?

Log in

No account? Create an account
No, That's Not Christian - MoonScape [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
e_moon60

[ website | My Website ]
[ userinfo | livejournal userinfo ]
[ archive | journal archive ]

No, That's Not Christian [Jul. 20th, 2016|11:45 pm]
e_moon60
[Tags|, , ]
[Current Mood |serious]

So Pence said today on television--I saw it, unfortunately (I was looking for local weather and got this instead) that he was a Christian, a conservative, and a Republican, in that order.

Wrong.  Pence is a Republican, yes, but he's neither a Christian, nor a conservative: he's a Republican extremist.   I have posted before about the curious theology that calls itself Christian but doesn't do what Jesus said to do, and instead does things Jesus said not to do.  And the political philosophy that calls itself "conservative" but doesn't actually "conserve" (or even try to conserve)  anything but the privilege of rich white guys, is not, in fact conservative.  It's wasteful, destructive, the very opposite of what "conservative" means.
It's not uncommon in this world for human wolves to pull on a sheepskin and try to pretend they're the sheep's best (and even only) friend, but it never fails to amaze me how well this works for people like Trump and Pence--and in fact for the whole mess of people up there in Ohio cheering on the destruction and waste that is the Republican trainwreck in action.

This will require another trek through the Gospels, to make it clear why I insist Pence is not a Christian (whatever he says, and whatever church he's a member of says.)    Jesus knew that among his followers were those who weren't really his followers, but pretending.  Judas is only one example.   So it's no surprise we have them today.  And we have the same means available to pick them out, because Jesus made it very clear, in both the Beatitudes and Matthew 25, on what grounds his followers might consider themselves actual followers, and not "hearers of the word only." 

Real Christians do what Jesus commanded them to do.  What was that?  Feed the hungry, clothe the naked, house the homeless, give drink to the thirsty,  take in strangers and care for them,  visit the sick and imprisoned.   Love one another, including their enemies.  Be alert for opportunities to help.   Forgive injuries. The more Christians have, the more they are supposed to do these things...and on these actions, they will be judged at the end.  "Anything you did for one of these, however humble, you did for me."

Real Christians don't do what Jesus told them not to do.  What was that?  Fail to recognize others' needs,  and by ignoring them or actively harming them, refuse to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, house the homeless, provide water to the thirsty, take in needy strangers and care for them, visit the sick and imprisoned.   And beyond that,  Jesus said not to make a show of their religion, praying publicly in order to be seen as religious.   Not to seek worldly power, prestige, and wealth,  spread hatred, harbor anger against others.   Jesus said not to judge others harshly, "for with what measure you judge, so will you be judged."

Jesus never said "If someone is sick and cannot afford medical treatment, just let him die."   Jesus never said, "Love the neighbor who looks just like you and goes to the same church--the others are all evil and you can kill them at will."   Jesus never said "If you're ignorant, do your best to hide the facts from others so nobody can learn."   Jesus never said, "If poor children are hungry, maybe that will make their parents work harder--let those children suffer."  Jesus never said, "Hate all these people, drive them out, beat up on them, kill them, and you will be saved."  Jesus never said, "Make life harder for everyone but yourself, for you, as Christians, deserve an easy life of absolute safety and comfort."  No.  Jesus promised his followers that they would be condemned, scorned, while they were doing what he told them--while they were helping others, while they were loving others.

So let's look at Mike Pence.  What does he stand for?   In the past, he has promoted and carried out policies that made life worse for most people in his state, from cutting funding for services that actually helped people (health care, schools, libraries, parks, police and fire services) in order to cut taxes on the rich.   He is opposed to women's health care, including their right to reproductive choice, even at the cost of women's lives.   He opposes immigration (no "taking in the stranger" for him!), opposes "handouts" to the hungry, the homeless.   He is opposed to any of the "common good" principles of government and thus favors privatization of public property, so someone already rich can make more profit off it.   He has stirred up anger and resentment against the poor, persons of color, feminists, non-Christians (his kind), and LGBT persons.   He has sought (and obtained) money and power and prestige.  And he certainly claims to be religious, bragging about it, naming it first of his identities:  "I'm a Christian," he said.  He says he is a Christian...on what grounds?   Well, he belongs to  a church.  A church that apparently teaches fear and hatred, rather than the love that casts out all fear, because he claims that his fear and hatred of those classes of others that he does fear and hate arise from his religious faith.

So...that's why I say Mike Pence is not a Christian.  He is actively, openly, insistently operating against the commands that Jesus gave to his followers.   He does not follow Jesus.  He follows something else.  And it's about time that these wolves in sheeps' clothing had their fleeces yanked off and were outed as not really Christian at all.  These false prophets, as Jesus warned, who would pretend to be speaking in God's name while actually speaking to increase their own prestige, their own power base, their own direct material profit.   It is men like Pence who convince others that Christianity is all about hate and fear--about having power, dominating others, rather than serving them.

LinkReply

Comments:
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2016-07-21 12:49 pm (UTC)
I'm barely awake and have a migraine, so I'm missing something here..."Scotsmen flung at me..." doesn't seem like the usual response to saying that someone isn't really a Christian, at least around here. (I've been told I'm evil and the devil's tool, but no Scots were mentioned or displayed.) Please take pity on the sleep-deprived (the migraine was with me all night) and migrainous and explain the Scotsmen. (Calvinists? But he was Swiss, wasn't he, and the Scots just took to his theology, about which I also have strong ideas...being as I had a Calvinist great-grandmother who made my mother's life hell at once point...but also taught her needlework and the best oatmeal cookie recipe ever.)
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2016-07-21 02:48 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I completely missed that possible meaning. Yes, I do know the ones who hate on religion in toto or Christianity in particular because they can easily find examples and say "See--those are why."

I was brought up not to criticize other Christians (judge not lest...etc) but have come to think that *not* doing so, not pointing out to them and others that they aren't doing what Jesus said, and are doing what Jesus said not to do, is a form of education. The braggy ones are forever saying "I'm a Christian so I hate [whoever]" or "...so I have to vote for/against ] whoever..." when the reasons for the hate or the fear or the vote for/against are not remotely related to what Jesus taught.

Your point about people with peculiar theories claiming to be scientists (or doctors--I've seen those) is excellent. Not surprised that you get pushback when you say it, but good for you.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: ann_mcn
2016-07-21 09:34 am (UTC)
The hypocrisy is stunning. It is bold and flamboyant, and doesn't even pretend to be following what Jesus said.

I grew up reading about WWII and the Holocaust, and I imagined being heroic and saving people, but I'm much older, and i doubt I have that sort of heroism available to me now, if I ever had it. However, what I can do is to try and prevent the situation that calls for heroism -- to not let the Nazis (or present day equivalent) into power. It isn't a matter of "killing baby Hitler"; it is changing the environment that let the monstrosity thrive.

Hope this made sense -- haven't had full morning coffee yet.
(Reply) (Thread)
From: sheff_dogs
2016-07-21 12:46 pm (UTC)
It made perfect sense to me and I agree with it too.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2016-07-21 12:51 pm (UTC)
Makes sense to me, and it's definitely what needs doing. Cultural groundwork, hardest kind to do.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
From: sheff_dogs
2016-07-21 01:17 pm (UTC)
It is one of those quirks that in the USA where you separate church and state it is de rigeur for your politicians at at a high level to declare their Christianity, whereas in the UK where we do not separate church and state it is considered 'not done' to discuss your religious beliefs when you are in politics. When Tony Blair declared he was a Christian it was thought to be in bad taste by most and possibly introducing religion into politics in an unhealthy way by others. Although the 'rule' does seem to have an exception when it comes to the first Muslim whatever eg that Sadiq Khan is the first Muslim Mayor of London has been much commented on in the press.

Personally I think a situation somewhere between the two ways would be more healthy, where people let any religious beliefs be known, but didn't trumpet them. This is partly because when someone like Pence insists they are a Christian it does tell you a lot about them.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: fatcook
2016-07-21 02:50 pm (UTC)
THANK YOU!

Again you are the sane voice in the howling wilderness.

(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: kimuro
2016-07-21 02:52 pm (UTC)
I once quoted the Beatitudes to a self-professed christian conservative as a blue-print for how Christ wanted his followers to behave. She informed me that I was mistaken because that is for AFTER the Rapture, when all true christians are in Heaven with God.

I felt like the computer on Mudd's world in the face of such egregarious illogic. How was this person able to use the computer without the use of a functional brain?

Well, it was Facebook. That might explain it.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2016-07-21 03:28 pm (UTC)
They do slither around the Beatitudes that way sometimes...but they have a harder time explaining away Matthew 25. It's so firmly prescriptive, and so obviously aimed at the here and now. They're rather read John 3:16, of course and bliss out on that, and then go wallow in Leviticus and other places, but drag them firmly to Matthew 25 and they're stuck. As are we all.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: thewayne
2016-07-27 11:57 am (UTC)
Kimuro, thank you for this. It's amazing how many people profess to be Christians without reading with an attitude of trying to be critical and to understand what they're reading. They hear some polished public speaker cutting and pasting verses from all over the place trying to manufacture "God said..." when that was not what he said. As Ms. Moon said, they try to slither away from Matthew 25, when it's pretty clear what one of the basic concepts is.

Again, thank you.

I was raised in a Christian faith but do not actively practice it. I try to be a good person and I try to help people when I can. I remember being blown away when a friend of mine said "Wayne, you're the best Christian that I know." And personally, I think that's the way it should be. If you are recognized as such, then it sounds like you're doing something right. But if you're actively trying to get people to say that you're a good Christian? Or you're broadcasting it as a defining characteristic? You're doing it wrong.

The woman whom you spoke with clearly doesn't understand the concept of if/then logic. IF you do this, THEN that will happen. Maybe not immediately, but in religious terms, it accrues to your credit or shame. WHAT IS THE POINT OF THE BEATITUDES IF YOU'RE ALREADY IN HEAVEN?! I would expect her brain to spontaneously combust if the were to dwell on Matthew 25:34-45, or if she were to read Luke's version of the Beatitudes, which includes the Woes.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: tacolegs
2016-07-21 05:34 pm (UTC)
Well, you're fascinating.

But there is a huge difference between helping others with everything you own, and forcing the whole country to pay for the man's medical care. That is not Christian. But hey, even the devil can quote scripture for his own purposes. So can leftists.

Edited at 2016-07-21 06:07 pm (UTC)
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2016-07-21 07:19 pm (UTC)
Do you know the history of the early Christian church? Try reading Acts of the Apostles, Acts 2: 44-45, for instance. "All whose faith had drawn them together held everything in common: they would sell their property and possessions and make a general distribution as the need of each required." In Acts 4: 32-33, "Not a man of them claimed any possessions as his own, but everything was held in common...They were all held in high esteem, for they had never a needy person among them, because all who had property in land or houses sold it, brought the proceeds of the sale, nad laid the money at the feet of the apostles; it was then distributed to any who stood in need. In the early church, in other words, part of being a Christian was being required to share all one's goods. When someone lied about it (Acts 5: 1-12), as Ananias and his wife Sapphira, both were struck down.

Now we have many excuses for why, as time went on, this custom ceased in most denominations, and in all nations governed by Christians, but it was recorded as part of early Christian life. The *community* responsibility for all its members is ancient, in healthy communities, and was certain part of Jesus' teaching. To label it "leftist" is to ignore the history behind it.

Second: yes, there is a difference between individual help and community help. But Christianity has long approved of both: hence the long history of governments providing some forms of care for those within its purview. Jesus, asked if Jews should pay taxes to the Roman government, said to look at the image on the coins, and then "render unto Caesar what is Caesar's." Ancient governments stored grain against years of drought, impounded water for later use...the notion that a government not only could, but ought to, do work that benefited the whole community, existed before Christianity and has been reinforced by Christianity many subsequent governments. It is indeed "Christian" for a Christian to support governmental programs that overlap individual charity and accomplish what ordinary individuals cannot.

Our Constitution--which admittedly is not a Christian document--makes clear in the Preamble that one of its purposes is to "promote the general welfare." What is the "general welfare?" It is not the welfare alone of the rich, but of *general* welfare...what is good for everyone. And that is, at root: air fit to breathe, water fit to drink, food fit to eat, housing fit to live in, clothes fit for the climate, work that does not destroy the worker and pay that enables the individual to thrive in physical and mental health. National institutions and activities that benefit widely, not narrowly. Very much the same thing Jesus was talking about. So there is Jesus' own words, for Christian guidance, and the Constitution, for the guidance of citizens who are not Christian.

Now when it comes to Mike Pence, which was the topic of the original discussion, and whether or not he is a real Christian, and many other Republicans today, and whether or not they are real Christians, their record in words and actions is clear. They want to give to the rich, via tax cuts, and steal from the general population those goods and services that have contributed to the general welfare: they want leave to poison the air and the water (as in Flint MI and other places), they want leave to let people go hungry, to pay them less than a living wage, to deny them medical care, to deny them housing, to cheat them financially...and for what purpose? Not the general welfare, but to make themselves and their rich friends richer. Because it is always profitable to cheat, always profitable to steal, always profitable to corrupt the food and water and air...if you can get away with it.

Now: since you have come into my space and been rude, and I have so far been polite, I bid you farewell. This is not your space. You are not welcome here.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: tacolegs
2016-07-21 07:41 pm (UTC)
Even if I actually seriously wanna discuss this? Because I haven't heard a lot of this, and I am seriously fascinated.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: gifted
2016-07-22 08:56 am (UTC)
That was a -- dare I say -- fascinating way to instigate a serious discussion.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: tacolegs
2016-07-22 04:36 pm (UTC)
I endeavor to fascinate if nothing else ;)
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: badgermirlacca
2016-07-22 10:57 pm (UTC)
If you haven't heard a lot of this--when she's quoting the New Testament--then it's fair to conclude that you haven't "heard" (or read) that Testament.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: tacolegs
2016-07-22 11:03 pm (UTC)
O
I have actually! I've just never heard this view on it. Not exactly common in my circles to see it like this, which is why it interest me. Don't think I am gonna get any answers anymorr though :/
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: badgermirlacca
2016-07-22 11:05 pm (UTC)
Try Matthew 11:15, too, while you're at it. A specific citation is not a view, it's the basis for that view.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2016-07-23 01:42 am (UTC)
You have the references now. And faking the appearance of serious interest is a standard troll tactic.

Here's the problem with your approach: the markers of someone who wants a serious discussion aren't there in either comment. Your initial approach was an attempt at a smackdown without documentation; you waltzed into a situation where you were not known, spent no time introducing yourself, but attacked the host. Clearly troll behavior. I provided somewhat more information but--seeing the trollish markers--decided you would likely make yourself unwelcome soon enough, and asked you to go away. You didn't go away, another sign of trollish behavior. So too is your claim of "serious interest" without any markers shown by those who are interested in a topic and want a serious discussion...no background to your interest, no explanation of the source of your position.

So: if your interest is serious, you have enough references now to go on with, Biblically speaking, and awareness that people who are serious about their Christianity may well think differently about it than you do. You can learn by listening, if you're seriously fascinated.

If your interest is not serious, go back to being a troll...somewhere else. This is not your space.









(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
From: (Anonymous)
2016-07-21 10:09 pm (UTC)

Truth spoken (or in this case written)

Ms Moon, this was very well written, thank you. I believe in the good book it is written that God made man in His image. In the real world it seems that we make God to fit our believes and our image of him (like the "Nordic" versions representing how Jesus looked). I do have a strong faith but I avoid attaching myself to any church because I feel that religion is the political arm of faith and I don't care for playing politics and I have yet to find a church that is not political. Better that I quietly do what I can for my fellow human beings and through my actions and words may I strive to make happen what a Jewish Rabbi taught all those many years ago. I am not perfect and I have a long way to go.
Members of my family are very Republican and go to church and it tears me up inside when they go on their rants about Islam and how they are all terrorists. They like many others judge the whole by the actions of the few. How unchristian.
With the Republicans claiming to have ownership over Jesus I have been debating getting a bumper sticker made up saying "Jesus was a Jewish Liberal". It might cause friction in the family and I do love them despite their opinions so I am holding off.

This is my rambling 2 cents worth and again thank you again for an excellent post.

Ed
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2016-07-23 01:59 am (UTC)

Re: Truth spoken (or in this case written)

It has been said by many that the worst thing that happened to early Christianity was Constantine's conversion. Being raised from a condition of political powerlessness to the state religion of the Roman Empire ensured that secular politics would inevitably become entwined (and enshrined) in many Christian denominations. It allowed the struggling community to grow and prosper, but at the cost of corruption by secular power...human nature being what it is, with both power and money so attractive. (And note that I don't think anyone is immune to the temptation, either individually or in groups.)

That's why the refusal of the young United States to have a state religion--the insistence built into the Constitution that no religion could be established--is one of the best things in it. Yes, we do have religions, and yes, both individuals and groups within them have sought political power, and yes, many of our politicians have had strong religious views. But from early on, our citizens lived with other religious views about all the details that mattered so much to them...and had to let those views exist. This has been a great strength, and a great opportunity to learn about what others think, and why.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: gifted
2016-07-22 09:03 am (UTC)
Hear, hear!
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: badgermirlacca
2016-07-22 11:03 pm (UTC)
I am not, myself, a Christian, but I was raised one (or at least Catholic--I understand there are those who think if you're the latter you're not the former!). However, I LOVE your summary of what a Christian is supposed to be and not supposed to be. Consider me cheering wildly for a terrific summary. There is also Matthew 7:16, which the Pences of the world also quietly ignore.

And it is amazing how many religions share exactly those precepts. They are values which may be Christian, but are certainly not exclusively so.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2016-07-23 02:14 am (UTC)
Indeed. And it's interesting that they share some of the same precepts, but arrive at them by different routes, and with different underlying structure. Because some of the precepts are the same (care for the poor, help one another, etc) some have assumed that "under the skin, all religions are the same." And they're not: they have arrived at some basic components of effective, successful human interaction by coming at them from different roads.

A few years ago, I found a book, _God Is Not One_, by Stephen Prothero, discussing eight major religions presently active. It startled me and made me think differently about some of the obvious similarities. What is alike is that religions see that human life and human communities have problems, even a central problem. They define that problem differently--see it as coming from a different set of conditions. They present a solution to the problems or problems--and these solutions are wildly different. Except that for the most part they point individuals toward lives of gratitude, kindness, generosity, courtesy if the individual concentrates on the core of the matter...and in all cases some adherents spin off into resentment, meanness, selfishness, and factionalism, even violence.

"It's not easy bein' green..." (or anything else.)

(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: fayanora
2016-07-23 01:54 am (UTC)
Yeah, he's not a Christian, he's an Anti-Christian!
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2016-07-23 02:36 am (UTC)

So this happened

One comment, so far, has been deleted.

LJ's comment management system is not the most precise, unless the account owner has the time and energy to do a one-by-one assessment and, when necessary, deletion. Not everyone does. Not anyone does, all the time. Also, comment threading can be confusing, certainly late in the evening after a day's work.

At least once in my years on LiveJournal, the attempt to delete a particularly obnoxious comment led to the accidental (and permanent) deletion of all the comments on that post. Poof! All gone, and no way to retrieve them. (Many "delete" functions in many pieces of software have no "undo" button. For those of us who remember DOS, the disasters possible with both del and .* commands will never fade from memory.)

In the event of trollish behavior, my preference is to leave evidence intact and invite the troll to withdraw quietly. If the troll returns, the choices are various, but still involve potential problems for others in the venue. There comes a point, however, when someone who is insistent enough on the right to be disruptive/annoying/discourteous will be banned, all their comments deleted and marked as spam. Life is short; trolls have (apparently) nothing to do but harass people; I have books to write. Enough is enough.

So to the point. A single comment was deleted to make a point: deletion occurs here. More may happen. Although I hope nothing gets cut that shouldn't be, I don't have a lot of trust in LJ's handling of one of its options. This is both warning and a pre-cause-apology if a comment not intended to vanish disappears along with some that needed to go.
(Reply) (Thread)