Springingtiger's Blog

Sheep and Goats

Today, as I will everyday this year, I read my Bible. The Old Testament still does not endear itself to me. I wonder whether there can ever be peace in the Middle East when one of the main religions in the area has such an inauspicious foundation. I am only in Exodus, but so far it’s all been propagating dishonesty, adultery, slavery and violence, the first instituted holy day is a celebration of the slaughter of Egyptian children. One can only hope things improve in later books!

Today’s New Testament reading on the other hand was magnificent and so relevant to our country today. I do like Matthew Chapter Twenty Five largely for its condemnation of modern Christian values. “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Away from me, you that are under God’s curse! Away to the eternal fire which has been prepared for the Devil and his angels! I was hungry but you would not feed me, thirsty but you would not give me a drink; I was a stranger but you would not welcome me in your homes, naked but you would not clothe me; I was sick and in prison but you would not take care of me.’”…. “’I tell you, whenever you refused to help one of these least important ones, you refused to help me.’” (Mt. 25: 41 – 43, 45. Good News Bible)

When I read this in the context of a Britain that wants to turn away refugees and migrants rather than welcome them, I wonder how many of Britain’s self professed Christians like the Prime Minister actually have any regard for the teachings of the man they consider to be God. It’s all very well going to church to pray and sing hymns, but what about the instructions their holy book gives them? How can anyone claim to follow Jesus when they force people to starve or rely on food-banks? We are not talking here only about the unemployed, but about those with jobs. Whatever happened to ‘The worker is worth his keep.’? If a worker’s wages cannot feed his family, surely that is an affront to the teaching of Jesus and of St. Paul who repeated the saying in his letter to Timothy.

The repetition of the teaching by Paul suggests it is a fundamental Christian value, but sadly one ignored by the Government of the United Kingdom. It may be argued that the fault lies with greedy and dishonest employers more intent on profit than justice. However the government has a duty to ensure that people are justly treated. I hardly need to relate the government’s failure to properly support the National Health Service to Jesus’ condemnation of those who fail to care for the sick, nor shall I comment on the privatisation of prison services so they are run for profit and not for society. Who is condemned by Jesus in Matthew 25? All of us, our responsibilities are collective and if we allow people to be abused, to go hungry and homeless then we are as much to blame as anyone as long as we allow it. I am quite glad I don’t believe in heaven and hell, but those who do have real cause for concern.

Even the day’s selection from the Book of Proverbs condemns our society; ‘To honour the Lord is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance evil ways and false words.’ (Proverbs 8:13). Perhaps our legislators should take the proverb to heart, particularly on Wednesday at Prime Minister’s Questions.


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