Monday, February 28, 2011

Losing their religion

Side-by-side articles on CNN illustrate why liberal appeals to religion always fail.

The first introduces us to a modern martyr:
When John Dominic Crossan was a teenager in Ireland, he dreamed of becoming a missionary priest. But the message he's spreading about Jesus today isn't the kind that would endear him to many church leaders.

Crossan says Jesus was an exploited "peasant with an attitude" who didn't perform many miracles, physically rise from the dead or die as punishment for humanity's sins.
Crossan, the co-founder of the Jesus Seminar*, is a typical modern liberal Christian. Far from being the martyred scholar of the CNN article, he sits right in the mainstream of Mainstream Christianity, that ever-shrinking, fading portion of Christendom that dominates Religious Studies departments across the fruited plain. His Jesus is, not surprisingly, just the kind of guy Crossan imagines himself to be.  Liberals always manage to make gods in their own image; they are the kind of gods who would chant at a union rally one day and cry on Oprah the next.  But he would never, ever, make someone feel bad**.

The second is like unto it:
A coalition of progressive Christian leaders*** has taken out a full-page ad that asks “What would Jesus cut?” in Monday’s edition of Politico, the opening salvo in what the leaders say will be a broader campaign to prevent cuts for the poor and international aid programs amid the budget battle raging in Washington...

The ad and the broader campaign are aimed mostly at a spending measure passed by the Republican-led House of Representatives that cuts $61 billion from current spending levels, including cuts to Head Start, the Women Infants and Children (WIC) program and international aid programs.
Religious liberals love to de-power Jesus. Being Unitarians to the extent they are theists at all, they eliminated his deity quite early.  Being philosophically of the materialist school, they can't have a god who interferes with the universe, so out go his miracles. Jesus walked on water?  Well, that was really ice. A wind parted the Red Sea for Moses. And on and on.

Then once they have cut him down to a first century Caesar Chavez wannabee who lived and died**** in a little backwater province of a defunct empire 20 centuries ago, for some reason they try to appeal to him as some sort of an authority on contemporary fiscal policy.

Now, let me ask a really stupid question: Why would I give a rat's ass what some 2000-years dead, exploited "peasant with an attitude" cared about taxes?

* Which, honest-to-God, 'votes' on the real sayings of Jesus by having scholars drop white or black marbles into a bag. This uber-scientific methodology has determined beyond dispute that the only two authentic words in the "Our Father" are, wait for it, "Our Father."
** unless that person was a Republican.
*** a euphemism for professional religionists who are drawn like loose iron filings to the magnet of political power. Jesus with power? Perish the thought. But a president is the kind of power they can get behind.
**** And stayed dead this time

7 comments:

JediforGod said...

"Crossan says Jesus was...

"(A) peasant..."

Well, he was.

"...with an attitude..."

The pharisees thought so. Especially when he was knocking over the cages holding the sacrifices they were selling.

"...who didn't perform many miracles..."

...the key word being "many" which would seem to imply Crossan admits he did perform SOME. Hmmm...

"...physically rise from the dead..."

Oh, boy. This guy must've read "The DaVinci Code" at some point. Of course, I like to say that about anyone who makes an irrational religious argument.

"...or die as punishment for humanity's sin."

No, he didn't really die as punishment. "Punishment" implies that God said "bad children, I'm going to take your savior away from you if you keep doing that." He died to FORGIVE humanity's sins.

Evidentally, Crossan is one of those "Christians" who like to pick and choose what they believe. But he's not Conservapedia* so it's alright.

*not that I'm defending Conservapedia in any way, shape, or form.

CJ said...

Then once they have cut him down to a first century Caesar Chavez wannabee who lived and died in a little backwater province of a defunct empire 20 centuries ago, for some reason they try to appeal to him as some sort of an authority on contemporary fiscal policy.

Now, let me ask a really stupid question: Why would I give a rat's ass what some 2000-years dead, exploited "peasant with an attitude" cared about taxes?


El B FTW!

El Borak said...

Jedi: "...the key word being "many" which would seem to imply Crossan admits he did perform SOME. Hmmm..."

I actually think that's an error on the part of the correspondent. Crossan is pretty clear that Jesus didn't do ANY miracles:

"This is the central problem of what Jesus was doing in his healing miracles. Was he curing the disease through an intervention in the physical world, or was he healing the illness through an intervention in the social world? I presume that Jesus, who did not and could not cure that disease or any other one, healed the poor man's illness by refusing the accept the disease's ritual uncleanness ans social ostracization."
-- Crossan, "Jesus: a revolutionary biography" p. 82

A Jesus that physically cures diseases messes up the materialist's entire philosophical superstructure. That is simply not to be allowed.

MikeT said...

WWJD?

He'd say sell your iPad/iPhone/iPod, your $40k+ luxury vehicle and buy the poor food with the fruits of your own labor instead of using the public treasury if you want to be counted among the righteous.

JediforGod said...

...So he healed the disease by not rejecting the man who had leprosy. Brilliant.

Mark Engblom said...

"Now, let me ask a really stupid question: Why would I give a rat's ass what some 2000-years dead, exploited "peasant with an attitude" cared about taxes?"

Your question brings to mind one of my favorite C.S. Lewis quotations regarding the true nature of Jesus Christ (emphasis mine):

"I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: 'I'm ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don't accept His claim to be God.' That is the one thing we must not say.

A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic -- on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg -- or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice.

Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to."


– Mere Christianity (pgs 40-41).

To the liberal/progressive theologian, Jesus can be anything they want him to be, just as the Bible can say anything they wish it to say, or not say. When man becomes his own god, that man's notion of God becomes an incredibly flexible, accommodating entity....much like a doddering old grandpa who winks at your contradictions, never judges, and has plenty of hard candy for everyone.

flash said...

Why would I give a rat's ass what some 2000-years dead, exploited "peasant with an attitude" cared about taxes?
which begs the question would Jesus be better marketed as an Union organizer or a
Revolutionary in order to sell the most T-shirts?