Stuff I Care About

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Reason #5- God Makes You Very Cruel



While the torture and murder of heretics and "witches" is now largely a thing of the past, Christians can still be remarkably cruel. One current example is provided by the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas. Its members picket the funerals of victims of AIDS and gay bashings, brandishing signs reading, "God Hates Fags," "AIDS Cures Fags," and "Thank God for AIDS." The pastor of this church reportedly once sent a "condolence" card to the bereaved mother of an AIDS victim, reading "Another Dead Fag."They are also known to picket the funeral of soldiers. Christians are also at the forefront of those advocating vicious, life-destroying penalties for those who commit victimless "crimes," as well as being at the forefront of those who support the death penalty and those who want to make prison conditions even more barbaric than they are now.

But this should not be surprising coming from Christians, members of a religion that teaches that eternal torture is not only justified, but that the "saved" will enjoy seeing the torture of others. As St. Thomas Aquinas put it:

In order that the happiness of the saints may be more delightful and that they may give to God more copious thanks for it, they are permitted perfectly to behold the sufferings of the damned . . . The saints will rejoice in the punishment of the damned.

34 comments:

  1. You don't have to fall for that "It's all in the past" garbage. Gay people still face prejudice daily. Scott Roeder murdered an abortion doctor just within the past year. And obviously you mentioned the Westboro whackos.

    I think it comes down to a logical loop involving the golden rule and self sacrifice. Christians are taught to treat others as they would want to be treated, but they are also told to sacrifice themselves for Christ. It's not a distant leap (more like a baby step) from those mindsets to believing those who go against God are worthy of sacrifice.

    Then there's the outright mention of such an act:

    And if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a large millstone tied around his neck.
    ~ Mark 9:42

    ReplyDelete
  2. So about 10 years ago my wife and I went to watch the U.C. Bearcats play football in Bloomington Ind. against the Hoosiers. Actually it could have been Minnesota (?) we've been to a few. Anyways we tailgated with strangers and ate like kings. I was showing off my rocket right arm launching 65-70 yard bombs. We had a great time even before we made it into the stadium to watch the game.

    After U.C. was handed a beat down, we were leaving the parking area, when I saw Fred Phelps' Church Westboro Baptist holding up signs and yelling stuff through a megaphone. I truly couldn't believe my eyes.

    So feeno pulled his truck over to the side of the road and got out to confront these "demonstrators".

    They seemed to be scared of me and tried to ignore me as I tried to reason with them. They were mostly women and children, I did however try to seek out the biggest male to confront. He also acted somewhat cowardly.

    I "preached" at them for awhile, I don't remember all what I said, but I did tell them this, "that the homosexual will have a better chance to be in heaven with God, and that they were the ones in danger of God's wrath.

    I wasn't at all being rude to them, I truly wanted to share the Gospel message with them because if anyone ever needed to hear it, they did. As I spouted off Bible verses they just stared at me like I was speaking a foreign language. They truly never heard of the things I was saying. They truly have no idea who God is. And no nothing of his word.

    If they want to call themselves Christians, so be it. People in the kkk or skinheads or other violent gangs also call themselves Christian. matter of fact most of Americans consider themselves to be Christians. But the Christian God can not be given lip service. MK. 7:6 "This people honoureth me with there lips, but their hearts are far from me".

    Maybe a year or so ago, one of Fred Phelps' son escaped the cult of his father. I wished he would have found his way into a Christian church. But you guessed it, he became an Atheist. There was a Post on John Loftus' site "Debunking Christianity" about this guys story. If you can find it I did post a thing or two on his personal blog. I can't remember if he ever actually responded to anything I said or not?

    Uhh, wait a minute wasn't Joseph Stalin an Atheist, Hmm, does that mean......?

    P.S. Jesus died for all of our sins, he even died for Fred Phelps sins. But unless we are willing to admit to God we need to be forgiven he can't forgive us.

    Peace out, sour krout. feeno

    ReplyDelete
  3. Interesting story Feeno.....

    Did you see Bruno? There is a great scene in there where he walks to a police station chained to his gay lover in various "devices". Punchline- on the way to the station is a God Hates Fags protest. The people look scared.

    Fact is, they are out there, and they exist, and they use the media to promote their agenda. And, because of this, they give power to the anti gay agenda in North America. They are dangerous, and more Christian groups need to band together and openly voice their opposition to them.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Feeno, great job and great points.

    Tinkbell, I don't quite think you quite "got" what Feeno was talking about. People can call themselves anything they want, but it doesn't mean they are truly what they say they are. The truth is this: Fred Phelps and his cult DO NOT TRULY REPRESENT JESUS CHRIST! They are frauds and their time before God will come.

    It's like this: I can stand in my garage and claim to be a car until I'm blue in the face...or until I get bored...but the fact is... well, I think you get the point.

    ReplyDelete
  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  6. @Mike-

    I think Tink knows people call themselves Christian. As a matter of fact, I think you will find all Christians call themselves Christian. Odd coincidence, no?

    It's not about claiming to be something... it's about believing you are something. This is why every Christian who disagrees with another Christian ultimately makes the inane statement that the other is not truly Christian.

    It's about how you see yourself when compared to others who also see themselves as Christian, but you are obviously different sorts of Christians.

    This is what you need to realize, it's not that one is and one isn't... it's that BOTH are. Even so, both are practicing very different yet mutual varieties of faith. Based on what do they believe? Based on one part Scripture and three parts uninformed opinion = one dose of potent Christian.

    This is why I plead and beg, beg, beg Christians to stop and seriously take a look at how faith based thinking leads to faith-based acts. And at this point, the point of religious observance and practice, it entirely depends on which Bible verses you've been raised on, which you accept and which you have rejected.

    Most Christians today don't even agree with Jesus when he said it was okay to beat your slaves for the very reason most modern people don't find it ethical to own other people as property. In fact, most moral people don't agree with Jesus' implicit condoning of slavery! Jesus made an immoral, unethical, proposition. Meaning he held imperfect and unjust bronze aged views about human equality. The concept of Hell was another one of his failings; so was passivity against our enemies. But the majority of Christians I know flat out ignore such human weakness in Jesus Christ, because, well, ignorance is bliss after all.

    I find that Christians, no matter how well intentioned, are simply being hypocritical when they preach the lovingness of the Gospel message and the redeeming value of Christ, yet deny that there can be any such thing as a difference of opinion or a different variety of Christian thought.

    And when Atheists and skeptics point out the cruelty of certain Christian organizations, all of them included in the mainstream of the banner of the faith, then other Christians deny their membership and call them disgenuine.

    But if you have belief, genuine faith, then dogma and indoctrination into any wacky cult or religious institution can be validated on the basis of creed, devotional loyalty, and shared faith based ideologies. Cultural and social pressures apply, and you may be raised one way, your neighbor might be raised entirely another. And so you can't simply say they're not being Christian according to your standards. They are being Christian... according to their own rules, as all Christians are evidence of, and this is the PROBLEM.

    I just wish more Christians would get it straight.

    ReplyDelete
  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Thank you Tristan.

    I can assure you Mike, I totally got what Feeno said. And, to kinda go along with what Tristan said way better than me;

    Seems to me that because of the two of you do not feel that their actions are Christian. At least within your own personal definition of that term. That is fine, but I am sure that because other Christians do not believe their actions reflect what they perceive Christianity to be does not make them feel any less Christian.

    They are self identifying as Christians, just as much as you are. Which is why I alluded to the fact that more Christians should vocalize their opposition to them if they do not feel that they all stand under the same banner. Maybe they will listen to other Christians, quite likely not.

    You are all individually interpreting a flawed book. Your interpretations are completed with your own biases, prejudices, experiences, etc. For example, I can read Where The Wild Things Are, and so can Tristan. If you ask us to interpret the story, I am sure that we pulled completely different literary experiences from it because of the subjective experience of our personal critical analysis. This is why you stand under the same banner as the God Hates Fags group. Perhaps you need more denominations under the Christian section to be able to more properly align with each of you call the "correct" way for you to express your Christianity.

    And, yes, this is the problem.

    ReplyDelete
  9. @Tink-

    Flawed book might be an understatement. It seems, after thorough investigation, almost every other chapter on every other page has a slew of flaws!

    It might be better to rename the Bible the Wonderful Book of Imperfection Perfection!

    But because many people are imperfect too, they seem not to see it.

    That's why Kant's dictum to "dare to know" rings so true with me. If it's not quite right, then I want to know why. And if I'm somehow at fault, then I want to know about that too. So it comes down to humility, taking things in stride, and realizing the only limitations are the ones you impose upon yourself. The rest should be like the aforementioned challenge, dare to know.

    So I dare anyone here, try to find out what the other knows... it might change your perspective on things. In the end, you can always agree to disagree. But it's sort of unfair to deny anybody's views or ideas without first having examined them even a little bit. And I think that's where many Christians hit a snag, both in terms of understanding atheists, but also in understanding each other.

    ReplyDelete
  10. 'Sup T Vick

    If by slew of flaws you mean that it doesn't fit your lifestyle or worldview then yes, it's very flawed.

    Shees man, why didn't you double dare me? I've never heard of Kant or even a dictum but spending a year or two immersed in Atheist doctrine should constitute an examination.

    I don't see Christians saying "Atheism is flawed because the likes of Castro, Pol Pot, Kim II Sung or Mao Tse Tung" oops, I just did.

    To better understand one another we should start out by realizing not all Atheists are proud of Joseph Stalin and not all Christians are proud of Fred Phelps.

    Also, why does it always seem that the Christian is the one who lacks understanding, do Atheists have a lock on the understanding gene?

    When you were a Christian were you understanding with others? Understanding isn't tied to religion, but to peoples ideology or insecurities. I don't have all the answers, I wish I did. But I'm relaxed in the sense that I feel God is sovereign and just, and it is what it is?

    Dueces, feeno

    ReplyDelete
  11. @ Feeno

    Okay, there are a couple of things here that I want to address in what you wrote.

    You wrote- I don't see Christians saying "Atheism is flawed because the likes of Castro, Pol Pot, Kim II Sung or Mao Tse Tung" oops, I just did.

    Okay, I get what you are trying to say here, but it does not logically work. While they may have been atheist (Castro was Catholic, actually, and kept his religious stuff private), these men were political figures. In fact, these types of figures understand how easy is to use religion to gain control of people to serve their political purposes. And, I can give a very good recent example- George W Bush.

    However, from a humanistic perspective, these tyrants were very cruel.Speaking from one human being to the next, I feel that they are awful and we should all feel a sense of shame for what they do. Do I feel as they they are aligned with atheism... NO. Do I feel that they are non Christian? YES. There is a difference. And, again, that is how religion sorta dulls the senses that way. You see them as atheists. Very simple. I see them as complex historical figures with a myriad of social, political, cultural, and historical factors that created their tyranny. I know that there is way more to the story, and that is why we always tell people to read more and learn more of the history.

    'To better understand one another we should start out by realizing not all Atheists are proud of Joseph Stalin and not all Christians are proud of Fred Phelps."

    Again, this comes back to understanding Joseph Stalin in context. Much like what we are talking about with the Bible. History has multiple viewpoints, not just one. Stalin's dictatorship was an atrocity, but much of the "free world" that we love and enjoy is because of him. Had Russia not hated the Germans more than they hated us, WW2 would not have ended the way that it had.

    I don't know about understanding, I think that the question is about information. More information= more understanding. I can tell you this, if I decided that being a Christian was what I wanted, I would be one of the most well read Christians around. I would want to learn everything that I could from as many viewpoints as I could.

    ReplyDelete
  12. @ Tristan

    I completely agree with you. I do not know why more people are not interested in examining their faith from multiple perspectives. I do not understand why they feel that faith excludes them from history. I just do not get it, I really don't.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Oh yes, I would like Tristan to have this one- he will handle it much better than me.

    Atheist doctrine. Go nuts.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Tink

    You will make a fine Christian. can't wait!

    feeno

    ReplyDelete
  15. Will never happen dear Feeno. I would choose Judaism over Christianity.

    ReplyDelete
  16. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Feeno-

    I am simply pointing out that if you don't think your faith, or what your faith is based on, compels you to hold certain convictional beliefs that form your ideas and opinions, then that's not a religion at all. However, Christians do have this in abundance.

    Atheists do not.

    So when you say Joseph Stalin was an atheist, well, okay. I can rest assured knowing that his "atheistic beliefs" weren't what compelled his cruel behavior. I know for a fact (a fact!) that not believing in the Goddess Minerva didn't make him kill millions. Not believing in Vishnu didn't make him think murder was best. Not believing in Mithras didn't cause him to do horrible things. Not believing in Dionysus didn't make him go too far with his cruelty.

    I can rest assured that as sure as he was an atheist with a mustache, his mustache didn't compel him to do evil any more than his atheism did.

    He was psychotic, but we can be certain his atheism didn't affect his decision to do evil.

    Christians on the other hand, well that's different, because much of their evil is spawned from the articles of faith, and the doctrines they tote as God's perfect law, which must be followed and adhered to. And that's dogma my friend. And where there is zeal, the two can breed a deadly sort of thinking and behavior, even in the best of people.

    I'm not saying atheists are smarter, but I will say this, we're better at connecting the dots... why? Because we don't have dogma to blind us. Because if there's anything I detest, I'll say this much, it's not thinking.

    But you're a smart guy, and you do think things through. That's why you're critical of other Christians who are acting out in blind faith... letting their dogma compel them to cruel ends. You're a good person. And that is honorable, sir.

    My point was though, that faith leads to faith based acts. Having doctrines, tenets, articles, holy books, and the like do influence what you think! How could they not?

    Atheists don't have any of that. So how could the absence and lack of such riveting materials directly compel us to do bad? It can't. There is no direct causation between atheism and immoral deeds. Absolutely none.

    Other factors apply... such as psychosis, neurosis, pathology, insanity, child hood abuse, narcissism, a god complex, delusions of grandeur and so on. I can't tell you the exact mental make-up of a psychotic mass murderer, but not catering to supernatural views wasn't likely a factor which impacted their thinking.

    I mean, I seriously doubt Stalin woke up with night sweats thinking, "By Jove, Allah doesn't exist. Well, I better kill more innocent people then."

    If you take the time to look at the real history, I'm sure you'll see the real reasons for his political insanity. But let's not have any of this demeaning talk that it was because his atheism that he enacted such cruelties. That would be beneath you as the decent person I know you to be.

    ReplyDelete
  18. 1) "Most Christians today don't even agree with Jesus when he said it was okay to beat your slaves..."

    Tristin, where did Jesus say that?

    2) When you claim both groups believe they are Christian, I can point to you that it is anti-Christ to say and do what the Fred Phelps clan is doing.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Mike-

    In Luke 12:45-48 Jesus teaches on the proper dispensation of the beating of disobedient slaves, informing which ones should be beat more harshly than others.

    But a moral person would not condone the beating of any person, let alone hold the imperfect view that owning another human being as property was in any way okay. It's unethical and the teaching on how to go about beating slaves according to their disobedience is down right immoral. To even think of owning other people as your own personal property, or implicitly making the allowance for others to do so, is a SIN.

    It's the clearest cut case to show that Jesus was fallible, imperfect, and even (dare I say it) human. He does sin. This is evidence by his very words of it! Maybe this is why they call them the words in red?

    So I don't see why you'd even need to invoke the anti-Christ unless you were hell-bent on getting your own way. I mean, I am familiar with Matt. 12:30, Matt. 13:4-42, 50, Luke 11:23 where Jesus states if you're not with him then you're against him.

    But I don't put much stock in the moral significance of Christ's teachings. After all, he hadn't exactly said anything that wasn't already common knowledge in his day, and his teachings on pacifism against one's enemies is immoral, called people nasty names, not to mention he broke the Sabbath on multiple occasions, broke two of the Ten Commandments, and also broke the laws of Imperial Rome.

    You don't exactly need the anti-Christ to distinguish Christians who believe in unruly things when they derive their philosophies from an imperfect man.

    And when you bring up the anti-Christ talk I can't help but think of John Calvin having Michael Servetus murdered for the crime of "disagreeing" with him on Christian doctrine. Calvin even pointed out Servetus to the Spanish Inquisition on the charges of heresy, because he felt that Servetus' ideas of Christianity were not Christ-like enough.

    I mean, if any old Christian can kill anyone they like, even other Christians, on the charges of heresy for such an offense as disagreeing with whatever Christian you believe yourself to be, again, then I don't see why you need invoke the anti-Christ as it just becomes a redundancy.

    And I full well know many Christians don't agree with Fred Phelps. That's good. But my point was that Fred Phelps believes he's a God fearing Christian like the rest of you. And denying it is so doesn't help fix the problem.

    It certainly didn't prevent Michael Servetus from being tortured ad burned alive at the stake. And I'm not suggesting anyone whack Phelps, but rather, try to look at how each individual Christian projects their own ideal Christianity onto others... and reflecting... at what point is this practice fair? What are the ground rules? Isn't there such a thing as orthodoxy? If not how can there be heresy?

    I think the best you can hope for is like John Milton said:

    "I will not deny but that the best apology against false accusers is silence and sufferance, and honest deeds set against dishonest words." (Apology for Smectymnuus, 1642).

    ReplyDelete
  20. Thank you.... Like I said earlier, just because you guys do not believe that his actions are Christian does not mean that he agrees, nor does it mean that he would even identify you as Christian within his worldview. Again, if more Christians were vocal, and went to areas where he was picketing to protest him, or if they showed up at the church where he preaches with signs then maybe he may think twice. There are ways to get him, but noone seems to care. If I was Christian, I would feel alot of shame that he is representing my beliefs in the public.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Tristan, if you'll look carefully at the entire passage, not just a mentioning of the word "beating" spoken by Jesus, you'll probably notice that He's speaking amidst a group of warnings, encouragements, and parables. Within that teaching about the servants, Jesus is not condoning a beating of servants. I don't see how you come away with that interpretation...unless you use a few sentences out of context from the rest. (We don't do it with Shakespeare, so why do it with the Bible?)

    If you are familiar with different literary styles (which I'm sure you are) like allegory, parable, poetry, etc, you'll take notice that not everything within those styles has a direct one-to-one correlation with physical life.

    Instead, in an allegory or parable, it's the overall thought Jesus is trying to convey: preparedness! "keep your lamps burning" is the same as "keep watch" and "stay alert".

    ReplyDelete
  22. Mike--

    Yes, I am well aware of parables. But sometimes parables are based off of real societal norms too. Something Christians love to gloss over. Another thing is, a perfectly moral and upright person, as Christ is said to have been, would not resort to such inappropriateness to teach with (he couldn’t do to the nature of his perfectness). The only logical conclusion is that he was imperfect.

    However, I must disagree with your interpretation, because I find Christ isn't so much giving a parable in this instance. Advice on social conduct is not metaphorical, you can only take it at face value, even though there may also be more going on, the fact of the matter is Christ (being the son of God and what not) should have been able to think of a better analogy. What we take from this though, is that metaphor or not, there is the implicit understanding that the beating of slaves goes on—and that Christ does not denounce it. If he had denounced the practice, this would have made him at least wise on issues of human suffering and bondage. But he doesn’t use the story in any other capacity than to preach conduct. And this makes one wonder… why not something else?

    I mean, speaking metaphorically on obedience is not difficult to do, and I can think of an example with animals, breaking horses, or camel training, or falconry. There's no excuse to use it for people in this context. And that's why we know it's not simply allegory and metaphor, the context of the passage denotes a larger framework of bronzed aged thinking. A time when slavery was the norm, and it was socially acceptable, and Jesus went along with it too—parable or not—Christ doesn’t condone it when he should probably be teaching a different parable. Perhaps one on setting the slaves free, but then this would be out of character for an apocalyptic prophet, because Christ’s message is always about the coming kingdom of God. He probably really didn’t worry about slaves too much, as long as they were obedient, because God’s kingdom would be upon them soon enough.

    ReplyDelete
  23. I should clarify why I don't think this passage in Luke 12 on keeping watch is technically a parable.

    By definition, a parable must be a analogous story which has a moral to be learned. There is no moral in this story, and surely there can be no moral found in the beating slaves.

    Rather, I do agree with you that it is strictly analogy, but then my precevious criticisms apply.

    ReplyDelete
  24. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Sorry, without intending to hog the thread, I can't just let the Shakespeare thing go.

    That is a false example, because of a couple of reasons. First, Shakespeare was a far better writer than the author of Luke. So we have less to criticize.

    Second, Luke is intentionally trying to preach an evangelical message; all the while implementing Christian conducts through the relaying of the story of Christ.

    If you take the Gospels to be literally true, parables and all, then you have to critique them on the merit of their own worth.

    Only if you consider the Gospels completely fictional would the comparison with Shakespeare work. So that's why we don't do it with Shakespeare and why it is necessary to scrutinize the Gospels in depth.

    Shakespeare isn't explicitly telling you how to live your life. When reading Shakespeare we can take his stories allegorically and gleam bits of wisdom from them as a retelling of the human story—after all Shakespeare isn’t pretending his stories are at all historically viable—whereas the Gospel authors had a different agenda. Certainly you can gleam bits of wisdoms from the Gospels as well, I’m not denying that, but if you don't expect them to be guiding you on how you should live, because religious conduct, practice, and ritual will supersede the wisdom to be found in allegory by supplanting the allegory with the assumption that it’s the literal truth.

    So as an atheist, believe it or not, I find more value in the Gospel account when I read it as a fiction than when I read it as literally true. And that's why I feel it's important to inform people that there is another way to see them, because they gain that much in importance when you can understand them from other perspectives--whether or not you believe. They're still damn good stories, legends, and folklore.

    ReplyDelete
  26. W'dup yo

    The cool thing about the Bible is that it simply tells it like it is. It's not trying to be tricky or hide anything. It's recording the things that happened or things that were said. Why anyone is so put off that Jesus would use slavery as he teaches simply may not understand that slavery was everywhere around the time of Christ.

    Look at the city of Rome. At this time it was the center of the universe so to speak. It was the New York City of the day. It's population was around 2 million people. And 600 thousand of them were slaves.

    Christ or the Bible by the way would never condone slavery as we view slavery. Many people were slaves. Some were highly educated and even upstanding citizens of that time. (Doctors, Lawyers and Politicians) The view that one race
    of people is superior to any other race came from somewhere else other than the Bible. (Peoples evil hearts). But God or his word would never condone that thinking.

    Back to this passage in Luke. I would think you Atheists would be all excited over this parable Jesus is teaching. You guys are always saying how unfair God is. I'm not sure if my Brother Mike would agree with me, but this verse is simply saying there will be degrees of punishment and degrees of rewards based upon what we have done with what God has given us.

    This is one passage of scripture (LK 12:45-48) that alludes to the fact that there may be degrees of Hell. Also in Rev. 20 Christ will judge the unsaved by their works.

    That is just my opinion. But, I feel Christ is just and will judge fairly. In other words what we get, is what we deserve.

    And T-Vick is right about informing people that there is another way to view these stories. The trick for all of us is to find out that way. We must all work out our own salvation.

    Good luck on your journey. I really think one day I will see some of you Atheists in Heaven rejoicing with me.

    Dueces Mooses, feen

    ReplyDelete
  27. For anyone who is interested in a historical overview of Jesus and early Christianity, check out this video:

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/religion/watch/

    Enjoy!

    ReplyDelete
  28. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Here is a copy of the parable that JC told about slavery;
    (Luke 12:43-48):

    Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing [acting faithfully].
    Of a truth I say unto you, that he will make him ruler over all that he hath.

    But and if that servant say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to beat the menservants and maidens, and to eat and drink, and to be drunken;

    The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers.

    And that servant, which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes.

    But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.

    Why is this relevant? Well, this comes back to what we have said all along. The Bible is a historical document that is steeped in the traditions, viewpoints, and politics of the time that it was written . The fact that slavery is not openly condemned by JC in this passage clearly reflects the society that they were living in.

    Jesus and Paul, the master-servant (= slave) relationship was both a fact of life (not dissimilar to employer-employee, father-son) and a sign of all our client relationships with God. Jesus uses this relationship in the parable of the faithful steward. Fast forward this to modern times, and people still felt justified in taking innocent people from their homes in Africa, giving them a Bible to aid in their assimilation and keep them complacent, and make them work on their plantations. And, that is why the Bible is a dangerous document. People remove these critical modes of understanding the information to skew the morality found in the text. As a result, many people suffer one way or another.

    So, this is a great example of way more information can be used to strengthen personal faith and understanding of what you believe.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Christians should feel that they are slaves to Christ. After all we were bought with a price. Christs' blood.

    If you want to know what the Bible teaches about slavery, please re-read what I just wrote 3 or 4 comments up.

    Late, feeno

    ReplyDelete
  31. Yes, but here, again, brings us back to what we initially discussed.

    One of the major flaws of the Bible that we discussed earlier is that everyone seems to interpret it differently, which results in different variations of Christianity. Actions which one considers to be "Christian" is not what another considers to be.

    So, my personal interpretation of that parable is very different from what you will see. I interpret it as the following;
    -The framing of the metaphor, or the idea of serving a God, has been constructed from language that was easily understood to the common people, the notion of slavery. This parable teaches the common person to always look toward the authority above them for guidance and structure. Again, this reinforces the idea that it is best to be quiet and take the abuse because your silence will be rewarded in someway when you less expect it.

    Subtext to me teaches obedience to the higher authorities which was really necessary to construct the Christian Empire as it began to accumulate wealth and riches. To me, this is the start of the class structure, which history shows, served the Orthodox and Roman Catholic church later as they began to seperate. This also gives the slave a means of accepting the cruelty of their life with the hopes of salvation at some point in their life.

    And, with the Canonization of the Bible, and the way that the Bible simplified and personalized common mythology, they are using the Christ figure as a way of pacifying the common slave to ensure that they do not think of freedom in other ways.

    Good example?

    ReplyDelete
  32. It's undeniable that modern Xian morality is quite different from Xian morality from years past. Outside forces have been the catalyst (secular values in many cases) that have dragged Xians kicking and screaming into more tolerance (ending slavery, women's rights, etc.) I would say that one could make a much better case that Xian morality is very immoral and that a true reading of the Bible leads to rather immoral positions, like support for slavery, and that it is the incorrect, modern-influenced interpretations that lead to people like Feeno saying that god does not approve of slavery. (Side note, I'm not picking on you Feeno, but I would argue that your interpretations are informed by the morality of our day and not necessarily representative of what was intended by the Biblical authors.)

    ReplyDelete
  33. Yes, I agree with you.

    If you look back, I have been talking about this type of stuff. And, I have been really trying to reinforce the need of contextualizing the Bible in order to properly understand it. Where we do not seem to get through is that the gradient of interpretation creates all different kinds of Christians.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Good lookin' out GCT, that was thoughtful of you.

    Late, feen

    ReplyDelete

Followers