Is Bill Maher Right? || Christian Hypocrisy

Reposting from Tim Biden:

“I just watched a video by Bill Maher where he was absolutely going off about Christian hypocrisy. And I hate to admit it but he was absolutely right.

Careful… Video contains a few profane words. The transcription follows, with the profanity edited, if you prefer to read it.

For almost 2,000 years, Christians have been lawyering the Bible to try and figure out how “love thy neighbor” can mean “hate thy neighbor” and how “turn the other cheek” can mean “screw you, I’m buying space lasers.”

Martin Luther King gets to call himself a Christian because he actually practiced loving his enemies. And Gandhi was so effing Christian he was Hindu.

But if you rejoice in revenge, torture and war – hey, that’s why they call it the weekend – you cannot say you’re a follower of the guy who explicitly said, “Love your enemies” and “Do good to those who hate you.” The next line isn’t “and if that doesn’t work, send a titanium fanged dog to rip his nuts off.”

Jesus lays on that hippie stuff pretty thick. He has lines like, “Do not repay evil with evil,” and “Do not take revenge on someone who wrongs you.” Really. It’s in that book you hold up when you scream at gay people.

And not to put too fine a point on it, but nonviolence was kind of Jesus’ trademark, kind of his big thing. To not follow that part of it is like joining Greenpeace and hating whales. There’s interpreting, and then there’s just ignoring.

It’s just ignoring if you’re for torture – as are more evangelical Christians than any other religion. You’re supposed to look at that figure of Christ on the cross and think, “how could a man suffer like that and forgive?” Not, “Romans are wusses, he still has his eyes.”

If you go to a baptism and hold the baby under until he starts talking, you’re missing the message. Like, apparently, our president, who says he gets scripture on his Blackberry first thing every morning, but who said on 60 Minutes that anyone who would question that Bin Laden didn’t deserve an assassination should, “have their head examined.” Hey Fox News! You missed a big headline; Obama thinks Jesus is nuts!

To which I say, “hallelujah,” because my favorite new government program is surprising violent religious zealots in the middle of the night and shooting them in the face. Sorry Head Start, you’re number 2 now.

But I can say that because I’m a non-Christian. Just like most Christians. Christians, I know, I’m sorry. I know you hate this and you want to square this circle, but you can’t. I’m not even judging you, I’m just saying logically if you ignore every single thing Jesus commanded you to do, you’re not a Christian – you’re just auditing. You’re not Christ’s followers, you’re just fans.

And if you believe the Earth was given to you to kick ass on while gloating, you’re not really a Christian – you’re a Texan.

After reading that, or even watching the video, how do you feel? Are you angry? Are you apologetic? Do you think “Yeah he’s right. I need to change” or maybe “No, it’s only the other Christians were like that”? Or do you want to scream at him “Screw him! He’s wrong and I’m going to tell him he’s wrong”? If you think any of the above, you’re proving him right. And that’s because he is right.

I’m going to admit that what he said absolutely embarrasses me because he’s right. If he was wrong, I wouldn’t have gotten angry. I would have said something along the lines of “That rant was kind of funny and I’m sorry that’s how you feel.” But the plain and simple truth is that he’s right on every single point.

As Christians we love the part of the Bible that says God loves us. We love the part that says Jesus died for us. What we fail to recognize and appreciate is that he also gave us certain commands. And guess what, Jesus also loves and died for the people that we disagree with and dislike. So stop trying to figure out how “love thy neighbor” can mean “hate thy neighbor”. It’s not what Christ would do.

But if you rejoice in revenge, torture and war…you cannot say you’re a follower of the guy who explicitly said, “Love your enemies” and “Do good to those who hate you.” Again Mr. Maher is right on the money. How are torture, murder, and war doing good to those who hate us? How is that loving your enemies? It isn’t.

“Do not repay evil with evil,” and “Do not take revenge on someone who wrongs you.” Really. It’s in that book you hold up when you scream at gay people. And why do we need to scream at gay people? The only group of people Jesus ever condemned was the religious leaders who were hypocrites and steering his people down the wrong path. In Jesus’s day they were called Pharisees, Sadducees, and Scribes. Today that group would probably be called the religious right, evangelical Christians, and Catholics.

If evangelical Christians supposedly know God’s love, why is it so hard for us to love others? If we really believe that Christ has forgiven us all of our sins, why can’t we forgive the sins of others, especially non-believers? We are not even supposed to judge them. That’s right, I said we are not supposed to judge nonbelievers. And I have biblical proof for it, just read 1Corinthians 5:12 “What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside?” Yes, that even includes gay people. Love them, don’t scream at them.

I’m a non-Christian. Just like most Christians. …if you ignore every single thing Jesus commanded you to do, you’re not a Christian – you’re just auditing. You’re not Christ’s followers, you’re just fans. As Christians too many people focus on God’s grace but ignore his commands. Christ said in John 14:15 “If you love me, you will obey what I command.” So by not following Christ commands are you, in essence, saying you do not love him? Is that something you want to tell God?

Don’t worry, God still grants grace and mercy. I am not denying that. What I am denying is that you can claim to be a follower or disciple of Christ and have such hatred for other people in your heart. James 3:9-15 says “With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water. Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil.”

Some professing Christians may seem to believe that Bill Maher thinks anyone who says they are a Christian, yet doesn’t live their life in lockstep with Jesus, isn’t really a Christian. Get used to it. As Christians we are held to a higher level by the rest of the world because they know what Christ taught. We don’t hold ourselves to a level even close to what they hold us to. And herein lies the problem, we should have higher expectations than they do. But we’ve gotten lazy. We don’t want to work at our faith. We don’t want to love other people. But Jesus called us to and therefor it isn’t optional.

And guess what… Nonbelievers have read the Bible. Nonbelievers know what Jesus said. Nonbelievers know when we are not living up to the faith that we profess. And this is why they call us out on our hypocrisy.

Christ died for our sins and that is no secret. Everyone knows what we say that we believe but, when our actions do not match up with our words, they correctly view us as hypocrites. Luke are in verse 6:42 “How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” A quick paraphrase of what he’s saying is “After you have solved your own issues, then go help someone else with theirs. Don’t think you can fix their problems if you can’t even see your own problems.”

Collossians 3:12-14 says very plainly “…clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”

Love your neighbor. Love your family. Love nonbelievers of all races, genders, religions, and sexual orientations. Love everybody, no exceptions.”

Tim Biden