Megan McArdle, while "not religious," knows damn well (as any television evangelist will tell you) that Jesus is not a wimp:
I'm not religious, but this strikes me as pretty pallid. Surely Gopnik doesn't really think that washed-out theology of New York's Upper West Side, in which Jesus came to tell us to turn the other cheek and be nice to the poor, and his rather unnecessary self-martyrdom was undergone largely to really drive home his point about progressive non-violence, is the sum total of Christian theology.The contradictory bullshit in the "revealed word of Gawd," or "divinely inspired" or "mistranslated through several languages & finally decided on by committees" holy book of the Xtians is just one of the reasons I say it's bullshit, & I say the hell w/ it. The smorgasbord of approaches does make it very appealing to the kind of person whose solution to pacifists is getting out the 2x4s. And by the way, Jebus was bringing his sword (or 2x4) to eliminate the non-peaceful, and the ones who cause the poor to be poor. Unlike the glibertarians, Jeezis (assuming there really was a Jewish wise-ass stirring up a ruckus 20 some centuries ago) didn't want to further beat up on poor people.
Jesus is a little more complicated than that. Says He, in Matthew 10:
Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household.
Indeed, Jesus is actually referred to as "the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David" in Revelations, most of which he spends being distinctly un-lamblike.
Of course a religion always takes the side of the poor when it's starting. Mormon missionaries? (Using them only as a highly visible example, but please do take it personally & throw a fit, Joseph Smith worshipper.) They're not wandering through the wealthy parts of town. They're looking for vulnerable, down on their luck suckers. And once religion gets its tentacles into society & becomes part of the status quo, the message changes to the use of 2x4s against the enemies of the state. (Even among the anti-statists.)
Not to mention the Book of Revelations. Well, Megan did. To put it mildly, that's dubious theology there. And the "washed out theology of the Upper West Side." Oh, it's so "pallid." Just not enough manly hate & violence. We'll assume that's the Upper West Side of Manhattan Island where Ms. McArdle was proudly born & raised. Maybe she likes Matthew 10 because of the intrafamily conflict. Hmmm...
The lion-as-lamb simultaneously acts to end the violent power that is lion-ness, and the passivity that is lamb-ness. It is an endlessly rich act, which Gopnik would have us replace with the martyrdom of the cow at the slaughterhouse gate.By ending both violent power & passivity, what exactly do we have? A happy medium of situational ethics & moral relativism? A religion in which poor people are supposed to shut up & take whatever the sword-wielding lions of wealth & power hand out to them? And the "endlessly rich act?" Is that like a bottomless bowl of ice cream? Seriously, what is "an endlessly rich act?" Let alone the "martyrdom of the cow at the slaughterhouse gate?" Don't they usually slaughter the cows inside? Must be a bloody mess out front at the gate there. (And may I remind you that Jesus, or god, or the holy ghost or whoever the fuck got nailed up was sitting at the right hand of god the father [patriarchal horse shit] enjoying eternal life & not being productive w/in three days of his alleged "sacrifice.")
If only religion & god were real, instead of self-deluding idiots going around & around in pseudo-literate allegorical circles. Just stop it, already. It's stupider than economics!
Elements of Style©:
Typo, inconsistent spelling (Gopnik & Gopnick, in the same item, yet):
Via Kevin Drum, I cam [...] to this John Derbyshire piece, which led me to this piece by Adam Gopnick on C.S. Lewis:We might also note that the Derbyshire piece was linked to by Political Animal Drum as a spectacularly "wingnutty" item, though apparently not a blog post, & therefore not qualified as one of the wingnuttiest blog items ever. It was the section about Jennifer Aniston being 18 yrs. past what Derbyshire considers a woman's prime that was considered especially wacky.
And, if we're not religious, why does the "h" get capitalized in "Says He, in Matthew 10:?" Let alone the construction "says he." Do us all a favor, MM, get a job moving mattresses or doing title searches or something equivalent.