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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » A Mormon POTUS, oh my (Page 3)

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Author Topic: A Mormon POTUS, oh my
Dan_Frank
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[ROFL] [ROFL] [ROFL]
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rivka
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Perfect image, except for one tiny thing. I do not now, nor have I ever, owned an iron.

It's against my religion.

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Samprimary
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http://i.imgur.com/r6t7u.png
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Dan_Frank
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Both my partner, my best friend (who is not orthodox but is a practicing Jew), and I are dying, Sam.

Dying.

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rivka
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You're not the only ones. Samp, you owe me a new keyboard. And a new lung.
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Samprimary
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i just realized this is like the first time i've done this here

but right yes comics

http://i.imgur.com/PbUYV.png

(Sorry Sam -- the second one was completely inappropriate for Hatrack.)

[ February 10, 2012, 07:30 AM: Message edited by: kacard ]

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Scott R
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quote:
Originally posted by dkw:
Scott, take a close look at Matthew 25:32. It doesn't say that all individuals will be gathered together and sorted according to whether they fed the hungry, clothed the naked, and visited the sick and imprisoned, it says all nations will be.

The nations are gathered together before the King, but then the King separates them out into sheep and into goats. The only classification after this separation is between the righteous, and those who did not fulfill their obligation to the needy. At the coming of the Son of Man, the nations of the world will be dissolved; there won't be any political boundaries any more.

Note the individualistic language Christ uses as well:

quote:
I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:

36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.

37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?

38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?

39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?

40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

I'll allow that it can possibly be read as a condemnation of general cultural tendencies to neglect the poor; but there's quite a distance from there to saying that Christ supported raising taxes in order to fund welfare programs.
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dkw
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I'm not actually seeing any individualistic language there. It's all you(pl.) and we.

And in 32 the "them" is a reflexive pronoun (autos) referring to nations. The nations will be gathered and he will separate the nations one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.

Why do you assume the sheep and the goats are individuals?

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The Rabbit
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quote:
I'll allow that it can possibly be read as a condemnation of general cultural tendencies to neglect the poor; but there's quite a distance from there to saying that Christ supported raising taxes in order to fund welfare programs.
I haven't seen any one here making that claim. All Kate said was

quote:
Depending on what they (taxes) were to be used for, I think that Jesus would approve (of raising taxes). [Big Grin]
There is quite a distance between saying that, based on what Jesus said in the New Testament, you think He would approve of raising taxes under some circumstances and claiming "Christ supported raising taxes in order to fund welfare programs". You are asking Kate to prove something she never claimed.

Do you think an objective person reading the New Testament could rationally conclude that Jesus would be pleased with a democratic country that chose to raise taxes to help the poor and the sick? Do you think that conclusion is more or less consistent with the things Jesus actually said than Jeff C's post, which implied Jesus would be ashamed to have his name used to support tax increases?

[ February 10, 2012, 10:22 AM: Message edited by: The Rabbit ]

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kmbboots
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quote:
Originally posted by Scott R:
quote:
I was talking more specifically about thinking of ourselves as part of community for which we are responsible.
Indeed, that's how you appeared to lead the conversation after I entered and challenged you on your initial assertion.

Here's the conversation that prompted my entry into this thread:

quote:
Originally posted by Jeff C.:
I'm a Christian and I think it would honestly be better to have an Agnostic in office. Either that, or just have it so that the President is forbidden to talk about religion in public.

I mean, just today I saw the President using Jesus as an excuse to raise taxes. Seriously, I'm sure our savior would be proud.

To which you replied:

quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
See? Depending on what they were to be used for, I think that Jesus would approve. [Big Grin]

I'd really like to understand from a scriptural point of view, how you can make that statement. Neither Jesus nor his apostles said much about using the state's power to assist the poor; though they did talk a LOT about individuals helping others (and the Church is specifically commanded to assist the poor), there's scarce evidence for welfare policy-making (from the state's point of view) in the scriptures.

I didn't intend to "lead" the conversation anywhere. Here is how that exchanged looked to me.

Your question:

quote:
Why? The only comment Jesus ever made about taxation was "render unto Caesar what is Caesar's."

He said nothing about using the power of the state to assist the poor. From a certain point of view, taxation in order to support state run welfare runs contrary to the gospel of Jesus Christ, because then the individual is removed from providing comfort, sustenance, etc., to those who need them; instead, the power to do good is given to a faceless agency.

My answer to that question:
quote:

Scott, I think that, in ancient Rome, it could very well be that the individual was removed from the act of charity. With a representative government, I don't think that is the case. We make the choices about what we want our society to be and what priorities we want to support. I don't think that the gospel necessarily supports individual rather than community action. In fact, I think that it encourages us to see ourselves as part of a larger body (whether that body is the church or society or all of the kingdom of God) rather than separate.

What I thought was you asking for scriptural support for seeing ourselves as part of a community rather than as individuals:

quote:
If only you would use scriptural text-- or historical text-- to back up your ideas, we could have something to talk about.
Which I answered with a reference to Romans as that was the most obvious to me.

As the writers of the NT weren't exactly living in a representative democracy where they had input into how their taxes were spent, no, I don't think there is a specific, "Rome should collect more taxes and we we should vote to use them for food stamps to help the poor" reference. I do think that there is plenty to support helping the poor and no reason to believe that this is meant to be only individual action.

You also asked for historical references. These are generally Catholic so I don't know that you will find them persuasive but they are fairly low hanging fruit.

From Rerum novarum (which, btw, did a lot of justifying private property) with a bonus quote from Thomas Aquinas

quote:
It would be irrational to neglect one portion of the citizens and favor another, and therefore the public administration must duly and solicitously provide for the welfare and the comfort of the working classes; otherwise, that law of justice will be violated which ordains that each man shall have his due. To cite the wise words of St. Thomas Aquinas: “As the part and the whole are in a certain sense identical, so that which belongs to the whole in a sense belongs to the part.”( Summa theologiae, IIa-Ilae, q. lxi, are. l, ad 2m.) Among the many and grave duties of rulers who would do their best for the people, the first and chief is to act with strict justice – with that justice which is called distributive – toward each and every class alike.
From Quadragessimo anno
quote:
But not every distribution among human beings of property and wealth is of a character to attain either completely or to a satisfactory degree of perfection the end which God intends. Therefore, the riches that economic-social developments constantly increase ought to be so distributed among individual persons and classes that the common advantage of all, which Leo XIII had praised, will be safeguarded; in other words, that the common good of all society will be kept inviolate. By this law of social justice, one class is forbidden to exclude the other from sharing in the benefits….

58. To each, therefore, must be given his own share of goods, and the distribution of created goods, which, as every discerning person knows, is laboring today under the gravest evils due to the huge disparity between the few exceedingly rich and the unnumbered propertyless, must be effectively called back to and brought into conformity with the norms of the common good, that is, social justice.

From Mater et magistra

quote:
“Likewise the national economy, as it is the product of the men who work together in the community of the State, has no other end than to secure without interruption the material conditions in which the individual life of the citizens may fully develop. Where this is secured in a permanent way, a people will be, in a true sense, economically rich, because the general well-being, and consequently the personal right of all to the use of worldly goods, is thus actuated in conformity with the purpose willed by the Creator.” (Cf. AAS 33 (1941) 200) From this it follows that the economic prosperity of a nation is not so much its total assets in terms of wealth and property, as the equitable division and distribution of this wealth.
and

quote:
Now, if ever, is the time to insist on a more widespread distribution of property, in view of the rapid economic development of an increasing number of States. It will not be difficult for the body politic, by the adoption of various techniques of proved efficiency, to pursue an economic and social policy which facilitates the widest possible distribution of private property in terms of durable consumer goods, houses, land, tools and equipment (in the case of craftsmen and owners of family farms), and shares in medium and large business concerns. This policy is in fact being pursued with considerable success by several of the socially and economically advanced nations.

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Darth_Mauve
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What I understand is that one does not give to the poor etc, to curry favor with Jesus. One does so because the hungry should not be hungry, the down trodden need support.

Jesus doesn't tell us to heal the sick because it shows your good enough to go to heaven. He says heal the sick because the sick are good enough to be healed.

It doesn't matter to the widow or orphan where their support comes from, as long as it has no strings attached. Those strings could be "Vote for me" or "Come to my church." That makes them not charity but bribery.

So frankly, what ever is most efficient at feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, and healing the sick is what is important and what Jesus would do. If that means taxing the wealthy to end the suffering of others, he would do so.

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kmbboots
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Well put, Darth Mauve.
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The Rabbit
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quote:
Originally posted by maui babe:
quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:
quote:
Originally posted by Scott R:
quote:
Mormons drink pop not soda.
Is that a western US usage? By me, 'Pop' is a name Yankees call their fathers.
Yes! On the western half of the US, carbonated sugary beverages are called 'pop'.
Except in California and New Mexico, where soda is soda and pop is a name for yer dad or in some cases, a small candy on a stick.
If I remember correctly, you lived in Los Alamos which is more of an outpost of California than a real part of New Mexico. I had to sign an oath of loyalty to the state of California to work for the lab. Of course, Los Alamos isn't representative of California culture either, it's a singularity in the cultural space time continuum.

Northern New Mexico has at least 4 or 5 very different distinctive cultures. There is the lab culture, the Santa Fe artsy hippy culture, the pueblo culture, the Spanish culture, and a rural white culture. And then there are the Texan invaders.

Arizona and Nevada are interesting cases as well. Up until 40 or 50 years ago, these states were dominated by rural Western culture. Then air conditioning happened. When my Grandfather was born in Arizona around the turn of the century, there were under 150,000 people living in the state. By 1950 the population had grown 750,000 and in 2010 it was 6.6 million. Arizona is almost entirely a state of recent migrants. The same is true to an even larger degree for Nevada and slightly lesser degree for California. Almost no one living in these states has any roots in the region that go back more than 50 years.

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The Rabbit
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quote:
Originally posted by dkw:
I'm not actually seeing any individualistic language there. It's all you(pl.) and we.

And in 32 the "them" is a reflexive pronoun (autos) referring to nations. The nations will be gathered and he will separate the nations one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.

Why do you assume the sheep and the goats are individuals?

Thanks Dana, This is a very interesting observation that had never before come to my attention. Would you be willing to comment on what is most likely meant by "nation"? I'm fairly confident it is not synonymous with a modern nation state but means something more like a "tribe" of people with a shared cultural and genetic heritage, like Walloons, Kurds, Bantus, Jews or Navajos.

[ February 10, 2012, 03:54 PM: Message edited by: The Rabbit ]

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dkw
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The Greek word is ethnos, and yes, it can be used for kinship groups. In the NT it's most often translated as either "nations" or "Gentiles."
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Dogbreath
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This thread made me think of a quote from Don Miller (a protestant writer):

"...Andrew says it's not enough to be politically active. He says legislation will never save the world. On Saturday mornings Andrew feeds the homeless. He sets up a makeshift kitchen on the sidewalk and makes breakfast for people who live on the street. He serves coffee and sits with his homeless friends and talks and laughs, and if they want to pray he will pray with them. He's a flaming liberal, really. The thing about it is, though, Andrew believes this is what Jesus wants him to do. Andrew does not believe in empty passion.
All great Christian leaders are simple thinkers. Andrew doesn't cloak his altruism within a trickle-down economic theory that allows him to spend fifty dollars on a round of golf to feed the economy and provide jobs for the poor. He actually believes that when Jesus says feed the poor, He means you should do this directly."

I remember in college, every Sunday morning we (a group of roughly 10 kids organized by my friend Courtney) went down to a local community center with a kitchen and cooked pancakes and eggs and bacon for local homeless families, and passed out orange juice in Styrofoam cups. This wasn't part of any large charity or government organization - we'd just go to Sam's Club the night before and buy our supplies in bulk. For about a year we fed around 150 people a week.

While I'm by no means opposed to donation to charity, or government welfare (I vote Democrat, and donate to charity), I think both are kind of missing the point of what Jesus was actually saying. There's something to be said for the human element - actually cooking food for a hungry person, or taking a homeless family into your house, or giving your clothes to someone who doesn't have enough, or slipping an envelope with a few hundred bucks into the hands of a person about to lose their house. These seem to be the sort of things that make the most difference, and we lose sight of that when we give our money, but not our time or our hearts.

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Destineer
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quote:
While I'm by no means opposed to donation to charity, or government welfare (I vote Democrat, and donate to charity), I think both are kind of missing the point of what Jesus was actually saying. There's something to be said for the human element - actually cooking food for a hungry person, or taking a homeless family into your house, or giving your clothes to someone who doesn't have enough, or slipping an envelope with a few hundred bucks into the hands of a person about to lose their house. These seem to be the sort of things that make the most difference, and we lose sight of that when we give our money, but not our time or our hearts.
I think it's hard to argue that these are the things that make the "most difference," when every $1,000 or so you give to international charity will actually prevent someone from dying. Especially if you give to a charity that provides malaria nets.
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Rakeesh
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*nod* It's simply a fact that money spends differently in different places. Those commercials (you can feed a village for $0.02/month!) aren't all hyperbole. It's probably one of the more tangible difference-makers, though, the regular in-person charity.
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Jeff C.
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I think you guys missed the point of what I was saying when I brought up the taxes thing.

quote:
Originally posted by Jeff C.:
I'm a Christian and I think it would honestly be better to have an Agnostic in office. Either that, or just have it so that the President is forbidden to talk about religion in public.

I mean, just today I saw the President using Jesus as an excuse to raise taxes. Seriously, I'm sure our savior would be proud.

I was trying to say that the President was using religion as a means of garnering peoples' votes and/or support, manipulating their opinions by throwing out a reference to his religion. That's the part we should be focusing on here, not whether or not Jesus would approve of raising taxes.
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Destineer
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I do think there's a sense in which Dogbreath is totally right, though, about "what Jesus would do." At least I find it interesting that the biblical Christ devoted his time on Earth to face-to-face acts of kindness and healing that didn't really alleviate much suffering in the big scheme of things.
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kmbboots
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The biblical Christ spent at least some of his time preaching to "multitudes" on how to think about the world and our connection to the other people in it. I think that could be considered "big scheme" action.
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Glenn Arnold
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quote:
I'm fairly confident it is not synonymous with a modern nation state but means something more like a "tribe" of people with a shared cultural and genetic heritage, like Walloons, Kurds, Bantus, Jews or Navajos.
Don't forget granfalloons and karass(es), which might actually be a more useful set of divisions.
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Rakeesh
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quote:
I do think there's a sense in which Dogbreath is totally right, though, about "what Jesus would do." At least I find it interesting that the biblical Christ devoted his time on Earth to face-to-face acts of kindness and healing that didn't really alleviate much suffering in the big scheme of things.
In context it's not so surprising-Earthly good deeds don't amount to much stacked up against eternity.
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Bokonon
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quote:
Originally posted by Glenn Arnold:
quote:
I'm fairly confident it is not synonymous with a modern nation state but means something more like a "tribe" of people with a shared cultural and genetic heritage, like Walloons, Kurds, Bantus, Jews or Navajos.
Don't forget granfalloons and karass(es), which might actually be a more useful set of divisions.
Heh.
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Dogbreath
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quote:
Originally posted by Destineer:
I think it's hard to argue that these are the things that make the "most difference," when every $1,000 or so you give to international charity will actually prevent someone from dying. Especially if you give to a charity that provides malaria nets.

As I said, I'm entitrely in favor of charities - both domestic and international. I just think that delegating your charitable actions, while certainly a good thing, and a very important one, isn't the whole picture. I see a lot of churches whose members tithe, and then a portion of that tithe is sent to a local soup kitchen, and the members of the church are never actually inconvenienced by having to interact with and feed the poor directly. (except for maybe the occasional busload of idealistic youth group kids or something)

There is a danger to that. In 2007 in my home town, a local homeless shelter was shut down and 250 homeless men put out on the street because their largest contributor - a suburban megachurch - decided not to come through on a $1,000,000 donation they depended on every year to stay open. The church used the money to build a new auditorium instead. What sucks is that decision was probably made by a small group of men, and that almost none of the church's 6000+ members even knew it happened. I think if even 10% of that church's members had, say, gone down to various shelters a few times a month to help cook and clean, and had seen first hand what was happening first hand and known the residents as people instead of a religious obligation, it would have never happened.

I'm hesitant to write this, because I feel like I'll be misinterpreted and people will think I'm calling large charities or government welfare a bad thing, which I'm not doing whatsoever. I just Christians have a personal as well as financial and collective obligation.

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kmbboots
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I think you are quite right, Dogbreath.
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The Rabbit
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I agree with you Dogbreath. Too often people talk about these things as though they are mutually exclusive options when the correct answer is "all of the above".

I recognize that people's resources are finite so choosing to do one of these things can often in fact mean choosing not to do another. But in American Society today, that is generally a petty excuse and not a sound justification. I'm not saying it isn't true for a lot of individuals, but for society as a whole, we spend more on military than the rest of the world combined. Taxes are lower than they've been in half a century. We have money for iPads, flat screen TVs, SUVs and smart phones. We complain about being too busy, but we have time to post on internet forums and watch 5 hours of TV per day (on average). The simple fact is that our society could be doing a lot more to help the least among us if we sincerely wanted too.

[ February 12, 2012, 11:41 AM: Message edited by: The Rabbit ]

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Destineer
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Dogbreath, seems to me that the problem with the case you describe isn't the delegation of charity, but rather the way church tithing works. I agree that none of this would have happened if more people had gone to work in the soup kitchen. But it also wouldn't have happened if they just took the time to make an informed choice about a private charity to donate to themselves, rather than letting the church do it. And their money would probably have done more good, on balance.
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Dogbreath
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Taking the time to pick out a charity and researching how they actually spend their money takes some personal effort too. [Smile]

Churches, large charities, government, they're entities to delegate that responsibility to. (and they handle that responsibility with different levels of success) It's not a bad thing at all - few people have the time or energy to dedicate their whole lives to caring for the poor. But it makes it easy to shirk responsibility at a personal level.

I should say I was raised as a child in a Christian denomination that was hyper-personal; Jesus wants a personal relationship with *you*, worship is about *you* getting that warm and fuzzy feeling, the bible exists as a self help book to make *you* more prosperous and happy, you do charity and treat people nicely because it scores *you* brownie points in heaven, etc. etc. etc. We even had a board game when we were a kid called "Treasures in Heaven" where every time you tithed or did something nice or helped an old lady across the street or memorized a bible verse (different squares of the board), you got this nice shiny heavenly currency. Whoever ended up with the most treasure won the game.

The selfishness and self absorption of that religion disgusted me as I grew older, and I'm glad I left it. As of late as I've been exploring Christianity again I've discovered and appreciated the ideas of communal living and responsibility, so it's a little odd that I'm arguing the point of personal responsibility in this thread. Nonetheless I feel I'm saying something important.

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Amanecer
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quote:
Churches, large charities, government, they're entities to delegate that responsibility to. (and they handle that responsibility with different levels of success) It's not a bad thing at all - few people have the time or energy to dedicate their whole lives to caring for the poor. But it makes it easy to shirk responsibility at a personal level.
I see your point, but I think your view of how one can take responsibility on a personal level might be limited. I've known people who spent next to no time involved in personal service but devoted their lives to lobbying for the poor, or working at non profits, or rejecting higher paying careers in favor of more meaningful work. And I've known people who gain great fulfillment from selecting a worthy charity and giving regularly to it. I think a person's heart and time can be extremely involved in indirect service, even when it's "only" giving money.
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Scott R
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quote:
Originally posted by Darth_Mauve:
[QB] What I understand is that one does not give to the poor etc, to curry favor with Jesus. One does so because the hungry should not be hungry, the down trodden need support.

Jesus doesn't tell us to heal the sick because it shows your good enough to go to heaven. He says heal the sick because the sick are good enough to be healed.

I'm not sure that this last part is true. Remember the young ruler: Christ told him that he lacked one thing in order to be perfect, and told him to give away all that he had to the poor, and come and follow him.

For Mormons, Christ's primary goal was not to end earthly suffering. Instead, his aim was to sacrifice himself for us to enable us to repent and be forgiven, so that we could return to God. The idea, I think, is not just to make the world a better place, but to make individuals better people. That's done best through having us perform the same deeds he performed-- comforting/healing the sick, teaching the sinner, correcting the hypocrite. While providing for the poor is an absolutely essential part of the gospel of Jesus Christ, a large component of charity is to make those who provide the assistance more Christ-like.

Some other scriptures to consider:

The woman with an issue of blood: she tried to remain anonymous, but Christ sought her out and identified her.

The man blind from birth: he was blind "so that the works of God may be made manifest."

quote:
It doesn't matter to the widow or orphan where their support comes from, as long as it has no strings attached. Those strings could be "Vote for me" or "Come to my church." That makes them not charity but bribery.
Agreed-- true charity comes without strings.

quote:
So frankly, what ever is most efficient at feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, and healing the sick is what is important and what Jesus would do. If that means taxing the wealthy to end the suffering of others, he would do so.
I'm afraid I can't agree on a scriptural or religious level (though on a political and social level, I agree: taxes should be raised and more services provided to those in need).

Can you show why you believe this to be true using scriptural or religious sources?

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Dogbreath
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Scott: I've quoted this verse when talking to you before, actually, but look at why the Lord says he destroyed the city of Sodom:

quote:
Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.
(Ezekiel 16)

You'll note from Genesis he didn't just strike individuals in Sodom, he destroyed the whole frikkin' city with fire and brimstone.

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Dogbreath
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Actually, if you randomly open your Bible to any place in the latter half of the Old Testament (the Major and Minor Prophets) you'll have a hard time finding a page where the nation of Israel isn't being blasted for their neglect of the poor, hungry, widows, orphans, and aliens. Not individuals in Israel, mind you, the nation.
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Scott R
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quote:
Scott: I've quoted this verse when talking to you before, actually, but look at why the Lord says he destroyed the city of Sodom
Have you? I don't remember.

I agree that a nation that neglects its duties to the poor is under divine condemnation. I'm not sure that there's specific biblical proof that says that aid is to be handled by the government rather than by individuals, or heck, by communities of like-minded individuals volunteering funds.

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Dogbreath
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The fact that in ancient Israel the church and state were more or less congruous muddies the water to some extent. (though even then, there were distinct royal and ecclesiastical power structures. The king didn't speak for God - indeed, a man of God had the authority to rebuke a king (like Nathaniel with David), though depending on the king, that didn't always work out too well for the Prophet...)

It was awhile ago, come to think of it, I may have just mentioned Ezekiel in passing.

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The Rabbit
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quote:
The fact that in ancient Israel the church and state were more or less congruous muddies the water to some extent.
It doesn't really muddy the issue much since the association of a nation with a political state is something very modern (last two centuries at most). I mostly agree with Scott on this. It's a misreading of the Bible if we assume nation to mean "government".

I do agree with you that the scriptures support the idea that communities have a collective responsibility to care for the poor and the sick. To me, this is only logical since poverty is social problem, not just a personal problem. As individuals, we can give to the poor but it takes a community to address the underlying social, political, economic and cultural factors that perpetuate poverty.

I think there are many ways, at least in theory, that a "People" can fulfill that collective responsibility. But in modern American society, the government is the only organization to which we all belong. It is the only body through which we can act 'As the American People'. If we do not support Government involvement (of some kind) in caring for each other, I think we are shirking that collective responsibility. I think there is plenty of room for discussing what might be the most effective type of government involvement -- but I think Christianity does in fact require us to support some type of government involvement.

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Scott R
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quote:
=I think Christianity does in fact require us to support some type of government involvement.
Why?
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kmbboots
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quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:

I do agree with you that the scriptures support the idea that communities have a collective responsibility to care for the poor and the sick. To me, this is only logical since poverty is social problem, not just a personal problem. As individuals, we can give to the poor but it takes a community to address the underlying social, political, economic and cultural factors that perpetuate poverty.

Rabbit, that reminds me of the famous quotation of Dom Helder Camara, "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why they are poor, they call me a communist."
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The Rabbit
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quote:
Originally posted by Scott R:
quote:
=I think Christianity does in fact require us to support some type of government involvement.
Why?
In a modern secular democracy like the USA, what other options are there for us to act "as a People". Christians aren't simply supposed to want to be righteous individuals, we are supposed to want to build righteous communities and nations. A righteous community is not the same thing as a group of righteous individuals. Most sins, such murder, adultery, theft, or lying, are committed by individuals. The sin of neglecting the needy is something the scriptures ascribe to communities. Righteous communities work together to care for the poor.

The only organization that represents the American People as a whole is the US government. It is the only avenue we have to act deliberately as a people rather than as individuals. Choosing to act together deliberately "As one People" to help the poor does something that could not be accomplished simply by everyone acting independently on the problem.

Let me make a comparison -- Why are we encouraged to have family prayer? If all the members of the family pray individually, why should a family need to pray together?

[ February 13, 2012, 03:48 PM: Message edited by: The Rabbit ]

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Dogbreath
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quote:
Originally posted by Scott R:
quote:
=I think Christianity does in fact require us to support some type of government involvement.
Why?
Because as a democratic nation, we *are* the government, and as such assume responsibility for it's actions in a way that wouldn't really be applicable to a theocracy or monarchy.
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Rakeesh
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quote:
I agree that a nation that neglects its duties to the poor is under divine condemnation. I'm not sure that there's specific biblical proof that says that aid is to be handled by the government rather than by individuals, or heck, by communities of like-minded individuals volunteering funds.
If God will hold the nation accountable for the charity, or lack thereof, of it's people, doesn't that amount to a de facto requirement that the nation-somehow-see to it sufficient charity of the right type is being done? The one seems to follow pretty plainly from the other: if a group is to be punished (quite badly, if severe enough) for failure, doesn't it have a duty-if only for preservation-to see that success is achieved?
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Scott R
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quote:
If God will hold the nation accountable for the charity, or lack thereof, of it's people, doesn't that amount to a de facto requirement that the nation-somehow-see to it sufficient charity of the right type is being done?
Are you suggesting that religious prerogatives be enacted into law?
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Jake
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Scott, are you arguing in good faith here? I'll believe you if you say yes, but the question occurs to me.
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Scott R
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quote:
Originally posted by Jake:
Scott, are you arguing in good faith here?

Yes.

quote:
I'll believe you if you say yes, but the question occurs to me.
For future reference, when I'm not arguing in good faith, I'm a lot more flippant.

quote:
Why are we encouraged to have family prayer? If all the members of the family pray individually, why should a family need to pray together?
Again, the question for me is not whether the gospel supports a culture that participates in alleviating the needs of the poor. Obviously, it does. I question whether the gospel supports the idea of forced charitable giving.
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Jake
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quote:
Originally posted by Scott R:
quote:
Originally posted by Jake:
Scott, are you arguing in good faith here?

Yes.
Fair enough.

quote:
For future reference, when I'm not arguing in good faith, I'm a lot more flippant.
: laugh : Noted.
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kmbboots
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quote:
Originally posted by Scott R:
quote:
If God will hold the nation accountable for the charity, or lack thereof, of it's people, doesn't that amount to a de facto requirement that the nation-somehow-see to it sufficient charity of the right type is being done?
Are you suggesting that religious prerogatives be enacted into law?
I think that, in a multi-cultural, multi-religion society we can not in fairness enact into law specific religious beliefs unless they can be demonstrated to provide an objective secular good. I don't think that this is a contradiction to believing that our creating a more equitable society, one which makes caring for the sick and the poor a priority (in addition to being a demonstrable good) would make Jesus happy.
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Hobbes
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"an objective secular good"

What is that? It seems like you're arguing for moral abolutism but entirely within a secualr context which strikes me as a difficult thing to have (and unlikely that the country would agree with). Otherwise the only possible definition I see is based on majority vote (e.g. we all agree murder is bad) in which case secular or religious aren't meaningful distinctions anymore.

Hobbes [Smile]

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kmbboots
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"Secular" good was poor phrasing. I wasn't happy with it. I mean to indicate a good that isn't tied to any particular religion. Religion X may consider that blue belly buttons please the gods but cannot demonstrate how that is helpful to society in general.
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Hobbes
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Making my question more general then: how would you determine: "helpful to society in general."? Seems like to determine that you still need a majority vote (which again removed the distinction between religious and secular motivation). Any other solution I can think of is either some variation on that (i.e. our current representitive democracy in a sense lets a small group of people, legistlators and judges, determine it but since they're voted in it's close enough to the same) or is no longer within the bounds of the consitution.

Hobbes [Smile]

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kmbboots
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Honestly, I have very little interest in parsing "good". I understand that such conversations are interesting to some on a philosophical level and that is cool. I find them tiresome.
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