The Christianity practiced by white, Republican, right wing, Evangelical Christians, is a far cry from the Christianity of my upbringing. Twelve years of Catholic education, from grammar school to high school, taught me a very different religion.
I was taught that Jesus was the link between the Divine Father and we frail humans. He suffered our pains, saw our shortcomings and experienced the worst in human beings. But he loved us anyway. Love was what Jesus was all about in the Christianity that I was raised with. Jesus wanted us all to join him in the Kingdom of God and to share eternity in bliss.
The Jesus I knew fully embraced the downtrodden: the sick, the poor, the powerless, as well as the social outcasts of the day, such as prostitutes and tax collectors. No matter how low a station in life you occupied, Jesus still loved you.
Jesus never promoted the taking over the political machinery of his time, which was the Roman Empire. His concerns were of a more spiritual nature.
He instructed us to feed the hungry, heal the sick, give our possessions to the poor, and to turn the other cheek if struck.
He is also the Jesus who said: “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”
I’ll call this version of the Christian religion, Christianity 1.0.
Well, things have changed in the past decades, or so.
With the rise of Evangelical Christians in the 70s, has come a new set of priorities. Not the attainment of the Kingdom of God so much, as the attainment of more earthly pursuits.
Pursuits such as:
• Gaining political power, which includes stacking the Supreme Courts with right wing sympathetic judges so that their version of “Christian” values will be legally imposed on the rest of the nation.
• Fighting to stop the teaching of science in schools, particularly evolution. This includes supporting charter schools whereby secular tax dollars pay for religious schooling.
• The removal of the separation between Church and State, in effect making America an officially Christian nation.
• The embrace of the “Prosperity Gospel,” which states that God shows his love to the “righteous” by granting them expensive houses, cars, electronics, etc.
• The bizarre mixing of paranoid conspiracy theories, Christianity and right wing politics, of which QAnon is a prime example.
• Belief in those perverted death wishes called the “End Times” and “the Rapture.”
• And my favorite — the view that a crooked businessman, serial adulterer, reality television star, tax cheat, liar, conman, and narcissist, is the instrument of God who is doing His bidding as the president of the United States.
All of these qualities are 180 degrees away from Christianity 1.0.
So perhaps it’s time to face reality — Christianity 1.0 is obsolete.
It’s time for a new and improved Christianity — Christianity 2.0.
We may need to add a new gospel chapter to the American Bible. In honor of God’s Chosen One, I suggest calling it “The Gospel of Trump.”
With a few nips and tucks, we can have a newer, hipper Christianity. A Christianity for the times we live in.
First off, it will require an image change for Jesus, a little facelift, if you will. We need a modern 21st Century Jesus to reflect our new American values.
21st Century Jesus is white, blond, short-haired and always dressed impeccably in a tailored suit. He looks a lot like Brad Pitt. 21st Century Jesus gets around in a limousine and owns a private jet. He eats at only the best restaurants and is constantly checking his investments on his cellphone. 21st Century Jesus wants everyone to gain peace of mind – through financial security. 21st Century Jesus loves you, but only if you make a certain amount of money annually. You must, after all, be worthy of his love. 21st Century Jesus loves you just a tiny bit more, if you are white also. Most of all, 21st Century Jesus wants you to remember this always: Wealthiness is next to Godliness.
In Christianity 2.0, our “betters,” (millionaires and billionaires), should be given a semi-divine status. After all, it was god himself who ordained that these chosen ones should be blessed with such an abundance of wealth. Trump is a shining example. We lesser mortals should be ashamed of ourselves for not being worthy of such blessings. With the rich getting semi-divine status, the Separation of Church and State will need to be improved. By this I mean eliminated.
Lastly, this New Testament socialist nonsense about clothing the poor, healing the sick and feeding the hungry, needs to be put under clear-eyed scrutiny. Mollycoddling of the downtrodden is a disservice to them. They need to be encouraged to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps. Now is time for tough love. You’ll be doing a homeless person a favor by kicking them on the sidewalk where they lie and telling them to get a job.
21st Century Jesus would approve.
I wonder why Christians 1.0 and 2.0 leave Numbers 31 in their Bible? Is it to help them justify genocide and war crimes, as in Moses war against the Midianites?
When I was a kid, U.S. pilots, most of them Christians, killed over a million women and children in a 3 year period. Tens of thousands of helpless innocents were burned alive with napalm. By 1953, B-29 pilots were complaining to their commanders, “Sir, there’s nothing left to bomb - no strategic targets, no dams, no towns, villages, farms . . . it’s all gone.”