12
Jan
16

You cannot serve God and mammon.


In recent weeks I’ve become increasingly interested in political attitudes, but not because I have any hope in political solutions. My interest is in the way that clear political injustices are increasingly, (and sometimes unknowingly) supported by professing Christians, who have been seduced into endorsing ideologies that in various ways can be inconsistent with the gospel of the Kingdom.

Firstly there are policies that favour the ultra-rich over the poor.

In an earlier post I gave links to information about the changes in taxation rates that Ronald Regan introduced in the 1980s that reduced Tax on the richest by around two thirds. The resulting shortfall in revenue was recouped through cutting welfare expenditure.

Unsurprisingly, and not coincidentally, those massive tax and welfare cuts were followed by a skyrocketing rate of homeless rate within the USA.

Regan’s practices were echoed after the 2008 economic crash. The financial catastrophe created by unethical and immoral banking practices led the US and other governments around the world to pay 100s of billions of dollars to bail out the offending banks, while the victims of the bank’s immoral practices continued to be made homeless through foreclosures.

[One only has to google “home foreclosures” to see how the heartbreak of many families is still being exploited as a profit-making exercise by opportunistic business people].

Ultimately THAT is the kind of political practice that many Christians are endorsing when they offer support to the right wing political parties they seem to favour.

A second example is the incredible support given to gun ownership by many American Christians. That’s something else I’ve recently addressed with a link to a video interview with a minister whose ministry lost support when he spoke out against the American love affair with guns.

One only has to see some of the gun-supporting arguments raised by Christians to see how quickly irrationality can strike in relation to this issue.

A third concern is the overwhelming denial of Climate change within the political ideology supported by so many Christians. It’s a denial that Christians have often echoed without giving the matter much thought for themselves.
I’ve read remarks from a few people recently who point out that the denial doesn’t come from an assessment of the available evidence; it comes from an unwillingness to accept the essential political changes that will be required to address the implications of climate change.

As Christian climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe has said: “We are being told things by people who don’t like the solutions to climate change and have decided that it’s a lot better and a lot smarter to deny the reality of the problem than to acknowledge it exists but say you don’t want to do anything about it.”

Again I’ve posted a video interview with Hayhoe in a previous post.

I’m concerned that these things (and similar issues) undermine the credibility of Christians and  the gospel they may try to promote. Some of the policies associated with these issues directly contravene central aspects of the gospel: exploitation of the vulnerable, trusting in violence and denial of the truth when the truth becomes costly.

When I’ve considered all of these things, I’ve come to a conclusion that in summary illustrates a choice between two paths – a choice that at heart is related to a warning Jesus gave; something about the impossibility of serving two masters.

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14 Responses to “You cannot serve God and mammon.”


  1. 1 Marleen
    January 13, 2016 at 7:18 pm

    “I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right temporarily defeated is stronger than evil triumphant.”

    Yes, I know we are not “all in” on unconditional love. But I do think and feel unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the “last” Word. Jesus is the way, the truth, light, and life.

  2. 2 Marleen
    January 14, 2016 at 10:48 pm

    “…how marvelous, how boundless…”

  3. 3 UnprofitableServant
    January 18, 2016 at 5:54 am

    “Climate change” is a fraud perpetrated by ever increasingly greedy governments the world over to further enrich THEIR lifestyles over the common people.

    THEY are truly serving mammon over God when their taxes aren’t enough to fill their greed and have to try to invent other ways to fleece us.

    There hasn’t been any rise in temperatures in 19 YEARS as proven by satellite data which greedy men like Al Gore ignore…

    It’s true that “You cannot serve God and mammon.”

    It’s also true that “NO lie is of the truth.”

  4. January 18, 2016 at 7:26 am

    2015 very likely the warmest year on record globally

    2015 has been an exceptionally warm year across many parts of the world, and particularly across the oceans. Many individual months were warmest on record for their respective month, both for oceanic and combined ocean–land temperatures. Global ocean surface temperatures, which also set a record last year, are very likely to break that record in 2015.

    No year since 1985 has observed a below average global mean temperature and all of the ten warmest years have occurred between 1998 and the present.

    http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/current/annual/aus/

    temperature chart

    Prior to 2105, 2014 was the hottest year on record globally.

    Refuse the evidence as much as you like unprofitable one. By doing so you just join so many more “Christians” in following the extreme rightwing (in the US, Republican) line.

    Governments raises far more tax revenue out of the continued reliance on fossil fuels (the major driving cause of Climate Change) than they could through restricting their use.

    It seems that like so many others you have fallen for the low taxation con that has helped to increase the wealth of the ultra rich at the expense of the poorest in society: lowered taxes for the rich paid for by cutting welfare aid intended to help the poor. Effectively a reverse welfare policy.

  5. January 18, 2016 at 9:17 am

    Regarding Climate Change see:
    https://www.skepticalscience.com/argument.php
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-08-21/talkaboutit-climate-change-sceptics-versus-the-scientists/6711084
    and
    http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/breakfast/california-declares-state-of-emergency/7094768

    California declares a state of emergency as enormous methane leak continues
    The biggest known methane gas leak on Earth has been flowing now for over two-and-a-half months in the US State of California.
    The Governor has declared a state of emergency over the leak, which has led to the evacuation of thousands of residents from a nearby suburb and the closure of local schools.
    Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas, and at the current rate of leakage, the effect is similar to having over a million more cars on the road every day that the leak continues.
    The difficulty of plugging the leak means that no solution is expected to be in place until March.
    So, given broad range of gas industry activities in Australia, could we see a methane leak on this scale here?

  6. 6 Marleen
    January 18, 2016 at 9:26 am

    There are plenty of responsible things we can do (which are often linked to reversing climate change but which are observably or reasonably good to do for other reasons), some of which we knew were good decades ago when I was very young before climate change was “a thing” or the reason.

  7. 7 Marleen
    January 18, 2016 at 9:37 am

    Another detail on this particular story in California is that the company isn’t motivated to empty the material to fix the leak in terms of the health of the local population (experiencing fumes and droplets of crud in their community). Priority is in selling off the product at profitable rates as long as it takes.

  8. January 18, 2016 at 9:45 am

    Even without this enormous leak (reportedly it’s second in scale to that massive BP leak in the gulf of Mexico) a significant number of “minor” leaks throughout natural gas infrastructure sees a dangerous amount of methane escaping into the atmosphere around the US on a daily basis.

    And yet natural gas has been promoted as a cleaner alternative energy source to oil. While the burning of oil (and coal) releases masses of carbon into the atmosphere, as it says in the article, the gas itself (unburned) causes much more damage to the atmosphere than carbon emissions from the burning of other fuels.

  9. January 18, 2016 at 11:07 am

    That article in your link was by Christopher Monckton, a non-scientist who has become a mouthpiece for Climate change denial. A man with an interesting background:

    Monckton has made various false claims in the past such as that he is a member of the British House of Lords.[2], a Nobel Prize winner, inventor of a cure for HIV, winner of a defamation case against George Monbiot and writer of a peer-reviewed article. He was deputy leader of the far right United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) before being sacked from the party in 2013.

    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Christopher_Monckton

    He has connections to the Heartland institute, a climate change denying organisation that has been financed at times by the Oil industry. Heartland has also been involved with the ultra-right Tea Party in the USA, and previously worked for tobacco company Philip Morris to deny links between smoking and cancer.

    So it’s notsurprising that the chart is “unique” in what it presents in comparison to other charts that show a century or more of figures, as per those in my comment.

    Sadly many are easily misled (are influenced) by lobby groups who represent the interests of the fossil fuel industries or far-right political interests.
    Another noticeable feature of the site you recommend (apart from the dubious reliability of its writer) is it’s abundance of anti-Obama articles.

    For more about Christopher Monckton see:
    https://bbickmore.wordpress.com/lord-moncktons-rap-sheet/

  10. 11 UnprofitableServant
    January 20, 2016 at 1:58 am

    Ones,

    The Word says “The WHOLE world lies under the sway of the wicked one”

    What makes climate “science” any different?

    What the Word says about “science”

    1 Timothy 6:20 O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called:

    Remember… the clowns that push climate “science” also believe in the LIE of evolution….

    “Of course it’s his job! 29 days in the life of a paid climate shill.”

  11. January 20, 2016 at 7:30 am

    Remember… the clowns that push climate “science” also believe in the LIE of evolution….

    Many who believe in evolution also believe in gravity, so should we be floating above the ground because they surely must be wrong about that too?

    And don’t ignore the fact that some “clowns that push climate ‘science'” also believe in the truth of creation.

    One of the problems of “proof” texts is that they can be found to “prove” the most idiotic ideas that man can create, especially if a bible translation using out-dated, 400 year old language is used, with words that now have different meanings. Using that text to denounce science is a clear example of misusing scripture in that way.

    A more up to date version of your “proof” text:

    1 Tim 6:20 O Timothy! Guard what was committed to your trust, avoiding the profane and idle babblings and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge

    Yes, “The WHOLE world lies under the sway of the wicked one”, so its probably wise NOT to trust the “profane and idle babblings and contradictions” about climate change promoted by those under the pay of fossil fuel companies. Especially when those same people denied links between tobacco and cancer (not surprisingly while being financed by tobacco companies).

    You have already revealed what kind of “authority” you are trusting with your recommendation of Christopher Monckton’s views.

  12. 13 Marleen
    January 22, 2016 at 7:34 am

    Update on the California leak: it “might” be plugged by the end of February.

    They are drilling down around the piping.
    If the plug doesn’t work, they expect a year of leaking.

  13. 14 Marleen
    February 7, 2016 at 2:41 am

    Now it looks like the company (in California) is being charged with a misdemeanor. Then, if they don’t correct the problem, they can be charged with a felony (or even more than one felony).


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