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Old 12-10-2023, 04:18 PM
 
Location: Michigan, Maryland-born
1,730 posts, read 731,578 times
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“I never darken a church door because I hate hypocrisy almost as much as I love the character and teachings of Jesus Christ. Christianity is a beautiful faith. The only trouble is that there are so pitifully few Christians in the world.” -Eugene Debs


I have a small connection to Eugene Debs, because for some reason my father wanted me to be named after a man...Debs was known as a labor union leader that was arrested for organizing the Pullman Railroad Strike of 1894, for protesting WWI, helping create the socialist Wobblies, and running for president 5 times, once garnering 6% of the votes and once running for president behind bars...

...however, Eugene Debs has some interesting thoughts on Jesus.

Eugene Debs was a "Christian Socialist" and even allowed inmates to compare him to Jesus when arrested as "Little Jesus." He worked with churches that pushed workers rights

Per Debs:

-Claimed that there are very few Christians in the world as most don't follow Jesus' teachings. Thought Christianity was too often corrupted and used to promote a false patriotism and to buttress the rich.

-Generally thought that organized religion is bad (with exceptions) as Churches have deliberately changed the real revolutionary nature of Jesus to support mammon, or unethical profits of the rich, which are in essence the very people who killed Jesus.

-Jesus is divine because he was supremely human specifically born into poverty. However, all humans have some divinity in them.

-Jesus is a revolutionary figure bigger than John Brown, Abraham Lincoln, or Karl Marx.

-Jesus was class conscious, preached love, preached charity, preached solidarity.

-Jesus devoted his life to helping the poor and chastising the rich.

-Jesus discouraged more modern notions of private property.

https://jacobin.com/2021/12/debs-jes...tion-socialism

https://www.religioussocialism.org/e...tian_socialism


Any thoughts on what you like or don't like about his interpretations, which it is fine to agree or disagree with?
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Old 12-10-2023, 04:52 PM
 
Location: Northeastern US
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He's a hero of Bernie Sanders, whom I consider one of the few good and decent people in national politics. So if Sanders admires Debs, I'm more inclined to give Debs a hearing.

Such idealists as Debs (and Sanders) accomplish a great deal but in a subtle manner ... behind the scenes, overlooked and uncredited as they have no little to no ego invested, they do things like move the Overton Window of what is thinkable, etc. I would venture to say that Debs held himself apart from the system so as not to get co-opted by it, which I think has happened to Sanders somewhat at least since his 2020 campaign. Debs never compromised on his principles, be they political or religious. More than that subtopic, I cannot say due to forum rules.

I think that Debs was on to something with his thoughts on many Christians being less than genuine, though I think that the scriptures, particularly the OT, give Christians plenty of cover to justify authoritarianism and fascistic ideologies and behaviors. It is just a question of what you cherry-pick, really.
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Old 12-10-2023, 06:57 PM
 
Location: Oklahoma
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It is pretty clear that Debs was a "social gospel" Christian and not a "washed in the blood" one.

It is interesting how Christians who emphasize the "blood sacrifice and forgiveness of sins" part of the Christian message down play or ignore the more radical elements of Jesus' message.

I think they are willing to "love their neighbors as themselves".... but that guy a couple of streets over? They aren't so sure about him.
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Old 12-10-2023, 07:46 PM
 
Location: Michigan, Maryland-born
1,730 posts, read 731,578 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eddie gein View Post
It is pretty clear that Debs was a "social gospel" Christian and not a "washed in the blood" one.
Washington Gladden was an APUS History figure who was in the "social gospel" movement of using Christianity to improve racial relations, work conditions, and everyday life.



Quote:
Originally Posted by eddie gein View Post
It is interesting how Christians who emphasize the "blood sacrifice and forgiveness of sins" part of the Christian message down play or ignore the more radical elements of Jesus' message.

I think they are willing to "love their neighbors as themselves".... but that guy a couple of streets over? They aren't so sure about him.
I think most people, including Christians and any other religion or lack thereof are good people doing what they think is best. As a Christian, I volunteer at Christian charities to help with food pantries around the area and the Rescue Mission.
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Old 12-10-2023, 08:35 PM
 
Location: Northeastern US
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eddie gein View Post
It is pretty clear that Debs was a "social gospel" Christian and not a "washed in the blood" one.

It is interesting how Christians who emphasize the "blood sacrifice and forgiveness of sins" part of the Christian message down play or ignore the more radical elements of Jesus' message.

I think they are willing to "love their neighbors as themselves".... but that guy a couple of streets over? They aren't so sure about him.
For many (not all) evangelicals, "Love thy neighbor" means "love thy fellow evangelical, all others are not neighbors".
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Old 12-10-2023, 08:44 PM
Status: "Without God, life is tragic and absurd." (set 23 days ago)
 
Location: Free State of Texas
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mordant View Post
For many (not all) evangelicals, "Love thy neighbor" means "love thy fellow evangelical, all others are not neighbors".
My Southern Baptist church feeds, clothes and provides medical & dental care for the poor, no matter their religion, or lack thereof.
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Old 12-10-2023, 08:50 PM
 
Location: Northeastern US
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Horn of ‘83 View Post
My Southern Baptist church feeds, clothes and provides medical & dental care for the poor, no matter their religion, or lack thereof.
And that is laudable if it's without strings. In fact I had you in mind when I said "not all" ;-) You and various liberal churches, for example the Presbyterians and Episcopalians co-manage the local feeding of the poor in my city, and in fact have created a wonderful restaurant-like atmosphere for doing so.

My own tribe (IFCA) had grave reservations about that sort of thing, fearing that it was the "social gospel" which they seemed to live in dread of. Osteen's church down in Texas had to be shamed into opening its doors as a shelter during the floods down there. So ... counterexamples abound.
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Old 12-10-2023, 09:50 PM
 
Location: Elsewhere
87,949 posts, read 83,773,798 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mordant View Post
For many (not all) evangelicals, "Love thy neighbor" means "love thy fellow evangelical, all others are not neighbors".
Quote:
Originally Posted by Horn of ‘83 View Post
My Southern Baptist church feeds, clothes and provides medical & dental care for the poor, no matter their religion, or lack thereof.
I have posted this before, but I used to be part of a "WTC Tribute" group of people from the 9/11 community that did tours of the then-under-construction rebuilding area, and as part of the tour told our personal stories.

We had to share our stories as part of the training. One woman was a resident who lived in Battery Park City, the large residential complex just south and east of the WTC. All those people were forbidden to return to their apartments for months after the attacks. When she finally was allowed to go home, she found her place a mess, covered with the dust and debris of the attacks like everything in the area.

She said a group of people from a Southern Baptist Church came up to New York, converged upon the apartment buildings, and cleaned them for the residents free of charge. They were organized, had a system planned and worked out, and they worked like horses to make these homes livable again.

She was shocked that Southern Baptists would do this, given that she was Jewish and remembered when back in the 1990s the SBC made a grand announcement that they were targeting Jews for conversion, which Jews took as an attack and an attempt to destroy them.

I was surprised to hear her story, as that didn't fit in with any perception I had of Southern Baptists, either. It changed my judgment of that denomination to learn that they would travel and spend time--weeks, maybe months--in a strange city to do something like that for strangers, literally very dirty work. I gained respect for these people because that was truly living their faith, and it appears without any proselytizing efforts incorporated.
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Old 12-11-2023, 04:30 AM
Status: "Without God, life is tragic and absurd." (set 23 days ago)
 
Location: Free State of Texas
20,357 posts, read 12,637,956 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mordant View Post
For many (not all) evangelicals, "Love thy neighbor" means "love thy fellow evangelical, all others are not neighbors".
Serving the church first is biblical.

Galatians 6

9 Let’s not become discouraged in doing good, for in due time we will reap, if we do not become weary. 10 So then, while we have opportunity, let’s do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.

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Old 12-11-2023, 07:08 AM
 
Location: Northeastern US
19,716 posts, read 13,262,632 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Horn of ‘83 View Post
Serving the church first is biblical.

Galatians 6

9 Let’s not become discouraged in doing good, for in due time we will reap, if we do not become weary. 10 So then, while we have opportunity, let’s do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.

It is also perfectly normal. I take care of my family before I take care of other families, for instance.

My point was that the "faith tradition" if you will that I came out of, and others I have encountered, would take care of family and church and literally nothing else because they are the "other" and they only kindness they will get is proselytizing.
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