Conversation with A Christian, and Other Thoughts.

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posted on Mar, 7 2013 @ 08:57 AM
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I don't have enough room, so this will be a two part post.

I have for a long time been of the opinion that certain political affiliations or beliefs are totally incompatible with Christianity, and I have had many conversations with people of different political beliefs about this.

I had one recently conversation which highlighted the hypocrisy.

I will start with the premise that Christianity is a religion which literally means “follower of Christ” and that in this form, the new testament supersedes the writings of the old testament, because Christ was gods messenger on Earth, and he kind of wanted to get away from all the violence, fire and brimstone stuff and get us to love each other instead. (more on this later)

The following is the conversation I had: for the sake of brevity, the person I was conversing with will be called C, and due to my username, I will be B.

B – How do you reconcile your beliefs (Christianity) and the teachings of Jesus with your political beliefs, given what Christ preached?

C – I don’t. The two are entirely separate things.

B – But you advocate “every man for himself” when you talk about politics, how does that fit in with the teachings of Jesus about helping our fellow man?

C – Like I said, the two are entirely different things. One is an earthly question, the other is a spiritual question.

B – Surely entry to the kingdom of heaven is dependant on earthly actions? Didn’t Jesus say “It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven”

C – Yes, but that was a metaphor, and referred to a small gate in a walled city, through which large animals could not pass.

B – Well, I’ve done a lot of research about this, and at no time was a sally door known as “the eye of a needle” so I think you are making that bit up, and twisting words to suit your argument. Has it ever occurred to you that Jesus was being literal?

C – No, Jesus wasn’t being literal. We have many examples of him using metaphors.

B – So, you are stating as fact that Jesus meant many things as a metaphor, is that correct?

C – Yes.

B – OK, if you don’t mind, we’ll come back to that.
I would like to know how you can describe yourself as a Christian, but at the same time hold the views that you do about not helping the poor, charity, social welfare etc
Let me give you some examples. For the sake of clarity I have taken these from the NIV Bible rather than the KJ version.

Matthew 25:34-36
New International Version (NIV)
34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
Mark 10:21
New International Version (NIV)
21 Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
Mark 12:41-44
New International Version (NIV)
41 Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. 42 But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents.
43 Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. 44 They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.”
Luke 14:12-14
New International Version (NIV)
12 Then Jesus said to his host, “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or sisters, your relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. 13 But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, 14 and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”
Luke 16:19-31
New International Version (NIV)
19 “There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. 20 At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores 21 and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.
22 “The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. 23 In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. 24 So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’
25 “But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. 26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’

Luke 12:16-21
New International Version (NIV)
16 And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. 17 He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’
18 “Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. 19 And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’
20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’
21 “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.”
C – Again, we are not meant to take this literally.
B – But aren’t you just saying that because you think that “your hard earned money” shouldn’t go to others less fortunate in the form of welfare? I think the passages are very clear about helping others less fortunate than ourselves, and that you pay lip service to Christianity when it suits you, but hide behind so called metaphors when it doesn’t.
The Bible is very clear on this, and it seems very arrogant to me that you can presume to know what Jesus was saying better than his disciples did, or as I have previously said, that you don’t want to face up to the fact that according to your own beliefs, you will be going somewhere rather warm.
C - left the conversation
edit on 7/3/2013 by budski because: (no reason given)




posted on Mar, 7 2013 @ 08:58 AM
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Part 2:

Now I have no problems with Christianity as a religion – I do however have a problem with people who try to twist their religion to suit their own purposes.
In other words, I have a problem with hypocrisy in religion (and that applies to ALL religions)
We are currently seeing a crisis in the church I was born into, we hear rumours and see reports of homosexual and paedophile rings, and read that this is why the pope resigned, which is a quite unprecedented act in modern times.
We can also say that the RCC is extremely hypocritical, because with wealth beyond imagining, and senior officials living in cosseted splendour, so many of their flock are living not only in extreme poverty, but in some cases are starving, but still expected to put into the collection bowl every week. I would posit that Mark 12:41-44 applies to the people attending and giving, but doesn’t apply to the senior clergy who preside over them. I think it’s safe to say that many parish priests and certain orders of monks abide by these teachings, but that senior clergy do not.
This is the crux of the problem in modern organised religion for me – Hypocrisy. From Bishops, Cardinals, Popes, Clerics, Vicars and their “flocks”
It always seems that people will find a way to twist things to suit their own ends.
If these beliefs are actually true, and there really is a Heaven and a Hell, then many of the followers of Christ are in for a huge shock.
All I can say is, better pack that factor 5 million, because you’re going to need it.



posted on Mar, 7 2013 @ 09:12 AM
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reply to post by budski
 


That's why it is said that the road is narrow and few find the way. I can remember when I was young and tried to categorize or partition off my life in that way. I guess I felt like my religious beliefs were a separate part of me from my worldly day to day concerns. Not so! It is the day to day that will determine our destiny.



posted on Mar, 7 2013 @ 09:21 AM
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reply to post by budski
 

Good post and good points.


I also don't understand why some Christians are so opposed to social programs, and things like communism and socialism are demonized?

The apostles, after the death of Jesus, required their followers to give up all their possession. There is a story, in Acts I believe, of a married couple that God struck dead for not giving all their proceeds to the "church."

The type of society that Jesus proposed was already being practiced successfully by the Essenes. Josephus wrote of them:


122 Since [they are] despisers of wealth—their communal stock is astonishing—, one cannot find a person among them who has more in terms of possessions. For by a law, those coming into the school must yield up their funds to the order, with the result that in all [their ranks] neither the humiliation of poverty nor the superiority of wealth is detectable, but the assets of each one have been mixed in together, as if they were brothers, to create one fund for all.
www.biblicalarchaeology.org...


Early American Quakers and Shakers were communal, but now days, communal people are considered whack jobs and dangerous.



edit on 7-3-2013 by windword because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 7 2013 @ 09:25 AM
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The way I see it s like this -


Matthew 7:21-23
New International Version (NIV)
True and False Disciples

21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
www.biblegateway.com...

People claim to follow God because they sit in a church on Sunday morning. The question is, do LIVE God throughout the rest of the week?



posted on Mar, 7 2013 @ 09:25 AM
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I have talked about this a lot with my partner, you see hypocrisy a lot, and what gets me is nobody seems to care when you point it out, they just brush it off!



edit on 7-3-2013 by valiant because: (no reason given)
edit on 7-3-2013 by valiant because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 7 2013 @ 09:27 AM
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Its so tragic when some people hold Christians up to be perfect human beings beyond sin.
What a boring sensationalist thread.
Christians are just normal people with the same issues as every other person, trying very hard to live like Christ in a broken world.
Christians are saved by Gods grace, not charity works.
If Christians were perfect they wouldnt have needed Jesus.

If this justifies your comment "Christians are hypocrites" then well done, stating the bloody obvious.

Hey, I am a Christian and I am a hypocrite....happy now?



posted on Mar, 7 2013 @ 09:29 AM
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Originally posted by Doodle19815
The way I see it s like this -


Matthew 7:21-23
New International Version (NIV)
True and False Disciples

21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
www.biblegateway.com...

People claim to follow God because they sit in a church on Sunday morning. The question is, do LIVE God throughout the rest of the week?


Good post and that is exactly the way I see it!

Some people tend to think they can do as they please as long as they say they are sorry at the end of the week, and rinse and repeat!

Just to add, I am in no way lumping everyone together, I know very well that there are a lot of religious people who practice what they preach and that is great.
edit on 7-3-2013 by valiant because: (no reason given)
edit on 7-3-2013 by valiant because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 7 2013 @ 09:39 AM
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reply to post by valiant
 


No that is your opinion based on ignorance, that is not what Christianity teaches.
Go read the Old Testament



posted on Mar, 7 2013 @ 09:39 AM
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Originally posted by borntowatch
Its so tragic when some people hold Christians up to be perfect human beings beyond sin.
What a boring sensationalist thread.
Christians are just normal people with the same issues as every other person, trying very hard to live like Christ in a broken world.
Christians are saved by Gods grace, not charity works.
If Christians were perfect they wouldnt have needed Jesus.

If this justifies your comment "Christians are hypocrites" then well done, stating the bloody obvious.

Hey, I am a Christian and I am a hypocrite....happy now?



The first point I would like to make is that I never said at any point that this applies to all christians.

I have some very good friends who practice what they preach.

The second point is that your defensiveness shows me that you think this applies to you.

You want sensationalist?
Jesus would be a communist or at the very least, a socialist, if he were alive today.

It's funny how the media has conditioned people to think that socialism and looking after your fellow man is a bad thing, and that so many who agree with this are christians, when actually Jesus said the complete opposite.

I think it could even be put into the dictionary under "Hypocrisy" and "Irony".



posted on Mar, 7 2013 @ 09:43 AM
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reply to post by borntowatch
 


Of course it's my opinion! I never said it was a fact anywhere did I? it's what I believe and have observed in my life!

... and FYI I have read both new and old plenty, I was brought up Catholic.

Stop being so defensive, these are just Opinions after all!



posted on Mar, 7 2013 @ 09:48 AM
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reply to post by budski
 





It's funny how the media has conditioned people to think that socialism and looking after your fellow man is a bad thing, and that so many who agree with this are christians, when actually Jesus said the complete opposite.


When has anyone ever said that looking after your fellow man is a bad thing? It becomes a bad thing only when people abuse the system and the system isn't capable of weeding out the abuse. Unfortunately, we have both and it should be up to each individual and the churches which fellow men they want to help look after.

So, why don't you tell us how this conversation really got started? Was it about paying more in taxes or actually helping your fellow man? I'm guessing the former.

If you want to get really technical, anyone could say that a Democrat isn't a real Christian because they support people who support abortion. We could argue the who's a real "Christian" from either side.



posted on Mar, 7 2013 @ 09:49 AM
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I agree OP.

I have no problem with Christianity or organized religion. As long as (A) They keep it to themselves and not try to push their belief on the impressionable (example: My children) and (B) They are not a hypocrite.

Too many religious followers are complete hypocrites. Myself, a non-believer, show more of the qualities that Christ asked for in his followers than those who claim they believe in him with all their heart.



posted on Mar, 7 2013 @ 09:52 AM
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reply to post by Deetermined
 


I don't think I mentioned Democrats or Republicans anywhere.
You assume too much.

Nor did I say it's up to the churches what they give.

My point is that christians, according to the teachings of the person they follow, have a duty under those teachings to help their fellow man, regardless of their political affiliation.



posted on Mar, 7 2013 @ 09:54 AM
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reply to post by budski
 


So, are you going to tell us that the person you had a conversation with claims that they absolutely refuse to help anyone? Including their other extended family members? How much do you really know about what this person does and who he supports?



posted on Mar, 7 2013 @ 10:10 AM
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Originally posted by budski
reply to post by Deetermined
 


I don't think I mentioned Democrats or Republicans anywhere.
You assume too much.


Really? So, why did you make the statement...

"I have for a long time been of the opinion that certain political affiliations or beliefs are totally incompatible with Christianity"


Nor did I say it's up to the churches what they give.


No, I'm the one who said it should be up to the churches who they should give to. What's wrong with that?


My point is that christians, according to the teachings of the person they follow, have a duty under those teachings to help their fellow man, regardless of their political affiliation.


So, tell me again why you made mention of politics again in the quote below?

"B – How do you reconcile your beliefs (Christianity) and the teachings of Jesus with your political beliefs, given what Christ preached? "

You made it very clear that this conversation was directed at a specific political belief.



posted on Mar, 7 2013 @ 10:19 AM
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reply to post by Deetermined
 


Perhaps the "political" part comes from programs like Head Start, Free School lunches, Food Stamps. Medicare, Social Security and Welfare and other such government programs that are under fire by many mainstream conservatives, who usually are also aligned with fundamental religious values.




edit on 7-3-2013 by windword because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 7 2013 @ 10:29 AM
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reply to post by windword
 


These programs aren't under fire because conservatives don't believe in them, they are under fire because they are mismanaged and abused. I know for a fact that my state spends more in Medicaid than they bring in each year. That's a sign that the program needs to be evaluated.



posted on Mar, 7 2013 @ 10:34 AM
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Originally posted by budski

Originally posted by borntowatch
Its so tragic when some people hold Christians up to be perfect human beings beyond sin.
What a boring sensationalist thread.
Christians are just normal people with the same issues as every other person, trying very hard to live like Christ in a broken world.
Christians are saved by Gods grace, not charity works.
If Christians were perfect they wouldnt have needed Jesus.

If this justifies your comment "Christians are hypocrites" then well done, stating the bloody obvious.

Hey, I am a Christian and I am a hypocrite....happy now?



The first point I would like to make is that I never said at any point that this applies to all christians.

I have some very good friends who practice what they preach.

The second point is that your defensiveness shows me that you think this applies to you.

You want sensationalist?
Jesus would be a communist or at the very least, a socialist, if he were alive today.

It's funny how the media has conditioned people to think that socialism and looking after your fellow man is a bad thing, and that so many who agree with this are christians, when actually Jesus said the complete opposite.

I think it could even be put into the dictionary under "Hypocrisy" and "Irony".



Without telling us the issue which started this 'conversation', your post does appear to be just an attack on alleged hypocrisy. I say alleged because without knowing what prompted this entire 'conversation' how is anyone to add a valid perspective? Perhaps he was hypocritical, perhaps he wasn't.

Secondly, you define socialism as something to be upheld. I for one see it's devastating consequences, in which case, if the fruit is bad it's not of Our God. How is socialism 'looking after your fellow man' when it breeds idleness, lack of work ethic and traps millions living hand and mouth on the state which is merely an insidious method of substituting the state as your provider instead of God who is? Therefore, Jesus Christ wouldn't be a 'socialist'. He commanded his followers to "go and do likewise" - the good Samaritan.

Do you hold the "hippy love" view of Jesus Christ or do you uphold His real Image? The world wants the former and rejects the latter, the Jesus Christ who stated that His mother, His brother and His sisters were those who did the Will of His Father and who also stated that you will die in your sins if you do not believe that He is. The real Jesus Christ is King and Lord who holds all of our lives in His hands each and every day and brings nations against those nations who rebel. THAT is a King and Lord who sits in judgement of us all. Just, Sovereign, and Merciful.

Are you stating that this "friend" would refuse food to someone is hungry? Or refuse to offer clothing to someone who needed it? Or is he perhaps just opposed to social program's which ensnare people to regard the beast as their provider? One freely gives out of the love of God in their heart, the other was designed to remove God's love and blessings from the equation all together. Who does society look to for it's protection today? The beast as opposed to the One who declares Himself as Protector. Who does society today look to provide for them? The beast or the One who declares that He is Our Provider? Who does society look to today as their healer? The beast or the One who says that He is their Healer?

If you are slamming your friend for rejecting socialism, then you missed out on God's message to humanity entirely. Crafty men put themselves between you and Him to do one thing only - and I hope that you can see what it is from above. Men give us diseases so they can be your "god". Men give you undeserved handouts so that they can be your "god". Men create fear to be your "god". How do you think we worship the beast?



posted on Mar, 7 2013 @ 11:24 AM
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"Handouts"

How very interesting that it should be put like that.

How very interesting as well that war is praised in an oblique way.

I have reported the conversation and my views on religious hypocrisy.
Take from it what you will.
Or don't.

I also find it very interesting that the very same people who are saying that I "judged" someone else (I didn't - I merely pointed out their inherent hypocrisy) perceive themselves as being righteous in their views.

Helping others less fortunate should come from no other motivation than the fact that someone else needs help.
It is not limited to family members, fellow church members or how people perceive that money is "wasted".

It is not up to us to pick and choose who "deserves" our help, that in itself is what some would call a "sin".

Did Jesus judge who was worthy of his help?
No, he just preached that people in need should be helped, that greed was bad and that people who hoard to the detriment of others were not really his cup of tea.

The programmed rampant consumerism prevalent in western society is something that Jesus would have railed against, and yet people never take a moment to stop and think at whose expense we acquire possessions.

It might be the sweatshop workers who make you nice shiny nikes for a pittance a day.

It might be the oppressed people whose oil we plunder so that we can have relatively cheap power, and fuel for the cars that are coveted.

It might be any number of things, but rampant consumerism comes down to one thing, and one thing only: Greed.

For the money that is spent on the military in one week alone, the world could be fed.
Make it a year, and the world could be housed, fed and clothed.
And yet people cling to the belief that they are not responsible for others, that helping those less fortunate somehow takes away from society rather than adding to it.

If you believe in heaven or hell, and you choose to do one thing by your words and the opposite by your deeds, what does that make you?





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