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  1. #81
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    Quote Originally Posted by cafe View Post
    Yeah. You don't get Evangelical hermeneutics. That's okay.
    Would you care to explain, then? Are you telling me that an evangelical interpretation of the Bible demands theocracy? Or that religious principles must guide government action in this specific regard?
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    almost half a doctor phoenix13's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peguy View Post
    Communalism and communism are not the same thing.
    Right, communism is communalism in a classless society. What's your point?

    EDIT: OK, there are way too many definitions of communalism online. I don't know which you were refering to...

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  3. #83
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    Quote Originally Posted by phoenix13 View Post
    Right, communism is communalism in a classless society. What's your point?

    EDIT: OK, there are way too many definitions of communalism online. I don't know which you were refering to...
    I would think it was that the early Christians were neither communists nor socialists.
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    Quote Originally Posted by pure_mercury View Post
    Would you care to explain, then? Are you telling me that an evangelical interpretation of the Bible demands theocracy? Or that religious principles must guide government action in this specific regard?
    First off, Jesus, as part of the Holy Trinity, is in a sense, the God of the Old Testament. In another sense, Jesus is a practicing Jew and he says that he has comet o fulfill the Law and the Prophets, not abolish them.

    Evangelicals do get some of their theology from the Old Testament, we don't just throw the whole thing out. In the New Testament, it would seem that Gentile Christians are released from ceremonial law, but not really moral law. Old Testament Law is not infrequently used to set precedents or glean principles.

    So why would God want government mandated charity? I don't know. Why would God not want adultery or forbid murder? I tend to think that he does want us to do things from a pure heart and good motives, but even if we don't do them from a pure heart and it still makes society a better place when we do good things and/or don't cause harm.

    I don't believe that Christianity demands theocracy -- in fact, I believe it is set up to operate under government persecution. I don't even believe that religious principles must guide government in this specific regard -- that's what I'm saying, actually.

    The Religious Right are generally Evangelical/Christian Fundamentalist and as such, they tend to interpret the Bible in a kind of literal way. They use the Bible as a basis for their beliefs about most everything. But, from my perspective, they have these huge, gaping holes where the needy are concerned. And they use Socialism as some kind of scary bogeyman, like Jesus is against Socialism and that it is against the principles of the Bible for the government to help the poor.

    I'm not saying that the government charity programs are good or even Biblical. I'm not saying Jesus likes socialism. I'm saying that they are not in direct contradiction to the teachings of scripture. I don't think you can make a case from the Bible that it's a wrong or evil for the government to attempt to help the poor.

    These are very often the same people that are against abortion on Biblical grounds -- on the strength of one or two verses and that oppose gay marriage -- also on Biblical grounds but will turn around, when it comes to helping the poor -- despite all the verses in the Bible about protecting the interests of the poor and say 'this is not a theocracy.' I consider this attitude inconsistent and hypocritical.
    “There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.”
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  5. #85
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    Quote Originally Posted by cafe View Post
    First off, Jesus, as part of the Holy Trinity, is in a sense, the God of the Old Testament. In another sense, Jesus is a practicing Jew and he says that he has comet o fulfill the Law and the Prophets, not abolish them.

    Evangelicals do get some of their theology from the Old Testament, we don't just throw the whole thing out. In the New Testament, it would seem that Gentile Christians are released from ceremonial law, but not really moral law. Old Testament Law is not infrequently used to set precedents or glean principles.

    So why would God want government mandated charity? I don't know. Why would God not want adultery or forbid murder? I tend to think that he does want us to do things from a pure heart and good motives, but even if we don't do them from a pure heart and it still makes society a better place when we do good things and/or don't cause harm.
    Assuming the existence of the Abrahamic God for these purposes, God did indeed forbid adultery and murder with the Ten Commandments (which are not contradicted in the New Testament). Now, given that, is it morally necessary for those behaviors to be legally proscribed? I mean, adultery isn't even illegal in our culture, and there is a good reason for that. Whether murder is illegal doesn't enter into the moral question. Double parking is illegal, that doesn't make it immoral. It may actually be necessary in an emergency. Plus, what about laws like putting practicing homosexuals to death? That is about as un-Christian as it gets. Is that ceremonial law or moral law to you?

    As to the second issue, I will not argue that there are SOME positives from forcing people to do "good things," but I WILL argue that the negatives are so strong that it's rarely necessary. I don't believe in military conscription, because I think it's tantamount to slavery (it's involuntary servitude at its basis). But I am not against war in principle, because it may be necessary. Now, do you think that, if the United States were invaded by China, no one would fight unless the government drafted them? Of course not. Our individual moral impulses to defend ourselves and our countrymen would lead us to fight back. I know I would. In essence, I believe in what some people called "negative liberty." You can prevent people from doing harm to others both by legislation and moral opprobrium, but you shouldn't FORCE people to do good, because the end does not justify the means in life. When you take the free choice out of the equation, the morality of the situation in question is lost. You can (and should, IMHO) teach people to be kind and help those in need. Once it becomes a mandate, is it still out of the kindness of your heart?


    I don't believe that Christianity demands theocracy -- in fact, I believe it is set up to operate under government persecution. I don't even believe that religious principles must guide government in this specific regard -- that's what I'm saying, actually.

    The Religious Right are generally Evangelical/Christian Fundamentalist and as such, they tend to interpret the Bible in a kind of literal way. They use the Bible as a basis for their beliefs about most everything. But, from my perspective, they have these huge, gaping holes where the needy are concerned. And they use Socialism as some kind of scary bogeyman, like Jesus is against Socialism and that it is against the principles of the Bible for the government to help the poor.
    People will try to manipulate anything to their own ends. It's human nature. I am an agnostic, but I don't bemoan religiosity. Biblical fundamentalism is just so irrational, though. It's not surprising to me in the least that people who believe that type of literalism have gaping holes in other areas of their beliefs. The political motivation of someone who believes in the Bible literally kinda baffles me to begin with.


    I'm not saying that the government charity programs are good or even Biblical. I'm not saying Jesus likes socialism. I'm saying that they are not in direct contradiction to the teachings of scripture. I don't think you can make a case from the Bible that it's a wrong or evil for the government to attempt to help the poor.
    I wasn't trying to argue that it's biblically evil for the government to help, just that the modern system of forcible confiscation (for whatever purpose) isn't particularly Christian. It really doesn't have anything to do with Christianity, and nor should it. I WAS arguing that the early Christians were NOT socialists or communists and that Jesus was not advocating a particular political mindset. Oddly, his worldview was political in the context of events in his day, but he certainly wasn't providing a political platform for 2010. I think that anyone claiming he did is pushing their own agenda.


    These are very often the same people that are against abortion on Biblical grounds -- on the strength of one or two verses and that oppose gay marriage -- also on Biblical grounds but will turn around, when it comes to helping the poor -- despite all the verses in the Bible about protecting the interests of the poor and say 'this is not a theocracy.' I consider this attitude inconsistent and hypocritical.
    Absolutely, but it cuts the other way, too, for the religious left. I have no problem with religious people having their ideals informing their political beliefs, but I have a major problem with people wanting to use government power to impose those ideals on society.
    Who wants to try a bottle of merc's "Extroversion Olive Oil?"

  6. #86
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    Quote Originally Posted by pure_mercury View Post
    Assuming the existence of the Abrahamic God for these purposes, God did indeed forbid adultery and murder with the Ten Commandments (which are not contradicted in the New Testament). Now, given that, is it morally necessary for those behaviors to be legally proscribed? I mean, adultery isn't even illegal in our culture, and there is a good reason for that. Whether murder is illegal doesn't enter into the moral question. Double parking is illegal, that doesn't make it immoral. It may actually be necessary in an emergency. Plus, what about laws like putting practicing homosexuals to death? That is about as un-Christian as it gets. Is that ceremonial law or moral law to you?

    As to the second issue, I will not argue that there are SOME positives from forcing people to do "good things," but I WILL argue that the negatives are so strong that it's rarely necessary. I don't believe in military conscription, because I think it's tantamount to slavery (it's involuntary servitude at its basis). But I am not against war in principle, because it may be necessary. Now, do you think that, if the United States were invaded by China, no one would fight unless the government drafted them? Of course not. Our individual moral impulses to defend ourselves and our countrymen would lead us to fight back. I know I would. In essence, I believe in what some people called "negative liberty." You can prevent people from doing harm to others both by legislation and moral opprobrium, but you shouldn't FORCE people to do good, because the end does not justify the means in life. When you take the free choice out of the equation, the morality of the situation in question is lost. You can (and should, IMHO) teach people to be kind and help those in need. Once it becomes a mandate, is it still out of the kindness of your heart?




    People will try to manipulate anything to their own ends. It's human nature. I am an agnostic, but I don't bemoan religiosity. Biblical fundamentalism is just so irrational, though. It's not surprising to me in the least that people who believe that type of literalism have gaping holes in other areas of their beliefs. The political motivation of someone who believes in the Bible literally kinda baffles me to begin with.




    I wasn't trying to argue that it's biblically evil for the government to help, just that the modern system of forcible confiscation (for whatever purpose) isn't particularly Christian. It really doesn't have anything to do with Christianity, and nor should it. I WAS arguing that the early Christians were NOT socialists or communists and that Jesus was not advocating a particular political mindset. Oddly, his worldview was political in the context of events in his day, but he certainly wasn't providing a political platform for 2010. I think that anyone claiming he did is pushing their own agenda.




    Absolutely, but it cuts the other way, too, for the religious left. I have no problem with religious people having their ideals informing their political beliefs, but I have a major problem with people wanting to use government power to impose those ideals on society.
    I'm not talking about your beliefs here. I'm talking about their beliefs. Maybe you are a tea partier, maybe you are not, but you don't share the beliefs of the people I'm talking about nor do you base your beliefs on the the same foundation.

    You consider the way they come to their beliefs, by and large, irrational while I actually share their foundation in a lot of ways, but I think they have let their alliance with the fiscal right override their basic belief system and don't even realize they are doing it.

    They are just fine with enforcing their religious beliefs on other people via force of law until they think it might cost them money or might look like socialism. That's what I'm talking about -- not non-believers who base their ideas on other stuff entirely.
    “There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.”
    ~ John Rogers

  7. #87
    Freshman Member simulatedworld's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pure_mercury View Post
    YOU explain to ME how the God of the Old Testament is the Jesus from the New Testament, because that is what we were discussing: the teachings of Jesus Christ. I went to Catholic school for 13 years, and I set about reading both the Old and New Testaments in entirety. One thing that I learned quickly: fundamentalism is ludicrous. There are biblical passages about proper human conduct that are in DIRECT conflict with each other. There are strict Christians who tithe their earnings, and there are strict Christians who do not. There is no conflict there. Where is the political position taken? Why would an omnipotent God WANT government-mandated charity if He/She gave human beings free will? Why would God entrust this power to government (an imperfect, man-created institution) to guarantee this outcome? Isn't the whole idea that humans have the freedom to be good or evil, and that their final judgment is based upon their decisions during their lives? Giving time or money to the less fortunate is no longer a moral positive for individuals if they are doing because they are forced.
    great points, merc
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    Quote Originally Posted by cafe View Post
    I'm not talking about your beliefs here. I'm talking about their beliefs. Maybe you are a tea partier, maybe you are not, but you don't share the beliefs of the people I'm talking about nor do you base your beliefs on the the same foundation.
    I was at the Ron Paul rally in Philadelphia in 2007 that many people point to as the beginning of the Tea Party movement. I support many of their ideals, but I dislike some of the elements involved and many of the Republican Party insiders who are trying to hitch themselves on the bandwagon. Most of my friends who were RP fans were agnostics and atheists, anyway.


    You consider the way they come to their beliefs, by and large, irrational while I actually share their foundation in a lot of ways, but I think they have let their alliance with the fiscal right override their basic belief system and don't even realize they are doing it.
    And that is an individual thing. I think being fiscally right or left shouldn't matter when it comes to your religion.


    They are just fine with enforcing their religious beliefs on other people via force of law until they think it might cost them money or might look like socialism. That's what I'm talking about -- not non-believers who base their ideas on other stuff entirely.
    And people on the left are all about people's rights when it comes to everything except how they spend their money and run their businesses. There are huge blind spots all over the political spectrum. I decry the hypocrisy, too. Even those people who aren't super-religious but are socially conservative and comfortable condemning people who offend their sensibilities bother me, because they fly the "keep the government out of our lives" flag, except when it comes to gay marriage, drug use, whatever.
    Who wants to try a bottle of merc's "Extroversion Olive Oil?"

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    Senior Member cafe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pure_mercury View Post
    I was at the Ron Paul rally in Philadelphia in 2007 that many people point to as the beginning of the Tea Party movement. I support many of their ideals, but I dislike some of the elements involved and many of the Republican Party insiders who are trying to hitch themselves on the bandwagon. Most of my friends who were RP fans were agnostics and atheists, anyway.
    He seems like a decent guy.
    Quote Originally Posted by pure_mercury View Post
    And that is an individual thing. I think being fiscally right or left shouldn't matter when it comes to your religion.
    That would make sense, actually. But I can guarantee you that my religious friends and except, for my dad, every member of my family of origin and also all of my in-laws who know of my political beliefs consider it a sign of my falling away from God.

    Quote Originally Posted by pure_mercury View Post
    And people on the left are all about people's rights when it comes to everything except how they spend their money and run their businesses. There are huge blind spots all over the political spectrum. I decry the hypocrisy, too. Even those people who aren't super-religious but are socially conservative and comfortable condemning people who offend their sensibilities bother me, because they fly the "keep the government out of our lives" flag, except when it comes to gay marriage, drug use, whatever.
    What do you think would be the ideal? How would you keep a libertarian society from turning into something resembling a Dickens novel, or would you be okay with a society that resembled a Dickens novel?
    “There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.”
    ~ John Rogers

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    Quote Originally Posted by cafe View Post
    He seems like a decent guy.
    I've met him in person once. Had breakfast with him at a conference in Virginia in 2008, and he signed a copy of his book that I bought. I liked him, but he is not perfect. Some of those in his circle are quite objectionable to me (like Lew Rockwell, who supposedly co-authored some racist things in Ron Paul's old newsletter).


    That would make sense, actually. But I can guarantee you that my religious friends and except, for my dad, every member of my family of origin and also all of my in-laws who know of my political beliefs consider it a sign of my falling away from God.
    Which is a falling away from God, socialism or capitalism?


    What do you think would be the ideal? How would you keep a libertarian society from turning into something resembling a Dickens novel, or would you be okay with a society that resembled a Dickens novel?
    Well, a libertarian society would (I believe) be a wealthier society overall. So, even if there were greater inequality, the absolute poverty in society would be decreased. I think it's quite naive to believe that social norms would break down because the government were much more limited now. Standards of living rose massively during the late-19th and early-20th Century when the government was much smaller than it is now. The past few decades have shown that deregulating generally improves competition and makes things better for the consumer. Some of the most important aspects to me are that crime would be lower and there would be less war. Ending the Drug War and instituting some restorative justice principles for crimes would benefit society immensely, and libertarian foreign policy is non-interventionist and based on free trade and diplomacy, which neither the right nor the left can boast for the past century. Government solutions to many societal problems often do nothing to help, and can even make matters worse. The War on Poverty hasn't decreased poverty levels in our country, the War on Drugs hasn't decreased drug use (and has empowered drug kingpins), and a lower percentage of Americans have access to affordable insurance post-Medicare/Medicaid. We are getting way off-topic here, but I'd be glad to recommend some texts from the libertarian canon if you'd like. As to the "ideal," part of libertarianism is acknowledging that everyone has different concepts of what they want out of life, so it's not right to try to institute one vision for everyone. If you like communal living and Jesus, you are free in a libertarian world to share your possessions and decide which people to add to your community. In a communist society, you are NOT free to start your own business or newspaper criticizing the situation.
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