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Old 05-08-2012, 12:46 PM #1
TheSilentAssassin
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Christianity: Left or Right

As we are all aware, for some strange reason, there is a association between conservative politics and Christianity in america, but from my perspective I see quite the opposite. The right might align on more insignificant social issues like homosexuality and abortion (although I don't believe that the bible tells us anywhere to enforce those moral beliefs as law), but the left seems to align itself on much deeper core issues of the Bible, like social justice and egalitarianism.

I guess in my mind there are two possible explanations. Firstly, it is possible that the church and the theologians of this era are simply misguided in what I believe to be proper interpretation of the Bible. But after studying the modern American theologians (although I am no expert on modern theology), I don't see this to be the case. This ranges from theologians like Tillich and MLK to the recent Bishops vs Paul Ryan dispute. How about the Pope (leader of one of the most traditional churches) saying things like:

Quote:
The Pope's message laments that "some currents of modern culture, built upon rationalist and individualist economic principles, have cut off the concept of justice from its transcendent roots, detaching it from charity and solidarity."

Authentic education, Benedict writes, teaches the proper use of freedom with "respect for oneself and others, including those whose way of being and living differs greatly from one's own."

Peace-making requires education not only in the values of compassion and solidarity, but in the importance of wealth redistribution, the "promotion of growth, cooperation for development and conflict resolution," Benedict writes.

The pope also calls on political leaders to "ensure that no one is ever denied access to education."
So, now, I have come to a second conclusion. The disconnect is not between the biblical message and the theologians; it is between the theologians and the layman. How is it that the conservatives and political right can have this claim to Christian authenticity when in fact their teachers and church leaders are supporting the very opposite?

/endrant

Thought?
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Old 05-08-2012, 01:03 PM #2
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It's really a question as to whether you interpret the Bible literally, or you understand it for the broader message it conveys.

Given that people who identify as members of the conservative Christian Right are, for the most part, mentally challenged, it's not surprising that they gravitate toward the former.
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Old 05-08-2012, 01:23 PM #3
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Apparently it's easy to use the Bible to support conservative political views. Go figure!

I totally agree that Jesus's message coincides with the current political left's views. The old testament, maybe not.
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Old 05-08-2012, 02:24 PM #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheSilentAssassin View Post
As we are all aware, for some strange reason, there is a association between conservative politics and Christianity in america, but from my perspective I see quite the opposite. The right might align on more insignificant social issues like homosexuality and abortion (although I don't believe that the bible tells us anywhere to enforce those moral beliefs as law), but the left seems to align itself on much deeper core issues of the Bible, like social justice and egalitarianism.

I guess in my mind there are two possible explanations. Firstly, it is possible that the church and the theologians of this era are simply misguided in what I believe to be proper interpretation of the Bible. But after studying the modern American theologians (although I am no expert on modern theology), I don't see this to be the case. This ranges from theologians like Tillich and MLK to the recent Bishops vs Paul Ryan dispute. How about the Pope (leader of one of the most traditional churches) saying things like:



So, now, I have come to a second conclusion. The disconnect is not between the biblical message and the theologians; it is between the theologians and the layman. How is it that the conservatives and political right can have this claim to Christian authenticity when in fact their teachers and church leaders are supporting the very opposite?

/endrant

Thought?
Too many of those leaders don't practice what they preach. It's highly ironic to me when I read a quote from the Pope about "the importance of wealth redistribution". Maybe the church should follow his remarks by selling some of their trinkets and giving the money to the lower classes (I know they do a lot of charity work, but they still have far too much accumulated wealth).

From my experience I think a lot of the conservative Christians are set in their ways and use tradition as a safety blanket. It's not really about the message, it's about what they want and having an excuse to rationalize it.
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Old 05-08-2012, 03:48 PM #5
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If I were to guess, I would say that it mostly comes down to the belief of life beginning at conception, and the fact that the right took dibs on the "pro-life" title as it relates to abortion. I would guess this is why the republicans in congress refused to agree to a budget plan awhile back, without completely defunding planned parenthood. Abortion seems to often be the deciding issue in deciding if a person identifies as liberal or conservative.

If they are on the side of those who oppose having the option of an abortion, they will likely be much more open to the words in other debates of those speakers who share that basic position of life beginning at conception and it being murder to kill a fertilized egg. If a candidate shares that core belief, then the voter will likely adopt other views of that candidate's platform. People like to team up, and wrap themselves up in the "Us vs them" or even "Good vs evil" mentality.

And then when you mix in the discomfort most people have around what is different from themselves (Homosexuality mostly), it becomes very understandable why the right has the Christian market cornered, so to speak. Even if it is hypocritical upon further thought, it is still understandable how things end up the way they do.
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Old 05-08-2012, 03:54 PM #6
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I could also make the claim that modern republicans and Christians are typically people who are more susceptible to propaganda and group think, but that's probably not the best direction to take this thread in
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Old 05-08-2012, 06:57 PM #7
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I am not arguing that there shouldn't be a religious right (although I disagree with it). I am more concerned for the lack of a religious left. Does one not exist or am I just unaware of it? If one does exist, why does it lack public attention or even awareness?
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Old 05-08-2012, 07:22 PM #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheSilentAssassin View Post
I am not arguing that there shouldn't be a religious right (although I disagree with it). I am more concerned for the lack of a religious left. Does one not exist or am I just unaware of it? If one does exist, why does it lack public attention or even awareness?
There is a religious left, but I just don't think they are nearly as vocal, for fear of being judged by their fellow believers. It's hard to speak out in favor of gay rights, abortion rights, contraception, and against the death penalty, when the religious right practically screams in opposition of these things, and try to paint you as an immoral person just for the position you agree with.

I actually do have many friends who are "very" Christian, and liberal. But it seems like they only comment on issues when around myself and other liberals (When they are certain that it's ok to "Come out"), and it sometimes seems like even then they feel some degree of shame or hesitation for the way they feel. These people seem to be the most accepting and loving brand of Christian, as far as treating people equally and not trying to convert people. But maybe "humbled" is the better description...I don't know. At least this has been my experience.

So again, I'd say there are a good number of leftist Christians, but likely far more rightists, who are also typically more vocal.

- Heading out for the night, and I typed this pretty quick so it may not have been the best quality or well thought out. I'll try to give more thought to it and repost later.
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Old 05-08-2012, 09:55 PM #9
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I am more concerned for the lack of a religious left.
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Old 05-08-2012, 11:05 PM #10
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Over here most Christians are economically left - ie. pro welfare, state healthcare etc., but socially right ie. pro life etc.

Most Christians I know are against the death penalty and pro contraception. Gay (ie. marriage, adoption) and abortion rights not so much.

So it's perhaps not as clear cut as you're making out. Maybe more so in the US. Then again our right wing parties are further left than your left wing parties.

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Old 05-09-2012, 08:57 AM #11
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Go on Facebook and search "the christian left"
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Old 05-09-2012, 03:08 PM #12
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Originally Posted by vijil View Post
Over here most Christians are economically left - ie. pro welfare, state healthcare etc., but socially right ie. pro life etc.

Most Christians I know are against the death penalty and pro contraception. Gay (ie. marriage, adoption) and abortion rights not so much.

So it's perhaps not as clear cut as you're making out. Maybe more so in the US. Then again our right wing parties are further left than your left wing parties.
It's definitely good to point out that there is a difference between the two countries, even though we have the same major religions. But like Spock said, here in the US it's a matter of whether you interpret the Bible literally or not.

If you interpret it literally, you're kind of stuck going to the Republican party.
If you look at it a general way to live life, and that it's not infallible, you'll probably end up mid-left or beyond (but still be called a liberal no matter what).

Both sides have their own justifications for interpreting it that way, and they both have problems which I see as irreconcilable. Even the persons who interpret it literally don't actually take it to heart, and just use it as justification to restrict the rights of homosexuals, etc. I've never seen a concise, logical explanation for why they pick and choose scriptures and interpret them literally, but discard others are irrelevant or say that they don't apply because they're in Leviticus (this particular one introduces all sorts of problems). Just from my own experience and your posts, I'd think that the Christians in New Zealand actually think critically about their beliefs before basing political decisions on them.

Essentially, that's what the OP is talking about here, with the left aligning itself with the more benevolent side of the Bible. There are certainly Democrats who are Christians, most of my nearest family belongs to that group, but they're not nearly as vocal as the Republicans about their belief, and they don't always base their decision on religiously-based ethics.

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Old 05-09-2012, 05:57 PM #13
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The new testament (ie. nice half), of the bible is generally regarded as having made the old testament 90% irrelevant to modern life, mostly because it says it does. The ot is therefore thought of as a bunch of interesting and sometimes useful stories and records and sayings (some literally true, some not) that support the overall narrative. Hopefully that's concise enough, happy to pm if you want to discuss.

Part of the issue for me is that the social issue specifically of abortion is a 100% dealbreaker, so even if I vastly prefer the policy of one party over another, I'll always vote for the most pro life option.
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Old 05-09-2012, 06:07 PM #14
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From my experience I think a lot of the conservative Christians are set in their ways and use tradition as a safety blanket. It's not really about the message, it's about what they want and having an excuse to rationalize it.
Here's the most relevant statement I've seen in this thread.
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Old 05-09-2012, 07:15 PM #15
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So our "right wing" govt is about to sign a treaty which effectively gives US corporations veto rights over our national sovereignty, able to sue whenever they don't like any law we pass.

Yeah. Not so much. Can't see Christians liking that any more than anyone else.
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Old 05-10-2012, 10:24 AM #16
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I'll answer this question more or less in the thread I intend to create when I have access to a computer. I'll somewhat flesh out the lineage from Christianity to modern left wing.

Also tradition is a process.

I can find many irrational proponents of it. At the same time I can find an equal number of opponents who are equally irrational.

The common consensus is that it is just some old stuff we've been doing for a while. The train of thought ends precisely there.

Common arguments:
A) tradition is old so keep doing it
B) tradition is old so abandon it

Fin.
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Old 05-12-2012, 11:07 PM #17
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It's really a question as to whether you interpret the Bible literally, or you understand it for the broader message it conveys.

Given that people who identify as members of the conservative Christian Right are, for the most part, mentally challenged, it's not surprising that they gravitate toward the former.
I just had to come in here and say - dude, that is ****ed up.
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Old 07-07-2012, 09:39 PM #18
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I posted a thread about this ages ago. I didn't get many answers. I think it just boils down to some people feeling less cognitive dissonance than others.

Jesus would have preached against modern conservatism, of this there is little doubt. I took a religious studies class a few years ago, and I was told that all religions eventually reject the teachings of their founders. It's just another case of that, it seems.
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Old 07-07-2012, 09:46 PM #19
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Christian left?


Wow. It's like they combined the worst of both worlds on purpose.
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Old 07-07-2012, 10:08 PM #20
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I posted a thread about this ages ago. I didn't get many answers. I think it just boils down to some people feeling less cognitive dissonance than others.

Jesus would have preached against modern conservatism, of this there is little doubt. I took a religious studies class a few years ago, and I was told that all religions eventually reject the teachings of their founders. It's just another case of that, it seems.
Neoconservatism. Not modern conservatism. It's funny how quickly people can forget that conservatism was the first really altruistic political philosophy.
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Old 07-07-2012, 10:35 PM #21
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I know a few left Christians in my family. They support abortion. I don't judge them. I at one point came to a hard decision in my life. To abort the bastard child, or tell her to keep it and divorce. I chose divorce. I wasn't about to raise that psychopathic parasite's kid with a wife that didn't respect anything I did for her. I am not someone's tool.

I don't support abortion. But if someone else decides to abort their child, they killed their bloodline off. If they killed their bloodline off, maybe we don't need anymore people that think like that. They are doing us a service by reducing their population. They never gave a crap about human life anyway, why stop them from killing their own offspring? Do we need more people that treat other humans below dog ****?

I don't expect anyone to regulate themselves to the Christian belief system, until they become Christians. I believe it is the churches and institutions who should be trying to convince people not to abort their children and provide support for the family, not the government.

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