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Featured Do American Evangelicals and Fundamentalists Lack the Social Conscience of Jesus Christ?

Discussion in 'General Religious Debates' started by Sunstone, Nov 7, 2018.

  1. Sunstone

    Sunstone De Diablo Del Fora
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    Do American Evangelicals and fundamentalists lack the social conscience of Jesus Christ?
     
  2. Vouthon

    Vouthon Contemplation

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    Absolutely.

    The social conscience of Jesus, particularly his outreach and inclusiveness towards the most marginalised and discriminated members of society; his fiery denunciations of wealth hoarding at the expense of those at the bottom end of the economy and his call to subvert all hierarchies based upon dominance and privilege, are evidently some of his most distinguishing characteristics.

    If you lack these, then you are missing what made Jesus Jesus as opposed to just another preacher in a succession of radical Jewish prophets harking back to Micah and Isaiah.

    As I always like to quote, the Jewish scholar Geza Vermes believed that Jesus' association with people scapegoated as 'sinners' by the mainstream, orthodox religious establishment (the holiness system and ritual puritans), was the factor that differentiated him more than any other from his contemporaries and predecessors.

    In the postscript to Jesus the Jew, he described this as constituting what was special about the teaching of Jesus, saying this:


    In one respect, more than any other, Jesus differed from both his contemporaries and even his prophetic predecessors. The prophets spoke on behalf of the honest poor, and defended the widows and the fatherless, those oppressed and exploited by the wicked, rich and powerful. Jesus went further. In addition to proclaiming these blessed, he actually took his stand among the pariahs of his world, those despised by the respectable. Sinners were his table-companions and the ostracised tax-collectors and prostitutes his friends.

    [Jesus the Jew, Geza Vermes, 1994, p. 196]

    Practically all historical Jesus scholars concur that this was the single most important aspect of his ministry that made him different to anyone who had come before him.

    Whatever motivated this unique outlook - whether the belief in a coming great eschatological intervention by God in history, or political radicalism or subversive wisdom teachings, scholars disagree widely on this - the outlook itself and it's stark social conscience are not up for debate.
     
    #2 Vouthon, Nov 7, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2018
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  3. 9-10ths_Penguin

    9-10ths_Penguin 1/10 Riboflavin
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    Sure seems that way to me. And not just the American ones.
     
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  4. Vouthon

    Vouthon Contemplation

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    I would submit that Evangelical Christians tend to do the exact opposite of so-called "Jesusists" or secular Christians, like Dawkins and Pullman (who are atheists and physicalists so far as belief in a deity or afterlife is concerned).

    While the latter strive to, in the words of Richard Dawkins, "owe Jesus the honour of separating his genuinely original and radical ethics from the supernatural nonsense that he inevitably espoused as a man of his time", the Evangelicals prefer to prioritise the supernatural claims (and lots of other unbalanced, apocalyptic speculations of their own) while spurning the "radical ethics" - quite on what basis, I don't presently understand.

    The result is that the secular disciples of Jesus often emulate his lifestyle and persona far better than professed religious believers like the Evangelicals.

    There are, of course, many religious Christians who equally abide by the ethical and supernatural doctrines of the religion. The Amish, and Anabaptist movement or Peace Churches more generally, spring to mind as well as Dorothy Day's Catholic Worker Movement, both American Protestant and Catholic phenomenons that represent the opposite strain of thought from Evangelicalism and Fundamentalism i.e.

    Catholic Worker Movement - Wikipedia


    According to co-founder Peter Maurin, the following are the beliefs of the Catholic Worker:
    1. gentle personalism of traditional Catholicism.
    2. personal obligation of looking after the needs of our brother.
    3. daily practice of the Works of Mercy.
    4. houses of hospitality for the immediate relief of those who are in need.
    5. establishment of Farming Communes where each one works according to his ability and receives according to his need.
    6. creating a new society within the shell of the old[16] with the philosophy of the new.
    The radical philosophy of the group can be described as Christian anarchism.[17][18] Anne Klejment, a history lecturer at the University of St. Thomas, wrote of the movement:

    The Catholic Worker considered itself a Christian anarchist movement. All authority came from God; and the state, having by choice distanced itself from Christian perfectionism, forfeited its ultimate authority over the citizen... Catholic Worker anarchism followed Christ as a model of nonviolent revolutionary behavior... He respected individual conscience. But he also preached a prophetic message, difficult for many of his contemporaries to embrace
     
    #4 Vouthon, Nov 7, 2018
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  5. Windwalker

    Windwalker Integralist
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    Absolutely. "You shall know them by their fruits", Jesus warned us.
     
  6. BSM1

    BSM1 Who's a good boy?

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    Then why did he whip the money-changers instead of just forgiving them?
     
  7. Vouthon

    Vouthon Contemplation

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    Because he wanted the temple authorities overseeing the money-changers to stop using religion as a cover with which to exploit the impoverished masses.

    The cleansing of the temple by Jesus initiated no intervention from either the Temple guardsmen, or the Roman legionaries in the Antonia, so he couldn't actually have harmed anyone or else he'd have been arrested and detained on the spot.

    But he did extensively damage the property. Why?

    See:

    Mich, Marvin L. Krier. The Challenge and Spirituality of Catholic Social Teaching, Chapter 6, Orbis Books, 2011,ISBN 9781570759451

    Marvin L. Krier Mich observes that a good deal of money was stored at the temple, where it could be loaned by the wealthy to the poor who were in danger of losing their land to debt.

    The Temple establishment therefore co-operated with the aristocracy in the exploitation of the poor.

    One of the first act of the Jewish Revolt of 66 was the burning of the debt records in the archives

    The centre of Jewish religious life had become a vast, organised cartel of collusion between the urban aristocracy and the priestly classes, to essentially make the rural poor ever more indebted at the poverty line, while the elites lived fat on their defrauded largesse.

    As a representative of the maligned Galilean poor, and speaking as a prophet on behalf of the disadvantaged like Isaiah and Jeremiah, Jesus did what he did as a symbolic act of defiance, announcing that God was about to turn the world upside down.

    Of course, the Judean religious establishment were understandably disquieted by this and so conspired with the Roman colonial power to have Jesus executed.
     
  8. BSM1

    BSM1 Who's a good boy?

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    So you don't think taking a whip and beating an individual is harmful? And I'm not so sure the rural was inhabited by as many poor as you seem to think. BTW, why were the moneychangers there in the first place>
     
  9. Vouthon

    Vouthon Contemplation

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    The Greek does not state that Jesus actually hit anyone and the whip is mentioned only by the Gospel of John.
     
  10. BSM1

    BSM1 Who's a good boy?

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    Sooo...we should disavow any scripture that doesn't fit our worldview?
     
  11. Vouthon

    Vouthon Contemplation

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    No, my point is that none of the gospel accounts refer to Jesus striking people with a whip and only one account actually mentions this object (again with no implication that he actually committed violence).

    But this is completely distracting from his purpose for cleansing the temple, which was again social in motivation - albeit tinged with eschatological hope, according to some scholars.
     
    #11 Vouthon, Nov 7, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2018
  12. Valjean

    Valjean Veteran Member
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    Yes.
    Evangelicals and Fundamentalist Christians seem to be getting both more religiously doctrinaire and more politically tribal, nationalist, militarist, judgemental, fearful and avaricious. This, it seems to me, is pretty much the opposite of what Jesus preached,


    If we're interested in historical accuracy, we should be skeptical of hearsay and non first person accounts; of events not reported by unrelated sources, and of implausible events.

    The temple cleansing, to my mind, seems implausible, inconsilient and hearsay.
    What would a modern detective make of the report?
     
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  13. BSM1

    BSM1 Who's a good boy?

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    Soooo...historically where was the temple cleansing ever recorded?
     
  14. Daemon Sophic

    Daemon Sophic Avatar in flux

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    To the OP. Yes, they do lack Jesus’ social conscience. There is no doubt. Those who would deny it are either lying, or are ignorant hypocrits, or both.
    The heart and soul of the New Testament is about forgiveness and looking out for one another, especially the poor.

    @BSM1 ’s example is just more evidence. Throughout the NT this Jesus guy is travelling around, providing miracles, providing for the poor, and teaching that everyone should be humble and not care about worldly goods. The one time that he actually loses his temper and blows a gasket is when he rides in (purposefully posing as one of the poor) and confronts the rich, the wealthy merchants, the moneychangers (i.e. bankers).

    The only people even remotely following and promoting the example of Jesus Christ today in the USA are the poor (who numerically give a higher portion of their income to charities than any other socioeconomic group).

    Similarly, Social Justice Warriors (SJW) who are more liberal/leftist than me are the preachers (and sometimes practitioners) of Jesus’s teachings. And yes, undeniably Jesus was the most gung-ho SWJ of all time. < full stop. >
     
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  15. sun rise

    sun rise "Love pours forth from the heart of the universe."
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    The OP was too black/white for me. Insert the word "some" or even "many" and I agree. But there are evangelicals who do try to live the message of Jesus and serve the "least".
     
  16. Brickjectivity

    Brickjectivity simple man
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    That is a high bar. Who has the social conscience of Jesus Christ?
     
  17. InChrist

    InChrist Free4ever

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    Since the highest priority of Jesus Christ's was to save sinners for eternity, I would say that many (not all) American evangelicals are lacking having gotten distracted in various ways with entertainment, politics, etc. Nevertheless, many (not all) evangelicals and fundamentalists have shared the gospel while demonstrating practical love and care for those in need. The work of Franklin Graham and Samaritan's Purse is only one example. They are right there to meet needs during every disaster, in this country and around the world.
     
  18. Orbit

    Orbit I'm a planet

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    Yes. The seem to have completely forgotten the Sermon on the Mount.
     
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  19. Valjean

    Valjean Veteran Member
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    Wasn't it recorded in all the gospels?
    I don't get your point.
    Aren't you supposed to imitate Him, or at least act in the spirit of His teachings?
     
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  20. Brickjectivity

    Brickjectivity simple man
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    He prays for this to happen, reportedly. This prayer of his is made in John 17, but he predicts lots of things will happen and that there will be trouble. I don't think many people have obtained his social conscience, yet. We are talking about no longer living like normal people and spending all of our time focused on service. It is a high bar.
     
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