That's right, you. You, with the Facebook page full of the Obama-is-the-Devil and God-is-love messages. You, who are simultaneously incensed over the idea of women having the option of abortion, and the government checking to make sure the people who buy guns aren't convicted killers. You, who simultaneously throws a conniption fit if someone suggests maybe cutting military spending by a little, while throwing fits about all the money we're wasting on feeding school children. You, who thinks Gateway Pundit and Fox are news sources, and the Bible is a scientific text. That's right, I'm talking to you.
You like the Bible a lot. You use it all the time. Chances are, you've used it to suggest that gay people shouldn't be allowed to get married. You probably think the Bible is the ultimate argument against abortion. There's a pretty good chance that you think God led white Christians to what would become the United States of America to establish a nation in his honor...and that the Bible predicted it would happen. So let's talk Bible.
Today's message comes from the book of Matthew, chapter 25. The portion of interest to us today discusses Jesus' prophesied return, how God will separate the sheep and goats, how he will choose the righteous from the unrighteous. The criteria is pretty interesting -- so, dear readers, let us open our Bibles to Matthew 25, starting at verse 31.
31 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:Now, this is certainly a passage of scripture that is often ignored by your political party, so I understand, dear conservative reader, if you are unfamiliar with the text. I encourage you, however, to read it. Mull it over. Think about it. Because, if you believe the God proposition presented in the Bible, this is a pretty clear charge: take care of your fellow man, go to heaven. Let your fellow man languish in hunger, ill health, etc., and there's, well, pretty much fire and brimstone to look forward to.
32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:
33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.
34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?
39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:
42 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:
43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.
44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?
45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.
46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal. (emphasis added)
And if you're about to say "oh, but that doesn't mean the government -- that means private charity!" ... or any equally inane fallback...don't. Charity and churches aren't and historically have never adequately handled the problem. If you're actively opposing efforts to feed or clothe the poor, provide healthcare to those without it, comfort to the strangers in your midsts, etc., according to the Bible, ye did it to God as well.
And while I am a mere atheist, who doesn't actually believe that your God exists, I'm actually very much in accord with the sentiment of caring for those who need help. And you're not. Which is to say, that I -- an atheist -- and every person out there who is opposed to starving the poor, depriving people of healthcare, etc., are more closely aligned to your God than you. And, really, when you and your party are shrillest voices proclaiming the supremacy of Christ, it should worry you when you are the least like him; it should worry you when liberal atheists have more in common with your religion's idea of Christ than you do.
And that, beloved, is Sunday's message. (Check back next Sunday for a new message).
In reason and love,
A humble atheist