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Joe Bryant

Christians and Faith and Politics - Thoughts?

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6 minutes ago, Bottomfeeder Sports said:

I am speaking of Matthew 22:34-40 (and Mark 12:28-34 and Luke 10:27).   I believe however that despite how Jesus is quoted that these are not greatest commandments 1 and 2, but commandments 1.A and 1.B.  They are the same commandment.  The only commandment.  And I believe that many other passages in the bible put these into context.   To start with reading the Luke 10:27 in full context of Luke 10:25-37  - which happens to be the "Parable of the Good Samaritan".  

Reading the Matthew 22:34-40 as two separate "greatest commandments" might also create contradictions for Romans 13:8-9, Matthew 7:12, Luke 6:31, and my favorite Galatians 5:14.  Of course if you accept that "For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself" then it must follow that " Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength" is also fulfilled. Which is exactly what the separation of the sheeps and goats passage that @NCCommish mentions (Matthew 25:31-46) above is stating.

Finally, as for the Old Testament in the FFA you will find ..

I think the above though, at least in your case is "preaching to the choir".  The part that you still are unsure about - I think is what do Christians get wrong.  My experience is that too many Christians in general read Matthew 22:37-38 as the greatest commandment and the Matthew 22:39 is an after though.  They jump on the vague, abstract portion because just about anything can be twisted into a fulfillment of this piece including advocating for some of the more hateful, selfish interpretations of passages as "loving God" by promoting "His will".  While much clearer, it is also much harder to treat everyone as you would want to be treated yourself.  So hard that we constantly fail.  Who wants that!

Thanks for sharing more. As I said, I've always read it the way Matthew had it with Jesus speaking of two commandments. But of course tightly interwoven. I agree it's likely preaching to the choir there and that's boring for everyone.

For how it applies, I find that way more interesting as I'm guessing you do too. And I'm always looking for more ways that we can live out the words. I've never thought of people using the Love God to avoid the Love Your Neighbor part. That's interesting and something to consider for sure. Thanks.

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1 minute ago, Joe Bryant said:

I've never thought of people using the Love God to avoid the Love Your Neighbor part.

But it is not just avoiding "Love Your Neighbor", "Loving God" has all too often been used as a justification to completely contradict it.

How often has the Bible been used as justification to treat "others" as second class citizens (or worst)?  Used to justify keeping "me" and "those like me" at the top of the power and/or economic hierarchy?

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12 hours ago, toshiba said:

We aren't arguing.  Why do you just jump to thinking people are arguing.  I was just saying something that led to this conversation.  

Why so hysterical and unhinged?

He said Dedfin was incorrect calling Jesus a socialist. (You jumped in the middle of that)  If you don't want to call it an argument you have to at least call it a disagreement which is a lot closer to being correct than anything being hysterical or unhinged. 

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19 minutes ago, Bottomfeeder Sports said:

But it is not just avoiding "Love Your Neighbor", "Loving God" has all too often been used as a justification to completely contradict it.

How often has the Bible been used as justification to treat "others" as second class citizens (or worst)?  Used to justify keeping "me" and "those like me" at the top of the power and/or economic hierarchy?

Interesting point about the bible.  I think this speaks to the fact that saying you "love God", doesn't mean that you do.  Jesus had the same scriptures as the pharisees.  The pharisees used the OT as a stick to demoralize the jewish people, even though they would all claim they loved God.  Jesus showed them that they really didn't.

So a Christian should love God, but if they are mistreating others and oppressing others, and NOT showing love to their neighbors, their claims of love are inaccurate, even if they have scriptures and beliefs that they are using to justify their actions.

 

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1 hour ago, proninja said:

I don't remember who said this, but the way I heard it put best went something like this. 

God loves us through our neighbors. God doesn't need our good works for himself. There's nothing we can provide him. But our neighbor does. So we love God *by* loving our neighbors. Making the two greatest commandments one. 

Just circling back and want to say that while I focused on the "we love God" part in my reply to Joe, I do appreciate the "how God loves us" piece that you are pointing out here.

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18 minutes ago, tonydead said:
14 hours ago, toshiba said:

We aren't arguing.  Why do you just jump to thinking people are arguing.  I was just saying something that led to this conversation.  

Why so hysterical and unhinged?

He said Dedfin was incorrect calling Jesus a socialist. (You jumped in the middle of that)  If you don't want to call it an argument you have to at least call it a disagreement which is a lot closer to being correct than anything being hysterical or unhinged. 

Ok I can accept that.  :thumbup:

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11 minutes ago, shader said:

So a Christian should love God, but if they are mistreating others and oppressing others, and NOT showing love to their neighbors, their claims of love are inaccurate, even if they have scriptures and beliefs that they are using to justify their actions.

Just want to say that the reason we are all sinners is because none of us really love our neighbors as ourselves all the time.  We all fail.  Hopefully more often than not by "what we have left undone" more so than "what we have done", but in any case I don't want to get to the point where coming up short means that one can't love God.   Just that we fail to fully and properly express that love.

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2 hours ago, Bottomfeeder Sports said:
2 hours ago, The Commish said:

If I remember correctly BFS has the position that the first commandment is the greatest and most important because if you do that one, then the others fall in line as a result.  If our focus is "love thy neighbor" then we aren't "love God with all your heart"  You can't be completely dedicated to loving God as well as your neighbor.

I think it's something similar to this anyway....my memory is a bit shaky.  

Not quite.  Loving your neighbor is loving God.  The truly meaningful way to express love for God.  The meaningful way to express thanks and gratitude.

While it is possible to love you neighbor while not loving God, I don't see how it is possible to love God and not care about God's children.  All of them.  And to me "care" such that you treat others as you would want to be treated is the definition of "love" in this context.    

I was close!!!!!!  

:thumbup: 

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5 hours ago, Bottomfeeder Sports said:

As for political parties I don't think there is any choice right now where a Christian should align.  It is one thing when the "compassionate conservatives" argued that using government wasn't the most effective way to take care of God's children.  Even argued that government involvement got in the way.  But it is quite another when a party actively promotes selfish, hateful ideas to promote one set of people - themselves at the expense of others.  Maybe once Christians and all decent people stick a fork in these deplorable ideas we can return to having honest debate on how to best take care of the "least among us", but that is not today! 

I've had this question on my mind the last few days, and found this thread is a good place to pose it:  is it immoral to vote for Republicans this November?

I was raised in a Catholic, Republican household, and I credit my upbringing (at least in part) with instilling in me a certain moral compass.  I'm struggling with how some of my family members who I thought had similar morals are still planning to vote Republican in the mid-terms.

To be clear, I firmly believe there is no longer a Republican party that doesn't fully endorse and enable Donald Trump.  Together, Trump and his GOP supporters have enabled/incited racism, separated children from their parents on a mass scale, sexually assaulted women and bragged about it, and now put an attempted rapist on the Supreme Court.

I could go on, and we can debate each one of these, but I think its pretty clear that the party of Trump has no moral compass.  They only care about themselves and their bank statements.  So, if you vote for them again this November, aren't you helping enable their immoral behavior?  Endorsing it?  Or, at least saying you don't care if they do these things?  Does that make casting that vote an immoral act in and of itself?

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23 hours ago, Dedfin said:

Jesus was a socialist

I could maybe see something like this.  I think he was closer to an anarchist than anything else.  An antiwar anarchist.  He wasn’t ambiguous about stealing or killing.  I’m a little biased though.  

One thing I definitely can’t see is Jesus being a centrist, or even deferential to political solutions.  He’d be on the extreme periphery in today’s political landscape, one way or the other.  

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3 minutes ago, CowboysFromHell said:

So, if you vote for them again this November, aren't you helping enable their immoral behavior?  Endorsing it?  Or, at least saying you don't care if they do these things?  Does that make casting that vote an immoral act in and of itself?

I believe the Christian Republican (or Republican Christian) retort would be: Is the reverse also true? If you vote for a democrat, aren't you helping enable their immoral behavior? Endorsing it? Or, at least saying you don't care if they do these things? Does that make casting that vote an immoral act in and of itself?

You may see one as worse than the other - and maybe one is truly worse than the other - but nobody is without sin. Politics can be a dark world and many times there are no good choices for people who want to cast a vote for God (if such a thing even exists). Assuming abstaining from voting is off the table, a decision has to be made. I wouldn't use that choice alone to make a judgment about what I think of the voter's morality or character. I know a Christian man who voted for Roy Moore. I don't get it, but I do believe he's a good man. I have a good sense of where is heart is in many parts of life so that weighs more than the single vote he cast to shape my view of my friend.

I have a much bigger problem with Christians who justify some things Trump does than I do for whether or not they vote for him. A vote can be so much more complicated than whether you refuse to clearly denounce actions like grabbing a woman by the #####.

 

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2 minutes ago, dgreen said:

I believe the Christian Republican (or Republican Christian) retort would be: Is the reverse also true? If you vote for a democrat, aren't you helping enable their immoral behavior? Endorsing it? Or, at least saying you don't care if they do these things? Does that make casting that vote an immoral act in and of itself?

You may see one as worse than the other - and maybe one is truly worse than the other - but nobody is without sin. Politics can be a dark world and many times there are no good choices for people who want to cast a vote for God (if such a thing even exists). Assuming abstaining from voting is off the table, a decision has to be made. I wouldn't use that choice alone to make a judgment about what I think of the voter's morality or character. I know a Christian man who voted for Roy Moore. I don't get it, but I do believe he's a good man. I have a good sense of where is heart is in many parts of life so that weighs more than the single vote he cast to shape my view of my friend.

I have a much bigger problem with Christians who justify some things Trump does than I do for whether or not they vote for him. A vote can be so much more complicated than whether you refuse to clearly denounce actions like grabbing a woman by the #####.

 

Yeah, I guess I don't get it.  What immoral behavior have you seen out of Democrats lately?  If we started a list, I'm pretty sure one would be a WHOLE LOT longer than the other.  In fact, here's a quick start to such a list:

Immoral acts by Democrats:

  1. I'm assuming most Christians would put legalized abortion here, and I'm guessing that could be what you were hinting at?

Immoral acts by Republicans:

  1. Sexual assault
  2. Racism
  3. Misogyny
  4. Child abuse (family separations)
  5. Mocking people with disabilities, victims of sexual assault, etc.
  6. Money laundering, lying to the FBI and certainly more to come from Mueller

I'll stop there, but you get my point.  It's not like you can hold your nose, and look past one infraction.  We're talking about a long list of horrible moral offenses.  I guess I don't see how anyone can justify the trade-off needed to go ahead and endorse someone like that.  I guess there are the one-issue abortion voters, but that's a separate discussion (why do Republicans care so much about an unborn child and yet turn their backs on them as soon as they pass through the birth canal?  And why do they refuse to support sex education and birth control if they fear unwanted pregnancies?)

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23 minutes ago, dgreen said:

I believe the Christian Republican (or Republican Christian) retort would be: Is the reverse also true? If you vote for a democrat, aren't you helping enable their immoral behavior? Endorsing it? Or, at least saying you don't care if they do these things? Does that make casting that vote an immoral act in and of itself?

You may see one as worse than the other - and maybe one is truly worse than the other - but nobody is without sin. Politics can be a dark world and many times there are no good choices for people who want to cast a vote for God (if such a thing even exists). Assuming abstaining from voting is off the table, a decision has to be made. I wouldn't use that choice alone to make a judgment about what I think of the voter's morality or character. I know a Christian man who voted for Roy Moore. I don't get it, but I do believe he's a good man. I have a good sense of where is heart is in many parts of life so that weighs more than the single vote he cast to shape my view of my friend.

I have a much bigger problem with Christians who justify some things Trump does than I do for whether or not they vote for him. A vote can be so much more complicated than whether you refuse to clearly denounce actions like grabbing a woman by the #####.

 

The way I look at it, if you cast a vote, you're supporting that person, both the good and the bad.  

Also, why would abstaining from voting be off the table?  That's a choice that approximately 195 million Americans made during the last presidential election.  It seems like a LOT of people choose not to vote.  (probably not the most popular sentiment in the Politics thread).

Back to topic of thread, Jesus.  He talked about God's Kingdom, which I don't take to mean the good ol USA (though many in the South seem to).  So I don't think he'd be joining a political party, voting or anything of the sort.  Just like in his day, his disciples thought he was going to overthrow Rome and become a King, and he clearly told them that wasn't his point.  

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Found these statistics interesting and relevant here:

http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/02/23/u-s-religious-groups-and-their-political-leanings/

I was a bit surprised to see the diversity of political leanings among the religious.

This is the statistic that I had in my head:  GOP remains about 73% white Christian

So, being religious doesn't automatically mean you're a Republican, but being a Republican pretty much means you're religious, in fact Christian, in fact white Christian.

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20 minutes ago, proninja said:

I'll take this as a personal indictment and make a point of shouting it from the rooftops more often around here 

Yeah, I guess it's all about context. When people refer to religious people in American, they aren't talking about Hindu, or even dignified and reserved Christians like yourself.

They are talking about close minded, loud and politically motivated Evangelists. At least that's what I refer to.

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I'll just go ahead and add this as #7 on my list of immoral acts by Trumpublicans

This guy really does want to transform the greatest democracy in the world into an authoritarian dictatorship.  Do his supporters not see that, or do they, again, just not care because they are on the side with power, and they aren't the ones being threatened with being locked up or beaten up for their political beliefs?

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Well again I would use the metric Jesus himself set forth. Does the candidate you are preparing to vote for support housing the homeless or does he support laws that criminalize them? Does the candidate support reform to our needlessly brutal prison system or does he support making it even more draconian? Does he support healing the sick or does he support making it harder for people to get medical care perhaps to the point they die from lack of access? Does he support doing things to raise up th poor or does he compare them to animals while raising up the rich? Is your candidate corrupt in his service of money and power or isn't he? You can make it hard or if you are really trying to live a Christ like life it's pretty easy. You can't get perfect people but you can get people who are on point policy wise.

Christ never mentioned homosexuality, guns or abortion when he told you what you needed to be doing on Earth to enter heaven after his judgement. If you give earthly power to people not pursuing those things he did mention well then you may find yourself in the wrong line.

Edited by NCCommish

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28 minutes ago, NCCommish said:

Well again I would use the metric Jesus himself set forth. Does the candidate you are preparing to vote for support housing the homeless or does he support laws that criminalize them? Does the candidate support reform to our needlessly brutal prison system or does he support making it even more draconian? Does he support healing the sick or does he support making it harder for people to get medical care perhaps to the point they die from lack of access? Does he support doing things to raise up th poor or does he compare them to animals while raising up the rich? Is your candidate corrupt in his service of money and power or isn't he? You can make it hard or if you are really trying to live a Christ like life it's pretty easy. You can't get perfect people but you can get people who are on point policy wise.

Christ never mentioned homosexuality, guns or abortion when he told you what you needed to be doing on Earth to enter heaven after his judgement. If you give earthly power to people not pursuing those things he did mention well then you may find yourself in the wrong line.

:goodposting: (except for the Jesus stuff)

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2 minutes ago, CowboysFromHell said:

:goodposting: (except for the Jesus stuff)

Well when speaking to Christians an appeal to Christ's authority seems like a good idea.

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3 hours ago, joffer said:

"The document, a four-page explanation of how to establish Christian law through armed struggle, calls for the end of same-sex marriage, abortion, and the death of all non-Christian males in the U.S. if religious law is not upheld."

Eh, I'm sure he was just following Obama's blueprint for Sharia Law.

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I'm pretty sure the President of Liberty University  (1st or 2nd largest Christian university in the country) thinks DJT is the 3rd coming of Jesus.

The twitter feed is full of doozies, but this one might be my favorite:

"Conservatives & Christians need to stop electing “nice guys”. They might make great Christian leaders but the US needs street fighters like @realDonaldTrump at every level of government b/c the liberal fascists Dems are playing for keeps & many Repub leaders are a bunch of wimps!"

 

Edited by pollardsvision

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4 hours ago, [scooter] said:

"The document, a four-page explanation of how to establish Christian law through armed struggle, calls for the end of same-sex marriage, abortion, and the death of all non-Christian males in the U.S. if religious law is not upheld."

Eh, I'm sure he was just following Obama's blueprint for Sharia Law.

These are white people who believe this crap, right?

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2 hours ago, pollardsvision said:

I'm pretty sure the President of Liberty University  (1st or 2nd largest Christian university in the country) thinks DJT is the 3rd coming of Jesus.

The twitter feed is full of doozies, but this one might be my favorite:

"Conservatives & Christians need to stop electing “nice guys”. They might make great Christian leaders but the US needs street fighters like @realDonaldTrump at every level of government b/c the liberal fascists Dems are playing for keeps & many Repub leaders are a bunch of wimps!"

 

It really boggles my mind how Evangelicals like Falewell Jr. can so strongly support Trump.  Trump is pretty much the antithesis of what Christ was all about.  It’s disgusting.

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12 minutes ago, proninja said:

It just exposes the rot in evangelical culture and theology. Trump is the logical extension of that. Evangelicals left the sermon on the mount a long time ago in favor of their particular reading of Paul. 

And I'd suggest that this is even a stretch.  It's tough to tie what we are seeing back to Paul in any meaningful way.  

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2 hours ago, AAABatteries said:

It really boggles my mind how Evangelicals like Falewell Jr. can so strongly support Trump.  Trump is pretty much the antithesis of what Christ was all about.  It’s disgusting.

Evangelicals are pretty far from what Christ was all about as well, so it kind of makes sense. At least a solid majority that is more interested in culture wars than anything relating to Jesus's message.

Edited by huthut

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2 minutes ago, The Commish said:

And I'd suggest that this is even a stretch.  It's tough to tie what we are seeing back to Paul in any meaningful way.  

Yeah, I attribute it to the confluence of being Christian and being Republican.  It’s something I noticed years ago and it’s just gotten worse.  I see little in the Republican platform that aligns with the teachings of Jesus.  I see even less with whatever you call Trump’s agenda.

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11 hours ago, [scooter] said:

"The document, a four-page explanation of how to establish Christian law through armed struggle, calls for the end of same-sex marriage, abortion, and the death of all non-Christian males in the U.S. if religious law is not upheld."

Eh, I'm sure he was just following Obama's blueprint for Sharia Law.

That's insane. Obviously, couldn't disagree more with this guy. 

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the big kahuna from down under upstairs to me is love brohans plain and simple and i think that we walk the path of the numero uno brohan christ when we live a life of love and love our neighbors and i think that is the job of all christians everywhere but sadly i do not see a lot of love if any at all coming out of the party currently running this ship that is all i am saying take that to the bank 

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1 minute ago, proninja said:

Ask a republican Christian where they get scriptural support for their position on the role of Christians in government, gay people, women's roles, and any of the issues on which they're incredibly regressive and see who they quote. 

If they're new to these arguments they'll quote Hebrew law. If they're not they'll quote Paul. 

Well of course they will, and they'd do so in a completely disingenuous way because as you know, those positions aren't supported by Paul or the Bible (sans some of the woman role stuff potentially, which is for another thread).  They will latch on to a specific phrase, take it completely out of context and say "see....the Bible says so".  None of the teachings of the Bible are immune to the sort of bastardization that occurs when one goes to the Bible looking for support to an already held position instead of going to the Bible and seeing what the Bible says on a specific subject before forming an opinion....Paul's teachings included.

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