Huffington Post: Evangelicals Hate Jesus?

What an interesting article by Phil Zuckerman.  Here is a snippet:

The results from a recent poll published by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life reveal what social scientists have known for a long time: White Evangelical Christians are the group least likely to support politicians or policies that reflect the actual teachings of Jesus. It is perhaps one of the strangest, most dumb-founding ironies in contemporary American culture. Evangelical Christians, who most fiercely proclaim to have a personal relationship with Christ, who most confidently declare their belief that the Bible is the inerrant word of God, who go to church on a regular basis, pray daily, listen to Christian music, and place God and His Only Begotten Son at the center of their lives, are simultaneously the very people most likely to reject his teachings and despise his radical message.

Jesus unambiguously preached mercy and forgiveness. These are supposed to be cardinal virtues of the Christian faith. And yet Evangelicals are the most supportive of the death penalty, draconian sentencing, punitive punishment over rehabilitation, and the governmental use of torture. Jesus exhorted humans to be loving, peaceful, and non-violent. And yet Evangelicals are the group of Americans most supportive of easy-access weaponry, little-to-no regulation of handgun and semi-automatic gun ownership, not to mention the violent military invasion of various countries around the world. Jesus was very clear that the pursuit of wealth was inimical to the Kingdom of God, that the rich are to be condemned, and that to be a follower of Him means to give one’s money to the poor. And yet Evangelicals are the most supportive of corporate greed and capitalistic excess, and they are the most opposed to institutional help for the nation’s poor — especially poor children. They hate anything that smacks of “socialism,” even though that is essentially what their Savior preached. They despise food stamp programs, subsidies for schools, hospitals, job training — anything that might dare to help out those in need. Even though helping out those in need was exactly what Jesus urged humans to do. In short, Evangelicals are that segment of America which is the most pro-militaristic, pro-gun, and pro-corporate, while simultaneously claiming to be most ardent lovers of the Prince of Peace.

What’s the deal?

via Phil Zuckerman: Why Evangelicals Hate Jesus.

I have my own answers to this question: less scholarship and more depravity in their theological teachings.  I’m sure Jim West would agree.  But do read on to see what Phil Zuckerman offers as an explanation.

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Timothy Beal: In the Beginning(s): Appreciating the Complexity of the Bible

What an excellent article by Timothy Beal at the Huffington Post. This is what I have been trying to say for years now.  Definitely check it out; it is worth the read.  Here is a snippet:

Unlike the creationism in circulation today, the Bible’s own creationism is rich in different, mutually incompatible ways of imagining cosmic and human beginnings. There is no single biblical account of creation. The Bible doesn’t seem to have a problem with that. Why should we?

Whether or not we should have a problem with this biblical polyvocality, I’ve learned the hard way that many indeed do. I recently wrote a short piece for Askmen.com on “Five Things You Didn’t Know” about the Bible. The first of those five things was that there are multiple accounts of creation in the Bible. I expected some people to disagree, and I looked forward to a serious back-and-forth about the texts I had pointed out. That’s not what happened. Instead, I was overwhelmed with a flood of angry responses, most of which were as impious, rude and downright unchristian in tone as they were reactionary and unthinking in their “defense” of the Bible.

Once I got over being called a “gay moron” and “fatass nerd editor sitting in his basement,” I could see that what I’d gotten myself into was an amplified version of the debates that go on every day between “Bible-believers” and atheists, who looked to me very much like two sides of the same coin.

Both sides agreed that my goal was to “discredit” the Bible, to “make the Bible look stupid, irrelevant, and full of holes” and “a load of bullshit.” The only difference between them was whether they supported or condemned me for doing so. Neither side was remotely interested in engaging with the logic of my argument, let alone the biblical texts I used to support it.

Never mind that I’m a Christian, that I regularly teach about the Bible in confirmation classes and in Sunday school, and that I’ve dedicated more than two decades to studying and teaching biblical literature as a college professor. I think I have my facts right, and the biblical references were right there. It would’ve been easy to go and read them before responding. But no one on either side of the argument did.

via Timothy Beal: In the Beginning(s): Appreciating the Complexity of the Bible.

I can’t recommend it enough.  (h/t to James McGrath on Facebook)

Man Claims God Made Him Choke and Slash Woman

More depravity.

A 29-year-old man who choked an Allentown woman with a lamp cord and slashed her throat and face last week said God made him do it, according to court records.

Dennis Rafael Calderon, of Easton, was arrested at the home in the 400 block of Green Street after an unidentified man held him down until police arrived, according to court records.

Ortiz told the officers a man named Dennis slashed her. She said the last thing she remembered was Calderon choking her with a lamp cord and saying “God commanded me to kill you.”

via Allentown slashing God: Allentown slashing God, man claims God made his choke and slash woman in Allentown home – mcall.com.

Actor Michael Brea Slays Mother for Being a ‘Sinner’

First, I’ll be the first to admit that fervent belief or faith has a few positive connections; this is not one of them:

Convinced his church-going mom was possessed by Satan, a Scripture-spouting killer hacked her to death with a 3-foot sword as she knelt in their apartment, police sources said.

Deranged killer Michael Brea “told the doctors that he saw the Devil, and that the Devil was somehow in his mother,” a police source told the Daily News after the gruesome slaying.

Neighbors insisted the brutal killing of Yannick Brea early Tuesday occurred as police ignored their desperate demands to kick in the dying woman’s front door.

Yannick Brea, 55, was found kneeling – as if offering a final prayer – after she was butchered during her son’s demented diatribe about repentance, police said.

“Sinner! Sinner!” howled Michael Brea, a bit-part actor who once appeared on “Ugly Betty,” neighbors and police sources said. “You never accepted Jesus!”

via Sword-swinging ‘Ugly Betty’ actor Michael Brea slays mother for being ‘sinner,’ police sources say.

Calvin: Being Religious

An interesting observation.

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