In a previous post, I took issue with those conservative Christians who would turn Jesus into a free-market capitalist. I stand by my conviction that there is no way that you can read the Gospels and conclude that Jesus could possibly approve of the insatiable greed that drives our American capitalist system. If you can show me a single passage from scripture, for example, where Jesus says to his apostles anything like, "Go ye forth and rape and plunder the earth for your profit and mine," I'll stand corrected. But until then, please stop trying to turn Jesus into a first century Donald Trump. It just doesn't work.
And I also have a bit of advice for those Christians who think that they can combine their Christian faith with support for the military industrial complex, expansionist wars in the Middle East, and the torture and assassination of our political and military enemies: this doesn't work either.
You see, it is damn hard to reconcile your devotion for the guy who said things like "do not resist the evil-doer" and "if someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn your other cheek to him as well" with the lust that you have to "nuke the whole f#$%ing Middle East" or bomb our enemies "back into the Stone Age."
I'm almost embarrassed to say this, because it should be self-evident to anyone who has ever picked up the Bible, but that fellow, Jesus of Nazareth, who you claim to worship, was even more of a bleeding-heart pacifist than he was a socialist. If you really took his teachings to heart, instead of being a cheerleader for more military spending, you'd be on the front lines of every anti-war protest; instead of squealing with delight whenever we assassinate a suspected terrorist, you'd be shouting from every street corner for justice, not revenge. People would hate you for the position you'd take on these issues, but they hated your savior too. That's part of what it means to be his disciple.
It's rather unfortunate that the person who seems to really understand what Jesus was all about is one of this country's most outspoken atheists--the comedian Bill Maher. You see, despite Maher's antipathy for any form of organized religion, at least he gets the fact that, if you really want to call yourself a follower of Jesus, you might want to actually try following his teachings on occasion. The big guy had nothing at all to say about abortion, gay marriage, or birth control, but he was very clear that, if you wanted to be his disciple, you had to "love your enemies" and "bless those who persecute you. "
It's for this very reason that I hesitate to call myself a Christian: because unlike those who have actually tried to live out the teachings of the Gospels (Tolstoy, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Dorothy Day, Bishop Romero, Daniel Berrigan, etc), I have neither the courage nor the conviction to put aside all thoughts of revenge against my own enemies. This lust for revenge may make me perfectly human, but it seems to me that Jesus came precisely to teach us how to transcend our brute humanity and live a more divine life.
So, I really don't blame you at all if you hate the fact that your savior has commanded you to become a pacifist and redistribute your wealth (to be perfectly honest, I'm not ready yet to embrace these positions either). In fact, you may just want to consider finding a religion whose basic moral precepts are not quite as difficult to follow as those of Christianity.