Hannah and Papa J

Hannah and Papa J

Thursday, September 10, 2015

You can't both be a Christian and be a Christian

Dear Hannah,

Spend any significant time reading the Bible, and you're sure to have encountered a certain saying -- that not many wise were called to be Christians.

We have reason to believe that Paul was being serious when he said it.  Not only because the majority of the epistles were written to people who misunderstood everything about Christianity (I refer the reader to the Book of 1 Corinthians), but because even after two-thousand years of reading the epistles, many Christians -- idiots, I insist -- have difficulty understanding that Christianity and killing children are mutually incompatible.


Heresy was a problem from the beginning of the church, and it has always been a problem; quite possibly because Christians,. despite the alleged indwelling of the Holy Spirit, are still very bad at understanding words -- which is probably because Christians are people.  If the letters from Christ's own disciples haven't been ignored, they're likely to have been misunderstood.  Philosophy hasn't always helped, because theology, the philosophy of God, means thinking beyond space and time.  The "unification" of the church resulted in schizm; the unification of church and state resulted in murder; and the liberalization of religion during the Enlightenment resulted in Christian Science, The Children of God, The Jehovah's Witnesses, The Seventh Day Adventists, the Mormons, the Moonies, Jim Jones, the Branch Davidians, the Christian Identity movement, and a thousand other bizarro cults.  And now that we've tried everything we could have possibly thought of to save Christianity from itself, we find the Daily Kos saying you cannot be a Republican and a Christian.

In the Democrats' defense, the excommunication of other political parties has been a tactic of nearly every political faction.  The Republicans say you can't be Christian and support the party that supports gay marriage, and the Democrats say you can't be a Christian and support the party against universal healthcare.  The Nazis did it by saying they were against the Jews (just like Jesus wasn't); and the Communists did it by saying the early church lived in communes (which happened to be voluntary).  The hippies claimed Jesus was a hippie because He preached love and ran around like a vagrant.  The libertarians claimed that Jesus was a libertarian because He gives people the choice to commit any sin and go to hell (!).  The feminists claim Jesus because he loved spending time with whores; and the socialists claim Jesus because Jesus said the poor were more likely to get into heaven, and socialists are very good at making people poor.  In general, everyone's so convinced that their own ideas are divinely inspired that they're convinced that everyone else's are from the Devil.  And they're almost all right about the second part, because they're almost all wrong about the first.    

The one thing that almost nobody is convinced of is that Jesus was Jewish -- a inconvenient fact for everyone who loves Western Civilization.  Because if there's anything Christ supported so wholeheartedly that He claimed to have created it, it was Mosaic Law; and if there's anything that the Law of Moses supported, it was slavery.  And slavery was alongside an entire slew of things anathema to the entire ethos of both American political parties.  Whether you're a conservative or a leftist; whether you're against land-reform or gay marriage or honor killings or the death penalty; whether you want everyone to worship according to his conscience or survive working on a Sabbath, you'll find something so objectionable that you'll believe only a non-Christian could endorse it.  In other words, you'll find yourself saying you can't be a Christian and be a Christian.

In this respect the Democrats may not be alone -- but they're in every respect exceptional.  We can give many Democrats a pass in their disowning of Thomas Jefferson, something they enjoy doing, not only because Thomas Jefferson was never a statist or a redistributionist or a gay rights activist or an abortionist or even a Democrat, but because Thomas Jefferson isn't even the man they claim to be their Lord.  Not everyone knows he tried to abolish slavery in the United States, because Thomas Jefferson's autobiography isn't in the Bible.  We might even laugh at the Democrats for trying to sever all ties with the man they never had any ties with -- or apparently any knowledge of.  But when it comes to the Man they claim to be the founder of their religion, their ignorance of Him can only be seen as impious.  Jefferson was thrown under the bus because (against his political principles) he owned slaves.  Jesus is endorsed because His own followers are completely unaware of His political principles.

The point of the matter is that if Jesus Christ openly supported the Law of Moses, we might almost infer that His followers should be forgiven for being Democrats and Republicans.  I'm not trying to say that both parties are equally Christian or Biblical, or that they're both equally safe or sane, or that both of them are even actually American (although we might say that if not many wise are called, the Democrats may be the most Christian of the two).  What I'm saying is that the originally Jewish religion known as Christianity isn't particularly American, and neither was Jesus -- and that we're all better off for it.  The first Christian states killed many honest Christians because they were a different brand of Christians; and the Jews were even worse, because they killed every Christian they could find.  Will Durant estimates in his Story of Civilization that Christians in their early statehood were responsible for killing more Christians than the pagans did during the reign of the pagan emperors.  The United States defends even our Christian and Jewish idiots, because (in the original theory) it is afraid to persecute the enlightened ones.  

It's naive of course to expect that a person's religion won't influence his politics, because religions influence ideas, and ideas influence politics.  But if anyone's going to claim the God of the Bible for his own political party, he ought to be humble enough to recognize that God was God before Abraham, who was before the Law of Moses, which was long before Jesus; and that if He can create His own political system and then throw it away, that maybe He's bigger than any political system we can create for ourselves.  

We can (of course) and ought to draw principles from His political system.  We should compare Moses with Lycurgus and Solon and Locke and Marx and Mohammed and Rousseau and Jefferson and Hamilton and Madison; and we should compare the results of their philosophies to see which works best.  But if we think that we can ever create a political system more Godly than the one the God of the Bible made for Himself, and excommunicate the people who refuse to subscribe to it, we ought at the very least to examine ourselves seriously, and wonder whether we actually worship the God of the Bible -- or whether we actually, unapologetically, and secretly worship ourselves.

Your father,
-J

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