It is hard to know what is true. Too often truth simply escapes us or worse yet we accept as truth what is delivered to us by individuals who are motivated to define the truth in their own best interest. When you lack a depth of knowledge on a subject or the ability or desire to search out the truth for yourself, discovering the real truth is nigh to impossible.
In the Muslim countries, such as Afghanistan, the population is largely illiterate. Their truth comes to them from Imams, tribal leaders and corrupt governments who tell them what their chosen god wants them to do. We know how that has turned out for the rest of the world.
In the land of the free, we have a different problem. A large percentage of us profess to be Christians, but we neither practice nor study it. Instead, we let others define it for us. Typically it is a mega church television preacher who tells us that God wants all of us to be wealthy and he will provide wealth if we just ask Him for it. Or we buy the prayer shawl that will bring us miracles if we wear it while praying. Or worse than that, we allow disciples not of God to bring us the truth. In America, we have allowed ourselves to be dumbed-down on Christianity and we are just too busy to seek the truth for ourselves.
I accept that the Bible is the truth. I do not have a perfect understanding of everything I read from it most days. But I do ponder it and I do pray for clarity in understanding the words and applying it to my life and to understanding what is happening around me.
Unless it comes from someone I know and trust I take with precaution any conversation that begins by telling me what the Lord requires of me. I double down on that when it comes from a politician. I grow even more skeptical if the person doing the talking has never demonstrated to me by his walk that he is indeed a follower of Christ. My skepticism increases dramatically when the person implies that I can only fulfill God’s requirements for me if I use him or the government as a middle-man. There is a middle-man between God and us, but He does not reside in Washington.
At the National Prayer Breakfast this past week, the President told us that Jesus’ teaching supports his ideas on progressive taxation.
[at the National Prayer Breakfast] Obama said that as a person who has been “extraordinarily blessed,” he is willing to give up some of the tax breaks he enjoys because doing so makes economic, and religious sense.
“For me as a Christian, it also coincides with Jesus’s teaching that for unto whom much is given, much shall be required,” Obama said, quoting the Gospel of Luke. – Charles Riley, Obama: Jesus would back my tax-the-rich policy, CNNMoney, February 2, 2012
It always bothers me whenever anyone cherry-picks a few words from scripture and uses them to support any argument or point of view, especially when there might be ulterior motives. The partial line of scripture to which the President referred comes from Luke 12:48. To understand it, you must read it in context with the preceding verses.
The Lord answered, “Who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom the master puts in charge of his servants to give them their food allowance at the proper time? It will be good for that servant whom the master finds doing so when he returns. Truly I tell you, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. But suppose the servant says to himself, ‘My master is taking a long time in coming,’ and he then begins to beat the other servants, both men and women, and to eat and drink and get drunk. The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the unbelievers.
“The servant who knows the master’s will and does not get ready or does not do what the master wants will be beaten with many blows. But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. (verse 48)From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded [emphasis mine]; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked. Luke 12:42-48 (NIV)
I just might be wrong. I know some Bible scholars, that I trust implicitly, who will see this. I am confident they will tell me in rather blunt terms if I am off base. This scripture passage is about fulfilling ones personal responsibility not passing it off to another entity to meet the obligation for you – like government. When you give money to the government, it does not forego your responsibility as a Christian to help those in need. If you have been blessed with much, your responsibility to be wise with it increases accordingly. Just remember that there is no middle-man between you, your personal relationship with God, and fulfilling your responsibilities.
Many people will unquestioningly accept the President’s words and insist along with him that it is indeed Biblically supported that the wealthy must give more of their money to the benevolent government that will then do some good with it. Some who are not Christians will label those who claim to be as hypocrites for their unwillingness to give more money to government to help our nation’s down-trodden (who have flat screen TVs, air conditioned homes and now free cell phones). This passage of scripture should, if anything, put fear in to the government entrusted with the welfare of a free nation, and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked. And it would, if the head of that government was a true Christian.
“I wake up each morning and I say a brief prayer, and I spend a little time in scripture and devotion,” he said. Eric Marrapodi, Obama reflects on faith in prayer breakfast speech, CNN Belief Blog, February 2, 2012
This could be a true statement, but one is left to wonder about the source of the scripture.
Mr. Obama recalled the opening lines of the Arabic call to prayer, reciting them with a first-rate accent. [emphasis mine] In a remark that seemed delightfully uncalculated (it’ll give Alabama voters heart attacks), Mr. Obama described the call to prayer as “one of the prettiest sounds on Earth at sunset.” [emphasis mine] – Nicholas Kristof, Obama: Man of the World, New York Times, March 6, 2007
Class warfare, pitting the poor against the wealthy, is not about fulfilling any Christian Biblical principle or meeting ones Christian obligations.
Our education system has accomplished the same for our general understanding of our nation’s history and form of government as has the bombardment of worldly views veiled as Christianity. We have children leaving our high schools who lack the most basic understanding of our Christian heritage, our history or our constitutionally guided representative republic form of government. In many cases, they have been taught about the sins of America, but rarely about her good. They lack a basic understanding of our economic system, the concepts of individual liberty, God given rights and the constitutionally imposed limitations on our government. They enter our liberal institutions of “higher” learning as empty vessels. There they learn about the evils of economic freedom and the virtues of communism, Marxism and socialism. God and Christian concepts not allowed or are talked about as mythology along with the “truth” of Darwinism. Our children are not being taught American Exceptionalism. They are not told the heights at which this eagle has and could conceivably soar. Instead, they are taught about the evils and that the eagle and her wealthy have soared too high and both must be brought down to the level where all men and all nations are equal. With their indoctrination completed, these previously empty vessels now filled are ready to vote for the message delivered to them that most closely coincides with the message of their indoctrination – another concept of fascism, communism… but most certainly not a concept embraced by a free republic. We have traveled far down that road.
My attitude is that if the economy’s good for folks from the bottom up, it’s gonna be good for everybody. I think when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody.” – Charles Hurt, OBAMA FIRES A ‘ROBIN HOOD’ WARNING SHOT, New York Post, October 15, 2008
“In the most advanced countries the following will be pretty generally applicable: a heavy progressive or graduated income tax.” Karl Marx, Communist Manifesto
“Labor is the source of wealth and all culture, and since useful labor is possible only in society and through society, the proceeds of labor belong undiminished with equal right to all members of society.” Karl Marx – Critique of the Gotha Program
He when do we in America believe that our society is made up of two diametrically opposed classes—one rich, one poor—both in a permanent state of conflict and neither able to get ahead except at the expense of the other? – Ronald Reagan, quoted by Mark R. Levin, Liberty and Tyranny, Page 197.
The Gipper drew a clear distinction for us between Marxist thought and the American idea of economic freedom.
Karl Marx was the Communist father of Marxism. Our President’s ideas on taxation and class warfare (spreading the wealth around) are rooted in the Communist Manifesto, not the Holy Bible. Unfortunately, too many Americans know too little about the contents of either to fully understand that.
God save us.