These sayings may have a Biblical sound to them. But they are not Biblical.
Setting aside the teachings of Jesus, the apostles, and the Hebrew prophets,
these revisions unfortunately fit well with current neo-con (new Republicans) or neo-lib (new Democrats) American values. They were written by Eric Mader in the early 2000’s during the Bush years. This is list 1; you may also want to see list 2..
The column on the right shows how some of the original sayings actually appear in the Bible. Please compare!
“The New American Bad Bible”
- Why take the beam out of your own eye, when the spin doctors can keep people talking about the speck in the other guy’s eye?
- If a man asks for your coat, tell him to find a job. If he asks you to go with him a mile, tell him you don’t pick up hitchhikers.
- When one white son dies it shall be worth seventy black or brown sons in payment. And so the righteous man gets his due.
- If a man strikes you on the right cheek, you must be a fool. You should have killed him and anyone around him before he got anywhere near you.
- The Kingdom of Heaven is like a corporation. Though you see its right hand, you know not what its left hand does.
- Do not resist an evil man. For probably he can make a large campaign contribution.
- If your right eye offends you, talk about another’s left eye. If your right hand is covetous, talk about social spending. And then when you are in power, freely spend much, much more, for your cronies deserve their due.
- Consider the lilies of the field, then plow them under and drill for oil.
- Do unto others as much as you like, as long as they are helpless and have no voice.
- There was a man who owned a small vineyard. And he hired men from his village to labor therein, and they did labor honestly for him. And the man became richer and richer, so that finally he owned all the vineyards around that village. And then did the man kick out all his original laborers, and hired foreigners to labor in his vineyards. For the foreigners worked for almost no wages. And the villagers, the first laborers, did cry unto him that they had no land to themselves, and no wages with which to live. And the man said: “Why did you not think of that before? For many must labor in the vineyard, so that one may enter the Kingdom.” He who has ears to hear, let him hear.
Rewards and Punishments; the Deserving and Undeserving
- Those who are first here will be first in the Kingdom of Heaven as well; for my Father has begun their reward early. Those who are last here will be last there as well, for my Father has found them unworthy. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.
- My Father’s house has many rooms in it, as is only right. I will get those rooms, and add more.
- Follow me. My yoke is light. The more you have, the bigger your tax break will be.
- The unworthy are like a forest on a mountainside. They grow there for thousands of years, then the righteous come, cut them to the ground and sell them for profit. then they will strip mine the sides of that mountain for metals, so that where the unworthy once grew there will be but rubble and erosion. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.
The Real Bible – What Jesus Actually Said.
But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. [Matthew 5:39-41]
Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. [Matthew 7:1-5]
So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. [Matthew 6:2-4]
- The revised sayings are available in Mader’s book, Heretic Days: Writings from the Margins of Christianity in the chapter “The GOP Gospel: If Jesus Were An American Republican”.)
- See another article about revising the Bible: “The New Small Bible – Simple, Easy to Wield, but not Very Biblical.”
- The attitudes in the left column above reveal some elements of how Machiavelli has replaced Jesus in modern American politics – and that is NOT a good thing. Here are a couple of articles that discuss that a bit more:
I have a question:
How in the world
can professing Christ-followers allow themselves
to protect, support and justify
those who live by such false perspectives?
And I Have Three Crucial Observations:
1. These sayings are not exaggerations.
They are pretty accurate.
Those who do not wish such things attributed to them
should neither live that way, nor promote those who do.
2. Let us not pretend to be surprised or offended
Not in the least. If we knew our Bibles we would know the Bible is full of complaints about exactly these kinds of thinking and behavior. And in Bible days these were often being practiced and promoted by the religious teachers and the political leaders whom they supported. We should FULLY expect it, and be watching for what the Bible indicates we will find around us.
3. We really have to choose.
Which line of thinking – and acting – will we honor and endeavor to follow? Jesus makes it pretty clear which line he is in.
We are being pressed by Jesus Himself to make the right and healthy choice –
regardless of how people around us are choosing.