Thank you for making the case that Christians aren't misinterpreting their books in supporting the policies of the GOP. I am a Muslim (and at this point you can re-apply your initial couple paragraphs, substituting Muslim for Christian). On the social/moral issues, we also tend to be very closely aligned with the conservative parties. However the biggest conundrum for me is how does a religious Christian support the *economic* and *foreign* policies of the right wing parties.

How do religious, God fearing Christians feel at ease with the outright and overt hostility towards the down-trodden, the weak, the disenfranchised, and the people of color in this very country? And if you don't believe the Republican party is actually hostile to the poor, all I can say is we seem to live in different universes.

On foreign policy, the Republican party has consistently been waging wars all over the world with the full support of religious Christians. Is that ok because they believe these are "just wars" and the ones being killed are heathens and so all is forgiven? These wars and the instability that results from them creates refugees by the millions that pour into Western lands, and then the right wing parties blame these immigrants and refugees, dehumanize them, and treat them like criminals, again with the full support of the religious Christians. How is that ok? What is the religious Christian perspective on these wars and the treatment of immigrants and refugees? Again, if you don't believe support from religious Christians empowers the conservative parties in spreading this mayhem across the globe, we have to politely disagree about the very real consequences of your actions.

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"What that leaves a Christian with is a general direction of trying to choose what they think will do the most good, overall. This sounds easy enough, until you realize that’s what pretty much everyone is doing all the time"

Technically true but rather empty, as Christianity (like any school of thought, religious or otherwise) has foundational principles which define what "good" means to them. Otherwise, the ambiguity of "good" could mean anything at all.

This false syllogism (Christians want to do the most good / Other people want to do the most good / Therefore, Christians want the same thing other people want) is exactly the same sort of fallacy that gave us "Socrates is all men". You can't just replace one part of a statement with another unless everyone agrees that the terms are equivalent.

If Christians want what is most "good" *in the Christian belief system as espoused in the Bible*, then that has to mean something (assuming the belief system is at all coherent, which I believe it is). I grew up going to a Christian church, and while you're right that it doesn't dictate every policy position, it's much more specific than simply "try to do good". The aspirations of a "good Christian" are very different from those of a "good Hindu", "good Muslim", or "good Jew", for example.

This article very much has the theme of "stop fighting with each other about politics", which in one respect is a very Jesus-like position to take (!), but it comes off as defensive, and it isn't helpful in trying to determine the possible role of government in a Christian's life or country, especially if the answer is (as this seems to suggest) somewhere between "none" or "whatever you feel like".

It's true that Jesus didn't live with our political system (or technology) but there are some general themes to his teachings, and if someone can't see any parallels at all to modern life, then I'm baffled -- first of all, why they would follow a religion which they think has no contemporary applicability! For example, Jesus always sided with the downtrodden, so if a modern Christian is promoting a policy which will exacerbate the power/wealth differential in the country, and claim that scripture supports them on the basis that Jesus never technically lived in a capitalist democracy and therefore never spoke against such a policy, I wouldn't call that a "non-tortured read of the Bible".

Anyone can believe anything they feel like, and vote any way they want, because Jesus was so far removed from modern life and/or nobody can agree on an interpretation of these stories of his life that who's to say what he would have thought about any particular policy? This doesn't seem terribly convincing to this (former/sometimes) Christian. Life is complex and nuanced, but Jesus's positions really weren't.

You're ignoring the elephant in the room. For the majority of modern Christians, it's more of a culture than a religion. (That's not an attack of Christianity. It's true of every major religion whose adherents I know, and my friends in these religions gladly admit it.) When one is not willing to give someone else the coat off their back, then it's meaningless to talk about your religion's thoughts on the government's role in doing so.

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Conservativism and the Old Testament are pretty congruent. IDK any Xtians congruent with the New.

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“The first thing we have to look at is actually extra-Biblical; it’s the historical context in which the book itself was written. You don’t have to know a lot of history to know that voting wasn’t actually a thing for the common man in the time of Christ, just as it wasn’t for the vast majority recorded history. The New Testament reflects this by mostly assuming the government is something forced upon you as opposed to anything you had any choice in.“

I disagree?


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Very good, and important. People like John Fugelsang are telling you what you believe and then condemning you for not being consistent with their created image of you. This is a creation for their own audience as much as the people they are attacking. It is very difficult for people who are trying to be good and recognized as such to defend against.

I am not qualified to comment on your religious interpretation, but your takes on obedience and the roles of God and gov't are sensible based on your selections.

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Great article, thanks! I'm neither religious nor against it, so I think I'm in the minority that appreciates the reason and thought here. : )

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Usually I figure that it's not for me, as an outsider to the religion, to decide who is a "real Christian" (Mormon, Jew). I can see how it would be annoying to be lectured by an outsider—like the mansplaining thing, without gender.

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