The Plea of an Unbeliever

I have submitted the following article for inclusion in a book contest that is being held by the Revolution PAC in support of the Ron Paul campaign.  The contest will take the best submissions and put them together into a book, which will then be sold with the proceeds going to the super PAC.

I targeted the article at so-called Christian conservatives, but really it applies to all people who claim to be followers of the Christian faith.

From the contest website:

Political Spectrum Publishing is proud to announce the Ron Paul R3VOLUTION book contest! We are looking for essays that provide a compelling argument for why Democrats, Republicans, and independents alike should vote for Ron Paul.

This is a grass roots project undertaken by a small, independent publishing house and the grass roots activists that contribute their ideas.

The winning essays will be put into a single book that will go for sale on Amazon and other online stores. The first round of proceeds will go to sending out a copy of the book to liberty-minded or open-minded news anchors and political pundits so they can talk about it on their show and exponentially spread the word. 99% of the second round of proceeds and all following proceeds will be donated to Revolution PAC for as long as Ron Paul remains in the Presidential race.

Submissions can tackle any specific issue, from the wars abroad to social concerns, or can cover a wide array of issues.

 

 

 

The Plea of an Unbeliever

by Michael Suede

If you are a Christian conservative who is planning on voting in the Republican Presidential Primary this election season, I have a challenge for you:  Prove me wrong.

You see, I’m not a very Christian person.  I consider myself a very moral and upright person, but I have lost my faith in the Christian religion due to what I perceive as rampant hypocrisy among members of the Christian faith.  I feel that I must warn you ahead of time that this article will not be easy to read.  I’m going to compare the love in your heart for your fellow man to the love Christ has for you.

I was originally raised as a Lutheran by very devout parents.  I attended a private Lutheran grade school and I was raised to believe the Bible is the holy word of God himself.  Yet when I listen to the policy rhetoric coming out of Christian conservatives’ mouths these days, I have to wonder if I read the same Bible they did.

To better understand what I am talking about, here are a few quotes from Jesus himself that pretty much summarize his philosophy in a nutshell:

Matthew 5:43-44 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven…If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?”

Matthew 22:37-40 “Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Matthew 6:34 “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.”

Mark 10:42-45 “You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them. But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must be the slave of everyone else. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

The overriding theme of Jesus’ philosophy is quite clear to me; forgiveness is divine.  Jesus was quite clear that having forgiveness and sympathy for those who have done wrong to you, and to those who would do wrong to you, is of paramount importance to God if the Bible is to be believed.

So let us apply Jesus’ philosophy to American foreign policy. How would Jesus treat a terrorist?  Would he order the invasion of the terrorist’s home country, potentially killing thousands of innocents in the process?  Would he erect a gigantic security State to defend against their potential aggression?  Would he establish 900 military bases in foreign nations, occupy their soil and drive around their country with an armed force arresting those whom he deemed a threat without a trial?  What would Jesus do?  Tell me Christians; I demand an answer.

Let us look at how Jesus dealt with the crime of prostitution; a guilty sin of pleasure that involves two willing participants engaging in an act of lust for money.  It is interesting to note that the crime of prostitution is never reported to the police by either the john or the prostitute.  Why do you suppose that is?  Theft is almost always reported, as is murder.  However, prostitution for some reason has to be rooted out by the police through the use of stings and other devious tactics.  Does this strike anyone besides me as being strange for a “crime?”

Luke 7:44-48 “Then [Jesus] turned to the [prostitute] and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has washed My feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head. You gave Me no kiss, but this woman has not ceased to kiss My feet since the time I came in. You did not anoint My head with oil, but this woman has anointed My feet with fragrant oil. Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.”

Then He said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”

I find this quite interesting.  Jesus had sympathy and forgiveness for the prostitute.  He did not cast her into a cage for her transgressions.  He did not cast her out of the house as punishment for her sinful ways.  Rather, Jesus blessed the woman and sent her on her way for she had much love in her heart.  Are all the prostitutes of today without love in their hearts?  What is the proper Christian response to prostitution?  Violence?  Prison?  …or is it forgiveness and sympathy?  Tell me Christians; I demand an answer.

I surmise that Jesus had love in his heart for all those who committed sins of passion and debauchery.  Drug use, drunkenness, obscene acts of depravity; Jesus only had love and compassion for those who were engrossed in their sinful ways.

Remember the story of the prodigal son?

Luke 15:29 11-32 “Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons.  The younger one said to his father, `Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.  “Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living.

After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need.  So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs.  He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.

“When he came to his senses, he said, `How many of my father’s hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death!  I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.  I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.’ So he got up and went to his father.

“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.  “The son said to him, `Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. ‘

“But the father said to his servants, `Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.”

“Wild living” – What do you suppose that entails?

Did Jesus see it as his job to castigate those who drank too much or consumed drugs?  What would Jesus do to the heroin addict?  Would he banish him to prison for his sins?  What would Jesus do?  Tell me Christians; I demand an answer.

Oddly enough, there was one crime that Jesus seemed to have little tolerance for:

Mathew 21:12 “Jesus entered the temple area and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves.”

Ah the “money changers” – the Federal Reserve bankers of Jesus’ day.  This is the only account of Jesus ever using physical force in the Bible.  Jesus saw the temple as his personal property; after all, he is the son of God.  Therefore, he had every right to evict those who violated the sanctity of his property.  In Jesus’ day, the use of Roman coins as sacrifice were unacceptable.  So the bankers had set up a table to swap coins for sacrifice; for a substantial fee of course.  I have to wonder what Jesus would think about the State swapping our money (gold) for paper today.

Now tell me Christians, which one of our Republican Presidential nominees is the most like Christ?  Newt Gingrich?  Mitt Romney?  Herman Cain? hmmm….  I think not.  Unfortunately today, there is only one politician out of the lot in Washington that mirrors Jesus in his philosophy.

And now I am going to suggest something radical… something terrible and evil… at least so the State would have you believe.  I’m going to suggest that not only was Jesus a libertarian, he was a devout anarchist; mind you, not the bomb throwing socialist kind of anarchist, but rather the voluntarist kind of anarchy espoused by the Austrian School of economics that Ron Paul adheres to.

You see, loving your neighbor as yourself means not coveting his possessions.  Loving your neighbor as yourself means absolutely refusing to see any harm befall your neighbor no matter what.  You would not intentionally harm yourself now would you?  But let us put your neighbor aside for a moment and think of your own children.

Would you rob from your children to fund your retirement?  You are aware that the Social Security Trust pays out what it takes in from today’s generation, right?

Would you rob from your children to fund your medical care?  You are aware that the Medicare Trust pays out what it takes in from today’s generation, right?

Would you rob from your children to provide social services for your neighbor?

How about the road in front of your house?  Would you elect to send armed men after your own children should they refuse to pay the taxes that go toward repairing that pot hole down the street?

If you are a Christian, I would hope the answer is “no” to all of those questions.  Clearly the State is force.  In all that the State does, it does first in violence.  For the State has nothing, produces nothing and provides nothing that the people did not already possess.  When a person advocates a State imposed policy to remedy some perceived problem, what they are really saying is that voluntary solutions by free people cannot solve this perceived problem.  That war must be waged against our own population by the State in order to solve the problem.  That resources must be forcibly extracted from the children of this nation in order to save us from ourselves.

That does not sound very Christian to me.

It is interesting to note that Jesus’ philosophy mirrors the economic teachings of the Austrian School of economics.  The Austrian School teaches that prosperity can only come about through voluntary cooperation within a system of private property rights.  Is this purely coincidence?  Is it pure coincidence that Jesus was not a socialist?  Is it pure coincidence that Jesus did not advocate State solutions to perceived problems of social welfare, safety or morality?

Perhaps now you see why I have lost my faith.  How loving is Christianity today?  How often do the sermons given by Christian pastors denounce the violence of the State?  How often do the pastors, preachers and priests rail against the violence of taxation?  I’ve never heard it; and I’ve sat through quite a few sermons in my day.  If the poll results are to be believed, I have to assume such sermons are rare indeed else Ron Paul would certainly be the front runner by a wide margin.

So my dearest Christians, send me back to the Church.  Prove me wrong that Christians today are not full of lies and hypocrisy.  Prove to me that Christians value peace more than they value safety.  Prove to me that Christians value forgiveness more than they value punishment for the sins of debauchery.  Prove to me that Christians value love more than they value hating believers of opposing faiths.  Prove it to me by putting a man in the White House that mirrors Jesus in his philosophy.

 

Michael Suede is a former US Navy serviceman that served time in the Persian Gulf, engaged in numerous counter-narcotics operations, and has since come to see the moral errors of his previously violent statist philosophy.  He currently resides in California and works as a software developer.

 

  • James W

    Ghandi once said “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” I take this quote to heart, but I think Ghandi missed the point (which he seemed to do a lot, but I digress). You see, I have the same problem. I think the vast majority of evangelical Christians are entirely too war like- hawk-ish, if you will. The all too pervasive attitude you described in your post really turned me off.  

    I had a bit of a personal epiphany a while ago which helped me reconcile this. I realized that one of the nice parts of individual freedom is that I can determine my own interpretation of the creed and I am not responsible for any one else’s (faulty) ideas. 

    I also converted to Catholicism around the same time and I have to say I am in good company. Tom Woods is a pretty devout Catholic and helped me rationalize Catholic social teaching, albeit indirectly. I’m not saying you should convert to Catholicism, though. I’m just reminding you that you don’t have to give up on God because some people don’t do a good job of representing him. Remember the “Not my president,” fad with W?

    • http://www.libertariannews.org/ Michael Suede

      I have my own belief system.  I don’t believe the Bible is the word of God.  I do however believe that God speaks to us through the natural laws of the universe.  By studying the laws of physics and economics, its clear that what God wants falls very much inline with the philosophy of Jesus.

  • Reverend Theo

    I think that if we vote for Sen Paul we must prepare for a virtual theocracy.  If you think that our churches should be in charge of the government and education system and everything then go ahead and vote for him. 
    Here is just one of his quotes to illustrate his position.The notion of a rigid separation between church and state has no basis in either the text of the Constitution or the writings of our Founding Fathers. On the contrary, our Founders’ political views were strongly informed by their religious beliefs. — Ron Paul

    • http://www.libertariannews.org/ Michael Suede

      Ron Paul is not going to implement some kind of theocracy.  The guy is an anarchist.  Have you listened to any of his lectures or read any of his books?  

    • RFN

      When has Ron Paul said that “our churches should be in charge of the government and education system and everything”?  Never.  So, you’re either a liar or an idiot.  I’ll let you decide, rev.  Private schools don’t have to be “religious”, either.  

  • David M

    I too am a lapsed Luthern, but for more fundamental reasons. But still I agree with you about Christians and the way Christianity is practised tody. Like John Prine said in his song, “American Flag Decal,” “Jesus don’t like killing no matter what the reason for.” This is a great article.

  • Anonymous

    Well said, Suede!
    Jesus is gnarly and had plenty to say to the religious hypocrites of his day that thought they were so good, upright and moral. . Just like today’s blood-thirsty “Christians”: Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. 28 Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity. That whole Chapter 25 Matthew He just goes OFF. Check it.