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Sethomas Sethomas is offline
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Old Apr 15th, 2003, 08:25 PM        Fun with Religion; attn.: Ronnie
I've been on the boards long enough to see that yours, like that of most folk (but not all) in the conservative school of logic, is a Christianity that is highly incompatible with the very ideals set out by Christ. I'm not looking to cover all my ground at once since that would take for-fucking-ever, so let's start with a simple question. How to you rationalize your beliefs on government and the economy in relation to the fact that Jesus was a proponent of clearly socialist ideals?
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The_Rorschach The_Rorschach is offline
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Old Apr 15th, 2003, 08:41 PM       
Christ wasn't a proponant of socialist ideals. He relegated economics to their rightful status of "unimportant." Implying that material goods such as clothing, food and money should be shared wasn't an attempt at making a socialist society, it was instructing his disciples to put people before possessions. He did not thrash the money lenders in the temple because they were capitalists, he did it because they were profiting off of the misery and sin of His children who had come forth to redeem themselves.

Its funny how people take offense at things, personally I don't find your attempt to twist scripture offensive, but I do think its pretty sad and reaching. You can take individual verses and say "look! Communism!" but when they are viewed in context, they don't reflect socialistic tendancy at all. Anyone could turn that around, for instance, citing the parable of the Talents from Matthew 25 and showing it's a story about capital, investment, entrepreneurship, and the proper use of scarce economic resources. If taken at face value, it could be seen as promoting morality in the freedom to trade, invest, and profit; tenants which socialism totally denies.


- And no, thats not whatthe parable of the Talents is about.
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Old Apr 15th, 2003, 09:00 PM       
Religion tells you whatever it is you want it to say.
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Jeanette X Jeanette X is offline
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Old Apr 15th, 2003, 09:03 PM       
But wouldn't these passages be a blanket condemnation of all of the rich, exepting those who had Christianity as a priority?

"And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. " -Matthew 19:24, KJV

(the word is actually rope, not camel as it has been mistranslated, but the point remains the same. I still like the KJV, despite problems like this.)

"But woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation." -Luke 6:24 KJV

"But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows."-1 Timothy 6:9-10, KJV

"But the rich, in that he is made low: because as the flower of the grass he shall pass away. For the sun is no sooner risen with a burning heat, but it withereth the grass, and the flower thereof falleth, and the grace of the fashion of it perisheth: so also shall the rich man fade away in his ways."-James 1:10-11, KJV
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El Blanco El Blanco is offline
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Old Apr 15th, 2003, 09:40 PM       
Rorsh had it right. God doesn't care about how much or how little material possessions you have. As long as you don't harm your fellow man to get them.

Plus, christianity is a reward based system. Follow the teachings and do good you go to heaven. Not everybody, those who fill out the requirements. Isn't that part of capitalism?
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Sethomas Sethomas is offline
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Old Apr 15th, 2003, 10:06 PM       
Ror, it doesn't suit you to put words in my mouth. It would be a lie to say that Christ never addressed economical issues, but like you said they should be considered in context. Consider the implications of giving to Caesar what is Caesar's. Consider the widow's mite. Jesus was not a comunist, and implying that I had thought so by your hyperbolic speech is just too cheap of a shot.

Jesus simply advocated a redistribution of wealth. The rich should aid the poor. Simple as that.

Blanco, it's not a matter of whether or not you harm your fellow man, but whether or not you remember him when you count your blessings. Much is expected from those to whom much has been given. Your comparison of Christianity to capitalism is logically flawed, anyways.
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El Blanco El Blanco is offline
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Old Apr 15th, 2003, 10:20 PM       
Its flawed because they have little to do with each other. That was my point.

Quote:
How to you rationalize your beliefs on government and the economy in relation to the fact that Jesus was a proponent of clearly socialist ideals?
How did Rorsch put words into your mouth?
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KevinTheOmnivore KevinTheOmnivore is offline
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Old Apr 15th, 2003, 10:59 PM       
I still hold that C.S. Lewis put it best, when addressing what a "Christian" society might look like:

"If there were such a society in existence and you or I visited it, I think we should come away with a curious impression. We should feel that its economic life was very socialistic and, in that sense, 'advanced', but that its family life and its code of manners were rather old fashioned-- perhaps even ceremonious and aristocratic. Each of us would like some bits of it, but I am afraid very few of us would like the whole thing."

Christ most certainly was egalitarian, and throughout much of the Bible, you see ones willingness to depart with their riches as a common theme in the Bible, with Job as one example, and the scripture from Matthew that Jeanette cited.

This doesn't mean Christ would be a Leftist, which is what I fear many of you on the "Right" feel is being insinuated. This doesn't take a genius. Look at any of the theocratic governments throughout history, as well as in the present. Do they differ that much from a system that is highly centralized?? How "free" was the market in Afghanistan? What did the Taliban (though hypocritical they were) do to the farms that grew the poppi for Heroin?? Why did they do this???
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Jeanette X Jeanette X is offline
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Old Apr 15th, 2003, 11:14 PM       
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This doesn't mean Christ would be a Leftist, which is what I fear many of you on the "Right" feel is being insinuated. This doesn't take a genius. Look at any of the theocratic governments throughout history, as well as in the present. Do they differ that much from a system that is highly centralized?? How "free" was the market in Afghanistan? What did the Taliban (though hypocritical they were) do to the farms that grew the poppi for Heroin?? Why did they do this???
Simply because theocratic governments did certain things doesn't mean that Christ would, or that he would want a government that did.
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The rich should aid the poor. Simple as that.
I believe that the above citations would indicate that Christ did not approve of being rich, period.
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KevinTheOmnivore KevinTheOmnivore is offline
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Old Apr 15th, 2003, 11:20 PM       
Are you saying that Christ wouldn't want a government which emulates his values to crack down on say prostitution such as we do, or even abortion??

Christ certainly wasn't a democrat. You have two freedoms, to sin or not to sin. You're given this freedom, and those who choose the latter will be saved. No representatives, no free elections, pretty straight forward.

I think you missed my point, too. The Taliban at least made a public showing of their crackdown on Heroin because...why? Was it because heroin is bad for people and they were concerned for the well being of their public?? I highly doubt it, considering they hung women and shot people at sporting events routinely. They cracked down on it cuz heroin is immoral, it's a drug, it's escapism, and it's a distraction from a Muslim's relationship with Allah.

Would a state claiming to be a Christian theocracy be any different? Would it not legislate and enforce its dogma???
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The_Rorschach The_Rorschach is offline
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Old Apr 15th, 2003, 11:22 PM       
I'm on a smoke break between classes, Ocean 201 starts up in a moment, but I wanted to address something most ricki tick.

"Ror, it doesn't suit you to put words in my mouth."

That wasn't my intent, I'll hope you'll grant me the benefit of the doubt on this one. I've never understood the difference between communism and socialism, at least not enough to seperate the two, and so I read your words accordingly.

"Consider the implications of giving to Caesar what is Caesar's."

I say consider the times. There was great unrest on the topic of taxation, it was a foreign concept to the Jews which was only implemtented when once they had fallen to Rome. Tax Collectors, like Thomas (I hope I'm remembering the right disciple here), were scorned and when the Pharisees cornered Christ on the topic, they were hoping to trick him into proclaiming one way or the other. If He spoke against taxes, they would have reason to report him against the authorities as a subversive, if he spoke for them, he would lose the love of the people who themselves despised taxes. His answer, in short, was that it was immaterial. All that mattered was a man's soul, for when he died, that is all he would have. It wasn't the first time He made such a point either.

"Consider the widow's mite."

Actually that parable was illustrating the difference between true faith, and public faith. The sacrifice they made, in this case monetary, was unimportant, and Christ was trying to show that if a man's heart was not right, it did not matter how much they gave. The rich man, as you will recall, gave a PUBLIC donation, and his reward was the acknowledgement he recieved was the admiration of his fellow men. The widow gave privately, for she sought only to serve God, and it was that which God approved of. Not the sacrifice in question.

"Jesus was not a comunist, and implying that I had thought so by your hyperbolic speech is just too cheap of a shot."

You said He could be seen as a propositioning socialism, and obviously I misunderstood. You have my apologies. I simply didn't understand what I had read.

"Jesus simply advocated a redistribution of wealth."

He advocated love for all men, and love foremost for the creator of all men, God.
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Sethomas Sethomas is offline
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Old Apr 16th, 2003, 01:38 AM       
Communism is so impossible that in practice it has been basically an amalgamation of exaggerated socialism and dictatorship, as seen in most historic examples. In Das Kapital Marx strongly criticizes socialists for not doing enough. The prime difference is that at the end of the day, socialism is powered by the market whereas communism churns with labor itself. Since Jesus had to biff against the market itself yet cried out for social reform, it's fair to say that he was a socialist. There is no ground to call him a communist, because that would over-extend his words.

On the issue of taxes, the Pharisees were trying to trap Jesus. If he were to have said that the Jews should pay tax, he could be accused of subordinating Israel to pagan idolatry in which Caesar was a demigod to whom taxes were offerings. Had he sided with the popular belief that the Jews, the Pharisees would have reported him to Pilate as an insurrectionist. So what Jesus did was say that taxes are due to Caesar because the Jewish people were in debt to him in regards to the works. So while much of what I said agrees with what you said, He was not dismissing the issue as "immaterial". Taxes are a method of relieving public debts, and debts should be honored.

And your reaction to the Widow's Mite is only partially correct because the NT speaks elsewhere of "not letting the left hand know what the right hand is doing" enough, so it would be overkill to make a whole story demonstrating it. The main point was that the few cents from a woman who should be on the receiving end of charity was greater than the gold donated by the wealthy because of the spirit in which they were given. Obviously the widow gave just as publicly, though not so haughtily, as everyone else lest the observation would have passed unactualized. How this equates to progressive taxing should be obvious.

Yes, Jesus advocated love for all men. My point was that he was rather explicit in some points of how to achieve it.

A truly Christian theocracy has never happened, though the duality of Church and State in the high middle ages is due more credit than most people give it.

Obviously, as Kevin pointed out, abortion and murder would be prohibited because they infringe upon the rights of another life, but a true Christian theocracy would allow for sin itself to happen. The thing is, even sins such as lust and avarice are scorned for their eventual effects on society.[/i]
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mburbank mburbank is offline
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Old Apr 16th, 2003, 11:08 AM       
I don't subscribe to this opinion at all, but here's a bit of wisdom I learned at my father's knee.

"God's fundamental message is the same in all religions: Kill everybody else."
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Old Apr 16th, 2003, 11:38 AM       
I think that this excerpt from the Compensation essay by Ralph Waldo Emerson explains my views better than I can:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ralph Waldo Emerson

The fallacy lay in the immense concession, that the bad are successful; that justice is not done now. The blindness of the preacher consisted in deferring to the base estimate of the market of what constitutes a manly success, instead of confronting and convicting the world from the truth; announcing the presence of the soul; the omnipotence of the will: and so establishing the standard of good and ill, of success and falsehood.
Link To Complete Essay
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Old Apr 16th, 2003, 12:27 PM       
The problem with associating Jesus Christ with socalism is pretty basic: Forced vs Voluntary. Govt forces people to be socalists while in a Christian society, each help out the less fortuante untill they can get on their feet. But you don't pander to those who DO NOT want to help themselves. They must suffer the conquences.

I was always taught never to rely on anyone for anything, especially the goverment.
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KevinTheOmnivore KevinTheOmnivore is offline
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Old Apr 16th, 2003, 12:34 PM       
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Originally Posted by VinceZeb
The problem with associating Jesus Christ with socalism is pretty basic: Forced vs Voluntary. Govt forces people to be socalists while in a Christian society,
There is no, and never has been a truly Christian society/government. If any government were to ever exist, it would legislate and enforce its doctrine. Liberal stances on things, and open freedoms, would ultimately spell suicide for the state (look at the clashes between secularism and non-secularism in Israel).

A REAL "Christian" society probably would force you to do things, period.

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each help out the less fortuante untill they can get on their feet.
To what status? Does God only love those who have a certain median income and a car????

I think Jeanette is more on the money with this. Wealth could very easily be viewed as a "worldly" pleasure, much like sex and drugs. All of these things distract you from your true relationship with God, and thus stand often in opposition with God.
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Old Apr 16th, 2003, 12:40 PM        God
When it comes down to it, we're really nothing more than God's middle child anyway.
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Old Apr 16th, 2003, 12:43 PM       
Quote:
Originally Posted by KevinTheHerbivore

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeanette
each help out the less fortuante untill they can get on their feet.
To what status? Does God only love those who have a certain median income and a car????

I think Jeanette is more on the money with this. Wealth could very easily be viewed as a "worldly" pleasure, much like sex and drugs. All of these things distract you from your true relationship with God, and thus stand often in opposition with God.
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VinceZeb VinceZeb is offline
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Old Apr 16th, 2003, 12:44 PM       
No, Kevin. I don't believe that God looks more favorably on people who are rich, but if you steal and waste your talents and leech off people, that is not doing what God allows us to do.
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mburbank mburbank is offline
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Old Apr 16th, 2003, 01:05 PM       
Can you please use the word 'allows' correctly?
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Old Apr 16th, 2003, 01:09 PM       
Quote:
Originally Posted by mburbank
Can you please use the word 'allows' correctly?
I was kind of under the impression that God gave us "free will" and retribution for sins came later. Under Vince's theory; however, it seems that we're "allowed" one wrong move and ... ZAP!! ... FIRE AND BRIMSTONE ... THUNDERBOLTS AND LIGHTNING ... What color is the sky in your world Vince?
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VinceZeb VinceZeb is offline
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Old Apr 16th, 2003, 01:48 PM       
God allows us to have free will. So thus all our talents come from God, becuase he allows us to have them. Maybe you should learn to read.
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Old Apr 16th, 2003, 02:24 PM       
Vince, you're Catholic, so you should know that everyone gets into Heaven regardless of what they do.
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Old Apr 16th, 2003, 02:34 PM       
I'm Catholic, and I didn't know that.

Vince, people can generally cut themselves off from society if their "free will" beckons so. Just like if you don't believe in helping your fellow man, you seperate yourself from the Church Militant and condemn yourself to Hell. A socialist Jesus wouldn't undermine free will, it would just assume that you want to help yourself by helping others.
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The_Rorschach The_Rorschach is offline
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Old Apr 16th, 2003, 03:10 PM       
". . .Jesus had to biff against the market itself yet cried out for social reform, it's fair to say that he was a socialist. . ."

Alright, I see alot of assumption, and no proof behind them. I'm willing to cite scripture on my end, you need to be just as ready if this conversation is going to have any relevence. Now, if Jesus wished any true social reform, how do you consider the foremost authority on scripture, Paul, saying the below in his letter to the Romans. Chapter and verse, its Romans 13:1-7 but I'm only going to post an excerpt.

'Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves.'

"There is no ground to call him a communist, because that would over-extend his words."

My intent was not to set up a strawman, I think my above post shows I attacked the context of the scriptures used, not the impossibility of communism.

"So what Jesus did was say that taxes are due to Caesar because the Jewish people were in debt to him in regards to the works."

Alright, I see what you're saying, and admittedly it was not a perspective I'd considered previously - but I don't see any confliction between your view and mine. They kind of seem to coincide. Yeah Paul talks about paying taxes, and the OT speaks of the importance in repaying debts, but I don't think that was the exclusive point being made.

Consider Matthew 6:25-34. This is where Christ is speaking on the issue of getting caught up in work and aquiring possessions, He cites the birds and flowers which want for neither food nor clothes and He ends it saying, put first the Kingdom of God and your needs shall be met. Seek the spiritual, not the physical. Its the same theme as rendering to Ceaser. He's saying the money doesn't matter, pay your taxes, and worry only about your relationship with God. He's fairly consistant.

"And your reaction to the Widow's Mite is only partially correct because the NT speaks elsewhere of "not letting the left hand know what the right hand is doing" enough, so it would be overkill to make a whole story demonstrating it."

Right, well, even though I'm sure your judgement on the topic of repetition rivals God, forgive my dissention. Matthew 6:1-4 is the scripture line you're thinking of, and uh yeah, it pretty much backs up what I'm saying as far as I can see. Christ repeats the same themes in many of His sayings. In how many ways does He say put God first, and how many times? How many ways does He illustrate forgiveness is the virtue to embrace, and how many times?

"Obviously the widow gave just as publicly, though not so haughtily, as everyone else lest the observation would have passed unactualized."

The rich who offer are never described as haughty. Actually, if you read the text, Christ and his Disciples were observing those whom made donatives. Sure, the offering was public in as much as it was out in the open, but the rich were not donating for the profit of the Temple, they were donating so they could be seen donating, and therefore seen as pillars of the community and religious men. The widow gave out of her love for God. Now, hold tight, time for a little more repetition:

Romans 14:23 "Whatever is not of faith, is sin."

"How this equates to progressive taxing should be obvious."

An unstated case can not be discounted or contended. Afraid you'll still have to elaborate if you want comments from the peanut gallery.
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