Why A Muslim Teenager Is A Better Christian Than A Whole Roomful of Jesus-Loving Conservatives

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.”

—Jesus of Nazareth, from the Sermon on the Mount

malala Yousafzai, the Muslim teenager who was shot in the head by the Taliban in Pakistan for advocating that, among other things, girls should go to school, appeared on Jon Stewart’s show, and the short segment is must-see television. She talked about how she first found out that the Taliban was targeting her (she was 14 at the time) and she revealed her subsequent thoughts (to a gasping Jon Stewart) about what she would do when a member of the Taliban came to do her harm:

malala yousafzaiI used to think that the Talib would come and just kill me. But then I said, “If he comes what would you do, Malala?”  Then I would reply to myself, “Malala just take a shoe and hit him,” but then I said, “If you hit a Talib with your shoe, then there would be no difference between you and the Talib. You must not treat others with that much cruelty and that much harshly. You must fight others through peace and through dialogue and through education”…I would tell him how important education is and that “I would even want education for your children as well. That’s what I want to tell you. Now do what you want.”

Now, I can’t imagine anything more in tune with Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount than that, can you?

Contrast that with what is currently going on at the 2013 Values Voter Summit in Washington, put on by an allegedly Jesus-loving outfit called the Family Research Council. Annually this group gets together to blaspheme their savior by essentially repudiating much of what he stood for in the scriptures these folks hold to be infallible.

Jesus, who offered folks free health care while he was on the earth, must have winced when Senator Mike Lee appeared this morning and said of the Affordable Care Act,

We must stop it. We must defund it. We cannot accept it.

He received a standing ovation from the roomful of, uh, Christians.

The gathered faithful also joyfully and enthusiastically welcomed a militant Mark Levin, a rabid talk-show host who said the President of the United States should just “sit down and shut up.” Apparently the applauding Bible-thumpers forgot about Romans 13, which I suggest they read in full, especially the parts I have highlighted for their edification:

Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience.

If one takes the Bible seriously, if one believes that it is the Word of God, as all those Values Voter Summit attendees do, then they all should hope that Barack Obama doesn’t take his “avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer” role literally. It could get ugly.

Finally, there was Dr. Ben Carson, formerly a famous neurosurgeon and now an in-demand right-wing Christian speaker, who said the following about the Affordable Care Act, which, I remind you was primarily designed to bring health insurance to millions of folks who can’t afford it or can’t get it because of preexisting health conditions and keeps very much alive the for-profit health system:

I have to tell you ObamaCare is, really I think, the worst thing that’s happened in this nation since slavery. 

Dr. Carson, who appears to be black, went on to say that the new law “is slavery, in a way,” and it is “evil,” and it is “socialized medicine” and, of course, it is being used somehow to turn us into a commies.

These folks, I remind you, say they are Christians.

In any case, with all the weirdness going on in Washington, D.C., both in an out of the government, I suppose it makes perfect sense that a little Muslim girl from Pakistan, who bravely stood up to the fanatics around her and lived to tell about it, better represents the Sermon-on-the-Mount Jesus than all the Values Voter Christians put together.

13 Comments

  1. As we know, Duane, conseravtive “Christians” long ago replaced the “Bible” with “Fountainhead” and “Atlas Shrugged” — the later two not only being second rate literature, but also possessing as much philosphical acumen as a Ron Paul speech. Their level of betrayal of the teachings of Jesus is so astounding as to award them all the brand of “Judases”.

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  2. Duane,

    I did see Stewart’s interview with Malala. It made the hair on my arms stand straight up. She is beyond something special. And if you haven’t seen it, go to Youtube and watch her speech to the UN. She is truly amazing.

    Of course the American Taliban are trapped in their own paranoia and delusions and hubris and other bad stuff. And they have very carefully cherry-picked the scriptures they like and ignore the rest. They are worse, IMHO, that John Dean’s characterization of them in his 2006 book.

    One thing that might be fun do, is take up a collection and sent these far right wing nuts a transcript of American Biblical scholar Joseph Atwill’s upcoming presentation in London on October 19th to put forth his theory that the New Testament was actually written by first-century Romans and that they invented the entire story of Jesus Christ. Atwill posits that Christianity did not really begin as a religion, but a sophisticated government project, a kind of propaganda exercise used to pacify the subjects of the Roman Empire; mainly Jews, who were looking for the promised Messiah anyway. He claims to have documentation, recently discovered, to support his claim. See http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2451087/American-Bible-scholar-claims-ancient-confessions-prove-story-Jesus-Christ-entirely-fabricated-Roman-aristocrats.html

    Of course, other scholars are tripping all over themselves to prove Atwill wrong. And nothing will dissuade the evangelical fundamentalists to stop believing in their Santa Claus hero who does magic tricks and thinks liberals are Satan’s messengers from hell. These guys are not only NOT in the same league as Malala, they are not even on the same planet!

    Herb

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    • Treeske

       /  October 11, 2013

      Herb, Thanks for the info, have not heard about it but interested to learn about it.

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    • A reminder, Herb, that not all Christians are rightwing, Libertarian nutjobs. A good (and brief) read is linguist Stephen Mitchell’s “The Gospel According to Jesus”. The Romans may have co-opted the fears and and Zelot fringers among Jesus’ followers in much the same way the John Birchers (Tea Party) co-opted the term “grass roots” movement.

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    • Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.

      That passage has always puzzled me because it is nonsensical on its face. It is saying that no matter who is in charge of government, it is God’s will that it be so. Hence, God is OK with Caligula, Nero, Stalin, Hitler, Saddam Hussein, and Chairman Mao. Therefore Atwill’s premise fits neatly. Jesus’ admonition to turn the other cheek is similar – there are many circumstances where that philosophy is simply inane, and, it’s inconsistent with Jesus’ behavior relative to the moneychangers in the temple.

      I admire Malala’s bravery but I question her judgement. Fortunately her father doesn’t share her naiveté and sensibly moved his family to to the land of the free where all are protected, even the nut cases.

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      • sumit

         /  November 21, 2013

        It is the test of religion and test of patience for those who believe in God. The Jews went through such test during their time under Pharoah. And anti-christ as west may call it, is also a test of religion for those who believe. He will lead people to dis-believe.

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        • @ summit,

          So, I gather you are determined to pass the most stringent test of faith by stubbornly resisting rational analysis of whatever plague or misfortune God might throw at you? Good luck with that. I hope your mansion in heaven is awaiting because your sojourn down here isn’t likely to be comfortable.

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  3. Sedate Me

     /  October 11, 2013

    Sadly, most “Christians” live their non-Sunday lives like they were really atheists. They use their religion as a sword to strike down others and a medal of honour to show how morally superior they are.

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  4. ansonburlingame

     /  October 12, 2013

    Render unto Cesar that which is Cesar’s is a guiding Christian priniple. But what should one do when Cesar asks for more than one can provide. Well get another Cesar becomes the solution in a democracy, but that takes time.

    Well we had a Cesar of sorts, a one party government for all intents and purposes for two years. The country got rid of that Cesar and now is looking for another one, a one party government. Does anyone really believe that is a good idea, a one party government in America? Or instead should we continue to use checks and balances and seek compromise?

    But how do you compromise with a pidgon, I wonder, who won’t compromise when it comes to spending money.

    Christ had the solution. He fed a mob with a few loaves and fishes, produced out of whole cloth, or some magic that reduced the hunger of a mob. ; My guess is that Christ actually made the mob “less hungery” and did not magically produce all the food demanded by the hungry mob.

    Oh that we could find a Cesar to pull off that hat trick, 2000 years later!!

    Anson

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  5. BTW, I’ve been reading Mark Twain’s “Following the Equator” and came across a quote that seems appropriate here.

    There are those who scoff at the schoolboy, calling him frivolous and shallow: Yet it was the schoolboy who said “Faith is believing what you know ain’t so.” — Pudd’nhead Wilson’s New Calendar.

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  6. Herb, I have much reason to accept claims that Jesus was a fabrication.
    I also favor other, competing, things – my scientific nature does not allow me to accept falsehoods for the convenience of my loathings.

    The recent publicity for Joseph Atwill’s ‘Covert Messiah’ has attracted a lot of favorable interest from people who mean well, but do not know about Atwill or relevant history.

    Please review the following material. You will find that Joseph Atwill is suspect; he may be utterly unacceptable as a friend of either Jews or atheists or Christians. He is certainly unacceptable as a historian, which he is not. Best regards to you – Jim.

    “Historically, Atwill’s thesis is more or less a retooled version of the old Pisonian Conspiracy Theory, by which is not meant the actual Pisonian conspiracy (to assassinate Nero), but a wildly fictitious one in which the Piso family invented Christianity …”

    “Atwill’s is very much like Bible Code crankery, where he looks for all kinds of multiple comparisons fallacies and sees conspiracies in all of them, rather than the inevitable coincidences (or often outright non-correspondences) that they really are.”

    “… Christianity was pretty much a failure in Palestine. Its success was achieved mainly in the Diaspora, where the Romans rarely had any major problems with the Jews.”

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/carrier/archives/4664/

    “But if we find this much of the premise beguiling, should we go the rest of the way with Atwill as our guide?”

    “Atwill’s theory does have the advantage of accounting for the persistent pro-Roman tendencies of the New Testament, but consider what else it requires us to accept. First, we are to accept a common, if committee, authorship of Matthew, Mark, Luke John, and Josephus’ The Jewish War. The whole idea seems, well, absurd.”

    “What about the Roman-tilting anti-Judaism (maybe anti-Semitism) of the gospels? Again, the old explanations are quite natural and adequate: we are reading the documents of Gentile Christianity which viewed itself as superseding Judaism and Jewish Christianity.”

    http://www.robertmprice.mindvendor.com/rev_atwill.htm

    “Joe Atwill asserts, matter-of-fact, that the Shakespeare plays are “Jewish revenge literature”.”

    http://www.domainofman.com/forum/index.cgi?noframes;read=13332

    “I think a few too many atheists are seeing “Scholar Says Jesus Was Fake” and are not thinking any more deeply than that. The whole idea is ridiculous.”

    “The Roman idea of social engineering was to plant a legionary fortress, or retire a bunch of legionaries, into an area that they wanted to pacify. Incorporating regional gods into their pantheon by synonymizing them, sure; far-fetched long-term plans that would require centuries to mature into a tangible result, no.”

    “Has there ever been a religion that was created by a government that actually caught on?”

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2013/10/10/how-can-smart-atheists-be-bamboozled-by-joseph-atwill/

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  7. The allusion to “playing chess with a pigeon” is as errant as it first was, regarding the shutdown. Prominent Republicans disagree with those *actually* responsible for the shutdown:

    15 Snarky Republican Responses to Tea Party Ted’s Government Shutdown Plan

    1. “My sound bite is to say he’s a fraud … [his tactics are] just a form of governmental terrorism.” – Peter King (R-NY)
    2. ”I think it’s the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard of.” – Richard Burr (R-NC)
    7. ”Wendy Davis has more balls than Ted Cruz.” – Anonymous House Leadership Aide

    http://www.forwardprogressives.com/15-snarky-republican-responses-to-tea-party-teds-government-shutdown-plan/

    This incident has been planned. Here is what Ron Paul is about in our current situation:

    “The central issue is legitimacy. The supreme goal is to undermine the legitimacy enjoyed by the prevailing central state. This task is doable. We have the U.S. Treasury and the Federal Reserve System working for us: a debt disaster to be funded by fiat money.”

    “When the dollar dies, political legitimacy dies with it. This is the central premise of my recommended strategy.”

    – from ‘Phase 2 of Ron Paul’s Political Strategy’ by Gary North

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