By Alec Pruchnicki
Thesis 1. Those who profess to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ should all be bleeding-heart liberals, like He was.
What!? How can anyone make such a statement? The answer to that is in my religious background. Although I was raised as a Catholic, my family and I were never very religious. When I went to college I picked Fordham, a Jesuit school, so I could learn about my faith. What I learned was that I didn’t believe in most of it. I became an atheist since I couldn’t believe in the metaphysics (the existence of God, the Universe, Creation, the Afterlife, etc.) But Christian ethics; the day to day rules to live by, were another matter. They seemed admirable to me then, and now. To brush up on them, as Christ taught them, I recently got a copy of a St. James Bible. I read the words of Christ in the four gospels and ignored the rest of the bible, such as Revelations, St. Paul’s writings, Leviticus, Malachi, and all the others that are so popular with evangelical Christians. This is what I re-learned:
Help the poor, for they are blessed. “If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast and give to the poor…” (Matthew 19:21) and “ Blessed be ye poor, for yours is the kingdom of heaven.” (Luke 6:20)
The rich are damned. “…it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” (Matthew 19:24)
Pay your taxes. “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s and unto God the things that are God’s.” (Matthew 22:21)
There were no sermons, parables, or teachings that I could find that condemned homosexuals, abortion, or birth control, although all three existed at that time.
So how did modern conservative Christians adopt practices and/or politics that hurt the poor, glorify the rich, whine about taxes and obsess fanatically about gays, abortion, and now even birth control? It seems that after two thousand years of going through the books of the Bible, they have found enough contradictory teachings and loop holes to justify, in their minds, ignoring the clear and unambiguous teachings of Christ. There are about two and a half billion Christians in the world, but not many real followers of Christ. Besides, the liberal wing of Christianity has been making these same arguments over the years, so this ethical view is not new.
How can this be reversed? When the first Protestant Revolution occurred, the 1,200 year authority of the Catholic Church was challenged by depending on direct readings of the Bible, and using them as a source of authority. Perhaps the same can be done now. The actual words of Christ from the Gospels can be used to override the teachings of other books of the Bible, two thousand years of traditions, and the authority of all the various Christian churches.
If the value of Christ’s teachings can be so obvious to an atheist, why can’t they be obvious to professed Christians? So, if you help the poor, damn the rich, pay your taxes and don’t preach against homosexuals, abortion, or birth control, you are a bleeding heart liberal, the first of which was Christ. Will minds be changed by these arguments? Well, “ For many are called, but few are chosen.” (Matthew 22:14)