Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas Tidings

Because if this is gonna be a Christian nation that doesn't help the poor, either we've got to pretend that Jesus was just as selfish as we are, or we've got to acknowledge that he commanded us to love the poor and serve the needy without condition -- and then admit that we just don't want to do it.   - Stephen Colbert, making fun of Bill O'Reilly's latest:
For them, the baby Jesus wants us to "provide," no matter what the circumstance. But being a Christian, I know that while Jesus promoted charity at the highest level, he was not self-destructive. The Lord helps those who help themselves. Does he not? - Bill O'Reilly

In the time of year where Walmart has the Salvation Army in front of each of it's stores at least around my area, the political theorists like O'Reilly try to make sense of this Christian/Capitalism ethical dilemma and why they won't put a quarter into the bucket. The Christian perspective is all there in the Holy Bible, some of my favorite quotations, some of which seem kind of self destructive in O'Reilly's world:
"If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me."  -Jesus Christ in Matthew 19:21
"When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your kinsmen or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return, and you be repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. You will be repaid at the resurrection of the just."  -Jesus Christ in Luke 14: 12-14
I have trouble reconciling the need to help the poor with the need to help them improve themselves so that they can help themselves. I would have a problem with liquidating all of my assets as well. But O'Reilly's vision of Christianity in the form of "The Lord helps those who help themselves" just isn't in the Holy Bible that I know. It's just not there in words or the teachings of Jesus Christ.

And my trouble reconciling our economic system with the Holy Bible, or more objectively, with what I perceive as established theories of ethics or morality, is what I obsess over.

Thankfully Stephen Colbert has cleared it all up for me. :)