Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Trying to Reconcile the Two Sides of Christ

Killing the Buddha is one of the most interesting and provocative religion sites on the Web. While they don't publish as often as I would like, when they do, I'm generally certain to find an article that's going to raise important questions in my head.

Back in August, Steve Almond took a look at George W. Bush's favourite philosopher to try to discern how it was that Bush could seem to be veering so far off message of Christ's love and tolerance. Almond's argument? Christ's message was pretty contradictory.

We could have huge discussions about whether the inconsistency of message lays in the inability of the four public relations guys (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John--wonder if they were a rap group if they'd be known as MM, Cool Hand Luke J--to get the words down correctly.

I offer the article up for discussion and invite your posts.

From "The Gospel According to Dubya"

Remember, for the true Christian, the teachings of Jesus are not a personal code of conduct, but a universal prerequisite to salvation. In a sense, he is required to inflict his beliefs on the rest of us. And this is what’s scariest about the New Testament: it offers an object lesson in moral surety. Christ may suffer over his fate, but he never suffers a moment of self-examination. Nor, he suggests, should his followers.

His life has become an inspiration to those who have made a career out of self-righteous bullying, not just Bible-thumping politicians, but the various false prophets of cable news and talk radio, whose lust for damnation finds a waiting home in the heart of the angry.


1138 said...

Steve Almond's, observations are more contradictory than Christ's message.
Almond repeatedly takes items out of context, almost as if he's an Anti-Televangilist money grubber.
“Do not suppose that my mission on earth is to spread peace,” he proclaims in Matthew. “My mission is to spread not peace, but division.” (10-34)
That is the division caused by a true message of peace and caring.
Leave out the Choir boys and (Apostles) the reinterpretations and reorganizations of the books (inclusions & exclusions) and get a red letter edition , you will get a better idea of what the message was.
That was to love, care, and be honest. For that you will be hated, for that your parents who are locked into the old ways will moan and disown.
If your boss entrusts his business interests to you then you are to to persue those interests, the boss could have as easily kept his interests in his purse as to have you ignore them for him. There is a greater lesson though and that is that it is in no ones interest to hoard resources they exist to be shared - in commerce or otherwise.
There is a distinct difference between profit and greed.

lorraine said...

I agree with you that this article raises eyebrows. I've often seen the analysis that looks at Mosaic Law and Christ's lessons and tries to reconcile the differences. This is the first time I've seen someone call Christ a hypocrite, so it's one of the reasons I wanted some discussion--you've certainly started us off with some provocative points.
My father always said that the only words you should read in the Bible were Christ's words themselves--the rest was interpretation and was bound to leave you confused. But he argued that Christ's message was consistently one of love. Which is why I don't understand why there are so many "hate-mongering" people who claim to be Christians out there.
I love the Beatitudes. Thanks for posting, Paul.

1138 said...

Your Father saw it the way I do in what you shared.
I doubt that he would recognize me as a 'Christian' however. Then again maybe he would, I really don't know enough to make that determination.
Earthly churches of man are about regimentation and exclusion not the lesson of Jesus of Nazareth, hence the message of those churches is the dominating message; fear, power, control, domination, submission, fear.
The words are often less direct but the meaning is not.
These are Christians in the sense that Corona is a beer - they carry the label but not the content and are accepted as being as genuine as the real thing.

FunkyB said...

The problem (in my humble opinion) isn't the contradictory message of Christ; it's the contradictory message of those who assume the authority to interpret Christ's words according to their personal agendas.

In all honesty, I'm betting Jesus was a pretty cool cat... and I'm placing the biggest money chips in on the fact that He's getting a really bad rap at the hands of Falwell and the like.