Home > General Politics, Race and Colour, Religion > #occupylsx needs to read the bible

#occupylsx needs to read the bible

I just hope this photograph does not become widely identified with the #occupylsx movement, or in a very short space of time the protestors will become very unpopular amongst a signficant section of the population.

So, also, may Kevin Maguire in the Mirror, who opines on twitter:

Jesus drove moneylenders from the temple but Bishop of London wants anti-capitalists away from St Paul’s. Christianity turns full circle?

Clearly both Kevin and the pictured protestor missed a lot of Sunday school, because Jesus did not drive moneylenders from the temple.

What Jesus did in the temple is recorded in all four gospels:

Jesus entered the temple area and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves (Matthew 21:12);

On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple area and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves (Mark 11:15);

So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple area, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables (John 2:15);

Then he entered the temple area and began driving out those who were selling [translated in other versions as ‘merchants’] (Luke 19:45).

 This isn’t a Bible Studies blog, but the difference between money changers and money lenders is an important one,  rooted in the obligation of the time for temple goers to pay their devotions in temple money. 

Jesus is expressing anger, not at the concept of lending money,  but at people using their position of power in the temple hierarchy to exchange money at exorbitant rates, especially with those coming from afar. 

This is not Jesus acting against the whole concept of credit and debt, but against racism in the temple.

As such, there may be a fairly oblique reference to Deuteronomy (23: 19-20), which appears to authorise different repayment schedules, depending on race.

Do not charge your brother interest, whether on money or food or anything else that may earn interest.  You may charge a foreigner interest, but not a brother Israelite, so that the LORD your God may bless you in everything you put your hand to in the land you are entering to possess.

 The protest movement, I suggest, should steer clear of a campaign against the fundamentals of credit and debt as a way of making the world work.  As David Graeber has shown, such concepts may well be hardwired into human existence, and what we really should be campaigning for is some form of democratic control of banking institutions and the power to create money, rather than an end to the whole idea of banking itself.  Debt can be a social good, and the new protest movement should be wary of throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

Over the centuries, religion has torn society apart over the concept of what is and what is not usury, and who should be allowed/forced to engage in it.  There is a strong argument that attempts by organised religion to resolve this dilemma – between the desire for religious righteousness and the need for some kind of lending system – have been the key longterm cause of the oppression of Jewish people.

And that’s really not somewhere I want to see #occuplylsx go for the sake of a snappy poster.

  1. October 31, 2011 at 11:03 pm

    And this is before one gets to Pauline theology, which is about as reactionary as one can get – so hardly Christianity turning full circle in any case. But yes, well spotted that man – I’m quite impressed actually as when I read the title I thought you had made the same mistake as Kelvin McGuire.

  2. November 1, 2011 at 2:19 pm

    One could be dreadfully Zizekian at these times – but Pauline universalism (all the Greeks and all the Jews) and Pauline Truth as opposed to radical and racial particularism and subjective truths rather than truth in Jesus Christ subverts the postmodern mush, inherent to liberals and resistance groups which harbour the same line as many of the activists on the steps of St Paul who refused point blank to set a full programme of demands.

    Of course that’s not entirely true of the activists, and Zizek imagines St Paul to be a radical Leninist anyway; so the lesson is stay warm, kids!

  3. November 2, 2011 at 11:22 pm

    I think this sums it up rather well:

    “But the Jesus myth is no basis today on which to build a world view about the nature of reality or how we should live together as sentient beings.

    We can best understand the nature of reality by using the scientific method and we can best live together with other sentient beings by empathising with them and seeking to maximise their wellbeing and minimise their suffering.

    We can do all of this without believing in Jesus or any other god, as these beliefs distract us from the already complex task of examining truth and morality. “


  4. October 21, 2012 at 10:03 pm

    rubbish- how can anybody know what Jesus meant by his actions? the Bible is written by men, after Jesus’ death and its many translations and omitions to reflect the beliefs of the establishment of the day makes the scriptures nothing but stories. I believe if this event took place, it was Jesus’ anger at usury.

  1. October 31, 2011 at 10:33 pm
  2. December 17, 2011 at 1:55 pm
  3. April 24, 2012 at 3:45 pm

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