The Good Samaritan and Fear of Scarcity
August 14, 2019 7:33 AM   Subscribe

Financial writer Frances Coppola responds to a reader’s suggestion that the Christian New Testament story of the Good Samaritan is about the wisdom of saving money. “Foolishness is at the heart of Jesus' teaching. The Samaritan is foolish, the priest and Levite are sensible - but it is the Samaritan's behaviour that Jesus commends. . . . Saving your life by leaving others to die is contrary to Jesus' teaching: so is saving your surplus while others starve.”

“At the heart of the selfishness that I criticise in my post The Golden Calf is fear - fear of scarcity, fear that no-one will help, fear that God will not provide, fear (above all) of death. That fear leads people to look after themselves at the expense of others, to hoard surplus goods and money instead of sharing it with others, to pass by on the other side instead of assisting an injured man. It is understandable, particularly when times are hard. But it is not what Jesus taught.”
posted by sallybrown (46 comments total) 32 users marked this as a favorite
 
I was always taught that the story is about the generosity and mercy shown by the Samaritan -- but I have never thought about the innkeeper also taking a risk. That was interesting, and I will be thinking about that angle for a while.

(Also, the unnamed commenter has a heart of flint. Shame on them!)
posted by wenestvedt at 8:01 AM on August 14, 2019 [7 favorites]


Obligatory Mitchell & Webb.
posted by kersplunk at 8:23 AM on August 14, 2019 [17 favorites]


Does Frances Coppola describe themselves as a socialist? I'd be a lot more charitable towards self avowed capitalists if they demonstrated Coppola's understanding that the value of the capitalist is to spend freely and those who seek primarily to increase their own wealth, power and comfort are parasites rather than aspirational.
posted by Reyturner at 8:30 AM on August 14, 2019 [1 favorite]




FWIW, two denarii was not a small amount of money. According to my New Oxford Annotated Bible it would have been sufficient to "provide approximately two months in an ancient inn."

Like many of the parables, the Parable of the Good Samaritan is open to a whole host of allegorical, religious, ethical, practical, economic, etc. interpretations. To me, the most straightforward reading seems the most apropos: The Samaritan helped the injured man when other people of means and opportunity did not (priests represented the highest level of religious leadership and Levites were a level below). In doing so, the Samaritan acted "as a neighbor" to the injured man even though there was animosity between Samaritans and Jews, and Jesus admonishes that we should "go and do likewise." This parable comes directly after Jesus' instruction to "love your neighbor as yourself," so the straightforward extension is that we should actually act with loving kindness towards our fellow beings. Shoehorning in the notion that the parable is actually telling us to accumulate wealth so we are in a financial position to act like a really good neighbor should we ever find ourselves in a position to act in that capacity not only misses the point but smells of "prosperity theology." The message of the parable wouldn't have been any different if the Samaritan had himself been impoverished, and had helped the injured man with nothing more than the sweat of his brow.
posted by slkinsey at 9:06 AM on August 14, 2019 [48 favorites]


These people who profess to trust in God's infinite bounty, but won't take risks to follow his perceived commandments...what they are saying is that they don't believe his promises. Bold stance for self-identified Christians.
posted by praemunire at 9:11 AM on August 14, 2019 [26 favorites]


Serious question: How are these folks spinning Matthew 19:24 to suit their narrative?

King James version: "And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God."
posted by terrapin at 9:12 AM on August 14, 2019 [7 favorites]


The Lesson of the Widow's Mite seems particularly appropriate here.
posted by timdiggerm at 9:15 AM on August 14, 2019 [6 favorites]


I didn't have much of a religious education, so I never knew what exactly a Samaritan was outside the context of the story. Did you guys know that 1. they follow a distinct religion related to Judaism and 2. they're still around today?
posted by showbiz_liz at 9:18 AM on August 14, 2019 [10 favorites]


In a welcome exception to the Universal Rule* there is an interesting discussion in the comments between Coppola and someone posting under "Motley Fool" who is apparently an Ayn Rand disciple.

* "Don't read the comments."
posted by slkinsey at 9:20 AM on August 14, 2019 [1 favorite]


The good Samaritan had so save enough to have something to give.
posted by Nancy Lebovitz at 9:21 AM on August 14, 2019


> Serious question: How are these folks spinning Matthew 19:24 to suit their narrative?

Oh, that one's easy for the prosperity gospel types.

posted by The Card Cheat at 9:21 AM on August 14, 2019 [11 favorites]


I was always taught that the point of the story is that even someone who doesn't believe in/follow Jesus but would help a stranger is closer to Jesus's heart than a believer who would turn his back.

(I can take a wild stab at how popular that interpretation is among conservative Christians in 2019.)
posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:26 AM on August 14, 2019 [46 favorites]


The good Samaritan had so save enough to have something to give.

Is the nature and amount of the mercy shown by the Samaritan really important to the story? Some of the people I know who display the most tangible loving care towards their fellow beings are by no means wealthy. If the Samaritan had done nothing more than give the injured man the shirt off his back and had assisted him to a safe place, would the message of the story have been any different?

I was always taught that the point of the story is that even someone who doesn't believe in/follow Jesus but would help a stranger is closer to Jesus's heart than a believer who would turn his back.

This is a somewhat peculiar interpretation. At the time the events of the story are said to have taken place, none of them would have been a Christian or "believed in Jesus."
posted by slkinsey at 9:27 AM on August 14, 2019 [4 favorites]


Maybe belief is mistating it, yeah. But the priest and Levite would have of Jesus's people, and the Samaritan would not have. An outsider who does the right thing is better in Jesus eyes than one of his own people who would turn his back.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:33 AM on August 14, 2019 [14 favorites]


The message of the parable wouldn't have been any different if the Samaritan had himself been impoverished, and had helped the injured man with nothing more than the sweat of his brow.

Jesus had a lot to say about hypocrisy; it's significant that one of the people to leave the traveler for dead is not just a rich man but a priest.

Jesus is also said to have remarked on a collection in which the wealthy extravagantly put in large amounts of coin but a poor widow contributed only a few coppers,
And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury: For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.

Many years of Catholic school has left me with a deep appreciation of how the concept can be abused, but it's a pity we don't talk about heresy -- such as the so-called "prosperity gospel" -- any more. It's a shame that an atheist is better familiar with Jesus' teachings -- and his unmistakable demand for actions, not just words -- than those that profess to follow Him.
posted by Gelatin at 9:43 AM on August 14, 2019 [23 favorites]


I was always taught that the point of the story is that even someone who doesn't believe in/follow Jesus but would help a stranger is closer to Jesus's heart than a believer who would turn his back.

This is what I also heard, yeah. A 21st-Century re-telling might go something like:

"A man on his way through a city got mugged and the thieves broke his leg. While he was lying on the sidewalk, he called out to a [Christian denomination A] pastor he saw asking for help, but the pastor scurried by, offering to call the police for him but that's it. he then saw a [Christian denomination B] pastor and asked him for help, but that pastor also didn't stop, saying he'd pray for the man. But then a Sudanese immigrant passed by on his way to the local mosque, and he stopped, helped the man up, took him to the local ER and offered to call his family for him. So - which one of those three passersby was most Christian? The two pastors, or the Sudanese immigrant?"
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:47 AM on August 14, 2019 [34 favorites]


> So - which one of those three passersby was most Christian? The two pastors, or the Sudanese immigrant?

None of them? The Sudanese would have been acting out of his Islamic faith.

I get what you mean, but maybe there's a better way to put it to avoid implying that an Islamic man was doing something out of an unrealized belief in Christianity.
posted by at by at 9:59 AM on August 14, 2019 [12 favorites]


My professor in college emphasized that Samaritans were looked down upon, that that was part of the point of the parable.
posted by kerf at 10:02 AM on August 14, 2019 [9 favorites]


I get what you mean, but maybe there's a better way to put it to avoid implying that an Islamic man was doing something out of an unrealized belief in Christianity.
posted by at by

My professor in college emphasized that Samaritans were looked down upon, that that was part of the point of the parable.
posted by kerf


It was the "looked-down-on" bit that I was thinking of by casting the parable as I did; I didn't think how that would alternatively read, and I apologize.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:06 AM on August 14, 2019 [10 favorites]


A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance, a Commenter was going down that road, and the Commenter was possessed of much wealth, and had often proclaimed to those in hearing that he had saved his wealth in order to help those in need, when the time came.

The Commenter saw the beaten man, and said to himself, "How unfortunate! But I cannot help this man, for later I may meet a Veteran, who is more worthy of help than this man; and so I must keep my wealth in order to help the Veteran."

The Commenter continued down the road, and came upon a Veteran, who also had fallen among robbers, who had stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. The Commenter saw the Veteran and said to himself, "How unfortunate! But I cannot help this Veteran, for later I may meet an Orphan, who is more worthy of help than this Veteran; and so I must keep my wealth in order to help the Orphan."

The Commenter continued down the road, and came upon an Orphan. The Orphan had not fallen among robbers, for the robbers had passed the Orphan by and had seen that the Orphan had nothing of value and that her clothes were only rags. The Commenter saw the Orphan and had said to himself, "How unfortunate! But I cannot help this Orphan, for later I may meet a Family, and it is better to help many than to help one, and so I must keep my wealth in order to help the Family."

The Commenter continued down the road, and came upon a Family. The Family had fallen among robbers, who stripped the parents and beat them and departed, leaving the parents half dead, and the children's faces wet with tears. The Commenter saw the Family and said to himself, "Bah! What fools these parents were, to take their children along such a dangerous road. I shall not help this Family, for their circumstance is a result of their own foolishness; I shall keep my wealth to help those whose misfortune is not of their own making."

Thus did the Commenter arrive in Jericho with his wealth intact, ready to assist anyone in need that he might meet.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 10:19 AM on August 14, 2019 [114 favorites]


Think of any group of people you feel are beneath you. Replace the Samaritan with a member of that group. That is the point of the parable. Jesus chose a Samaritan for his Jewish audience for a reason. That choice would have been the one thing most remembered by anyone who heard him that day.
posted by cross_impact at 10:29 AM on August 14, 2019 [11 favorites]


Serious question: How are these folks spinning Matthew 19:24 to suit their narrative?

King James version: "And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God."


Usually they point that verse, together with the two verses after that, where Jesus says:

"24 And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.
25 When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved?
26 But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible"

Jesus is condemning wealth here, but I don't think he's literally saying no single rich people will be saved. I'm also a rich Christian who doesn't always help the poor as much as I could, so I may be biased here.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 10:33 AM on August 14, 2019


This article is terrific though. I didn't even know this particular strain of bullshittery ("The Good Samaritan is a parable about saving!") but I should have supposed. Nice to see it dismantled so efficiently.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:34 AM on August 14, 2019 [2 favorites]


"Mrs. Thatcher's take on the parable"

Well, that settles it for me!
posted by Naberius at 10:40 AM on August 14, 2019 [3 favorites]


Fine, but I'm sure we can all agree the Prodigal Son is really about the importance of entrepreneurial disrupters.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:46 AM on August 14, 2019 [9 favorites]


Or you know - sell everything you have and preach the gospel. Fuck property ownership. Ride or die with Jesus.
posted by symbioid at 10:49 AM on August 14, 2019 [3 favorites]


showbiz_liz, here's two fairly recent articles about Samaritans, one from Haaretz and one from the BBC. And one from National Geographic. Three articles.
posted by glasseyes at 10:56 AM on August 14, 2019 [1 favorite]


Coppola, like many people, starts the story in the wrong place. This is the story the Gospel of Luke tells:
25 Just then a lawyer stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he said, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 He said to him, “What is written in the law? What do you read there?” 27 He answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” 28 And he said to him, “You have given the right answer; do this, and you will live.”

29 But wanting to justify himself, he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” 30 Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell into the hands of robbers, who stripped him, beat him, and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32 So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan while traveling came near him; and when he saw him, he was moved with pity. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, having poured oil and wine on them. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said, ‘Take care of him; and when I come back, I will repay you whatever more you spend.’ 36 Which of these three, do you think, was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?” 37 He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”
This is a story within a story. It's a story about someone trying to weasel out of what the gospel writer sees as the heart of the Jewish scriptures: love God and love your neighbor. The entire "Good Samaritan" part is an extended rebuke from Jesus to someone like the commenter who is trying to rules lawyer an excuse for not helping people.

The listener in the story is not supposed to identify with the Samaritan. You're supposed to identify with the guy who got robbed. If you're lying beaten in the street, are you gonna feel like your pastor is your neighbor if he walks by and ignores you? Or that rich lawyer you respect, who walks by and doesn't help, is he your neighbor? What about someone from the outgroup you hate? What if that person stops and helps you -- like really, sacrificially helps you? Jesus asks, who's your neighbor now?

Well, Jesus says, then be the kind of neighbor you would want to have.
posted by straight at 11:05 AM on August 14, 2019 [34 favorites]


the Samaritan acted "as a neighbor" to the injured man even though there was animosity between Samaritans and Jews, and Jesus admonishes that we should "go and do likewise."

I was raised with an emphasis on the ethnic conflict - and maybe I was even told that Samaritans were a despised minority who were seen as less moral (which may or may not be true - this is just how I remember the story being spun). It was also stressed that it's no coincidence that Jesus made the other two characters a priest (aka a Kohen) and a Levite, two hereditary castes who perceived to be more holy than the average Jew (and they are still granted special honours in some synagogues). So the moral of the story as it was taught to me that holiness/morality depends not on who you are, but what you do.

The fact that the Samaritan had some money was neither here nor there - the implication is that if he were a shepherd with little, he would have given his coat to the injured man and carried him out - because that is the right thing to do.

I may not be a Christian any more, but I still love this story - along with the bit from Mark linked above (I think of it as the "two-penny story"): “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the offering box than all the others. For they all gave out of their wealth. But she, out of her poverty, put in what she had to live on, everything she had.” This is my basic principal when it comes to any kind of fund-raising: small gifts from poor people should be honoured as greatly or even more than larger gifts from richer people. Unfortunately, in this, I am at odds with most of the fund-raising world.
posted by jb at 11:36 AM on August 14, 2019 [9 favorites]


I also came away from the parable with the lesson that your neighbours don't just include people of your ethnicity, but all people - which was a good lesson to learn in a multicultural city and country.
posted by jb at 11:37 AM on August 14, 2019 [3 favorites]


I really loved the message of this piece, that faith means giving of yourself—your money, time, effort, love, even safety—without guarding your resources, and trusting that God (or the universe, or some other meaningful thing) will provide. I’m sure we can all come up with examples for why that’s foolish or never works out. But it does still feel so radical.
posted by sallybrown at 11:47 AM on August 14, 2019 [5 favorites]


An interesting bit of geographical context that I was told, is that road would have been a mountain pass and tiny, so "passing by on the other side" would have meant that they barely avoided stepping over the unconscious man. There would have been no plausible deniability there.
posted by TwoWordReview at 12:09 PM on August 14, 2019 [6 favorites]


The "trusting God to provide" piece doesn't resonate with me. It feels like a way to avoid the reality, which is that when you put yourself at risk by sharing your little all, you may suffer and feel the deprivation. That doesn't mean you shouldn't do it, or that God has let you down. The reward for a good action is having done it.
posted by prefpara at 12:18 PM on August 14, 2019 [2 favorites]


I grew up Baptist. Not specifically prosperity gospel, but we had multiple pastors who got run out of the church for embezzling, so close enough.

Anyway, even there I never got the nonsense about needing to make money in order to help others being the point of the Good Samaritan parable. But I did hear a weird spin on the "eye of a needle" quote, which involved a specific gate in Jerusalem's walls that was colloquially known as "the eye of the needle" because it was really hard -- but not actually impossible -- to fit a camel through it. Needless to say, this interpretation is completely unsupported by any archaeological evidence or legitimate biblical scholarship, but it's a commonly repeated interpretation nonetheless.
posted by tobascodagama at 12:47 PM on August 14, 2019 [3 favorites]


It feels like a way to avoid the reality, which is that when you put yourself at risk by sharing your little all, you may suffer and feel the deprivation.

Well...no kidding? But if you profess to follow an all-powerful, all-loving God who has promised you your reward in heaven, what are you doing shying away from risk, or the possibility of suffering?

(There's also the broader point that communal care structures are almost always safer for people than relying on one's individual resources; individual hoarding actually decreases your overall chances of survival. Every libertarian you meet who thinks he's "doing it all on his own" has been battening on social benefits since day one.)
posted by praemunire at 1:02 PM on August 14, 2019 [7 favorites]


The "trusting God to provide" piece doesn't resonate with me. It feels like a way to avoid the reality, which is that when you put yourself at risk by sharing your little all, you may suffer and feel the deprivation. That doesn't mean you shouldn't do it, or that God has let you down. The reward for a good action is having done it.

I don’t think these are necessarily in conflict. What God might provide is not necessarily material good, but some other sustenance.
posted by sallybrown at 1:18 PM on August 14, 2019 [3 favorites]


I was raised by lapsed Catholics and the closest I ever got to Sunday school was at a Unitarian Universalist church. I'm finding this thread very interesting and educational. I love the quality of discussion going on.

Thanks everyone! hugs metafilter
posted by dubitable at 5:44 PM on August 14, 2019 [3 favorites]


My only complaint about the thread is the occasional implication, perhaps inadvertently, that Jesus and/or his disciples were Christians. That, of course, was not yet possible.
posted by sjswitzer at 6:18 PM on August 14, 2019 [1 favorite]


I love the admonition to the rich guy part because he is stated to be someone who has followed the commandments faithfully and tried his whole life to live by God's law - including the required tithing, and who recognises that Jesus is a great teacher, possibly the Messiah and is given an opportunity to be an apostle. All he has to do is give up his wealth. And he can't do it. He cannot give up his earthly wealth in return for being one of the apostles, so he leaves, despairing, knowing he has chosen luxury over eternal life. It's a small and very sad passage - I always hope he changed his mind because he was young.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 6:26 PM on August 14, 2019 [8 favorites]


My only complaint about the thread is the occasional implication, perhaps inadvertently, that Jesus and/or his disciples were Christians. That, of course, was not yet possible.

That's true. After all, what the lawyer recites in the bit quoted by straight above ("You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind") is better known as the V'ahavta, part of one of the most significant Jewish prayers.
posted by jb at 6:50 PM on August 14, 2019 [3 favorites]


I love the admonition to the rich guy part because he is stated to be someone who has followed the commandments faithfully and tried his whole life to live by God's law - including the required tithing, and who recognises that Jesus is a great teacher, possibly the Messiah and is given an opportunity to be an apostle. All he has to do is give up his wealth.

And that's a different guy from a different story, one told in Matthew, Mark, and Luke. That guy is portrayed as a rich man sincerely seeking guidance. In Mark's version, he kneels to ask Jesus what to do and the gospel writer says:
Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said, “You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” 22 When he heard this, he was shocked and went away grieving, for he had many possessions.
The other guy who gets the Samaritan story is portrayed as a troll "just asking questions" trying to debate Jesus rather than seeking information or advice and Jesus gives him a pointed story rather than an invitation.
posted by straight at 9:28 PM on August 14, 2019 [5 favorites]


even someone who doesn't believe in/follow Jesus but would help a stranger is closer to Jesus's heart than a believer who would turn his back.

That's a running theme in the Gospels. In Matthew 25, it's the main message of the story of how Jesus welcomes the righteous to heaven.

"Come on in! I've been building this place just for you since forever! I love y'all! I was hungry and you gave me food; I was thirsty and you gave me drink; I was a stranger and you took me in; I was naked and you clothed me; I was sick and you visited me; I was in prison and you came to me.’

Long pause. Eventually one of the righteous steps up, scratches her head and says "this is great, it's perfect, we love it, but WHO THE HELL ARE YOU?"

Jesus says "whatever you did for the least of my sibs you did for me."

The parable ends there. Like so many of Jesus' parables it ends one beat too soon. The reaction shot is left to our imagination. I wonder how the righteous process the information that (1) perhaps contrary to their experience in life, the moral arc of the universe really does bend toward justice (2) at least one god exists and (3) god is kind of a stalker.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 10:26 PM on August 14, 2019 [9 favorites]


I’ve been thinking about this parable a lot recently in light of my country’s treatment of immigrants. I read something online recently, maybe a twitter thread, that asks the question, which one of the characters in the parable is Jesus?

And there are a handful of interpretations that each kind of reveal different things, but the one that sticks with me is the one where the Samaritan is Jesus and we (christians) are the innkeeper and Jesus has entrusted people in need to our care and safekeeping. And suppose the innkeeper had taken the Samaritan’s money and then turned the victim out, and then the Samaritan returned. The Samaritan would be hella mad that we took his money and then failed to care for his charge.

Really the older I get, the more I see the words of Jesus damning the church, and I say this as a practicing christian and weekly churchgoer.
posted by gauche at 5:40 AM on August 15, 2019 [12 favorites]


And consider this from the early church in Acts:
Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need.
...
Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common. ... Nor was there anyone among them who lacked; for all who were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold, and laid them at the apostles’ feet; and they distributed to each as anyone had need.
...
But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession. And he kept back part of the proceeds, his wife also being aware of it, and brought a certain part and laid it at the apostles’ feet. But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself? While it remained, was it not your own? And after it was sold, was it not in your own control? Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.”

Then Ananias, hearing these words, fell down and breathed his last. So great fear came upon all those who heard these things. And the young men arose and wrapped him up, carried him out, and buried him.

Now it was about three hours later when his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. And Peter answered her, “Tell me whether you sold the land for so much?”

She said, “Yes, for so much.”

Then Peter said to her, “How is it that you have agreed together to test the Spirit of the Lord? Look, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out.” Then immediately she fell down at his feet and breathed her last. And the young men came in and found her dead, and carrying her out, buried her by her husband. So great fear came upon all the church and upon all who heard these things.
The early church was straight-up communist, and those who tried to hold on to private wealth were struck dead by God. That we should be so lucky today.
posted by jedicus at 8:20 AM on August 15, 2019 [11 favorites]


I'm a fairly lapsed catholic these days, going through the motions mostly to not make mum sad. But this story always reminds me that while part of my gradual alienation may be substantial doubt in the metaphysical aspects of it all/justified criticism of the institution and its (historical and on-going) part in many crimes against humanity, etc., part of it is just plain convenience. Being a true Christian would be hard, and I don't want to set myself up for failure.

Of course that doesn't entirely protect me from good old Catholic Guilt, which in my case is about 1% sexual hang-ups and 99% failure to love my neighbour as myself. But at least I aim to be honest with myself and don't try to make the story suit my own small-mindedness. No matter what happens to my belief in an immortal soul, I will always be Christian enough to be appalled by this prosperity gospel travesty.

I get why to people without any sentimental attachment to any particular brand of Christianity it all looks bad enough, and these distinctions might seem academical, and I don't generally demand any particular respect for my preferred brand. But just in case anyone cares how I feel (not that anyone has to), prosperity gospel is where I draw the line. I won't bat an eyelash at a Piss Christ or whatever, but this shit's offensive to me.
posted by sohalt at 5:18 AM on August 16, 2019 [2 favorites]


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