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Monday, September 29, 2008

Juxtaposition

One of the favorite passages for lefties to quote is Matthew 25:40. "Whatsoever you do to the least these, that you do unto me." It's quotable because I remember the King Jamesy version. It also clearly contains an end-times theology referring to Jesus' Second Coming. Here's the whole passage. [Link] Trick with this is that Jesus almost certainly didn't say it. At least not in this context. As Marcus Borg points out in Jesus, passages like this that have Jesus referring to the Second Coming are out of place because most of his followers were having real trouble wrapping their heads around the fact that they were witnessing the First Coming. Second Coming was an idea that developed after Jesus was crucified.

It's like John 3:16, "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whoever shall believe in him shall not parish but have eternal life." This is the passage for literalists, and it is smack dab in the middle of a rebuke of literalism. Jesus tells Nicodemus to be born again, Nicodemus says, "Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother's womb to be born!" You can almost hear Jesus mutter idiot between the lines.

The Bible just doesn't work well as a tool to whack people over the head with; not if you intend to be honest with it.

DISCLAIMER: For the sake of fun, I made up the King Jamesy versions of these passages. Numerous accurate translations are available at biblegateway.com.

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