Can the christians stand up


Could only Christian tell us what Jesus meant with these words,

Matt. vi. 25-34.—25. Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?

26. Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?

27. Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?

28. And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:

29. And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

Were Christians expected to follow them or was this idle talk? The question I am trying to ask is has there been a Christian in our midst?

To all of us,

Is brotherhood of man a pipe dream. One of those illusions. Can we love one another without loving god? The Christian god no less?

Tolstoi argues thus

The Christian doctrine, and the doctrine of the Positivists, and of all advocates of the universal brotherhood of man, founded on the utility of such a brotherhood, have nothing in common, and especially do they differ in that the doctrine of Christianity has a solid and a clearly defined foundation in the human soul, whereas love of humanity is but a theoretical conclusion reached through analogy.

He writes

But the man who loves humanity, what is it that he loves? There is a State, there is a people, there is the abstract conception of man. But humanity as a concrete conception is impossible.

And concludes

The Christian doctrine teaches to man that the essence of his soul is love; that his well-being may be traced, not to the fact that he loves this object or that one, but to the fact that he loves the principle of all things—God, whom he recognizes in himself through love, and will by the love of God love all men and all things.

A few questions from the ongoing

  1. Assuming for the sake of argument Jesus was, how do we explain the contradiction between the lives of Christians and his teaching?
  2. Is it possible to love all humanity without loving god, the Christian god?
  3. Is the love of all humanity desirable and why?
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About makagutu

As Onyango Makagutu I am Kenyan, as far as I am a man, I am a citizen of the world

70 thoughts on “Can the christians stand up

  1. melouisef says:

    The meaning always comes from the interpretation…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. john zande says:

    Those are those passages which the Christian ignores.

    You can see why Luther and his merry Evangelicals chose Paul to follow, rather than Jesus.

    Liked by 6 people

  3. Charity says:

    Godly love does not allow room for loving others. He demands to be above all at all times. He requires that we put him above mother, sister, father and brother. He also demands that we die to self. This is not a loving sentiment. It is fuel for hating others and ourselves. Why do you think I’m in therapy?
    And I can’t wait for the day when people wake up and realize that Jesus is no better than YHWH. I mean, “when you’ve seen me you’ve seen the father” makes it quite plain.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Charity says:

      Why do *you* think I’m in therapy?

      Proofreading is essential, Charity.

      Like

    • makagutu says:

      Tolstoi argues that only by loving god can we love our fellows. That the love of god is the ideal we should aspire to. It is a perfect love. But then I think his ideas are based on a special reading of the new testament and also a belief in the christian god being the highest conception of god.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Charity says:

        God and Jesus are not lovers of humans, they are glorified stalkers. As their representatives on earth, it’s only natural for Christians to be controlling as well. They indeed are very much like their Christ. Unfortunately, I don’t think they’re aware of what tools they are. Indoctrination starts early and lasts for years, sometimes decades. In dealing with my religious trauma, I’m beginning to have something for Christians I haven’t had in a while, empathy. That brainwashing hurts them more than what some of them will ever realize. It stole the first four decades of my life. Even after being out of Christianity for five years, I have a long ways to go in detoxing from it.

        Liked by 2 people

        • makagutu says:

          Tolstoi argues that the Christian churches are all doing it wrong. That there is no Christianity in them. To him Christianity begins and ends with the sermon on the Mount. He argues Jesus had no church and all. He doesn’t refer to the OT though.
          But you are right, Christianity as practiced and preached in our midst has nothing of love in it. Each church believes the next is totally wrong and going to hell

          Like

          • Charity says:

            The Bible is just as disgusting as the Talmud and the Koran. It wasn’t until the last couple of years of my faith that I began to honestly compare the three books. I’d read scriptures from the Talmud and the Koran and find their messages revolting. However, I’d suddenly remember Bible verses that I had picked apart for decades that preached the same thing. I began to allow myself to see my double standards. Obviously, no so called holy book is better than the other.

            As someone mentioned above, it’s all about interpretation. That’s why we have thousands of religions and denominations. If Jesus was really loving and his heavenly Father was so sovereign, there wouldn’t be this confusion. Which is ironic because YHWH is not the “author of confusion”.

            Churches suck because the Jesus, god and scriptures that they follow suck. And as far as that rotten sermon on the Mount is concerned….it’s totally different to me since deconverting. Basically, it reads “if you’re my good little bitch I won’t strike you down. Oh, and I’ll reward you after you die.” Jesus comes across as a violent pimp or an abusive spouse/partner, not as a tender lamb. Even the Bible notes that he’s “the lion of Judah” and “he’s coming back as a lion”. Oddly enough, it refers to Satan as a “roaring lion seeking whom he may devour”. Hmmmm.

            When we as a society let go of all gods it would benefit us greatly. There is no one that can save us, but it takes all of us to help each other. When we stop looking to a devil to blame and a savior to worship, we’ll truly begin to grow and evolve. People will grow up and begin to take accountability for their own actions. It wouldn’t happen over night, but it would certainly change for the better in the long run.

            Sorry for the long essay, Noel. I know you know all of this better than I do. You know how I am. I’m not on here much. However, when I am I can’t seem to leave. It’s either that or one of my long ass emails, I guess. Be well, my dear friend. Have a great weekend and a great week ahead.

            Like

          • makagutu says:

            I prefer your long ass emails 🙂
            And don’t apologise for this short comment.
            I think Tolstoi either ignored the rest of the bible and chose to build his belief on the Sermon on the mount or he didn’t have a bible and received the Sermon in his post box.

            Liked by 1 person

  4. Wouldn’t your quote have been useful to keep slaves and poor people in submission to their opulent masters?
    You see, that’s why it’s been ‘transpired’ in the “scriptures”…

    Like

  5. You forgot this Jesus quote. 30. “Dammit! There’s a stone in my sandal. These bloody Romans make the cheapest quality footwear EVER! Peter, you look to be my shoe size. Take off your boots and give them to me. You can go barefoot. It’s the least you can do for me, you ungrateful cur.”

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Arkenaten says:

    This should tell you how they think …

    Liked by 2 people

  7. 1. The contradiction exists in the teachings as well. Jesus even had statements where he spoke out against humanity. Squaring them along with the doctrine that humans are depraved individuals (something Tolstoi conveniently forgets) can land people on the side of ignoring the teachings which are to uplift people. One would have to ignore the supernatural beliefs and doctrines in order to get Christianity to fully square with uplifting humanity.

    2. Following the thought from above, yes, it’s entirely possible to love humanity without believing in the hypothetical construct of a deity. I think Nietzsche expressed the idea best by saying that being human is a journey between beast and superhuman. To love humanity is to encourage that journey along.

    3. The love of all humanity is desirable depending upon how one defines it. For example, even Christians who want to follow the more philanthropic teachings of Jesus have a rough time of loving humanity because it’s often just described as a collection of lost souls. Loving them means trying to win them over to the belief system to receive a divine reward after everyone’s dead. One could argue that’s not entirely useful in the here-and-now.

    Liked by 2 people

    • The christian teachings can be followed only in a sectarian/denominational way. The contradictions and inconsistencies are so many, that in order to follow ALL principles at the same time, follower would need to live in a constant state of denial, which is actually the case for most…
      But this is how they were designed, as to give the masses the illusion of choice, under a constant feeling of subliminal guilt. The divide et impera is the overall principle. Imagine what a united, compact christianity could have achieved? And no ruler wanted that…

      Liked by 3 people

      • makagutu says:

        Is it possible to have a christianity that isn’t reliant on the churches as they exist today? And not related to state power?

        Liked by 1 person

        • Practically not, first because Christianity was devised as an instrument of control, being from the start reliant on hierarchy, i.e. apostles, bishops, deacons etc. Obedience is the key principle, through the ecclesiastical authorities, to the civil authorities, who were told to wear the sword on the people’s behalf, having thus instated a covert theocracy, with a civil executive arm, the state. The inquisition perfected that, e.g. being there and guiding torture done by a state rep. Remember, some sort of religious rep was and is always there at executions, which therefore are actually a carrying out of “divine” will. The denomination are just a clever way to show a mirage of autonomy, while individual dissent is being kept at bay with excommunication, refusing burial etc, being in fact means of social control.

          Like

    • makagutu says:

      Tolstoi argues the supernatural elements are teachings of the churches. To him the teaching of Christ is contained in the sermon on the mount. And I agree with you for him to stand by his position, he has to be biased in his reading.

      Again here, he says humanity is abstract. Should the Muslim love the Jew? Should the white man love the black man? Or should they all like the brown people? Who or what is humanity and can it be an object of love?

      I think you have a good point here. The believer does not love their fellows for the sake of it but think their souls, whatever these are, should be redeemed.

      Like

  8. Mystro says:

    The first I heard of these passages, I was at a large family function and they brought in some sort of priest who sermoned about them. I was completely bewildered me as to how anyone could take it seriously. Afterward I chatted with one of my religious aunts (she’s chill about it, so she’s easily one of my favourite aunts).
    I asked her if she actually thought that was good advice. She quickly said yes. But, I protested, do you not own a fridge? Have a bank account? Educate your children? Our family is still largely farmers. Our existence is growing food so the community may survive the next winter. Can you really say that it would be a smart idea to abandon all those practices?
    My aunt’s face scrunched as (I’m guessing) for the first time she thought about how church teachings didn’t make sense. She flustered for a bit and could not reply. I didn’t push things. She is one of my favourites and I figured a seed of doubt was success enough.

    As to your questions,

    1. I don’t see that much of a difference between christ and his followers. He was self-contradictory, made edicts against thought crime, had a mean streak, wanted to burn all that opposed him, and hid his hateful nature behind a mask of “love”. I think today’s christians have nailed it.

    2. It isn’t possible to love all of humanity at all. Even the most social of us will get to know only a couple hundred people during lives, only meet a couple thousand. There are over 7 billion of us. It just isn’t feasible.

    3. Not at all. Respect for people is a much more attainable and, I believe, fruitful goal. Love can turn a blind eye to injustice. Respect would keep the world honest.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Swarn Gill says:

      I think the love of all humanity that is being talked about here is agape. The love of all humanity, not being in a loving relationship (friendship or romantic) with every human. As Tolstoi writes this is an abstraction in a way, but I certainly think we can feel this love, and I know people who certainly do. If we can recognize other humans have at some base level the same characteristics as those in our lives, then we can at least demonstrate that love through charity, through volunteer work, etc. Of course it would be challenging to physically help all 7 billion we can certainly act to better the lives of those we don’t know. Such acts of charity are usually seen as under the umbrella of a broader love for humanity.

      Liked by 1 person

      • makagutu says:

        I think this is the gist of it. It doesn’t necessarily mean a relationship with everyone. But how do we feel about the man or woman sentenced to hang tomorrow?
        How do we express our love for the brotherhood/ sisterhood of all? I think this is the question and is there a foundation for it?
        Recent history tells us it was legal to own slaves in many parts of the world? How does this square with a love for humanity?

        Liked by 1 person

        • Swarn Gill says:

          Such practices thrive on the notion that such people are not human. Dehumanization is the easiest way to allow mass slaughter and enslavement. Reduce a group of people to being evil, being inferior, being like animals….look at the language that surrounds the oppressors and you will find verbage that does not recognize the humanity of those they oppress. Once you start to do that, the game is up. So while we do have the capacity to love humanity, we also have the ability to decide what is human and what is sub-human even if it isn’t true.

          Like

          • makagutu says:

            Is this dehumanization that allows the US government to target groups of men and women with drones by labeling them terrorists and allows some Muslims to target others by calling them infidels?
            I don’t know of anyone who joins the army with no intention of killing when called upon to do so. What do we make of such people?

            Liked by 1 person

          • Swarn Gill says:

            Indeed it is. I also struggle with what to think of soldiers, but I will say this in their defense, and perhaps it only applies to certain countries. I think the idea that you might have to kill people is an existential possibility only for many who join the military here. There are people who join because of the status it brings, to get a chance to go to college, to get away from an abusive or dysfunctional family. Poverty drives a lot of people to join. Not to say there aren’t the good old fashioned recruits who want to kill some “commies” or “arabs” in this case. But I would certainly say that the fact that they will have to point and gun and shoot someone I don’t think seems like an immediate concern, even though I think it probably should be. Surrendering your right to choose to take another human life is a sacrifice that I can’t really fathom making, but perhaps I have the privilege to make that a priority over other more immediate concerns. That being said I read a blog post from a former marine who talks about the programming she received in her training to dehumanize enemies. I think that some go in with this sort of idyllic attitude or not realize how hard it would be to shoot another human being. The military complex tries to remove that uncomfortable feeling for you apparently.

            Like

          • makagutu says:

            I get it. Looking for employment, trying to be something and all. This still points to the fact of failure by government thus allowing it to have volunteers for its military machine which it uses for intimidation. And make no mistake, the greatest enemy to any government is internal.

            Liked by 1 person

      • Mystro says:

        Even if talking about humanity as a whole, I still think it is impossible to do so. If it is possible, it would still be a bad idea. As I mentioned, love turns a blind eye to injustice and humanity is rife with it. War, genocide, and slavery are distinctively human, not to mention just plain idiocy. It’s a part of our history, our present, and who we are as a species. Loving all of humanity would involve lying to ourselves about these things. Just look to the patriot who loves their country and therefore is compelled to deny any of their county’s wrongdoings.

        Honesty, respect, and consideration for all humanity would allow us to identify these and other problems. Then we might address them properly.

        Like

        • Swarn Gill says:

          I am confused by your reasoning here. Perhaps you can explain, why do you associate love with blindness? I have love for humanity. That love makes me motivated to work to improve it’s well being. Just as your love for someone you care about motivates you to have concern for their well being. Perhaps we share different definitions of love. But I would at least say that my definition is closer to the type of love that is being discussed in the original post.

          Like

          • Mystro says:

            I gave the example of the patriot who loves their country. A crowd chanting ‘U.S.A! U.S.A!’ is unlikely to acknowledge war crimes committed by the US. Or look at many family members of criminals who will distort all kinds of facts to keep their loved one in a positive light. No one wants to think ill of something/someone they love. So people rationalize and justify and distort and deny out of love. Thus, these love filled people will not do much to correct the things that they love.

            It seems to me many people love love so much that they focus solely on its benefits and refuse to acknowledge its shortcomings. But love does not conquer all. If it did, it would have won already.

            Is not one of the most famous of love cliches, “Love is blind’?

            Like

          • Swarn Gill says:

            I would agree with you that love is not THE most important human attribute. But I would disagree that patriotism is love. Ignoring the shortcomings of your country, mean who don’t understand what you claim to love. But you can love someone and be aware of their faults. That’s a truer form of love. And certainly the most vociferous patriots don’t think about all the human in the country equally and value them (i.e. liberals are destroying the country! Republicans are destroying the country!). Love of country often prevents one from thinking about the humans that are actually making up that country, and replaced it with a symbol.

            And sure, no one wants to think ill of someone they love, but in many cases it’s not because they necessarily approve of their actions, but rather believe in their ability to be rehabilitated out of those actions. Many people also don’t know the best way to love the people they cherish the most. Love is ultimately a verb. A spouse who facilitates their partner’s alcoholism for instance, may simply doing what they think is best, or is doing it because of their own insecurities and is afraid of leaving them and being on their own. That’s either a lack of knowledge or selfishness. Just because I have a love for humanity doesn’t mean that I rest on my laurels and not try to discover the best way of doing that. Assuming that we understand how to love and that it’s just natural and that we just intrinsically know how to love is the problem. It doesn’t make love itself the problem. A person who grows up in a household where the husband abuses and or emotionally manipulates the wife, will have a distorted view of how love works. We learn how to love by example. You can gain bad examples of all the things you mentioned before such as respect and consideration.

            The most famous cliche that love is blind is based on the throes of romantic love which we know in those first 6 months to a couple of years changes the physiology so much that we become like drug addicts. This is not the love of humanity that is being talked about here, or was initially defined by Plato.

            Like

          • Mystro says:

            patriotism
            noun
            1. devoted love, support, and defense of one’s country; national loyalty.

            Yes, you can love something and be aware of their faults. My point was that love can make it easy to ignore those faults.
            Truer love? Love™? Like a True Christian? I agree, our definitions of love do not match, but I don’t think I’ve met two people who’s definitions of love match 100%. Most people don’t even have an internally consistent definition. It is a word drowning in equivocation. Which is why I focus on the results. And the results are countless examples of people being blind to the faults of things they love. I do not mean to imply such blindness is inevitable in every case of love, merely that it is rampant in the world. Likewise, I do not mean to say that love is a problem. I mean that it is not the solution that many people want it to be.
            I did like your point about conflicting loves, but I think it helps my case rather than yours.

            Like

          • Swarn Gill says:

            When I said the patriotism you are describing isn’t love, I meant in the dysfunctional sense. Certainly one can have a healthy love for one’s country. And you are still comparing love for a country over love for people… That’s not equivalent in my view. There are lots of studies about love and it’s something I’m academically interested in and there are objectively healthier and more meaningful ways to love than others. So I think we can say something about what is a healthy sort of love for something rather than an unhealthy love. There are reasonable criteria that we can use. Just as we can do the same for respect or “consideration”. You also ignore the countless examples where love absolutely does make a positive difference. Sure the results count, but name an attribute that doesn’t have to be more than just words? As I said love is a verb and it takes knowledge and understanding to love effectively. I still fail to see how having love and compassion for all human kind is inherently unhelpful, destructive or makes one blind to its shortcomings.

            Like

          • Mystro says:

            Ok. If you got everyone to love all of humanity, and also have knowledge of all humanity, and also have understanding of all humanity, and also be honest about all of humanity’s atrocities, and also be unselfish about it, and also only express this love in effective ways, and also dodge all the traps that people in love fall into every day (your prerequisites for truer love), that could work. With each ‘and also’, though, you make this goal exponentially more difficult to obtain. I must confess, I fear I am not capable of this truer love, for anything, much less all of humanity.

            Like

          • Swarn Gill says:

            But your argument is simply tantamount to well because value A has unhealthy forms then value A isn’t a good one to have. But all values, as I’ve already said, whether you want to talk about respect, loyalty, kindness have unhealthy forms when taken to extremes. Whatever emotion or value you say is important to have towards humanity, one can easily find examples of how that can become flawed. And any of things to be done healthily require the same things as healthy love would require. We don’t ever have to have perfect love, we simply want to grow to try and love better. Becoming more than you are today should be a primary goal of anybody. I certainly am not perfect, but I keep trying. Loving humanity can hardly be said to be harmful, and if the moral progress we have made over the long course of human history is any indication, love has made a difference.

            Like

        • makagutu says:

          I agree with you on many points.
          Love hides so many things.
          Patriotism is an excuse to hate the neighboring country for no good reason

          Like

          • Mystro says:

            One of my favourite lines in ‘The Rock’ is when Ed Harris is trying to justify himself to Sean Connery using a historical quote:

            Ed: “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.” Thomas Jefferson.

            Sean: “Patriotism is a virtue of the vicious,” Oscar Wilde.

            Ed hits defenceless Sean, knocking him to the ground.

            Sean: “Thank you for making my point.”

            Like

          • makagutu says:

            There is the incomplete quote, I can’t recall by who at the moment, that says patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel. Something I agree with

            Liked by 1 person

        • Mystro says:

          I have given many common examples of how love can lead to less than optimal outcomes. You say the same holds true for honesty, respect and consideration, but offer no examples. How can “extreme honesty” lead to denying a loved one’s faults?

          I do not love all of humanity. Genocides, wars, discrimination, and other horrors are a huge part of our history and our present state. As such, they are integral to who we are as a species, regardless of how much or how little we individually contribute to such things. I cannot love these things. Claiming to love all humanity but not these things is precisely the blindness I’m talking about.

          Further, I would say our moral progress has not come from people feeling more love. It has come from people standing against the cruelty of humanity, forcing the rest of us take off our rose-tinted glasses and do something about it.

          Like

          • makagutu says:

            Sometimes I am not sure we have made any much progress anyway. We have just improved on our ways to hurt each other and better ways to enslave

            Like

    • makagutu says:

      I like how the conversation with your aunt went. It would be interesting to do a follow up.
      1. Tolstoi argues Christ has his followers to aspire to perfection. That with this aspiration, they would become better even if they don’t achieve it.
      2. So is the dream of a brotherhood of all just a dream?
      3. Sounds reasonable

      Like

      • Mystro says:

        I was pleased with the conversation as well. She lives far away, so follow ups are hard to arrange, unfortunately.

        1. This might work if christianity didn’t have such a distorted view of perfection. However Christ and his followers have demonstrated time and again that they wouldn’t know perfection if it came up and bit them on the arse.

        2. Possibly, though bettering the world by getting closer to that dream is certainly possible.

        3. Thanks. I do strive to be reasonable. Most of the time, anyway.

        Like

  9. I disagree with Tolstoy to an extent. I think he was a passive fundamentalist. I believe that only by loving our fellows can we claim to love who or what we call God in so far as he is and remains a mystery to human understanding. Humanity is not a theoretical construction, humanity is the people we come into with. With regards to the passage of Jesus, the first time I read it I realised he was propagating socialist ideas. He tried and succeeded in separating the working class Jews from the bourgeois. By telling the low class not to worry about work and wages he succeeded in freeing them and gaining a sizeable following which threatened the ruling authority at the time. I think it was a warning against excessive materialism but in a deeper sense it was also a strategy to free the oppressed farm workers and labourers at the time.

    Liked by 1 person

    • makagutu says:

      Do you think socialism is possible?

      Like

      • Possible where? In Africa? I think every political and economic philosophy is an experiment. The more experiments we conduct the better idea we would have of what will work.

        Like

      • Work where? In Africa? I think every political and economic ideology is an experiment. The more experiments we conduct the better idea we would have of what will work.

        Like

        • makagutu says:

          But there seems to me there are experiments that haven’t had the chance of being tried. We have been fed the claim that socialism, communism fail wherever they are tried and the only successful ideology- political and economic is capitalism. What to do?

          Like

          • Is capitalism successful in Africa? There are only billions of debts. In US and UK there are socialist schemes such as universal healthcare and unemployment benefits. Mention one African country where citizens get unemployment benefits. Even health insurance is often politicised and filled with corruption. If one gets one’s fair retirement benefits, then one is very lucky.

            Like

          • makagutu says:

            You and I know it is an utter failure almost everywhere in Africa

            Like

  10. shelldigger says:

    1. They are ALL fucking hypocrites.

    2. Of course, if it is possible to love all of humanity at once. I think to have concern for general welfare, and respect that we are all human no matter our differences? Yes.

    3. See #2.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. renudepride says:

    Excellent questions that you’ve offered here, my Kenyan brother. From the selections that you focused upon, one can compare the words of the christian book with the materialistic opulence of all the Vatican treasures or all the consumerism of the christian megachurches.

    The readings you presented makes me wonder if perhaps nudism was preferred over garments?

    Naked hugs!

    Like

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