Thursday, November 29, 2007
Today you'll hear a whirlwind tour of my thoughts on right-wing Christians, especially on how to effectively debate them.
The centerpiece of this week's show is my Equivalent Alternative Solutions challenge.
Right-wing Christians, from the roots of their right-wing ideology to the fruits of their policies, violate the most fundamental of the teachings of Jesus regarding how we're to interact with our brother and sister humans. These teachings are most powerfully expressed in the 25th book of Matthew, verses 31-46, the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats.
This is extraordinarily important, so even if you're not Christian or not of any religious bent at all, still, listen up! It's critical to your being an effective progressive advocate that you know this stuff. It's the basis of my Equivalent Alternative Solutions challenge.
Please be aware that the word stranger in the Bible is a synonym for refugee and immigrant.
On Judgment Day, before Jesus
...will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate them…the sheep at his right hand…the goats at the left. 34. Then the King will say to those at his right hand, 'Come…inherit the kingdom prepared for you… 35. for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36. I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.' 37. Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see thee hungry and feed thee, or thirsty and give thee drink? 38. And when did we see thee a stranger and welcome thee, or naked and clothe thee? 39. And when did we see thee sick or in prison and visit thee?' 40. And the King will answer them, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.' 41. Then he will say to those at his left hand, 'Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; 42. for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 43. I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.' 44. Then they also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see thee hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to thee?' 45. Then he will answer them, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did it not to one of the least of these, you did it not to me.' 46. And they will go away into eternal punishment…I wasn't raised a Christian, but when I read this for the first time it literally blew me away. It still does
I'll now show you how to use this Matthew 25 passage to irrefutably challenge right-wing Christians, especially in each and every situation where they oppose a plan to reduce human suffering.
You tell them, it's fine to oppose government programs to help the Matthew 25 "least of these," as conservative Christians usually do. But to avoid violating the Matthew 25 injunction, conservative Christians must then propose their own Equivalent Alternative Solutions.
Equivalent Alternative Solutions are ones which:
• help at least the same number of people who legitimately need help
• provide at least the same amount of assistance
• get the help to them at least as quickly, and
• are at least as certain to accomplish these goals
Equivalent Alternative Solutions can certainly be completely non-governmental, as long as they meet these four criteria.
But conservative Christians consistently both oppose the plans of others to help the "least of these," and fail to offer Equivalent Alternative Solutions of their own.
Conservative Christians -- whether voters, politicians or talk show hosts -- must be challenged: "What about Matthew 25? If you oppose my plan to help some of the "least of these," what do you propose instead? How does what you're espousing here fulfill what Jesus commanded in Matthew 25? In fact, isn't what you're doing exactly what Jesus condemned in Matthew 25, not helping the least of these?"
That's the EAS challenge.
Right-wingers won't have an answer, but they'll raise any of a host of objections to the challenge.
Let's go through them comprehensively, so you're prepared for whatever is thrown at you.
To hear the objections, and how to respond, just listen to the podcast!
(PS: Right-wingers, if you want to write in to me, fine, but at least do me the courtesy of listening to the podcast first. Please don't respond just on the basis of the brief preview above. Thanks!!)
Programming note: Until January, there will most likely not be live shows on alternate weeks.
For those who aren't familiar with podcasts, podcasts are a series of mp3 audio files that you download to your computer or portable music device (iPod or other) and then can listen to whenever you want.
You don't need an iPod to listen to podcasts.
Podcast software like iTunes will automatically check a podcast at intervals you specify, and download any new installments.
iTunes is free and very easy to use. http://www.apple.com/itunes/
In iTunes, if you want to subscribe to my podcast, just click on Advanced at the top right, then choose Subscribe to Podcast, and paste in the URL http://feeds.feedburner.com/blasttheright
That's the URL to use for other podcast-friendly software programs as well.
Alternatively, you can just manually download new episodes from my podcast home page as they become available. Here is a link to my podcast's home page: http://www.therationalradical.com/podcast.html
Jack Clark 7:27 PM [+]