November 5, 2013

"Why do you think so many American Christians identify as political conservatives?"

The American Conservative asks the novelist Marilynne Robinson, who answers:
Well, what is a Christian, after all? Can we say that most of us are defined by the belief that Jesus Christ made the most gracious gift of his life and death for our redemption? Then what does he deserve from us? He said we are to love our enemies, to turn the other cheek. Granted, these are difficult teachings. But does our most gracious Lord deserve to have his name associated with concealed weapons and stand-your-ground laws, things that fly in the face of his teaching and example? Does he say anywhere that we exist primarily to drive an economy and flourish in it? He says precisely the opposite. Surely we all know this. I suspect that the association of Christianity with positions that would not survive a glance at the Gospels or the Epistles is opportunistic, and that if the actual Christians raised these questions those whose real commitments are to money and hostility and potential violence would drop the pretense and walk away.

95 comments:

damikesc said...

The Progressives quite open disdain for Christians is likely a driver. If you openly loathe and mock a group, they might not support you.

Paul said...

What a clueless individual.

Peter CARRIED A SWORD. And I have no doubt most of Christ's apostles packed them as they were quite accepted as the self defense weapon of the era.

Christ said to turn the other cheek when INSULTED for their beliefs. He never said to just stand there and be murdered in a common robbery.

Even Christ lost his cool once and took up the whip to get the money changers out of the Temple (his Fathers House.)

So called 'Christians' who are pacifist just don't understand all of Christ and His messages.

Henry said...

And American Christians can respond with Matthew 5:11-12 (NIV):

11 Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

rhhardin said...

Trust but verify, with Samaritans.

C Stanley said...

1. Christianity in our culture is a traditional belief system, an orthodoxy.

2. Liberals have gone beyond eschewing that tradition, to openly disdain and in some cases attempt to thwart the practice of Christianity.

3. Conservative Christians have always known that trustung a secular institution like government to enact charitable goals is foolish, even idolatrous. This goes along with the understanding of Christ's teachings that His kingdom is not an earthly kingdom.

Paddy O said...

"Jesus agrees with me! Not you! I love Jesus more than you do!"

"No you don't! I love Jesus more and Jesus agrees with me!"

Meanwhile, Jesus was neither a Pharisee or a zealot or a Roman or a Sadducee.

The Gospels put tax collectors with the category of sinners. He was against violence and he was against government corruption.

Which is all to say that Jesus would be crucified by both political parties.

Henry said...

Robinson's Wikipedia page says that she is Congregationalist, but based on this interview I would say she worships at the alter of writer-in-residence. She seems to have a deep knowledge of history and religion, but her opinions are boilerplate ivory tower. Sad, really.

Joe said...

The primary reasons are abortion, same-sex marriage, feminism and a disagreement of what should be controlled by government.

True conservatism, like classical liberalism, believes that people know best what to do with their own lives. Modern liberals and Christian "conservatives" disagree. They both couch their arguments as moral, but in the end still run contrary to the idea of self-determination.

PB Reader said...

A deluded member of another faith - leftism.

Charity should be the realm of the individual or a private institution with voluntary membership, not a public institution with compelled membership in what is hard to distinguish from theft.

Wa St Blogger said...

Neither political spectrum offers a complete adherence to Christian values. The left likes to think they are the party of compassion ad non-violence,, but their compassion is one of "have Peter take Paul's money to give it to whomever Mary says needs it." The left crows about their generosity in the same way the rich man dumped many coins into the offering, but they are worse than that rich man because they crow about putting in someone else's money. Jesus praised the widow who offered up the small amount that she gave from her heart. Believing in charity is not Christ-like, GIVING of your own is charity, and Conservatives demonstrate that.

While Liberals talk about non-violence, they let the violent do harm and innocents suffer while on the other hand they commit the most heinous of violent crime on the most innocent of people to the tune of 1 million a year. Jesus was not against capital punishment. He seemed to have nothing to say regarding the common thief that hung next to him. Imagine, a tortuous death for a thief, and Christ did not condemn.

There are many more examples of the liberal's view of Christ is simply a fiction gleaned from selective choosing of Biblical passages. It is quite easy for a Christina to reject the liberal view

YoungHegelian said...

I suspect that the association of Christianity with positions that would not survive a glance at the Gospels or the Epistles is opportunistic

I find it interesting that Christian progressives who scorn fundamentalists for their literal readings of Scripture are all too happy to come up with literal readings themselves when it suits their purposes.

Also, notice that she only references the NT in her response. The fact that there's 2000 years of the Church & its theologians mulling over these questions is just ignored. I guess in her own strange sola scriptura way she remains true to being a Congregationalist.

RecChief said...

sure she's not a unitarian? I have a couple of very leftist acquaintances who are unitarians. In every conversation, one of the two of them tells me that he or she is a "follower of Jesus". Since I do not follow their political beliefs, I take that to mean that they believe themselves to be more "moral" than I. In fact, she admitted as much once. Strange, I always thought that if you had to tell someone soemthing like that in order for other others to know it, then it is really a mask.

Carol said...

she remains true to being a Congregationalist.

I thought she said she is United Church of Christ. That's not the same is it?

Anyway, it's all about tone, you know. Just tone down the conservatism, so we on the left can walk all over you.

Robert Cook said...

"I find it interesting that Christian progressives who scorn fundamentalists for their literal readings of Scripture are all too happy to come up with literal readings themselves when it suits their purposes."

You don't specify any "Christian progressives who scorn fundamentalists for their literal readings of Scripture," but, assuming for argument's sake they exist, there is a difference between taking literally that which is clearly metaphorical or fantastical--such as stories of the Garden of Eden and Adam and Eve--and statements by a teacher prescribing proper behavior for those who would strive to follow his teachings.

One can easily deny the divinity of Christ--or even his actual existence--while still asserting that those who claim to follow his teaching should act as he (or "he") stated those who follow him should act.

Mountain Maven said...

The political question as a believer is: Do you ally yourself with a political philosophy that is rooted in the belief in Christian morality and ethics, or one based on moral relativism?
If Jesus were to weight in on the issue of political left vs right, we would walk a way marveling that he he made the whole debate sound like Ford vs. Chevy. The spiritual issues trump the temporal ones.
To use your religious beliefs to assail a fellow believer (or anyone else) is far from what Jesus taught.

Big Mike said...

I think limousine liberals need to have the "camel through the eye of a needle" parable explained to them if they're going to argue that they're better Christians than social conservatives and gun owners.

An atheist shouldn't have to be the one explaining that you.

mccullough said...

What a dull thinker. Are her novels as dull as this observation?

Joe said...

"...GIVING of your own is charity, and Conservatives demonstrate that."

So why are conservatives, as a group, so vehement about keeping the charitable tax deduction?

James said...

The real question is why do Progressives tend to be disdainful of religion when truly believed rather than treated as metaphor.
Answer: Christianity is a Traditional ideology. Jesus said he came to fulfill the Jewish Law, not destroy it. On the cross, he said "It is finished". That's a Traditional ideology.

Progressivism is about always moving forward. Once you decide you've progressed enough, you become a Traditionalist or even a Conservative. Religion, parental respect, Constitutions: this are can only be an impediment to Progressivism if they are acknowledged at all.

Renee said...

Liberals defined me as conservative, despite when I take those political identifying tests I lean left.

As a Catholic, between the HHS mandate and the toxic label of homophobic bigot. Never mind being pro-life.

The local democrats tell me I have to be a part of the Big Tent. I vote blank, but I'm here in Massachusetts.

It's a tense situation to have a lot in common with others, but culturally our world views can be so different.

YoungHegelian said...

@Robert Cook,

You don't specify any "Christian progressives who scorn fundamentalists for their literal readings of Scripture,"

Are you really doubting such exist, or are you simply being facetious?

..taking literally that which is clearly metaphorical or fantastical--such as stories of the Garden of Eden and Adam and Eve--and statements by a teacher prescribing proper behavior for those who would strive to follow his teachings.

No, RC, for many faiths there are no distinctions between "clearly metaphorical" & "statements prescribing proper behavior". The Scriptures are the revealed Word of God. Every jot, tittle & iota is the Word of God, and it's not for the mind of man to pick it apart. Those "clearly metaphorical" passages are not seen as metaphorical by the fundamentalist Christian, Orthodox Jewish, and traditional Islamic communities. If one seeks to criticize these people one must have proper respect & understanding of their textual hermeneutics.

As a believing Roman Catholic, I sure don't buy into Biblical literalism (Augustine formalizes that issue by at least 475 AD). But, I do try to understand where the literalists come from and to work on them from within their own tradition.

Big Mike said...

The Puffington Host has posted a short article by Robinson. She's a very thoughtful writer, not what I assumed after reading the interview excerpt in this Althouse post.

Article here.

YoungHegelian said...

@Carol,

She says in the article that she's United Church of Christ, but, as pointed out above from her Wikipedia page

Robinson was raised as a Presbyterian and later became a Congregationalist, worshipping and sometimes preaching at the Congregational United Church of Christ in Iowa City. Her Congregationalism, and her interest in the ideas of John Calvin, have been important in her works... In an interview with the Church Times in 2012, Robinson said: "I think, if people actually read Calvin, rather than read Max Weber, he would be rebranded. He is a very respectable thinker."

That seems to me to be really heavily into Congregationalism. But maybe she's had a change of heart. Who knows? How Protestants move between so easily between denominations has always baffled Catholics, so I'm in good company here.

AustinRoth said...

Why would you ask an obvious Liberal (despite whatever she tries to position herself as) that question, rather than, say, an actual Christian Conservative??

William said...

Throughout the Bible there are many exhortations for the rich to share their wealth. If you examine the penumbra of these exhortations, you can see that they are a call for the poor to mug the rich. Every robbery is an act sanctified by the words of God. These stand your ground laws are not only unwise but impious as well.

Freder Frederson said...

Christ said to turn the other cheek when INSULTED for their beliefs. He never said to just stand there and be murdered in a common robbery.

What version of the Bible are you reading? The Revised NRA Translation?

Freder Frederson said...

I thought she said she is United Church of Christ. That's not the same is it?

Yes, they are. Two branches of Reform churches (the Congregationalists and the Evangelical and Reformed Church) merged back in the thirties to form the UCC.

Freeman Hunt said...

It's funny. I own about two dozen Bibles, and every one of them is missing the part where Jesus commands people to give money to the Romans so that the Romans might distribute it to the poor.

Freder Frederson said...

I own about two dozen Bibles

Two dozen bibles and all of them are missing Matthew, Mark and Luke!? What are the odds?

YoungHegelian said...

@Freeman Hunt,

It's funny. I own about two dozen Bibles, and every one of them is missing the part where Jesus commands people to give money to the Romans so that the Romans might distribute it to the poor.

Yeah, & I bet in your hick-ass, 24 Bibles the fascists censored those passages in Acts where the Apostles found the Socialist Workers Party at the Council in Jerusalem. Don't look at me! It's there in the Koine Greek, bee-yatch!

cubanbob said...

William said...
Throughout the Bible there are many exhortations for the rich to share their wealth. If you examine the penumbra of these exhortations, you can see that they are a call for the poor to mug the rich. Every robbery is an act sanctified by the words of God. These stand your ground laws are not only unwise but impious as well.

11/5/13, 10:33 AM

Please tell me this is sarcasm.

Freeman Hunt said...

Freder, I await your citations of what I described.

Freeman Hunt said...

Jesus says, "YOU help the poor." There is no, "Get the Roman government to help the poor," or "Get the Romans to take money from everyone, and hopefully the Romans will use that to help the poor."

Paul Zrimsek said...

A Pharisee preaches the Gospel, and we learn that Jesus is totally cool with drone strikes.

Ralph Hyatt said...

"The national government is without question the most efficient means for this kind of “redistribution,” a word that distracts from the deeper fact that one naturally wishes to share one’s blessings with one’s own."

1) The government is the most efficient means for forcing others to do your will.

2) Forcing others to provide charity is not sharing your blessings. It is, quite obviously, forcing others to do something you should be doing, and then having the nerve to be self-righteous about it.

Basil said...

So they can practice their religion without persecution from leftist Fascist twitwads???

YoungHegelian said...

@PZ,

A Pharisee preaches the Gospel, and we learn that Jesus is totally cool with drone strikes

Uhhhmm, are drone strikes just a bete noire of yours or something? You realize that most of the major Christian denominations really don't believe that their faith requires total pacifism. Now, if you want to argue that they have somehow failed in their understanding of the Christian message, that's your business, but understand that, on the surface of it, such an understanding looks pretty fucking pompous & self-righteous on your part.

John said...

Beat your plowshares into swords, and your pruninghooks into spears: let the weak say, I am strong.

Joel 3:10

John Henry 11:5

John said...

I have had plenty of progressives tell me that when Jesus said sell all you have and give to the poor, he actually meant that others were perfectly justified in taking from a person to give to the poor.

Or that the render unto cesar is Jesus way of justifying taking from one to give to another.

I call Bullshit! Loudly and frequently whenever I hear this.

Jesus told us to give to the poor of our own volition. He told us it didn't count for anything if we didn't give freely.

John Henry

Paul Zrimsek said...

You realize that most of the major Christian denominations really don't believe that their faith requires total pacifism.

I'm talking about Marilynne Robinson. What are you talking about?

paul a'barge said...

Oh boy. Bunch of hooey here. There are entries in the Bible about using scripture to justify your own evil. This lady is on the fast track to learn about them.

If she were open-minded, we could have a conversation about the entries in the Bible that could be used to justify and explain things like Concealed Carry. Big if though.

Since she's not, I'm not going to beat my fingers bloody typing them. I think I'll dust off my sandels and skeedaddle.

Pookie Number 2 said...

Does he say anywhere that we exist primarily to drive an economy and flourish in it?

Not to speak for Jesus, of course (since he's dead and I'm Jewish), but I think he might have looked at the fact that poor people live much better lives in a flourishing economy.

Not all of them, alas, and it's motivated by selfishness and greed, but until those conditions are addressed, it's the best of all the options available, and it's pretty good on an absolute basis as well.

Larry J said...

Joe said...
"...GIVING of your own is charity, and Conservatives demonstrate that."

So why are conservatives, as a group, so vehement about keeping the charitable tax deduction?


The charitable tax deduction encourages voluntary donations and make them more affordable. Eliminating the deduction will make it harder for families to afford their donations. Most charities are far more efficient at managing and distributing funds than the government. If you really want to help those in need, you'll do a better job donating to reputable charities than taxing money from people and letting 80% or more of it get eaten by the bureaucracy.

YoungHegelian said...

@PZ,

I'm talking about Marilynne Robinson. What are you talking about?

PZ, there's no mention of drones in the article except in a comment against her for her (supposed) support of Obama's policies. I see no reason to put words in her mouth, since she seems perfectly capable of defending herself So, where the hell did your "drone" comment come from?

rcocean said...

"The fact that there's 2000 years of the Church & its theologians mulling over these questions is just ignored. I guess in her own strange sola scriptura way she remains true to being a Congregationalist."

Its insane how people think they can pick up bible TRANSLATED from Greek and Hebrew and without any other knowledge decide what "The Bible REALLY Means".

rcocean said...

Get rid of the tax deduction for charity. It will reduce contributions in the long run but will get rid of a lot abuse and fraud.

Bryan C said...

Nobody in the history of Christianity had ever considered the implications of Jesus' teachings toward violence. We just all wandered around bleating at each other, and occasionally engaging in capitalist-inspired massacres with our Holy Machine Guns.

Until, on one glorious day, our blood-crusted eyes were opened by novelist Marilynne Robinson.

AlanKH said...

Marilynne Robinson is a skull full of mush when it comes to politics. She demonstrates no comprehension of what conservatism means.

One huge reason conservatism and Christianity overlap so strongly is that both are rooted in the Tragic Vision:

"Sowell argues that the constrained vision relies heavily on belief that human nature is essentially unchanging and that man is naturally inherently self-interested, regardless of the best intentions. Those with a constrained vision prefer the systematic processes of the rule of law and experience of tradition. Compromise is essential because there are no ideal solutions, only trade-offs."

Neither the Tragic Vision nor Christianity entertain utopian views of human perfectibility - a common thread in leftist thinking. The need for self-defense is a consequence of the tragic Vision that seems to have made no imprint on Robinson.

Another big issue - especially on the economics front - is that leftism rejects the Christian maxim that ends do not justify means. The Bible's consistent message against theft applies to everyone, including the State. Google "devour widows homes" and re-read the David and Bathsheba story.

Paul said...

Henry said...

"And American Christians can respond with Matthew 5:11-12 (NIV):

11 Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you."

And Henry,

Jesus was talking about RELIGIOUS PERSECUTION, not common murder and robbery.

heyboom said...

I still believe his letter was effective for the forum in which it was presented based on the reaction to it. It certainly was successful at opening a dialogue, however one sided it seems to be.

C Stanley said...

AlanKH- +100
The Fall is a very important part of the Christian philosophy. Redemption doesn't come from technocrats.

sunsong said...

Where the strident far right "Christians" go wrong, imo, besides the stupid "God is on our side" delusion, is how far they are straying from Love. It will always be about Love. Always.

TMink said...

The Bible makes a strong case for limited government and the abuses of a strong government.

But you have to read it and be familiar with it to know that. Christ said he did not come to bring peace to the world but to divide the world.

Buddy Christ is not the Jesus of the Bible.

Trey

Paul Zrimsek said...

PZ, there's no mention of drones in the article

No. And the omission is telling in an interview in which Robinson all but excommunicates conservatives over their support for "concealed weapons and stand-your-ground laws". Meanwhile, the President-- who obviously is not hewing to this cartoon version of Christian pacifism any more closely than the reviled conservatives-- is praised and held up as an exemplar. All I did was point this out. What's your beef?

Henry said...

@Paul - I was unclear. I propose those verses as a response by American Christians to Marilynne Robinson and those on the left that denigrate them.

YoungHegelian said...

@rcocean,

Its insane how people think they can pick up bible TRANSLATED from Greek and Hebrew and without any other knowledge decide what "The Bible REALLY Means".

Think about it this way, rc: In the Catholic faith the sacrament of the Eucharist is not just a "reminder" of the Last Supper, it is the Last Supper made present to us again across time & space.

So, for those believe in sola scriptura, God's grace informs their hearts & minds** and reveals to them the meaning of the texts. If one believes, as many varieties of Protestants do, that salvation is accomplished through an unmediated relation between God & the believer, it's not difficult to imagine God informing one's interpretations as part of that relationship. It's a very "Eucharistic" view of preaching & textual reading -- when the Word is preached, God is made manifest, and it is those times again.

**Even for St. Thomas, grace is "superadded knowledge".

YoungHegelian said...

@PZ,

And the omission is telling in an interview in which Robinson all but excommunicates conservatives over their support for "concealed weapons and stand-your-ground laws"

Now that you have made your point clear, I don't have much of a beef. But, somehow, I can't feel I was alone here in misunderstanding you.

Wa St Blogger said...

Joe said...
"...GIVING of your own is charity, and Conservatives demonstrate that."

So why are conservatives, as a group, so vehement about keeping the charitable tax deduction?


You confuse a faith response with a political reality. There is no discord in both believing that giving should be a faith response and not determined by earthy credit or reward and the political belief that when the government taxes income for the purpose of displacing individual charity. If I claim that I won't give unless I get a deduction, that is violating my belief that giving is not dependent on reward. But if my statement is that taxes reduce my ability to give because I have less available, then that is a reflection on who really "owns" the fruit of my labor. The idea that charity should be tax deductible is rooted in the philosophy that my income should be calculated based on what I keep for myself and not include what I have given away.

One can argue that taxes should be based on what one makes rather than keeps, but there is nothing Biblical either way, and one can be consistent in supporting the charitable deduction.

Paul said...

Bryan C said...

"Nobody in the history of Christianity had ever considered the implications of Jesus' teachings toward violence. We just all wandered around bleating at each other, and occasionally engaging in capitalist-inspired massacres with our Holy Machine Guns. "

Uh, and what about Marxist machine guns? The didn't massacre anyone?

Like I said, Jesus ALLOWED His disciples to pack swords (as Peter demonstrated rather well.) Show me where Jesus told Peter to drop the sword and never carry it again.

Now Jesus said 'those who live by the sword die by the sword', but that was saying one who's only response is violence will one day die by violence.

Jesus never told people to disarm and not defend themselves. Jesus did not want them to defend HIM because it was His time of trial and it must be done.

TMink said...

1st Samuel 8, 11 and following: Contemporary English Version:
11 If you have a king, this is how he will treat you. He will force your sons to join his army. Some of them will ride in his chariots, some will serve in the cavalry, and others will run ahead of his own chariot.[c] 12 Some of them will be officers in charge of a thousand soldiers, and others will be in charge of fifty. Still others will have to farm the king’s land and harvest his crops, or make weapons and parts for his chariots. 13 Your daughters will have to make perfume or do his cooking and baking.

14 The king will take your best fields, as well as your vineyards, and olive orchards and give them to his own officials. 15 He will also take a tenth of your grain and grapes and give it to his officers and officials.

16 The king will take your slaves and your best young men and your donkeys and make them do his work. 17 He will also take a tenth of your sheep and goats. You will become the king’s slaves, 18 and you will finally cry out for the Lord to save you from the king you wanted. But the Lord won’t answer your prayers."

Clearly, God is a proponent of small government with limited power.

Trey

Paul said...

@Henry.

Ok, no problem Henry.

YoungHegelian said...

@sunsong,

It will always be about Love. Always.

Well, then, you might want to have a talk with Ms Robinson, too ,about her admiration for John Calvin, because ole JC may be about a lot of things, but feeling the Love isn't one of them.

Well, at least not for the majority of God's creation that gets shitcanned to damnation before all time it isn't.

cubanbob said...

Get rid of the tax deduction for charity. It will reduce contributions in the long run but will get rid of a lot abuse and fraud."

Why stop there? Get rid of tax deductions for all taxes as well. That will stop a lot more abuse and fraud. And to top it off eliminate the non-profit and charitable exemptions and even more fraud and abuse.

William Chadwick said...

Let's not forget this guy:

http://finance.townhall.com/columnists/danieljmitchell/2013/10/28/libertarian-jesus-n1732437

"I remember when 'liberal' meant being generous with your own money."--Will Rogers.

William Chadwick said...

Let's not forget this guy:

http://finance.townhall.com/columnists/danieljmitchell/2013/10/28/libertarian-jesus-n1732437

"I remember when 'liberal' meant being generous with your own money."--Will Rogers.

AlanKH said...

1st Samuel 8

Shorter version: the king will be a fink.

John said...

Re the charitable deductions:

I would have no problem eliminating them. Jesus is quite clear, Matthew 6, that we should do our charitable giving in secret, not even letting our right hand know what our left is doing.

I do not think it is correct to take charitable deductions, based on Matthew. It is between me and God how much I give and to who.

It is impossible to give anonymously AND take the deduction.

Lots of good people disagree with me, though. Including my wife.

John Henry

Sam L. said...

damikesc nailed it. Catching more flies with honey than vinegar, etc., and so on. The progs/libs/lefties show their disdain, shout their disdain, act out their disdain for Christians.

William Chadwick said...

I'm for charitable deductions simply because the less the State doesn't plunder me, the better I like it.

William Chadwick said...

I'm for charitable deductions simply because the less the State doesn't plunder me, the better I like it.

Lydia said...

Also in Robinson's interview with The American Conservative:

"There is a movement now that, intentionally in some quarters, works to embarrass and diminish that most American creation, the United States Government. To subject the President to constant whisper campaigns or outright rudeness is as much a strategy as to withhold funding from government and to paralyze Congress. The most essential obligation of any President in these circumstances is to maintain the status and dignity of the office, and he has done this with extraordinary grace and resourcefulness."

She must be a permanent resident of wackadoodle city if she truly believes that Obama has maintained "the status and dignity of the office" and "with extraordinary grace and resourcefulness." Did she not notice any of his lies or the hateful things he's said about his opponents?

Inga said...

Where rightist Christians go wrong IMO is when they attempt to force their particular belief system onto the population at large in the form of legislation. Why so many rightis are also Fundamentalist Christians is that they may be of the opinion that God is King and His laws preempt the laws of men. That His domain has no limitations.

Seeing Red said...

Man has written billions of laws to follow or enhance the 10, Inga. HE was quite clear. And considering they're Jewish, not Christian......

Illuninati said...

"But does our most gracious Lord deserve to have his name associated with concealed weapons and stand-your-ground laws, things that fly in the face of his teaching and example? Does he say anywhere that we exist primarily to drive an economy and flourish in it?"

She loads the first question with her own opinion. Allowing for that, the answer to both questions is still yes.

The left has done everything they can to erode confidence in the historicity of the Bible through higher criticism and then once they have eroded confidence in the written word, they are free to pick and choose a statement here or there to create their own myths about who Jesus was and what he taught. Nietzsche, the ultimate anti-Christian pagan philosopher, did this and the Nazis who loved Nietzsche tried to coopt Christianity the same way. The Muslims claim to love Jesus, not the one described in the Bible, but the one they have made up and codified in the Koran. Now it appears that some of the modern left are trying to coopt Jesus in the same way to serve their own ideology.

The sayings of Jesus can only be understood in the context in which they were made as a practicing Jew who revered the writings of the Old Testament. The writings of his closest associates, the apostles, and other early church writers who were immersed in his culture must also be considered. Jesus understood himself to be the Jewish Messiah who was the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies about the restoration of the nation of the literal nation of Israel.

The entire story of the Old Testament is how God chose a nation on this Earth to be an example to the nations about how country which follows God's teachings will prosper and will have justice. At no time were the Israelites told that it was wrong to defend themselves from aggression. The objective evidence that the nation of Israel was serving the true God was the superiority of their culture compared to the culture of surrounding pagan nations.

Deut 4:5-8
5 See, I have taught you decrees and laws as the Lord my God commanded me, so that you may follow them in the land you are entering to take possession of it. 6 Observe them carefully, for this will show your wisdom and understanding to the nations, who will hear about all these decrees and say, "Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people." 7 What other nation is so great as to have their gods near them the way the Lord our God is near us whenever we pray to him? 8 And what other nation is so great as to have such righteous decrees and laws as this body of laws I am setting before you today?
NIV

traditionalguy said...

American Christians are secure in their world view of who they are and who God is as written in the scripture as God's revelation of truth for them. Ergo: they have no need to seek and "find themselves" in whatever half truths or pretended science-ology that comes down the road seeking to lead them astray from the revealed truth.

Hammond X Gritzkofe said...

This goes to the territory between
..What we aspire to be and do, and
..What we in fact do and have done.

..Who thinks being drunk is a good thing? But who has never taken a drink?
..Who thinks stoned is the best way to go through life? But who has never taken a toke?
..Who thinks a stable male-female marriage is not the best way to bring up a child? But who has not thought about or had a homosexual experience?

Yes, we all have fallen short of our aspirations. That is a good thing. Simply means we're reaching to improve.

Sadly
..many "Progressives" of today say: "Get drunk, get stoned, and march down the street with your dick hanging out. The Law-of-the-Land should protect you."
..many "Religious Right" of today say: "If you get drunk, get stoned, or let your dick hang out, the Law-of-the-land should chastise you."

Meanwhile
..Libertarians of today say: "Live your life as best you can. But Law-of-the-land will hold you accountable for any demonstrable harm you cause.

n.n said...

I thought Jesus acknowledged the right to self-defense. The principle of stand your ground follows from the principle of self-defense. He did say that we are eligible to enjoy the fruit of our labor, but that we should share with others who are less fortunate. He also condemned enslaving the producer, as well as enslaving the consumer.

That said, since this author takes liberties with original intent, what is their understanding of the prime directive: be fruitful and multiply. What of the other commandments, which condemn capricious murder, which condemn coveting your neighbor's wife and all other things.

Jesus does not support elective abortion. In fact, he condemns murder for reasons other than self-defense. Jesus does not support general redistributive change schemes. Jesus does not support involuntary exploitation. Jesus does not support normalization of dysfunctional behaviors.

I don't think Jesus is a good witness to the liberal or progressive cause. He is also not a good witness to unconstrained classical liberalism or libertarianism.

Anyway, I would begin the discussion with the prime directive, and Jesus's likely attitude towards elective abortions. The Judeo-Christian religion is a philosophy of morality which demands self-moderating, responsible behavior in order to enjoy optimal liberty and to remain in good standing with the philosopher God.

jr565 said...

"True conservatism, like classical liberalism, believes that people know best what to do with their own lives. Modern liberals and Christian "conservatives" disagree. They both couch their arguments as moral, but in the end still run contrary to the idea of self-determination."

Self determination still has to be bound by law. Which are determined based on social morality. You are not free to do anything and everything.
And especially, when it comes to a compact like marriage. We are talking about an institution which is undergirded by laws. Making it a social construct.

ken in sc said...

The United Church of Christ is the Congregational church. It is not the same as the Church of Christ seen throughout the South. It is also the mother church from which the Unitarians branched off. Today there is not much difference between them. The Northern parts of the Presbyterian Church USA is about the same.

jr565 said...

Hammond wrote:
Libertarians of today say: "Live your life as best you can. But Law-of-the-land will hold you accountable for any demonstrable harm you cause.

The law of the land? WHich determines what you do to be harmful and therefore which you can be chastised over? Like with drugs for example? I thought libertarians were against that?
You're not therefore telling the truth about libertarians.

jr565 said...

Inga wrote:
"Where rightist Christians go wrong IMO is when they attempt to force their particular belief system onto the population at large in the form of legislation."

Typical liberal gobbledygook.Why wouldn't the same be true of your side attempting to force your particular belief system onto the population at large?
Also, what about rules that you agree with, like rules against murder? SHould a christian not be allowed to push for rules that punish murder since of course christians have a commandment against murder and therefore he would be imposing his christian morality?
Why is pushing to redefine marriage to include gays not similarly imposing morality on people? You seem to think that your side alone is allowed to do it and even worse that somehow it's not even doing that. Or that you're somehow exempt simply because you're secular.

Rusty said...


So why are conservatives, as a group, so vehement about keeping the charitable tax deduction?

Not all conservatives are christian.
A christian wouldn't care. The stricture is to give without counting the cost. Nor bragging about it.

Marshal said...

jr565 said...
Inga wrote:
"Where rightist Christians go wrong IMO is when they attempt to force their particular belief system onto the population at large in the form of legislation."


No doubt there are dozens of Americans itching to codify the holy trinity.

David Davenport said...

So why are conservatives, as a group, so vehement about keeping the charitable tax deduction?

Why should people be forced to pay for things with which they don't morally agree? Some, usually identified with the Left, object to the Dept. of Defense, citing New Testament passages.

Other taxpayers object to paying for abortions. If murder is unconditionally wrong, isn't it wrong to oppose taxpayer-funded late term abortions?

The admonition to "Render under Caesar that which is Caesar's, and unto God that which is God's" -- that doesn't imply to me that Christians must pay without question whatever taxes Caesar demands. How does one determine that which rightfully belongs to Caesar? Jesus' fury at the money changers in the Temple doesn't imply meek acquiescence whenever the Establishment demands to have or to handle a person's money.

And why should we assume that all private charities and related church work are scams? Gooberment welfare programs also rake off a lot of $$$, and haven't solved the problems of American slums.

David Davenport said...

In regard to J.C.'s opinion of soldiers, here is this:

"Matthew 8:5-13
New International Version (NIV)

The Faith of the Centurion

5 When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. 6 “Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralyzed, suffering terribly.”

7 Jesus said to him, “Shall I come and heal him?”

8 The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. 9 For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”

10 When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, “Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith. 11 I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. ( Implying that the Centurion would be chowing down at the Heavenly feast. )

12 But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

13 Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go! Let it be done just as you believed it would.” And his servant was healed at that moment.

David Davenport said...

"Where rightist Christians go wrong IMO is when they attempt to force their particular belief system onto the population at large in the form of legislation."

But why is it OK for non-Christians to try to force their belief system in the form of legislation on a citizenry among whom their is still a strong residue of the old rugged Cross?

hombre said...

Robinson is UCC. We live two doors away from a prominent UCC church. My wife will not attend, but I go frequently as a matter of convenience and the music is great.

However, the UCC conflates liberal politics and the Christian faith to an extraordinary degree. Bible studies are festivals of ignorance while homosexuality, abortion and confiscatory taxation are exalted.

Robinson can make noise about "our most gracious Lord" for interviewers, but I have never heard that or any similar term used at the church, nor have I heard the terms "redemption" or "salvation" used or the name of Jesus exalted - outside of the music.

Her characterizations of conservatives are straw men, unChristian and typical of the stereotypes offered up by liberal mandarins and their dupes.

hombre said...

Oh. Did I forget to mention that Obama's Rev. Jeremiah Wright is also UCC?

I don't doubt that there are some Christians at UCCs, but their faith must be starving for Jesus!

Kirk Parker said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kirk Parker said...

Paul,

"So called 'Christians' who are pacifist just don't understand all of Christ and His messages."

Well, a very big segment of them aren't really pacifists in the first place; they're just really statists. (Based on long and painful experience as a member of the PCUSA...)

Freeman Hunt said...

If you get rid of the charitable deduction, people who give significant percentages of their incomes will have to cut back on their giving because they won't be able to afford continuing at the same rate. Also, the government will get more money, which it will manage like the very worst of charities.

Where is the good in any of that?

Carl said...

I have a couple of very leftist acquaintances who are unitarians...

Unitarians believe there is at most one God.

AlanKH said...

No doubt there are dozens of Americans itching to codify the holy trinity.

Vote for Romney and it won't happen.

Carl said...

Anyway, I think there's a decent chance she's got the causality backward. That the question should be why do conservatives end up religious? Or at least, why do conservatism and piety spring from the same personality traits?

Put that way, the question kind of answers itself. If you are the type to doubt yourself, to doubt the wisdom of man, to be alive to the possibility of error in everything you do, to disbelieve in the wisdom of mobs and crowds and be stirred by Jackson ("One man with courage makes a majority!") or Jefferson ("We hold these truths to be self-evident..." [not subject to any old vote])...well, then, you're a natural conservative and a natural Christian. Doubt and faith are important to you, and belief in objective eternal moral standards to which you owe loyalty no matter what the crazies around you think or do.

On the other hand...if you are a might makes right person, who believes whatever gets the majority of the vote is good and true, who disbelieves in any objective standard, who hungers for an earthly idol in which to place your faith, who likes his neighbors more in the abstract millions than the troublesome idiosyncratic one by one -- then you are a natural leftist, and likely to be repelled by the discipline and faith required by Christianity.

Largo said...

"So why are conservatives, as a group, so vehement about keeping the charitable tax deduction?"

That's a hard question to answer. May I suggest you try asking whether there are any conservative readers here who would like to share why /they themselves/ are against such a tax?

I might count as one.

Are you interested in my answer?