Jesus Christ was a PINKO…discuss…

Interesting party going on over at my pal e.f. bartlam’s post here

Have a read through those comments. That sweet Southern US of A Dixie boy has triggered a veritable tsunami of PINKO Brit political wetness… and mostly because he indicated a bit of resentment that his tax authorities were taking money from he and his partner – and then using it, for instance, to fund a public school system that he and his wife did not use for their son.

I was struggling with the basis for resentment, but I presume it is founded on the fact that neither e.f. nor Martha were deriving personal benefit from the tax take. (e.f. you are better placed to advise – forgive me the assumption if I am wrong).

I don’t blame e.f. And he doesn’t need my head-shaking bemusement and patronising lefty smiles either. I suspect that what he and I both need is to walk in the other’s shoes for a while.

We are all products of our environments. Our worldviews shaped by the underlying assumptions and prejudices and taken-for-granted “givens” that litter the societies and cultures which we inhabit. We are not even aware of them. These are the culturally relative “facts” which we never question. That in Scotland, Sabbath is a Sunday. The vast majority of education (schools, further and Higher Education) is provided by the State – and that that is a GOOD THING. That the NHS is free at source. That in Scotland all medicines are free. And blah, blah.

e.f. is a product of a different world. With very different underlying assumptions and different “givens”.

One last question for the theologically minded amongst you….

Was Christ (the historical figure, the real man – because he was a real human, honest, that much we can establish) a RED or a BLUE? Was he left-wing or right wing? Was he communist or fascist? A Democrat or a Republican? A Labourite or a Conservative…

(Just by way of a hint….go read:
Leviticus 25:35-38: “If one … becomes poor … help him … so he can continue to live among you. Do not take interest of any kind from him, but fear your God … You must not lend him money at interest or sell him food at a profit. I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt to give you the land of Canaan and to be your God.” 
and 
Acts 4:32-35: “All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had … there were no needy persons among them … the money … was distributed to anyone as he had need.”
As well as 
Acts 2:42-47: “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching … to the breaking of bread … everyone was filled with awe … all the believers were together and had everything in common … they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they … ate together with glad and sincere hearts … ” 


And remember, this was a man who overturned the tables in the Temple. Who repudiated the economic system operating via the Levites which resulted in oppression and exploitation and poverty and dispossession…)


Anyway, peeps, I’m off to Yorkshire this weekend. For a few days in the freezing rain and the driving snow. If I don’t get bumped off the road in Cumbria (the infamous A66) I will be back Tuesday…

Advertisements

24 thoughts on “Jesus Christ was a PINKO…discuss…

  1. Just a quick note ….I am at trade show today, slipping out for a smoke… I like the sweet part, Southwern part…but, association with the u.s. is as meaningful as my association with North America. I'm from Dixie that's all :).

    Servitude calls…but, I shall return.

  2. I've been over and read ef's post. I dare not comment. I'd never stop. I do find it hard to believe that someone would actually say that, in effect and without really going as far as stating things reductio ad absurdum they do not believe in taxation. Not just taxation for things they don't use. So someone who is housebound doesn't pay for roads (even though people who go to them need roads). I could go on and on.

    JC was a pinko. No need to discuss. Just as Christianity is a pinko religion in it's concept. (When I did comparative political theories at Uni I argued there was little difference between Marxist/Lenninist and Roman Catholic political thought.) The reality is, however, very different from the theory and the Church has never been particularly Christian in its practices. But as someone who has no belief in a god I might be expected to say that.

    I'll shut up. Now.

  3. ” I suspect that what he and I both need is to walk in the other's shoes for a while.”

    Maybe we all should be doing that more often Perpetua,

    SP

  4. Graham – yes…you know me well enough to know I couldn't resist the lure of that argument… And I jnow you well enough to know that you would always believe that JC was a pinko!

    SP – there's another saying that seems apt here from Burns – O wad some Power the giftie gie us. To see oursels as ithers see us!

    I am comfortable in my atheism. But the historical Christ seems to me to have been an interesting – and good – man.

  5. Graham you can come on over anytime…let it fly everybody else has. We'd be happy to have you.

    Of course, I don't think I've said even half of what you read…maybe you haven't been back in a while. There have been, the sadly unavoidable qualifications of what, at least in my mind, has been clearly implied. Implications are hard to pin down though so…

    My resentment is not necessarily with the dysfunctional way our public schools are funded and operate. I do have some specific resentments there, but if that were the only problem…then theoretically you come up with a system that would be acceptable. In that case, a general non-specific complaint would be exactly what Graham seems to be implying that I am guilty of…a nonsensical tantrum (I think Jessica finally threw up her hands and made that point explicitly…hahaha ).

    We'll have to wait for the rest I am done for the day…I am packed up and I am leaving.

  6. I don't want you to think I'm trying to change your mind.

    We don't even live on the same continent much less the same street. Y'all do what you want. I don't see where I have any claim on how you organize your lives.

    Also, like you said, we come from different economic cultures. Even people that would disagree with me (and there are many of them) around here…would not be shocked by my stance…take it as an affront or react as if I expressed a taste for bbq'd babies like it has with y'all :). In large part, that's because of our attitude toward private property.

    You should see how fast all disagrements are put aside when the issue of immenent domain comes up and the state tries to seize an old Black woman's house to build a road.

    So…just for the record I am not trying do anything so crass as change your mind. Your business, and that of Scotland, is yours.

  7. Ha ha…your site is offering me a link to Ron Paul's website. Ha ha

    Let me explain my problem with qualified rights…positive rights like a right to a public education.

    A right that has to be provided has to be paid for…it has to be adminstered and controlled. Ultimately it is impossible for the people who pay for these “rights” to control them because you can't deny someone a right. So, by default that control goes to the government…meaning control of income, control of education, etc. It's a fundamental shift in the relationship between the gov and the individual.

    Now, through the power of government, one individual has an immediate claim on the time, efforts and income of another.

    It's not like the roads which aren't a very good example here because we pay a lot of road specific taxes. License plates (which, by way of specific complaint, are ridiculously high in Hinds county), inspection stickers, taxes on gas, tolls, etc. All very sensible forms of taxation…voluntary forms of taxation.

    Take national defense. Say you have ten people but, only two people can afford to pay for their defense. It's unlikely that the two people would ignore their own defense just because the other 8 couldn't pitch in. There's no harm, no foul because providing it for everyone is a natural by-product of providing it for yourself.

    These things don't, by thier nature, increase the power of the gov. at the expense of the individual.

    Our current president has bemoaned the fact that our constitution is a collection of negative rights. It does a great job of stating what the government can't do…but, in his words, doesn't say enough about what the government can do for you. Which is to say he was a fundamentally different constitution.

    We got some serious issues over here right now.

  8. Good debate.

    I am an atheist too but respect believers – as long as they don't try to convert others too fiercely.

    And Jesus just had to be a socialist. Rich men, eyes of needles etc.

  9. Thanks to you all for commenting. It can be incendiary as a debate – but hey we are all up for freedom of speech (and thought – if not deed!).

    e.f. interesting take on this – but I have to disagree. We vote those governments in. The mandate we give them through the ballot box is the control we exercise. And we get to exercise it regularly. And if there is one thing we can count on it is that politicians want to hang onto power…so they will go with the majority view that votes them in (or, in more corrupt democracies, the big money-player who can buy him/herself in).
    Democratic electoral systems become problematic (unrepresentative) when you have a disenfranchised section of the population…in practical terms this tends to mean those sections of the population who are poorer/less educated (not exclusively, but in general).
    Here the electoral turnout tends to be about 40%-74% – of those registered to vote. Some chose not to be registered. Others are excluded from the Register – the effects of poverty and vulnerability are the prime reasons for this type of exclusion.
    In the US electoral turnout is both lower and the Registration of voters tighter and lower. (I am thinking Florida and the debacle with GWBJr and his brother?).
    Of course money also corrupts democracy – partic in terms of media control etc.
    But generally, in a democracy, we exercise control over those who govern us through the ballot box. And through our constitutions (written as in the US and every other democratic country or unwritten as per here!) and the rule of law.
    The biggest problem we have is that democracy depends on participation. That certainly is of greater concern than the potential for a government to act outwith its mandate – the first results in power elite hegemony, a complete failure of representation – the second, a temporary blip that will be punished at the ballot box.

  10. That is the crux though – for me (and for the majority of the British population) there is a Social Contract operating which has created a positive right to, for example, education and health care and a range of social security benefits. I am happy to pay my taxes in the full knowledge and expectation that the cash will be used to provide these things. I may or may not access them of course. And from time to time different political ideologies will tinker with how the rights mentioned are administered. The culturally acceptable “given” here though is that such things will be provided by the State. I would be appalled if the State chose to withdraw from such provision – for many many reasons.

  11. It has become a “right” – in the sense that the principle and practice of healthcare, free at the point of delivery, is firmly entrenched in the British psyche. It is a cultural “given”. Taken for granted. A fact of life – and vehemently defended by those from all points of the political spectrum. We pay for it – technically – through “national insurance” (a sliding scale payroll/income deduction). The current government is currently proposing changes to its delivery model in England and Wales (though funnily enough they have no electoral mandate to do so) – so, yes, the electorate could get rid of the NHS. Most unlikely – but the potential exists.
    It is relatively uncommon to pay privately for healthcare here. I had a private insurance for some time – but gave it up. Private providers are parasitic – they do not train their own staff and they cherry pick the most profitable cases.
    This is not to say that there is not a public debate here regarding just how much the NHS can and should provide – should it include cosmetic surgery for instance – or obesity surgery? Should smokers and alcoholics be permitted to be a drain on health resources? But the general social expectation is that if you are ill you will receive treatment that is free at source and provided by the state. And that it is immoral to make profit from ill-health. There is a right to medical treatment.

  12. Heya Muj,
    I guess you missed the comment on E.F's blog, then I saw your post over here. I was wondering on what basis you think we can say Jesus really existed?

    I'm genuinedly curious here as it has always been a bit of a project of mine to establish some primary sources to this, something in the first century AD. As an archaeologist and historian I am often surprised at how much information we ARE actually left about individuals, expecially famous or notorious ones, and yet with Jesus everything I seem to find is several hundred years after the fact, and based on other examples in history, but this point myths, fiction, and fact has often become irretrievably intertwined.

    Do you know of any?
    interesting blog, I'll have to drop by more often!
    Adam

  13. Thanks for dropping by Adam – you and e.f. perform a cool double-act that I have been admiring.
    However…
    I've been rumbled…
    The statement re JC's historicity should have been qualified as follows – “the studies I have conducted into the historicity of JC have led me to conclude that JC was a real man”.
    But I was het up and ignored all my academic training. (or perhaps followed my legal training – assertion presented as fact and all that…).
    I am a follower of those scholars who predicate a “Q” Source (Quelle) for the two earliest Gospels. This is sometimes referred to as “the sayings gospel”. And the theory (which I wholeheartedly embrace as logical rational and etc – particularly give the same type of scholarship on the formation of language and development of languages i.e. positing a “Q” source for all language) is that there is an earlier underlying source from which the gospels are drawn. The Gospels date from around 70AD. The earlier source would have been written/spoken by a contemporary of JC. Personally I am not certain that this source need be considered a written one- because the oral tradition would be very important.
    The theory proceeds by literary analysis – the posited Q source appearing through the analysis as a source which was wholly about the saying of JC. Analysis depends on congruence between sayings etc.
    You can also look at writings by Josephus (Jewish scholar) who refers to Christ. Or Tacitus or Suetonius. Roman sources making reference to “Christus”.
    I remember starting my study with Feuerbach and Heiddegger – and then reading Reimarus, Renan, Schweitzer – and probably most important Bultmann. Bultmann was the most sceptical – and I am nearly there with him. He held that the most we can assert about JC is simply the “Dass” (being-ness) of his existence – we can assert nothing else as fact. I would argue that we can link the sayings/parables to the historical figure – the rest is “myth” or written as fulfillment of Jewish prophecy/earlier religions and their mythologies… some of it could be true i.e. JC was a Jew rabble-rouser crucified by Pilate but we wont know (unless a miraculously well-preserved incontrovertibly verfied new Dead Sea Scroll appears to tell us otherwise).
    I am no use. I know.

  14. I am familiar with the principle of literary deduction, most specifically the Anglo-Saxon chronical which has various regional variations, each which undergo much scholarly debate to try to date them. It is a complex subject.

    I must admit I have never read the annals, only Agricola and Germania… I should have! I won;t say I'm as happy with his or Pliny and Seutonius' credentials generally in their works as you seem to be, adn they are again pretty distanced from the events, but thanks for the heads up, they definately warrant further investigation. Josephus, I have never read anything of, and sounds more like, datewise at least, the sort of thing I am after.

    I find the terms used, or should I say our interpretations and translations complex. After all, it really tells of nothing about what Christus means. Christ, Christians, or just all Jews? The terms for the 'vikings' get used like this by Anglo-Saxons, pagani, norse men, north men, and on and on. Absolutely indiscrimately when we know from other sources on occasion they are refeing to single figures, or very dispirate groups.

    I often see parallels with the King Arthur Myth in the UK. We are beggining to understand a little what happened in the 5th century from the Historical and Archaeological record, and it is a pattern across the country, to which the general Arthur story clearly has a much amalgamanted and idealised basis, but no exact historical precedent.

    I appreicate your time and response, I'll go have a good rummage now! I always meant to direct some proper time to this, so thank you for pointing me the right way to start.

  15. It is fascinating. The history delving. I got hooked by the study of linguistic “archaeology” – that this was then used by biblical scholars and theologians meant that twin interests were merged (for me). Study of religions indicates so many common threads in the way that man – at different times and in different places – has sought to find answers to the big questions of how and why we are here. The bible (Genesis) for instance gives two different creation stories – one from water the other from dust. These creation myths were common in many other older religions – and it is more than likely the Genesis versions were an “evolutionary step”.
    The Arthurian myths are surely another example of that process? Of how stories from that oral tradition take root and then grow. There could be some basis in reality – or it could be similar to the Egyptians Pharaohs who recreated religions and wrote themselves into cosmologies? Constantine is another example of this – recreating Christianity and painting himself at the centre of it.
    let me know how you get on with your investigations.

  16. Ya'll need to get yourself to WordPress where the grown ups play and you actually get some functionality on you damn blogs… 😛

    There, I a name now too 😛

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s