Why do so many Christians and Jews ignore the words of Jesus and Moses?

Discussion in 'Religion and Spirituality' started by OPTIONAL777, Mar 19, 2009.

  1. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you

    A command based on words of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount: “All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them.”

    The Mosaic law contains a parallel commandment: “Whatever is hurtful to you, do not do to any other person.” 1
    ‡ “Do unto others …” is a central ethical teaching of Jesus, often referred to as the Golden Rule. 2

  2. From: Warren Reports
    Whatever Happened to the Golden Rule?
    By Chris Fonzone - September 22, 2005, 10:28PM

    In their analysis of the current American political environment, The Right Nation, John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge relate a telling story. While meeting with a group of Christian conservatives to conduct research for their book, one of the authors made the off-hand comment “that Jesus Christ was something of a socialist.” Hardly a remarkable statement about a man who endorses the Golden Rule that everyone should love their neighbors as themselves and, the night before his crucifixion, said that the way to tell the righteous from the damned was to see if they’d fed the hungry, slaked the thirsty, clothed the naked, welcomed the stranger, and visited the prisoner. However, in Christian America today, such a statement was received as blasphemy. Micklethwait and Woolridge report that their comment sparked a half hour of “what might be described as emergency Bible study.”

    Micklethwait and Wooldridge’s story is far from surprising; they were right to identify “Christianity” as an incredibly powerful force in the United States today, and they were also right to point out that, in many places, the version of “Christianity” that is ascendant would be largely unrecognizable to Christ himself. What they didn’t do is discuss what the consequences of this cooption of Christianity (outside of the political sphere). That task is taken up in part by Bill McKibben in his excellent article “The Christian Paradox” in this month’s Harper’s.

    McKibben’s two-part thesis is simple. First, the “Christianity” of Christ is being replaced by two distinctly American constructs: the End Time-ism of Tim LeHaye and the mega-churches of a Christianity whose dominant message is “God helps those who help themselves.” While McKibben isn’t a huge fan of End Time-ism, the brunt of the second part of his thesis is addressed to what he calls the “suburban mega-churches.” In his view, not only are these churches ignoring the “love thy neighbor as thyself” call, they actually make it “harder to love the neighbor a little farther away—particularly the poor and the weak.”

    But how could this be? How could a religion so obviously focused on charity be turned into a vehicle for personal selfishness? McKibben finds the answer in the fact that “the soft-focus consumer gospel of the suburban mega-churches is a perfect match for emergent conservative economic notions about personal responsibility instead of collective action. Privatize Social Security? Keep health care for people who can afford it? File those under 'God helps those who help themselves.'”

    * * * * *

    McKibben is not alone in ruminating on the current role and the proper role of Christian Thought in the public sphere. Harvard Law Professor William Stuntz has also addressed this topic recently, in his “Book Review: Christian Legal Theory.” (For the lawyers among us, 116 Harv. L. Rev. 1707.) Although Stuntz is a criminal law scholar and is thus focused much more on than the criminal justice system rather than social economics, his conclusion is surprisingly parallel to McKibben’s – religion SHOULD be a powerful force for humility and the equalization of justice to all classes (“Still, those of us who live outside [the prisons] have good reason to be penitent for what we have done to, and failed to do for, those inside.”) Although we may like to think of the Old Testament “eye for an eye” God, the New Testament which Christianity is based upon is much more about “turning the other cheek.”

    * * * * *

    As a (some of the time) practicing Catholic, I have seen the powerful good that religion can bring to people’s lives. On top of being incredibly positive influences on their devout parishoners lives, many churches in this country do extraordinary work tending for the infirm and the sick. (McKibben does not deny this and is, in fact, a practicing Christian himself.)

    However, despite this, I am deeply concerned by the new role religion has taken on in our public sphere. It’s become more politic, it’s become more organized, and, at least in some places, it’s become less Christian. It’s not clear to me what the “next steps” are to address the concerns raised in this blog post; obviously, this is a woefully inadequate space with which to discuss these issues. However, one thing of which I’m fairly certain is that the best path is NOT to completely ignore the role of the new American Christianity on the recent legislative action around bankruptcy and tax cuts and consumer protection and education. Instead, my gut feeling is that the battle should be addressed “head on” in some fashion; in other words, religion has been taboo on the left in many ways (largely for social and not economic policy reasons) and perhaps it shouldn’t be. (Is it really surprising that one side of the political divide has exploited religion when the other side won’t even address it?) For one, the true message of Christianity is such that, in many areas, particularly concerning distributive fairness, it dovetails precisely with Democratic ideals. For two, how can we expect voters to know that it was Adam Smith and not Jesus Christ who championed free markets unless we have a voice telling them so?
  3. Organized religion is all about following and assimilating. And when some people begin to follow, they do so mindlessly. They stop thinking. Leaders on any scale with an unscrupulous or sociopathic bent, know and recognize this susceptibility well, and they play it to advantage.

    If only people would take the time to do their own thinking, serious thinking, when it comes to values and virtue. The bad would remain bad, as they would in any circumstances, but maybe some of the otherwise gullible would be somewhat less so.
  4. Organized atheism is all about following and assimilating the concepts and beliefs of atheism.

    This is not about any particular belief system, religion or atheistic collective thought.

    In the case of the words of Jesus and Moses, if Christians and Jews actually followed the golden rule, even blindly or thoughtlessly...wouldn't we see a better society?

    I think you are missing the larger point. Put down the anti religion blinders for a moment and look to the nature of how great men begat a new philosophy that was actually beneficial to a society as a whole, and how that philosophy was later ignored by the generations of followers of that initial philosophy...all acting in the name only of that initial leader of a movement.

    We have seen many atheistic movements implement their belief systems through force and dogmatic following by the masses inflict damage on societies throughout history.

    I have even seen the followers of some so called "independent thinkers" surrender their intellect to those leaders, and when you question them about the philosophy...they say "read so and so's book, or watch so and so's video."

    If a person can't explain and defend the path they follow on their own by their own understanding...it really isn't their own knowledge and understanding...whether or not it is atheistic, religions, republican, liberal, democrat, communist, conservative, etc.

    This goes more to the nature of mass movements and the underlying psychology of those who are followers, not leaders or true independent thinkers.

  5. I think the golden rule is a good one, and is the basis of all civilized behavior and decency. Demonstrably, religion does not have a patent on it. Therefore, religion, or its absence, appears to be a moot point in this discussion, decent and admirable historical figures notwithstanding. However, it is curious that some groups who should ostensibly be espousing it are actually flouting it.
  6. Same in ISLAM

    I am a muslim and none of the muslims around me adhere to the rules of Koran. You see alcohol drinking, adultery, stealing lieing and all that shit

    I guess human is human no matter what book you believe in
  7. This most excellent post explains the reason Obama got elected.
  8. Not as well as it explains Bush getting elected twice. Rove played the religious Right like a fiddle.
  9. I don't think I ever claimed that religion has a patent on the Golden Rule...

    The point of the thread is to question why Jews and Christians don't follow the Golden Rule, why they ignore the commandments of Jesus and Moses...

  10. Fair enough.
    #10     Mar 19, 2009