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The Big Picture

'Have you ever heard of Plato, Aristotle, Socrates? Morons.' -- Vizzini from "The Princess Bride"

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Greed, the new Christian family value


I call this blog The Big Picture for a reason. All things are linked together and each part makes up one piece of the big picture, and the more pieces one has, the more complete the overall picture is. Science obviously plays a major role, as does history, philosophy, and theology. What we see today is yet another slice of the big picture that I am painting for you; what Christianity really is. As they say back home, "It ain't purdy."

Today's installment comes direct from CNN (via time).

It is a (relatively) new movement within Christian ranks. I hesitate to call call it a doctrine, for reasons you will see below. Identified as "Prosperity Lite" it presumes to profess that God wants his followers to be wealthy.

[Jesus] contrasts the fleeting pleasures of today with the promise of eternity: "For what profit is it to a man," he asks, "if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?"

Generations of churchgoers have understood that being Christian means being ready to sacrifice. But for a growing number of Christians, the question is better restated, "Why not gain the whole world plus my soul?"


The basic idea is that in these modern times, one can have it all, wealth and an easy life here, then go to heaven.

Its signature verse could be John 10:10: "I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly." In a Time poll, 17 percent of Christians surveyed said they considered themselves part of such a movement, while a full 61 percent believed that God wants people to be prosperous.

This, in a nutshell, tells all one needs to know about the value of the Bible:
"Prosperity's defenders claim to be able to match their critics chapter and verse."
The point I will make here is that it certainly true, that no matter what your personal Christian views are, you can find a biblical passage or set of passages to back it up. Basing Christianity on the Bible allows just about any interpretation one wants to adhere to. The real irony is that no matter what interpretation you choose, you and claim to take a literal (fundamental) view of the Bible. That is the "beauty" of the Bible -- It can literally say anything you want it to say. If you want to justify pedophilia, there's the Pentateuch, if you want to justify divorce, there's Jesus. If you want to justify slavery, there's the entire biblical record. If you want to justify racism, there's Genesis and Joshua. If you want to justify greed, lust, anger, any of the "seven deadly sins" you can do that as well. This does not even touch on the pacifist nature of many of the teachings of Jesus. No matter what your view is (outside of outright atheism) you can find it in the Bible. That is the endearing and self-sustaining property of the Bible that has allowed it to survuve for so long. There is something there for everyone (except atheists).

We have looked at the supposed "persecution" of Christians/Christianity in this country and found it laughably lacking. Now we see that Christians can not only be wealthy and comfortable, but that at the same time be persecuted. Now if persecution involves the ownership of a Porshe, then sign me up for that. If being persecuted means assurance of a healthy and long life, then please persecute me. All else is folderol.

I guess, persecution really means, at least according to these American Christians, healthy, wealthy, and unwise. In that view, please leave me out. I would give up the former, if I can increase the latter. Wisdom to me, means more than all the riches of the world. Knowing is infinitely more valuable than possessing. That is yet another reason why I refuse to accept Christianity (outside of its utter uselessness from a values standpoint).

If Greed is the new Christian pro-family value, then who in this country could not be called "pro-values" for greed transcends all religious and political boundaries. If wealth is the new poverty, then no American can be denied entrance to heaven.

Persecution of Christianity, today means nothing more than than handing them a pot of gold, and saying "fate brought you this."

Jesus stressed poverty and suffering for the fate of Christians, yet today, those are taken to mean, not rich enough, and not comfortable enough. "Suffer onto Jesus" today is defined as not having the wealth and comfort of Pat Robertson, D. James Kennedy, or James Dobson.

How disgusting is that?

Full Time article here.


Endnote:
Why isn't prosperity a doctrine? Because Jesus says so:
Matthew 19:21-23 [NKJV]
21 Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”
22 But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.

23 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “Assuredly, I say to you that it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.


Also, Christianity is God-decided to be strictly communistic:
Acts 2:44,45 [NKJV]
44 Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, 45 and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need.


I could go on, but I have made my point. The New Testament and not just Jesus are strictly anti-capitalist. Oh yeah, and I forgot one of the Ten Biggies, Exodus 20:17.

Paul has something to say on the matter as well: Romans 8:18, 1 Corinthians 3:15, and the coup-de-grace: 2 Corinthians 7:9 [NKJV], "Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that your sorrow led to repentance. For you were made sorry in a godly manner, that you might suffer loss from us in nothing" (entire passage: 2 Cor 7:8-12)

Paul, too, lets the true christian know what is important: Hebrews 10:34,35 [NKJV]
"34 for you had compassion on me in my chains, and joyfully accepted the plundering of your goods, knowing that you have a better and an enduring possession for yourselves in heaven. 35 Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward."



Finally I wish to close with a thought on idolatry. How can hording gold or wealth be anything other than idolatry? For what value does wealth have in God's eyes? It places a measurable value on materialistic things over godly things. And isn't materialism the realm of secular humanists?

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