Saturday, December 11, 2004

Jesus Christ: Liberal Freak, Part 1

This is the first in a series of posts analyzing what Jesus is reported to have said in the various gospels exploring the notion that he would be an out-of-touch liberal freak in today's America.

From Mark, Chapter 10:

10:17 Now as Jesus was starting out on his way, someone ran up to him, fell on his knees, and said, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 10:18 Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. 10:19 You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, do not defraud, honor your father and mother.’” 10:20 The man said to him, “Teacher, I have wholeheartedly obeyed all these laws since my youth.” 10:21 As Jesus looked at him, he felt love for him and said, “You lack one thing. Go, sell whatever you have and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” 10:22 But at this statement, the man looked sad and went away sorrowful, for he was very rich.

10:23 Then Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!” 10:24 The disciples were astonished at these words. But again Jesus said to them, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! 10:25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” 10:26 They were even more astonished and said to one another, “Then who can be saved?” 10:27 Jesus looked at them and replied, “This is impossible for mere humans, but not for God; all things are possible for God.”"

What is up with JC harrassing the rich dude who is living a supposedly righteous life (like, ahem, our glorious leader in D.C.)? And, JC is saying that the only way to be truly righteous is for folks who have extra to give up their wealth and distribute it to the less fortunate. Regardless of the tax implications (think of the tax hit a person my age would take if we liquidated our IRA to give the cash Oxfam or something). He sounds like Engels for Chri-- er, his own sake!
There must have been a mistake in the translation from Aramaic to Greek. He probably said, "Rich people will ride into heaven on camels, and given golden needles as gifts," or something like that. At the same time, notice he's saying people should voluntarily give up their wealth, and not have it taken by the state through taxation and re-distributed. So at least he's not a big-government liberal.


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