As the discourse of the culture war continues between those that believe in GOD and those that don’t or at least believe in some twisted stain of Christianity, I often hear liberals use religion against conservatives. Sometimes the results are laughable like when a woman recently asked me on Joe the Plumber’s facebook page whether Jesus was a Democrat or Republican (more on that later.) Or when some liberal, thinking they are being clever tells me “Jesus was a liberal.” What is interesting is that these thoughts are based so little in actual Biblical evidence and instead on the impressions that people get from others.
So here are some myths I’ve heard about Jesus and the evidence to dispel the myth.
1. Jesus was hippy and/or a liberal. This one I hear a lot. Was Jesus anti-establishment? Yes, He was. But where a 60’s hippy liberal would be angry about the restraints put onto people by the establishment, Jesus had a different view of what to be angry about. He was angry that the religious and government establishment were hypocritically using religion and government to tell people what to do, that they were cheating the masses out of as much money as possible and creating a governing class that couldn’t be bothered with helping people.
The entire chapter of Matthew 23 is Jesus preaching against the religious establishment. An example of what he was saying is Matthew 23:23-26 when Jesus says
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices-mint, dill and cumin but you have neglected the more important matters of the law- justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel. Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside will also be clean.”
Jesus is telling the religious establishment that they missed the point of all of those rituals that they did. It wasn’t to be used as a club to bash people with and show that they weren’t as good as the religious establishment was but that no one was as good as GOD was. This thought is explained further in Galatians 6:24 “Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.”
Some people who don’t understand the first thing about Christianity want to throw in the face of angry Christians that somehow being angry is unchristian. It’s not. For proof, let us turn to Matthew 21:12-13,
“Jesus entered the Temple area and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. ‘It is written,’ He said unto them, ‘My house will be called a house of prayer, but you are making it a den of thieves and robbers.”
Did you see that Jesus overturned the tables? He was mad! He was angry that the money changers were cheating people and making GOD’s house a mockery. It’s not like he went up to the money changers and very nicely and politely said “Hi, do you think you could maybe stop cheating people and start being nicer? Thanks.” No! He saw an injustice and blasphemy and did something about it. It is either out of ignorance that liberals think that Christians are always supposed to be sweet and kind and gentle or it is a tactic to shame Christians back into a corner or both. It is not unchristian to get angry. GOD gets angry, does that make Him unchristian? No. In fact, if our anger is at an evil or injustice and we pursue it correctly, it is a tool that GOD uses as an agent of change. Ephesians 4:26 says “Be angry and sin not. Let not the sun go down upon your wrath.” That simply means that while it’s ok to be angry, it is not ok to carry that anger until it eats you up.
In Luke 10:25-37 we read the story of the Good Samaritan. One of the people that passed the wounded man that the good Samaritan helped was a priest, who didn’t want to help the wounded man because then the priest would be unclean and unable to perform his duties in the Temple. In other words, symbolism was important than substance. However Jesus praised the Good Samaritan that actually helped the man, not the priest who kept himself clean for worship duties.
(Warning: The following sentence is not my opinion; it is what others have said and I state it to disprove it.) Jesus was a Jew hater.
I often hear Aryan Nation type people say that Jesus hated Jews and that He called them ‘children of the Devil’. This is a classic case of people taking things out of context and making it fit what they want it to. In John 8:42-47 Jesus does indeed say that the people He is talking to are children of the Devil because they don’t believe what He is saying. But the key here is He called the people He was talking to that; just the people He was talking to. The verbiage in this passage refers to a present tense verb use not a future tense which would indicate others. A passage that would indicate a use of verbs like that would be in Genesis 12:3-4 when GOD tells Abraham “I will bless those that bless you and whoever curses you I will curse; and all the peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” GOD is saying “All of your descendents from you until the end of time.” It’s a kind of verb which indicates infinity. No time limit or limit to whom it applies. Context when reading the Bible is extremely important and when people read one verse and especially when they read it with an agenda, they twist the meaning to beyond what it was meant to be.
Jesus was a Democrat or Republican. First of all let’s be factual and set up some context. Jesus was on Earth in the first Century or around 2,000 years ago. This was long before there was even an America, much less the political parties. At the time that Jesus was on Earth, the Roman Empire ruled most of the known world. The Romans had less than an egalitarian view of people that weren’t Romans; they hated them. They viewed them as sub-human and to be used to further the Roman Empire be it as slaves, prostitutes or pawns. They certainly didn’t see them as equals. My answer to this assertion that Jesus was a Democrat or a Republican can be found in the contents of the following debate. It occurred a few weeks ago on Joe the Plumber’s facebook page. It was in reference to that Rep. Charlie Rangel said that Jesus said that if we didn’t give people welfare that we who didn’t do that would go to hell (Chapter and verse, Charlie?). I said this:
II Thessalonians 3:10 “For when we were with you, we gave you this rule: ‘If a man is unwilling to work, then he shall not eat.'” Funny that Democrats don’t mention this verse when they talk about GOD and welfare.
After that, a liberal piped up and thought she’d teach me a lesson about the Bible and government. (The following was copied straight from the website. All of the misspellings and grammar errors are not mine.)
Liberal: What do you want Vanessa?To see countless little children here in Amrica starve?The bible also says to take care of a child is like taking care of Jesus.Does that mean all those people who fed Jesus and his followers were Demacrates?That Republicans would have let Jesus starve?Jesus was preaching ,he wasnt doing phisical work or earning money to buy his own food.
This was my response:
(Warning: heavy saracasm.) Yes Janet, that’s exactly what I want to see. Little kids starving. (Sarcasm over and shaking my head in disbelief.) Are you out of your mind?! What I am talking about and the Apostle Paul is talking about is people who CAN work but REFUSE to do so. GOD never condones laziness, which is what II Thessalonians 3:10 is talking about. The key word in that verse is UNWILLING. God does command us to help those that CANNOT help themselves not those that REFUSE to. “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” James 1:27. Another section, “Suppose a brother and sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, ‘Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?” James 2:15-16. And as far as what political parties Jesus and His followers belonged to, I’m not sure if you are aware of this but the Republican Party was founded in 1854 and the Democrat Party was founded sometime in the 1830’s; LONG after Jesus and His followers were on the Earth. Since neither party existed at the time that the Roman Empire ruled most of the known world, it makes your questions silly, null and void. Jesus didn’t come to found a political movement but to SEEK THE LOST AND TO SAVE THE WORLD. “For The Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which is lost.” Luke 19:10. Jesus was AND IS ABOVE politics and to pull Him into it is to cheapen and diminish what He did. “Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and unto GOD the things that are God’s.” Luke 20:25. BTW, that verse in II Thessalonians doesn’t say that work has to be physical in order to be considered work. So you have diminished the work of people like preachers and teachers, engineers and others who mostly think for a living. The point is that they produce and provide for themselves with the ability that they have. Oh and before Jesus was preaching, He was a carpenter and provided for His mother and siblings. Also people gave the disciples and Jesus money for preaching otherwise, why make Judas a treasurer if they had no money? Also all the disciples had at least one trade; fishing, accounting, farming. They provided for themselves as well as received help from those willing to help them, not those forced to.
She never answered me after that. What I find interesting are that people like me are called ‘extreme’ and yet I had a balanced and reasonable answer. People like the liberal I “debated” are supposed to be enlightened, tolerant and compassionate yet I didn’t experience that from her. She assumed things about me that weren’t true. So who’s really the extreme, bigoted, unreasonable one and who’s not?
In conclusion about what Jesus was and is and what He wasn’t or isn’t, I wish to quote Abraham Lincoln. Someone asked Lincoln during the Civil War if he thought that GOD was on the Union’s side. He simply said, “Sir, my concern is not whether GOD is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God’s side, for God is always right.” Let us never co-opt GOD into any thought or movement other than the love of people, the hatred of evil and the salvation of the world.