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Jul. 29 2010 - 12:09 am | 2,470 views | 0 recommendations | 45 comments

Was Jesus a Conservative or a Liberal?

The ancient art of cherry picking passages from the Bible to support this or that argument has found new life in recent decades as conservatives claim Jesus as their political ally and in the past year with the Tea Party movement invoking Christ’s conservativism. What Would Jesus Do? (WWJD?) has morphed into Who Would Jesus Vote For? (WWJVF?) Was Jesus a conservative? I don’t think so, but the entire enterprise of politicizing historical figures with modern labels is fraught with fallacy.

Employing modern political terms such as “liberal” and “conservative” to someone who live 2,000 years ago is an absurd game to play because those terms as they are used today do not even apply to people who lived a scant few centuries ago. The original meaning of “liberal,” for example, was what we would today call a “classical liberal,” or someone who believes in laissez faire capitalism and small government. Followers of Adam Smith were liberals, but today are called classical liberals, or conservatives, because they want to conserve the political and economic principles of classical Enlightenment thought. Those who are vehemently opposed to these conservative principles are sometimes today called progressives, who want to progress beyond—instead of conserving—classical liberalism, and their type specimen is Franklin D. Roosevelt, who originally had the support of pro-laissez faire capitalists until he launched the New Deal. One of FDR’s ideological descendents was Bill Clinton, who turned out to be one of the strongest Democratic proponents of free markets in history, which makes him, what? A conservatively classical progressive liberal? You can see how odious such label making becomes even for modern figures.

Jesus was, for the most part, apolitical. There were a number of political factions in his time, yet there is no evidence that he joined or even endorsed any of them. He emphasized the “Kingdom of God” over the kingdom of man, and heaven over earth, and his central message was to love God and to love one another. When Jesus was asked, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” he replied, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:34-40). In the next chapter in Matthew (23:9-12) Jesus punctuated the point by comparing earthly fathers to the heavenly father: “And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven. Neither be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Christ. The greatest among you shall be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”

Lacking clear political leanings we have to examine the moral teachings of Jesus to see if they more closely fit the moral principles of liberals or conservatives. As I read the record, Jesus sounds like a liberal when he admonishes us to turn the other cheek and practice forgiveness, not to judge lest ye be judged, to show great compassion for the poor, and especially when he admonishes the money changers and tells his followers to give up their belongings, abandon their families, and follow his religious movement. Remember, it was Jesus who said, “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.”

And let’s not forget the Beatitudes from the sermon on the mount (Matthew 5: 3-9), which do more closely echo the sentiments of liberals instead of conservatives:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”

“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.”

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.”

“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.”

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”

Matthew 7: 1-5 is the classic statement of liberal tolerance:

Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.

Indeed, would any red-blooded, gun-totting, Hummer-driving, hard-drinking, Bible-totting conservative today saying anything like this? (Matthes 5:43-44): “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you….”

Even on the current hot-button issue driving the Tea Party train—taxes—when asked if it was proper to pay taxes, Jesus famously said (Matthew 22:21): “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.”

Of course, I’m cherry picking passages myself here, but I found the process much more conducive to fitting Jesus into left-leaning politics than into the right. I suppose the following passage from the Messiah (Matthew 5:27-30) might be construed as Jesus’s expression of conservative values, but I’m not sure anyone in their right mind would endorse such a moral principle:

You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.

Speaking of the 7th commandment, I found one web page dedicated to this matter of the Messiah’s politics in which the author wrote:

At times, Jesus blended His Liberal and Conservative sides in perfect balance. One example was when He asked the woman accused of adultery, “Where are your accusers? Has no one condemned you?”, and the woman answered, “No one, Lord.” Jesus told her, “Neither do I condemn you; from now on, sin no more.” The Liberal Jesus did not condemn the woman, but the Conservative Jesus called her behavior “sin”, which she needed to stop.

So…are we to infer from this interpretation that liberals would not call adultery a sin that should be avoided, and if committed need not be stopped? All married liberals reading this column raise your hands if you think an act of adultery on the part of your spouse is acceptable. That’s what I thought. In point of fact, adultery is a sin because it deeply injures a loved one, it breaks the bonds of trust so essential to the deepest of all human relations, and it leads to the breakdown of families. And you don’t need the Bible to understand this simple fact. Adultery as a sin is an evolved characteristic of our species.

We evolved as pair-bonded primates for whom monogamy, or at least serial monogamy (a sequence of monogamous marriages), is the norm. Adultery is a violation of a monogamous relationship and there is copious scientific data (and loads of anecdotal examples) showing how destructive adulterous behavior is to a monogamous relationship. In fact, one of the reasons that serial monogamy (and not just monogamy) best describes the mating behavior of our species is that adultery typically destroys a relationship, forcing couples to split up and start over with someone new. Thus, adultery is immoral because of its destructive consequences no matter what God or the patriarchs said about it. And evolutionary theory provides a deeper reason for adultery’s immoral nature that is transcendent because it belongs to the species. If there is a God, and if He does condemn adultery as an immoral act, it is because evolution made it immoral.


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  1. collapse expand

    I have always thought Jesus would have been the perfect opening act at Woodstock! Not known to be a conservative event….and I’m sure there were many participants of that event that openly claimed they were Jesus! My conservative friends are in the dark on this one, especially now that Liberals like Obama are caring the banner and passion of Christ in their Big Government message. [Rev. Wright would have been a great closing act at Woodstock]

    Great perspective.

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    I agree wholeheartedly that, in our society as we understand the concept of marriage, adultery is a “sin,” as it does indeed destroy the trust and respect that the bond of marriage entails.

    I have more trouble with the firm statement that “adultery as a sin is an evolved characteristic of our species.” Society, yes. Evolutionarily hard-wired?

    There are lots of South Sea Island communities who would (have) disagree(d) with that statement. Married couples almost always had outside sexual partners, agreed upon by the couple. Chieftains farmed their wives out as tribute payments to household guests. It was simply their accepted mode of life. Were they less evolutionarily evolved?

    The missionaries thought so. I tend to reserve judgement.

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    Oh for fuck sake. Saying Jesus is a liberal (or conservative) is like saying Captain Nemo is a hell of a sub commander.

    He’s a character is a narrative. Even more telling, his name means exactly what his character is doing in the narrative.

    If I told you a story about dog catchers, and the name of the hero of the story was Canis Aprehendus, would you actually believe I was imparting HISTORY to you?!

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      Hi, darth, I think I agree with you if you are saying that Jesus was most likely a fictional character. But could you please explain what you mean by the significance of his name? I always thought it was a variant of the Jewish name Joshua? (I don’t know any Hebrew, so I am at a disadvantage here…)

      In response to another comment. See in context »
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        @ yalensis

        Yes, ‘Jesus’ is a variant of “Joshua” which, if I am not mistaken in Hebrew is pronounched s “Ye’ shua”. The Hebrew etymology for Jesus means ‘Yahweh saves’ – Yahweh (or Jehovah) being the Lord’s name in Hebrew.

        Jesus was neither ‘liberal’ nor ‘conservative’. It’s ridiculous that you Westerners(‘liberals’ and ‘conservatives’) are trying to categorize His ‘political’ views! He was apolitical and would have neither supported ‘liberals’ nor ‘conservatives’ if He is here today. Probably, He would have scolded both ‘camps’ for all their sins!

        sinotibetan

        In response to another comment. See in context »
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          @ yalensis :

          My statement about “Westeners” do not apply to you – but to those who tried to ‘categorize’ who Jesus is based on ‘liberal’ vs ‘conservative’.

          @ those who believes Jesus is fictional/Christianity is fictional/religion is fictional:-
          Scores of books by Christian apologists and skeptics are available: and these people are better in debating than I am -hence, I am not going to ‘debate’ about this; moreover I am sure you have already ‘made up your mind’ on this. As for ‘religion is fictional’ – don’t tell it to Christians(we have heard it ad nauseaum), tell it to Muslims and see what reaction you will get! Many Christians are ‘easy prey’ because they are ignorant of their beliefs and don’t read books written by skeptics to be able to counter them in debates. Plus Christianity today is in such a big mess(theological, ecclesiastical, moral and intellectual-wise) that I don’t see why ‘liberals’ would love to continue to pick on these weaklings(i.e. Christians in general). They are easy prey. Try picking on a more powerful ‘enemy’.Try picking on the Islamists if you DARE! Oh forgot, many ‘liberals’ are ‘friends’ of Islamists. Even though the religion of Islam is anything but ‘tolerant’ to the liberals’ ideal ‘way of life’.

          @Michael Shermer:
          “If there is a God, and if He does condemn adultery as an immoral act, it is because evolution made it immoral.”
          This is so funny. Evolutionary theory cannot be reconcilled with morality. Not even in eternity can these two be reconcilled! Some people have tried that. Who’s that guy? Richard Dawkins who wrote ‘The Selfish Gene’ and ‘The God Delusion’. According to him and other evolution-theory popularizers, ’selfish genes’ ultimately ‘regulate’ all phenotypes and ethical behaviour in humans – even ‘altruism’/’selflessness’. Some have come to defend Dawkins by saying that he called genes ’selfish’ for lack of a better word for the ‘behaviour’ of genes which would appear ’selfish’ judged by ‘human morals’. Evolution is a process – devoid of ‘morals’/'goodness’. It is ‘amoral’. If evolution were true and the process gives rise to a society where murder is OK, paedophilia is OK, rape is OK, adultery is OK …then why not? It is biological. Who cares about ‘morals’ since it is purely an idea, a human ‘construct’. If it is biologically not useful, why not just discard morals? Murder should logically be OK in evolution – the fittist(murderer) survives. Rape is OK – it ensures the propagation of the fittest genes(of the rapist). Adultery is OK….many men ‘competes’ to inseminate the female – the fittest sperm survives and carries the ’selfish genes’. Morality is all empty talk if there is no notion of a Moral Supreme Being. If chimpanzees can survive with their ‘immoral’ ways and mankind had survived even they were engrossed in ‘immorality’ ….why even talk about morality if there is no God/Supreme Being?
          If evolution were true, and there is no God then it’s pointless to discuss if murder is ‘right’ or ‘wrong’, or rape is ‘right’ or ‘wrong’. In fact morality itself(‘right’ / ‘wrong’) is innately devoid of any ‘truth’…so why even bother?

          I , being a Christian, if I were a Westerner(I am Asian who lives in Asia, by the way)would support NEITHER ‘liberals’ nor ‘conservatives’(I mean the ‘political-philosophical’ movements). “Liberals” are akin to modern-day Sadduces who empty all thoughts of Divine and idolizes Man(in his ‘logic’ and ‘rational mind’). They support certain ‘morals’ which are totally incompatible with Christian morals. Due to their ‘enlightenment’, homosexuality is OK, pornography is OK, one can support anything BUT Christianity. “Liberals” haughtily claim a ‘higher moral ground’ compared to all other lesser mortals who disagree with them. “Conservatives” are akin to modern-day Pharisees who indulge in self-righteousness and use religion(in this case “Christianity”) for power. Both ‘liberals’ and ‘conservatives’ are right on some issues but wrong in many others. If both movements were ‘all lies’, who would believe them? Error can be believed because it’s not all error but a mixture of error and non-error.

          I will post about ‘liberals’ and ‘conservatives’ with regards to Jesus’ teachings another day as I have other ‘better things’ to do now – like meeting with similarly guilt-ridden, mythomanic, ‘loser’ Christians to plan on preying on similar non-Christian emotional weaklings(sarcasm intended, but some of you skeptics might just agree with my statement)!

          Good luck with finding morality in evolution and ’selfish genes’!

          Sinotibetan

          In response to another comment. See in context »
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            Hmmm…since I am in ‘hostile’ territory , I think I’d better clarify some stuff I said, ‘just in case’(I get ’slaughtered’ for the words I wrote). Although, most likely you genius and savant skeptics would not consider the babblings of a mere intellectual midget and gullible person like yours truly worthy of anything, but…whatever:

            When I said those statements on “evolution”, I did not mean evolution does not occur. Evolution DOES occur(are you surprised by my statement? maybe not) but NOT like what Darwin and neo-Darwinists assert – that evolution is the process that leads to the arrival of human beings from a primordial inanimate blob aeons ago. Evolution does occur-eg a non ESBL Pseudomonas aeruginosa ‘evolves’ to an ESBL producing Pseudomonas aeruginosa due to antibiotic pressure of using ceftazidime[typical, classical Darwinian 'natural selection' - kudos to the skeptics!] for example but it does not evolve to Proteus mirabilis or ‘evolve’ to a eukaryocytic organism. Wow….I forgot to give it billions of years, then perhaps…

            In summary, my belief is: evolution occurs, within ‘taxonomic limits’(which remains to be defined; I think the Linnean system is inaccurate)but is not the process that leads to ‘the origin of all life forms’(the assertion of the majority of the scientific community). The ‘theory’ that evolution is the process that leads to origins of all lifeforms , to me, is a dogmatic, still scientifically unproven(you guys will certainly disagree with this!) as other ‘creation myths’(be it Christianity, Judaism, Islam, tribal religions etc.) .

            To me , skeptics are right to point out that the Creation account in the Bible is ‘not science’. It’s true, it cannot be proven(but similarly it cannot be ABSOLUTELY ‘unproven’). The error of skeptics is to assert that evolution is proven to explain our origins and is a fact, and scientifically proven. None of us(skeptics included) were around to observe if it was the first human pair created by Divine fiat or whether some primordial blob produced a self-replicating RNA. To claim we know absolutely about our origins is not right. If I believe that God created human beings, it is ultimately by faith and ‘circumstantial evidences’ that ’support’ that faith. I’d prefer the humility of the agnostic than an atheist so sure that evolution explains where we came from.

            sinotibetan

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        I’m not going to get into another lengthy discussion of biblical etymology. To make a long rant short, Jesus Christ is not really a name. His first name isn’t “Jesus” and his last name isn’t “Christ.” Ancient Hebrew didn’t even us these kind of naming conventions. It is more a title that a name, and the closest literal English meaning would be “Yahweh’s Anointed Savior.” Thus, my point above.

        In response to another comment. See in context »
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          Holy shit boys and girls. This is what happens when you don’t proofread before hitting the “submit” button.

          In response to another comment. See in context »
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          @ darthfurious

          I too do not wish to get into lenghty discussions about etymology. But I have to say:

          You are right… Jesus Christ is not a name. Well, if you can believe that at least He had a first name and that if the gospel account is at least right about he being ‘named’ Jesus by His (earthly) father and that He was perhaps a historical person and all the rest were being exagerrated by those heretics who later were being called ‘Christians’ :

          Jesus is a transliteration of Greek ‘Iesous’ which is derived from Hebrew Yeshua or Yehosua(Yahweh saves/delivers).

          Christ is from Greek ‘ho Khristos’ meaning ‘the Anointed One’ which probably is similar to Hebrew ‘mesiac’(if I got that right!)- in English ‘Messiah’(“The Anointed One”).

          You are right: Jesus Christ is not a real name but a title – ‘Yehosua the Anointed One’ would be what it stood for.

          His name known to acquaintances could have been Yehosua ibni(or ben)Yosef in Hebrew. Yehosua and Yosef were common Hebrew names.Simple ‘Yehosua son of Yosef’ was what he would have been known as. Probably a Jew who knows Hebrew will give a better explanation.

          In response to another comment. See in context »
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      How can you STAND being so fucking brilliant?? That’s all I want to know.

      In response to another comment. See in context »
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    Michael, this is a fascinating effort to dispense with God but keep that adultery commandment. I hope everything is okay at home. If I can recap, you tell us it’s folly to try to figure out if Jesus is liberal or conservative, and then you do just that. In the course of your analysis, the ground of liberal vs. conservative morphs from economic theory to free love vs. monogamy. And in the end you argue for a natural source of authority (what I like to call, a “God substitute”) on adultery which you locate in the dark recesses of our deep past where, you tell us, we were monogamous primates for evolutionary reasons.

    The problem is, almost none of the primate cousins with whom we shared that deep past are monogamous. Silverback gorillas usually have many wives, many families. Female chimpanzees switch social groups at will, leaving their families behind. Bonobos are still partying like it’s 1967 and the Congo is Haight-Ashbury. So if you want to find an atheist rationalization for the adultery commandment, you’d be much better off sticking with economic theory. The nuclear family is the fundamental structure for the reproduction of labor, for creating, tending, and training workers until they are ready to work, consumers until they are ready to consume. Destroy the nuclear family and you destroy the economy. But does that offer the moral force you need? Probably not, I’m guessing, because capitalism has always needed a god to keep workers in line and to keep consumers in stores (just look at how Americans celebrate Christmas).

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      For a christian explanation of our “sexual morals” please see http://www.angeloftruth.com/christianity3

      In response to another comment. See in context »
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      Reproduction and training of future labor and consumers doesn’t require some pseudo-traditional family structure found on 1950s television shows. In fact, for the whole of history, and in most different cultures around the world, the “family” unit consisted of either a male with numerous wives (see various Bible patriarchs and kings) or several generations of a bloodline living together in a single abode or dwelling, with the elderly of the community sharing in the upbringing of the young as a whole, regardless of bloodline. Other examples include places like ancient Sparta, where the men were pretty much into other men, to the point that part of the courtship ritual was for a woman to shave her head and dress like a man and wait for her betrothed to come “take her”, only to likely wind up living apart for years at a time.

      Now, from an evolutionary standpoint, even monogamy gets a fuzzier meaning than we have it today. As a male in our ancient past, you might be faithful to your female only until a stronger male decides he wants your female. He takes her and maybe she was more than willing to go. And perhaps you are a strong male who not just one female, but a harem of them to “cover”.

      In response to another comment. See in context »
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        I was referring to christianity’s “made in heaven marriage” where the priests chose the marriage partners in the manner that farmers controlled the breeding of their livestock to control the characteristics of the offspring. The christian ’sexual morals’ were invented to support the integrity of this eugenics scam that was intended to produce more hard working and obedient serfs. Almost all of written history of the western world after the invention of chaistianity is about the history of the aristocracy, the serfs are scarcely mentioned even though they were probably 95% or more of the population. The aristocracy and the priesthood considered them to be but as livestock. The whole scam failed because they could never control the ‘midnight sneak’ that compensated for these loveless “marriages”.

        http://www.angeloftruth.com/christianity3

        In response to another comment. See in context »
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      I think evolutionary psychology is generally quite limited, because we dont live in the same environment we evolved in, so there are few environments cues for gene expression, and most of out traits are socially generated (often for the worse), but this must be one of the few areas its right on, not much has changed in this field…

      In response to another comment. See in context »
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    FYI, proceedings of a recent conference exploring evolution and morality can be found at http://www.edge.org/documents/archive/edge323.html

  6. collapse expand

    You had me until you started speculating on adultery and morality. One commenter has already provided counter-factuals to your notion that human beings evolved as a monogamous species. Genetic testing has also shown that even many animals we think are monogamous are in fact not monogamous. Monogamy is exceedingly rare in nature.

    Even if your observation regarding monogamy and nature are correct, there is not strong connection between evolutionary emergent traits and morality. It seem clear to me that many unsavory human traits have emerged via evolution that are not morally permissible.

    I doubt (as a later commenter said) that destroying the traditional nuclear family (as if that would be possible) would destroy the economy. We would simply form other family structures within which the natural inclination for humans to consume would continue without skipping a pulse.

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    Michael, you are talking about a mythical figure here. Even the setting in which the story takes place and the events written about don’t fit the scenario of a region occupied by the Romans during the first century. You, of all people, should be aware that the gospels are fictional tales pieced together from dramas used in various mystery religions, and that the Jesus figure was nothing more than a re-hash of the dying/rising solar god of antiquity — moved from cosmic myth to historical fiction.
    Obviously the writers of the gospels had a political agenda in mind when they wrote their allegory, but it certainly wasn’t to make Jesus into a modern liberal or conservative. It was a fabrication by Northern Jews to denigrate the temple cult, appease the Romans, and create a new religion for the empire. The notion that there is history behind the story or a real person behind the Jesus character is nothing more than a cruel ruse played on gullible people!

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      That ‘political agenda’ you mention most certainly had to be the control of the slaves of the Romans as they converted chattel slavery to serfdom, for that was what christianity did for the next 1500 years followig it’s creation around 313AD, until it started losing control in 1789. The “Jesus” of the ‘bible’ is most certainly a work of political fiction. If he existed, and was executed for his activities, it was most likely that he was an anti-slavery activist motivated by the Spartacus uprising. If he had a following for the next 250 years that were persecuted and executed by the Romans, they were most likely anti-slavery activists aiding slaves to escape across the frontier of the Empire. Christianity has proven to be the best supporter of institutionalized human slavery and protector of totalitarian wealth and power ever concocted by the human race. The Romans would not have persecuted such an organization.

      see http://www.angeloftruth.com/christianity

      In response to another comment. See in context »
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    Interesting article, though there maybe some people who won’t like it. You have a point and a fresh perspective. Thanks for sharing.

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    Your take on Jesus is astonishingly original. If we take “astonishingly original” to mean the 5 trillionth time someone came to a similar conclusion. You’re like those brighties who keep repeating that religion is myth, as if any educated human didn’t know that already.

    I are humbled.

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      Poor Dr. Savio.

      “You’re like those brighties who keep repeating that religion is myth, as if any educated human didn’t know that already.”

      I realize that you’re a moderate protestant and you think of yourself as a decent person and probably attend a congregation of people who also see themselves this way. And it’s in the nature of things that we all (including yours truly) see things the way we want to see them. And wouldn’t it be a better world if we were all magically transformed by Christ’s divine love.

      The problem is of course that that is not the world we live in. The demographics of “faith” are quite clear; the fastest growing religious movements on the planet are in fact the most fundamentalist and reactionary. It’s not the Episcopalians who are trying to rewrite science textbooks. It’s not Unitarians who are out beating on doors making converts. If fact, virtually none of this is being done by anyone in your camp.

      Is all of Christendom at war with modernity? No. Is a majority? Probably not. Is a significant minority? Abso-fucking-lutely. Now of course this can be denied, but in the process someone should probably say something to the aforementioned group.

      Now of course this is not limited to Christianity. It’s just as true of Islam, or Hinduism, or Buddhism. And it’s all fueled by the same dynamic: The battle against modernity.

      Now I understand you wanting to stick up for your team. It’s natural. But yours isn’t the only team in the league. You might indeed be embarrassed by the Oakland Raiders, but they’re still in the NFL.

      In response to another comment. See in context »
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    Very well said as always, Michael.

    I’ve felt that if he was around today Jesus would be hanging around in San Fransisco enjoying the beatnik life. He could be a hard man when needed (money lenders in the temple) but he lived his (supposed) life by telling everyone to be excellent to each other.

    Picturing Jesus as a rabid, hypocrisy spewing conservative just does not fit with his depiction in the Bible. His dad, sure, was all about the fire and brimstone but not little Jesus.

    Of course, the Holy Trinity says God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are all the same being. So I guess you’d have to catch this being on a Jesus day for more liberal opinions and a God day for some good ol’ Lake of Fire speeches.

    It’s all very confusing. I say stick with the morals and ideals espoused by the Flying Spaghetti Monster. We will all be better off and very well fed.

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    still talking about myths shermer ?

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    Great comments David Morris!

    I am amazed by some of the rude and silly comments some have made. Disregarding the very questionable reality of Jesus, about 80% of American’s believe He was a valid God and plan their decisions and lives around His hearsay wisdom passed on in time by power hungry religions. Because of that, it is a legimate and serious concern to try and figure out why todays’s conservatives who despise socialism are the ones who love Jesus the most, and the liberal/leftists who are enchanted by socialism and big government don’t step up and idolize Jesus far more….even though they have bumper stickers that say..”Jesus was a Socialist, So get over it!” Obama and Jesus are a perfect fit!

    It is an interesting and important discussion about reason, logic, religion and politics…and why people believe weird things!

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    I’d like to see you push this question a bit farther. You can’t really get into the meat of who Jesus would vote for unless you address two very important issues. Namely, that Jesus was illiterate and that he was remembered primarily as the son of God.

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    RE Your “Darwin on the Right” article in “Scietific America”, October 2006. I have studied the doings of christiaity for 67 years and have a completely different take on what it is, what it does, and why it does what it does than almost everyone. I have my findings documented at http://www.angeloftruth.com/christianity

    Please take a look and see what you think, especially if there is anything there that you can disagree with.

    Arthur King
    voice.of.god@angeloftruth.com

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      @ arthurking

      Hahahaha… such imaginative speculations about ‘Christianity’. Interesting read. You should write a novel akin to “Angels and Demons” or “The Da Vinci Code”. Good read for imaginative skeptics.

      BTW, your ‘history’ of ‘Christianity’ is not completeley devoid of ‘truth’ if you mean the “Christianity” married to Roman Politics – i.e. Roman Catholicism. Your take would have been (albeit only) partially right if you meant the Church Of Rome and her offshoots(mainstream “Protestant” movements which are slowly going back to Rome with the “Ecumenical Movement”) but grossly untrue for pure, anadulterated Christianity.

      “Christianity has proven to be the best supporter of institutionalized human slavery and protector of totalitarian wealth and power ever concocted by the human race. The Romans would not have persecuted such an organization. “[it might have been right if you meant Roman Catholicism or Islam]

      Thank you for this joke! I would have laughed this off if it were not a statement that is so grossly untrue. Your rabid hatred for Christianity is so profound! Never mind, Christianity(or even semblance of it) might not last long in the morally bankrupt West with all the propaganda by you skeptics, so-called “evolutionary theory of origins”, Hollywood, increasingly anti-Christian Governments and elites etc. – your aims , I believe, will succeed in getting rid of such a ‘totalitarian creed’. Instead, you skeptics will face a totalitarian creed worthy of the term ‘totalitarian’ – i.e. Islam, at the rate things are going on in the West. Perhaps you will find Islamists more peaceful, tolerant, ‘democratic’ and accomadating to skeptics.

      Happy Christianity-bashing …. may you continue to derive great pleasure in your imaginative dreams regarding the ‘corrupt’ origins of Christianity and the “Bible”.

      sinotibetan

      In response to another comment. See in context »
      • collapse expand

        You post as one dedicated to keen-jerk (blind) ‘belief’. Show me some flaw in my logic, or in the true history of christianity in support of ‘divine rights’ dictators and suppression of their ’servant race’, the serfs. “Divine rights” means literally “by appointment and permission of the christian church” does it not? All philosophy and policies of the theocratic republican party ad the christian church it fronts for leads directly back into institutionalized human slavery that we escaped as of our revolution in 1775.

        Show me where I am wrong.

        In response to another comment. See in context »
  15. collapse expand

    “Jesus” a ‘liberal or conservative’? Neither. I think the Jesus of the ‘bible’ is purely political fiction. The ‘bible’ is so full of provable lies (things physically impossible presented as truth) as to bring the entire document into question. I think it was concococted by slave control theoreticians between 313 and 356AD when it was first published. It’s purpose was to support the new ‘christian’ religion invented by the Emperor Constantine I for the purpose of keeping the slaves working as profitable slaves after they were converted from chattel slaves to serfs. That is what it did for the next fifteen centuries, so that MUST be what it was invented for. It’s success has depended on a factor they obviously stumbled on and which we have only began to understand about ten years ago, a physical brain damage that is caused by terror, visible to an MRI brain scan, incurable and irreversible, and now recognized by the US military as “PTSD”.

    http://www.angeloftruth.com/christianity

  16. collapse expand

    @ Michael(Jesus – liberal or conservative):-

    Try to make this ‘quick’. Of course, we are talking about the Jesus as ‘narrated’ in the Bible(knowing that most of the crowd here believes that the Jesus in the Bible is nothing but a mythical creature).

    1. Liberals are analogous to modern day Sadduces. As Sadduces were ‘liberals’ of Judaism of that time, liberals of today are ‘liberals’ of ‘Christendom’(ie they deny many moral, religious aspects of Christianity and traditions of Christendom[all creeds 'influenced' by the Christian faith and at least claim they adhere to the teachings of Jesus - wholly or partially]but are definitely influenced by Christendom. That’s why you Western skeptics target Christianity or ‘Christendom’. Your skepticism is more of skeptical towards anything (even remotely) ‘Christian’. Sadduces did not see any reality in anything of the spiritual(remember their questions to Jesus regarding resurrection) just like liberals of today. Of course today’s Western ‘liberals’ are greater denouncers of religion than Sadduces who at least ‘pretended’ to be a religious movement.

    2. “Conservatives”(‘neo-conservatives’?) are analogous to the Pharisees of old. They added other stuff(eg. regarding guns, capitalism, American patriotism etc.)which one cannot derive from Jesus’ teachings.

    Of course, these are generalizations. They don’t apply to all liberals or all conservatives.

    “Jesus was, for the most part, apolitical.”
    Correct.

    “Lacking clear political leanings we have to examine the moral teachings of Jesus to see if they more closely fit the moral principles of liberals or conservatives.”
    “Of course, I’m cherry picking passages myself here, but I found the process much more conducive to fitting Jesus into left-leaning politics than into the right.”
    You came up with a Jesus that is ‘left-leaning’ because :
    1. You misunderstand what He said.
    2. Yup, you were ‘cherry-picking’. You chose passages that Jesus would appear to agree with the ‘left-leaning’ crowd(based on wrong understanding). Jesus castigated BOTH Pharisees and Sadducees – and would have reprimanded both liberals and conservatives of today if He were here.

    Now, let’s see some of your ‘cherry-picked’ passages.

    The Beatitudes(Matthew 5:3-9):

    He meant the beatitudes for believers, not unbelievers(Matthew 5: 13).
    Poor in spirit = humble, not proud. Yup, many ‘conservatives’ are proud due to their hypocrisy. Well liberals are NOT humble! Look at the skeptic crowd here who revere their own intellect. Jesus would have rebuked liberals as well , for certainly they are NOT ‘poor in spirit’.
    Mourn = means mourn for the lost. All mankind is lost unless they accept Jesus as their Saviour and Lord. Believers should mourn and be in anguish for the sakes of many that will perish in Hell.
    Meek = does not mean WEAK. Means those who humble before God.
    Hunger and thirst for righteousness = those who have deep desire for personal righteousness. Liberals supporting pornography, gays and lesbian ‘pride’ etc. are not considered righteous in Jesus’ sight(Matthew 5: 18 in which Jesus by principle means the moral view regarding sexuality in the Old Testament continues in the New).
    Merciful = they have compassion for the lost Yes, we are to defend our faith but we should be merciful to those who are against us. Trying to correct the errors of the lost with patience is part of mercy.
    Pure in heart = we are not sinless but we are considered pure by God for what Jesus did. We are to cultivate a heart that longs to be righteous.
    Peacemakers = we are to live peacefully with all men. Jesus, however, did not give us a manual as to how to GOVERN a country. He is apolitical. That peacemaking attribute is personal. Was Jesus against war? I am sure He would if it were for imperialism. If for national defence? He never spoke for or against such. God gave us intelligence to make choices on those things.

    You might say ‘aha’ but Jesus said ‘turn the other cheek’…and did He now say about enemies in Matthew 5: 43-48?
    Yup, we are to pray for (the salvation) and love our enemies. But that does not mean we are not to defend ourselves if enemies are going to do physical harm. If a man is trying to rape a woman, would she just give in to the ‘enemy’? If someone wants to ‘kill’ me should I just give my life to him? Jesus says many things in parables and He gave us the intellect to know how to understand them if we are (spiritually) saved.

    With regards to ‘judging others’ – did you miss Matthew 7:5? : Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote of thy eye. Jesus was referring to hypocrites(those that do a sin but reprimand others who commit the same sin, in self-righteousness) and even gave a ‘remedy’ – purge oneself of the sin, then only can you begin reprimanding others who commit the same sin. Jesus NEVER meant that we should never judge anyone/anything or do not exercise any form of judgment. Jesus said in John 7:24 – Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment. In the parable of the creditor in Luke 7:40-43, Jesus reprimanded Simon but He did that by allowing Simon to ‘judge’ the situation brought forth in the parable(Luke 7: 43). Jesus did NOT say ‘do not judge at all’, He did mean to not judge as a hypocrite. You give too much credit that ‘liberals’ don’t judge others. The way liberals judge ‘conservatives’ and others who oppose them are already so blatant in your blog and the comments by your fellow comrade-in-arms.

    Read how Jesus claimed He will come again and burn those who were against Him in everlasting damnation in Hell(Matthew 25:31-46) and that alone is enough to put Jesus far way from the creed of ‘liberals’ .

    Jesus was not ‘closer’ to you ‘liberals’ at all.

  17. collapse expand

    I am still amazed by all the convoluted posts about this subject. If you take the sayings contributed to Jesus in the Bible, like “Sermon on the Mount,” and throw in the fact no one really knows whether he actually existed or was simply catapulted to God status by ignorant men searching for answers……The rehetoric of Jesus is a replica of babble coming from today’s socialist Utopian dreamers….like Obama. But I have learned the Utopian mind is blindfolded against truth and reality, and probably will never evolve to a better and more sensible understanding of mankind!

    • collapse expand

      Socialist utopian dreamers? Socialism is synonomyous with ‘democracy’ where the good of the communal society is decided by vote, and equality and economic justidce is strived for by the representative protector of the communal society, the democratic government. Christianity is now trying to make a ‘dirty word’ of socialism because the kind of socialism that christianity fears the most would cancel the whole purpose and functions of christianity, leaving it nothing to do but to expire. That function and purpose of christianity is the control of human slavery (cheap labotr) and protection of the wealth of the capitalist elite.

      It is not difficult to surmise some truths about the character ‘Jesus’ that the religion is supposedly built around. It is most likely that he really did exist for it would be exceedingly difficult to build such a monster as christianity around a purely fictional character. He most likely did exist and was well known and popular and possibly had mythical characteristics since he died some 250 years or so before the Emperor Constantine I ordered chattel slavery to be converted to serfdom and invented christendom to keep the serfs ‘properly’ enslaved and pumping out profits for ther Roman nobility. So, what kind of character would be well known, popular to the point of mysticism, but little truth known about him. How about “Jesus saves from slavery”? That would keep him in the attention of the massive overwhelming slave population of the Roman Empire, would it not, and hated by the Nobility to the point that the followers of Jesus would be hunted down and their deaths used as entertainment in the colleseums. So, with the ever rising danger of a slave revolt facing the Nobility, and an anti-slavery movement stealing their slaves away and aiding them to escape across the frontiers, and this “Jesus” character already a hero of the slaves, creating serfdom to “free” the slaves and a “Jesus” based christinaity to keep them terrorized, promises of streets paved with gold for the “good” serfs would pretty much cancel out the Jesus anti-slavery movement and reasons for another slave revolt. The rest is true history. The slaves were kept in strict control as ’serfs’ for the next 1500 years, until George Washington showed the world that the christians were not all-powerful, and escape was indeed possible. Let us not forget that the cross was used as a symbol of terror to the slaves for at least 500 years before the invention of christianity. The Romans only crucified troublesom slaves. And the Israelis found the tomb of Jesus and his family some decades ago.

      In response to another comment. See in context »
  18. collapse expand

    “Socialist utopian dreamers? Socialism is synonomyous with ‘democracy’ where the good of the communal society is decided by vote, and equality and economic justidce is strived for by the representative protector of the communal society, the democratic government.”

    A great example why people beieve weird things!

    Having massive big government destroy individual freedoms, liberty and the pursuit of happiness to make us all mundane and oppressed for the good of the communal masses is not democracy or freedom…..and it is the direction of Obama’s economy as we speak.

    I have learned that the Utopians are possessed by the distortions of Marxism/Socialism and will never awaken to their failed ideology.

    I am a non-believer and an religion has no place in my political life but Socialism is a God I don’t want to serve!

    • collapse expand

      Economic justice has been rising continuously since the construction of our constitution some 230 years ago, to the extent that the poor now have the assets once ascribed to the upper middle class, and the middle class has better assets than the rich of 1789. Economic justice has tended to create economic equality which is the aspect of socialism most feared by the theocratic republicans who work long and hard to make a ‘dirty word’ of socialism. But it continues to creep in nevertheless. Proof that ideologies of such as Marx is not failing, it is just making slow headway against an entrenched foe that has 1700 years of experience at the suppression and exploitation of working people.

      Democratic government has only a single function, it protects us. “Big government” means big, strong protection against what the theocrats want to do to us. Small government is a step to anarchy. Protection is expensive, and the theocrat’s tax policies are also designed to curtail the government’s abilities to protect, also a path to anarchy. Anarchy is freedom without protection, where the strongest and meanest and best organized quickly becomes the ‘government’. Who are the strongest and the meanest and the best organized outside of our protective democracy? Christianity, the supporter of totalitarian government by the elite and the controlling force for institutionalized human slavery. They know well that the only way they will ever regain the political power they held in Europe before 1789 is through the creation of anarchy, and all of the practices and policies of the theocratic republicans leads directly into anarchy, freedom without protection.

      Give me the big government that gives me big protection against what the theocrats wants to do to me any time. It will save me a bundle on the cost of personal firearms and munitions.

      Did you know that christianity suffered several holocausts before the Jews did? The escaping slaves slaughtered them wholesale in France, Italy, South America, Russia, and other places. We didn’t here because they hired
      German professional mercenaries to fight us for them and they had a 2000 mile moat to protect them from us.

      I see slavery as the laboring of one person for the wealth of another. No matter how you twist and spin the definition of human slavery, it all boils down to that one function.

      I see capitalism as the profitting from the labors of another. That is the only common thread that runs through all capitalistic enterprises, the slave laboring for a profit for the master. “Lord” in the old days meant “master of the slaves” and has morphed into simply “capitalist” today.

      http://www.angeloftruth.com/capitalism

      In response to another comment. See in context »
  19. collapse expand

    arthurking

    Your comment that socialism =democracy was so outrageous and ludicrous I had to answer……

    Socialism- Websters
    1 : any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods
    2 a : a system of society or group living in which there is no private property b : a system or condition of society in which the means of production are owned and controlled by the state
    3 : a stage of society in Marxist theory transitional between capitalism and communism and distinguished by unequal distribution of goods and pay according to work done

    Capitalism- Websters:
    an economic system characterized by private or corporate ownership of capital goods, by investments that are determined by private decision, and by prices, production, and the distribution of goods that are determined mainly by competition in a free market.

    It seems like you are very, very confused…maybe you haven’t awakened from the dream yet!

    • collapse expand

      One of the greatest successes of christendom is to never let the slaves know that they are slaves. This is still at the top of their rule book today. The bottom line in a ’socialist’ society is everyone is equal, and as you can see, christianity fights that concept tooth and nail 24/7. There are many ways to describe ‘equality’ and they choose to tie it to government ownership, ignoring our constitution’s ruling that “We the People” are the government. Beware, they once controlled the language we use, and they still strive to do so today. Do your own analysis of ‘definitions’.

      Most of Marx’s ideas came from the US Constitution and the American revolution. The communist Russia’s constitution is online. You should read it sometime.

      The only common thread that runs through all capitalistic enterprises is that the work that makes the profits is done by someone other than the owner. However, the common bottom line in all definitions of human slavery is a person that labors for the profits of another.

      In response to another comment. See in context »
  20. collapse expand

    There aren’t many animals that are monogamous in nature, in fact there may not be any.

    Though its certainly pointless to argue about the ideologies of mythological or fictional characters. Was Hercules a Socialist? Did Mickey Mouse vote Republican?

  21. collapse expand

    Keeping it brief I would have to say Jesus was more on the liberal side if we had to trace back all those years in history. When you ask most conservatives why did you vote conservative, they respond with ” they are anti abortion and for the death penalty “. I have asked many conservatives why they vote the way they vote and the previous statement usually utters out. But isn’t it ironic how they are pro life and yet would so easily believe in state execution. Would Jesus believe in state execution. I think the bible clearly explains that one. It is a resounding NO!

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    About Me

    Dr. Shermer is the Founding Publisher of Skeptic magazine and editor of Skeptic.com, a monthly columnist for Scientific American, and an Adjunct Professor at Claremont Graduate University. His latest book is The Mind of the Market, on evolutionary economics. His last book was Why Darwin Matters: Evolution and the Case Against Intelligent Design, and he is also the author of The Science of Good and Evil and of Why People Believe Weird Things. He received his B.A. in psychology from Pepperdine University, M.A. in experimental psychology from California State University, Fullerton, and his Ph.D. in the history of science from Claremont Graduate University (1991). He was a college professor for 20 years, and since his creation of Skeptic magazine he has appeared on such shows as The Colbert Report, 20/20, Dateline, Charlie Rose, and Larry King Live (but, proudly, never Jerry Springer!).

    See my profile »
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    Contributor Since: November 2009