Viktor Orbán rewrites the Bible and falsifies the words of Jesus

Before I come to the main topic of the day, I want to call attention to an opportunity offered by the Magyar Nemzeti Filmarchivum (Hungarian National Film Archives). Between December 22 and January 12 sixty famous Hungarian films can be viewed free of charge. An added bonus is that they are subtitled in English.

Over the holidays I watched a comedy from 1965 called “A tizedes és a többiek” (The corporal and the others), which is about a bunch of deserters in the last days of the war. Their encounters with the Germans, Russians, and Arrow Cross loyalists are hilarious. I can highly recommend it. You can find the list of the available movies here.

Now onto something less amusing.

On December 23 Viktor Orbán addressed his people on the subject of “the great holy day of our Lord Jesus Christ,” which turned out to be the usual mixture of misinterpretation and outright falsification. In part, Orbán’s message bears a certain resemblance to Donald Trump’s recurring theme of Christians being deprived of their holy days by evil forces, primarily on the left. In Orbán’s case the culprit is the Muslim hordes, who are invading Europe while politicians west of Hungary either claim that the problem doesn’t exist or believe that multiculturalism means progress. But Hungary under Orbán’s guidance is different. Hungary will defend its right to protect the Christian way of life.

Unlike Trump, Orbán engaged in a reinterpretation of the Holy Scriptures, on the basis of which he tried to justify his own anti-migrant policies. The result was a most cynical game played with the holiest book of Christianity, which he considers to be the guiding light of the Hungarian nation and the salvation of mankind. His twisted interpretation of the words of Jesus, whom he allegedly holds in such great esteem, is outright disgusting. Let me translate the crucial passage: “According to the Gospel of Mark, Jesus’s second commandment is ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ Recently one has frequently heard this commandment of Christ in Europe. They reproach us for not wanting, nay, not allowing, millions from other continents to settle in Europe despite our Christian faith. But they forget about the second half of that commandment, although the commandment has two parts: we must love both our neighbors and ourselves.”

At this point I will rely on the expertise of György Gábor, a philosopher of religion, who responded to this interpretation in the strongest possible terms. According to Gábor, Orbán commits “blasphemy when he cynically rewrites the holy book of Christianity” in his own corrupt image and for his cheap political purposes. In fact, Jesus here [Mark 12:31] is commenting on Leviticus 19:18: “You shall not take vengeance or bear any grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Jesus doesn’t command anyone to love himself; he simply states the degree of love that one ought to extend to one’s neighbor.

The first page of the Gospel of Mark / Károli Biblia, 1590

This passage in Mark is also repeated in Luke 10:27 when the lawyer repeats God’s command about the love of God and one’s neighbor. It is here that Jesus tells the story of the Good Samaritan. But one can return to Leviticus 19:33, which reads: “When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. The stranger who sojourns with you shall be with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.”

As Gábor sarcastically remarks, these passages seem to be missing from the bibles of Viktor Orbán and Zoltán Balog. He is appalled that no minister or priest has raised his voice against this gross reinterpretation–actually a rewriting–of the Bible. This is especially regrettable because Christian teaching condemns self-love. Gábor quotes Saint Augustine’s City of God (Book XIV:28), in which Augustine says that “two cities have been formed by two loves: the earthly by the love of self, even to the contempt of God; the heavenly by the love of God, even to the contempt of self.” As Gábor explains, the earthly city, which Augustine describes as a city characterized by self-love (theft, fraud, libel, lawlessness, infringement of the law), leads to God’s contempt, while the city of God is the love of God, leading to self-denial.

I remember hearing a long time ago that Gábor Bethlen, prince of Transylvania, reread the Bible forty times in his lifetime. I’m not surprised. Hungarian Calvinists, even the peasants, were avid readers of the Bible. Calvinist ministers normally spend the larger part of the service on a detailed explication of the biblical passage chosen for the day. I can’t imagine any Hungarian Calvinist minister suggesting that God commands one to love oneself. Yet Orbán’s followers may well fall for this nonsense because they are about as well educated about the Bible as Orbán is himself. I don’t know whether it is Zoltán Balog, the Calvinist minister, who is responsible for particular rewriting of Jesus’s words, but he was apparently the man who led Orbán onto the road to salvation.

The Bible was not the only text that got rewritten in Orbán’s Christmas message. At the end of his article he recalls that Robert Schuman, one of the co-founders of the European Union, 60 years ago insisted that “Europe will become Christian or it will not be.” The only problem is that, as far as I can ascertain, Robert Schuman didn’t say anything of the sort. More than four years ago, while researching my post on “Viktor Orbán and Christian Democracy,” I was unable to come up with this particular Schuman quotation. On the other hand, I found an article that appeared in The Guardian about Christian democracy in which the following sentence appeared: “Konrad Adenaur, Alcide De Gasperi and Robert Schuman … drew from religious faith, professed and lived, and from their political commitment to a common conviction: that only Christianity could be the cement for the European Union. Europe and Christianity are an inseparable pairing. With the same understanding as Leo XIII, they affirmed that Europe and Democracy would either be Christian or not at all. Schumann wrote: ‘All the countries of Europe are imbued with Christian civilization. This is the soul of Europe, it must be reborn’.” If I’m correct, Orbán and/or his helpers found this article and used it for his speeches, but he conveniently left out the word “Democracy” from the quotation. An early Christian Socialist, Frederic Ozanam, said “Democracy will be Christian or will not be.” Schuman said that “Democracy owes its existence to Christianity. It was born on the day when man was called to realize in his temporal life the dignity of the human person, in the individual freedom, in the respect of the rights of each and by the practice of brotherly love with respect to all.” In brief, Orbán rejects the very essence of Christian socialism, democracy.

December 26, 2017
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Michael Kaplan
Guest

Professor Balogh, having spent a great deal of time with Reformed Church
(Calvinist as you know) ministers, let alone priests and rabbis, I don’t know of any of these individuals who has “mistaken” the meaning in the various Christian and/or Jewish bibles, let alone the “Golden Rule” found in all the world’s great religions, in the way the Hungarian Prime Minister has. Your references to President Trump are useful, as he is another political operative with out any real spiritual, let alone religious education, who frequently makes mistaken references to the Christian bible (given an opportunity, Trump would do the same with the Jewish bible). You began your column with a film review, an of old Hungarian film, no doubt ironic humor, as you implied. I wish I could be amused by both the Prime Minister and the President. Sadly, I am not amused, but I do see the irony of both Orban and Trump making spiritual/religious statements.

Member

Perhaps you would enjoy Calvinist minister László Károly Bikádi’s reinterpretation of the parable of the Good Samaritan to explain why God supports Orban’s migration policies. One of the last articles from the dearly departed Népszabadság:

http://nol.hu/belfold/hajmasker-lelkesz-reformatus-menekultek-video-1631467

Member

The best movie of Fábri Zoltán is “The Fifth Seal”. It is also on the list of 60 movies free to be watched. Everybody should see and understand the message of the movie. I watch it at least once in every year as a reminder, not to be complacent. I highly recommend that before someone watches it the first time, he/she should read up on what is the Fifth Seal in the Book of Revelations.
The movie is an absolut masterpiece and everyone can benefit from it for life!

wrfree
Guest

Thanks for the review and I thank Prof for the heads up on the film fest. Hope to add to my collection.

wrfree
Guest

I see one reviewer has given Fábri Zoltan’s film the distinction of being the ‘best Magyar film of the 20th’. That’s a call for an ‘invitation to see’.

Member

The issues presented in The Fifth Seal (book and movie) is as relevant today, as it was when the Bible was written and as relevant as any Greek drama. It is well worth to see it and think about, as the question presented has to be answered by everyone sometimes more than once in his/her life. Thank you and Happy New Year!

Guest

Excellent article. Thank you Éva.

By risking their lives and the lives of their fmailies in order to get to Europe, the millions trecking across the globe want “to realize in his temporal life the dignity of the human person, in the individual freedom, in the respect of the rights of each …..by the practice of brotherly love with respect to all”, since this is sorely lacking in their native countries. That is why they risk all to get to Christian Europe.

As well as lessons about samaritans, the bible also warns against worshipping false idols, which Orbán’s followers are certainly doing by putting him above the law, above any ethical strictures and moral considerations. It matters not to his idolatrous followers what he says – as long as he says it, they will mindlessly agree, even if it is the opposite of what he espoused the day before.

Shame on Hungarian Church ministers for their cowardly attitude, which amounts to nothing less than their own participation in worhipping false idols.

wrfree
Guest

From the piece it looks as if VO not only is PM but becoming HP of Magyarorszag. The High Priest par excellence fusing political chicanery with religious belief. Next up is to be all decked out with chasuable and alb at the podium. He could even want sainthood beckoning as he defies the barbarian invasions. Istenem istenem.

Member

From The Bible (for the information of any Orbanists reading, this book is the basis of our faith *not* the lies and heresy that your evil leader spreads):

Romans 16:17-20
New International Version (NIV)

17 I urge you, brothers and sisters, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them.
18 For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people.
19 Everyone has heard about your obedience, so I rejoice because of you; but I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil.
20 The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.

Guest

Like minds think alike!
After reading this on the films I asked my wife’s young ones (we’re in Bp right now) after breakfast if they knew about this and the son answered:
Of course – I already downloaded some of the films onto an SD card for you, including the subtitles.

bimbi
Guest

Viktor Orban knows what he is doing when he invokes Christianity and Jesus; he is “preaching to the converted”, thereby reinforcing the faith of the faithful and their faith in Fidesz. Arguments based on scripture reduce to the infamous discussion of the number of angels on the head of a pin and are, of course, unwinnable.

As to invoking Saint Augustine in any rational discussion, well, wasn’t he the guy who couldn’t control his own penis and so invented the concept – overreaching and overbearing – of “Original Sin”? “Hey, it’s not just my virile member, its humanity’s virile member”! Self-exculpating goobledygook.

In any case, religion – of any brand or colour – has been and continues to be the source of immeasurable evil for humanity as a whole and to invoke religion in political argument is about as desperate as you can get. Please let us keep what should be the rationalities of political debate free from the flagrant irrationalities of accumulated myth, miracle and pie-in-the-sky fantasy.
Keep religion out of politics. Simple i’n’it?

Guest

As a totally areligious person I have to agree with bimbi but of course many politicians on the right use religious concepts instead of logic …
And for now more than fifty years I’ve seen our Christian politicians in the CDU/CSU e g use the idea of DAISNAID:
Do as I say not as I do!
The ugliest and most unscrupulous bastards invoke the Christian ideas – they should be ashamed but of course for them it’s quite normal to lie in their admirer’s faces …
But as long as too many people are willing to believe …

bimbi
Guest

@wolfi7777, 5:15 a.m.

“…many politicians on the right use religious concepts instead of logic …”,
which of course only goes to show how desperate and how empty they are.

Take f’instance ol’ Judge Moore down thur in ‘Bama who even in defeat was able to acknowledge, with inadvertent humour, that
“God is in Control”. Sure ‘nuff, Roy, sure ‘nuff. Faith-based flim-flam.

Melanie Zuben
Guest

“Politicians on the right use religious concepts instead of logic”
They use “religious concepts” because politicians on the so-called left have created a word that is beyond logic. Religion provides peace and escape from all the madness. Orban understands this and uses it to his advantage.
(I can see nothing wrong with his Bible interpretation but I’m no religious scholar).

Guest

You got it wrong (as usual …):
Religion provides escape from all logic into madness. Orban understands this and uses it to his advantage.
PS and not too much OT:
Which religion/which god do you propose?
There are so many of them to choose from – your kind of “logic” might be used by strict Muslims to kill all heretics, just like Christians were wont to do.
Read up on the Bartholomew massacre e g!

Melanie Zuben
Guest

Re: “Which religion/which god do you propose?”
The one that gives you peace of mind.

Observer
Guest

Well, Melanie
If you see nothing wrong with interpreting the “love thy neighbor..” commandment as “love yourself” there must be something wrong with your logic or with you.

Melanie Zuben
Guest

Hmm . . . Maybe there is. My interpretation of the Bible is working for me (most of the times, anyway):-)

Ferenc
Guest

“… many politicians … use religious concepts instead of logic …”
I think it’s worse than ‘only’ that:

“… many politicians … use religious concepts
to try to cover their own lack of humanity …”

wrfree
Guest

Considering ‘religion’ at times I cannot disagree that if we want to see individuals and groups at their worst we must check out what they do to their fellow man in the name of God. I would understand very much that they would rather enjoy and be in the company of dogs rather than the clerics. The real killer for me are those of the cloth though abrogating their responsibilities. They have utterly betrayed their calling.

Observer
Guest

wrfree
People doing something which they know is wrong, bad, usually need an excuse, a rationalization, a fig leaf* and religion offers the best of these, although there very comprehensive ideological, racial and ethnic packages too.
* The New Testament contributed to this positive change, I admit, Christian rulers did not boast openly about the horrors did they had inflicted.

Ferenc
Guest

OV isn’t and has never been democratic at heart.
Typical against everybody and everything opposing his goal and, in exceptions, when he’s trying to be positive about the things he stands for, consequently misusing/abusing words from others.
In short: OV is and has always been CHICKEN-HEARTED!!

Andrew James Chandler
Guest

Of course, the Samaritans were those migrants whom the Assyrians transferred to what was the capital of Israel, Samaria (Jerusalem was the capital of Judaea) when the people of Israel were taken into captivity by them. As the story shows, neither the pilgrims from Israel nor the Judaeans would have anything to do with these ‘unclean’ migrants.

Istvan
Guest

As I indicated when I wrote the other day Orban’s essay is a falsification of the gospel. I am total agreement with György Gábor. By the way apparently Cardinal Erdő has nothing to say about this, his silence speaks volumes on the corruption of the Church due to its alliance with Fidesz. Apparently that alliance now extends to theological issues too.

Member

This is the same church (Hungarian RC) which collaborated with the fascists and the Nazis in WW2? Which allowed/allows (?) pedophiles a free run against defenceless children? Which remains silent in the face of uncountable cases of domestic abuse in Orban’s *Christian* Hungary? Which refuses to listen to their own spiritual’s leader’s thoughts on refugees? Of course ,they are silent.

Orban continues to throw money at them in return for their immoral silence.

Let them along with Orban rot in hell.

Observer
Guest

D7democrat
It’s not only the silence, the main churches are actively serving the regime in return for the money and power they are doled out, e.g. the handing over of schools and the highly preferential treatment these receive – 260% funding/student compared to the state schools. In return the churches tacitly or overtly support the regime and praise Orbán from the pulpit, push ideological issues, e g. compulsory anti abortion subject in Pàzmàny Catholic Uni.

Guest

Totally OT- and totally crazy!

Back home at the Balaton I found the fake news about Soros and his heart attack:
George Soros suffered a “massive heart attack” while inspecting a new faculty building at his private university in Budapest, Hungary on Sunday morning, according to Hungarian reports.
Of course this “coincidence” is total nonsense and was immediately debunked – though maybe a few right wingers had a few happy moments and must have been really disappointed afterwards …

https://www.snopes.com/did-george-soros-suffer-a-massive-heart-attack-on-christmas-eve/

Ferenc
Guest

thanks!!
according to the “factless” news-bringer (YourNewsWire.com), the story was “according to reports in Hungary’s liberal media” (no names…)
… some media got so liberal that they turned IL

Observer
Guest

Ferenc
Why, the sycophant media is very liberal … with the truth.

Observer
Guest

wolfi
YourNewsWire is a great site, one of the best humor you can find (in Hun we have hircsarda.hu). So nicely treading the line between the improbable and the impossible that many intellectually challenged take it on face value.

Member

Hello Eva, recommend my article in this topic: https://dotoho.atlatszo.hu/2017/12/26/az-irgalmatlan-fopap/

Jean P
Guest

To
Archbishop Luis Ladaria Ferrer, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (the Inquisition).

The Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban is a heretic. Can’t you do something about it?

Documentation:
http://hungarianspectrum.org/2017/12/26/viktor-orban-rewrites-the-bible-and-falsifies-the-words-of-jesus/#comments

Istvan
Guest

In general being a more liberal Catholic I believe the Church should not purge those with dissenting views, however in the case of OV an exception or datur exceptio should apply.