( foror for )
How can a "Christian"
Only by ignoring much of
This teaching of James is some of the most liberal in the entire bible :
"The Christian who is pure and without fault, from God the Father's
point of view, is the one who takes care of orphans and
widows in their distress, and who remains true to the Lord – not soiled and dirtied by his
contacts with the world. Dear brothers, how can you claim that
you belong to the Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, if
you show favoritism to rich people and look down on poor people?
If a man comes into your church dressed in expensive clothes and with
valuable gold rings on his fingers, and at the same moment another
man comes in who is poor and dressed in thread-bare clothes, and you
make a lot of fuss over the rich man and give him the best seat in the
house and say to the poor man, "You can stand over there if you
like or else sit on the floor" – well, judging
a man by his wealth shows that you are guided by wrong motives.
Listen to me, dear brothers: God has chosen poor people to be rich in faith, and the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs, for that is the gift God has promised to all those who love him. And yet, of the two strangers, you have despised the poor man. Don't you realize that it is usually the rich men who pick on you and drag you into court? And all too often they are the ones who laugh at Jesus Christ, whose noble name you bear. Yes indeed, it is good when you truly obey our Lord's command, "You must love and help your neighbors just as much as you love and take care of yourself." But you are breaking this law of our Lord's when you favor the rich and fawn over them; it is sin."
"You will be judged on whether or not you are doing what
Christ wants you to. So watch what you do and what you
think; for there will be no mercy to those who have shown no mercy.
But if you have been merciful, then God's mercy toward
you will win out over his judgment against you. Dear
brothers, what's the use of saying that you have faith and are
Christians if you aren't proving it by helping others?
Will that kind of faith save anyone?
If you have a friend who is in need of food and clothing, and you say to him, "Well, good-bye and God bless you; stay warm and eat hearty," and then don't give him clothes or food, what good does that do? So you see, it isn't enough just to have faith. You must also do good to prove that you have it.
Faith that doesn't show itself by good works is no faith at all – it is dead and useless. But someone may well argue, "You say the way to God is by faith alone, plus nothing; well, I say that good works are important too, for without works you can't prove whether you have faith or not; but anyone can see that I have faith by the way I act." Are there still some among you who hold that "only believing" is enough? Believing in one God? Well, remember that the demons believe this too – so strongly that they tremble in terror! Fool! When will you ever learn that "believing" is useless without doing what God wants you to? Faith that does not result in good deeds is not real faith. Just as the body is dead when there is no spirit in it, so faith is dead if it is not the kind that results in good deeds."
"Look here, you rich men, now is the time to cry and groan with anguished grief because of all the terrible troubles ahead of you. Your wealth is even now rotting away, and your fine clothes are becoming mere moth-eaten rags. The value of your gold and silver is dropping fast, yet it will stand as evidence against you and eat your flesh like fire. That is what you have stored up for yourselves to receive on that coming day of judgment. For listen! Hear the cries of the field workers whom you have cheated of their pay. Their cries have reached the ears of the Lord of Hosts. You have spent your years here on earth having fun, satisfying your every whim, and now your fat hearts are ready for the slaughter. You have condemned and killed good men who had no power to defend themselves against you."
"If someone who is supposed to be a Christian has money enough to live
well, and sees a brother in need and won't help him – how can God's love
be within him? Little children, let us stop just saying
we love people; let us really love them, and show it by our actions. Then
we will know for sure, by our actions, that we are on God's side, and our
consciences will be clear, even when we stand before the Lord.
But if we have bad consciences and feel that we have done wrong, the Lord will surely feel it even more, for he knows everything we do. But, dearly loved friends, if our consciences are clear, we can come to the Lord with perfect assurance and trust, and get whatever we ask for because we are obeying him and doing the things that please him. And this is what God says we must do: Believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another. Those who do what God says – they are living with God and he with them. We know this is true because the Holy Spirit he has given us tells us so."
"Dearly loved friends, don't always believe everything you hear just because someone says it is a message from God: test it first to see if it really is. For there are many false teachers around."[... as is evident in those who claim that today's Republican Party represents the teaching of Christ! ]
Don't be fooled by the many times Christian Conservatives mention the name of "Jesus" or "Christ". Pay close attention and you will find that they largely ignore what Christ taught – which was largely about the necessity of devoting ones life to doing good deeds for the benefit of those in need of them and to thereby please God and achieve eternal life. – Instead they repeat endlessly what Paul of Tarsus taught ( i.e. that Jesus supposedly intended to save us by faith alone ) – which makes just about everything Jesus or anybody else says about works superfluous or even objectionable. – This is the heart of the problem with "Christian Conservatism", and so we dedicate an extensive web page to the extremely important issue of Paul's teaching about faith vs. Christ's teaching about works. But there is a lot more of Paul's teaching that they promote in lieu of the teaching and example of Jesus, as we show in their own words at PaulvsAll.html.
"Christian Republicans" insist that "charity" is a private matter, best left to churches, and that it is wrong for any government to tax the rich in order to help the poor. According to them, "market forces" and the "profit-motive" – not morality, or religion – should govern in the public square. That's straight out of the gospel according to the G.O.P., and the very opposite of what the Hebrew and the Christian Scriptures teaches! Here is what the Bible and Jesus teach about GOD vs. Mammon (Greed) and here is why so few Christian priests or preachers teach what Jesus taught about the lust for money.
"Christian Conservatives" often insist that they are in possession of "the absolute truth" and they despise liberals for promoting what they call "moral relativism".
According to John 10:16, Jesus said, "I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold (i.e. who don't think and worship as we do). I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd."
And in Luke's Gospel, (as well as in Mark's) we are told that when his followers said to him in Ch. 9, v. 49, "Master, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he does not follow with us." Jesus replied "Do not stop him; for whoever is not against you is for you."
(Yes, I know that according to Matthew 9, 30, Jesus said the very opposite, "He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters." So much for the "absolute truth"! See the scores of internal contradictions in the Bible which liberals who actually read the bible attentively have found in it at www.LiberalsLikeChrist.Org/inerrancy.)
Had Hitler not persuaded the Roman Catholic and the Lutheran churches to "mind their own (ecclesiastical) business, and to stay out of "secular" matters, the mass murder of 10 million Jews, Jehovah witnesses, handicapped people, liberals, homosexuals and some Christians, as well. could never have succeeded.
But the sin we Christians need to confess regarding the Jewish Holocaust isn't a sin of "omission", i.e. that we stood idly by as others perpetrated monstrous crimes. It is a monstrous sin of commission. Some 98% of Germany's population identified themselves through the period of the Third Reich as "Christians". The Nazi monsters who perpetrated the crimes of the Third Reich didn't come from outer space. They came from the pews of Germany's Christian churches! I have researched the background of as many of the more famous Nazi leaders as I could and found that most of them were conservative Roman Catholics who were never excommunicated and, to my knowledge, ever officially left their church. I further found that - although he may not have been an ideal Catholic, he was as much a Roman Catholic as any number of politicians who claim that identity . See Hitler's faith. And finally, I found that the Third Reich made extraordinary use of Christian imagery. See " the role played by Catholic Church in particular in the Jewish Holocaust".
One of the ways the triumph of conservate Christianity is most visible in America these days is in the way we are throwing more of our "sinners" in prison than is any other country in the world, civilized or not. And nowhere is the treatment of those in prison nearly as cruel and un-Christian as it is in the "Bible Belt" states. Instead of visiting those in prison, as Jesus taught, Republicans seem intent on making sure that as many families as possible are torn apart, with as many children as possible deprived of fathers and mothers who are behind bars, often in prisons far from their families.
"One of my all time favorite Fox News moments was on the Hannity & Colmes show. The hosts were talking about the book which Alan Colmes had written ("Red, White and Liberal") in which there is a chapter entitled, "Jesus was a liberal". This night, the Conservative preacher, Franklin Graham, son of Billy Graham, was the guest. Turning to the preacher, Hannity, with a sneer & smirk, told Graham about the chapter in Colmes' book. Expecting Graham to sneer along with him, Hannity asked what Graham thought about that .... Graham replied (to Hannity's horror) that he'd have to agree with Colmes." (and with me I might add, because that chapter was inspired by this very web site, as Alan Colmes made clear in a radio interview he had with me shortly after that book was published).
The trinity of Robertson, Falwell and Swaggart, the American "Axis of Good", has been busy preaching to its flocks on the evils of the religion of Islam.
These scholars, who only a short time ago thought Muslim was a coarse weave fabric Jimmy encountered under his liaisons in the cheaper motels, are today world-renowned experts, with Falwell credited with inciting riots in India. Falwell called Muhammad, the founder of Islam, "a terrorist ... a man of war," while another reverend man of God, noting that one of Muhammad's many wives was but 9 years old, labeled him a "demon-possessed pedophile." That is hardly the worst that has been said, but it does highlight the Right's usual prurient preoccupation with sex and violence. Any historian will explain how inappropriate it is to measure the behavior of the people of one age by the moral standards of another. Muhammad's conduct, occurring more than 1,300 years ago, when warfare was business as usual and females were married while still children, was consistent with his contemporaries, even Christians. Of course, that is beside the point to Robertson, Falwell and Swaggart, men determined to judge the seventh century by their more modern 14th-century sensibilities.
If one is keeping score, it is just as easy to point out the evils of Christianity. Tens of thousands of men, women and children, both Christian and non-Christian, have been terrorized and sped into the arms of their maker on the point of a sword, or toasted on church bonfires, all in the name of Christ. It is a subject that seems to rarely come up in Sunday school for some reason. Of course, the gentle Lamb of God did not commit such violence, but that actually creates a problem for the American ayatolahs. Throughout the Cold War, Vietnam, and the Gulf War, the Right has had nothing but scorn for doves. If Jesus was alive today, wouldn't he be considered just another naive, longhaired peacenik? Haven't the ranks of the Right always celebrated the man who kills for his convictions and gets all the chicks? Haven't they found the guy who never married, never dated girls, and just threw wine-and-bread parties with the boys a little suspect? The American cultural icon is Rambo, not Mr. Rogers. If the right-wingers really studied the matter, they'd find they have more in common with Muhammad than with Jesus. Muhammad was a merchant, a businessman and entrepreneur – a capitalist. Before Jesus walked off his job, he was a carpenter, a common laborer – and with his talk of brotherhood, no doubt would have been a union man. He hung out with the dregs of society: the poor, prostitutes, tax collectors, and finally thieves. Not exactly the kind of person to whom you would entrust your most precious and eternal possession: your stock portfolio. Jesus revealed his anti-business agenda as soon as he threw the money-changers out of the temple. To the orthodox for whom taxation is government organized theft, Jesus' clear advocacy of paying taxes by "rendering unto Caesar" is a complete abomination. Scholars are still divided over whether the raising of Lazarus was to escape the death tax or an intent to pay it twice. In addition to depriving the mortuary services industry of business, Jesus had a bad habit of healing the blind, lame and sick without prior approval from health maintenance organizations. He also offered these treatments without regard to ability to pay, an early attempt at universal health care. The Right is thankful that this has as much chance today as it did 2,000 years ago – barring another miracle.
Yet more subversive acts were the turning of water into wine and the multiplication of the loaves and fishes to feed the multitude. Supply-side economics and the careful management of scarcity would be utterly wrecked by cheap and plentiful goods on the market. Profits would collapse, CEOs would lose their jobs, and the specter of want would be lifted from the land. What a capitalist nightmare. The unemployed rabble-rouser from Nazareth was obviously pushing for a welfare state. Jesus mollycoddled the poor and went out of his way to condemn the rich. His warning that it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a wealthy man to get into heaven was typical socialist blather. The affluent have had to devote themselves to breeding smaller camels and building larger needles ever since.
And in answer to that age-old question – what would Jesus drive? – he did not ride an elephant into Jerusalem but a donkey, clearly an endorsement of the Democratic Party and the liberal socioeconomic agenda, not the Republican. Perhaps it is time the furious Pharisees quit barking up the wrong tree.
by Erik V. Williams of Amarillo,
a frequent contributor to the Other Opinion page."
Another way in which Republican Conservatives espouse the opposite of Christ is in their love of and reliance on tools of death & war.
I once saw a gun lover's site pull the following words of Jesus out of their context to support his position: " the one who has no sword must sell his cloak and buy one."
The context of that passage, however, shows how dishonest that use of the verse is:
Luke 22: 36-38 He said to them, "But now, the one who has a purse must take it, and likewise a bag. And the one who has no sword must sell his cloak and buy one. For I tell you, this scripture must be fulfilled in me, 'And he was counted among the lawless'; and indeed what is written about me is being fulfilled." They said, "Lord, look, here are two swords." He replied, "It is enough."
In Jesus' day of course there were no guns, but can anyone doubt that if he were alive today, Jesus would be warning us about guns & bombs rather than "swords", as in
" Then Jesus said to him, "Put your sword back into its place; for all who take the sword will perish by the sword ."And who was the fulfilment of this prophecy, if not Jesus:
"For out of Zion shall go forth instruction, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He shall judge between the nations, and shall arbitrate for many peoples; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more."
This is the way the Greek philosopher, Aristides, described to the pagan Roman Emperor Hadrian the second century Christians whom he had observed ( in his Apology 15,16; A.D. 137 ).
"It is the Christians, O Emperor, . . . who beyond all the nations of the earth have found the truth: for they know God as Creator and Maker of all things, and they worship no other god beside Him; for they have His commandments graven on their hearts, and these they keep in expectation of the world to come. Whatsoever they would should not be done unto them, they do not to another. . . If they see a stranger they bring him under their roof, and rejoice over him, as over a brother, for they call not one another brethren after the flesh, but after the spirit. They are ready for Christ's sake to give up their own lives; for His commandments they securely keep, living holy and righteous lives, according as the Lord their God hath commanded them, giving thanks to Him at all hours, over all their food and drink, and the rest of their good things."[ from http://encyclopedia.jrank.org/APO_ARN/ARISTIDES_APOLOGY_OF.html ]
"In his book Edith the Good, Spencer Marsh's implicit thesis was that Edith Bunker's every reflexive reaction to any situation was what the writers thought Jesus' reaction would be. Marsh had it right; that is the way Edith was conceived. . . Everything tells me that the world would be an exquisite place to live if we were all able to respond to life as Jesus did." Norman Lear (a sceptical but spiritual Jew.)
[ from an article at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/norman-lear/mamaloshen-a-church-for-p_b_480896.html after it was originally posted on the Washington Post's On Faith page].
I consider myself deeply religious. I was born a Jew and I love my people and our culture. I could not be prouder of what, in our long history, we have brought to the world.
Although the "hippie" part may be a bit of a stretct, I think that this video does a good job of showing how liberal Jesus was :
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