Monday, August 08, 2005

The Christian Paradox

The August 2005 issue of Harper's Magazine has a must-read article: "The Christian Paradox" by Bill McKibben. An excerpt is available online but I recommend reading the whole article. It tries to answer the questions that have been pissing me off for a long time..... Just where in the teachings of Jesus does it say that greed is good and wealth is better, or that war is acceptable? Why does the U.S., a self-professed "Christian Nation" trail just about all the other developed nations in foreign aid to poor countries, or caring for our own poor. Why did the Christian Coalition of America declare that their top legislative priority was making Bush's 2001 tax cuts permanent? As Mr. McKibben notes:
Taking seriously the actual message of Jesus, though, should serve at least to moderate the greed and violence that mark this culture. It's hard to imagine a con much more audacious than making Christ the front man for a program of tax cuts for the rich or war in Iraq. If some modest part of the 85 percent of us who are Christians woke up to that fact, then the world might change.
Read the article and share it with your bible-thumping neighbors and co-workers.

(Full disclosure: I was raised Catholic but now I worship my cat, Hops, who likes to snuggle with me in the morning, which is pretty much what I am looking for in a deity.)


Kronic said...

There's no paradox when it comes to christianity you dirty felintian. This guy's email cleared everything up...

[note, i'm sure you've read this before, but it's just as good the 2nd time around]

Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God's law. I have
learned a great deal from you and try to share that knowledge with as many
people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle,
for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to
be an abomination. End of debate. I do need some advice from you, however,
regarding some other elements of God's Laws and how to follow them:

1. Leviticus 25:44 states that I may possess slaves, both male and
female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine
claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not to Canadians. Can you clarify? Why
can't I own Canadians?

2. I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in
Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for

3. When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a
pleasing odor for the Lord (Lev. 1:9). The problem is my neighbors. They
claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

4. I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2
clearly states that he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to
kill him myself, or should I ask the police to do it?

5. A friend of mine feels that, even though eating shellfish is an
abomination (Lev. 11:10), it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality.
I don't agree. Can you settle this? Are there "degrees"of abomination?

6. Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a
defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my
vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle-room here?

7. Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair
around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How
should they die?

8. I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me
unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?

9. My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev. 19:19 by planting two different
crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two
different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse
and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of
getting the whole town together to stone them (Lev. 24:10-16)? Couldn't
we just burn them to death at a private family affair, like we do with
people who sleep with their in-laws (Lev. 20:14)?

12:42 AM  

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