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Monday, April 17, 2006

The Liberal Bill O'Reilly

Though he is conservative politically, O'Reilly fits right in with much of the liberal religious landscape. His article, Judas Factor reveals some interesting views:
Well, I believe my third grade teacher at St. Brigid's School, Sister Mary Lurana, would not be having any of this. The good sister understood that the Gospels were teaching tools, not history, and that the story of Judas was consistent with one of Jesus' central messages: "Don't sell out what you believe in for money."
So the gospels can not be both history and a teaching tool? Consider Luke's introduction. It does not sound like he desired to give Theophilus constructed fables that could teach.

But O'Reilly continues:
Anyway, Judas has been dead for more than 2,000 years so it really doesn't matter much to him how he's perceived on earth, especially if he's in heaven, right? But the lesson of betrayal is very relevant to us all.
This may actually be the greatest controversy revealed yet. Apparently, Judas passed away some time either before Jesus, or when Christ was a very small child. If this information is true, then maybe Judas is getting a bad rap.

After discussing the real moral of the "Judas story" is to not sell out on people for the sake of money (an issue O'Reilly has faced with money seeking lawsuits against him), O'Reilly returns to his original point:
Again, the scriptures are not history; they were written to instruct people as to how Jesus lived and what his message was. Whether Judas was a traitor or not is really not important. What is imperative to those who want to follow in the footsteps of Christ is to understand that hurting another person for money is not acceptable.
A couple observations:

1). How can you write how Jesus lived and it not be history? If you are sharing about his teachings, interactions and events, how do you do that without sharing history?

2.) What real value does a moral have if it is not based in reality. Sure, fairy tales and fables can teach us some things, but aren't the most powerful lessons from history? From O'Reilly's article, I'm not sure if he believes Judas even existed, but somehow he still thinks it teaches a valuable lesson.

While the theological conservative often find themselves on the same side of issues as the political conservative, it is important to remember the issues that really matter. We do a terrible disservice to the church when we pretend that because O'Reilly hates abortion that he must believe in Christ. We must remember that salvation, not politics ultimately matter. While I am thankful many of O'Reilly's political views, I was reminded to pray that he meets the historical Jesus.


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