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View Diary: Two Very Different Responses to the Election from the Christian Right (134 comments)

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  •  Question (3+ / 0-)

    Could someone help me, a poor non-believer in understanding the whole "it is easier for a rich man to ride a camel through the eye of a needle than make it to heaven"

    First, is my quote accurate and second where does it come from and third, how do modern day religious leaders justify promoting the universal admiration of rich men?

    •  Here's a jokey explanation but a good one I (8+ / 0-)

      think

      "I smoke. If this bothers anyone, I suggest you look around at the world in which we live and shut your fuckin' mouth." --- Bill Hicks

      by voroki on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 08:09:18 AM PST

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    •  Not "ride a camel" (16+ / 0-)

      "Mat_19:24  And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through a needle's eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God."

      The best explanation I've heard, from a linguist and historian, is that is Hebrew the word for "camel" varies by one character from the word for a heavy ship"s rope.

      Either way it's a clear message, backed up by many others, which Lord Acton echoed at the end of the nineteenth century, "Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely."

      When my wife followed her sisters in becoming an evangelical Christian I spent 20 years at a fundamentalist church and participated in all the Bible studies despite never becoming a member. What I found was that very few evangelical Christians have reading skills. And there is a long tradition in Christianity, before Augustine, but codified by him, to take all verses you agree with as literal and all verses you disagree with as figurative.

      Our reason is quite satisfied ... if we can find a few arguments that will do to recite in case our credulity is criticized... Our faith is faith in someone else's faith, and in the greatest matters this is most the case. - William James

      by radical empiricist on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 09:14:27 AM PST

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    •  Camel was mis-translation for rope nt (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      yet another liberal, blueoasis
    •  The Verse in Context (5+ / 0-)

      I've heard various rationalizations to explain away this verse, such as "The Eye of the Needle was a narrow gate in Jerusalem" or "The word Camel actually means Rope" but they tend to ignore the next bit:

      Then Jesus said to his disciples, "I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.  Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingom of God."

      When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, "Who then can be saved?"

      Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossilbe, but with God all things are possible."  (Matthew 19:23-26)

      Which is to say, the disciples hearing Jesus did not interpret him to mean "Tricky, but a skillful camel-driver can manage it"; but rather "That's just not possible".  And Jesus does not correct this impression; he only says that "with God all things are possible."

      There are scads of other places in the Gospels which speak about riches.  Jesus tells his followers to seek to accumulate treasure in heaven rather than on earth where it is subject to decay and devaluation and stuff.  He warns us that we cannot serve both God and Mammon.  The Epistles exhort the Church not to show favoritism to the wealthy and everybody's heard St. Paul's comment about what The Love of Money is the Root of.

      The instances I've seen of someone trying to pull out a Bible verse as a Proof Text to show that Wealth is a Virtue have struck me as pretty lame.

      "All the World's a Stage and Everyone's a Critic." -- Mervyn Alquist

      by quarkstomper on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 05:57:42 PM PST

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