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.

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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.


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