, held against you or any bias be held against you for that. Which means you'd have to strike any laws against bestiality, if you're oriented toward corpses, toward children, you know, there are all kinds of perversions... pedophiles or necrophiliacs or what most would say is perverse sexual orientations." - Rep. Louis Gohmert (R-TX), in a floor speech on passing an anti-hate crimes bill.


Do you see what I mean?

Did Republicans get a different version of the bible than I did?

As I said earlier, I'm not religious. However, I think the teachings of Christ are beautiful and the epitomy of humanity. Whether Jesus was real or not, I don't think one would do much wrong serving his message. Real Christians help the poor, not cater to the rich. They live and let live, not try and wave a moral compass in everyone's face.

Despite how you feel about the Republican Party or their views, whether you support them or not, you must understand that the modern GOP has nothing in common with Jesus Christ or Christianity. Christianity is the teachings of Jesus Christ. The Republicans are teaching something else.

I always figured that the Christian faith was a religion that lived by Jesus's words and examples. None of us can be Jesus and no one rational is expecting us to be. But I thought trying to live by the message was a vital point to being a Christian.

I thought that's why Christians asked themselves, "What would Jesus do?".

Would Jesus cut taxes for the richest people on Earth and expect the working poor to get the tab?

Would Jesus deny healthcare to children, seniors, the poor, and 9/11 rescue workers?

Would Jesus hate Muslims for what an extremist, radical group who has killed more Muslims than any other people did on 9/11?

Would Jesus deny gays the right to pursue happiness and call them sinners because he didn't agree with their lifestyle?

Would Jesus give tax subsidies to big oil companies while other people went hungry?

I do think Jesus would have a problem with abortion, but would he gun them down, bomb them, or resort to violence to stop them?

Would Jesus call someone unAmerican because they have an odd name and dark skin?

Would Jesus support a healthcare system that profits off the misfortune of others and drop them to make a profit?

Would Jesus support 400 American having more wealth than half of all Americans combined?

Would Jesus help bust unions of workers standing together to fight for fairness and justice in the workplace?

Would Jesus Support gutting environmental regulations to allow corporations to pollute the Earth that his father created?

Would Jesus go to war with a country that never attacked us, never threatened to attack us, and had no link to those who attacked us? Would Jesus go to war at all?

Would Jesus ring the bell on Wall Street?

Would Jesus be on the side of the majority of the public who is middle-class/working-poor, or would he stand with the wealthiest top 2% earners as they demand another tax cut?

The Republican Party is not a Christian group of people and we are not a Christian nation.

We are a corporate nation that uses Christianity to elect anti-government politicians to increase corporate profits and help them get to their real God... Money.

You know... What would Jesus Positively Absolutely NOT do.

10 comments:

  1. Regarding abortion: actually you may be surprised about what the Mosaic law in the Hebrew Bible has to say about this.
    "When, in the course of a brawl, a man knocks against a pregnant woman so that she has a miscarriage but suffers no further hurt, then the offender must pay whatever fine the woman's husband demands after assessment."
    This shows that a foetus wasn't considered a person, since if it were, the "life for a life" clause would be invoked. Causing a miscarriage (they don't mention medical or surgical abortions) was treated as a tort rather than a crime.
    Also, among the early church fathers who commented on the status of the foetus, none seemed to view it as a full person: that view dates to the 19th century). St. Anselm of Canterbury said no reasonable person could seriously believe that a foetus had a soul from the instant of conception. Thomas Aquinas considered a foetus a potential person, not an actual one. An early medieval canon asserted that abortion before the soul entered the foetus was not murder. (It was not clear just when this was supposed to be; 18th century Saint Alphonsus Liguori claimed that it was 40 days after conecption and that abortion befor than was fine.) The Catholic hierarchy's current views on abortion, and the radical anti-abortionism among fundamentalist Protestants, are not consistent with scripture or with the views of early Church fathers. Basically they changed their minds because they were worried about the women's liberation movement, not because of some serious desire to protect foetuses.

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  2. BTW - I like your view of "rational Christianity," focusing on Jesus's social ideas and teachings (whether or not he existed) rather than worshiping him as a cult figure. I suspect (based on statistics in a number of European countries) there are a lot of "culture Christians" who do not believe in the usual supernatural claims made by traditional Christianity (divinity of Jesus, doctrine of the trinity, doctrine of original sin, miracles, etc.) but unlike the more supernatural-beieving fundamentalist Christians, are serious about incorporating Jesus's ideas into their lives.

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  3. Great post. I have never once believed that the powerful members of the Republican party are "true" Christians behind closed doors. They are not dumb & they know what they are doing - marketing a religion they don't truly believe in for votes & ultimately money. If all you have to do to become a successful republican is claim you believe in something it becomes too easy to refuse. I get that. I just don't get the middle class Christians who actually buy into their lies. Who believes this stuff? Clearly a majority of people are (& have been) falling for it. It's quite sad.

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  4. Your approach to Christianity is very like that of Leo Tolstoy, whose book "The Kingdom of God is Within You" is subtitled "Christianity Not As A Mystic Religion But As A New Theory Of Life". Tolstoy emphasizes adherence to the pacifist, socialist teachings of Jesus, whom he accepts as a historical figure.

    Anyone who enjoyed this piece would do well to give it a read. And best of all, it's free, thanks to Project Gutenberg: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/4602

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  5. teg - That is pretty interesting. It's like the complete opposite of the right who protects fetuses but disregards humans..

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  6. teri - I completely agree. The republicans would be nothing without the masses who believe the crap they push. If they ever smarten up, the GOP is screwed.

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  7. Dave - That sounds like it's right up my alley, I'll have to check that out! Thanks.

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  8. I enjoyed this post for the most part, but I do have one quibble. While there's certainly room for debate on whether or not Jesus was the Son of God or whether he did all the things attributed to him in the Bible, that he existed is well established.

    To show I'm not blowing smoke:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LP15Pc2Lljc
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zdqJyk-dtLs

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  9. You might like this by Woodie Guthrie. I enjoy your blog.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EDS00Pnhkqk

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  10. Christianity was created by Romans to enslave the masses and make them think that socialism is good.

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