Magi Mike's Blog

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Posts Tagged ‘Capitalist

Jesus Explains the Rich Cannot be Saved

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In the discussion in The Washington Post following the items about whether Christianity is intrinsically socialist or capitalist in morality, mentioned below, the modern US capitalist oriented Christians so-called were flummoxed by the directness of their incarnated God’s message, and mostly turned to the Jewish scriptures or to Paul the Apostle for answers. They never seem to see any incongruity in citing pre-Christian Judaism against the direct words of God recorded as they fell from His own lips in the gospels, or the later teachings of a plain man trying his utmost to teach something quite different, while pretending to be preaching the same message as Christ, and succeeding so well that modern Christianity is Paulianity not Christianity!

Some of Jesus’s examples brook no opposition they are so lucid. That anyone should be bold enough to question anything so unequivocal, uttered from the lips of the man they are supposed to consider God, proves that they are not Christians. They are happy to contradict the clearest statements of the divine man! How can this one, for example, be contradicted by America’s megarich “Christians”?

Someone came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God. But if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother, and, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up. What lack I yet? Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven, and come and follow me. But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.

Matthew 19:17-24

Since US Christians cannot understand biblical English, here is a step by step explanation:

  • The man is seeking salvation, eternal life, entry into God’s kingdom
  • Jesus tells him he must keep the commandments, listing the principal ones from the Jewish scriptures, but adding his own commandment which encompasses all others, “love thy neighbor as thyself”
  • The man considers himself a law abiding Jew and has obeyed all the commandments since he was a boy, and asks whether that is sufficient
  • To be saved people have to be near enough to perfection to satisfy the Judge, God, at Judgement day, so Jesus tells him that he has to give away his wealth to the poor, and become a Christian, thereby being saved—he would have “treasure in heaven”, eternal bliss
  • The reward offered to those who are do these things is salvation, but the man prefers his gold.
  • He leaves sorrowful, but unable to forego his material riches for eternal happiness
  • Jesus explains how hard it is to get into heaven when you are rich—he says it is impossible because a camel cannot go through the eye of a needle.

One commentator confidently proclaimed that this is not the whole story for Peter and the other disciples wonder how anyone can be saved if the rich cannot be. The gospels always show the apostles as being utterly devoid of brain cells, they are so lacking in comprehension. It is a deliberate device of the bishops who commissioned the gospels, because, if they were really so thick, then Jesus must have been thick to select them. Here they are depicted as thick to allow the bishops to be able to insert an ameliorating clause. It is that “all things are possible for God”. So the rich can be saved if God chooses to let them be. It is enough to satisfy the rich, who convince themselves that an occasional act of charity will suffice to get God on their side.

They have, of course, got the let-out clause upside down or inside out. The fact is that in Christian theology God is omnipotent and omniscient, and a few other things. Omnipotent means “almighty” or “all powerful”. It means He always has the final say. God is the Judge. He cannot be obliged to do anything under any conditions. That means that God’s promise is never certain! If God promises that all righteous people will be saved, it means that some of them will not be. That is why pastors are fond of saying that salvation is a gift. They use it as their excuse to deny that good deeds matter, despite the teachings of Christ that they do. It is certain that unrepentant sinners cannot be saved, because they will never be considered by the Judge. To be considered for salvation at all, people have to be perfect, that is righteous, free of sin, and, if they have sinned in their lives, they have to have repented, turned their lives around and not sinned again. The weight of the teaching of Jesus is that, having met the criteria he laid out, they will be eligible for a pass at Judgement, but it always remains God’s gift which He can always withhold, but probably will not.

The same holds in reverse. God is the Judge of sin, and although rich men face an almost complete ban from consideration for salvation, God might offer one or other of them an improbable gift of eternal life, and only God knows why He will do it, if He has a reason at all. But the underlying Christian belief, as it was with the Essenes, is that God is not capricious, so that what we can only call a gift, God has His reasons for it.

It is not a good bet to gamble that God will be benign to the rich man at Judgement Day when during His incarnation on earth, He said unmistakably clearly that for all practical purposes it was impossible for a rich man to get into God’s kingdom. So, gift or no gift, it remains true that “it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God”.

If that is not plain enough for you capitalistic Christians, defending the rich, you ought to read this parable that Jesus told:

There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day. And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, and desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom.

The rich man also died, and was buried. And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue, for I am tormented in this flame. But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things, but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot. Neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.

Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldst send him to my father’s house, for I have five brethren, that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets, let them hear them. And he said, Nay, father Abraham, but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.

Luke 16:19-31

It is hard to see how this parable can be read in any way other than the obvious and direct one that being rich can mortally damage your hope for an afterlife, if that is still any attraction to rich Christians. In the story related above, meant to be an actual incident in Jesus’s life, not a parable, the rich man is less attracted to the notion of being saved than he is to his bags of gold. So Jesus knew what the rich were like, and he even ends the parable of Dives and Lazarus by saying that even someone rising from the dead will not persuade them that riches are the “wages of sin”!

That turned out to be a true prophesy, and all of these US Christian apologists for the rich man’s economic scam prove it!

Who are the Aliens? Communists or Capitalists?

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Kyle Munkittrick at Science not Fiction at Discovery Blogs wrote a piece, “We Need Gattaca to Prevent Skynet and Global Warming” about apocalyptic films featuring Independence Day, and The Day the Earth Stood Still, among others. Munkittrick writes that:

Every apocalyptic film seems to trade on the idea that there will be some lone super-genius to figure out the problem.

Jeff Golblum plays the role in Independence Day, an updating of the War of the Worlds by H G Wells. Professor Barnhardt is the hero in The Day the Earth Stood Still. Independence Day combines Wells with the Night of the Living Dead, another film typical of a genre of apocalyptic films. Wells was writing a prevision of the forthcoming clash of “civilizations” in the First World War, but the Zombie style movies were meant to encapsulate the prevalent fear in the US of communism, as propagated by Senator McCarthy. The fateful disease that took away people’s minds and their humanity, turning them into cannibalistic zombies was meant to be communism. Curious, then, that when the communist threat evaporated, a new disease arose called Islamic terrorism. The US always has to have its horrific external disease to keep its own people zombified.

Munkittrick said:

The message in both versions of The Day the Earth Stood Still is that humanity’s greatest existential threat is itself.

And indeed we can now see that the zombies or aliens were not particularly communists or Islamists but are just a metaphor for ourselves. We will do the destroying, and why, because western society is built on the antisocial principles of capitalism. Surely it is obvious. Our characteristics are those of a social animal, and that is why we have an instinct to be moral. Morality is simply caring for and sharing with others — “Do unto others as you would be done by”. Yet capitalism fosters dog eat dog, might is right, selfishness is natural, and greed is a blessing of God. These are the characteristics of the solitary animal, and even the solitary mother loves her infant. Social animals are supposed to love each other.

That, incidentally, is the teaching of Christianity, and America constantly boasts it is a Christian nation, when in terms of practice, as opposed to wishful thinking, it transparently is not. Even more paradoxically, the American political system buried socialism and communism, when they at least were attempting to bring the importance of human society to the forefront. Yep, the aliens are among us, but they are not the commies, they are the greedy and selfish accumulators of all our social assets, the bankers and financiers swapping their wealth here and there as long as it keep growing, and too bad for the rest of us. They are the ones in the spaceships, and the ones who need to be given a cold by some Goldblum-like genius.

Written by mikemagee

13 November, 2010 at 1:38 am