Whether it's a well-known concept or not, the hypocrisy of modern Christians is startling. Well, not startling when you realize (to even their admittance) that they do not read their own Bible. But startling to us who have, and have gleaned from its pages some positive things.
Don't get me wrong, the Old Testament is worth being burned (and as a hard-core reader, who faints when the page of a book is torn, that's something for me to say). But if we look at Jesus' life specifically, without the hubbub of God, the supernatural, and look at it specifically from an economic and socio-philosophical examination of somebody's life, we see something that most Christians would become angry to even hear about.
And that's that Jesus was in fact a libertarian socialist.
Yes, Jesus was a hard-core liberal.
We can't pin Jesus as being socialist alone, only because he obviously does not support the government as being the means through which the needy are taken care of and shared with; the government is not pushed as the entity through which these deeds are moderated. He believed that this was an issue for the people, and that the only government by which people should be governed is the laws and regulations set down by God. In other words, no earthly government should have that power or responsibility, but your wealth that comes from work and production should be shared, given to charity, of your own accord. He himself said that the wealthy making it to heaven would be like a camel passing through the eye of a needle, that it made no difference how much money you had, and made it clear that your time on earth was a time to SHARE the wealth and good fortune you had with those who did not. "The meek shall inherit the earth"; the poor were glorified in early Christianity, those who worked hard, earned little, and yet were humble and giving of what little they had.
Jesus as a man, regardless of whether he existed, represents the humble, warm-hearted, but stern teacher that is reminiscent of Buddha. In fact, many of his teachings that give off this very anarchist view of the world and that warn against the evils of wealth are very similar to the teachings of Buddhism (which was present in the area he lived contemporary to Jesus' estimated lifetime, IF he in fact existed; his life does also read as very similar to the life of Buddha, who also performed miracles like walking on water).
I am not against these philosophies. In fact, that's why I do not bad-mouth Jesus when I criticize the Bible as strictly as I do. I do not think Christians are wrong for investing love in a man who thinks that way.
Christians, by and large, do not agree with their own mentor.
My problem with Christianity is not just hypocrisy of belief, but hypocrisy in even following what they're meant to believe. I can respect the few Christians who identify as some sort of socialist, who give to charity, who are poor by choice, and who agree most of the Bible is bogus but that they still admire the monologues and dialogues involving Jesus himself; socially liberal Christians who don't get the Bible-thumpers either. Although I will always disagree with them on the matter of God, I will never criticize their following of Jesus if they in fact follow what's actually written, any more than I criticize a Buddhist for following the original non-theist teachings of Buddha.
I don't think I've ever met a reasonable Atheist that would bad-mouth the actions of Jesus personally in the Bible, even when we tear through the Old Testament, Revelations, and every other ridiculous part of the book that we recognize is a superstitious interpretation of word-of-mouth stories about possible historical events.
This is something both secularists and Christians fail to understand. Atheists are rarely 'anti-Jesus', although yes, we can attempt to dispel his existence as myth (or a real person whose biography was exaggerated and combined with myths from other cultures over many years, even), but that does not mean we can't respect some of the things he tried to teach in the literature.
Why are so many Christians today so devoutly conservative, Republican, capitalist, and otherwise in the manner of their philosophies, so hellbent on pushing the agenda of the greedy corporate world, when it's clearly not what Jesus would approve of?
Does this have something to do with the same statistics that show, that although around 70-80% of Americans identify as being devoutly religious, less than half of them actually observe all of their religious traditions, requirements, or lifestyle factors? Do we have an epidemic today of what we can call 'social Christians'? Those who identify as religious only because society expects it, because their parents expect it, without ever understanding what it is they're supposed to be identifying with?
It's extremely discouraging to know people are so backwards.
Yep, there's lots of ways where those kinds of psychological mechanisms are at work. The God concept itself is arguably also people simply projecting themselves onto a cosmic drawing. People all think of themselves as good, smart and capable... and the God concept is simply an infinite enlargement of that: God isn't just good, he's infinitely good; not just smart, but all-knowing, etcetera...
I sometimes point these mechanisms out, though I'm a little careful with it, because the moment you think you can psychologically explain someone's ideas and positions, is the moment you have essentially stopped taking them seriously.
So telling a Christian "Well you're only defending your God because he's essentially just all your positive qualities enlarged" pretty much completely intellectually marginalises him. It's perceived as very rude in the same way that a Christian saying "You're just an atheist because you're mad that God didn't give you what you wanted." is rude and dismisses all the reasons you might have for your beliefs.
But just because it's rude to talk about these mechanisms out loud, doesn't mean that they don't apply. In this case I think they do. But I won't say it out loud :P
Also the concept you're searching for is a "sunk cost" and the associated fallacy is the "Sunk Cost Fallacy". It's why it's almost impossible to convince someone who has spent half their lives arguing for a position; they're too invested.
I would like to take a stab at this one!
May I be so bold as to assert that xtianity is really two phenomena in one. (An ego-sop, with a barb on the end).
On the one hand, we have a collection of stories about an all-too-likable folk hero, come to save us from our own foilbles by pointing out the erroneous hazards of wanting to be a success in this world- and the absolute and divine wisdom in being the little guy in this life who is the perpetual loser and meek doormat for others to walk upon. Not that any xtian truly believes any of this tripe (one might notice, for example, all the fundie girls that swoon at the sight of their beloved successful and wealthy pastor-whom they always refer to as handsome-despite the fact that he may exhibit less true physical attractiveness than many of their less "amazing" mates). The message here folks is that everyone loves a winner-especially when that winner loves to talk about himself and goes about claiming to have the direct ear of God Almighty!
On the other hand-all that meekness that is so unctuously taught in such tales-the charitable deeds and refusal to judge thy neighbor or covet his/her personal belongings, doesn't really serve the purposes of those wishing to cash in on the coffers of Ecumenical power that rabid, drooling materialism and willingness to place oneself above one's neighbors always promises. Enter politics stage right, with it's plethora of enemies to chose from. Charity to the poor is fine and good-so long as it brings praise to the congregation and the church itself--but woe to the fool who would rather "not let the left hand knoweth what the right hand doeth" and help the poor through social programs paid for by a standard tax.
Nobody gets praise and acclaim for paying their taxes. The church doesn't get direct control of that money either, nor say-so over who benefits from it or not, so politically it is profitable to teach the churchgoers to hate the poor (but not the poor folk that we all know and love to look our noses down on like the deformed girl-often mentally retarded-who causes that uneasy pause when she approaches folk to talk to, but who is really a sweetheart who means no harm and makes everyone feel like somewhat less of a bunch of over-pompous creeps when she weeps with glee at some meager act of kindness bestowed upon her by the congregation's charitable fund-no we can't hate good ol' familiar little Nell-partly because her childishly innocent antics actually DO make going through all the pomp and circumstance each week a little more bearable from time to time).
No! Rather it is the strangers, those festering masses who wash up at our doorstep with ways different than our own, expecting kindness and charity like we're just supposed to let them have it-like they are as American as we are, as human as we are, as Christian as we are, deserving like we are of happiness and affection-these are the creeps we must fight against day and night for they are legion and their kind never rest. And you can keep their ilk from taking away the future that rightfully belongs to your children-to our children-with a small donation of just $30.00 a week (tax deductible, of course). Just see Linda at the door on your way out-oh trust me-she won't let you forget...
Conservativism is, thus, the natural offshoot of such well sustained and politically directed fear.
It is basically because many conservatives are willfully ignorant. They choose not learn more about the truth of their principles. Why I don't know. Personally I think it enriches your principles to learn more about their history. For example, I think it's personally more enriching to recite the Pledge of Allegiance (without the "under god" addition) if you know the history of the Pledge. I can tell you who wrote it, when, what's been changed over the years and even writer's occupation. Ironically enough, he was a baptist minister who was also a prominent leader in the Christian Socialist Movement.
Liberal christians have been shouted out by conservative ones. But they do exist in larger numbers than you'd think. I grew up in the United Methodist tradition which has been liberal for over 100 years. Here is a copy of it's social creed written in 2000: http://archives.umc.org/interior.asp?mid=1836
As for xians who claim they should never have to pay taxes, there is a bible verse specifically mentioning this which the preachers at my UMC church preached about regularly when I attended:
Then Jesus said to them, "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's." And they were amazed at him.
This verse was always held up as God's truth on paying taxes.
Ava, put down the matches. If you think the so-called "old testament", better called the ancient Jewish library, is only worth being burned, it is clear that you have no understanding of its place in history, literary value and that you only find your cherry-pickings of the Christian writings to be of interest.
First off, the Jewish writings are a record of the mythology of an ancient culture -- no less valuable or interesting than the mythology of the Greeks, Romans, Norse, Chinese, Japanese, Africans, Native Americans, etc. Why are you so biased against that?
Second, they offer a window into an ancient culture that was very much like the cultures around it -- they were competing to see whose god was stronger -- when they had wars, the losers usually adopted the god of the winners, because obviously that god was stronger. There are clues that the ancient Jews were actually as polytheistic as their neighbors, and only gradually came to monotheism -- that is anthropologically interesting.
Third, there is a LOT of debate, questioning, and argument about what their god wanted from them. So you can cherry-pick the Jewish writings just as thoroughly as you have done the Christian writings, and find some gems in there. There is clearly an emphasis on finding a moral way of life, in the context of the times. It has to be read in a historical context. Things that seem gross, like the lex talionis (an eye for an eye) are actually an attempt at fairness -- the people around them were killing people for injuring a person of superior status, surely that wasn't fair. That we have come farther than that is not a stain on people from a more primitive time. And some of the things it says DO apply to current culture, but they have to be interpreted appropriately.
Fourth, there is poetry, proverbs and philosophy in there. I wouldn't want to lose the Song of Songs, just for its clearly sexual beauty -- those Christians who say it is a song of love of the people for God, aren't reading the actual words! The psalms, although theistic, are nevertheless literature, and deserve as much appreciation as the far vaster body of theistic Christian literature, and the proverbs are also worth thinking about.
None of this in any way implies that I believe in god, neither the Christian one, nor the Jewish one, nor any others, but it DOES mean that I place value on the records of the culture, and it saddens me when I read that someone like you says our human anthropological heritage should be burned. You sound like the guy who wants to burn Korans -- just because it is not YOUR cultural heritage doesn't make it worthless.
And the last thing I want to say is that the image of the Jews in the Christian writings is GROSSLY distorted -- Jesus never said anything that wasn't being said in the culture of his time. Would-be messiahs were a dime a dozen at a time when there was much unrest among the Jewish people. Revelations is actually an anti-government screed wisely disguised and hidden so that the author wouldn't be executed by the Romans. But also remember that most of the Christian writings were expressly written to convert people to Christianity -- they are NOT historical in any way -- they are distorted to appeal to the audiences at whom they were aimed. Paul was nothing if not a skilled propagandist! And most of his letters weren't written by him anyway. Nor were the gospels written by their purported authors. So how much of what is attributed to Jesus was actually authentic is open to much question.
So go ahead and sift the dross to find the gems, but realize that there are gems in pretty much all religious writing, and don't dismiss any of it out of hand. You don't have to believe in supernatural gods in order to appreciate ancient peoples' attempts to explain their world in the absence of modern science, and to define a moral way of life. Even if we have progressed beyond that.
Ouch. The problem isn't my not understanding the Bible, it was your lack of understanding of the topic.
I am a History fanatic. I read everything about History I can get my hands on. It's my Aspergian special interest. I've read the Bible, and I understand 100% its place in history. The problem is not its value as a piece of literature in our historical record, but the influence it has on people to follow what it teaches. Let me be more SPECIFIC, if it pleases you: I would enjoy burning specific books in the Bible, including, for instance, Leviticus. Again, it's not the book as a piece of literature, it's human incapability of being responsible for their actions, for being gullible and easily persuaded to follow anti-feminist, homophobic, Geno-and-infanticidal, misogynistic garbage. Note: I haven't said 'Let's burn Mein Kampf!', because not only does it have a place in history, but modern man knows it's just literature from a psychotic drug-addict and not something to be followed on a large social scale; we had our hit and run with Nazism, and it currently only exists in small closet sects of interest-- it's garbage, but it's able to be acknowledged as a piece of literature you read for historical value, and not to learn from its teachings. The Bible has not reached that level. Until people can look on the Old Testament laws and instructions the same way they look at Mein Kampf, I will stand by what I said-- certain books in the Bible are better off being burned. Again, not because of the people that wrote it, or its impact on history, or for any other reason-- but because of the people who read it and preach it, and use it as a fuel for hatred on a massive scale.
And about Jesus-- I know. I've said this in quite a few other topics. The point of THIS topic was under the hypothetical assumption of taking Jesus in the Bible at face value like Christians do, and assuming his existence, and then proposing a question about their current lifestyle. The fact is that Jesus was a dime a dozen in his time. It's possible he did exist in some form but was combined over time with many others like him, on top of myths (Egyptian, Greek, Sumerian, etc) to create the idea of 'Miracles' and 'Wonders'.
So for the most part, your entire post was conceived out of misinterpretation.