Exploring Our Matrix
The Blog of Dr. James F. McGrath, Clarence L. Goodwin Chair in New Testament Language and Literature at Butler University, Indianapolis
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David Hayward does it again…
Interesting. Seems like someone’s been burned by someone claiming to be Christ’s follower, and ended up not acting Christlike him/herself.
I continue to find it interesting that Buddha, who claimed inner peace, has followers that pour gasoline on themselves and set themselves ablaze as way of “peaceful” demonstration. Or that Mohammad has followers that will strap a bomb to a woman and blow her up in the market to kill others in his name. Or that believers in Gandhi’s cause had several small groups that believed they were necessary evils and warred privately much like English Soccer Hooligans.
I continue to find it interesting that it’s Christ, who himself rejected many of the cultural practices of the time to help the poor, sick, and hungry, is the one who is portrayed as the opressor.
I find this amusing in it’s irony, much like I would a cartoon of Gandhi with a Louisville slugger on his shoulder and a tattoo of “Live free or die hard” on his chest.
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I don’t ever see Christ being portrayed “the” (or an) oppressor. I do often see Christians and their institutions being portrayed that way (which is the irony of this cartoon). It isn’t entirely fair as a generalization, but mostly in the same way that it isn’t fair to generalize Mohammed’s followers to those who practice extremism.
I dunno, the Bible contains some strong ridicule, insults, curses, from Yahweh to the prophets to Jesus to Paul to the author of Revelation. The Bible is a mixed bag. We’re the ones left pondering it and interpreting it.
For instance, “Peace on earth, good will toward men [at Jesus’s birth];” and Jesus’s teaching, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the sons of God” (Mat. 5:9), and “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you” (John 14:27a).Compare them with, “Do you suppose that I [Jesus] came to grant peace on earth? I came not to bring peace, but a sword.” (Mat. 10:34); or, “Do you suppose that I came to grant peace on earth? I tell you, no, but rather division… I have come to cast fire on the earth and how I wish it were already kindled.” (Luke 12:49,51)
That doesn’t even include the “cursing of the Pharisees” that Jesus indulged in.
Meanwhile, in Galatians 1:8 Paul curses any man or angel who dares to proclaim a contrary gospel, and in 2 Peter 2:1 “swift destruction” is prescribed for all false prophets and teachers. Indeed, according to Acts a husband and wife are struck dead immediately after lying to Peter about having given all they had to the church. And in 1 Cor. Paul states that God himself “judges” Christians by making “many ill, and some fallen asleep [dead]” because of the unsatisfactory way they had been celebrating the Lord’s Supper.
Lastly, the Jesus who taught us to love our enemies and how blessed peacemakers were, becomes a total terror in the book of Revelation. The only path to peace is via Armageddon, and tossing people into a lake of fire whose smoke rises forever in everyone’s sight.
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