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The Christian Left

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posted on Apr, 12 2010 @ 10:35 PM
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Good evening ATS.
From the title, it is obvious that this thread involves both a religion and a political ideology, so mods, please feel free to move it if it is not in the right section of the board.

The title is pretty self explanatory in terms of what I intend to discuss: The Christian Left.
What is it? Does it exist? Should it exist?

These are three valid questions that I would like to bring up here on ATS, and so in keeping with a logical flow of discussion, maybe I should start off with my own definition of what I would call the Christian Left.

To me, the Christian Left would represent a set of generally liberal people in political thought who hold Christian values. I do not necessarily mean someone who would vote Liberal, Republican, Ignatieff, Obama, etc, but rather the leftist ideologies themselves. Many people here on ATS would argue that American left and right divisions are merely two different facades of the same structure, but when I regard the left and right, I am talking about the distinct set of values.

What may a Christian leftist look like?

As a firm believer in Christ, I believe that many of the things Jesus Christ taught were indeed "left leaning", and to paraphrase as one person once put it, "Jesus Christ was probably the most left-leaning hippy in the history of mankind that no conservative radical would recognize as their leader". Indeed, Christianity has gotten a terrible name, and for valid reasons I will not deny.

As a Christian, I believe it is my job to emulate Christ as best as I can, with assistance from my father in heaven. When we look into the bible to see what Jesus has done, we see that Jesus was indeed a very unique man to say the least, with many properties that I could only ever hope to achieve. I will state one very important property of Jesus' attitude that I believe would make a world of a difference in today's society: Unconditional Love.

Jesus Christ possessed a love for humans and man-kind more than we could possibly imagine, which included forgiveness and a complete lack of condemnation for all those who have sinned, which has been and is all of us.

This characteristic would make Jesus a very tolerant man. A man that valued equality because we are all equal in front of God. He valued contribution to others, assistance, aide, consideration for others besides ourselves, putting ourselves in other's shoes, and free choice.

Taking these characteristics of Jesus, and putting them parallel with modern political thought, it would not be a stretch to say Jesus would of been a very liberal thinking human being.

Jesus Christ does not ask his followers to condemn. He does not ask them to enter into wars, or to try and forcefully convert. He does not ask us to be violent, or to harm others. He asks us to love even if we know that someone may never become a "Christian" because that's what unconditional love is.

These statements go against the recent slew of radical-Christian right movements. Now, in itself this may be a condemning statement, but indeed I admit I am no-wheres near sinless, but at the same time, errors within the church must be corrected if we are to be effective. At the same time, this is my opinion as well.

Christians don't need to be out on street corners protesting homosexual rights, Christian's don't need to be condemning nations because of natural disasters that occur, and Christian's don't need to be killing abortion doctors.

In short, the Christian Left may be classified as Christians who believe in equality, yet freedom of choice within the confines of equality, and in line with many other "liberal" ideologies that include unconditional love.

Does it exist? A simple answer would be yes. I would go as far as to say I am part of it and I know many other Christians who are left leaning as well. Unfortunately the radical right occupies the news stories due to their sensationalism, and thus influences the publics view. It is no different here on ATS.

Should it exist? If we take the ideas of Jesus, whom is supposed to be our ultimate role-model as Christians, then yes, it should. Jesus never asked us to be condemning, to ignore social issues and bigotry, and never asked us to be bigots either. The left condones equality, and so does Christianity. The left condones acceptance, and so does Christianity. So yes, the Christian left do exist.

To sum things up, although many Christians are understandably against Abortion (as am I), I believe that issues such as homosexuality are not in the position of the state to decide. At the same time, the issue of social and economic equality and justice was a topic that could be considered very close to Jesus' heart, and should also be one for all Christians alike.

In today's geo-political environment, the populations of nations are ever increasing in diversity. No longer can nations be subject to a single religion. Does that mean we are to belittle those who do believe in our founding father's religion (if they had one)? By no means.

Christians should be out there being resourceful and helpful, not condemning. We are to spread the news of Jesus' Christ love, not on the streets protesting against homosexuals. Simple as that.

This is just my own opinion on the Christian Left. What do others here on ATS thing? Christians and non-Christians chime in please! Your thoughts are valuable to me!




posted on Apr, 12 2010 @ 10:48 PM
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I agree. "Right-wing Christian" is an oxymoron.

The people who describe themselves thus, are indeed right-wingers but are not Christians.



posted on Apr, 12 2010 @ 10:52 PM
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reply to post by Grumble
 


Thank-you for your post. I would not go as far as to say any particular person is or isn't a Christian, but if you are trying to force religion to those who have already requested that you don't, or you are "casting a stone" even though you are just as full of sin as the next person, that person may need to revise their motives in life and acquire a more loving outlook.



posted on Apr, 12 2010 @ 10:52 PM
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Thank you for the thread. It's very sad to see Christ's message distorted into something He would not recognize



posted on Apr, 12 2010 @ 10:54 PM
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It would seem that most religious types practice cafeteria religion . They pick and chose the parts they like , justify it and then claim they hold the true understanding . Right left up or down , Christian , Muslim , Jew , Environmentalist , Buddha , it just doesn't matter . All of these people practice what they want , how they want & each believes that they are right .



posted on Apr, 12 2010 @ 10:54 PM
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Great thread start. The Christian left has made their presence known in a big way on some of the lefty sites I visit...but I'm not going to spam them here but rest assured we/they exist. I think lefty Christians tend to be less boastful and less taunting with their Christian beliefs and thus less likely to bludgeon people with their beliefs in political debate but that's just my opinion.

I am very private about my faith, my struggles and feel protective of my local church's congregation as they are also for the most part liberals but not political/religious activists as that is contrary to most of their beliefs to mix the two. Um...I do know how most of them vote though!



posted on Apr, 12 2010 @ 10:55 PM
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reply to post by InvisibleAlbatross
 


No problem! Thanks for expressing your opinion. I just hope that I myself can acquire God's vision for my life and to be of assistance of others. By no means am I better than anyone else, and there are some great non-christians out there. However, I believe we need to concentrate less on prosecuting others and buying massive houses and SUV's, but rather spreading God's love and being useful to the world in a positive aspect.



posted on Apr, 12 2010 @ 10:57 PM
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Originally posted by For(Home)Country
To sum things up, although many Christians are understandably against Abortion (as am I), I believe that issues such as homosexuality are not in the position of the state to decide. At the same time, the issue of social and economic equality and justice was a topic that could be considered very close to Jesus' heart, and should also be one for all Christians alike.

So as a liberal christian.. how do you think the issue of unwanted pregnancy and abortion should be handled?

What does Jesus say that makes you think he'd condone homosexuality and not abortion? Both have to do with free will (which is what he died for).



posted on Apr, 12 2010 @ 10:57 PM
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reply to post by Max_TO
 


The beauty of existence is that only a particular set of beliefs is truth, and truth is not relative. Only one set of ideas can be right in the end.



posted on Apr, 12 2010 @ 11:01 PM
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Originally posted by riley

So as a liberal christian.. how do you think the issue of unwanted pregnancy and abortion should be handled?

What does Jesus say that makes you think he'd condone homosexuality and not abortion? Both have to do with free will (which is what he died for).


Unwanted Pregnancy and abortion are no-doubt touchy subjects to many people. Personally I am against abortion, and I believe it is in the state's favour to be against it as well. By state, I mean the people of the state. To put an end to a child's life without it's permission goes against liberal doctrine, something I never understood. Adoption is a great solution.

As for homosexuality, Jesus never did condone it. However, it is not in the state's place to determine whether it is or isn't if the state is to take up a benevolent and neutral position on marital matters. Although marriage is a Christian concept and I believe it should stay that way, unions can be used as a supplement I suppose.

Just my opinions though.



posted on Apr, 12 2010 @ 11:04 PM
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reply to post by For(Home)Country
 


That just might be true but the last decider of that should not be a politician . Would Jesus ever call him self right or left ? Or would Jesus be pointing out the hypocrisy found in each ?

I am not interested in a Jesus with right or left tendencies but rather the truth . The truth my friend ticks everyone off and few chose to listen and heed the truth . Rather the " truth " , as well as the hard teachings , are often swept under the rug and used as a mask to then resort to " Cafeteria " religion .

[edit on 12-4-2010 by Max_TO]



posted on Apr, 12 2010 @ 11:08 PM
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Originally posted by Max_TO
reply to post by For(Home)Country
 


That just might be true but the last decider of that should not be a politician . Would Jesus ever call him self right or left ? Or would Jesus be pointing out the hypocrisy found in each ?

I am not interested in a Jesus with right or left tendencies but rather the truth . The truth my friend ticks everyone off and few chose to listen and heed the truth . Rather the " truth " , as well as the hard teachings , are often swept under the rug and used as a mask to then resort to " Cafeteria " religion .

[edit on 12-4-2010 by Max_TO]


Those are good points. I don't believe Jesus himself would even vote. He would recognize the fallacy and incompetence of the system, and instead devote himself to doing other more productive things.

Of course, that brings up the whole question as to whether it is right be politically active or not. I do not have the answer, but I myself prefer to be.

Jesus would not specifically fit into either "right" or "left" I don't believe, but if we are to summarize some of Jesus' core beliefs, love and equality would top them. Where would you put that on the political scale?



posted on Apr, 12 2010 @ 11:15 PM
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reply to post by For(Home)Country
 


God has wrote on the heart of every man that which is right , that which is just . That is where
i would place it . I would not try to create a new label that would seek to divide people , creating a sense of superiority among a few .

Before I get to far off here I just want to say that I am by no means saying that the motivation behind this OP is wrong or not worthy I just see this differently .

What I se in Jesus I do not see in the right or left movement , no matter how hard there actors try each election year .



posted on Apr, 12 2010 @ 11:24 PM
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posted on Apr, 12 2010 @ 11:29 PM
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Originally posted by For(Home)Country

Originally posted by riley

So as a liberal christian.. how do you think the issue of unwanted pregnancy and abortion should be handled?

What does Jesus say that makes you think he'd condone homosexuality and not abortion? Both have to do with free will (which is what he died for).


Unwanted Pregnancy and abortion are no-doubt touchy subjects to many people. Personally I am against abortion, and I believe it is in the state's favour to be against it as well. By state, I mean the people of the state. To put an end to a child's life without it's permission goes against liberal doctrine, something I never understood. Adoption is a great solution.

Great solution? For who? It can be the worst thing in the world for some women to suffer through an unwanted pregnancy.. especially if conception was from rape or coercion. You use the issue of free will to argue against putting an end to a fetuses life without it's permission but that same gift of free will extends to pregnant people as well does it not? Or do they just stop being people for nine months? If you believe in forced pregnancy you do not fully believe in free will and are not really a liberal. I believe being pro-choice is christian because that acknowledges a woman's fee will.

You argued that homosexuality is a state issue and not a religious one.. yet say abortion should be banned by the state because of you think it is against liberal doctrine to take someone's life without permission. So is forced pregnancy and forcing women to risk illegal abortions. Just like people do with the bible.. you are changing "liberal doctrine" to suit your own needs.



posted on Apr, 12 2010 @ 11:31 PM
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I have found it amazingly ironic that agnostics and athiests tend to be disproportunately left wing...

Left are ones that by action and deed tend to live closer to the ideals Jesus spoke of, from being accepting, angry at the structured elitism of religion, big into large scale welfare and sharing, loving, peaceful, etc etc etc..

The rights tend to house fundamentalists whom dont even bother doing as Jesus said...because they state they will fall short (so why even try kinda thing).

I wonder...if the biblical Christ returned today, would he be going to earthday birthday, or screaming about how god hates fags with the westboro baptist church.

I suspect Jesus wouldn't be very fond of his fan club.



posted on Apr, 12 2010 @ 11:42 PM
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Pregnancies should be legally aborted before they have Quickening if the parents so choose (~20 weeks), no questions asked - If the parents can't make any decisions about having a baby in that time - they shouldn't be aloud to have children in the first place.

[edit on 12/4/10 by ghostsoldier]



posted on Apr, 12 2010 @ 11:46 PM
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Originally posted by riley


Great solution? For who? It can be the worst thing in the world for some women to suffer through an unwanted pregnancy.. especially if conception was from rape or coercion. You use the issue of free will to argue against putting an end to a fetuses life without it's permission but that same gift of free will extends to pregnant people as well does it not? Or do they just stop being people for nine months? If you believe in forced pregnancy you do not fully believe in free will and are not really a liberal. I believe being pro-choice is christian because that acknowledges a woman's fee will.


Hence why I said it was a touchy subject. There are many factors and many issues that can be relative to the situation. I do acknowledge that it must be a terrible process from a female to go through and to put up with such pregnancies. I do not have the solution for everyone, or everything, and will not attempt to state so.
Would it be safe to say that pregnancies resulting from rape would be allowed to be aborted, but not in any other situation?

Rape is another touchy issue, and can be more scaring than many of life's other unfortunate situations I would imagine. It is not something that can be handled lightly.

However, when you allow abortions to be okay across the board, you provide less incentive for promiscuous individuals to be careful. People will just shrug things off and say "Meh, at least I can get an abortion". In such situations, it would be in the favour of the state to dis-allow conventional, non-special circumstance abortions because it provides individuals with an alternative to being careful and responsible. It breeds more irresponsibility, something consumerist-American doesn't need right now.



You argued that homosexuality is a state issue and not a religious one.. yet say abortion should be banned by the state because of you think it is against liberal doctrine to take someone's life without permission. So is forced pregnancy and forcing women to risk illegal abortions. Just like people do with the bible.. you are changing "liberal doctrine" to suit your own needs.


I never argued that homosexuality is a state issue, and infact suggested it should be the opposite: The state should not be the one who makes the decision, it should be the individual.

I just explained forced pregnancy above.

I don't perfectly subscribe to one specific doctrine of beliefs. Perhaps I could label the majority of them as what society would call "left" leaning, but equality, responsibility, caring for others aside from yourself, economic and social justice, and honesty are values I uphold. If you feel offended that I am "twisting liberal doctrine", then I am sorry.

But in all honesty, if an individual believes nothing aside from one side of the political spectrum, and agrees with doctrine only within the confines of said side, I feel sorry for them. There are valid ideologies in many areas of the spectrum, and not one side has them all pinned down perfectly.



posted on Apr, 12 2010 @ 11:54 PM
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Originally posted by SaturnFX
I have found it amazingly ironic that agnostics and athiests tend to be disproportunately left wing...

Left are ones that by action and deed tend to live closer to the ideals Jesus spoke of, from being accepting, angry at the structured elitism of religion, big into large scale welfare and sharing, loving, peaceful, etc etc etc..

The rights tend to house fundamentalists whom dont even bother doing as Jesus said...because they state they will fall short (so why even try kinda thing).

I wonder...if the biblical Christ returned today, would he be going to earthday birthday, or screaming about how god hates fags with the westboro baptist church.

I suspect Jesus wouldn't be very fond of his fan club.


Thank you for your reply. I would have to agree with it very much.
I too don't think Jesus would be a big fan of today's structured religion. He would be more interested in the number of people that knew about him and the number of people who had their live's positively changed by other Christian's actions. People need to be helpful resources to others. I am in no way perfect, but I hope that I can improve on how helpful I am to others, whether they are Christian or not.

Jesus' love supersedes our sin.



posted on Apr, 13 2010 @ 12:46 AM
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Originally posted by For(Home)Country
Hence why I said it was a touchy subject. There are many factors and many issues that can be relative to the situation. I do acknowledge that it must be a terrible process from a female to go through and to put up with such pregnancies. I do not have the solution for everyone, or everything, and will not attempt to state so.
Would it be safe to say that pregnancies resulting from rape would be allowed to be aborted, but not in any other situation?

That would require legally proving it was rape.. so not only would women have to beg for an abortion but prove that they are not lieing about being raped which would require reporting it rape to the state that provides the abortion. Women do not come forward specifically because they are put on trial when they are raped so that situation would be very cruel. It is a little difficult to keep a rape trial secret so what of keeping a rape pregnancy and termination secret? What of her rights to privacy and to not be treated like she's an incubator? The "only in cases of rape" would punish rape victims and women in general to the extreme (as some would have no choice but to try lie or go risk their life with a backyard abortion). I dare say even rape victims would opt for the backyard abortion or be forced to carry a rape pregnancy rather than get violated by the state all over again. So what then? Lock them all away till they give birth if they were not raped or won't try prove it?

Not to mention you are saying that you think grown women would have to account for their own pregnancies and have to ask permission to discontinue them.. just having to grovel and say "Please Sir?" when dealing with their own bodies is an assault on their free will in itself.


Rape is another touchy issue, and can be more scaring than many of life's other unfortunate situations I would imagine. It is not something that can be handled lightly.

However, when you allow abortions to be okay across the board, you provide less incentive for promiscuous individuals to be careful. People will just shrug things off and say "Meh, at least I can get an abortion". In such situations, it would be in the favour of the state to dis-allow conventional, non-special circumstance abortions because it provides individuals with an alternative to being careful and responsible. It breeds more irresponsibility, something consumerist-American doesn't need right now.

So free will only in certain situations? Rape may be a touchy issue but you cannot pick and choose when it comes to free will as it's not yours.

Incidentally I doubt many women have such a casual "Meh, at least I can get an abortion" towards abortion. To think that they do assumes women have no real moral centre and therefore need "help" making moral decisions for themselves. Cue those pro-life groups who do not believe in free will for all...

You also seem to be against the separation between church and state by saying that abortions be dis-allowed for promiscuous or sexually irresponsible women.


I never argued that homosexuality is a state issue, and infact suggested it should be the opposite: The state should not be the one who makes the decision, it should be the individual.

State issue as in not compromised by christian religious beliefs that have continue to prevent gays getting married. The same Christians that stand in the way of legislation are the same that want abortion made illegal again. I appreciate you wanting to make Christianity more acomidating but when it come to the crunch you still agree with the right wing Christians. You can't have it both ways.

[edit on 13-4-2010 by riley]



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