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Would Jesus support health care reform?
Jesus depicted healing a sick child.
June 28th, 2012
08:45 AM ET

Would Jesus support health care reform?

Editor’s note: This piece ran earlier this year, but we’re spotlighting it now because of Thursday’s health care decision from the Supreme Court. The story generated more than 3,000 comments, including these two:

David Nelson
It is sad that Jesus has been demoted to being a politician. Jesus plainly said "My Kingdom is not of this world." Movements to use Him to promote their agendas, whether they be on the Left or Right, are extremely suspect in the eyes of this Christian.

kateslate
Jesus would SO have been a democrat. He taught us to care for the sick...not to profit off illness. I don't know how Republicans can live with themselves and call themselves Christian.

What’s your take?

By John Blake, CNN

(CNN) - He was a healer, a provider of universal health care, a man of compassion who treated those with preexisting medical conditions.

We don’t know what Jesus thought about the individual mandate or buying broccoli. But we do know how the New Testament describes him. The Gospels are filled with stories of Jesus physically healing the most vulnerable and despised people in his society.

References to Jesus, of course, didn’t make into the recent U.S. Supreme Court’s hearings on the constitutionality of President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act. Yet there is a moral dimension to this epic legal debate:

How should the nation help its “least of these,” an estimated 50 million Americans who can’t afford health insurance, as well as those who could go broke or die because they can’t afford medical care?

Christians are as divided about this question as others. Many cite Jesus, but come up with completely different conclusions.

Trust God or government?

Tom Prichard, a Lutheran and president of the Minnesota Family Council, said it’s ultimately about faith.  Who do we trust – God or government?

He opposes “Obamacare” because he has more faith in the market and people, than government.

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

“Here Jesus’ words come to mind about not worrying and trusting God to meet our basic needs,” Prichard wrote in an online post warning about the dangers of “government run health care.” “Or if we believe it all depends on us, we’ll look to government.”

When reached at his Minnesota office,Prichard elaborated: He said the nation should empower families and individuals to make health-care decisions. If families can’t afford health insurance, private and public entities like churches and nonprofits should step in, he said.

“We all have the same goal,”Prichard said. “We want all people to have health care, even people who can’t afford it. I would argue that having the government be the primary vehicle for providing it is not going to get us to that goal. It’s going to make the situation worse.”

Carl Raschke, a religious studies professor at the University of Denver, evoked Jesus’ words about Rome and taxation.

Raschke cited the New Testament passage when Jesus, after being asked if Jews should pay taxes to Rome, said that people should "Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's, and unto God the things that are God's."

Jesus was against strictly political or economic solutions because he thought they were too easy when it comes to the real challenges of human life, Raschke said.

“Writing checks won’t solve social problems,” Raschke said. “One has to get involved. If we see someone in need, we just don’t throw a dollar at him or her. You get to know them, you offer yourself, and ask what you can do for them.”

Helping the Good Samaritans of our day

There are some Christians, though, who say that charity isn’t enough to solve the nation’s health care problems.

An estimated 32 million Americans could lose health insurance if “Obamacare” is struck down, including children who can stay on their parents’ insurance until they are 26 and seniors who get help paying for their drug prescriptions. Most observers say health care costs would continue to rise.

Follow the CNN Belief Blog on Twitter

Some people believe the health care situation in America would be scandalous to Jesus because he was a prophet concerned about social justice.

Steven Kraftchick, a religious scholar, said Jesus comes out of the tradition of Jewish prophets who preached that the health of a society could be measured by how well they took care of “its widows and orphans,” those who had the least power.

Kraftchick said there’s a famous story in the Gospel of Mark in which Jesus heals such a person. He was the man who called himself Legion. He might have been called homeless and mentally ill. The man roamed a graveyard, so tormented that even chains could not hold him and everyone feared him, Mark wrote.

Jesus healed the man not only physically, but socially as well, according to Mark. The man returned to his community with a sense of dignity, said Kraftchick, a professor at Emory University’s Candler School of Theology in Atlanta.

“A move toward universal health care would be fitting with the prophetic traditions,” Kraftchick said. “When you read the New Testament and look at the signs of the in-breaking of the Kingdom of God, it’s always connected to being physically healed.”

Yet Marcia Pally, an authority on evangelicals, said many evangelicals are wary of government doing the healing.  Their reasons go back centuries.

Many are the descendants of people who fled Europe because of religious persecution from countries and state churches. They fought a revolution against a government in England.  And they settled a frontier, where the virtue of self-reliance was critical, said Pally, author of “The New Evangelicals: Expanding the Vision of the Common Good.”

Suspicion of government is part of their historical and religious experience, said Pally, a professor at Fordham University and New York University.

Those attitudes, though, may be changing. Pally said she spent six years traveling across America to interview evangelicals. She discovered that a new generation of evangelists now believes that certain issues are too big and complex to be addressed by charity alone.

“Some note that charity is very good at the moment of emergency relief but it doesn’t change the underlying problem  unless structures that keep people poor, sick or deny their access to health insurance are changed,” she said.

No matter what the Supreme Court decides, the legal debate will continue. If more Americans go broke or die because they do not have health insurance, more Americans may ask, what would Jesus do?

But don’t expect any easy answers from the Bible, said Raschke, the religious studies professor at the University of Denver.

“People are always looking for support from the Bible for American political positions,” Rashke said. “Would Jesus be against abortion, or would he support a woman’s right to choose? It’s almost become a standard joke in the theological world that you quote Jesus in American politics to support your political views.

“The teachings of Jesus do not fit into the views of any political party."

- CNN Writer

Filed under: Christianity • Health care • Jesus • Politics

soundoff (5,234 Responses)
  1. shep

    Mr. Romney? Jesus is in the lobby and would like to ask you some questions about Joseph Smith.

    July 3, 2012 at 10:17 am |
  2. shep

    No, Jesus would let people suffer. Then he would build a crystal cathedral. Then he would catch a charter to Aspen. I love Republican Jesus.

    July 3, 2012 at 10:15 am |
  3. Jack

    Hello, everyone is welcome to visit – thestarofkaduri.com

    July 3, 2012 at 9:26 am |
  4. ONE CAREFUL OWNER

    – One careful owner coming through!

    July 3, 2012 at 6:40 am |
  5. Grimm Reaper

    Ok, I get the point, but the naive people who believe that this law really was altruistic are in for a rude awakening once they see the costs, the new taxes on their miniscule paychecks, and the benefit to insurance companies, doctors, and hospitals, but no reductions in costs (actually the opposite), and how are quality of care will decline. Remember, mark my words.

    July 3, 2012 at 5:07 am |
    • shep

      Ohhh, mark my words. Love watching the right wing trailer trash trying to spin Jesus being in favor of letting people suffer in the name of capitalism. Good luck with that.

      July 3, 2012 at 10:13 am |
    • Correction

      Shep, you know nothing of what Jesus wants. Shut your mouth.

      July 3, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
    • Bible-Birther

      I'll care about what Jesus wants as soon as I see a birth certificate...

      July 3, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
    • AaaaCccc

      Agreed. So anyone who cares, please get on your politicians to get out of their corners and extremes. To talk and really solve this. As a "tax" it can be modified. Let's get a solution for now until we can wean government down. But places to cut are waste first. But in a disaster, procedures are different than the norm. We are in a healthcare disaster where organizations that help 3rd world countries in crisis, are now helping us.

      July 3, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
  6. Copie

    The gospel of Jesus Christ clearly defines that we have a responsibility to take care of those in need, but also is clear that we shouldn't compel anyone to be charitable, as they wouldn't receive the blessings. Our free agency from God is one of his most precious gifts, we are free to choose how we will act, but we aren't free to choose to suffer or not for the actions we choose with it. Many of the programs that the Democrats push are great services, but they should be run by volunteers and charitable donations. They also should not try to remove the consequences for making poor choices. The role of government is not to dictate how we should spend our money, or to take from the better off to give to those who have less. There also seems to be some idea that we shouldn't be able to practice our religions in public as it offends those who don't profess to believe in God. Thus the government has decided that in its ranks the official religion is atheism. God Bless America while there are still some who believe in the freedoms it was founded upon.

    July 3, 2012 at 2:27 am |
    • The Bird Is The Word

      Then, by your reasonng, Christianity as practiced in the United Stated has failed utterly to adhere to Jesus' teachings regarding the poor. There are many many rich "Christians" in America.

      July 3, 2012 at 3:34 am |
    • AaaaCccc

      Then I assume since you lump group benefits together as charity, you are against social security and Medicare?

      July 3, 2012 at 8:13 am |
    • AaaaCccc

      FYI I Agee in theory with you about limited govt. But here is the situation. Given the current mess, healthcare is not working. Insurance companies are forcing you to pay increasingly higher premiums, increasing deductibles, and excluding more and more people. If you ever have a major medical issue, you will find this out and find yourself a charity case. We have masses of underemployed people who don't qualify for govt benefits but are in a spiral down due to health issues. Only place without sees them is the hospital. They are coming in sick, dying mothers, fathers in their 30's and 40's from lack of basic services. Hospitals are going broke and laying off. We are at a tipping point where the current system is crashing your expected level of care. Primary care doctors can't afford to stay in practice. Elderly with insurance go without care because they can't find anyone to accept them.
      If you scroll down, you will see my composite case scenarios I see a lot.

      Insurance companies unregulated are providing less care – see the article on Cigna on the belief blog.

      And HSA's due to politics will likely be squeezed out. The option that allows free choice.

      So what are you doing as a Christian about this?

      And out of self preservation, prolonged injustice of the masses has historically led to violent solutions by them to forcibly redistribute wealth. I don't agree with that and my family lost last go round with the masses being upset.

      God clearly in the Bible was concerned about fairness and injustice. He did judge nations based on this. Not just Jewish or Christian.

      So while everything in me agrees with the theory that if only the federal govt would completely ( meaning also get rid of protecting industry) get out of healthcare and leave solutions to states, realistically Christians have not solved this. I see injustice and indifference. Our govt both sides has been bought out by money and I see no outcry from Christians as long as abortion is denounced. ( doen't matter if they actually have an ability or track record to decrease it) But no outcry to care for the living once born.

      July 3, 2012 at 11:22 am |
    • TC

      So, you are basically saying that all poor and il people are in those situations as a result of poor choices, and chould be allowed to die.

      Lovely.

      July 3, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
    • Glenn

      Most often poor health is not necessarly a result of poor choices. When the consequences of your own choices is death to others, how do you reconcile that with Jesus ?

      July 14, 2012 at 5:57 pm |
  7. Rufine Logby

    Jesus could not be a democrat because he would not promote abortion. Read the Holy Bible to know Jesus. He was a compassionate man who cared for the needy, but he did not destroy life.

    July 3, 2012 at 1:30 am |
    • AaaaCccc

      Are you aware that some Democrats in congress are anti abortion? That many Democrats are Christian, and anti abortion?

      Reducing people to stereotypes is why we can't solve our problems like Healthcare

      July 3, 2012 at 3:37 am |
  8. Dave

    What a perfect illustration of how America's collective intelligence and education continues to fall below world standards !

    July 2, 2012 at 10:28 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Just out of curiosity, Dave, where do you live?

      July 2, 2012 at 10:34 pm |
  9. JesusChrist Son of God Son of Mary Brother to the Holy Ghost

    I would support anything that was good for the people. That of course, does not include the catholic church. They abuse young children.

    July 2, 2012 at 9:35 pm |
    • billdeacons

      Obviously a usurper. If you were who you say you are you would know that while individuals within the Church have committed heinous crimes that the church you gave us does not condone such acts

      July 2, 2012 at 11:25 pm |
    • Sim34

      The various protestant churches have had their share of scandals too, or have you forgotten the likes of Ted Haggard?

      July 3, 2012 at 12:45 am |
  10. Anon2012

    Jesus is NOT a politician. If the Obamacare is for a good cause, and if he really cares for the sick and the poor, Jesus WILL support Obamacare.

    July 2, 2012 at 8:38 pm |
    • hippypoet

      jesus could use a tetanus shot due to the nails....is that covered?

      July 2, 2012 at 8:53 pm |
    • Glenn

      Most in the ancient world could have probably used therapy in order to deal with the realities of their environment. Of course, they did not truly understand the science which never existed. So, what healthcare could Jesus provide ?

      The romans never provided healthcare either but their exuse was the absense of any real medicine. It was the survival of the strongest and being the most successful isn't necessarily an indication of profound evil but simply an adaptation to their present environment. "Sieze the day" for life is short.

      July 2, 2012 at 10:42 pm |
    • billdeacons

      Glenn, interesting observation regarding health care under Caeser. The very first concept of caring for the lame was Christ's idea. Catholic monks preserved ancient homeopathies throughout the dark ages and monasteries were repositories of medicines until the advent of hospitals, also a Christian idea. This is why so many hospitals today are faith based and while not exclusively, they are predominately Catholic. Before Jesus, survival of the fittest ruled but He came to set us free, heal us and reconcile us to the Father. Hallelujah

      July 2, 2012 at 11:43 pm |
    • Glenn

      I cannot deny the good work of some christians.

      July 2, 2012 at 11:57 pm |
    • AaaaCccc

      @BillDeacons
      I agree the Catholics have established huge number of hospitals. And often founded them were no one else would go. But Jesus did not invent healthcare in the year 27AD. It was obviously lacking antimicrobials and technology, but still of some value. He referred to the healthy not needing a doctor. Luke was a doctor. The Egyptians, Chinese, Babylonians, Early people living in the US all had healthcare. Some still in use today like herbs, acupuncture, splinting. What I do find fascinating is reading the Torah and the detail on infectious disease and public health practices. They had quarantine and washing before they knew about microbes. It was formalized into a religious practice, but it was clearly meant to keep them healthier than those around them. Hygiene went backwards in the middle ages in Europe and poverty was high and so
      disease was rampant.

      July 3, 2012 at 3:22 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      I stand corrected AC.

      July 3, 2012 at 8:59 am |
  11. hippypoet

    is there even one person who truly believes they are and have always been good, i mean good enough to get into heaven.....before the bs that people claim where they have forgiveness by jesus – f that bs... i'm talking old testament style – is there anyone left who still behaves like it says in the "good" book? with the stoning women and all that – is there anyone who TRULY follows the bible and all its "glory"?

    i am discussing the actions of believers being in accordance with the book they claim to base their lives on....it has nothing to do with the sole followers of one sect of jehovah!

    July 2, 2012 at 7:38 pm |
    • billdeacons

      No one could follow the law. Saul of Tarsus probably came closest and he ws struck down on the road to Damascus by the Lord's query "Why do you persecute my Church"

      July 2, 2012 at 11:26 pm |
  12. GodFreeNow

    If Jesus popped into existence today and we asked him about healthcare, he'd probably say, "huh?"

    First of all, there'd be a major language barrier. And let's be honest, these guys weren't very bright. We consume more information in one day than people used to consume in a lifetime. The issue of healthcare in America is complicated. Why would we care about what someone 2 millennia thought about it?

    We are on the verge of genetic breakthroughs that may jesus' so-called miracles look like child's play. Our social and economic system is so advanced compared to that time, jesus would likely think this was the heaven of which he spoke.

    So, let's not worry about what jesus would think about healthcare. Let's ask the people who need it if they support it. Let's ask the people who pay for it if they support it.

    July 2, 2012 at 6:43 pm |
    • AaaaCccc

      You haven't studied ancient cultures apparently.
      The inventor of DNA and replication would hardly find our breakthroughs incredible.
      He is also the one who said not to mix genes around of different species. Monsanto in their intelligence has given us GMO food. Read up on how smart we are.
      We have people filled with useless stuff on computers and no ability to think.
      And most people today in left 4 days without technology would starve.

      July 2, 2012 at 7:44 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      @AaaaCccc, That's the best argument you can put forth? So you'd trade ancient culture with today's and would believe that you are healthier? Just look at the mortality rates. I understand you wanting to use this platform to air your feelings about Monsanto and other conspiracies, but most of your statements are just speculation.

      Yes, we have useless stuff on our computers... I personally have quite a large collection of p.orn. That doesn't diminish my ability to think. It's really flawed logic to suppose that computers doing work for you limits the ability to think. For example, my post here is not limited your ability to think. I would hope that it challenges it. Without this technology you'd probably still be living in whatever isolated commune you live in and only being exposed to ideas that are somewhat like your own.

      Statistically, there is a 1:1 chart that shows, the greater our technology, the greater our ability to earn income and be educated... this isn't speculation, the data is out there... because of this, we live richer lives and are having fewer babies. Is the world perfect? Of course not. We have a lot of room for improvement, but you'd have to be a complete idi.ot to choose a life that is not in the current timeline, especially if you have children and care about their health and longevity.

      July 2, 2012 at 7:58 pm |
    • AaaaCccc

      I was addressing the intelligence issue. We are overall healthier.
      But we are not more intelligent as a whole. We simply are benefitting from an ability to store and transmit knowledge over centuries. You personally seem from this brief interaction to be more intelligent than average, but I won't vouch for those driving our great economic system off a cliff with greed.

      July 2, 2012 at 10:07 pm |
  13. eroteme

    There are many Christian 'leaders' who know all about Jesus, but they cannot agree among themselves when it comes to what Jesus might want and might not want.

    July 2, 2012 at 6:08 pm |
    • Glenn

      He would probably want a big house in the name of god.

      July 3, 2012 at 12:14 am |
  14. shep

    Remember the leper that Jesus healed?? He had an insurance card. But the story no one knows is about the other leper whose name was Cecil. He had no card, so Jesus just let him die. And then I think he took his shoes.

    July 2, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
    • The Bird Is The Word

      That was a low blow...but funny!

      July 3, 2012 at 12:27 am |
  15. Reality

    Once again, some ideas on to pay the "affordable" health care :

    How much money could be diverted to said care?: And how many “souls” would be saved?

    Saving 1.5 billion lost Muslims:
    There never were and never will be any angels i.e. no Gabriel, no Islam and therefore no more koranic-driven acts of horror and terror LIKE 9/11.

    – One trillion dollars over the next several years as the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan will end.

    – Eighteen billion dollars/yr to Pakistan will stop.

    – Four billion dollars/yr to Egypt will end.

    Saving 2 billion lost Christians including the Mormons:
    There were never any bodily resurrections and there will never be any bodily resurrections i.e. No Easter, no Christianity!!!

    – The Mormon empire will now become taxable as will all Christian "religions" and evangelical non-profits since there is no longer any claim to being a tax-exempt religion.

    – Saving 15.5 million Orthodox followers of Judaism:
    Abraham and Moses never existed.

    – Four billion dollars/yr to Israel saved.

    – All Jewish sects and non-profits will no longer be tax exempt.

    Now all we need to do is convince these 3.5+ billion global and local citizens that they have been conned all these centuries Time for a YouTube,Twitter and FaceBook campaign!!!!

    July 2, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
    • Reality

      Oops, "on how to pay for".

      July 2, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
  16. Jack

    Hello. Everyone is cordially invited to visit – thestarofkaduri.com

    July 2, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
  17. MRS

    We have freely elected government. Government in Jesus' time was forced on you by conquest or family lineage. Jesus is concerned with the individual heart not the validity of government decisions. If every heart were right in the eyes of Jesus this would be a moot point. That is not possible. There will always be those who reject Him and worship evil and wickedness through the free will He gives us.

    July 2, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      Another false dichotomy. (Worship Jesus or be evil and worship Satan). Sorry but your fallacies are kind of funny.

      July 2, 2012 at 3:07 pm |
    • jwt

      Belief is jesus is not a requirement to be a wonderful and fantastic person.

      July 2, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      @jwt:

      Your understanding of what it means to believe in Jesus is skewed. Believe in Jesus doesn't make you a wonderful person, it makes you a redeemed person. Likewise as wonderful as you may think you are you are still a sinner in need of salvation, under Christian doctrine. MRS' point is that if the kingdom of Christ were established that man made governments would be superfluous. This condition will only arise when every knee shall bend and every head shall bow.

      July 2, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
    • Sim34

      Bill Deacon
      "Salvation" has nothing to do with morality then, is that what you're saying? Why, then, should we listen to what Christians have to say about morality?

      July 2, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
    • jwt

      Sorry Bill but I am not a sinner as I do not believe in your christianity and none of it's laws and rules apply to me. I am ion no need of salvation whatsoever. Christian doctrine is incorrect in this matter.

      July 2, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      I didn't say it applied to you. That is your choice. I merely said you didn't understand the doctrine correctly.

      July 2, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Slim, we're not saved because we are moral is the point. Conversion happens when a sinner recognizes his shortcomings, has a change of heart and turns from a life of sin to a life guided by the Holy Spirit. This doesn't keep one out of sin but it is the basis for a relationship with the Savior who grants unending mercy and forgiveness. Your next question will be something like "So I can keep sinning as long as I come to Jesus?" and the answer is no, that's not how it works.

      July 2, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
    • HappyMadison

      Free will? Wait, I though God had a plan, and that everything was done through God's will. Is this not right? If we have free will than that means we can do whatever we want – even if that conflicts with Gods will. How can God's will be conflicted? If one single event is about to happen, who chooses it? Man or God? Can't be both.

      July 2, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
    • AaaaCccc

      But people like Joseph, Daniel, Esther worked with "evil" governments for the good of the people

      July 2, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Happy. You seem to have strayed from the thread but I think I see what you're after. This is eighth grade theology by the way. God has a plan. It it, he makes provision for man to co-operate or not. He probably knows the choices you and I will both make but he continually invites us into relationship with him and cooperation with him. However we choose, we are still part of the plan, possibly just not part of the relationship. This is why God doesn't send anyone to hell. They choose to go. And God loves us enough to allow us our choice.

      July 2, 2012 at 5:58 pm |
    • jwt

      I understand MRS point perfectly well. Shei s full of it.

      And no bill i am not going to hell becuase I do not accept god .

      July 2, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
    • billdeacons

      Whatever you say

      July 2, 2012 at 11:29 pm |
    • Sim34

      Bill Deacon
      But I'm interested in morality, so why should I care about redemption if it doesn't really help with this?

      July 3, 2012 at 12:52 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      I don't know that you should care about your redemption. I care about mine because I am convicted by the evidence of my sin. I am mortified by my failure and trapped in a fallen world of my own creation. Rather than remain in a state of self loathing which only perpetuates my sinful nature, I turn to Jesus. He knows me fully, loves me unfailingly, forgives me endlessly and grants me grace eternally. Now basking in the glow of redemption, I am free to follow His will, to love Him and others, which is the essence of morality. Without the conviction there is no need for redemption and without the redemption I am incapable of genuine love. So, my friend before you need to worry about redemption you need to ask yourself this: By examination of your own heart, do you find conviction of your sin?

      July 3, 2012 at 9:12 am |
  18. catholic engineer

    I'm told that God doesn't exist and neither did Jesus. I think this changes the question. With so many educated, healthy, prosperous people living in subdivisions, wearing the latest styles, eating restaraunt food three times a week, taking cruises, why is anyone else hungry? Ignorant? Wearing rags?
    As this society becomes more secular, why isn't this problem being taken care of?

    July 2, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
    • Arvoasitis

      An excellent question, indeed.
      The short answer may have been suggested by Aldo Leopold, who noted that whatever their professed religion (or, I would add, lack thereof) all politicians worship at the alter of Technology. In the intervening years, the worship of Economics has displaced the worship of Technology and we have all been subjjugated.
      The long answer could begin with the philosophy of Herac-litus of Ephesus who proclaimed that the only constant is change and all is flux. Ever since then, the most prominent of the great thinkers of our culture have struggled to rescue permanence and in the process have warped our thinking, leading people to confuse rationalization for reasoning, and delivered almost everyone into a world of delusions. The journey was a long and twisted one and is the history of Western thought.

      July 2, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
    • Arvoasitis

      You might be astounded at the number of changes I tried before discovering that I had to hyphenate Hera...you know, the last of the philosophers until very recent times.

      July 2, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
    • Sim34

      People are greedy, and you can include plenty of churchgoers and wealthy pastors in that as well. They don't want to pay the taxes that it would take to provide the social programs. Add to that the latest statistic that up to 40% of homeless youth are LGBT, driven to the streets because they aren't accepted at home. Meanwhile, a huge chunk of the "charity" money that Christians give each year has nothing to do with actually helping the poor. It goes to funding missionary work aimed at spreading the religion, or it goes to lining the pockets of Christian entrepreneurs who have a book, movie, or music to sell promising to "help spread God's word". If you're looking for answers start with looking at your own house.

      July 3, 2012 at 1:08 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      Sim, I think Engineer is, in fact inviting us to look at our own house. If, as stated, there is no God and Church's are basically self serving or evil, Why isn't the morally superior, intellectually advanced and economically advantaged secular world solving our problems?

      July 3, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
  19. humble

    You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me. (Jesus says)
    Mathew 26:11
    Can you call healing and caring for the sick the same thing? Jesus healed by Miracles. Yes I do believe that individuals should have compassion and care for sick people. But figting for free healthcare doesn't make you right in God's eyes. Too many people are taking a free ride on this idea to comfort themsleves in other words this is their way of trying to make themselves right before the Lord. Jesus said when you do something good do not let your left hand see what your right hand is doing. In other words don't brag about your goodness. There are many people who are discreetly doing good for their neighbor and not causing such a ruckus or forcing their ideas or opions on others. Just some thoughts

    July 2, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
    • Arvoasitis

      You could provide public health care for everyone in the United States and still have unlimited opportunity to provide charity at home and abroad whether you do it humbly or ostentatiously. What exactly is the problem with public health care?

      July 2, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
    • Ted

      So how come your wonderful loving jeebus won't do a damn thing to help the poor and suffering? What a useless lazy b-tard he must be.

      July 2, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
    • Cq

      People are suffering without affordable health care, in many cases through no fault of their own. Wouldn't Jesus want to end people's suffering?

      July 2, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
    • AaaaCccc

      What we should be fighting for is fair healthcare.
      Current system you seem to think works. This is a story I say numerous times through the years.
      You are employed for years. Wife works part time at a home job, self employed. Has a few medical conditions so only Insurance is through your work. You rip a tendon in your shoulder at work. By law, you and your doctor must report it to workman's comp. this means your health insurance won't pay. You need surgery and can return to work in 6 weeks. But workcomp sees in your file you sprained your elbow 10 yrs ago and complained sometimes your shoulder hurts. WC case in review status. So far your buddies cover you. Boss nice. WC drags case out for months. Boss needs to replace you since its costing him money. Flimsy pretext to fire you. You have not been paid in a while. Savings gone. Wife needs doctor and health goes down making business spotty but just enough to to keep you from qualifying for govt benefits.
      Now your 16 yr old gets a fracture and needs immediate surgery. You don't like govt, so no CHIPs bought by you. You just entered the ranks of the poor, underemployed. All unnecessary if there are appropriate health coverage without game playing by the insurance companies.
      We are all one step from this, unless you are independently wealthy

      July 2, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
    • AaaaCccc

      Story 2. You are a cancer survived supporting your family. Your employer goes out of business but you easily find a 2 new jobs part time. You get a possible recurrence, no insurance would let you get on it due to a pre existing condition.

      Or you get a full time job a few months later and went without insurance during that time. New job now but need to wait 6 months due to pre existing condition before they treat you. You can bankrupt your family with healthcare, or die from a potentially treatable cancer leaving your family without you.

      July 2, 2012 at 3:35 pm |
  20. aggiemara

    The question is not about which side Jesus Christ would take, but rather are we on Jesus Christ's side?

    July 2, 2012 at 10:48 am |
    • Bob

      Why would a divine, omnipotent being want or need anyone or anything on its "side"? Unless it was a vain, insecure wimp, that is...which renders it not a "god".

      Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement. Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.
      http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

      July 2, 2012 at 11:25 am |
    • Livia

      Did Jesus promote abortions or ask people that their tax money go to pay for things that are AGAINST THEIR RELIGION, like birth control?? Nope...Jesus would have been a republican.

      July 2, 2012 at 12:43 pm |
    • Arvoasitis

      @aggiemara, great turn of phrase; bob misses your point.
      @Livia. No, He said money is the root of all evil (or words to that effect). And He used the formula, "You have heard it said ... but I say unto you .." quite often.

      July 2, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
    • Ted

      Oh, I think Bob got the point aggie was aiming for. He just fully understands that the endpoint aggie was shooting for is stupid and invalid.

      July 2, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Arvo, he said that "the love of money is the root of all evil." Not the same thing at all. And yes to Ted's statement.

      July 2, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
    • Cq

      OK then, if Jesus is on the side of ObamaCare then so are you, right? Now, which side is Jesus on?

      July 2, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
    • Arvoasitis

      @Tom,Tom
      I don't think the Greeks had a word corresponding to the word "love."

      July 2, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
    • Cq

      Livia
      Having Caesar's image on the money was against the Jewish religion, and he told the people to use it anyway, right?

      July 2, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @Arvoasitis

      Actually the greeks had 4 words for love, each meaning a different type of love.

      Agápe
      Éros
      Philia
      Storge

      July 2, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
    • Sim34

      Bob
      Lots, if not most of the ancient gods were vain and insecure, and even YHVH calls himself a "jealous" god. Maybe that's why they all need someone to worship them? Either that, or worship is their fuel, which kinda makes you wonder what heaven is all about? Maybe God is slowly "digesting" all those souls up there? 🙂

      July 2, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
    • Some Stuff

      Sim34,
      "Maybe God is slowly "digesting" all those souls up there?"

      Could be... it'd be one of the reasons a "Good Shepherd" takes such good care of his flock - dinner!

      July 2, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
    • Sim34

      Some Stuff
      Good point! In no way are sheep the pets of the shepherd. He protects and feeds them only to use them up for their wool, finally slaughtering them for their meat. I wised up to the reality of that imagery a long time ago. Even if he does exist, without people to worship YHVH he isn't a "god".

      July 2, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
    • Arvoasitis

      @HawaiiGuest
      None of the words corresponds to the word "love," which, to use Bertrand Russell"s excellent description, is an indissoluble combination of two elements, delight and well-wishing. It is possible to delight in money, as in a loved one but it is awkward to have feelings of benevolence toward it. If we are able to replace "money" with "worship of Mammon," I am ready to agree with you wholeheartedly.

      July 2, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
    • AaaaCccc

      Livia
      Jesus made His stance clear. Everyone in Israel at the the time was against the Roman government except those profiting from it. Jesus paid His taxes. No protest. No complaint.

      July 2, 2012 at 7:01 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      @AaaaCccc, Jesus didn't make his stance clear. The books on jesus weren't written until 150-300 years after the death of jesus. The men who wrote it make jesus' stance clear. Which is just about as valid as anyone writing about jesus' stance on anything today.

      July 2, 2012 at 9:12 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You thought wrong."Often misquoted as 'money is the root of all evil'. Originates in the Bible, Timothy 6:10 (King James Version):

      'For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.' "

      July 2, 2012 at 9:16 pm |
    • AaaaCccc

      @GodFreeNow
      Fragments have been found dating early 2nd century.
      Aside from that, My argument is based on Livia and I accepting the Bible is accurate. I realize you dont agree. But if Livia assumes what I do, then the conclusion from the text is clear. And her statement does not correlate with the book the claims to follow.

      To you, I have insufficient means to prove in this format anything to you about the Bible. God is Love. One cannot prove or disprove love in this format either.

      July 3, 2012 at 12:37 am |
    • Arvoasitis

      Any appearance of the word "love" in the New Testament is, at best, a careless translation if not an outright mistranslation.

      July 3, 2012 at 8:13 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      Bob has it backwards. It's not that God needs us on His side. It's that we need to be on His side. Seems elementary to me.

      July 3, 2012 at 12:50 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.