Jesus Christ message, the EXACT OPPOSITE of right wing philosophy

Discussion in 'Soap Box' started by Bob26003, Jan 12, 2010.

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  1. Bob26003

    Bob26003 Well-Known Member

    Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

    Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

    Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth.

    Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

    Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.

    Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

    Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

    Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

    Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me.

    Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

    (((((((((((((((((

    Seeing this, Jesus "Looked around and said to his disciples," (Mark 10:23) "How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God." It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God!"
     
  2. Bob26003

    Bob26003 Well-Known Member

    1. Jesus practiced and taught unequivocally about radical inclusion. He hung out
    with the marginalized and "untouchables" of his day...women, tax gatherers,
    prostitutes etc. Would he condone excluding somebody from their fellowship,
    based on their sexuality, legal status, or any perceived sinful behavior?

    2. Jesus was anything but “mainstream.” He was a rebel. His radical spiritual
    message had political implications. He challenged the status quo. After the
    2004 election, the Radical Right slammed Democrats for being "far out of
    mainstream America." But, wasn't Jesus unpopular with the mainstream of his
    day, for his radically inclusive, non-legalistic teachings?

    3. Jesus was non-judgmental, and offered forgiveness without declarations of
    faith. Nobody was denied "heaven" if they didn't "ask Jesus into their hearts."
    The religious right is obsessed with “saving souls” while seemingly oblivious to
    the physical sufferings of these same souls. What would he think about the
    current obsession of "end times theology," using fear to motivate and the big
    business it has spawned?

    4. Jesus' harshest critiques were reserved for the self-righteous religious/political
    leaders of the day. He called them hypocrites, and charged that they had lost
    sight of the spirit of the law; they looked "whitewashed" but were actually
    rotting on the inside. What would Jesus have to say about the rampant
    corporate greed that dictates public policy, or the Church's cover-up of sex
    scandals?

    5. Jesus hated injustice. He initiated his ministry by announcing that the kingdom
    of God is near: freedom for the oppressed, sight for the blind and release of the
    captives. What would Jesus say about the 13 million children in this country
    who live below the poverty line and the widening gap between rich and poor?
    Would he make cutting capital gains tax his top legislative initiative? What
    about the careless destruction of the environment that in the end, most harshly
    affects the poor?

    6. Jesus described himself with two words: gentle and humble. And he summed
    up his message as this "Love God with all your heart, soul and mind...and your
    neighbor as yourself." Would you describe the Religious Right's dogma, based
    on demonizing the "other," as gentle or humble?

    7. Jesus preached that the good news from God was not just for the powerful men
    of the day, and not just for Israel. In fact, he spoke of a special place in God's
    heart for the poor. He invites us to redefine who our neighbor is...and then widen
    the net to see all the world as our brothers and sisters. Would Jesus approve of
    us doing so little for the vast majority of the world that subsists on $1 a day?
    Would he insist that we tighten our borders and criminalize immigrants?

    8. Jesus offered a radical grace towards women. Jesus allowed women to be his
    students, disciples and financiers of his ministry, at a time when women were
    not to be looked at, let alone discussing spiritual concepts. Would he restrict
    the role of women from full participation in church today? What would he think
    of the male patriarchy of the Catholic Church? What would he say about the fact
    that poverty in this country disproportionately affects women or about cutting
    social service programs that help single mothers, and their children?

    9. Jesus wasn't a legalist. He was assailed for breaking Sabbath rules to heal a
    man and the Purity Code to touch and heal a bleeding woman and lepers. He
    followed the spirit of the law and not the rigid letter of the law. Clearly, healing
    trumped "rules." What would he say today to people who claim they know the
    one "right" way to interpret these "rules," or who dismiss scientific evidence
    and personal experience? What would he say about churches splitting over
    issues like gay rights and abortion, that Jesus never mentioned? Would he
    conclude that the kind of love he taught about has been the real casualty in
    these debates?

    10. Jesus was nonviolent. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus preached "love your
    enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you...". He
    challenged the old ways of thinking by discouraging "an eye for an eye" and
    encouraging us to "turn the other cheek" instead. Would Jesus condone
    preemptive war and violent solutions to conflict? Or would he prefer the
    peaceful ending of conflicts such as those achieved by Gandhi and Martin
    Luther King, Jr.?
     
  3. Bob26003

    Bob26003 Well-Known Member

    We created this website because we believe the historical, Biblically documented teachings of Jesus
    Christ clearly show that Jesus is a Liberal. His philosophy, based in compassion, equality,
    inclusion, forgiveness, tolerance, peace and - most importantly - love, is 100% Liberal.

    Why is Jesus a Liberal?

    Webster's dictionary defines a Liberal as one who is open minded, not
    strict in the observance of orthodox, traditional or established forms or
    ways. Jesus was a pluralist Liberal who taught that one need not
    conform to strict and orthodox views of God, religion, and life. He
    rejected greed, violence, the glorification of power, the amassing of
    wealth without social balance, and the personal judging of others, their
    lifestyles and beliefs.

    Over and over again, He taught us to believe in and live a spiritual and
    ethical life based in our essential, inherent goodness. What Jesus
    promoted was succinct set of spiritual principals and a way of life
    based upon the of love, compassion, tolerance, and a strong belief in
    the importance in giving and of generosity to those in need.

    While not Biblical scholars, our common sense understanding of His
    lessons as philosophically and politically Liberal is founded upon Jesus'
    own words (see quotes below), modern interpretations of Liberation
    Theology, and in the positive, loving and compassionate application of
    His teachings - from the many early Saints to Mother Theresa and
    Liberation Theology.

    Certainly, Jesus brought a radically Liberal theology to the Orthodox
    believers of his time. Jesus IS a Liberal even today because now more
    than ever, His principals align with the very core of Liberal Beliefs.

    ****************

    Biblical Quotes Supporting the Belief that Jesus Is A Liberal

    Peacemaking, not War Making: Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. [Matthew 5:9] Resist
    not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. [Matthew 5:39] I say unto you, Love your
    enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despite-fully use you, and persecute
    you; [Matthew 5:44]

    The Death Penalty: Thou shalt not kill [Matthew 5:21]

    Crime and Punishment: If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to cast a stone at her. [John 8:7] Do not judge, lest
    you too be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged and with the measure you use, it will be measured to
    you. [Matthew 7:1 & 2.]

    Justice: Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. [Matthew 5:6] Blessed are the
    merciful: for they shall obtain mercy [Matthew 5:7] But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your
    trespasses. [Matthew 6:15]

    Corporate Greed and the Religion of Wealth: In the temple courts [Jesus] found men selling cattle, sheep and doves and other
    sitting at tables exchanging money. So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple area, both sheep and cattle;
    he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. [John 2:14 & 15.] 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.] Truly, I say unto you, it will
    be hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. [Matthew 19:23] You cannot serve both God and Money. [Matthew 6:24.]

    Paying Taxes & Separation of Church & State: Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the
    things that are God's. [Matthew 22:21]

    Community: Love your neighbor as yourself. .[Matthew 22:39] So in everything, do to others as you would have them do to you.
    [Matthew 7:12.] If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven.
    [Matthew 19:21]

    Equality & Social Programs: But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed,
    because they cannot repay you. You will be repaid at the resurrection of the just. [Luke 14:13 &14.]

    Public Prayer & Displays of Faith: And when thou pray, thou shall not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in
    the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
    But thou, when thou pray, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret…
    [Matthew 6:6 & 7]

    Strict Enforcement of Religious Laws: If any of you has a son or a sheep and it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will you not take
    hold of it and lift it out? [Matthew 12:11] The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. [Mark 2:27.]

    Individuality & Personal Spiritual Experience: Ye are the light of the world. [Matthew 5:14]

    Follow the Truth.....wherever it leads you!
     
  4. Bob26003

    Bob26003 Well-Known Member

    So is right wing philosophy evil?

    personally I believe it is...............

    What is your opinion and why?

    **********************

    So I do not understand how one can be a Christian and espouse right wing philosophy unless either they are lying or somehow misinformed.

    could one or you rightwingers please clarify this for me
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 12, 2010
  5. Maxie

    Maxie Active Member

    You'll have to define "Rightwing".

    If you mean guys like Bush and Limbaugh,well they aren't really rightwing,they are *****s for Big Business.

    But so is Obama,Pelosi,and Oprah Winfrey.
     
  6. Zurkhardo

    Zurkhardo Well-Known Member

    Maxie, I will defend to the death your right to dislike him ;) The great thing about a democracy is that people can love or hate whatever public official they want. Anyone who demonizes you for it is no more a liberal lover of freedom their rightist opponents.

    Very good point Bob. The problem is that Jesus's teaching were codified with what we call the Old Testemant today, a body of text completely opposed to anything he taught. These right-wingers tend to draw most of their hatred, misogyny, and the like from these texts, practicing Jesus's message only within their fellow faithful or loved ones.

    There is a whole psychological and sociological explanation for it, but I can't get into it at this moment.
     
  7. nos nomed

    nos nomed Well-Known Member

    People should stop trying to fool themselves into believing there is a left and right in american government anymore. The sides are only really used anymore to influence people who still believe it means something. Left wing voters often believe that the left side is the only one who cares about education minority rights and such and right wing voters think right wing tends to be the only side that values economic prosperity and christian ideology. To think that either side stands for only one side of america is retarded so vote for the best person for the lying job they will be doing lol. BTW Mccain had the better education platform Obama had the better military idea but regardless I doubt either would have been put into effect.

    Of course jesus was liberal so was Buddha, Allah and pretty much any other loved religious figure you want to pick out. For religion to be effective it has to create compassion in the hearts of it's believer. If any of those figures were billionaire industry tycoons of their day the masses would shun them as not being from a similar upbringing. Less fortunate people associate best with people who survived turmoil and misfortune.
     
  8. morning rush

    morning rush Well-Known Member

    you know what I think people take the bible and take what's in it and twist it to accomodate their own needs...

    To me Judging is a very bad quality and the ones who keep saying that gays go against god..well if jesus was alive he probably would be hanging with them right now...

    This:

    Crime and Punishment: If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to cast a stone at her. [John 8:7] Do not judge, lest
    you too be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged and with the measure you use, it will be measured to
    you. [Matthew 7:1 & 2.]

    I believe that with all my heart and I actually practice it in my life...I mean how can one misinterpret this?
     
  9. Bob26003

    Bob26003 Well-Known Member

    I expected some to react with anger maxie.

    but seriously, how does the right reconcile Jesus teachings that they claim to praise, with the ideology that is pretty much the exact opposite?

    Especially given the propensity of the right to try to fuse gov and religion

    Im just wondering about the thought processes.
     
  10. Chargette

    Chargette Well-Known Member

    I don't define Jesus as a liberal because Jesus is not a politician. I don't see God or Jesus as being on our side for anything. It is for us to be on their side and to follow their ways.

    Jesus said: "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father but by me." John 14:6

    Jesus also said: Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God." Matthew 22:29
     
  11. worlds edge

    worlds edge Well-Known Member

    Mt 26

    Rev 21

    (I think my favorite quote re: Revelation was Thomas Jefferson's thought that the book was "the ravings of a maniac," but that's just me.)
     
  12. Bob26003

    Bob26003 Well-Known Member

    actually revelations was not added to the NT till later and there was a debate as to whether to include it or not. See John was an apocalyptic preacher before he met Jesus. And there are thousands of apocalyptic manuscripts, many similar to revelation. Apocalyptic literature was very popular at the time.

    Personally I don't think Revelations should have been included in the canon. It was thrown in at the last minute so to speak.

    ^^^^

    There has always been debate about Revelation's composition as well as its trustworthiness. In the Catalog of Eusebius it is placed in the disputed category along with the Epistle of Jude, the Epistle of James and the Gospel according to the Hebrews.[4]

    Early Views of Authorship

    A number of Church Fathers weighed in on the authorship of Revelation. Justin Martyr avows his belief in its apostolic origin. Irenaeus assumes it as a conceded point. At the end of the second century, it is accepted at Antioch by Theophilus, and in Africa by Tertullian. At the beginning of the third century, it is adopted by Clement of Alexandria and by Origen of Alexandria, later by Methodius, Cyprian, and Lactantius. Dionysius of Alexandria rejected it, upon doctrinal rather than critical grounds. Eusebius inclined to class the Apocalypse with the spurious books.[7] Jerome relegated it to second class.[7] Most canons included it, but some, especially in the Eastern Church, rejected it. It is wholly absent from the Peshitta.[7]

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Book_of_Revelation

    ***********

    But what exactly are you saying there Patrick?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 14, 2010
  13. worlds edge

    worlds edge Well-Known Member

    Not really. First, it was included in Athanasius's list of NT books, which AFAIK was the first attempt at actually defining the Canon. Second, it has remained in the canon for both western Catholicism and eastern Orthodox Christianity since then.

    Doubtless some theologians grumbled about it, but they were never the ones giving these things a seal of approval. Can you point to any particular council or whatnot that marked it heretical?

    Martin Luther wanted to toss it, and I think did in at least one Bible edition he sponsored, but he also wanted to dump James and one or two others, IIRC. And that was a LOT later. Like over a 1,000 years later.

    Oh, I dunno, that its news to me that liberals think the "unchaste" should burn for eternity in a pit of fire?
     
  14. worlds edge

    worlds edge Well-Known Member

    Errm, There was no such thing as a New Testament as a whole until "later." The early Christian communities used the Septuagint only, probably on the assumption that the end times were going to follow very shortly. Meaning nobody seemed to be all that interested in even thinking about a "New" Testament until around the middle of the 2nd c. CE, when somebody must have noticed that the end times seemed to be taking their time in arriving.

    Anyway, it is included in the oldest list of "canonical" books extant, the Muratorian fragment, which is traditionally thought to have been written about 180 CE, and that actually did contain a couple of works that were dropped. Quite frankly I don't see how you can say it was any kind of late addition just based on that, personally. (I'd forgotten all about that in my previous post.)

    And there were various strange heresies floating around that ignored the entire Old Testament and a good chunk of the New Testament, as with Marcion. And probably Arius, though the Arians seemed to function inside what has come down to us as Christianity at times, so maybe not.

    Anyway, whatever debate there was prior things like the Councils of Carthage and Hippo, that debate ended in the West for well over a millenia when Revelation was included in the canon by Augustine, who ran the show at both councils. And within a century most of the Orthodox churches signed on as well. (BTW, that bit about the Syriac churches in your last post made for interesting reading. Never knew that.)

    I personally don't think the author of the Gospel of John was also the author of Revelation, though I guess that one is debated by scholars.

    See above. It was there at the beginning, listed in the Muratorian fragment. And it also got the seal of approval by Augustine in those two councils I mentioned. And I'm under the impression that councils of this sort deliberated on everything to an agonizing degree, and were hardly likely to have thrown anything in at the last minute.
     
  15. Bob26003

    Bob26003 Well-Known Member

    The oldest clear endorsement of Mark, Matthew, Luke, and John being the only legitimate gospels was written c. 180 AD. It was a claim made by Bishop Irenaeus in his polemic Against the Heresies, for example III.XI.8: "It is not possible that the gospels can be either more or fewer in number than they are. For, since there are four zones of the world in which we live, and four principal winds, while the church is scattered throughout all the world, and the “pillar and ground” of the church is the gospel and the spirit of life; it is fitting that she should have four pillars, breathing out immortality on every side, and vivifying men afresh."

    At least, then, the books considered to be authoritative included the four gospels and many of the letters of Paul, though, based on the arguments Irenaeus made in support of only four authentic gospels, some interpreters deduce that the fourfold Gospel must have still been a novelty in Irenaeus's time.[20]. Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, and Tertullian (all 2nd century) held the letters of Paul to be on par with the Hebrew scriptures as being divinely inspired, yet others rejected him. Other books were held in high esteem but were gradually relegated to the status of New Testament Apocrypha.

    Eusebius, c. 300, gave a detailed list of New Testament writings in his Ecclesiastical History Book 3, Chapter XXV:
    "1... First then must be put the holy quaternion of the gospels; following them the Acts of the Apostles... the epistles of Paul... the epistle of John... the epistle of Peter... After them is to be placed, if it really seem proper, the Apocalypse of John, concerning which we shall give the different opinions at the proper time. These then belong among the accepted writings."
    "3 Among the disputed writings [Antilegomena], which are nevertheless recognized by many, are extant the so-called epistle of James and that of Jude, also the second epistle of Peter, and those that are called the second and third of John, whether they belong to the evangelist or to another person of the same name. Among the rejected [Kirsopp Lake translation: "not genuine"] writings must be reckoned also the Acts of Paul, and the so-called Shepherd, and the Apocalypse of Peter, and in addition to these the extant epistle of Barnabas, and the so-called Teachings of the Apostles; and besides, as I said, the Apocalypse of John, if it seem proper, which some, as I said, reject, but which others class with the accepted books. And among these some have placed also the Gospel according to the Hebrews... And all these may be reckoned among the disputed books."
    "6... such books as the Gospels of Peter, of Thomas, of Matthias, or of any others besides them, and the Acts of Andrew and John and the other apostles... they clearly show themselves to be the fictions of heretics. Wherefore they are not to be placed even among the rejected writings, but are all of them to be cast aside as absurd and impious."

    Revelation is counted as both accepted (Kirsopp Lake translation: "Recognized") and disputed, which has caused some confusion over what exactly Eusebius meant by doing so. From other writings of the church fathers, we know that it was disputed with several canon lists rejecting its canonicity. EH 3.3.5 adds further detail on Paul: "Paul's fourteen epistles are well known and undisputed. It is not indeed right to overlook the fact that some have rejected the Epistle to the Hebrews, saying that it is disputed by the church of Rome, on the ground that it was not written by Paul." EH 4.29.6 mentions the Diatessaron: "But their original founder, Tatian, formed a certain combination and collection of the gospels, I know not how, to which he gave the title Diatessaron, and which is still in the hands of some. But they say that he ventured to paraphrase certain words of the apostle [Paul], in order to improve their style."[21]

    The New Testament canon as it is now was first listed by St. Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria, in 367, in a letter written to his churches in Egypt, Festal Letter 39. Also cited is the Council of Rome, but not without controversy. That canon gained wider and wider recognition until it was accepted at the Third Council of Carthage in 397 and 419[22]. Even this council did not settle the matter, however. Certain books continued to be questioned, especially James and Revelation. Even as late as the 16th century, theologian and reformer Martin Luther questioned (but in the end did not reject) the Epistle of James, the Epistle of Jude, the Epistle to the Hebrews and the Book of Revelation. Even today, German-language Luther Bibles are printed with these four books at the end of the canon, rather than their traditional order for other Christians. Due to the fact that some of the recognized books of the Holy Scripture were having their canonicity questioned by Protestants in the 16th century, the Council of Trent reaffirmed the traditional canon (that is for Catholics the canon of the Council of Rome) of the scripture as a dogma of the Catholic Church.
     
  16. Bob26003

    Bob26003 Well-Known Member

    but none of this has to do with the question:

    How can you rectify the obvious opposition of conservative philosophy to the basic tenets of Jesus teachings?
     
  17. Bob26003

    Bob26003 Well-Known Member

    Essential Reading

    By Frank Schaeffer

    January 2010 "Brad Blog" -- Do you want to understand Sarah Palin's attraction to the born-again Republican/Fox crowd? Then you have to "get" the apocalyptic fantasy world they live in. I know. It's where I once lived.

    Palin comes from that world of hysterical paranoid delusion. It's her attraction to the people who like her. God has "raised her up for such a time as this" they believe. It is why Fox "News" just hired her as another one of their fair and balanced commentators.

    Jerry Jenkins and Tim LaHaye's Left Behind series of sixteen novels (so far!) represents everything that is most deranged about Palin's religion, and understanding why those books are popular is the key to "getting" the Palin Fox "News" deal...

    The Left Behind novels represent the fundamentalist end times view that Palin buys into. They have sold tens of millions of copies while spawning an "End Times" cult, or rather egging it on. Such products as Left Behind wall paper, screen savers, children's books, and video games have become part of the ubiquitous American background noise.

    Less innocuous symptoms include people stocking up on assault rifles and ammunition, adopting "Christ-centered" home school curricula, fearing higher education, embracing rumor as fact, and learning to love hatred for the "other," as exemplified by a revived anti-immigrant racism, the murder of doctors who perform legal abortions, and even a killing in the Holocaust Museum.

    No, I am not blaming Palin, Jenkins and LaHaye's product line for murder or racism or any other evil intent or result. What I am saying is that feeding the paranoid delusions of people on the fringe of the fringe --- people who think they alone are "Real Americans" --- contributes to a dangerous climate that may provoke violence in a few individuals.

    Convincing folks that Armageddon is on the way, and all we can do is wait, pray, and protect our families from the chaos that will be the "prelude" to the "Return of Christ," is perhaps not the best recipe for political, economic, or personal stability, let alone social cohesion! It may also not be the best philosophy on which to make serious American foreign policy decisions --- especially for a Palin-type who we now know didn't even know why North and South Korea were divided into two!

    Palin might not know the 2 Koreas but she knows when Jesus is returning!

    Here's the official position of Sarah Palin's denomination, of which she'd been a member for 25 years until she left when political ambition meant clearing the decks of embarrassment (then, on the advice of her political McCain handlers, even further distancing herself). Palin was born into a Roman Catholic family. She was "born-again" and joined the Wasilla Assembly of God, a Pentecostal church, which she attended until 2002. Palin then switched to the Wasilla Bible Church --- equally if not even more nutty --- because, she said, she preferred their children's ministries. When in Juneau, she attends the Juneau Christian Center. After the Republican National Convention, a spokesperson for the McCain campaign told CNN that Palin "doesn't consider herself Pentecostal" and has "deep religious convictions on the 'End Times.'":
    What does the Assemblies of God believe concerning end-time events?

    The Assemblies of God understands the biblical description of end-time events to be literal, not symbolic (as do some churches).
    ...
    To the Christian who truly loves Jesus, the sudden appearance of Christ in the air will hold no fear, dread, or disappointment.
    ...
    The end times will be full of frightening events. Christians will be spared from suffering some of them by being snatched away in the Rapture.
    ...
    With the saints removed from the earth, a time of suffering will come upon the whole world.
    ...
    The Tribulation directly concerns Israel and is God's judgment for long apostasy (abandonment of religious faith) and neglect of the Messiah - Jesus Christ
    ...
    After the judgment fire physically destroys those deceived by Satan at the end of the Millennium, all the wicked who have ever lived on the face of the earth will be dead. Then will follow the resurrection of the wicked dead to stand before the austere Judge "from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away" (Revelation 20:11)
    ...
    If it were only the scoffers and skeptics who raise question about the certainty of the Lord's return for His own (cf. 2 Peter 3:3,4), it would be bad enough. But for the Church of Jesus Christ to become lethargic and careless because the long-promised chain of end-time events has not yet begun is unconscionable. The Assemblies of God preaches a clear message that Jesus is coming soon...

    The momentum toward what amounts to a broad Palin-loving subculture seceding from the union (in order to await "The End") and/or a time when the US government quits taxing us, is irrevocably prying loose a chunk of the American population from both sanity and their fellow citizens. If you think Palin's fans are nuts; they are. If you think the tea baggers are odd; they are. The theology of the "End" is behind both. In the religious version Jesus is on the way. In the "tea bagger" secular version: the US government is the enemy and is the harbinger of doom, collapse and the end.

    Disclosure: I was one of those nuts

    A time-out for disclosure is in order. I knew Jerry Jenkins quite well many years ago when I was a Religious Right leader before I quit in the mid 1980s. We worked on a project together. I also knew Tim LaHaye. I'm betting that they mean well. It seems to me that they also have no idea what they have helped unleash. You can be very decent and very blind.

    That said...the evangelical/fundamentalists --- and hence, from the early 1980s until the election of President Obama in 2008, the Religious Right as it informed U.S. policy through the then-dominant Republican Party --- are in the grip of an apocalyptic Rapture cult centered on revenge and vindication. This End Times death wish is built on a literalist interpretation of the Book of Revelation. Too bad.

    The Bible's weirdest book (and that's saying something!)

    Revelation: this weird book, was the last to be included in the New Testament. It was included as canonical only relatively late in the process after a heated dispute. The historic Churches East and West remain so suspicious of Revelation that to this day it has never been included as part of the cyclical public readings of scripture in Orthodox services. The book of Revelation is read in Roman and Anglican Churches only during Advent.

    Given that Revelation is now being hyped as the literal --- even desired --- roadmap to Armageddon and given Palin and her long-time church buys into this vision, it's worth pausing to note that the book is nothing more than a bizarre pastoral letter that was addressed to seven specific churches in Asia at the end of the first century by someone (maybe John or maybe not) who appears to have been far from well when he wrote it. In any case, the letter was not intended for use outside of its liturgical context, not to mention that it reads like Jesus on acid.

    Profit-taking from scraps of "prophecy"

    As I describe in detail in my new book Patience with God: Faith for People Who Don't Like Religion (or Atheism), the Left Behind series is really just recycled evangelical/fundamentalist profit-taking from scraps of "prophecy" left over from an earlier commercial effort to mine the vein of fearsome End Times gold. A book called The Late Great Planet Earth was the 1970s incarnation of this nonsense.

    It was written by Hal Lindsey, a "writer" who dropped by my evangelical-leader parents' ministry of L'Abri several times. When Mikhail Gorbachev became president of the U.S.S.R., Planet Earth groupies claimed Gorbachev was the Antichrist, citing the references in Revelation to the "mark of the beast" as proof because Gorbachev had a birthmark on his forehead!

    After everything predicted in the book came to nothing, Lindsey rewrote and "updated" his "interpretations" in many sequels, in what must have been some sort of record for practicing George Orwell's idea of "doublethink" via editorial revision of ever-changing "facts."

    To Jenkins and LaHaye, who have taken over the Hal Lindsey franchise of apocalypse-for-fun-and-profit and expanded it into a massive industry, the "chosen" will soon be airlifted to safety. The focus on the "signs" leading up to this hoped-for aeronautical excursion is understandably no longer the defunct U.S.S.R. but the ripped-from-the-headlines gift that keeps on giving: the Middle East.

    The key to understanding the popularity of this series and just why a nonentity like Palin is accepted as a leader by her fans --- and now Fox, and the whole host of other End Times "ministries" from the ever weirder Jack-the-Rapture-is-coming!-Van-Impe to the smoother but no less bizarre pages of Christianity Today magazine --- isn't some new or sudden interest in prophecy, but the deepening inferiority complex suffered by the evangelical/fundamentalist community.

    The Evangelical inferiority complex

    The words "left behind" are ironically what the books are about, but not in the way their authors intended. The evangelical/fundamentalists, from their crudest egocentric celebrities to their "intellectuals" touring college campuses trying to make evangelicalism respectable, have been left behind by modernity. They won't change their literalistic anti-science, anti-education, anti-everything superstitions, so now they nurse a deep grievance against "the world." This has led to a profound fear of the "other."

    Jenkins and LaHaye provide the ultimate revenge fantasy for the culturally left behind Palin/Fox crowd against the "elite." The Left Behind franchise holds out hope for the self-disenfranchised that at last soon everyone will know "we" were right and "they" were wrong. They'll know because Spaceship Jesus will come back and whisk us away, leaving everyone else to ponder just how very lost they are because they refused to say the words, "I accept Jesus as my personal savior" and join our side while there was still time! Even better: Jesus will kill all those smart-ass Democrat-voting, over-educated fags who have been mocking us!

    The bestselling status of the Left Behind novels proves that, not unlike Islamist terrorists who behead their enemies, many evangelical/fundamentalist readers relish the prospect of God doing lots of messy killing for them as they watch in comfort from on high. They want revenge on all people not like them --- forever.

    Jenkins, LaHaye --- and now Palin --- cash in on years of imagined victimhood

    I say imagined, because the born-agains had one of their very own, George W. Bush, in the White House for eight long, ruinous years and also dominated American politics for the better part of thirty years before that. Nevertheless, their sense of being a victimized minority is still very real --- and very marketable. Whether they were winning politically or not, they nurtured a mythology of persecution by the "other." Evangelical/fundamentalists believed that even though they were winning, somehow they had actually lost.

    Most of that sense of lost battles is related to the so-called "Culture Wars" issues in which evangelical/fundamentalists did not fare so well, from the legalization of abortion to gay rights. But rather than admitting that they were often losing the arguments, or had come across as so mean (or plain dumb) that few outsiders wanted to be like them, they blamed everyone else, from the courts to organizations such as Planned Parenthood, the ACLU, the New York Times, and the "left-wing media."

    Just about any scapegoat would do to deny or disguise the simple fact that fewer Americans wanted to follow the evangelical/fundamentalist Church Ladies into their gloomy cave (and/or the never-never land of the Rapture) and park their brains there.

    Mea Culpa

    I used to be part of the self-pitying, whining, evangelical/fundamentalist chorus. I remember going on the Today Show with host Jane Pauley back in the late 1970s (or early 1980s). I debated with the head of the American Library Association about my claim that our evangelical/fundamentalist books weren't getting a fair shake from the "cultural elites." We Schaeffers were selling millions of books, but the New York Times never reviewed them. I made the point that we were being ignored by the "media elite," which was somewhat ironic, given that I had been invited to appear on Today to make that claim.

    I dropped out of the evangelical/fundamentalist subculture soon after that Today appearance (years later I was back on Today in my secular writer incarnation, being interviewed about a book of mine on the military/civilian divide, but I decided not to mention that I'd been on the show about thirty years before in what seemed like either another lifetime or an out-of-body experience).

    Fox/Palin and the victimhood mythology

    Others like Fox and Palin carried on where I and many others in the first wave of the anti-abortion/religious Right wave left off, pushing the victimhood mythology to the next generation of evangelical/fundamentalists, and they have cultivated a following among the terminally aggrieved based on ceaselessly warning them about "the world."

    A host of evangelical/fundamentalist Cassandras tour college campuses reinforcing their followers' perennial chip-on-the-shoulder attitude by telling fearful evangelical/fundamentalist students to hold fast against the secular onslaught. They tell their student listeners (and those students' even more worried parents) to not let "those people" --- professors, members of the Democratic Party, moderates, progressives, and such ordinary American men and women as Jews, gays, and members of the educated "elite" --- strip them of their faith. Hundreds of books by many evangelical/fundamentalist authors could be consolidated into one called How to Get Through College with Your Fundamentalist Faith Intact So You Won't Wind Up Becoming One of Them.

    Sometimes right-wing paranoia takes an ugly twist. A website maintained by James Von Brunn, an avowed racist and anti-Semite well known to the netherworld of white supremacy --- and the assassin who killed a security guard at the Holocaust Museum in June of 2009 --- said that Von Brunn tried to carry out a "citizen's arrest" in 1981 on the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, whom he accused of "treason." When he was arrested outside the room where the board was meeting, he was carrying a sawed-off shotgun, a revolver, and a knife. Police said he planned to take members of the Fed hostage.

    "Mainstream" (in other words, slightly less nutty and less violent) religious-Right Republicans have been saying the same thing as Von Brunn about the Fed for years, particularly the so-called "dominionists" who believe it's their job to reestablish God's dominion on earth. They preach Old Testament-style vengeance and loony gold-standard "economics" from many "respectable" pulpits. They also hate America (as it is), want a revolution in the name of God, and espouse "pro-life" beliefs, anti-gay hate, racism, and far-Right Republican politics. They take the Republican anti-government propaganda to the next step and say that even paying taxes is "unconstitutional." I know them well.

    "Reconstructionism" and Palin

    I knew the founders of the dominionist movement --- people like the late Reverend Rousas John Rushdoony, the father of "Christian Reconstructionism" and the modern evangelical/fundamentalist home school movement.

    What most Americans don't know is that someone like Palin --- who says God is "leading her" --- believe that what God wants them to do is implement the reconstructionist agenda.

    Rushdoony (whom I met and talked with several times) believed that interracial marriage, which he referred to as "unequal yoking," should be made illegal. He also opposed "enforced integration," referred to Southern slavery as "benevolent," and said that "some people are by nature slaves." Rushdoony was also a Holocaust denier.

    And yet his home school materials are a mainstay of the right-wing evangelical home school movement to this day. In Rushdoony's 1973 book, The Institutes of Biblical Law, he says that fundamentalist Christians must "take control of governments and impose strict biblical law" on America and then the world. That would mean the death penalty for "practicing homosexuals." We see his agenda in the American groups like the Family connected to recent legislation in Uganda to give the death penalty to gays.

    Many evangelical leaders --- including Palin --- deny holding Reconstructionist beliefs, but Beverly and Tim LaHaye (of Concerned Women for America and the co-author of the novels we're talking about here), Donald Wildmon (of the American Family Association), and the late D. James Kennedy (of Coral Ridge Ministries and a friend of mine before I left the movement) served alongside Rushdoony on the secretive Coalition for Revival, a group formed in 1981 to "reclaim America for Christ." I went to some of the early meetings.

    Many evangelical/fundamentalist's can't get enough of the "end times" rush. And they are Palin's bedrock. They've been sucking doom up up since the early 1970s, and now, in the Left Behind books and Palin's rise, the message has gone viral.

    Conclusion

    The expanding Left Behind entertainment empire also feeds the dangerous delusions of Christian Zionists, who are convinced that the world is heading to a final Battle of Armageddon and who see this as a good thing! Christian Zionists, led by many "respectable" mega-pastors --- including John McCain supporter, Reverend John Hagee --- believe that war in the Middle East is God's will.

    In his book Jerusalem Countdown: A Warning to the World, Hagee maintains that Russia and the Arabs will invade Israel and then will be destroyed by God. This will cause the Antichrist --- now, apparently, on re-assignment as the head of the European Union --- to stir up a confrontation over Israel between China and the West.

    Perhaps, in the era of Obama, Hagee will do a fast rewrite and say that President Obama is the Antichrist, because the same folks who are into Christian Zionism are also into the far, far loony right of the Republican Party represented by mainstreamed oddities like Sarah Palin. These are the same people who insist that President Obama is a "secret Muslim," "not an American," and/or "a communist," "more European than American," or whichever one of those contradictory things is worse--not like us anyway, that's for sure.

    Palin buys into the Christian Zionist agenda hook, line, and sinker. She's all for unbridled US military action. She's for this because theologically speaking the more war the better, at least in the Middle East. Jesus needs war to fulfill "prophecy" so he can "come back"!

    Palin's unreconstructed theology is the real story here. And I don't know of one media outlet that has connected these dots in the mainstream.

    Frank Schaeffer is the author of Crazy for God: How I Grew Up as One of the Elect, Helped Found the Religious Right, and Lived to Take All (or Almost All) of It Back and Patience with God: Faith for People Who Don't Like Religion (or Atheism).
     
  18. fromthatshow

    fromthatshow Staff Alumni

    I think this about sums it up! It couldn't be much clearer than that.
     
  19. Aquarius123

    Aquarius123 Well-Known Member

    Blessed are the poor in spirit

    From my ‘The Universal Christ Now Speaks To Us And Our World’ I would like to share with you the following:


    BLESSED ARE THE POOR IN SPIRIT​


    In the course of the past two thousand years, many of the higher esoteric meanings of the wisdom I brought to your world through the Master Jesus have been misunderstood and misinterpreted; some were lost altogether. To spread My messages, translations from one language to another became necessary. It was inevitable that many distortions crept in. Matthew 5:3 is as good an example of this as any. Some Bible versions present it as: ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.’ In recent times, there came to your world a new translation of the Bible that is based on the Peshitta, the original ancient Eastern texts in the Aramaic language, which the Master spoke. This Bible tells a different story; the same text has been translated to mean: ‘Blessed are the humble, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.’

    In My eyes the truly poor in spirit are not souls who give away all their earthly possessions. To renounce them altogether is as wrong as getting lost in them. The point of balance, as always, lies halfway between these two extremes. It is true that you are still in this world, even when you already know that you are not of it, namely when you have found your true home. You are on the physical plane of life to awaken to the fact that your earthly possessions, including the body you are living in, are imbued with My Divine essence, the same as everything else in the whole of Creation. The atoms of everything that is in the created world – not merely the one you live in – are held together by My will; without it no material manifestations are possible.

    Everything that is in your possession has merely been given into your care temporarily and is on loan only. Even the body you live in is not your own; neither is anything else. The only thing that truly belongs to you is your consciousness. Therefore, take good care of it and ensure that it grows and expands, for that is what you are here for. Your soul is always trying to communicate with you through the very cells of your physical body. And whenever there is an illness or a disease of your soul somewhere within you and you fail to pay attention to it, given time it will manifest itself on the outer level. Illness, pain and discomfort of any kind are always signs that some part of you is suffering; it is ill at ease and crying out for help.

    The gift of another lifetime has been given to you so that you can learn how to deal with everything that is in your life, in spiritually responsible ways. You are constantly tested as to how much wisdom you have gained thus far. Only through experiencing first hand what a burden an excess of material possessions becomes with time, is it possible for any one of you to learn the value of fewer of them. Avoid the temptation of looking upon individuals, groups and whole societies who are still chasing after ever more earthly goods, as if they were suffering from a type of mental disorder.

    In My eyes, the over-materialism of your world never has been nor will be some kind of madness. Whenever you see it around you, remind yourself that life itself is teaching the souls of those involved the invaluable lesson of recognising the true value of material possessions. If you have already mastered this, rejoice and leave others to their learning. Move on to that which is now required from you and recognise that what you are seeing around you in itself is your very own test. Your next lesson consists of learning to grow more tolerant towards souls who are still struggling with integrating the lesson you are fortunate enough to have learnt already. You are all in this earthly life to simultaneously act as teachers and pupils to each other. Do not forget that actions speak louder than words and that the best way of teaching anyone is by living as a good example. This you do when you can be seen as a keeper and guardian of the Earth who recycles and who does not over-consume.

    Whenever an opportunity arises, do what you can to help those who are poor in spirit, so that they too may come into their awakening, for truly deprived are only those who have not yet found their way back home to Me. They do not yet know that they have a Highest and God Self, who is waiting to be called upon to protect and guide them, from within their own being. They deserve your compassion because they – like you until recently – have forgotten that they are one with Me. Unaware that I am with them always and that it is their birthright, the same as anyone else’s, to return into this blissful state, they are likely to suffer intensely, the way you did before waking up. Never sit in judgement over anyone; I alone know every soul’s Karma and the lessons each one has come to integrate, during any given lifetime.

    With love and light,
    Aquarius
     
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