Alternatively Titled: Jesus told you to sell your possessions and give to the poor, so why haven’t you?
If you’re a Christian, a sincere believer that following Christ and his teachings is the best way to store up treasure in Heaven, I have a very simple question – WHY do you own a computer or web-enabled phone?
This question might seem out of left field, after all almost everyone in modern society owns a cell phone that can browse the internet and many people also own a laptop, desktop or tablet to surf the web. But if the Jesus of the Gospels looked at most American Christians today he would rather perplexed by their behavior. Many of them buy fancy clothing and dress up each Sunday to go to Church, they own houses, multiple vehicles, computers and electronic devices, television sets and more clothes than they need.
While many Churches these days do help out the poor and hungry in our communities the average individual Christian does not follow Christ’s directions in the Gospels. Which directions am I talking about? Why the ones that tell Christians to sell their possessions, give the money to the poor, and hang out with and help out the poor at every opportunity.
There is no ambiguity in the Gospels that Jesus is preaching a Gospel of poverty. People, he says, should give no care of tomorrow and let tomorrow worry about itself for God will provide for them. And repeatedly, over and over again, Jesus tells those who wish to be followers to give away all of their possessions in order to follow him.
Now there’s a handful of ways for modern Christians to skirt their way around this. They can pretend that Jesus was only talking to his followers in the 1st Century and not to those who would live thousands of years later… this kind of cherry-picking seems severely dishonest. Or those Christians could argue that God provided them the things they have, the cars, the money, the house, etc. The idea these people present, without any backing from the Bible, is that God has blessed them with Earthly treasure for their faithfulness.
Not only does this prosperity Gospel fly in the face of Christ’s actual teachings, which direct followers to give up Earthly goods to pursue treasures that are only in Heaven but it also doesn’t make any sense when you break it down. After all there are plenty of faithful devout believers who ARE homeless or poor and who can’t seem to catch a break and there are plenty of wealthy hypocrites and even wealthy non-Christians. So obviously being a sincere believer does not correspond to one’s worldly goods (duh). Jesus does say that God will provide food and clothing to wear but not any sort of riches or worldly things.
There is this weird contradiction I’ve noticed about many Christians here in America, the majority of them are REPUBLICANS. Republicans demonize the poor at almost every turn and deride the idea of their hard earned tax dollars going to help people on Welfare or Food Stamps. Yet this is exactly the sort of thing Christ wanted, people helping each other, helping to feed the poor, downtrodden or outcast. Jesus didn’t want Christians looking down on the poor, in fact Jesus liked to hang out with prostitutes and poor people an awful lot and only very rarely did he hang out with the wealthy.
Jesus’ philosophy is almost self-destructively selfless. Turn the other cheek, give to those who steal from you even more than they take, bless those that curse you and love your enemies – and do not worry about tomorrow. Judge no one and be sure to remove the sin from your life before you criticize anyone. Help the poor and freely do miracles.
Yet why do we not see any verifiable evidence of miracles? Why do we not see Christians selling their worldly goods so that they can take up their cross and giving the money to the poor?
While I, obviously, do not agree with all of what Jesus says there is wisdom in some of it and while I do not think every American should give up everything they have to help the poor I think a more charitable attitude would help a great deal. Rather than despising those who are own Food Stamps are freeloaders perhaps Christians might look at them as Christ would have, as other fucking people who happen to be in a bad financial spot where they could use a little help to make ends meet.
Obviously this post is a bit different from other Fuck the Bible posts, because instead of saying Fuck the Bible, I am essentially pointing out that Christians aren’t following the book they purportedly think is the Word of God.
As I said though there’s plenty of self-destructive nonsense in what Jesus is talking about when he tells people not to resist an evil person but to submit to them. I understand that Christ was a pacifist (another fact many Christians would angrily disagree with) but he takes it to an extreme degree even telling his followers not to defend themselves. This seems like madness! If some burglar demands my wallet I am meant to give him my shoes as well? No thank you.
Jesus, being an apocalyptic prophet, believed that there was no reason to worry about tomorrow, the Kingdom of God was on its way. But today the advice to let tomorrow worry about itself is itself worrying. How can we possibly not worry about tomorrow? There are goals to be set and achieved, obstacles to overcome, and an uncertain future that we must attempt to shape as best we can. But, if, as Jesus believed, the world was fast coming to an end, there would be no reason to plan.
Dangerously there are some end-times minded Christians to this day who hold to the dangerous belief that the end is coming soon and that we don’t need to worry about abusing the planet and misusing our resources. They look forward to the end, to seeing God descend with fire and wrath and unleash slaughter on all the “evil people” of the world.
If you are a Christian reading this I wonder how closely you truly follow the word of your Savior. Do you keep the commandments, as Jesus instructs? Do you give to the poor regularly and keep yourself from becoming rich? (A rich man cannot pass into heaven, the Bible describes it as nearly impossible, as a camel passing through the eye of a needle). If you do keep the commandments very closely I wonder how you are even reading this, unless you’re at a local internet cafe or public library. Do you love Jesus more than your own family? Because if not you are unworthy. Have you ever been divorced and remarried, than Christ believes you are guilty of adultery, a capital offense in the Old Testament.
How many demon have you cast out? How many miracles do you have under your belt? Because we are meant to know Christ’s followers by their “FRUITS” and if you are not bearing fruit Christ says you may be cut down and cast into the fire.
If you don’t follow after Christ all that closely than I wonder WHY you believe in something you are unwilling or unable to follow. Why not discard it? Give the Bible a much closer examination and study how it came together and then decide whether the commandments are worth keeping and the beliefs worth holding onto. And if they are, then I bid you farewell as you will no doubt sell your possessions to follow Christ. If they aren’t worth believing then I hope you will one day join me when I say, Fuck the Bible.