Wednesday, May 22, 2013

You Can't Take It With You

Trey Smith

In his classic, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, German sociologist Max Weber observed that not only did the protestant work ethic promote capitalism but also worldly success became a measure of the likelihood of one's salvation. "He who has the most toys, wins."

Given the strong influence of Calvinism on Republican politics, it's not surprising the GOP favors the rich, opposes new taxes, and continues to support Reaganomics with its myths of "trickle down economics" and "self-regulating markets."

Nonetheless, American Calvinism has become so extreme that it no longer deserves to be called Christianity.

Jesus' first commandment was to love God. But his other teachings are about loving those around us. His second commandment was "love thy neighbor as thyself." Jesus amplified this in his Sermon on the Mount: blessed are the poor in spirit, those who mourn, the meek, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, the merciful, the pure in heart, the peacemakers, and those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake.

Jesus was not a Calvinist or a capitalist. He disdained worldly possessions.
~ from Republicans Aren't Christians by Bob Burnett ~
While I don't believe in God and I don't put much value in the Christian Bible, I do think highly of the overall perspective of that Jesus dude. I view him as a wise sage not that much different that Laozi, Zhuangzi or many others throughout the annals of history. It is not that such individuals were divine or special; it's more that they developed a lot of wisdom and keen insights into the human predicament.

As Burnett points out in his fine composition, the so-called Christian Right has so perverted the wisdom of the one they ostensibly worship that it's hard to discern why they worship this guy in the first place! Their political philosophy flies in the face of the central messages of Jesus' teachings.

Jesus advocated peace, compassion and understanding. These people advocate war, mercilessness and a "my way or the highway" mentality in HIS name.

Jesus was against amassing wealth and things because he understood that we come into this world naked and that's the way we leave it. These people have built their lives around money, power and wealth.

Most importantly, Jesus was a proponent of trust and love. These people are all about fear and hate.

It would be like a [so-called] Taoist declaring that the Tao that can be told is the REAL Tao and saying this is what Laozi meant all along!

I agree with Burnett. Those of the Christian Right are imposters! It's true that they worship someone, but that someone certainly isn't Jesus of Nazareth.

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