Bill Maher on Christian Hypocrisy


#1

Robin posted this on his blog and I thought others might find this interesting (although some people might find language offensive)

Bill Maher on Christian Hypocrisy

Wow, insightful and yet so sad.

Mind you, if we think that God hates His enemies and will torture them for ever…


#2

I saw this too. Bill Maher knows what he is rejecting, I guess. I wanted to share it too, but feared people would not get past the language.


#3

I think this should be required viewing for every single Christian on the planet. If they can’t get past the language, if they reject the message because it’s couched in the natural language of the people, then I think there’s a problem.

I’ve never heard of Bill, but I think he hits the nail on the head a number of times. It’s the same message I’ve been trying to tell my home room at school: if you claim to be a follower of Jesus, you have to actually follow Jesus! It’s the same message I’ve been slowly learning myself.


#4

But isn’t it a live debate as to whether a Christian must be a pacifist to follow our Lord?


#5

“Loving our neighbor” also involves defending them. Love means we stand between our neighbor and the bullet. How is it unloving to use necessary and proportionate force to disarm our neighbor’s enemy? A Christian soldier is honorable, not because he is willing to kill, but because he is willing to die for the sake of another.


#6

How are you applying this to OBL?


#7

I found Bill Maher’s critique of “Christianity” to be completely groundless, rude, and ill-informed. Jesus teaches for people to do all we can to live at peace with others, but He did not teach non-violence or passivism. And we must certainly remember that Jesus is God in the flesh, the same One who commanded Joshua to overrun Cannan, to kill everyone and every thing at Ai. He is the same One who killed the firstborn of the Egyptians, after Plauging the Hell out them! He is the same One who even killed 1000’s of the Israelites, after having delivered them from Egypt, when the worshipped the golden calf. He is the same One who filled Samson with the Spirit that enabled him to kill 1000’s of Philistines and deliver the people of Israel from their oppression! He’s the same one who took Gideon (the little barley loaf) and used him too… Well, the list is almost endless.

Yes, God is love, but love does move us to protect others, especially our children and family members, and the weak, poor, and defenseless. A man who does not provide for his family is worse than an infidel! And God establishes Civil Governments to mitigate evil on this world and to be an arm of justice. So our nation’s civil government is commissioned by God to do this; and Jesus is God in the flesh!

Concerning Osama, we should have prayed for him and for us, for God to deliver us from evil. And in his case, God only knows, but possibly the only way to deliver him and the whole world from the evil plaguing him and us through him, was to kill him, so that He could face the delivering fiery judgment of God. I was grieved by people, even Christians, celebrating his death; we should have mourned such. But that does not mean that we should be passivists. Jesus was far from a passivist. He was a peace-maker, the Prince of Peace. But, there is a “Peace” that only comes on the other side of “War”, when all evil is vanquished!


#8

Sherman, I can’t tell whether you think “passivist” = “pacifist”, or if you’re trying to make the point that all pacifists are passive limp-wrists who can only sigh, “I wish I could do something about this horrible situation, but following Jesus demands I just sit back and suffer and let all these other innocent people suffer.” :slight_smile:

Jesus, who (as Maher points out) arguably lived a pacifist lifestyle during his time as a human, was not in any way shape or form passive–he laid his life down of his own decision, and he took it up again. He strode confidently into situations that demanded him to fight back, yet he consistently found creative ways to love (and taught his disciples to do the same). He was not a passive victim, but a proactive, optimistic volunteer. As such, I believe there is definitely room in the Christian tradition for robust proactive Christians who take the initiative to love and serve enemies in the name of Jesus. (A good book on this is “Loving Without Giving In” amazon.com/Loving-Without-Gi … =8-1-spell )

I don’t think Maher was saying that all Christians logically need to be pacifists (obviously a different thing than "passive"ists), but that, like Christ, we need to have a reputation for loving our enemy…


#9

Defending the innocent against the guilty can get very messy very quickly, but killing the leader of a large group of men committed to mass murder is almost certainly a good thing.

We need to earnestly pray for our leaders, many of whom are no smarter than you or I, yet have to make complex and far-reaching decisions day in, day out.


#10

The responses from some perplex me.

What?! Were you watching the same thing I was? What exactly did you disagree with? Did you disagree that followers of Jesus should actually follow Jesus? To me, this is the crux of the problem. This is the problem I see every day: people claiming to “be a Christian”, to “have a faith”, yet having as bad if not worse a lifestyle and witness as anyone else. (But it’s ok, because they believe the right things…)

If we, as Christians, actually followed what Jesus did and taught, people would be massively attracted to following Jesus too. One of the reasons they aren’t is because we don’t.

You can talk all you like about Jesus being the same God who “killed the firstborn of the Egyptians, after Plauging the Hell out them”. But the fact is that Jesus was full of compassion. He did not go around acting like many Christians, particularly “American evangelical right-wing Christians” act today. (To grasp how ridiculous this idea even is, think of Jesus standing there with a placard saying “God hates gays”…)

He saved his criticism for the religious people, but dealt out acceptance, love, compassion to the others. This was in no way weak, spineless, or door-mat-like. This was Jesus showing what God is like, forgiving his enemies, loving his enemies and by his humility, drawing others (all people) to himself. If you read through the gospels, you will find that actually Jesus *did *practice non-violence. Surely his response to being crucified shows that. I’m not remotely saying he was a “pacifist”, but what we see is how he acted and reacted.

I repeat that Bill has hit the nail on the head.


#11

I think Bill nailed it in many ways as well, even though his view of non violence is simplistic as some have pointed out. Nevertheless, the biggest supporters of the wars in the middle east are conservative Christians, and they have no scriptural support for that position. Traditional just war theology never included preemptive war on foreign soil. It may feel right in our heart to “get em”, but it is not the leading of the Holy Spirit that brings us to support the wars in the middle east. I have yet to hear anything even close to a good defense from a Christian perspective. Instead we’ve stained the name of Christ by our support of these wars and our support of the tortures that took place in the internment camps. Christians everywhere were vocal in their support. It is embarrassing. It does nothing to further the Kingdom of God, and much to hinder it. You don’t have to a pacifist to be against this.
Chris


#12

Part right. Not all Christians were vocal in support. I suspect many were amazingly uncomfortable with it, but were drowned out by the vocal ones. But it most certainly was and is embarrassing.


#13

Good morning Neal, (btw, by brother’s name is Neal)

I like the difference you draw between "passive"ists and pacifists; that’s a good way to distiquish between the two concepts. And I agree that there is room, even a calling, for “robust proactive Christians who take the initiative to love and serve enemies in the name of Jesus” for even our “enemies” are not enemies from our perspective but from theirs. That’s the way I live my life on a personal level. But I also recognize that God instituted civil government and thus support law officers in doing their job. And if I was a policeman, I’d have no qualms about shooting to kill someone if the situation demanded it. And if someone came in my home and tried to mess with my family, I’d have no qualms about killing him dead (extreme response) or doing whatever I needed to subdue him. And I also believe that civil governments have a responsibility from God to punish evil and foster good, to mitigate and protect from evil without and within.

Concerning Jesus’ lifestyle as our example, He wasn’t providing for and protecting a family. He was a single man who had a mission from God, not as a civil legislator, but as a prophet. And He was commissioned by God to lay down His life as a sacrifice to reveal the love, grace, mercy, and forgiveness of God. Yes there were plenty of times when He could have used physical force, but such did not line up with His calling or mission, and would not have accomplished His goals. So yes, Jesus did arguably live a pacifist lifestyle, but that lifestyle lined up with His calling and mission; and we do not all have that same calling and mission. Some of us are called to physically protect others through force, whether we be parents or civil servants (police, national guard, army, etc.). There is a time to turn the other cheek, but there is also a time to stand up and use force for to accomplish what is right.

Concerning Maher’s characterization of “Christianity”, it was far from the norm. Most Christians are peace-loving, gentle people who love God and love others, who are reticent to use force except when it is necessary. And concerning ObL, most Christians were glad he was taken down, though they did not celibrate his death; and there were plenty who were grieved even at his death. If I was the president, with the calling and mission to protect America from evil, would I have ordered ObL’s assasination, and not tried to take him alive? Maybe so because of the danger and likely evil that would befall many people if he was taken alive. It would have been a tough decision.

Anyhow, back to Maher, I believe that concerning Civil Legislation and the role of Civil Government, the OT is a much better example of how God would set up a nation that how Jesus lived. Jesus did not serve as a civil legislator, was not called as a civil activist, much less as a civil legislator, but was a good example of how to oppose oppressive religious legislation and legislators as a pacifist.

Also, though traditionalists do affirm beliefs that I disagree with and even rile me, they are still my brothers and sisters in Christ and Maher’s (currently an enemy of Christ according to his own confession) denouncing them bothers me. My brothers and I might fight, but don’t let anyone else attack one of my brothers. So though I trust Maher will be a brother one day, right now he’s not; and if I’ve got to choose sides in a fight right now, it’s on the side of my brothers (even if they are against me).


#14

First of all, I disagree with his generalized denounciation of Christianity because he disagrees with the political beliefs of “some” Christians who do not represent “most” Christians. I also disagree with his seemingly very limited understanding of what it means to have faith in and follow Jesus. As noted in a previous post, Jesus was not called to be a civil legislator or civil activist. He spoke as a prophet against religious abuses and oppossed abusive religious authorities. His mission dictated His life-style.

Concerning Christians having as bad a lifestyle as non-Christians, I’ve found that Christianity helps people live much better lives than they would have without faith in Christ. Jesus delivers people from all manner of evil, within and without. And personally speaking, if not for the deliverance of the Lord, if I had continued in my sin without being dilevered by the Lord and set free to love Him and others, man I’d be a mess, selfish, prideful, and likely very selfrighteous, - a hypocrite of hypocrites! But Jesus!

Of course, I do agree with you concerning the uselessness of “beliefs” without living right. If one is not living in love, then what one professes to “believe” doesn’t really matter much. This is one of the weakness, tradgedies, of the doctrine of “faith alone”. I believe it is the convergence of right attitudes, right beliefs, and right actions that is the “Narrow Way” that leads to life. If any one of those is missing, then it’s not the “Narrow Way” and leads to death. “Right beliefs” without “Right actions” are empty and vain. Right actions without right attitudes are powerless and dead, even hypocritical. And right beliefs and right actions are wood, hay, and stubble and will be burnt up as having little, if any, eternal value without right attitudes!

Jesus would not have stood there with a placard saying “God hates gays”, but He did inspire Moses to set some pretty heavy civil penalties for sin and wickedness like the death penalty for adultery, beastiality, etc. There is a place for civil authority to punish evil. Jesus’ mission did not include being a civil activist, but that does not mean that God does not inspire some people to be civil activists, or to serve as civil legislators, or civil servants.

btw, I’ve read through the gospels several times, through the whole bible in fact. And one must understand Jesus’ life in the context of what He was called to do, His mission. Without understanding the context of His mission, one can easily misunderstand His message and values, and misinterpret and misapply His example. Jesus lived a life of “non-violence” towards people, because He was called to sacrifice His life as a revelation of God’s love for humanity. He went to the cross because that was His mission. And by doing that it destroyed the power of death. But to interpret His life in such a way that we should not protect our loved ones, or that civil authority should not punish evil doers, even to the point of death, is to misinterpret Jesus’ life and message.

Frankly, as a husband and father, if someone messes with my family, or if I see someone being abused, I’m steppin in and doing whatever it takes to stop that evil - with the full conviction that what I’m doing is right. And if I was a policeman or in the armed services, I’d fulfill my duties with all the strength and wisdom the Lord would give me.


#15

Sounds like you know some great Christians! My experience with most Christians isn’t that they’ve been reticent to use force except when it is necessary. Or maybe it’s just that they think it’s always necessary? They are always very America minded and less concerned for the rest of the world. Maybe I’m just not coming into contact with the right people? Despite my different views on universal reconciliation, I’d be settle for finding a group of people that really love, aren’t war mongering, and don’t think better of themselves. It seems like it goes with their doctrine that some choose, like themselves, or God chooses some. There are the priviledged, chosen or good ones, and the hopeless ones we can stomp out. Don’t worry about them!

I feel conflicted as to whether Christians actually live much better lives. I know it should help. I’ve seen plenty of non-Christians that could sure benefit from knowing God and are equally as bad. I don’t know if I can say most Christians live much better lives? I don’t see us really invested in getting outside our circle of the righteous, giving up our earthly wealth, caring for the people of Iraq/Afghanistan - all the things Jesus warned of. Seems like, when it comes down to it, it’s always our own butt we care about.

Love does seem to be what should differentiate us from others that don’t know Christ. How to best do that is complicated and, for me, is not black and white. I could see reasoning, in love, killing Osama or not killing him.


#16

Wow, really busy and have barely had any time to breathe, let alone post here, and definitely no time to read this whole thread (big project due tonight that I’m been procrastinating on!) but here are my quick thoughts:

  1. Bill Maher wasn’t only ranting about gloating over Bin Laden’s death, which is something I also railed against; he was also talking about military action, declaring that Jesus was an extreme pacifist.
  2. Jesus was not an extreme pacifist, in my opinion; he told his disciples to take along swords for self-defense, until the time was right and he was ready to be captured in the act of laying down his life. He didn’t want his disciples to be harmed themselves in the process, though.
  3. As Sherman pointed out, Jesus is the same Lord who gave out war commands in the OT for the sake of protection and wiping some pretty brutally nasty people off the face of the earth. He didn’t recant any of it and in fact spoke of the judgment of Sodom and Gomorrah as righteous while living as Jesus Christ.
  4. I think that the root of the problem with Osama and terrorists is that we’ve been messing with them for decades. They bled our resources out in the huge war we undertook, which the government was able to successfully use to more fully oppress us. The war was evil from beginning to end, in my humble opinion, and I strongly follow Ron Paul’s remarks on it. However, that same person also thinks that it was a good thing that Osama was killed, which is pause for thought. I don’t have a hard and fast opinion on it, myself. (I’m a bit of a conspiracy theorist at times, but generally leave what I don’t know for sure alone.)