Matthew Modine is turning to Jesus. His new short film "Jesus Was a Communist" offers "a discussion of the New Testament's messages in the context of poverty, pollution and political unrest." The film will "also address the Occupy Wall Street movement happening throughout the world and how it relates to the Bible."
How timely. It's the new meme.
Socialism = Christianity. C'mon Christians, obey your Lord Jesus like good little boys and girls.
Or so say the atheist and agnostic secularizers.
Jeremy is a college student friend of mine. Today his Ethics professor told the class that Jesus was really about socialism and Marxism because under those arrangements everyone selflessly spreads the materials around to help the poor. (This same professor also suggested giving thanks to the Earth, land, and water, rather than any Creator – yes, giving thanks to your food, rather than for your food ...)
- Bart Ehrman, a non-churchgoing, agnostic professor of religious studies who has elsewhere charged that some of the New Testament writers were liars, commented, "Jesus believed the whole system was corrupt. The people who ran things were empowered by the evil forces of the world and his followers had to work against these powers by feeding the hungry, housing the homeless, and caring for the sick."
- And the emminent theologian and maker of "Religulous," apatheist Bill Maher, opined on the domestic policies of Jesus. Guess what? They're just like socialism! (Who knew?)
And what theological perversion revision wouldn't be complete without artwork?
This would be comical were it not so life and death serious. Matthew Modine, the occupiers, and their sympathiers may be turning to Jesus, but it's a different Jesus from the one who said "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me."
There are two ways of interpreting the teachings of the historical Jesus. One is authentic. The other is an inversion, which makes it a perversion.
Christianity: What's mine is yours.
Socialism: What's yours is mine.
Christianity: I am my brother's keeper.
Socialism: My brother is my keeper.
These are antithetical, mutually exclusive approaches to life, both personal and societal. One is the way of grace and liberty. The other is the way of tyranny and oppression. One is the way of Jesus. The other is the way of hell.
The best thing about the "Jesus Was a Communist" film is it acknowledges that the Occupy Wall Street movements are just the sort of Marxist uprisings of which Communist advances are made. The worst thing is that too many people may nonetheless fall for it.
Which one prevails will literally be a matter of life and death.