Saturday, June 4, 2011

The Impossibility of a Christian Nation

Are there still any Christians out there?  I'd like to think there are but honestly, they are increasingly hard to find.  No, I'm not saying that because the Atheist-Communist-Muslim-Socialists are busy destroying Christianity and persecuting the righteous.  Look, you can find millions, no billions of people who belong to churches and read Christian scripture and refer to themselves as Christians.  I'm not talking about those though, I'm talking about people who actually live up to the criteria implied by the name Christian.  If you call yourself Christian, the implication is that you follow Christ.  Just to be clear, by "follow" I mean spending your days living according to the teachings and example of Jesus the Christ.  That's what the word means, there is really not a lot of wiggle room.

Thing is, the weirdest piece of news just popped up in my daily news feed.  It turns out that in Orlando, some people were thrown in jail for feeding the homeless"No effing way!", you exclaim, "surely there is more to the story?"  Well yes of course there is more to the story.  They weren't just thrown in jail for feeding the homeless, they were arrested for feeding the homeless in a public park.  The city fought a long, hard and expensive legal battle to make it so and they weren't going to let some dirty hippies thumb their noses at them by feeding some dirty homeless people!  You know what?  I actually get it.  I know that nothing ruins a nice picnic in a pretty park more than a smelly hobo who stands around acting weird and looking like someone who hasn't eaten in days while you are just trying to enjoy your adorably tiny picnic morsels.  So I can understand why the city fathers decided to ban feeding the wild homeless in their public parks.  No God fearing taxpaying citizen wants the unwashed poor hanging out where their dogs poop, now do they?

Now I'm guessing most of the good people of Orlando Florida who support this law would also self identify as Christians.  (The USA is a Christian Nation is it not?  Pretty sure I read that online...)  Heck, many of them would even call themselves "fundamentalist" or "Bible believing" Christians.  The only problem is that a law like this is completely and utterly against the teachings of Jesus, i.e. Un-Christian.  Therefore no one who claims to follow Jesus can also support such an antichrist law and still call themselves Christians.  Jesus didn't leave that loophole.  Bummer.  (Unless you're a bum!)

It's the weirdest thing really, so many people who claim to know and follow the Christian Bible don't actually know its content.  Somehow many people live with the delusion that the Bible is mostly concerned with regulating sexual activity plus some stuff on getting into Heaven and spotting the Antichrist thrown in to round it out.  Of course in actuality, The Antichrist is not mentioned in the Bible (ditto the Rapture) and the Bible mostly deals with the here and now, not the sweet hereafter.  Even better, when it comes to the "here and now" stuff, the sex verses are barely a drop in the ocean compared to the money verses.  By far the biggest part of the Bible talks about money and stuff and more specifically, how to treat those who don't have any.  Now I know that many a modern apologist manage to somehow wrangle the scriptures to make it look as if the Bible was written by Ayn Rand and is profoundly anti-welfare but to do that they need to pretend that the majority of the Bible doesn't  actually exist.  Sorry, but as a former theology student, that doesn't fly.  One of the core principles of Biblical interpretation is that the majority/unambiguous verses are used to understand the minority/unclear verses, not the other way around.  According to the major part of the Bible then it is very clear that God does not care about your picnic pleasures, He wants you to take care of the homeless.  Like in, all the damn time!

This just again shows why (contrary to the idea many have) there can be no such thing as a Christian nation.  You can live as a Christ follower, you can run your household (or commune) in accordance with His teachings, perhaps even have a small community that truly follows Christ in all they do.  However it would be suicide to run a Christian country.  Jesus had a habit of saying and doing things that made the rich and powerful deeply uncomfortable - it's one of my favourite things about Him actually - so the idea of getting the rich and powerful to abide by His teachings is so unpractical it's downright funny.  Here is an atheist who understands Christianity better than a lot of Christians making the point better than I can:

I think that if you try to run an entire country according to the life and teachings of Jesus Christ you are going to have a nation full of deeply unhappy people.  There would be no military, very little (if any) capitalism, a government budget spent largely on welfare and a justice system that doesn't resemble a justice system to name but a few issues.  Face it, Jesus wouldn't make a good president.  But don't take my word for it, go see for yourself what an actual Christian nation would look like.  You don't even have to read the entire scary big Bible, just the four Gospels.  Remember if you call it a Christian Nation then it has to be based on what Jesus taught.  No cribbing from Moses or David!  Afterwards you can tell me if that sounds like a nation you can live in or if you would prefer a secular government.  It's OK, I can wait.


GumbyTheCat said...

I'm sure that if the smelly hobo in the park were a fetus, Christians would have no problem feeding it.

In my latter days in the faith I would argue endlessly with the fundies about what Christianity actually is. I took your position - that being a Christian means living according to the teachings and example of Jesus.

The many fundies I've talked to universally - universally - reject that notion. They argue that Christianity is 100% about accepting Christ, being born-again, saving one's ass from the fire, yadda, yadda, yadda. Most fundies pay only lip service to the compassionate teachings of the human religiophilosopher Jesus, and consider actually following the teachings of Jesus to be a "work" that doesn't keep you out of hell. Doing things like helping the least among us are considered purely optional and not necessary for one's own personal ass-salvation. At most, they will claim that following the teachings of Jesus is a by-product of developing that "personal ass-saving relationship" with Christ. In other words, when you've been "saved" from hell, Da Holey Spirit will make you want to feed the bums in the park. So basically, they're admitting that they have no desire to actually help those in need, and they wouldn't have before their "salvation"; they're just experiencing the after-effects of joining the Cult.

This moronic and supremely selfish attitude explains why some fundies are willing to offer to provide humanitarian relief only if they are allowed to proselytize while throwing peanuts at the hungry.

This is about when I started realizing just how evil and selfish Christianity is when applied by those who are themselves selfish and evil.

Eugene said...

It boggles the mind that people can think that and still have the balls to call themselves "fundamentalists". Jesus was very clear:

“Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? Luke 6:46

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Matthew 7:21

On the other hand the whole "just say the magic prayer and everything is fine" bit was never taught by Jesus.

But what do I know, I never finished my seminary studies!

digapigmy said...

Well, that's a toughie, Gumby. The Bible does seem to be pretty clear that choosing Christ and following Him are the only important things.

However, the way the people you are referring to define "choose" and "follow" are different than what the Bible indicates will be the case. The Bible seems to indicate that you will be unable to not love others and want to serve them (sorry about the double negative - horrible grammar)if you truly are a follower of Christ. That amongst other things, but charity seems to be the focus at the moment.

Like Bill said, most "Christians" are not Christians. It is that simple. Being a Christian is more than a belief or a feeling. You can't just claim it and then be it - that is how it is different from atheism or most ways we identify ourselves and why many people who aren't Christians get to go out there and constantly represent Christians.

Switch "by-product" with "end result" and you are pretty much spot on. You said "So basically, they're admitting that they have no desire to actually help those in need, and they wouldn't have before their "salvation"; they're just experiencing the after-effects of joining the Cult." That is accurate to an extent. The Bible also teaches that you are a new person. Of course that is somewhat symbolic, but becoming a Christian should change you to an extent where I think a more proper way to say it is that someone who previously had no desire to help anyone has become someone who now does. Semantic in a lot of ways, but semantics are more important than most people thing.