Can we be honest for a second? Jesus hasn't come back in more than 2,000 years. This surprised the heck out of the earliest of Christians because they recorded him as saying "Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom." Matthew 16:28
My point is not to launch into a discussion of the fallacies of sola scriptura (although I would be happy to have that conversation later!). The point is to lay the groundwork: can we all agree that whatever we think we understand about the Bible, no one is 100% right.
And I want to be upfront here, I am no longer a Christian, so I don't really have a dog in this fight, I'm not afraid of eternal damnation or awaiting eternal reward. But I grew up in the church, was a rock star at Bible quiz and well into my twenties was in love with Jesus. So, I still have a profound respect for the teachings of Christ and the Bible where his teachings are drawn from. In my opinion, the world would be a much better place if more Christians acted like Rob Bell than Pat Robertson.
So, I read this article on the Huffington Post and thought it was beautifully insightful (For those of you too lazy read the article, the author reflects on his own wealth and Christ's command to give to those in need). And the very first comment was from someone saying that Jesus would reject socialism and the insinuation that the "needy" is synonymous with the "lazy." More than half the comments are from this person eschewing the evils of socialism.
Okay, I get it. You hate socialism. Fine. The article was proposing no such thing. I need some insights from the Conservative Christians out there on a few things.
1) Are you genuinely concerned that socialism is coming to America? We talk about the principals and ideals of socialism, but even the health care reform of President Obama is not socialism. We will always be a free market economy.
2) Why does every remark about the merits of helping people in need come with the implication that these people are just lazy people who don't want to work and collect all of our money. Have you met those people? The people I know who want help from the government have jobs and live within their means but still can't make ends meet. If we're giving away billions of dollars to major corporations who make crappy decisions, why can't we give to the people affected by those crappy decisions?
3) And most importantly - why in the heck is Jesus being dragged into so many political arguments these days? One of the main reasons Jews denied (and continue to deny) that he is the Messiah is because of his patent lack of involvement in politics. The Jews expected a political leader to rule the kingdom and reclaim the land of Israel. It's not fair to say "Jesus said so" ... when he never said so. When an athlete thanks Jesus for the winning touch down, does that mean the other team were out of his favor? It feels the same to me in politics - you want to invoke the name of Jesus in the hopes that it will sway voters because they follow him. That's not fair, if your argument can't stand on it's own merit, it's not a valid argument.
I've broken free of the shackles of blind faith and am able to think and reason for myself. But calling on the name of Jesus to win your argument is not a fair win at all. This video on Funny or Die sums it up pretty well for me, and makes me laugh all at once.
We don't agree about everything and that's OK. What we do agree on is the need to carry on the discussion in a civil way.
Before you contribute to a discussion, familiarize yourself with logical fallacies. Ad hominem attacks will not be tolerated.
The goal here is for civil conversation so be nice; no profanity. Anyone who calls another person an idiot will be banned.
Lastly remember, when someone disagrees with your views it does not mean they like you less as a person. If you can't handle being disagreed with then go away.