Two kinds of christians? (An outsider's view)

Conspicuous consumption vs environmental concern

Guest post by “westofthebluemountains”.

A couple of months back, I published a post Living in a toxic world, where I discussed how our western societies seem to be losing compassion and community. In a comment on that post, friend and reader westofthebluemountains offered some interesting observations of christianity, from a “heathen” viewpoint.

I thought these comments were worth presenting as a new blog post (even though I don’t necessarily agree with every detail). So here they are, unchanged except for the addition of some headings.

I’ve been thinking about the subject of religion recently (from a heathen viewpoint !), and I’ve come to the conclusion that Christianity is a lot like politics, there are Right Wing Christians (and their colleagues the Jews), and Left Wing Christians.

Right wing christians

For the RW Christians, religion is all about themselves and how they personally can get to Heaven by living a pious life as directed by the Ten Commandments. There is nothing in the TC about helping others, so a lot of Right Wingers don’t bother, and there is nothing there about not getting rich, so a lot of Right Wingers do that too.

To them, although they call themselves Christians (excluding the Jews here), Jesus was probably a dangerous socialist who can’t be trusted, and his quote about a camel passing through the eye of a needle and rich people certainly shows he was on the wrong track as far as they are concerned.

Left wing christians

Left wingers on the other hand (I hope you don’t mind that description being applied to you) more closely follow the words of Jesus and believe that the whole human race is the family and should be looked after.

The things they do

The Right Wingers always seem to end up in politics saying that it’s cruel to the unemployed to raise Newstart and it’s kinder in the long run to refugees to leave some of them in limbo forever to to “save” others from people smugglers.

The Left Wingers on the other hand end up in demos against climate change or running soup kitchens.

Christians and politics

So really I think you have to treat the Right Wing Christians as imposters, they will never help anyone apart from themselves and they stand in the way of the sort of reforms that you wish to see. Interesting to see that the Labor Party started out with a lot of conservative Catholics in it (DLP), but mostly seem to be atheist or agnostic now, as are The Greens, the most Left party in the country.

Could a Left Wing Christian party succeed in Australian politics ? I don’t know and I don’t see one on the horizon. Without such a force in government I can’t see a lot of progress being made to the social agenda.

The other thing is that when you say we are becoming more selfish, things are getting very tough in the economy, house prices, rents and bills are rising and wages are not keeping up. Most people are struggling to stay afloat. Of course there is a lot of money being made by the rich, but they are the government’s mates so they don’t get touched.

Photos: Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels and Markus Spiske from Pexels

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  1. Right wing and Left wing? This seems to me a false dichotomy. I offer my own alternative instead:

    1. SPIRITUAL Christians:

    -Seek to better know and trust God, and be led by Him–and will not substitute good intentions for that personal relationship. (“Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.” John 3:6)

    -Recognize that all human life is from the Creator; that He wants to protect and sustain it; and that He seeks our help to do so. (Hence, yes to soup kitchens; yes to adoption; no to abortion; yes to tax breaks for the working poor.)

    -Know that all people are God’s children (Acts 17:28, Heb. 2:14), and that we are all descended from Adam through Noah. (Hence, no to the RACISM historically promoted by adherents of both “survival of the fittest” Darwinian macroevolution, and Planned Parenthood eugenics.)

    -Support clean air and water, for the sake of good stewardship. (But they see through the overarching socialist agenda of, for example, “carbon credits.”)

    -Recognize the danger of political or religious unity not based on truth. (Hence, in questions of eschatology, they recognize the growing spirit of Antichrist, and thus support the hope of futurism: the physical Second Coming of Christ to personally initiate a Millennial Age of renovation.)

    2. CARNAL Christians:

    -Substitute pragmatic human initiative for divine guidance, divine provision, and the power of the gospel of grace.

    -Put too much hope in imperfect human political power to fix the world’s problems, and fail to recognize that there REALLY IS a devil with an agenda of global unity, culminating in his Antichrist.

  2. Hi Kevin, it’s nice to hear from you again. How are you going?

    The advantage of “right wing” and “left wing” is that we all know more or less what is meant. Your suggested dichotomy is Biblical, but not everyone would agree with your descriptions so the categories aren’t so clearly defined.. But I’m interested to see what else you’d fit into each category.

    So, for example, if you recognise that all life is from God, then I guess you’d be a pacifist of some sort (I recall you had views along those lines before)? Would you also support better healthcare for all and a removal of some of the institutionalised discrimination against black Americans?

    I’m curious too why you think carbon credits are “socialist”? These are a market based approach, so seem to be more capitalist than socialist.

    When you talk of “political or religious unity not based on truth”, do you not think that the Romans 12 teaching of trying to live at peace means at least some form of social unity?

    Interested to hear where you might stand on these issues. Thanks.

  3. I agree with westofthebluemountains — especially that part about treating right wing Christians as imposters. And it is worse in the USA.

    “Could a Left Wing Christian party succeed in Australian politics ?”

    I think most left wing Christians are not interested in forcing their ideas on other people. They tend to prefer a secular government.

  4. Hi Neil, it’s nice to hear from you too!

    I agree with what you say here. There is a difficulty, like the so-called “True Scotsman” fallacy, of defining the word “christian”. Is it people who say that believe in Jesus, is it people who identify as “christian” on a census, is it people who follow all of Jesus’ teachings, or 70% of them, or those who just say they try to follow them?

    But Jesus said there would be many who say the words but don’t follow his teachings, so words alone don’t appear to be enough. So it is hard to see some self-identifying christians as being christians according to Jesus’ own words (i.e. “imposters” in your words). Of course I have to face the possibility that Jesus might disown me, so I can’t be too smug.

    And I agree about left wing christians generally being happy with a secular government. 5 Prime Ministers ago, the PM was Julia Gillard, and self-identified atheist, and she was an excellent PM in my view, and I think most of my (progressive) christian friends would agree. Few people in Australia cared if she was an atheist or a christian (like her colleague Kevin Rudd). Sadly, the Murdoch press and right wing commentator said some scurrilous things about her and she was poisoned in the public mind, not because she was an atheist I believe, but because she was a woman and left wing.

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