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Was Jesus a communist or a capitalist?
November 23rd, 2010
09:30 AM ET

Was Jesus a communist or a capitalist?

Editor's Note: By CNN's Gabe La Monica

At the inner Washington offices of the American Enterprise Institute, I pitted the question to Shane Claiborne and Peter Greer, both Christian advocates for the poor. They had just participated in an in-depth discourse moderated by Eric Teetsel at AEI about the existential nature of charity.

Claiborne is a lanky, tall fellow with long dreadlocks, earrings and a goatee.

The founding member of the Simple Way community in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, responded: “Jesus wasn’t anything that ended in “ist” - he was an existential lover - but I think that he was challenging all these systems, and he was pulling the best of the people in those systems out.”

Deferring to Claiborne, Greer, the crisply suited, clean-shaven, close-cropped blonde president of HOPE International, said that “Jesus was a restorer; he didn’t fit in any of the camps, but he did come to make things right.”

The discussion at the AEI event revolved around the  Biblical parable of the Good Samaritan and the problem of providing immediate relief for compounding and overwhelming needs but still being able to make the transition to sustainable development.

The concept of microfinance and microcredit, for which the founder of the Bangladeshi Grameen Bank was awarded the Nobel Peace prize, has been applied under HOPE International to 14 countries serving more than 250,000 clients.  I asked Greer whether he thought microfinance could become a broken system, and about the phenomenon of loan sharks emerging in India's microfinancing world:

"What’s happening right now in the microfinance base shows why it’s necessary to have something else than just access to capital or some new way of providing loans to the poor; that in and of itself is insufficient to see real transformation that happens in communities.

So the situation in India - we also operate in India - but have a different operating model; we make sure that the profits that we’re generating are reinvested back into those areas.  We emphasize training, we emphasize savings, and we don’t have the belief that if you just give individuals 50 dollar loans that that’s gonna result in huge transformation.

That’s an important piece.  It takes money to make money.  But it’s only a piece of a bigger picture of what it takes to transform a community.

Peter Greer takes the podium

Though neither is prone to depict Christ as a capitalist or a communist, Claiborne and Greer do have differing conceptions of economics.  I asked Claiborne if he thought of the world economy as a fixed pie:

I wouldn’t say that I think that it’s fixed, but poverty wasn’t created by God.  God didn’t mess up and make too many people or not enough stuff.

Shane Claiborne takes the podium


Poverty was created by us because we really haven’t lived into His vision of loving our neighbor as ourselves and of really understanding that someone else’s suffering needs to be mine and it demands something of us.  When you have a massive disparity between the rich and the poor, that is unsustainable.

The world is never going to be safe as long as masses of people are living in poverty so that a handful of people live however they want.  It’s all of our responsibility to figure out how the great gifts that this world has are shared amongst the people.

Greer views the world economy as an expanding entity:

It’s possible to generate wealth.  It’s possible to be creative.  My experience in places of poverty says that there’s no place that does not have the ability, the entrepreneurial spirit to make a different world.

To create a different village requires just a little bit of capital and the belief that individuals living in those places have abilities, have capacity and just need to be partnered with and not just pitied.

Shane Claiborne and Peter Greer debate

Existentialism is often traced back to the Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard, who argued that the universe is fundamentally paradoxical, and it’s within this framework that Claiborne and Greer’s philosophies align.

Claiborne encapsulated it best when he said, “A lot of times charity is a good place to start, but it’s a terrible place to end.”

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Charity • Christianity • Poverty • United States

soundoff (707 Responses)
  1. Brian

    I don't think modern labels properly fit what Jesus taught and how he lived, but if you HAD to choose between whether or not in today's world he'd be labeled a capitalist or a communist, I would have to say he most definitely would NOT fit the description of a capitalist.

    November 23, 2010 at 11:44 am |
    • Scott

      Bingo! Thanks for actually addressing the issue in the article. I agree.

      November 23, 2010 at 11:56 am |
  2. Tam

    Are you all nuts?!

    November 23, 2010 at 11:41 am |
  3. Miles

    The question is ridiculous – it is the application of 19th century philosophies to a first century person.

    November 23, 2010 at 11:38 am |
    • Shawn

      Seriously. I think Jesus would have been a Capitalist and invested every cent he had in the wheel futures.

      November 23, 2010 at 11:51 am |
    • jeff

      @shawn – I think he was concerned about the future of tares in addition to wheat... 🙂

      November 23, 2010 at 12:05 pm |
  4. John

    Next up, a debate on whether The Tooth Fairy is a communist or capitalist, stay tuned!!

    November 23, 2010 at 11:37 am |
  5. Kip

    He was a free eater. Dumpster diving ect...

    November 23, 2010 at 11:35 am |
  6. chris

    lemme guess the capitalist is the one in the suit while the stoned hippie is the commie??!!??

    November 23, 2010 at 11:34 am |
  7. Jonas

    Same debates as always. Same people picking on the religious and the non-religious. Trying to put a religious character into a modern socio-economic system is ludicrous.

    Have a good thanksgiving!

    November 23, 2010 at 11:33 am |
  8. Kurt

    Funny, everyone blasts religion in politics but here is an article trying to put it in. Get real.....

    November 23, 2010 at 11:32 am |
  9. Shawn

    Why is this on CNN? This isn't news. This isn't even interesting.

    November 23, 2010 at 11:29 am |
    • somedoody

      that's right jonas- it's not interesting to anyone anywhere! because your opinion is the only one!

      November 23, 2010 at 11:35 am |
    • Luke

      You do believe that you are on a belief blog, correct?

      November 23, 2010 at 11:37 am |
    • somedoody

      sorry jonas, sometimes i cant read, this was to shawn.

      hurr durr

      November 23, 2010 at 11:37 am |
    • Shawn

      Yes, I am aware that this is a "Belief blog." However, I accessed this page through CNN, which is supposed to report news, not beliefs. And the idea that Jesus was walking around the desert contemplating the Dow Jones Average and interest rates is not something anybody believes and should be insulting to be of "faith."

      November 23, 2010 at 11:46 am |
    • Luke

      Shawn – So why don't you just stick to the main page while those that enjoy discussing religion can come here?

      November 23, 2010 at 12:16 pm |
    • Shawn

      Because, news is supposed to be non-biased., not to mention blogs and news do not mix. Having one of the world's largest news organizations starts promoting blogs on its main page, like it is newsworthy information is why our citizens are so misinformed. We bury real information to make room for masturbation. I'm not saying that there can't be a website dedicated to this discussion. Just not this one.

      November 23, 2010 at 12:46 pm |
  10. Doc Vestibule

    All that believed were together, and had all things in common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.
    (Acts 2:44-45)
    There was not a needy person among them, for as many as owned lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold. They laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need. There was a Levite, a native of Cyprus, Joseph, to whom the apostles gave the name Barnabas (which means “son of encouragement”). He sold a field that belonged to him, then brought the money, and laid it at the apostles’ feet.
    (Acts 4:34-37)

    Sounds like Communism to me!

    November 23, 2010 at 11:28 am |
    • BruceNY

      Exaclty, money and possessions are irrelevent: Jesus was neither Capitalist or Communist, he was Christian (well Jewish by birth).

      November 23, 2010 at 12:09 pm |
    • jaq sqat

      Freely giving what you have is very different than what is generally being discussed. Jesus did not demand that laws be set up to take from the rich. Now, we have people that want to put laws in place to steal from the rich because they covet what they have. Jesus was above that simple thinking. If you take from the rich, you don't change who they are. If the poor look to the rich for their needs, they don't change who they are either.

      Forcing people to believe and do certain things brings to my mind, the crusades, the third reich, marxism, Pol Pot, slavery, etc.

      November 23, 2010 at 12:09 pm |
    • NickO

      This was freely given out of the heart. When the state takes and mandates that you give, this in not from the heart. Regardless if you know Christ or not, I would hope you can see the difference. Christ knows the heart and its condition.

      November 23, 2010 at 12:21 pm |
    • Brian

      If it was forced it would be communism.
      The people referenced in the early church chose to do this which is a great model for anyone and something I wish I had the means and good graces to do more.

      November 23, 2010 at 12:24 pm |
    • Sum Dude

      Don't forget the people who kept some stuff for themselves and were killed immediately. Yeah, lots of free choice there.

      November 24, 2010 at 1:04 am |
  11. Nestor R. Bogoya

    It is possible to unify this two views. The truth as they shared is that Jesus wasn't neither of the two systems. Jesus would have challenge both systems for the treatment given to the poor (poor in anyway). It is imperative that we live out the great comamment "Love your God with all your heart, mind and strength and your neighbor as your self" Her is where the truth of being a christian rest.

    November 23, 2010 at 11:11 am |
    • Luke

      So what you are saying is that your Jesus was a socialist.

      November 23, 2010 at 11:14 am |
    • Bob

      Let's say there is a man who constantly helps the poor. Gives them food, gives them medical aid and generally goes out of his way to help. And the people adore him for it.

      Then, at a private party, there are expensive gifts being thrown around. When someone asks him "Wouldn't this money be better spent on the poor he says "I won't live forever, but the poor will always be around. Help them later."

      What would be your opinon of this man? Personally I would say that he was a faker and a hypocrite.

      What would you say?

      PS: Jesus did this. Says so in the bible. Welcome to reality.

      November 23, 2010 at 11:19 am |
    • Nestor R. Bogoya

      Well, yes Jesus was kind of socialist, if you wish. However Jesus would have endorce any party per say, he would have keep on loving and given to those in the margins, which have always been around. But we don't need to simply think that those in the margins are poor economically speaking (which is very true) Those, who hare well off could be regeted by society as well. We have examples in the bible. Jesus was more interesting, I think, in bringing shalom to everyone and that word is very rich in its meaning. In an individualistic societies the word Shalom isn't understood anymore.

      November 23, 2010 at 6:40 pm |
  12. mohammy

    the point you say i missed, wasn't being discussed by the article.

    it was 2 believers talking about whether Jesus was commie or capitalist.

    and that doesn't surprise anyone who is aware that there are plenty of people who have faith.

    to them he or whatever diety they debate about isnt fictional.

    i changed my mind internet nerd guy, i do have sympathy for you now

    next!

    November 23, 2010 at 11:00 am |
  13. windyblue

    Jesus is the son of man, and the son of God, he is the savior of the world. Why God allows, suffering? We all have questions about that. But man kind can blame themselves too, God created us with a free will. And we use that at times to make others suffer. And other times we use our free will to help others. I can say this, This world is one great big mess.
    And our government needs to straighten out our country, and help our people, instead of always giving everything to other countries, we have enough problems over here. That our government is not doing enough to help.

    November 23, 2010 at 10:54 am |
    • Luke

      So your god forced free-will upon us. That's like dividing by zero, Windy.

      And what exactly is our country "giving" away. I haven't heard of anything other than philanthropic work that all rich nations do and agreements we enter that benefit both parties. It would be great if you gave me some details to work with.

      November 23, 2010 at 10:59 am |
    • Bob

      If God is all powerful and all knowing, and if he is the prime cause, then there is no such thing as free will.

      Think about it.

      November 23, 2010 at 11:14 am |
    • Shawn

      I blame religious followers for the state of the economy. If they would only pray harder, this never would have happened. For shame.

      November 23, 2010 at 11:32 am |
    • David Johnson

      @Bob

      You said: "If God is all powerful and all knowing, and if he is the prime cause, then there is no such thing as free will.

      Think about it."

      Believers can't think on it. They will avoid it all costs. Catholics say it is a matter of an all knowing god being outside time and space; others say god "limits" his all knowing attribute to allow our free will.

      If everything is predestined, it means god allows people to be born, knowing they will one day burn forever.

      Fundies are funny!

      November 23, 2010 at 12:09 pm |
    • Chase Dorway

      God allows suffering because when man sinned, Satan got control of the Earth. Which is why when the Devil tempted Jesus, he said "bow down to me and all of this (the world) can be yours". It's not time for the Rapture and the Last Ages and stuff mentioned in Revelation yet, which is why there is still suffering. Does that help?

      November 23, 2010 at 3:48 pm |
    • Luke

      Chase Dorway

      No.

      November 23, 2010 at 4:33 pm |
  14. MicheleG

    how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.......

    November 23, 2010 at 10:43 am |
    • David Johnson

      None. There are no angels.

      November 23, 2010 at 12:00 pm |
    • Chase Dorway

      Must be a large pin...

      November 23, 2010 at 3:45 pm |
    • somedoody

      old navy commercials terrify me

      November 23, 2010 at 5:13 pm |
  15. Luke

    The fact that this is even a debate in modern society is absolutely dumbfounding to me. We are talking about the economic theories of a fictional character in a book. Was Curious George a capitalist or a socialist? Is Thomas the Train a metaphor for American reverting to a manufacturing economy from a service economy? Is Dora the Explorer illegal or a naturalized citizen?

    November 23, 2010 at 10:35 am |
    • mohammy

      luke you're dumbfounded because you're apparently out of touch with the number of people that believe in a deity.

      so i have no sympathy for you.

      NEXT!!!!!!

      November 23, 2010 at 10:50 am |
    • Luke

      I am far from out of touch, internet tough guy that likes throwing insults for no reason. I happen to be dumbfounded, in fact, because people are arguing about economic theory based upon a fictional character rather than hard data. In humanity's learnings, we tend to apply morality, ethics and life lessons from fictional traits. We do not apply them to world economic theory. Since you missed this point, I have no sympathy on you.

      November 23, 2010 at 10:53 am |
    • mohammy

      the point you say i missed, wasn't being discussed by the article.

      it was 2 believers talking about whether Jesus was commie or capitalist.

      and that doesn't surprise anyone who is aware that there are plenty of people who have faith.

      to them he or whatever diety they debate about isnt fictional.

      i changed my mind internet nerd guy, i do have sympathy for you now- a whole ton of it

      next!

      November 23, 2010 at 11:01 am |
    • Luke

      mohammy – Throwing slurs again for no good reason. That's awfully mature of you and only takes away from your arguments.

      November 23, 2010 at 11:06 am |
    • mohammy

      luke for reals,

      slurs are the norm around here.

      and you began quite contemptuously yourself...

      just sayin

      November 23, 2010 at 11:08 am |
    • Luke

      mohammy – Norms are certainly not always the proper thing to do. And there was nothing inflammatory about my remarks. I made a very clear point about economic theory (I am an economist for a Wall Street firm).

      November 23, 2010 at 11:13 am |
    • mohammy

      well we certainly agree that norms aren't always proper.

      and while i do believe your original post could be very insulting to 2 billion christians and 1 billion muslims, and plenty of other people of faith, i'll assume that your callous certainty, of an issue that is obviously still open to debate, was done by mistake.

      i call a truce luke- have a fun day at work! : )

      November 23, 2010 at 11:18 am |
    • Luke

      mohammy – I just happen to disagree. Calling out facts cannot and will not ever be insulting. It's like you are suggesting religion gets a free pass from questioning. Fact is – we have no evidence that there was even a Jesus. If I state this fact, I expect an honest discussion, not incendiary reactions. When I state that we should not be taking economic advice from a fictional character that constantly contradicts himself throughout his teachings, I conclude that financial advice is that last thing I would want from this teacher. Why is this insulting?

      November 23, 2010 at 11:29 am |
    • Shawn

      I am quite in touch with the number of people that believe in a deity. Mass delusion doesn't equal factuality. 33% of Americans think the Sun revolves around the Earth. Just because a lot people believe it, doesn't make it true.

      Maybe, if we'd quit wasting our time praying, we could actually fix the economy. Amen.

      so i have no sympathy for you.

      NEXT!!!!!!

      November 23, 2010 at 11:38 am |
    • Frogist

      @Luke: I actually don't find it dumbfounding at all. Real or no, I don't see anything amiss with trying to interpret what the values of a character are. It's obvious that people believe this character, Jesus, has weight. So why not look at what his motivations and actions might be in the hypothetical. And if it affects us favorably in a practical sense, I see no harm in it. It's like asking which mode of justice is better – Superman's or Batman's? Personally, I don't think they are very different. They are both vigilanties who dole out justice outside of the law without any oversight. But Superman's methods are far less violent than Batman's. In conclusion – street justice can provide benefits as long as it functions in conjunction with our legal system and violence is at a minimum. Fictional and hypothetical? Yes. Irrelevant and impractical? No.

      BTW: Yes, there have been debates in the media over whether Dora is illegal or not...

      November 23, 2010 at 11:56 am |
    • David Johnson

      @Luke

      Dude! That was well put!

      November 23, 2010 at 12:03 pm |
    • Luke

      Frogist – I hear what you are saying, but at the heart of this article you have to admit that we are arguing whether or not a fictional character's traits, as applied by men during the bronze age when the average person has the smarts of a modern day 2nd grader, should be applied to modern day global economic theory. This isn't a chat about being good or where morals come from. This is a chat about how to grow a $14 trillion dollar economy, feed 300 million Americans and compete with China's state run Capitalism. Are you kidding me?

      November 23, 2010 at 12:15 pm |
    • Luis

      You say fictional character, when for the majority of historians this isn't a debate at all. It's a fact. People that don't belief Jesus existed are equivalent to people that belief 9-11 was an inside job, equivalent to people that think President Obama is a Muslim, equivalent to people that think President Obama was not born in the U.S. It's laughable to say the least. You say that there are not facts when historians already know of Josephus and other writers outside of the bible, but I guess you have your own definition of facts.

      November 23, 2010 at 12:23 pm |
    • Luke

      Luis – That's just blatently false. The archeological community has been in clear consensus for decades that we do not have enough evidence to conclude that there was ever a Jesus. There may have been, but we are not sure. We think of JEsus like we do Homer – the writer(s) of The Iliad and the Oddessy. We aren't sure if there was a Homer and prefer to think that the stories are a culmination of writers from that era.

      November 23, 2010 at 12:42 pm |
    • Chase Dorway

      Curios George was socialist, and Dora got her official citizenship in 2008.

      NEXT!!!!!!!!!!!

      November 23, 2010 at 3:44 pm |
    • Humble

      The debate as to whether Jesus actually existed is not valid...really. The real issue over belief in Jesus is whethher or not he was the son of God and, essentially, a god himself. I'm sure there might have been some guy named Jesus (or whatever his actual Hebrew name was) who lived 2,000 years ago. But, did he perform miracles and rise from the dead? Along these lines, however, I have to say that there is mention of Jesus like stories in cultures prior to the time in which Jesus was supposed to have lived. There was an Egyptian figure whose life mirrored that of Jesus almost exactly, and he supposedly lived way before Jesus. Given this, I think the idea that the story of Jesus is actually a legend passed down through the ages and applied to whatever culture is telling the story is very possible. And, Luke is right here about there not being any scientifically valid evidence of Jesus actually existing. The accounts we have, even by ancient historians, cannot be counted in modern studies, because they cannot be validated in modern acedemic methods. However, this doesn't mean he outright didn't exist.

      November 23, 2010 at 5:14 pm |
    • Sum Dude

      @Luke
      I laughed at your first post. Dora! LOL Thanks for putting things into a clearer perspective, and a humorous one at that.
      I hope you have been enjoying yourself while leaving us alone to suffer the slings and arrows without your posts!

      Anyway, now that you have time to post again, I will argue economics with an economist. What do you say? I have been waiting to toss things at you for some time.

      Would you agree that money is a mental construct and therefore based upon a relative delusional process of human valuations, i.e. complete BS?

      And would you agree that your "$14 billion" world economy can be simplified to such things as; economies of scale, leveraged transactions, human psychology, and group dynamics?

      I know that doesn't sound very simplified, but considering the ridiculous results we get from some of the people working in the "financial industry", would you care to trust the world economy to people who are blinded by greed without having a proper understanding of economic principles?

      (And Curious George is an opportunist, btw.) 😛

      November 24, 2010 at 12:54 am |
    • Frogist

      @Luke:
      It is not impossible or ill-advised to have deep discussions about relevant issues using fictional material. Or what would be the point of all art except to be aesthetically pleasing?

      The article talks about the economics and morality of charity. Not growing the US economy or competing with China. It's about how we should consider the plight of the poor and how they can be better helped. So yes, it is a chat about being good and moral when it comes to how we deal with wealth specifically in regards to charity and development in economically underprivileged areas. That is as relevant or more relevant today than it was in Jesus' time. Because these two individuals are discussing the economic impact of charity through the lens of Jesus' morality, does not make it necessarily bad. Believer or no, we cannot throw the baby out with the bath water. There is goodness within Christian morality.

      Also just because a person is not as smart or technologically-advanced does not make them incapable of moral behaviour. One of the major moral tenets of Jesus is to care for those less fortunate. That absolutely applies today whether he was real, son of god, delusional megalomaniac, or fictional as Pooh.

      November 24, 2010 at 11:20 am |
  16. josephine

    where do you get your information about Jesus/yeshua?

    kelly, this is going to be complicated, because i'm not trying to prove the point that protestant CHristian faith is the correct one (although i believe that, or i'd choose another)

    what i am saying is that it doesnt sound like you believe in one God that created the universe.

    i'm not assuming that all creatures would automatically believe the same thing, and i'm not against diversity when it comes to thngs that are God-intended to be diverse

    but we all breathe oxygen- there's no room for diversity in there for instance.

    and we all came from our mother and father, that's pretty common,

    and if you are a Muslim, a Jew or a Christian, you believe in one God that created everything.

    so i 'm saying that IF there is one God, it would be appropriate to worship him... this right here, is the point im disagreeing with you over.

    i'm not trying to convert you, so chill out. and while you may believe i'm deluded, you might see how i'd see that language as insulting...?

    November 23, 2010 at 10:33 am |
    • Kelly Garrett

      @josephine,

      I do believe in a higher "being," but it is beyond comprehension, so "it" has no human attributes, like pettiness, jealousy and "it" certainly isn't vengeful...those are human characteristics, for a human created god. In the case of a "human knowable" god(s)/goddess(es)/creation concepts, they are created by creation (that "incomprehensible" higher "being") as an interface to the unknowable...they are created by mankind. Like a word processing program, it allows access to the unfathomable in a way that is practical to our daily lives. The god of the christian bible is not that "higher being."

      There is no jesus/Yeshua, there is jesus and Yeshua. The two are totally different. The christ was invented by the Roman Emperor Constantine and his ilk. They re-engineered Yeshua, anointed of the Jews (to some of them), into the anointed (christos) of all mankind. They intentionally eliminated any possibility to interact with other faiths (all others are false, for all of mankind) by discrediting henotheism and pantheism. They turned a paradigm for universal Agape into a weapon for their hegemony. In the end, they poisoned the well. Anything made with water drawn from a poisoned well is tainted. Anyone looking for the original Yeshua (as historical person, or an "idea who's time had come for the Jews) in the christian bible is going to get one that has been poisoned by the source. You cannot find a henotheist Yeshua in a book where a christ is working for a god that is the one and only true god above all others. You cannot find a loving Yehsua in a book where the christ returns to exterminate all that do not follow him. You cannot get justice out of a book that has an immutable set of rules that are black and white, with no shades of gray. You cannot get universal Agape, at least through a transcendent acceptance of the ways of others, from a faith where all others MUST be false. In order to transcend the difference one has to acknowledge the "truth" they have is the "truth" for them, just as wholeheartedly as your "truth" is the "truth" for you. Universal Agape is not stoic "tolerance" of those that you believe are fundamentally wrong and mislead by some evil force working against the one and only true god.

      As far as insulting language goes, you are just as insulting...you just do it by proxy. Your bible says that all other faiths are false...that is insulting to those of other faiths. Your bible says that Gays are to be put to death...how insulting do you think that is to them? Your bible says that your jesus is going to return to exterminate all that do not follow him...that is beyond disgusting. You agree with all that, or you would not have joined the faith. So, you say all those things just by accepting that faith. You just like to hide behind your bible, letting it do the insulting for you.

      November 23, 2010 at 10:48 am |
    • josephine

      again, what is your source for yeshua?

      November 23, 2010 at 10:56 am |
    • Kelly Garrett

      Something a christian is not supposed to read...because it would lead you into the temptation of other faiths...LOL. One of the sources we use is "The Teachings of the Prophet Yeshua ben Yosef as Told by Didymos," aka "The Gospels According to Thomas." The henotheist Yeshia (many paths to the same destination) is in the parable of the 5 Trees. Too bad your bible forbids you christians from reading it.

      November 23, 2010 at 11:01 am |
    • josephine

      lol- i havent read anything in the Bible that forbids me from reading what you're talking about.

      November 23, 2010 at 11:03 am |
    • Mike, not me

      Given credit to the Gospel of Thomas written in the 2nd century would be like given credit to a letter by King George found in Ohio over the sovereignty of the USA

      Also there is nothing in the Bible that says not to read other sources, all truth belongs to God, we see this when Paul quotes Athenian poetry Acts 17:28 and cretian prophets Ti-tus 1:12-14

      November 23, 2010 at 11:24 am |
    • Kelly Garrett

      It is in Deuteronomy...where it says you are not to lead yourself into the temptation of other faiths. Well, I guess that test that CNN did on religious knowledge was correct when it found that christians, themselves, know less about their bible than atheists do...LOL.

      November 23, 2010 at 11:25 am |
    • Kelly Garrett

      @Mike, not me

      Your book was written in the 4th century (don't confuse your bible with the Jewish bible...the two are not the same thing)...so, the Gospels of Thomas predates your cult. Both, however, as just books written by man...you choose yours, I will choose mine. The difference between me, and a christian, is I believe what you choose is the truth...for you. You can never concede mine is the truth for me...you god does not allow it. Don't think the Hindu, Buddhists and all other faiths don't know that, as well.

      November 23, 2010 at 11:39 am |
    • Mike, not me

      Kelly, again how can you make the statement the bible was written (or even start to be put together) in the 4th century, when you have earlier writing pointing to the NT, like the writing of St. Irenaeus in 160 clearly stating there are only 4 gospels. Yes it was cannonized around the 4th century but it existed and was put together long before that.
      http://firstnewtestament.netfirms.com/gospels_early_irenaeus_of_lyons.htm

      Note the website I provided says 180, other sources different but in the same time period you can go-ogle it.

      November 23, 2010 at 12:23 pm |
    • Mike, not me

      "Well, I guess that test that CNN did on religious knowledge was correct when it found that christians, themselves, know less about their bible than atheists do"

      That is a very arragont position, just because you quote text does not mean you understand it.... Again all truth is God's so if another faith does speak truth, then that in part, is true.

      November 23, 2010 at 12:29 pm |
    • Kelly Garrett

      @Mike, not me.

      Again with the Pauline lie. The only truth is the one from your god. Your bible says all others are false...period. The "truth" in our Ta-En La is that there is no sin in being gay. So, is that truth the truth of your god, as well? In the GTh is says that all faiths are equal, and just different paths to the same place. Is that truth the truth of your god? Of course it isn't. You are not very good at pretending to be open and tolerant...but, all christians fail pretty badly at that. One just has to read the bible to know what you people are supposed to do. While the human followers of your god are flawed, the bible speaks the whole truth, and is the only source of the truth of christianity...what the followers say is not worth a tinker's damn if it is contrary to what the bible says.

      November 23, 2010 at 12:47 pm |
    • Kelly Garrett

      @Mike, not me.

      The year 180 CE is the 2nd century, dude...the same time as the GTh. The "bible" you are referring to was an attempted translation of the Jewish texts (in Aramaic/Hebrew) done by some of the Greco-Roman associates of the Messianic Jews with the help of Hellenistic Jews, it was not the christian bible. The christian bible was written by Constantine and his ilk at a later date. THAT is the christian bible, dude. Not the Hellenistic attempt at the transliteration of the original Jewish scriptures.

      November 23, 2010 at 1:03 pm |
    • Chase Dorway

      I personally think that what the Lord meant when He said "don't be tempted by other faiths" isn't "you can't change" I think it's more of a "what's in here is true, so check with My book first."

      November 23, 2010 at 3:42 pm |
    • Kelly Garrett

      @Chase Dorway

      That is an interesting bit of double talk. It is a distinction with no difference. If you go to the bible first, it says all others are false. In that case, the only reason for a christian to go to the sources of other faiths is to see where they are wrong...and use that knowledge in their evangelism. They cannot find any truth in it, or they would have to admit their god in not the one and only true god. Now, we both know you christians cannot do that. Everyone knows, you christains simply cannot accept those of any other faith as spiritually equal...or, your god would be a liar.

      November 23, 2010 at 4:34 pm |
    • Ak2190

      Kelly -Thank you!

      November 23, 2010 at 7:05 pm |
    • Mike, not me

      I have been asked to tell you what Christians believe, and I am going to begin by telling you one thing that Christians do not need to believe. If you are a Christian you do not have to believe that all the other religions are simply wrong all through. If you are an atheist you do have to believe that the main point in all the religions of the whole world is simply one huge mistake. If you are a Christian, you are free to think that all these religions, even the qu-ee-rest ones, contain at least some hint of the truth. When I was an atheist I had to try to persuade myself that most of the human race have always been wrong about the question that mattered to them most; when I became a Christian I was able to take a more liberal view. But, of course, being a Christian does mean thinking that where Christianity differs from other religions, Christianity is right and they are wrong. As in arithmetic-there is only one right answer to a sum, and all other answers are wrong: but some of the wrong answers are much nearer being right than others.
      CS Lewis

      November 24, 2010 at 8:56 am |
    • Kelly Garrett

      @Mike, not me

      So, a christian is capable of acknowledging "some hint of truth" to the other, false religions. So then, it is true, that you christians cannot approach those of other faiths as spiritually equal to yours. Chrisitians are always looking down their noses at the others, or viewing them with pitty, since they don't know the "truth" that the almighty christians have discovered. That is why others can never really deal with your kind. There are other faiths that CAN approach those of other faiths as spiritually equal...that is the difference between christianity and some other faiths...not the "atheist' straw man.

      Does it really matter what some backsliding christians think about other faiths? After all, your christ comes back to exterminate all of us if we have not converted. You people remind me of the River Dance troup. All that arm flinging and fancy moves...but, when the music dies down everyone sees that the dancers have not moved one millimeter from where they started.

      November 24, 2010 at 1:14 pm |
  17. Kelly Garrett

    Jesus was invented by the Romans to re-start their failed hegemony after the first collapse of their Empire. He is a hegemonist, by "whatever" means it takes to win...as related by Saulu of Tarsus (Paul).

    The Jewish Prophet Yeshua ben Yosef, however, was a henotheist, but he has nothing to do with christianity. He knew that there could not be only one god for all of mankind...that is an abomination of the diversity of nature.

    What Would Yeshua Do? He would change the hearts of mankind (for those that did not know of the Agape of the Fellowship of Man...other faiths already had that) and let them form the philosophies that would implement it...something that would not look like the capitalism, socialism or communism we know of today.

    "When nature, herself, decides there should be only one kind of flower, only one kind of bird and only one kind of human being will I believe there is only one true god above all others, and only one true way to worship."

    November 23, 2010 at 10:14 am |
    • josephine

      "there could not be only one god for all mankind... that is an abomination of the diversity of nature."

      no, i guess not.

      unless one was actually real... the one that created everything... that wouldnt viloate diversity of nature at all

      November 23, 2010 at 10:19 am |
    • Kelly Garrett

      @Josephine...

      I was speaking of the Prophet Yeshua, not the genocidal christ and his petty, jealous, vengeful father. You are a christian, so of course you believe yours is the one and only true god. That is what your bible says, and you should believe it. The rest of mankind, however, does not need to share your delusion. It is an abomination of nature to think that all 7 Billion human individuals can think the exact same thing, and behave exactly the same way. The christian faith started to split right after Constantine invented it...it was torn apart by the very thing they seek to destroy...diversity.

      "When nature, herself, decides there should be only one kind of flower, only one kind of bird and only one kind of human being will I believe there is only one true god above all others, and there is only one true way to worship."

      November 23, 2010 at 10:25 am |
    • Mike, not me

      "Jesus was invented by the Romans to re-start their failed hegemony after the first collapse of their Empire"

      Even though the writers that tell us about Our God were not part of the Roman Empire

      "The Jewish Prophet Yeshua ben Yosef, however, was a henotheist"

      Mark 12:29-34
      John 17:3
      Galatians 3:20
      Ephesians 4:6

      John 17:3
      Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.
      4 I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do.

      So the Christ has nothing to do with Christianity... I do have to stop here and ask you what your defination of Christianity is, this could be the point of confusion.

      I am interested in how you can say " Constantine invented it." when you have such early writings predating Constantine like St. Ignatius

      November 23, 2010 at 11:04 am |
    • Mike, not me

      Can't resist must ask

      " It is an abomination of nature to think that all 7 Billion human individuals can think the exact same thing"

      Why, if they come from the same creator, just like all 7 Billion Apple Ipods are manufactured the same.

      November 23, 2010 at 11:06 am |
    • Kelly Garrett

      @Mike not me,

      The root of the noun "christianity" and "christian" comes from the Greek "christos." The proper noun "jesus" is also from the Greek transliteration of the Hebrew name Yeshua. Before Constantine there were no "christians," but here were (and, still are) Messianic Jews that followed the Prophet Yeshua ben Yosef, and their Gentile adherents. Yeshua never called himself "jesus," why would he? That was not his name. His followers never called him "jesus," why would they? That was not his name. Neither he, nor his followers, ever called him a "christos."

      When Constantine invented the "christos" of all mankind, and changed the name of the Prophet to jesus, there was a split between Yeshua and the new jesus. The confussion comes from the original transliteration of Yeshua to jesus that was used by pre-christian Greco-Romans when referring to the prophet the Semites were following...and that reference was always negative. When the Romans invented the christ, the split between the (transliterated) jesus and the new christ appeared. The original authors you reference were writing about the Prophet Yehsua using the transliteration...they were not referring to the "christ" because he had not been invented yet. The Roman persecution of christians is a fallacy...the Romans were persecuting Messianic Jews and some of their Gentile adherents, not "christians." The Romans were real good with "posthumous" baptisms...even better than the Mormons.

      Quote out of your little book of prejudice and intolerance all you want. If I want to know about the Jewish Prophet Yeshua I will get him from the Gospels of Thomas...not that Roman invention you are using.

      November 23, 2010 at 11:22 am |
    • Mike, not me

      So you're saying the words Χριστός and Ἰησοῦς did not exist? So then Constantine wrote the Dead sea scrolls and the Samaritan Pentateuch, the Greek Septuagint or (LXX),

      November 23, 2010 at 11:31 am |
    • Kelly Garrett

      @Mike, not me

      Those words existed...they were created in a pagan context. They were later applied to the current concept known as christinaity. Do you not know that the Greeks and Romans existed in pagan form before Yeshau? The Greek and Roman languages were not invented by your god suddenly when the "christ" showed up....LOL.

      And, we have had this conversation before, on other topics. Your mind is closed, and your heart is of christian stone. For those yet to convert to christiantiy you are just one example of what they will become if they accept the covenant....if they want a mind and heart like yours they should become christians...if not, there are other paths.

      November 23, 2010 at 11:45 am |
    • David Johnson

      @mike, not me

      Christians are always using the Dead Sea Scrolls as evidence for Jesus.

      The Dead Sea Scrolls never mention Jesus or the authors of the New Testament. Sorry. LOL

      November 23, 2010 at 11:58 am |
    • Kelly Garrett

      @David Johnson,

      Well, he thinks they were written in ancient Greek, not Aramaic/Hebrew...he actually things the Greek word "christos" is in them....so, what can you expect.

      November 23, 2010 at 12:11 pm |
    • Mike, not me

      Kelly,
      how can you claim "Your mind is closed, and your heart is of christian stone" when I am here trying to understand your point of view. I now regret interruping the original conversation because josephine was on the right track. I would say your mind is close if you really follow the gospel of thomas but disregard all other scripture. Please do not be offended by that, I would say the same to my christian brothers who never get outside the gospels either.

      @Dave, really you are supprise that the manuscripts of the OT doesn't have any of the word Jesus in it or the author's name... neither does the english KJV. Brilliant deflection. That is your basis for unbelief and discarding these doc-uments

      November 23, 2010 at 12:18 pm |
    • Kelly Garrett

      @Mike, not me.

      MIke, everyone that reads this forum for more than a few hours knows you are not seeking the truth in the beliefs of others...that is a lie. But, Paul said you should lie. It is in what many call Paul's doctrine of "The end justifies whatever means it takes to win." (1 Corinthians 9:19-27) That doctrine has been used by christians to lie, cheat, steal, bear false witness, torture, maim, murder and commit genocide. Your god has had you people slaughter tens of millions of pagans in the most horrible ways because they would not follow your petty, jealous and vengeful little god.

      As I have already stated in previous posts to you, I don't care what you think, necessarily, and I am not going to waste my time trying to lead a christian away from their god. My message is to the seculars that are still seeking, so they have both sides of the story before they decide. If they want to think that the Dead Sea Scrolls were written in Greek, follow a list of rules that never changes and join an elite fellowship that denigrates the faiths and loves of others and agrees that all that do not follow their god should die, then christianity is the faith for them. If not, there are other paths.

      November 23, 2010 at 12:31 pm |
    • Kelly Garrett

      @Mike, not me.

      I don't only follow the Gospels according to Thomas. Our spiritual works are in the Ta-En La. However, we follow all the prophets of the Fellowship of Man, not just our own. We have no "one and only true god above all others." We believe that all have their own paths, there is not just one for all of mankind. We even believe that the transcendent moment you christians have in dying in your jesus is a beautiful thing...it is the effect of that on others that is evil, but you cannot help it...your god requires it. I am a bit surprised that someone following only one book to the exclusion of others is lecturing someone that learns from all prophets as a bit hypocritical. My heart is not closed to christians, but christian hearts are closed to accepting the truth of others is the truth for them.

      November 23, 2010 at 12:39 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Mike, not me

      You said: "really you are supprise that the manuscripts of the OT doesn't have any of the word Jesus in it or the author's name... neither does the english KJV. Brilliant deflection. That is your basis for unbelief and discarding these doc-uments"

      The Dead Sea Scrolls were most likely written by the Essenes during the period from about 200 B.C. to 68 C.E./A.D. The Essenes are mentioned by Josephus and in a few other sources, but not in the New testament.

      Although the Qumran community existed during the time of the ministry of Jesus, none of the Scrolls refer to Him, nor do they mention any of His follower's described in the New Testament.

      Yes, Mike I am surprised no mention was made in any of the scrolls about a Jesus, the Messiah and Son of God. It should have been big enough news to write about, either for or against.

      Your Messiah is a hoax, Mike. LOL

      November 23, 2010 at 1:02 pm |
    • Mike, not me

      Kelly,
      Please explain to me "We believe that all have their own paths, there is not just one for all of mankind." what evidence is that belief founded upon. And is it a correct interpretation that from this belief, we cannot in anyway hold the Nazi blame for anything they did? Replace Nazi with terrorist or even Christian for that matter as I am just following my own path of telling the good news of Jesus Christ. Therefore, even if I am wrong I am not wrong because I am still following "my" path and since it is "my" path, whosever path a derail is irrelevant because it was part of the only thing that matters "my" path. ME ME ME.
      Did I get that right?

      November 23, 2010 at 1:40 pm |
    • Mike, not me

      @Dave again nice deflection... even using the source you did, if you read to the end of the webpage states goes without saying, manuscript reliability and textual criticism have taken cosmic steps forward! Check it out – There is no question that Jesus Christ was the Messiah that the Jews were waiting for!

      because a few date to 68, note not originally written but copied as late of 68 does not make your argument. You have a group concerned about the prophecy and the law itself.

      http://www.allabouttruth.org/messianic-prophecy-2.htm

      November 23, 2010 at 1:56 pm |
    • Kelly Garrett

      @Mike, not me Excellent question, Mikey...though I know you are trying to be obtuse, but the answer will help the seculars that are seeking to see a major difference in our paths. You won't understand the answer, mostly because you really don't want one, and secondly it is too big for the simplistic, binary christian paradigm, and we both know christians cannot deviate from that. Our "proof" of the paths of others is in our experiences with them. Unlike a chiristian, we can approach them from a position of spiritual equality. I have walked the stars with my Ojibwa Shaman friend in Canada and saw the deep beauty in their spirituality. I have sat with a Hindu woman in India and was lulled by the lullaby she sang to her child...and I say Vishnu. I have had "Makings" with both of my Buddhist daughters-in-law and seen the portals of enlightenment and was pleased she teaches that to my grandchildren, and she has know the ways of the Gael and is happy that we teach that to my grandchildren. I have had spiritual experiences with many different peoples, because I can....because I believe their ways are just as beautiful, and true, as mine. Those are things a christian can never experience, because to you they are believers in false gods, their ways are but lies, they cannot experience "true love" because they have not received the christ, and the christ will return to exterminate them if they do not convert. To us, they experience true love, a true spiand are beautiful. We do not need a book, or any external force, to tell us murdering someone for one's own personal gain is wrong. We do not need an external force to tell us not to covet our neighbors things, not do we need a book to tell us to love (Agape) one another like you people do. Thank your god he is in your lives...it seems you would be dangerous to the rest of society if he were not around to tell you how to behave. The old Nazi red-herring, eh? Like your belief that Gays are child molesters and crave sex with animals. Or that supporting Gay rights means one must also support pedophilia as you have said in previous posts. I did not say that all paths were helpful to those around them...after all, we believe christianity is right for those it is right for...and you people have slaughtered tens of millions in the name of your god. You make the Nazi's look like amateurs. If the effects of a belief on those around them was a measure of the viability of a faith system, yours failed that test over a thousand years ago, and had just been adding it's list of atrocities since then. Shades of gray, dude...something your god does not have.

      November 23, 2010 at 2:20 pm |
    • toxictown

      Go Kelly!

      November 23, 2010 at 2:23 pm |
    • Kelly Garrett

      @Mike, not me.

      Well, according to the Jews, especially the Messianic ones (you know, those followers of Yeshua ben Yosef) the "christ" in the chrisitan bible is NOT the Messiah. That Messiah is in the Gospel According to Thomas. They should know, they are the ones he came for, and he said he was not for the Gentiles. So, any "Messiah" that came for the Gentiles is not their Messiah. You arrogant Gentile...if anyone wants to know who the Jewish Messiah is (for those that follow him) they should ask a Jew...not some Gentile heathen that has no PaRDeS....LOL

      November 23, 2010 at 2:27 pm |
    • Mike, not me

      "We do not need a book, or any external force, to tell us murdering someone for one's own personal gain is wrong. "
      That's correct as the Bible clearly states Romans 1:18ff

      This is our disconnect, nowhere will you find a Christian, in the true meaning of the term, or myself say that
      "Gays are child molesters and crave s-ex with animals."

      The point which you obtusely missed was Why if you "supporting Gay rights" and everyone is on their path that you do not "also support pedophilia"
      or beastality. What does the Ta-En La say about those two groups of people?
      If it doesn't it seems hypocritical to accept one group and not the other? Where is tolerance?

      So the question is did you find truth in the Ta-En La, or just something you agreed with?

      Tell me what I have specifically done to "You make the Nazi's look like amateurs"

      "If the effects of a belief on those around them was a measure of the viability of a faith system yours failed that test over a thousand years ago"

      Good thing we do not put our faith in men's action but Christ alone.

      November 23, 2010 at 2:43 pm |
    • Mike, not me

      The Messianic Jews I know believe the Jesus is the Christ.

      As far as your argument goes that the Messiah came only for the Jews... well what do you know it says it clearly in Matthew 10:5-10 and Matthew 15:24. So then why do you discount the Gospel according to Matthew?

      Now because Jesus came to show himself only to the Jews does not equate to salvation only to the Jews as clear in the prophesy found in Matthew 21:33–46.

      November 23, 2010 at 3:22 pm |
    • Kelly Garrett

      @Mike, not me.

      Another good question for the seculars to see. First of all, I would not take your word, or your definition for what a "true christian" is. You are just a flawed human follower. I read the bible to see what true christianity is. I have grown up amongst "true christians" for 52 years, dude. Their actions have proven what I have read in the bible.

      Funny that you should agree that you are not supposed to get your ethics out of a book, then turn around and say you do. Where did you knowledge of your jesus come from? A book? So, you do get your ethics from a book.

      You christians are real cowards when it comes to responsibility. You could learn a lesson from the Jews on communal responsibility. You people like to point fingers at each other, and those that came before, in a cowardly attempt to say that you, personally, did nothing wrong. Let's examine that concept. What did a new Nazi do? What does a new Klannsman do? What they do, is they accept the history and philosophy or those they voluntarily joined. They agree with the tenets of their voluntary association, and the history that comes with it. If they did not, they would not have voluntarily joined. You agreed with the tenets of your faith, and you knew (or could have known) the history of your cult. You voluntarily accepted those conditions, and the blood soaked robes that are attached to the "christian" label. Some of you think you can put on those robes and not be smeared with that blood. You are not innocent, when you accept what has happened, and you know that had you been back in those times you would have been right there, slaughtering with them, because your bible tells you to. You reject the beauty of other faiths, because your bible tells you to. You denigrate their faiths, and forms of love that your bible says are wrong. In accepting your christ, you bear the responsibility of all done in his name. Those things happened, and they continue to happen to this day. Man up, and take responsibility. Your faith did not appear yesterday...the world knows what your god had done. After all, your bible says that nothing happens that is not the will of your god...since it happened, it is his will.

      When I was growing up christians were not ashamed of what their god had done. They would stand in public and praise the slaughter of the millions of godless. Why are you christians now running from that...well, some of you. Most still claim pride in what has transpired in the past....you latest batch of cowards are a disgrace to your god.

      November 23, 2010 at 3:26 pm |
    • Mike, not me

      Your rant has loss me when you mention the "past" are you referring to the OT and God showing himself through a people or the things done in the name of Christ, like the crusades. The first I would defend, for He is God, the second I would not put the "christian label" on as they can not point to a text and justify their actions as many misuse the word.. for even Paul warn that such people will come amoung you. So I do defend the propehesy that has come true.

      So if a person reads a math book and misapplies the concept, do you then turn around and say curse Math it is not true, look at the number of people who score poorly on the SATs!!!
      Or can you hold the Math book to be true while people have fallen short in its application?

      November 23, 2010 at 3:53 pm |
    • Kelly Garrett

      @Mike, not me

      Ahhh....the old "rant" dismissal. I am very calm...I know my faith, and I know yours. You are at the disadvantage here, because you cannot conceive of anything else being "true." Now the secualars have seen enough of an exchange to help them decide what path(s) they want to take...with one more point in closing. Other paths can be ventured, and left or modified to suit them. One a christian, however, forever a christian. It is a covenant with no exit clause...a contract. Once a christian, they have closed all other paths available to them. They should consider carefully the points in our little discussion. If they want to be like you, then they should be come christians. If they want to don the blood soaked robes of an intolerant and prejudicial faith, then christianity is for them. If they can proudly stand and agree with what has been done, and still being done, in the name of the christ, christianity is for them. If they have Gay friends that they can just throw away with no problem, christianity is for them. If none of those apply, chrisianity is not for them...there are other paths.

      "When nature, herself, decides there should be only one kind of flower, only one kind of bird and only one kind of human being will I believe there is only one true god above all others, and only one true way to worship."

      November 23, 2010 at 4:13 pm |
    • Mike, not me

      Way to not answer the question for the secular and have them decide based on "I know it all but I am not going to explain it to you" because you openly admit that you have said advantage but will not share it.

      Was the "old "rant" dismissal" referring to the rant or my question asking you to clarify the rant? Then how can asking for a clarification be a rant?

      So again, for clarification, you believe in one nature herself, and by not calling it herselves or themselves, who creates varity but not one true God? And if you believe in one nature who can create flower, birds and humans then isn't that the one God you believe in?

      November 23, 2010 at 5:14 pm |
    • oldbones2

      Kelly, you have read the book of Thomas, outstanding. You are right about the Roman Church, very bad news, really screwed the world for 1500 years they have. God is within each of us!

      November 23, 2010 at 5:56 pm |
    • Jerry

      The interesting thing about more than one way to worship a god is, nearly every religion claims that their way is the truth. So, since there can really on be One Truth, then the rest are false. right? It's then up to us to investigate to find out which is the real Truth.

      November 23, 2010 at 6:30 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Mike, not me

      Mike, there are no known eye witness accounts of Jesus. The only account we have is what is in Gospels. The Gospels were written to "prove" Jesus was the Messiah. Paul was the originator of the Christian Religion (Pauline Christianity) most people worship today.

      The only secular mentions of Jesus are suspect, either being later insertions or here say.

      Jesus, if he existed at all, was a man. He was not the Messiah. He was not the son of God.

      Most Jewish people don't believe Jesus was/is the Messiah. The Muslims think Jesus was a prophet who will one day return to tell everyone to listen to Muhammad. LOL

      Jesus predicted He would return in the 1st Century. I know that fundies try to perform theological gymnastics to prove Jesus didn't mean what he said, but it is what it is. Jesus said what he said. He has not returned in over 2000 years.

      Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.” – Matthew 24:34
      This controversial verse is in all three of the Olivet Discourse accounts. (These accounts are to be found in Matthew 24:1-51, Mark 13:1-37, and Luke 21:5-33). For some time, critics of the Christian faith have argued that Jesus explicitly said here that all of the events prophesied in the Olivet Discourse, including His return, would happen before the last person living at that time died.
      Jesus promised, that He would return within that generation, but He did not. Since He was wrong, He could not have been God, so the Christian faith, is based on error. To bolster the argument, in all of the other places in the Gospels where Jesus used the term “this generation,” he was referring to people living at that time.

      Both the Catholics and the Preterists take Jesus at his word. So do the following people:

      The respected Christian apologist and author, C.S. Lewis 1960 essay "The Worlds Last Night"
      “Say what you like,” we shall be told, “the apocalyptic beliefs of the first Christians have been proved to be false. It is clear from the New Testament that they all expected the Second Coming in their own lifetime. And worse still, they had a reason, and one which you will find very embarrassing. Their Master had told them so. He shared, and indeed created, their delusion. He said in so many words, ‘this generation shall not pass till all these things be done.’ And he was wrong. He clearly knew no more about the end of the world than anyone else.”
      Bertrand Russell, in his book, 'Why I Am Not A Christian',
      He discredits the inspiration of the New Testament: "I am concerned with Christ as He appears in the Gospel narrative…He certainly thought that his second coming would occur in clouds of glory before the death of all the people who were living at the time. There are a great many texts that prove…He believed that his coming would happen during the lifetime of many then living. That was the belief of his earlier followers, and it was the basis of a good deal of his moral teaching." Russell later reasons that it would be fallacious to follow a religious leader (such as Jesus) who was mistaken on so basic a prediction as his parousia.
      parousia = second coming
      eschatology = •the branch of theology that is concerned with such final things as death and Last Judgment; Heaven and Hell; the ultimate destiny of humankind
      Albert Schweitzer in his 19-century book, 'The Quest of the Historical Jesus', summarized the problem of "Parousia delay" as follows: "The whole history of Christianity down to the present day... is based on the delay of the Parousia, the nonoccurrence of the Parousia, the abandonment of eschatology, the process and completion of the 'de-eschatologizing' of religion which has been connected therewith."

      You really should get a new religion Mike. This one is falling apart. I will help you with "letting go". Within a month or so, you can be god free.

      Cheers!

      Cheers!

      November 23, 2010 at 7:20 pm |
    • Mike, not me

      So you’re saying there are no know eye witness accounts of Jesus except for the eye witness accounts we have.
      I have to admit it was difficult to continue after this line.
      This one was had me laughing "Most Jewish people don't believe Jesus was/is the Messiah."
      What because they change their belief name to be called Christians,or Χριστιανός Acts 11:26, (not Constantine), they were never Jewish? Paul, Peter, the other apostles, the followers not Jewish they were Christian... sorry if that doesn't make you laugh study some more.
      How come nobody every finishes reading Matthew 24, come on it's just 17 more verses.
      Verse 34 established the historical nature of all that Jesus has said in the foregoing verses. Though some have tried to apply His words to the second coming, Jesus makes it clear that everything which had been spoken already would come to pass in the very generation to which He spoke.
      Forty years after these words were spoken; the city of Jerusalem was siege by the Romans, and destroyed. In the process, the temple, the hub of Judaism was leveled to the ground. Recall, the fate of the temple was the very beginning of Jesus discussion with His disciples (24:1-2).
      Jesus gives His disciples assurance that these things will come to pass, even as He has said. So solid is His word, that though the heaven and earth will fail (see 2 Peter 3:1-12), His word will not (see 1 Peter 1:20-25).
      LUJ
      --
      The only thing embarrassing about Mark 13:30 is the sloppy interpretation Lewis (and Lindsey and others) give it. "Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened" (Mark 13:30). What "things"? Verse 30 is a plain language re-statement of verse 29 which says "when you see these things happening you know that it is near, right at the door." What's Jesus talking about? What's near? His return? No. When all these "things" happen, they are to know that the destruction of the Temple is near. Verses 30-31 conclude Jesus' answer to the discples' question about when the Temple will be destroyed as Jesus predicted (see Mark 13:1-3).
      The "things" to happen include: "wars and rumors of war," persecution, and an "abomination" being set up in the Temple. Indeed, after these things happened the Temple was destroyed by the Romans in A.D. 70, within a generation (40 years) just as Jesus prophesied. Therefore, Jesus made no mistake when he claimed that "this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened." Nothing to be embarrassed about here.
      -
      I hope this has helped

      November 24, 2010 at 8:41 am |
    • David Johnson

      @Mike, not me

      You said, "So you’re saying there are no know eye witness accounts of Jesus except for the eye witness accounts we have.
      I have to admit it was difficult to continue after this line."

      Oh, Mike. You want there to be a god soooo bad. I wish it could be true for you.

      Bart Ehrman sums the situation up in his widely-used intro work The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings: “…They were written thirty-five to sixty-five years after Jesus’ death by authors who did not know him, authors living in different countries who were writing at different times to different communities with different problems and concerns.”

      No one, who wrote anything about Jesus in the New Testament, actually saw or spoke to Jesus.

      You said, "This one was had me laughing "Most Jewish people don't believe Jesus was/is the Messiah."
      What because they change their belief name to be called Christians,or Χριστιανός Acts 11:26, (not Constantine), they were never Jewish? Paul, Peter, the other apostles, the followers not Jewish they were Christian... sorry if that doesn't make you laugh study some more."

      Mike, I was speaking about the Jews, who follow Judaism today.

      Jews do not believe that Jesus was divine, the Son of God, or the Messiah prophesied in Jewish scriptures. He is seen as a "false messiah," meaning someone who claimed (or whose followers claimed for him) the mantle of the Messiah but who ultimately did not meet the requirements laid out in Jewish beliefs.

      Jesus the Messiah was a fail, buddy. Sorry.

      On Jesus' bad prediction:

      Although Jesus did not know the “day and hour” of his return (Matt. 24:36), he knew it would take place before his generation had expired (Matt. 24:34). This clearly precludes a delay spanning two millennia or even a single century. In other words, the second coming of Christ must be an event in the past.

      So, we can either throw out the baby Jesus, or believe His prediction was fulfilled in about 70 CE.

      I'm not going to argue about this, Mike. If you read the passages, you can only come to one conclusion. Jesus predicted He would return in the 1st Century. Evangelicals have to get out from under this Oooopsie. Their/your whole belief system depends on it. LOL

      November 24, 2010 at 2:35 pm |
    • Mike, not me

      And Bart Erhman is discredited as a scholar for not having a the back ground in the correct studies in training in the Semitic background of the NT, this includes Dr Wallace, Craig Evans, and Dr William Craig.

      Again I implore you to read the Case for the Real Jesus or search out the Wallace vs Erhman debates

      November 24, 2010 at 6:48 pm |
  18. josephine

    "or"?

    perhaps neither?

    November 23, 2010 at 10:12 am |
    • David Johnson

      Yes, you are right. Jesus was just a man whom the gospel made into a messiah. Paul created the Christian religion most people practice today. No real god required. LOL

      November 23, 2010 at 11:53 am |
    • veggiedude

      If Jesus was a capitalist, he was the worst loser in the world. Ability to change water into wine. He could have been a millionaire! Feed 5,000 people with only 5 loaves of bread – again, he could have made a bundle. Face it, he was no capitalist. His words and more importantly, his actions, were commie at worst, liberal at best.

      November 23, 2010 at 4:18 pm |
  19. Frogist

    "Poverty was created by us because we really haven’t lived into His vision of loving our neighbor as ourselves and of really understanding that someone else’s suffering needs to be mine and it demands something of us.  When you have a massive disparity between the rich and the poor, that is unsustainable. The world is never going to be safe as long as masses of people are living in poverty so that a handful of people live however they want.  It’s all of our responsibility to figure out how the great gifts that this world has are shared amongst the people."
    You mean like a redistribution of wealth?! How dare you, sir?! LOL! Come on now... hands up how many rich people are going to give away half their stuff to the poor... No? Right, you won't even accept paying higher taxes so the country can get a bit back from you Wall Streeters. Most of the talk I've heard lately about the well-to-do is not 'how do we help the poor?', but 'how do we keep what we have?' It's a nice idea that the rich will step up of their own accord and help out those in need so that we all live in balance with each other, but is it realistic? No.
    I actually heard an interesting story on NPR about this family who did give away half of everything they owned. They downsized themselves to be more efficient and to try to appreciate what they had more. Kudos to them. But I think when people are talking about investing in poor regions to try to grow a sustainable community, the first thing that an investor will ask is 'what's in it for me?'. It's the rare few who are willing to give till it hurts.

    November 23, 2010 at 9:56 am |
    • Mike, not me

      Frogist, maybe I missed your sarcasism, but Shayne was not saying he (or I) expected it to happen but it is still the correct solution. Acts 4, but you are correct many of us ask what's in it for me focusing on the temporal and not the eternal.

      November 23, 2010 at 10:05 am |
    • Frogist

      @Mike not me: Morally, I agree with you that the rich need to do more for the poor. But a mult!tude of people are coming down on the capitalist side of things and saying it all must be voluntary. But as you said, that isn't ever expected to happen. How can it be the correct solution when it is an impractical solution? More needs to be done than just debating about charity and hoping the rich will come around eventually. Or we're not really doing anything at all.

      I also disagree with your statement that it is a temporal vs eternal thing. There are rewards to charitable work and moral living that are in the here and now. No one needs to look to eternity to recognize that doing good for good's sake can be a worthy cause. Although I don't know how that can be put to a practical solution for easing poverty.

      November 23, 2010 at 10:16 am |
    • Ryan

      Asking "what's in it for me" belies an investor's ignorance.
      A life-long partnership and ally is what's in it for investors if they help poor communities grow.
      Too many people think only in terms of money when they think about profits.

      November 23, 2010 at 12:34 pm |
    • Steve

      Frogist, how much did you give to charity this year? I suspect it was little or nothing, probably less than 2% of your income. I have found that most people who demand that others give more do little giving themselves. Why should you expect others to do something you're not willing to do yourself? Cancel your internet and cell phone service and use the money to help the poor. You could feed a family of four for 3 months if you weren't so greedy and selfish.

      November 23, 2010 at 12:40 pm |
    • Steve

      @Ryan,
      Give us some more details on how your investments in poor communities have worked. From your own personal experience, what do you find is the most efficient way to invest your time and money to maximize growth and opportunity in those communities?

      November 23, 2010 at 12:45 pm |
    • Scaithien

      The problem with your point of view is you assume several things not the least of which is that the "rich" exist and work for the sake of the poor. In my experience just about every human being on this planet moves his/her ass to benefit themselves, their immediate family, and friends.

      So what does this mean. This means people put in increasing amounts of effort into producing... taking the additional chores at work, going for the extra schooling, starting a business, etc... they expect to reap rewards. Sometimes this reward is an internal one... "I feel good I helped my coworker out at work," "I love to learn," etc, but most of the time the best motivation is material. I do more to get more stuff.

      If you take away more and more from the "rich"... oh and by the by in a country with a progressive tax scheme this means the people actively working/producing not those sitting on a pile of money... this results in decreased productivity. In other words I don't see a payout so I'm not moving my ass.

      In essence this is a large part as to why socialist/communist states fail (not to mention the difficulties inherent to "planning" economic activity). There is no incentive to work harder if there is no payout. Now you can respond how selfish and terrible that is. And point to as many anecdotes from NPR saying "see these people learned to like it!" as they earned less and less money. I will promptly respond with real world examples where it's failed both at a personal and country-wide level. You can also say "well I don't want to take all of it just most of it!" and I will promptly respond with the question at what point do we stop taking the money somebody earned through their work? 50%? 75%.... how much will you take and then leave them? And by what right do you take from them? Because you can and because it's not you?

      November 23, 2010 at 3:39 pm |
    • AmericaMan

      Hey ding dong, how much did you give away to the poor last year? If it was less than 10% then you sir are a hypocrite. You tell others how virtuous it is to give while giving nothing yourself. Typical liberal tripe. Al Gore, every libs hero, gave $97.00 or some such ridiculous amount. What was your giving amount to the poor, as a percentage of your income. I am very conservative and my family was well over 30% in its giving to charitable causes as well as to poor people directly. You extol giving as an abstract concept, as long as it's someone else that's required to do it by governmental fiat, but flinch when it involves personal sacrifice. What's in it for you indeed; it's time to put up or shut up.

      November 23, 2010 at 3:45 pm |
    • Frogist

      Wow lots of finger-pointing and name calling... Seriously if you have no semblance of what the article say, why post? It matters not what I make or how much I give... it matters only that the article says that morally the poor must be cared for by the rich who must give away what they own so that a balance is achieved and poverty eradicated. The fact that you attribute those sentiments to me alone shows a lack in reading comprehension. Any comments on that or just more name-calling? But anyway that's sort of what I expect from those who are so scared of losing their greedy grip on what little they have economically without consideration for moral imperative.

      BTW I don't count how much I donate, I just give. I often wonder about those who do count what they give? Does it make you feel superior when you calculate that percentage? Or is it just for tax purposes? And yes, some of my money goes to NPR which I think is a vital news and culture resource.

      November 24, 2010 at 10:38 am |
  20. CW

    Jesus was perfect.

    You can put him into any mold. He was for helping man...period...as this God forsaking world needs him badly.

    November 23, 2010 at 9:42 am |
    • NL

      The problem lies in that helping one person usually takes away from another, as in our capitalist system. If you help everyone equally then you are advocating socialist, or communist ideals. If you help only a select few, then you venture into fascist territory.

      Jesus may have been perfect, but his ideas have never been applied in any way that is above criticism, right?

      November 23, 2010 at 10:29 am |
    • CW

      @ NL

      There is good ol' NL....yep. NL you fail to realize that God's vision for society is very different from all of our visions. First off...Yes we are all to help each other that was God's vision. Secondly in helping each other we help ourselfs.

      By the way here is what I believe God meant for all of us....in helping the poor....if you give the poor some food to eat....not only give him some food to eat now...but show him how to grow the food you give him. Not like what most people in society want...."infinite hand outs"=social-ism.

      By the way....just like I said....this is a God foresaking nation now and one day it will come to pass when all of those that are not following him will regret it.

      November 23, 2010 at 10:47 am |
    • Bob

      Perhaps you should do some thinking about your faith.

      God created the universe, created the earth, created the animals and created Adam. He did so knowing what would ultimately occur in this world. That is to say, he knew about the state of the nation and it's "godlessness" when the moment he set into motion.

      So therefore, the Godlessness you speak of is actually by God's design and fulfulling his plan. Therefore, it is holy and righteous.

      November 23, 2010 at 10:57 am |
    • Freethinker

      The irony in all this is that the religious right GOP wants to get rid of all social programs for helping the poor and needy which is in direct contradiction to what their prophet preached.

      But then again, the rules only apply to who they want them to apply.

      November 23, 2010 at 11:30 am |
    • Jimmo

      "He was for helping man."
      Ah, so you say he was a liberal socialist. I agree.

      November 23, 2010 at 11:30 am |
    • Nick

      @Bob
      Wrong. Yes, he knows all though all time, and so He knows our decisions and refections from the first moment, but because of free will, those decisions can be either for or against God and His plan. Godlessness can be a RESULT of the design of this plan, but common sense tells me it certainly isn't the intent.

      @Freethinker
      Yes, remove or limit social programs at the federal level because they are ineffective. The GOP leans toward subsistence, let communities provide their own social policies because they know better what their own people need than the behemoth federal government does. Not every community has the same needs, and at the core the solution to those needs is rarely a government handout. Rather, it would seem that many people who receive government handouts come to rely on them, and so are even more incapable of improving their own situation.

      November 23, 2010 at 11:47 am |
    • David Johnson

      @CW

      You said: "By the way....just like I said....this is a God foresaking nation now and one day it will come to pass when all of those that are not following him will regret it."

      My regret is that the nation isn't forsaking god fast enough.

      Your god is no more real than Zeus or Odin or any other god. They are all made up.

      November 23, 2010 at 11:49 am |
    • David Johnson

      @Nick

      If god is all knowing, there is no free will.

      November 23, 2010 at 11:50 am |
    • sg

      The problem comes from the fact that all known info about Jesus comes from books that were written 1000+ years ago. There is nothing known for sure. This could have been a guy who was mentally challanged, and so people wrote heroic stories about him.

      Just like the myth that Washington chopped down the cherry tree, who's to say what has been embellished or exaggerated, or just plain made up about him.

      November 23, 2010 at 11:53 am |
    • Chuck

      He wasn't perfect. He wasn't a communist or a capitalist. He didn't exist. He is a myth. Stop paterning your silly lives after a myth. Your faith proves nothing; it just shows how foolish you are for believing in such a vengeful, man-made contraption.

      November 23, 2010 at 11:55 am |
    • Ras137

      Sorry Bob,
      I meant CW.

      November 23, 2010 at 12:06 pm |
    • David Wood

      If you were to put the teachings of Jesus into a modern day context – it is absolutely obvious that he was socialist.

      November 23, 2010 at 12:24 pm |
    • David

      Oh for goodness sakes – "God this and God that . . . He, he, he, he . . . . " When have you seen males give birth to anything? God is a woman.

      November 23, 2010 at 12:28 pm |
    • Strelok

      I always liked his quote, 'Give that to Caesar which belongs to Caesar, and give that to God which belongs to God.'

      November 23, 2010 at 12:33 pm |
    • Gary

      All of the writings about Jesus would indicate that he believes in free choice, which is the essence of capitalism. He advocates for the poor which means that he is compassionate not communist. Frankly the communist countries have more people and are less generous in helping those in need. I'm clearly a capitalist but also try to be compassionate. I can choose to help the poor without the government mandating it or oppressing me. Communism per Karl Marks, China, USSR, North Korea etc explicitly makes religion illegal, so clearly Jesus wouldn't be communist.

      November 23, 2010 at 12:33 pm |
    • Da Truth

      What about Sarah Palin?

      November 23, 2010 at 12:34 pm |
    • doobismoobie

      everything is perfect.

      November 23, 2010 at 12:36 pm |
    • Strelok

      @Chuck

      How am I foolish for believing in Jesus? And how is modern science any less man made than religion? Have you found the Higgs Boson? Do you have the answer to why we exist, whether life on other planets exists, or a definitive answer as to how existence itself came into being? No. Just as I can not claim I have ever seen the face of God himself, you can not claim to have those answers. All you have, like myself, is faith.

      November 23, 2010 at 12:37 pm |
    • MadPanda

      Strelok,
      Quantum physics is among the most well tested of ideas out there. We have predicted many particles before their discovery. You are ignorant.

      Call it faith if you want. Just depends on how you define it. But if I have faith, then my faith is better than your faith. Your faith is not respectable.

      November 23, 2010 at 12:53 pm |
    • Dina

      I AGREE 100% .............. what is it with people who constantly question God? or his work ? just because you may not believe and have no fath in him what so ever, does not give you the right or power to be disrespectful or condescending. Give it a rest !! We really are at the end of times, look at all the problems and horrific situations that we hear or partake everyday. Do you really believe that you are in this world to live and be liberated in all the sin that you do with no consequences? Please read the last book in the Bible Apocalypse, its amazing to know that everything that has been mentioned to this day has happened one way or another, and this is not over we are just beginning. I pray and hope that all of you who are against God or his ways, that you may find peace and freedom through Christ and Christ alone. God Bless you and your Family, because the end is comming and every knee will bow and give thanks and praise to our Lord Jesus Christ.
      Have a Blessed Thanksgiving and Remember Jesus is the reason for the Christmas Season.

      November 23, 2010 at 12:58 pm |
    • MadPanda

      "Have you found the Higgs Boson? Do you have the answer to why we exist, whether life on other planets exists, or a definitive answer as to how existence itself came into being? No. Just as I can not claim I have ever seen the face of God himself, you can not claim to have those answers. All you have, like myself, is faith."

      BTW, we would have faith if we made claims about these things that we could not prove, or had no reason to believe. This is why my "faith" that you claim I have, is better than yours. They are very different. Scientific ideas change with evidence, and no one is claiming to be 100% sure on any of these deeply complex topics. If we were to do so, this would be and act of faith. Some things are so obvious, like evolution, that we don’t even bother accounting for the .0000001% chance that they are not correct. If they are incorrect, we change them and there is nothing wrong with that. Your type of faith is a disgrace to anyone claiming to be logical.

      November 23, 2010 at 1:03 pm |
    • fc777

      God is really Perfect!!! Just read 1 Timothy chapter 6 verses 17-19 said "Teach those who are rich in this world not to be proud and not to trust in their money, which is unrealiable. Their trust should be in God, who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment. Tell them to use their money to do good. They should be rich in good works and generous to those in need, always being ready to share with others. By doing this they will be storing up their treasure as a good foundation for the future so that they may experience true life."

      November 23, 2010 at 1:05 pm |
    • MadPanda

      No, the reason for the Christmas season is that the Christians adopted holidays from other religions to more easily absorb those religions and their influence.

      November 23, 2010 at 1:06 pm |
    • Fulcanelli

      JC was a Anarchist.

      November 23, 2010 at 1:09 pm |
    • Andrew

      @ Dina...and the rest of you as well,
      How is our world today worse than, say the dark ages? Or the Roman Empire? When there was practically no cures for any sickness and I assume, a high infant mortality rate? As miserable as some of you are about today's society I am appreciative that it is not 1012 AD. The world is not ending soon. You can't quit your jobs yet.

      November 23, 2010 at 1:10 pm |
    • fc777

      I am convinced that the only hope for a stable, good, right kind of society is total commitment to follow the patterns of Scripture. If you don't, all is lost... all is lost. Without the Word of God, everything disappears into the ever-changing conditions of relativism. The extent of freedom is in direct proportion to a nation's compliance with Scripture. That's long gone.

      November 23, 2010 at 1:12 pm |
    • Rock God

      CW, I heard that Jesus suffered from Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

      November 23, 2010 at 1:12 pm |
    • diggiplay

      This is a funny topic because Jesus never existed.
      It is like determining if Red Riding Hood was lesbian or not.
      Please CNN, stop wasting our time and post information that will benefit humankind.

      November 23, 2010 at 1:22 pm |
    • MikinAz

      While he may have existed – he was not perfect...no one is. He certainly wa not however the son of "god" ...um because there is no invisible sky creature with super powers who controls all and watches over us. you would have to be crazy or easily manipulated to believe in such a thing. All that said – Jesus was a socialist...he would not like the idea of success this country has fallen into – that it is ok to elevate yourself by stepping on someone else and that if you can keep someone from getting something you do not – your are moving forward. Capitalism – this system produces the results it is designed to produce. Enjoy!

      November 23, 2010 at 1:32 pm |
    • Dina

      @ Kelley Garret and @ Jospehine, you ladies need help Godly help. All these doubts and questions and shoulda coulda woulda.................. God didnt question you when he created you and YES !! all 7 billion ppl.

      November 23, 2010 at 1:41 pm |
    • MikinAz

      to fc777 – good luck with that. I do not believe in your scripture. I will not be conforming to your ideaology...And before you threaten me with damnation for my blasphemy – Your god does not exist so therefore does not scare me. Those who believe in a magical invisible sky creature who created us, knows all and watches over us, hears prayers and grants miracles...should be locked up pending a sanity evaluation...these nut jobs should at the very least not be allowed to vote due to questionable sanity...grow up people, move into the age of science and put away the fairy tales

      November 23, 2010 at 1:41 pm |
    • obvious

      “Jesus wasn’t anything that ended in “ist” – he was an existential lover – but I think that he was challenging all these systems, and he was pulling the best of the people in those systems out.”

      false. Jesus chrIST. LOL!

      November 23, 2010 at 1:52 pm |
    • NL

      CW-
      Yet, we get "God's vision for society" from the bible, which was written by people and Interpreted by other people, with radically differing results throughout history. You cannot remove the human factor from any claim of creating a God version of the ideal society.

      Would you consider the Amish society a socialist one?

      November 23, 2010 at 1:55 pm |
    • D-Bo

      @David Johnson said: "If god is all knowing, there is no free will."

      David, if you can do something without of God knowing about it, then he's not God by definition. If you can do something that God can't stop you from doing or without him knowing you did it, then YOU would be God. You're problem lies in your definition of free will, not with God's existence. (PS: You really need to work on understanding philosophy...no wonder you're found wanting and keep coming back to Belief Blogs).

      November 23, 2010 at 2:27 pm |
    • marie

      Jesus was a LIBERAL.

      November 23, 2010 at 2:31 pm |
    • David Jaffe

      There is no historical evidence that Jesus ever exited so the whole debate is dumb.

      November 23, 2010 at 2:49 pm |
    • steve

      @CW, you said, "show him how to grow the food you give him". Now, that's all well and good, but where do I grow it? No one is going to give me land. You're comment goes back to very old times, when it was possible to strike out and find unowned property and claim it for yourself.

      November 23, 2010 at 3:14 pm |
    • MikeinNYC

      "From each according to his abilities, to each according to his need" That might be the Communist credo. Everyone has some ability, no matter how small, and everyone contributes in some way to produce the pie that we all eat. Communism is not a system of "infinite handouts". For all it's many faults the Soviet Union did not have unemployment. People may not have liked their jobs, but they had to show up. Think of a better-paying 'work-fare'; that might be closer to the Communist ideal. Single mothers in the US could provide child care for working parents in addition to looking after their own children. Other 'unemployed' Americans might pick up litter along the sides of highways, in parks and on the public beaches or perform other services.

      November 23, 2010 at 3:30 pm |
    • AL

      This isn't news! People, please wake up and start talking about real issues, not 2,000 year old fairytales.

      November 23, 2010 at 3:31 pm |
    • tdub21

      Many posters have expressed the idea that Jesus would line up with the socialistic perspective. I assume that this is because He preached to help the poor and to give freely to those in need. However, to assume that helping the poor lines up with a socialistic perspective is not entirely accurate. One has to also presuppose that the free markets do not help the poor, or at best, they are less capable of helping the poor when compared to socialism. After these assumptions are made, a claim can then be made that if one desired to help the poor they must be a socialist, and since Jesus desired to help the poor, then eureka! However, this is not true. It is a false argument to say that if one desires to help the poor, then they must be a socialist. Even if socialism is the most efficient and effective way to help the poor among society (I would argue it is very effective in helping the rich), a naive young lad could be so indoctrinated in the ways of free market thought that he may erroneously believe free markets help the poor. We now have an example of someone who wants to help the poor that is a free market capitalist. Furthermore, the free market has created one of the largest middle classes in history right here in America. It is perplexing to me that one would advocate a backward and failed perspective such as socialism. Where authority is given to few, many will remain suppressed, and in practice, socialism gives authority to a few politicians, corporations, and union officials. Secondly, Jesus did not come to earth to simply help the poor, He claimed He came to save the people from their sins. Now, whether or not you agree with His claims, I find it intellectually foolish to completely throw out His claim of divinity, but then to argue modern economic theory based on His moral teachings. It is only through His "diviness" that his moral teachings hold any value because they are based on "truths," which simply do not exist if God does not. What basis can any moral teaching have if there is no truth by which to base the absolute?

      November 23, 2010 at 3:34 pm |
    • J

      CW must be an acronym for Christian Wackjob

      November 23, 2010 at 3:36 pm |
    • talon10

      Personally, I have no use at all for a mythological, Jewish Zombie from 2000 years ago. How stupid.

      November 23, 2010 at 3:56 pm |
    • MadPanda

      D-Bo,
      Way to go in making no sense. I agree with David, If god knows what you are going to do before you do it, then we never even had a choice. If we had a choice, that implies that god did not know what we would choose, making him NOT all knowing. If we had a choice, and he already knew what we would choose, then all he did was create us in his likeness, so we would make the wrong choice.-A choice that sends us to he-ll perhaps? Doesn’t sound like a compa-ssionate loving god at all. I hear that angels cry every time I jer-k-off.-Good thing its god’s fault.

      November 23, 2010 at 4:15 pm |
    • Kermit

      Communism is an atheist ideology that oppressed anyone that did not agree with it's narrow minded beliefs. Atheists, under the banner of communism, have caused more atrocities than all other religions put together. If you don't agree just look it up.

      You could argue that Jesus had socialist leanings or even capitalist ones but you could never argue that he was a communist..

      November 23, 2010 at 4:30 pm |
    • runswithbeer

      Ask the Dalai Lama, he knows.

      November 23, 2010 at 5:05 pm |
    • MadPanda

      That is an example of the Post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy im pretty sure.

      Besides, god is all knowing and granted us free will. He created to commies and is therefore responsible as the commie leader.

      Also.....Where is that Hitler quote about doing everything in the name of god when you need it.....?

      November 23, 2010 at 5:07 pm |
    • John

      To Freethinker-the GOP wants to get rid of helping the poor??? Really? I think they desire to get rid of the avocation of free living. Generations of families from the Johnson Great Society until now have relied on my hard earned money. They cannot get out of the rut the government has enabled them to be in. Please save us all from your liberal slant on life.

      November 23, 2010 at 5:22 pm |
    • NL

      Kermit-
      Atheism is just the belief that God does not exist. It does not call upon anyone to act based on this idea. Similarly, theism is just the belief that God does exist, and it, by itself, does not call upon anyone to act based on this idea. The Inquisition, however, was based upon Christian beliefs which did call upon people to act, and they did so rather cruelly, yet with the full belief that they were doing God's work. Communists killed people not in the name of Atheism, but because they had a lot of opposition to eliminate.

      November 23, 2010 at 5:40 pm |
    • Believer

      I think God would want us to take care of ourselves first and then take care of people less fortunate. The GOP doesn't want to get rid of all help programs....most want to stop the abuse. Look it up, Republican give more donations than Democrats. I am sure many Democrats want to stop the abuse too. There is plenty to go around....if not for the greed. Bill Gates is the richest man in the world. But, for the most part, he didn't make his money immorally...that's the difference. He also donates more than most people will make in a lifetime.

      November 23, 2010 at 6:00 pm |
    • freddy fred

      nicely said. CNN should read the bible...

      November 23, 2010 at 6:00 pm |
    • Braden

      No. The teachings of Jesus were thus: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbour as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these." Where Jesus advocates choice, communism applies force. You can not force someone to be charitable and call it charity just like you can not volunteer to be a part of a communistic society and call it communism.

      November 23, 2010 at 6:07 pm |
    • Believer

      God did not create THIS world. He created The Garden of Eden. This world wasn't his plan. Man messed it up. We don't live in a Garden of Eden because we all sin. Every one of us.

      November 23, 2010 at 6:08 pm |
    • lblt

      "massive disparity between the rich and the poor" can't be remedied by the rich giving wealth to the poor. It's a state that will always exist. The poor are poor for a reason. They will squander what you give them and will always want more. Teach them to fish.

      November 23, 2010 at 6:13 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Nick

      You said, "he knows all though all time, and so He knows our decisions and refections from the first moment, but because of free will, those decisions can be either for or against God and His plan. "

      Dude, if god has a plan, then there is no free will.

      November 23, 2010 at 6:27 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @D-Bo

      You did not do well against me, the last time. I doubt you would do any better this time.

      Cheers!

      November 23, 2010 at 6:31 pm |
    • NL

      Believer-
      Ah, yes, The Garden of Eden. Wasn't that the equivalent of a modern-day game preserve, or maybe a zoo? So, really, we traded being God's pet for the freedom of living in the wild, right?

      November 23, 2010 at 11:07 pm |
    • civiloutside

      Believer gives us credit for "messing up" god's plan. That suggests a fallible plan, doesn't it?

      November 23, 2010 at 11:30 pm |
    • Andrew Messenger

      Jesus was not about free handouts. Jesus was about equipping individuals to make a difference.

      Give a man a fish, and you've fed him for one day.
      Teach a man to fish, and he will never grow hungry again.

      Jesus was about teaching 12 men how to be the greatest fishermen on the planet (fishers of men).

      He was about equipping people to accept responsibility for themselves, to not only be productive, but to productively, and compassionately, enable others to be productive as well.

      November 24, 2010 at 12:59 am |
    • Know What

      "...teaching 12 men how to be the greatest fishermen on the planet (fishers of men)."

      Yup, lure them in with some irresistible bait... then kill them and devour them.

      November 24, 2010 at 1:05 am |
    • NL

      Believer-
      "The GOP doesn't want to get rid of all help programs....most want to stop the abuse."
      But when it comes right down to it, doesn't the GOP, and the tea party as well, label the 'abusers' of government aid as the poor black and hispanic population while pandering to the poor white population they consider a significant portion of their base? All are equally likely to abuse the system, but the GOP have definitely rallied one group against all others, right?

      November 24, 2010 at 7:57 am |
    • ARW

      It seems to me that Jesus saw beyond the status quo. He saw the big picture. Most of these comments even the basis of the discussion comes from a limited North American perspective. No. Americans consume most of the planets resources yet much of anger and resentments about not having enough are directed at less consumptive countries and those less fortunate . I think Jesus spoke of sharing. He spoke of giving caring and compassion. He spoke of inclusion.

      November 24, 2010 at 12:18 pm |
    • ConcernedPerson

      If jesus even existed at all, his reported teachings and practices were clearly socialistic. Of course, this assumes he really existed. Clearly, he wasn't a god – how silly an idea is that. He was not perfect either, as anyone knows who has read the bible. (Did u know that 85% of christians have never read the whole bible!) jesus was actually quite cruel, always preaching hell and damnation, and performed very few miracles(yeah right!) considering he was supposedly a god.
      If jesus existed, he was a jew, born a jew and died a jew. Jews at the time thought he would be the messiah, a jewish messiah. This wasn't a unique expectation. Potential messiahs came along quite often and never panned out. Jesus never panned out either as a jewish messiah, and christianity wasn't even around when he was alive.
      Actually, his legend is quite the underachievement.

      November 30, 2010 at 2:24 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.