by Bill Byrnes
Religion is man’s way of explaining God; the Bible is God’s way of explaining man!
Okay–we’re starting to hear the term “Religious Left” more and more as we creep towards another national election (2016). So, the thought occurred to me– maybe it’s time to explain this new phenomenon, or ,at least, attempt to.
It’s not so much that this is a new way of thinking, but it is becoming more homogenized into a form of political expression. Unlike the religious right–the religious left (R.L.) believes in strict interpretation of the Bible into political thinking ,and, more importantly, does it without losing sight of the big picture.
Let’s use the example of how anyone on the religious right(R.R.) uses the Bible in their arguments. Regardless of their topic, they use random quotes from any of the books–Old or New Testament. They do this to support their own arguments, and they will jump around–using one or two sentences from several books. When discussing that same topic, Religious Left (R.L.) proponents will generally use New Testament quotes.(Not all the time–but usually). The reason: the New Testament is about Jesus’ teachings, and, face it–that’s where the “rubber meets the road” regarding any Christianity based discussion! This is what I refer to as “big picture” interpreting. Sure, the R.L. has their own beliefs–but they use the teachings of Jesus as a starting and ending points to support their arguments. They do not jump throughout the scriptures looking for any single statement to use for a bulwark. Or, as a learned Biblical scholar informed me when I started my new-found relationship with God–and his Word– “Bill, remember–the New Testament is all about Christ and his teachings–the Old testament explains WHY we needed Jesus, and is not to be considered as more important than Him!” I remembered his statement when I read this passage from Mark:9:7: “ And there was a cloud that overshadowed them; and a voice came out of the cloud saying ‘This is my beloved son–LISTEN TO HIM!’ ”.
So, in God’s own words the statement is: From here onwards– Listen to My son’s teachings! Jesus’ teachings were simple and beautiful! They were truly Godlike in that they summed up the voluminous commandments of Mosaic law into 2 simple sentences: (Matthew 22:36-40) Love the Lord thy God with all your heart, soul and mind; and, love your neighbor as you love yourself . There it is –all the commandments into two easy-to-remember sentences! Also, this is the FOUNDATION for ALL the arguments of the Religious Left for any political issues dealing with social topics: Treat everyone with love–as you would want to be treated yourself!
Another difference between these two groups: The Religious Right still believes in judgment by the group. The Religious Left believes that issues of morality are something that should be between and individual and God! Again, this is from strict interpretation: Roman:2:1-3: “If you think you can judge others–you are wrong! When you judge others, you are really judging yourself guilty because you do the same things they do. God judges those who do wrong things and we know his judgment is right! You judge others who do wrong, but you also do wrong things. Do you think you can escape the judgment of God?.”
Now, I know there can be situations (extreme transgressions) that put any belief system to the test. But, can there be any doubt about the preceding passage? The Religious Left is really saying, when they use this argument, is that, while true, politics and religion should never be mixed, there can always be areas where they overlap. When we do find it, we must have a strong underpinning, a belief system, that forms a barrier to prevent the types of conflict that we now experience in the American political scene.
In other words, if you object to someone’s political beliefs– ONLY object to those beliefs; don’t object to someone else’s humanity–especially their right to exist!
We MUST find a way, devoid of preconceptions or prejudices, that will allow us (R.L & R.R) to effectively govern ourselves. Only then, will we truly be “…one nation under God…”, and truly “..indivisible”. If that’s what we want–we MUST look the Bible (God’s Word) for guidance, and more importantly–to the teachings of Jesus Christ for our instructions!
“We must look to the teachings of Jesus for guidance…”