My friend the Rambling Taoist recently asked the following questions in a post on his excellent blog:
I want to know why the leaders of Christianity — particularly the fundamentalists — focus so much of their attention on issues like marriage and abortion, yet they are remarkably silent when it comes to the amount of greed rampant in the world today!
Why doesn’t Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church picket Bank of America or Goldman Sachs as a way of saying God is displeased with the way they conduct business?
Why doesn’t the loony Terry Jones (the Koran burner) threaten to burn the collective written works of Milton Friedman because they represent a “bible” that goes against the Kingdom of God?
Why hasn’t Pat Robertson declared that, when a bank goes under or a major corporation sees its stock prices tumble, it is because God is punishing the CEO and shareholders for leading immoral lives?
These are excellent questions, deserving honest answers, and I would like to know the answers as well, so I challenge people of all faiths, but Christians in particular, to answer them.
The Jesus I learned about as a child never said anything about same sex marriage, abortion, or most of the other ‘hot button’ issues keeping us divided and at each other’s throats today.
Many will make the excuse that those issues didn’t exist during so-called biblical times, but these same people are often the loudest opponents of any legislation not specifically allowed by the Constitution. Either everything is subject to reinterpretation based on new facts, new problems, and general societal evolution or everything must remain stagnant forever, but you can’t have it both ways.
Regulating big banks and other forms of commerce or legislating mandatory minimum and maximum wages might not have been addressed by the writers of Constitution or the Bible, but I’m pretty sure Jesus wouldn’t have come down on the side of greed, intolerance, and oppression. The Jesus I learned about in my youth was a man of revolutionary ideas who challenged the status quo of his day and worked to show people that we are all the same – we are all one – we are our brother’s keeper. He upset the apple cart of the wealthy and powerful and it cost him his life.
Yet today, when it’s time to support some divisive, hate inspired issue, the most vocal support always comes from the most ardent followers of the ‘Prince of Peace’. I don’t know what’s in the communion wine, but the vast majority of Christians I meet, especially those of the evangelical fundamentalist variety, are 180 degrees out of step with the teachings of their savior. It’s truly sad when an atheist who hasn’t warmed a pew in almost two decades understands the principles of your religion better than you do, huh?
You can’t have it both ways folks. Either you embrace the love, compassion, and peace that Jesus of Nazareth’s message taught, or it’s all bullshit and you’re a bunch of delusional sheep being blindly led astray by professional sociopaths paying lip service to that which is expedient and profitable.
Despite my rejection of supernatural beings and omniscient deities, I happen to hold the moral teachings attributed to Jesus in high regard. I believe our world would be a much more civilized place if those who spend so much time and energy making manipulative preachers wealthy would spend even a fraction of their resources doing what their lord and savior taught.
I would further contend that our national religion, despite the Constitution’s prohibition against such an establishment, is a mutant form of corrupt prosperity gospel mixed with sociopathic Randian capitalism (Anyone else see the irony there?). The Jesus I understand would rather burn nearly every church in America today to the ground and kick the shit out of those getting rich off his legacy.
Camel – something something – eye of a needle – something something – rich man – something something – kingdom of God.
Go read the story about what he did to the moneychangers in the temple (Mark 11:15–19, 11:27–33, Matthew 21:12–17, 21:23–27 or Luke 19:45–48, 20:1–8). Anyone who can’t see the correlation between that story and the tax-exempt money mill that modern Christianity has become is either blind or simply refuses to see.