Jesus Wouldn't DARE Coerce People Into Charity!

You know, for a guy who’s supposedly all about hating gays, Jesus as sure had a lot of people’s arms up his ass using him as a ventriloquist puppet.

As far as I’m concerned when nearly everyone except serious historians talk about Jesus as an authority who proves their own values are correct, they had might as well take out the word “Jesus” and put in the word “I” because they seem to care extremely little about anything like what he actually says. Here, a libertarian-sounding blogger uncovers the secret libertarian abhorrence Jesus had at coercing anyone to give to charity:

Christian social justice types want to legitimize the Occupy movement by suggesting that protesters are being persecuted for seeking to apply Jesus’ commands. Again, if anyone out there has any evidence that protesters have been arrested or removed from public places for feeding the hungry, giving clean water to the thirsty, clothing the naked, attending to the sick, or visiting the incarcerated, I’d like to see that.

I’m waiting. (Crickets…)

When Jesus spoke about loving one another, there isn’t the slightest indication that he was defining love as making sure others are charitable. He was calling each heart to act for itself in love toward others. Any external compulsion to act charitably would not be love, but coercion and/or thievery.

The forces behind the Occupy movement are using class warfare to divide this country, not unite it.

For the record, Jesus was so against that principle of coercing people into being charitable that off the top of my head I can think of three cases where Jesus specifically says that those who do not give to the poor will go to hell or not go to heaven. But of course, bullying people with intimidating threats of hell, implying that rich people who do not give their every last cent are the paradigmatic examples of those who deserve eternal torment is not “coercing” anybody, it’s an invitation to act out of love alone. But raising the taxes on millionaires and billionaires to care for the poor—that’s coercions. Because Jesus elsewhere (reel missing) says that all taxes are inherently thievery and “thou shalt give nothing to Caesar that God hath not given to him himself” or something. I don’t remember the text completely, all I know is it’s in the section where Jesus says not a word of Hayek or Rand shall be abolished until all things come to pass. Or something.

Basically, according to what Jesus says, the biggest law in the whole universe is that either rich people give what they have to the poor or they burn in hell, but what he means is, “Yeah, don’t listen to me, just whatever the Club For Growth says, I’m on board with. I totes trust those guys.”

So, below the fold, are the texts where Jesus deliberately confuses people by saying things which are much meaner and more judgmental things about the rich than he ever said about gays (since, you know, he never talked about them) or abortion (which he also never talked about) or atheists (who he probably never heard about) or any of the other legion of sinners the religious right hates so much:

Luke 16:19-31

New International Version (NIV)

The Rich Man and Lazarus

19 “There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. 20 At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores 21 and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.22 “The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. 23 In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. 24 So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’

25 “But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. 26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’

27 “He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family, 28 for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’

29 “Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’

30 “‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’

31 “He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’”

and

Mark 10:17-25

New International Version (NIV)

The Rich and the Kingdom of God

17 As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”18 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered.“No one is good—except God alone. 19 You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, you shall not defraud, honor your father and mother.’[a]

20 “Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.”

21 Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

22 At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.

23 Jesus looked around and said to his disciples,“How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!”

24 The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said again, “Children, how hard it is[b] to enter the kingdom of God! 25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”

and

Matthew 25:31-46

New International Version (NIV)

The Sheep and the Goats

31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

And how’s this for class warfare, check out Luke 6:20-26:

20Looking at his disciples, he said:

“Blessed are you who are poor,

for yours is the kingdom of God.

21Blessed are you who hunger now,

for you will be satisfied.

Blessed are you who weep now,

for you will laugh.

22Blessed are you when men hate you,

when they exclude you and insult you

and reject your name as evil,

because of the Son of Man.

23“Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how their fathers treated the prophets.

24“But woe to you who are rich,

for you have already received your comfort.

25Woe to you who are well fed now,

for you will go hungry.

Woe to you who laugh now,

for you will mourn and weep.

26Woe to you when all men speak well of you,

for that is how their fathers treated the false prophets.

Oh yeah, and finally, on that whole “Jesus is a uniter, not a divider” thing. That’s actually George W. Bush, not Jesus, here were Jesus’s words (in Matthew 10:32-42) on how awesome dividing people up was:

32“Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. 33But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven.

34“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35For I have come to turn

“‘a man against his father,

a daughter against her mother,

a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—

36a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’e

37“Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; 38and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

40“He who receives you receives me, and he who receives me receives the one who sent me. 41Anyone who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and anyone who receives a righteous man because he is a righteous man will receive a righteous man’s reward. 42And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward.”

More of my own views of the pros and cons of Jesus can be found in posts like Gays, Jesus, and Judging and The Evils of the Sermon on the Mount (Part 1). And, of course, the greatest and most decisive words ever written on Jesus are G. Robert Ingersoll’s.

Your Thoughts?

About Daniel Fincke

Dr. Daniel Fincke  has his PhD in philosophy from Fordham University and spent 11 years teaching in college classrooms. He wrote his dissertation on Ethics and the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. On Camels With Hammers, the careful philosophy blog he writes for a popular audience, Dan argues for atheism and develops a humanistic ethical theory he calls “Empowerment Ethics”. Dan also teaches affordable, non-matriculated, video-conferencing philosophy classes on ethics, Nietzsche, historical philosophy, and philosophy for atheists that anyone around the world can sign up for. (You can learn more about Dan’s online classes here.) Dan is an APPA  (American Philosophical Practitioners Association) certified philosophical counselor who offers philosophical advice services to help people work through the philosophical aspects of their practical problems or to work out their views on philosophical issues. (You can read examples of Dan’s advice here.) Through his blogging, his online teaching, and his philosophical advice services each, Dan specializes in helping people who have recently left a religious tradition work out their constructive answers to questions of ethics, metaphysics, the meaning of life, etc. as part of their process of radical worldview change.

  • http://killedbyfish.blogspot.com feralboy12

    Methinks Jesus was all kind, forgiving and loving until somebody questioned his divinity.

  • Pierce R. Butler

    … if anyone out there has any evidence that protesters have been arrested or removed from public places for feeding the hungry…

    Our local shelter/soup kitchen was explicitly barred by the City (of Gainesville, FL) from serving more than 130 people, with enough police pressure that the workers there enforced it (ahem) religiously, no matter if Hungry Person # 131 was pregnant, ill, or whatever.

    After months of protests, demonstrations, petitions, etc, the City Commission finally changed that to allow feeding of any number, within a three-hour period. But they added a catch: you can only be fed at this facility if you present a card issued by the local police department certifying that you have no outstanding warrants, etc – and each card expires after one month.

    Given the less-than-friendly relations between the homeless/poor and the cops – who have broken up numerous “Tent City” camps – this means that the numbers getting one daily meal are now down in the two-digit range, and hunger is greater than ever.

    Tell that to your crickets, americanparser.

    • sc_239a456495a07207bad0bf75f6f6bc26

      Mr. Butler, I do appreciate your contribution to the lively response I’m getting here to my article at American Parser.

      But if you’ll actually reread the entire excerpt of my article, which Mr. Fincke so kindly reproduced for his post, you’ll see that I was specifically addressing such arrests that might have happened within the Occupy movement, not just any unjust arrest in history. My challenge itself was a specific response to another blogger’s post which claimed essentially that protestors in the Occupy movement were being arrested for doing what Jesus had done. That post is cited at the top of mine, if you’re in fact at all interested in context.

      It might also be noted that the persons challenged in the example you cite were apparently not protesters, but charity workers, and they were not in a public place, but rather in a private facility being utilized to serve the public. As well, you don’t mention any arrests, or anyone being removed from the facility.

      I don’t make these points to pass judgment on the example you give, except that it has no bearing whatsoever on what I said.

      But thank you again for taking a swing. My crickets are still chirping.

    • Pierce R. Butler

      American Parser – Not having time or interest to follow up on yr claims, I’ll accept that your needs have not been met, poor baby.

      Gotta say that the Occupiers put out a much more consistent message than the “Gospels” protagonist does, though if the OWS message was run through a few centuries of editing by factional squabblers it might approach Biblical incoherence.

    • http://americanparser.wordpress.com American Parser

      I don’t need pity, because this was never about my needs. I’m good, thank you. We were talking about your ability to make debate effectively, and unfortunately, you utterly failed on every point. Your example simply had no relationship to what I said, any more than the address of a paving company might have to Wall Street.

      Your original response only underscores the futility of trying to have meaningful, constructive dialogue with someone who can’t be bothered with understanding the subject matter beyond the nearest sound bite.

      You can’t be bothered, of course, because your point is not served by a critical mind. And that’s the shame of it all.

  • plutosdad

    The one argument I only thought of is not from Jesus but Paul, where he is writing to people arguing over how much to give, and Paul wrote something like “everyone should give what he desires in his heart, for the lord loves a cheerful giver” but I think Paul thought giving a little was a stepping stone to finding how rewarding it is so you can give more.

    but yes, when I was a devout Christian making a decent living those lines of Jesus worried me. I think 99.999% of christians don’t live up to them, which is probably good since it gets rather cultish.

    I think if Jesus was not executed, he might have ended up like so many other cult leaders: with a harem of women, demanding everything from his followers, until they all commit mass suicide like that Bar-Jesus I think did, wasn’t that a mass suicide?

    wtf is wrong with Gainesville?

    • Pierce R. Butler

      What’s wrong with Gainesville, in this context, is a small pack of millionaires who own almost all of downtown (including City Hall), and who want all the riffraff cleared out so more people will feel free to wander around spending money without having to see those with no money to spend.

  • http://songe.me Alex Songe

    You missed Acts 5:1-10 in compulsory giving, or at least lying about half-assing your giving. Ananias and Sapphira sold some property and donated “all the proceeds” to the church, except they kept some to themselves. Peter then asked if they had donated all the proceeds. After saying that that was all the money, they were struck dead by God.

  • Chris

    You are correct that Jesus told the rich, everyone in fact, to give to the needy, care for the ill etc and that if you didn’t you’ld be in trouble.

    He didn’t say, take from the rich without consent and distribute it as you choose.

    Yes, the wealth gap is crazy and needs to be rectified, CEOs stealing profits and awarding themselves bonuses for failure is madness (pension fund managers should be fired for allowing it), but for someone like Bill Gates or Steve Jobs who built their own companies is it wrong that they earn more?

    How you go about changing the system is a political issue, nor party political but people putting pressure on the pension fund and investment managers and this the occupy groups are helping focus attention on.
    I also suspect that a lot of the occupy protesters are the same type of people who do give of themselves to charitable causes.

    • http://freethoughtblogs.com/camelswithhammers Camels With Hammers

      Yes, you can refuse to consent to help the poor, and then against your consent you get sent to hell to be tortured forever. That’s how much respect Jesus had for consent in how you used your own money. Get it?

    • Chris

      Get it?

      I understood what you wrote, that is why I wrote ….and that if you didn’t you’ld be in trouble. Perhaps you skipped that bit.

      So it is fairly clear, obey the rules or be punished.
      Who consents to being found guilty and going to jail?
      Yes, yes, eternal punishment is worse but it is still a choice.

    • Leo

      Giving to the poor or leaving the country is also a choice.

    • kagekiri

      The question was never “is it wrong if they earn more?”, it’s “how much more is fair?” A trend of increased productivity is happening across the board, but the the profits only increase for the rich despite everyone working harder.

      Sure, it sucks if you strike it big and some or even a lot (proportionally) of your hard-earned money gets taken away. I think it still sucks worse to be desperately unemployed because of the timing of the economic crash or employed with no hope of bettering your station no matter how hard you work. The random happenstance of birth, gender, ethnicity, talents, disease, the timing of opportunities, sheer luck, and so on; we can pretend that only those that “deserve it the most” or who work hardest get rich, but I don’t believe that’s true in all cases or even most cases.

      Anyway, yes, Jesus didn’t “command” wealth redistribution enforced by the government, but based on Jesus stated opposition to tax evasion and advocacy of a “don’t fight your oppressors” even when the government at the time was an invading empire who didn’t give two craps about consent of the governed, I’m pretty sure you can’t use Jesus to complain about unfair taxation or abuse when the people use their vote (legally or illegally) in a democracy to take and redistribute your money, even if you fairly earned every last cent. Biblical Jesus didn’t give a crap about consent or representation or rights of minorities in a democracy; he paid his taxes anyway, and told his followers to do the same.

      Basically, even incredibly unfair and destructive forced wealth distribution by any secular government would be fine under Jesus’ teachings. Of course, his tacit pro-oppression stance would also allow utterly horrible stuff like slavery, censorship, executions of dissidents, and so on while still expecting Christians to suck it up, so let’s just leave Jesus out of government decisions entirely.


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