I hope you had an enjoyable New Years celebration. I did.
I am not much of a believer in New Years resolutions. If there is something that you really feel that you should do, then DO IT NOW! If you feel that you can put it off for a week, then you certainly can put it off for two weeks, or three or four or…. well, you get the idea.
Today is New Year’s Day so, lets just try one resolution, and let’s do it now!. Love thy neighbor. This should be simple.
That is biblical, of course. It sounds good and it should be easy The Christians credit Jesus with saying it and, indeed, in various forms it does appear many times in the New Testament. It first actually appears in Deuteronomy 6:5 (the Jewish Bible).
The translation in Deuteronomy is those simple three words. Pretty unambiguous, aren’t they? To me, it means:
Love thy Homeless Neighbor.
Love thy Black Neighbor.
Love thy Gay Neighbor
Love thy Muslim Neighbor.
Love thy Transgendered Neighbor.
Love thy White Neighbor.
Love thy Atheist Neighbor.
Love thy Christian Neighbor.
Love thy Jewish Neighbor.
Love thy Addicted Neighbor.
But that is just me. I am not a biblical scholar and may not have it exactly right.
When I read further in Deuteronomy, I begin to get the impression that god was just joking. He really didn’t mean to love a non-believer. In Deuteronomy 12:6-10 he makes clear that non-believers are to be put to death. In Corinthians 6:14-17 it is made clear that non-believers are to be shunned. Don’t have anything to do with them. So, which it it? Shun them or kill them? Inquiring minds want to know!
In Leviticus 24:44-46, god tells the Israelites to make slaves out of their neighbors and of their families. That is a funny way to show my love — especially after I have already killed and shunned them.
Good grief am I confused! I am sure it is all explainable – the unfortunate thing is that the explanation will hinge on who is doing the explaining. If it is a loving person, respectful of his fellow human, for example, moi, it means one thing, and if it is interpreted by a biblical scholar such as Pat Robertson or Franklin Graham, it might mean something entirely different.
Well, the good thing about being a Christian fundamentalist is that you don’t have to think. To a white Christian fundamentalist “Love thy Neighbor” means “Love thy Neighbor if they are white Christian fundamentalists.” What a pity!