Saturday, October 29, 2011

And Jesus Sayeth: Fuck the Poor!

In the New Testament, someone asks Jesus if it's possible for a rich person to enter heaven.  Jesus says something to the effect that it'd be easier to thread a camel through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to get into heaven.  He is emphatic that what you do in life is important, because his entire ministry is about inclusiveness, compassion, and sacrificing for your fellow man.

So can someone explain to me how Jesus' ministry has *anything* to do with individualism and freedom?  Jesus makes no mention of either.  Maybe freedom from sin and vice.  Maybe individualism in the sense that we've all got to find our own salvation.  But please tell me where the hell Jesus says it's totally cool to be filthy fucking rich and NOT help out poor people?  Where does Jesus say that it's okay to not donate to charity, because that's your choice?

Spoiler Alert: He doesn't say any of that shit at all.

In fact, Jesus seems to advocate almost entirely for the poor and disenfranchized people of his time.  But none of that matters, right?  For some reason, some people didn't get the memo that the Gospel of Wealth and that the Protestant Work Ethic were major perversions of Jesus' ministry.  Why do you think guys like Carnieggie told poor people that his wealth was an outward sign of God's grace?

Sure, no one should force a rich person to give up their wealth to the needy.  But guess what, if you don't give then according to Jesus you're a douche bag.  "But Jack, guys like Bill Gates donate millions in charity every year!"  And what, may I ask, will he do with the rest of his $40 billion?

You all know I'm not advocating free handouts for everyone ever, but there's a lot of suffering in this world.  Believe it or not, there are people out there who are unemployed through no fault of their own.  They are perfectly capable, qualified, and hard workers who can't find a job.  Is it fair to tell someone who got laid off from a company whose CEO took a bonus in that same year to fuck off?

"Life isn't fair, Jack."

"It's their choice to give whatever they want.  That's what freedom is all about."

Those are just phrases that people say to make themselves feel better about doing nothing to aleviate the suffering of others.  What really gets me is how many Christians have this selfish "what's mine is mine," attitude, yet they'll go to church on Sunday and worship Jesus, a person who they claim SACRIFICED HIS FUCKING LIFE FOR YOUR SINFUL ASS.  He dies for your sins, and you want to sit there and turn a blind eye to suffering?  That is the ultimate hypocrisy, and if I remember correctly, Jesus wasn't too fond of hypocrites.

And speaking of hypocrites, I love how many Christians shit allover people of other faiths and denominations.  It's like you completely ignored the whole Good Sumeritan parable.

But that's okay.  Keep pretending that Jesus was some sort of selfish, cold-hearted douche who said it's totally okay for you to not give a shit about the suffering of others.  I'm sure that's exactly the point he was trying to make.


Jersey McJones said...

Wow. It's great hear I'm not the only American alive who thinks the Protestant Work Ethic is nothing but an opiate to keep the common man complacent.

And you're right, where Jesus stresses individualism is in one's chosen path to salvation, which in and of itself has now been twisted into sectarian uniformity.

It's all such obvious, selfish, misrepresentation of Biblical Christianity.

Jesus left it up to us to take care of one another, that you must appreciate the Grace bestowed you, or you are not truly Saved.

I have an expression: Protestants took the Good out of Good Works.

You just made me think of another: Protestants took the Salvation out of Grace.


Great post, Jack.


KP said...

Our personal behaviors speak volumes about who we are. Our attitudes betray us with the openness of an anatomical chart. You can call yourself anything you want but that doesn’t make it anymore than a convenient avocation. Christianity is made up of human beings. Like any other group, there will be a spectrum of truth attached. In or out of religion, it’s never too late to become a better person. I don’t know anybody who is born (or reborn) perfect. Let’s hope we can continue to be inspired to grow!

Jack Camwell said...

Very true, KP. A lot of people see religion as a way to connect with the unknown, I see it as a way to connect with human beings in a compassionate, meaningful way.

Thanks! It's nice to have you compliment me once in a while. The thing that bugs me about some Protestants is that they seem to ignore the idea of good works altogether, because all salvation takes is faith in God?

If God didn't care what you did here on earth, then he wouldn't have created this existence in the first place. There's something to this mortal coil, so to ignore it and always bee looking towards the afterlife (which is why Catholics have a crucifix and Protestants have a bare cross), then you miss the beauty of this physical existence.

KP said...

It is pretty easy to see why an Atheist can be more spiritual than a religious person. Of course this is separate issue from Salavation.

"Man can take with him from this world; nothing that he has received, only what he has given".

Everyman -- 15th Century

“In the play, the main character, Everyman, is stripped, one by one, of those apparent goods on which he has relied. First, he is deserted by his patently false friends: his casual companions, his kinsmen, and his wealth. Receiving some comfort from his enfeebled good deeds, he falls back on them and on his other resources -- his strength, his beauty, his intelligence, and his knowledge -- qualities which, when properly used help to make an integrated man. These assist him through the crisis in which he must make up his book of accounts, but in the end, when he must go to the grave, all desert him save his good deeds alone. The play makes it's effectively grim point that man can take with him from this world nothing that he has received, only what he has given.”

The Norton Anthology of English Literature

KP said...

Salvation :-)

Not drooling.

Jersey McJones said...

"If God didn't care what you did here on earth, then he wouldn't have created this existence in the first place."

Jack, in my opinion, you are a genuinely good human being.


bill said...

first off mr. camwell it seems your
beef is with rich folks and martin luther. if that were the case i wouldn't have taken the time to jump through the required hoops just to respond in this tiny box; but you've brought Jesus into your rant and so i feel compelled to'correct' several of your posits.

re: the 'eye of the needle' thingy. you're not alone in this canard. progressives have been using this statement 'out of context' for centuries; but if you read chapter 19 of Matthew's gospel you'll see that the 'rich' man was one who made an 'idol' of his wealth(Mark 10:24)and in doing so failed the first commandment.

so much for the premise of your rant. but moving along... you also ressurect the protestant debate with the apostle James in his controversial 'faith without works' admonition. this again is not a 'stand-alone' but must be understood with regard for old testament linguistics. Matthew does that nicely in chapter 7
when he says, to paraphrase,
"since we have been freed from the domination of sin through 'faith' and so are able to practice righteousness in the eyes of God."

that 'righteousness' in the eyes of God part is considered, in the old testament to be our 'works'.

you put the cart before the horse to substantiate your viewpoint.
i'd like to believe you were just naive mr. camwell and i do thank you for your sevice but please be mindful of the dire condition of our republic. we do not need dividers; we need concensus, and
nothing builds our base like truth.

Jack Camwell said...

Thank you for visiting my little patch of internet space and suffering through the vulgarity of it all. =)

You make a good point about the camel eye thing, but lets take the interpretation a bit further. To be wealthy is not a sin by any means, and thinking that it is a sin to be wealthy is a fairly fundamentalist view of the text. That is not the view I hold.

However, Jesus didn't say it was impossible for a rich person to get into heaven, just difficult. The reason it is difficult, I'm guessing, is because wealth tends to poison the soul, just as power tends to corrupt us. That's not to say that every rich person is twisted, but rather that it's extremely difficult to have massive wealth and hold your obligations to your fellow man.

But it's the attitude that so many people have that Jesus is addressing. It's this notion that you don't *have* to give anything if you don't want to. I would imagine if someone came to Jesus and said that "well it's my wealth and I can do whatever I want with it," he'd tell that person to give it all to the poor if he was truly serious about any commitment to God.

Could you honestly imagine Jesus saying that it's okay to not be charitable?

I don't have a beef with rich people, just with those who say it's okay if they want to be greedy and give nothing back (and yes, I realize that many rich people are very generous philanthropists).

Just because you think I'm wrong doesn't make me naive, and it doesn't make the things I say less truthful.

We'll never be united until people can see their own bullshit.

Jack Camwell said...

Very excellent point. I think Jesus' point was that we have to learn to separate the temporal from the spiritual.

Thanks for the vote of confidence, lol. But alas, paraphrasing the Joker, I'm only as good as the world allows me to be. =)

Silverfiddle said...

Ditto what Bill said.

The love of money is the root of all evil. You cannot have two gods, and putting money (or anything else first) is putting God second, and that won't do.

Now Jack, who exactly are you railing against? What Christian believes Jesus said it's OK to be selfish?

Are you aiming at a particular person or group?

Conservative Christians actually give a larger percentage to charity than educated liberals (who are a richer demographic).

So who exactly are you targeting here?

Scotty said...

Jack, you should pick up a book by Og Mandino "The World's Greatest Salesman"

It a quick read and I think you might enjoy it....

I read it MANY moons ago when I worked in sales.

Scotty said...

That's what I get for trusting my looked it up and it's called:

"The Greatest Salesman in the World"

Jack Camwell said...

C'mon Silver. Any Christian who sits back and says that it's the rich person's choice whether or not to give and be charitable is condoning greed.

You all know I'm no socialist or communist, but it gets on my nerves quite a bit when I hear that line as a defense against raising the taxes on the rich (of course the whole investment thing is used, but that actually makes some sense).

Think of the logic of the argument. We say it's wrong to force people to be charitable, but we don't think it's wrong to force people not to commit murder and steal?

And if you believe in heaven and hell, there's no real thing as free choice, now is there? How can you say you're "choosing" to do good when that choice is tainted with the promise of eternal punishment or reward? Does a well trained dog choose to obey his commands, or does he do it because he's been psychologically conditioned because of the punishment/reward system used to train him?

Silverfiddle said...

So this is about making the rich pay their "fair share?"

Then come out and say it!

You are mixing morality with legality and matters of the state. I leave to each person's conscience what he or she thinks she should give to charity.

Rendering unto Caesar is a matter of tax law, not morality.

If a charity has lower overhead than the federal government, taking money from someone via taxation that they would have given to charity would be immoral.

And by definition, forced giving (e.g. via taxation) is not charity.

Silverfiddle said...

Your last paragraph descended into a calvinistic/Nietzschean mishmash, so I don't really understand what you are saying???

Many people who believe in heaven and hell do bad things, ergo they exercise free will.

As to your other point... Adultery, fornication, blasphemy, disobeying your father and mother and most forms of bearing false witness are all legal. Have a ball!

KP said...

Is it fair to say that those who are more able should take interest in those who are less able. Recall, wealth does not always measure need. Some of the most emotionally needy people I have counseled were wealthy financially while bankrupt spiritually and emotionally. Money is not the root of evil nor does it prevent it. I have moved up and down the money tree. Having a home and losing a home paled relative to the challenges of facing a daughter with cancer. My testimony: personal happiness is most related to spiritual fitness.

When we discuss dollars as part of America’s safety net we should also include a discussion of emotional and spiritual safety nets. If 99% of us are not the super wealthy then we have a 99% obligation to carry the spiritual support to one another.

Jack Camwell said...

The last paragraph was not me explaining my belief, but rather criticizing those who believe contradictory things.

How many Christians have you heard say "if it's God's will"? There are tons of Christians who surrender themselves to the notion that God has some sort of plan for us, or that he wants our lives to go a specific way.

And again, how can anyone rightly believe in the Rapture or Armageddon? Sure, we humans might one day wipe ourselves from existence, but I don't think it'd be a design of God.

If there is a future design, then that would mean there is no free will. It would simply mean that we're all following the design, thinking that we're making choices. Free will cannot exist if there is a future that is already predetermined.

So the only logical thing to believe is that there is no plan. There is no grand design. There will be no Armageddon at the hands of God. The only logical conclusion is that the future does not exist.

Also, yes of course people who believe in heaven and hell do bad things which would point to free will. But those are the people I'm talking about. They're the ones that have freed themselves from the prison of that belief. It's fine to believe in heaven and hell, but your actions have to be completely devoid of any influence that such a belief can have.

You would have to commit a sin without care that it could damn your soul, and you would have to do good works without wondering if it will get you into heaven.

It's all about being apathetically bad, or altruistically good.

bill said...

thank you mr. camwell for the welcome; and for your measured response to my comment/criticism. now we're getting somewhere... :-)

your subsequent observation on the 'rich man, heaven, eye of the needle' quote was theologically spot on. so let's move along.

this; from your original post seems
to sum up the point:

"So can someone explain to me how Jesus' ministry has *anything* to do with individualism and freedom?"

please bear with me here; even a brief 'explanation' may take a paragraph or two...

the purpose of Jesus' life was His death and resurrection; so that the inherent sin of mankind might be 'forgiven' by proxy in the eyes of a Holy God.

Jesus' 'ministries'; were simply the methodology by which He
persueded those he encountered and all future generations of that singular truth.

putting aside all the parables it
comes down to John 3-16.
to those of us who have overcome our ego; put aside the intellectual argument to 'original sin' and humbly accepted Jesus; individual liberty and freedom from oppression are an adjunct to our faith, not a pre-requisite.

and that 'free choice'(actually
'free will') conundrum you posed to silverfiddle is something i wrestled with for years. he gave you the short answer; this is my resolution:

we know it's wrong to take a cookie from the jar before dinner
and we know our parents will be mad at us if we do. sometimes we just take the damn thing and hope for the best. that's 'free will'
exercised in the secular world.
but folks who believe in Christs' sacrifice on our behalf, know that
stealing the cookie isn't just wrong, we understand that sin distances ourselves from God. we
have the 'choice' but we also have more skin in the game.

so mr. camwell i agree with your point that 'perhaps more harm than good has been done by those who 'profess' a christian faith but
act otherwise. i just felt a little clarification and yeah,
baptist evangelizing was apropo...b