Tuesday, September 26, 2006

What part of Matthew 25:40 didn't you understand?

Too early in the morning for this:
I was interested to find that the Rev. Louis Sheldon of the Traditional Values Coalition is so in favor of torture he told McCain that the senator either supports the torture bill or he can forget about the evangelical Christian vote. I'd like to see an evangelical vote on that one.
Yes, I'm relatively certain Jesus would have tortured the shit out of the Romans. I'm pretty sure it's there in the Bible. For example:
But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you. And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; (Luke 6:28-31)
Oops. That didn't say what I thought it would. "Pray for them that despitefully use you"? Does anyone else think Jesus would be a member of the ACLU? But I'm certain we can at least expect Jesus to get a good hate on for the Romans:
The centurion said in reply, "Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof; only say the word and my servant will be healed. For I too am a person subject to authority, with soldiers subject to me. And I say to one, 'Go,' and he goes; and to another, 'Come here,' and he comes; and to my slave, 'Do this,' and he does it." When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, "Amen, I say to you, in no one in Israel have I found such faith." (Matthew 8:8-10)
So Jesus praised a member of the military that would eventually torture and kill him. That wasn't what I was looking for, either. I'm sure this next one will be it. Let's look at what one of the Apostles said:
Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave room for the wrath of God; for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.’ No, ‘if your enemies are hungry, feed them; if they are thirsty, give them something to drink; for by doing this you will heap burning coals on their heads.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:19-20)
Hmm. No luck there. You'd think that the overwhelming message of Christ's gospel is one of mercy, forgiveness, and love instead of hate. Indeed, Jesus' message is that love, forgiveness, and mercy are more powerful than hate.

But don't worry - I'm sure all the pro-torture Christians that the "Reverend" Sheldon represents needn't worry - after all, it's not like the Bible is explicit that you have to follow Jesus to get in to heaven, right?
"I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father, except through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on, you know him, and have seen him." (John 14:6-7)
Well, okay, but maybe St. Peter will make an exception - after all, it's not like everyone reads every part of the Bible, right?
If I had not come and spoken to them, they would have no sin; but as it is they have no excuse for their sin. Whoever hates me also hates my Father. (John 15:22-23)
Hm. If I were a Christian who supported Bush at this point, I'm pretty sure I'd be worried - like Hugo Chavez - about getting too familiar with the smell of burning sulphur in the near future.

Actually, I'm being kinder to these people than they deserve. When Jesus spoke of turning the other cheek, he was talking about a person who had already been struck and seen their attacker - that is, forgiving the unmistakably guilty. The people who support Bush's doctrine of torture support the unlimited power of the executive, without any meaningful Congressional or Judicial oversight. This means they not only support the torture of the guilty - enough, by their own Book, to condemn them for eternity - but flowing from logical consequences, they support the torture of the innocent. If you need a refresher course on how unlimited state power leads to human rights abuse, just read a damn history book, okay?

As for these people - these alleged "Christians" who worship cruelty and hate - I feel bad for having used the Gospels against them. Not for their sake, but for the sake of the Word. To bring Jesus in to an argument about torture, terrorism, Bush, or any of the insane machinations of this White House pollutes the message of a Father's love. These people are beneath Jesus' dignity, and beyond his help. They are so deep in the hole that the light can't reach them anymore*.

Tragically for them, they're destined to go deeper still, and they don't even realize it.

*Christ would disagree with me on that point, but he always was an optimist, after all.


Mike said...

Lest we forget the one that trancends Jesus and, indeed, pervades every relgion on earth:

"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you"

Perhaps the good "Reverend" likes hypothermia and water-boarding.

Seven Star Hand said...

Hello again John and all,

Why do religious leaders and followers so often participate in and support blatant evil?

The time is long past to stop focusing on symptoms and myriad details and finally seek lasting solutions. Until we address the core causes of the millennia of struggle and suffering that have bedeviled humanity, these repeating cycles of evil will never end.

History is replete with examples of religious leaders and followers advocating, supporting, and participating in blatant evil. Regardless of attempts to shift or deny blame, history clearly records the widespread crimes of Christianity. Whether we're talking about the abominations of the Inquisition, Crusades, the greed and genocide of colonizers, slavery in the Americas, or the Bush administration's recent deeds and results, Christianity has always spawned great evil. The deeds of many Muslims and the state of Israel are also prime examples.

The paradox of adherents who speak of peace and good deeds contrasted with leaders and willing cohorts knowingly using religion for evil keeps the cycle of violence spinning through time. Why does religion seem to represent good while always serving as a constant source of deception, conflict, and the chosen tool of great deceivers? The answer is simple. The combination of faith and religion is a strong delusion purposely designed to affect one's ability to reason clearly. Regardless of the current pope's duplicitous talk about reason, faith and religion are the opposite of truth, wisdom, and justice and completely incompatible with logic.

Religion, like politics and money, creates a spiritual, conceptual, and karmic endless loop. By their very nature, they always create opponents and losers which leads to a never ending cycle of losers striving to become winners again, ad infinitum. This purposeful logic trap always creates myriad sources of conflict and injustice, regardless of often-stated ideals, which are always diluted by ignorance and delusion. The only way to stop the cycle is to convert or kill off all opponents or to end the systems and concepts that drive it.

Think it through, would the Creator of all knowledge and wisdom insist that you remain ignorant by simply believing what you have been told by obviously duplicitous religious founders and leaders? Would a compassionate Creator want you to participate in a system that guarantees injustice and suffering to your fellow souls? Isn’t it far more likely that religion is a tool of greedy men seeking to profit from the ignorance of followers and the strife it constantly foments? When you mix religion with the equally destructive delusions of money and politics, injustice, chaos, and the profits they generate are guaranteed.


...and here...


Rob Cottingham said...

Coming next fall: Keifer Sutherland is Jesus Bauer in 24 BC. Here's a scene from the pilot:

Bauer (punching a clearly dead Lazarus in the face): Where are the Pharisees? Where are the Pharisees?!

Peter: Lord, he isn't going to talk. You've killed him.

Bauer (menacingly quiet): He isn't going to get off that easily.