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Forum Post: Question for Christian republicans and libertarians....

Posted 2 years ago on Jan. 13, 2012, 6:32 p.m. EST by buphiloman (840)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

You are so opposed to "collectivism" and you value individual freedom and responsibility.

So what do you make of Christ's prayer in the Garden (John 17):

“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me."

He seems to be saying that we are all one. In "completely unity". This sounds to me like collectivism. How does a Christian call themselves rich when their brothers and sisters are yet poor? That's disunity.

How do you rectify your desire to keep your wealth to yourself while others suffers, with Christ's desire that we live in complete unity with one another?

67 Comments

67 Comments


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[-] 3 points by beautifulworld (20721) 2 years ago

I think this selfish "If you're poor or unemployed, blame yourself" mentality has deep roots in our history.

Many Christians today still adhere to the Protestant work ethic that grew out of the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century (whether they know it or not). Our country is really founded on the Protestant work ethic. Think of the Puritans. Max Weber wrote "The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism" to outline how capitalism developed from this belief that it was godly to work hard and accumulate wealth for oneself to invest. Material accumulation, therefore, became a thing of pride. If someone didn't have wealth, they didn't work hard and weren't "godly." Today, it is a convenient way to justify being callous toward the poor.

I also think we are beginning to move away from the aftermath of the Protestant Reformation. It will take a long time as any watershed period in history does, but the era of the Industrial Revolution and ensuing capitalism is beginning to change. There has been a technical revolution, after-all, but no economic, social or political change to meet up with it - yet.

[-] 2 points by ithink (761) from York, PA 2 years ago

wow good insight, about the protestant work ethic. I was raised this way completely, except for the God part.. yeesh, doesn't that pretty much describe American culture..

"That it was good to work hard and accumulate wealth for oneself to invest. Material accumulation, therefore, became a thing of pride. If someone didn't have wealth, they didn't work hard and weren't doing the right thing"

[-] 4 points by beautifulworld (20721) 2 years ago

'Tis the crux of the matter, methinks.

[-] -1 points by justhefacts (1275) 2 years ago

Your constant claim that everyone who disagrees with you has the "if you're poor or unemployed, blame yourself" mentality is uninformed, arrogant, and completely insulting.

Your characterization of Weber is also lacking. According to the book "Max Weber: an intellectual portrait" by Reinhard Bendix:

"In the analysis of his findings, Weber maintained that Calvinist (and more widely, Protestant) religious ideas had had a major impact on the social innovation and development of the economic system of the West, but noted that they were not the only factors in this development. Other notable factors mentioned by Weber included the rationalism of scientific pursuit, merging observation with mathematics, science of scholarship and jurisprudence, rational systematisation and bureaucratisation of government administration and economic enterprise."

[-] 2 points by beautifulworld (20721) 2 years ago

It is a well-known thesis, just the facts. It is in every basic World History textbook.

[-] -1 points by justhefacts (1275) 2 years ago

Exactly. And it is also well known that many of Weber's peers disagreed with his thesis.

[-] 2 points by beautifulworld (20721) 2 years ago

Most historians, today, do not disagree with it.

[-] 2 points by JoeTheFarmer (2654) 2 years ago

Actually most Christians are very charitable.

  1. Most homeless shelters are run by churches.
  2. Most soup kitchens are run by churches.
  3. The Salvation Army is a Christian Organization.
  4. Habitat for Humanity is a Christian organization.
  5. Christian youth groups do several weeks of charity work in the summer.
  6. Most of the food brought to our local food bank is brought by Christians.
  7. Samaritan's Purse is one of the largest worldwide charities and is Christian

The list goes on and on.

[-] 3 points by shoozTroll (17632) 2 years ago

They also vote for the politicians that make more people need these services.

It's not what you donate.

It's what you do.

[-] 2 points by beautifulworld (20721) 2 years ago

Great point, shooz.

[-] 1 points by JoeTheFarmer (2654) 2 years ago

Who said anything about donating. You volunteer hours for Habitat for Humanity building houses for people. You plant, weed, tend, harvest, and deliver food for Americas Grow a Row. http://americasgrowarow.org/

It is a lot harder than voting.

Please let me know what policy makes people need these services and who sponsored the legislation.

[-] 1 points by shoozTroll (17632) 2 years ago

(R)epelicans!!!!!!!!!!!!

The most economic and socially damaging party in the history of our nation.

And to think..............They used to be pretty good.

Not anymore.

If you were paying attention, it would be obvious.

[-] 1 points by JoeTheFarmer (2654) 2 years ago

I have no faith in either of the TWO parties in power,

To me it seems no matter which of the two parties have the majority, we get the same foreign policies, the same domestic policies, the same monetary policies, the same crony capitalism, the same, the same, the same.

For 2009 and 2010 Democrats had two thirds of the House of Representatives, most of the Senate, and the White House. Nothing changed. "Yes We Can!" turned into "No We Won't!"

[-] 1 points by shoozTroll (17632) 2 years ago

Typical deflection.

What were they busy with for most of those two years?

What have the (R)epelicans been busy with ever since?

[-] 1 points by JoeTheFarmer (2654) 2 years ago

Ever since... The republicans have no were near the majority that Dems had in 2009 and 2010.

The problem is that the Republicans are not in power. They have put forth several jobs bills and several budgets however Harry Reid refuses to bring them to the floor in the Senate. He will not even bring them up for debate!

[-] 1 points by shoozTroll (17632) 2 years ago

More deflection.

You didn't address either question.

Besides, there hasn't been too many republicans around since Eisenhower.

(R)epelicans took over when Nixon utter his most famous comment................................................................................................................"I am not a crook!"

He was, and they've been ever since.

(R)epelicans are crooks!!!!!

[-] 1 points by JoeTheFarmer (2654) 2 years ago

I answered both questions.

They were busy putting forth 15 jobs bills that Harry Read(D) refused to bring to the floor of the Senate. In fact Reid even blocked a vote on Obama's jobs bill. It is typical partisan politics.

I hold to my original premise that they are really both the same party.

No matter which of the two parties have the majority, we get the same foreign policies, the same domestic policies, the same monetary policies, the same crony capitalism, the same, the same, the same.

[-] 1 points by shoozTroll (17632) 2 years ago

If they are both the same party?

Which one do you usually vote for?

[-] 1 points by JoeTheFarmer (2654) 2 years ago

I have voted for members of three parties depending on the election local, state and federal.

Last election I did not pick a president and only pulled levers for the local candidates and issues because I did not like Obama, McCain, Nader or Barr.

[-] 1 points by buphiloman (840) 2 years ago

Amen and well said Shooz!

[-] 0 points by bethlany88 (134) from Vancouver, WA 2 years ago

Many Christians are torn because Republicans better represent the typical christian moral stand on pro life, homosexuality etc., however they can be fiscally irresponsible and devastate the economy. So what do Christians do? Vote for a president who believes in saving unborn lives or for a president who believes in saving us money? Thats a hard one IMHO. As to your quote above, in that scripture it is saying the "church" christians should be one, not referring to "all of us" as we are not all christian. It is not scripturally wrong for a person of faith to be wealthy/rich...this is usually considered a blessing, however Christians are commanded to help their fellow man who is need with this blessing and not horde wealth, and also to give back to the church 10% who is "suppose" to be putting that money back into the world to also support and minister to all mankind. If a Christian does NOT use his blessings of wealth to care for others, than that is something that God will judge and deal with, as this is scriptually wrong. This is why it says it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven, because so often wealth corrupts, and leads one to greed. This too is why it says "The LOVE of money is the root of all evil." NOT money, but the LOVE of money. When you love Money more than fellow man, and God, and what he asks us to do with our money then one falls and can not walk in peace with God....nor enter the kingdom of heavin according to the Bible.

[-] 1 points by buphiloman (840) 2 years ago

@JoeTheFarmer...please have a look at my response to justhefacts above. What Christians give as a percentage of their total income is not that high. And what do you suppose would happen to the overall amount of charitable giving by Christians, if such giving were no longer tax deductible? Do you think the the high rates of charitable giving are not influenced by the fact that the gov't keeps such gifts tax deductible?

[-] 0 points by JoeTheFarmer (2654) 2 years ago

To your points.

You have no idea what Christians give or what portion of the worlds wealth the control. Many, many Christians are poor and to discount their charitable work because you think Christians control the wealth is silly. The fact is that most Americans are Christians. There are also many rich Muslims and atheists in the world.

No one gives to charity for a tax deduction. It is nice to get one however it is a losing proposition. If you give a $1 you save $0.28 on you taxes.

Charity is not just about giving money. People often volunteer with time and labor at soup kitchens, food pantries, thrift shops, scouting charitable events. I often see Christians at these events like Habitat for Humanity which is a Christian Ministry.

Several church groups support my favorite local charity Americas Grow a Row. The good work is almost entire based on labor and not money. http://americasgrowarow.org

A Stanford University study showed Christians give more to secular charities than non-believers do. The data consisted of nearly 30,000 observations drawn from 50 communities across the United States.

[-] 0 points by LaraLittletree (-850) from Scarsdale, NY 2 years ago

bravo...for the positive post. How about Catholic Charities,,,helps the neediest cases in NYC and elsewhere you are a patriot..God bless you.

[-] 2 points by DiMasciosBridge (170) from Washington, DC 2 years ago

I think it's important to point out that many American Christians, (especially those on the far-right), don't try to understand the "truth" as seen by Christ. If they did, they'd be actual Christ-like people, but they don't claim to be Christ-like do they? They claim to be Christians. Hmmm?

[-] -1 points by justhefacts (1275) 2 years ago

I think it's important to point out that many people-especially those on the left-have NO concept of who Jesus really was because they ignore everything Jesus said or did that doesn't conform to their idea of "social justice". These people wouldn't recognize Jesus Christ if they met him on the street, so of course they don't see His followers either.

[-] 2 points by Phanya2011 (908) from Tucson, AZ 2 years ago

Christ came along when we needed this lesson, but apparently it didn't take. Instead, we have chosen as a people to believe the ideas that promote separateness rather than community. All of us need to ask ourselves which of our beliefs we actually hold and which ones have been passed along to us and accepted without question. Some such apparent beliefs are: a person's value is directly proportionate to how much money he/she makes. A college education is more valuable than a trade. Far more emphasis is put on competition than on cooperation, yet cooperation is the only way important things actually get done. We also seem to believe that it is okay if you merely profess to believe something, without actually living according to such beliefs. We would not have eliminated habeas corpus if it were a true core value. Each of us should reevaluate our belief system and weed out those things that we don't actually agree with. Check out www.Ted,com for some truly innovative thinking about a wide variety of subjects.

[-] 1 points by alexrai (851) 2 years ago

You can add "for the love of money is the root of all evil" to the list as well...

I have no idea how that translates into being an individualistic culture which practices competitive materialism more so than the teachings of its own leader.... but it is what it is I guess.

Thanks for the quote tho, every once in a while I forget that Jesus did seem to know what was up.

[-] 1 points by buphiloman (840) 2 years ago

Love the TED site/conferences.

And I commend you for thinking seriously about your own beliefs. Too few people, these days, seem to be able to dispassionately think about their beliefs and the logical implications of their beliefs. This is particularly irksome when you get a political party as a result that wants to make political capital out of the Christian religion. Both our politics, and the Christian faith, would be better off if this cynical manipulative bullshit was seen for what it is.

[-] 0 points by justhefacts (1275) 2 years ago

Christ ALSO said that He came not to bring peace, but a sword, division. Belief in Him will cause members of households to rise up against each other.

Christ told His followers NOT to be "of the world" and never to partner righteousness with lawlessness.

Christ told His followers NOT to be concerned with the burdens of this world, and not to worry or obsess about money or things-"Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?...But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you."

[-] 1 points by debndan (1145) 2 years ago

I was a Christian Republican for a very good reason, A respect for life that many in the democratic do not share.

Along with this, many Dems have an open contempt for christians, though this is waning it seems.

In other words, the republicans in the past have affirmed many deeply held beliefs of christian where Dems were typically hostile. So that slowly, over time, many christians began to affirm GOP values as well, till it was well blended.

Only in recent years has it become apparent that the GOP leaders only value money and power, things that we christians should place no value in.

with this, some Dems have been more receptive to bible believing christians, and some Dems are actually pro-life now.

So, I would say that a political re-alighnment is due. Hopefully christian conservatives will stop voting against their communities best intrest, and start following the teachings of Jesus.

Because their leaders arn't christian, their atheistic and Mormon, both work toward their own ends and believe others misfortunes are not theirs to worry about.

[-] 1 points by JadedCitizen (4277) 2 years ago

My grandmother, aka Mema, was a devoted religious person: active in the church, put money in the coffer plate every week, gave to charities, and preached to us grandchildren daily about following god's teaching. During my preteen years, I spent every Sunday in church, followed by Sunday School. I believed in the goodness of Christianity and I looked up to my Mema.

One hot summer day at my Mema's house, out of the blue, this old man, aged beyond his years, appeared at the screen door. Long ago, his clothes had turned ragged. Gray tangled hair languished from his head and disappeared behind his stooped shoulders. Dirt collected like coffee grains in the ends of the sweat lines rolling down his brow.

The poor wretch spoke in a timid voice through the screen door. He begged for a little water.

My Mema rose out of her chair, looked the old man over. He bore the scrutiny. For a moment, he seemed immune to her pity, then his eyes bowed downward.

My Mema told him to wait while she peddled off to the kitchen to fetch a cup of water. It was very hot, and I was surprised she had not offered him the chance to come cool off next to the air conditioner unit in the window. Soon, she returned, the door spring creaked as she opened the door a little ways to hand him the cup.

She spoke very kindly and said some blessings for his well being while he drank. He clearly cherished the refreshing water, but had the good grace to stop now and again to thank her for the water. Eventually, with cup emptied, he handed it back to my Mema, thanking her all the while.

The screen door closed.

The old man hesitated, reluctant to leave. An awkward moment of silence hung in the air. Finally, the old man shambled back out into the hot sun and down the sidewalk.

I distinctly remember the first thing my Mema said after he was out of earshot, "We will have to sterilize this cup with hot water before we use it again".

I was about ten, maybe eleven, or so at the time. After that, I didn't have quite so much belief in the good of Christianity.

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[-] 0 points by betuadollar (-313) 2 years ago

The concept of an economic "social justice" is little more than a thorn in the side of anyone who believes in economic freedom. As such it is pure fantasy; no one in this country or any other will ever voluntarily give up his possessions, whether acquired through work ethic of otherwise, to the benefit of the downtrodden, especially if it appears that many, if not all, have squandered the opportunities afforded them. But that's exactly what happens in America - we have the opportunity and we squander it.

[-] 0 points by betuadollar (-313) 2 years ago

I think what you may have inadvertently applied here is a rather perverse spin. When Jesus here suggests that we should be as one he is suggesting a common mindset as a community of believers (which is evolutionary). His words are not a reference to economics, or an economic equality, in any shape or form; these words are intended to offer hope, which America today, is sadly lacking.

[-] 1 points by buphiloman (840) 2 years ago

If his message was not economic in "any way shape or form" then why did the early church sell all their property and belongings, to live in community, and help the poor?

[-] 0 points by betuadollar (-313) 2 years ago

In this particular verse, Jesus speaks of the "glory" and "love" of the unified community. There is absolutely no reference whatsoever to one's economics, material possessions, or an economic equality; there is no need.

Christians do help the poor. But even if they didn't, the average American middle class taxpayer is already contributing far more than the 10% suggested here to the mutual benefit of the populace, to include the poor.

So what is it you are suggesting? The rich will NEVER permit legislation that requires the redistribution of any of their wealth.

The middle class don't get it - there's plenty of opportunity in America; why do you squander it, why not take advantage?

[-] 1 points by buphiloman (840) 2 years ago

I said the following in a reply below:

It's ludicrous to think that the unity of all with all would not have an economic component. The early church understood this clearly. As it is recorded in the Book of the Acts of the Apostles (2:42-47) that the early church existed as a social commune:

42 The believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, to the community, to their shared meals, and to their prayers. 43 A sense of awe came over everyone. God performed many wonders and signs through the apostles. 44 All the believers were united and shared everything. 45 They would sell pieces of property and possessions and distribute the proceeds to everyone who needed them. 46 Every day, they met together in the temple and ate in their homes. They shared food with gladness and simplicity. 47 They praised God and demonstrated God’s goodness to everyone. The Lord added daily to the community those who were being saved.

This passage deliberate echos and fulfills John 17. And it is about their economics. They sold their possessions and gave up their property for the good of others. Where is this happening in the church in the 20th century? Where is anyone selling off their private property for the good of their fellow congregants? The trend in our time is for each to look after their own

The fact is, there is not plenty of opportunity in America. There is less and less opportunity everyday, people lose jobs, homes, health, family, sanity...all so that bankers can continue to pad their already gorged wallets. it's sickening.

[-] 0 points by LaraLittletree (-850) from Scarsdale, NY 2 years ago

you are too negative,,,where is your joy? you sound green with envy.. you need to break out of this hostile mind set....before you get involved w/ this group...you r too screwed up.

[-] 1 points by buphiloman (840) 2 years ago

Your concern is touching. But on the contrary, this movement has brought me great joy. There is nothing more joyful than thinking and seeing clearly, and certainly I do not in anyway envy the 1%. I could never sleep if I made more than I needed to live. I will never be wealthy. I don't want to be.

[-] 0 points by LaraLittletree (-850) from Scarsdale, NY 2 years ago

I can not enter into a dialogue with any one who uses this 1% and 99% baloney, as the basis for debate. This whole !%.& 99% concept is a creation from david axelrod, George Soros, fat cat union thugs. paid off politicians and other manipulators.

[-] 1 points by buphiloman (840) 2 years ago

It's okay. You don't need to say another word Lara. If I want to know more about what you think of OWS (and I most certainly fucking do not) I can always just turn on Glenn beck. You are obviously parroting his sub-mental bullshit instead of thinking for yourself.

[-] 0 points by FarIeymowat (49) 2 years ago

He was talking to his followers. Are you one of his followers? If you are, you would understand the statement. Real Christians do more collectively for the poor than any government could possibly do. Many give 10% or more of their income to charitable causes. Do you?

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[-] 0 points by TIOUAISE (2526) 2 years ago

AGREE.

And if that prayer was not clear enough, Jesus also cried out: "Woe unto the rich!"

He did not HATE the rich, mind you, but in the case of the sociopathically greedy, BOY did he love to kick their butts! :)

[-] 1 points by buphiloman (840) 2 years ago

"sociopathically greedy" is a nice turn of phrase. there is something terribly sociopathic/compulsive about the greed of the .01%.

[-] 1 points by FarIeymowat (49) 2 years ago

Jesus said it was easier for the "camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven." Are the poor in this country among the rich of the world?

[-] 0 points by FarIeymowat (49) 2 years ago

Yes. He told the rich that they," have their reward in full." Sad.

[-] -1 points by justhefacts (1275) 2 years ago

Jesus never touched their butts. Never took their money. Never demanded that Rome redistribute the income of the Romans. He told them to enjoy their "reward" here because there would be none later for them. And He told the "poor" not to covet what they did not have.

Here's a link to brush up on what the Bible says about "wealth". http://www.gracecentered.com/what_the_Bible_says_about_money.htm

[-] 0 points by TIOUAISE (2526) 2 years ago

LOL

He chased them out of the Temple with a WHIP!!!!

And he yelled at them : "Woe unto the rich!" And he predicted that they would burn in hell.

And he told a parable about the rich sociopath who refused to share with the poor and ended up as roast pork.

Naturally, this is very distubing to the "Irreligious Right", so they try their best to convince their gullible flock that "Jesus didn't really mean it that way"...

[-] -2 points by justhefacts (1275) 2 years ago

He chased the money changers out of the Temple. Because they were defiling the Temple. He had plenty of "rich" friends and dined and stayed with them without saying a word about their "wealth".

In the parable of the "rich sociopath" what happened to the poor man Lazarus who was left at his gate? Was justice not done to and for both? And Jesus never even hinted that something or someone like OWS should have stepped in did He?

And you know what Jesus said after He said "Wo unto the rich?"

"27 But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, 28 Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you. 29 And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloak forbid not to take thy coat also. 30 Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again. 31 And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise. 32 For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them. 33 And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same. 34 And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again. 35 But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. 36 Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful."

Real Christians know that Christ expects them to be meek, to return evil with goodness, to love those the most who deserve it the least. Christ taught them that MONEY and the things of this world are meaningless so to be outraged about having less of them than someone else would be completely stupid. Real Christians expect GOD and God alone to exact and enact justice upon all, and find it their 1st duty to live as they have been commanded-not demand it from others.

[-] 1 points by TIOUAISE (2526) 2 years ago

Typical SPIN from the "Irreligious Right"!

justhefacts has ZERO credibility as a LONG-OUTED T R O L L

[-] -1 points by justhefacts (1275) 2 years ago

Exactly WHAT did I "spin" from the Bible. Please illustrate exactly what I misrepresented.

[-] 0 points by TIOUAISE (2526) 2 years ago

"Blessed are those who thirst and hunger for justice!" taught Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount.

And ALL the Jewish Prophets had a central focus on SOCIAL JUSTICE!

[-] -1 points by justhefacts (1275) 2 years ago

Total spin on your part.

"Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled."

[-] 0 points by TIOUAISE (2526) 2 years ago

Do you have any idea HOW MANY different translations of the Bible exist, in English alone???

[-] -1 points by justhefacts (1275) 2 years ago

Do you have any idea that the people who wrote the Bible were NOT "English"?????

[-] 0 points by TIOUAISE (2526) 2 years ago

Do you know what language Jesus taught in?

[-] -1 points by justhefacts (1275) 2 years ago

I wasn't actually present when Jesus taught. Were you? Aramaic was His first language, but the original New Testament was written in Greek with Hebrew and Aramaic references.

None of which are "English", nor do they translate readily and easily into English.

[-] 1 points by TIOUAISE (2526) 2 years ago

Where did I claim that Jesus taught in English??? LOL

Jesus spoke Aramaic, which was the language of the people. Paul chose to write in Greek and that simple switch to Greek posed major problems, as Aramaic and Greek are two VERY different languages, based on widely different concepts.

That's why many say that so-called Christianity is in fact "Paulism".

[-] -1 points by America921 (161) 2 years ago

I'm Christian and I gave 65,000 dollars last year to charity. Why because I believe it is right. When he said in Unity he meant in Peace. There are many ways to interpret the Bible. But don't try to bash Christians. It's beneath you.

[-] -1 points by justhefacts (1275) 2 years ago

Clearly you do not understand Christianity or the Bible.

You omitted the verses before John 17:20. In them, Christ says:

9 "I pray for them. (His disciples) I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours."

In vs 20 He continues that He's not just praying for His disciples, but those who come to know Christ, and believe in Him, because of those disciples.

You'll also note that He says He gave them "the glory" to become one with Him. Not money. Nor did He make them "equal" to one another in any way. Nor did He state that "money" had anything to do with the unity He's talking about.

Christians are the most generous charitable givers across the board and statistics prove that. They also give the most TIME to those who are in need-actually taking CARE of those who suffer-while people like you scream and hold up signs. Christ makes it perfectly clear in the Bible that the people of this world will NOT, EVER live together in unity and that they will in fact get worse and worse until He returns to rectify the situation.

[-] 2 points by buphiloman (840) 2 years ago

@Justhefacts

Actually I understand Christianity quite well, as it is my own faith, a faith I studied in seminary.

Your arguments are fallacious. To begin with, even if Christ were praying that only the believers should be as one, given the fact that he also committed his disciples to preach the gospel to every creature, it follows that his vision was for the ultimate unity and community of all creatures and all humans. Second, it's ludicrous to think that the unity of all with all would not have an economic component. The early church understood this clearly. As it is recorded in the Book of the Acts of the Apostles (2:42-47) that the early church existed as a social commune:

42 The believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, to the community, to their shared meals, and to their prayers. 43 A sense of awe came over everyone. God performed many wonders and signs through the apostles. 44 All the believers were united and shared everything. 45 They would sell pieces of property and possessions and distribute the proceeds to everyone who needed them. 46 Every day, they met together in the temple and ate in their homes. They shared food with gladness and simplicity. 47 They praised God and demonstrated God’s goodness to everyone. The Lord added daily to the community those who were being saved.

This passage deliberate echos and fulfills John 17. And it is about their economics. They sold their possessions and gave up their property for the good of others. Where is this happening in the church in the 20th century? Where is anyone selling off their private property for the good of their fellow congregants? The trend in our time is for each to look after their own.

Which brings me to your third point, Christians do give a lot of money, that's true. But they also hold a disproportionately large amount of the worlds total wealth. And though they give, they tend to give very small amounts relative to the amount of wealth they hoard to themselves.

Finally, where, in the gospels, is it written that as you say the people of this world will NOT, EVER live together in unity and that they will in fact get worse and worse until He returns to rectify the situation. Where does the lord ever say such a thing. I cannot remember one place.

[-] -2 points by justhefacts (1275) 2 years ago

There are many congregations and Churches that take care of their own with gladness and simplicity. It is hardly necessary in today's day and age to "sell everything" or even anything in order to feed and clothe another person.

Christ committed His gospel to be preached to every creature and in every corner of the world. He never said every creature would accept it or desire to join His Kingdom.

God said to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, comfort the sick and visit the imprisoned. He said nothing about proportions. I'm NOT defending greed or hoarding of wealth. I'm defending God's laws about NOT JUDGING others according to what WE think they SHOULD be doing. If YOU have not sold your own possessions and distributed them to the poor, you have NO credibility at all in demanding that others do it. Your position of judging the hearts of ANY other person is something God ALSO calls evil. Motes and beams my friend.

Romans 2:1 "You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things."

And in Luke 12 when a man asks him to tell his brother to divide their father's inheritance with him, Jesus asks "Who made me the judge and arbitrator over such things? And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”

Try Mathew 24 for starters on how the Lord described the world before His return.

[-] 2 points by buphiloman (840) 2 years ago

I have been a member of many churches in my lifetime (my family moved quite a bit, and i have traveled a lot as an adult) some small, some very large, and aside from tithing and alms/mission giving, I have pretty much never heard or seen a church where anyone has ever, for instance, sold their home or their land in order to give the proceeds to poorer/needier members of the church or community. I have seen a lot of people giving money here and their to pay for the upkeep of the church, but none of the churches I belonged to ever oversaw the collection and redistribution of resources described in Act 2:42-27.

*God said to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, comfort the sick and visit the imprisoned. He said nothing about proportions. I'm NOT defending greed or hoarding of wealth. I'm defending God's laws about NOT JUDGING others according to what WE think they SHOULD be doing. *

This is an absurd argument. Clearly we as Christians can and should be in the business of critiquing our fellow Christians. We have an obligation to the poor, the sick, the imprisoned, the widowed, the infirm, the broken and suffering, we are supposed to be Christ for them. We cannot do this effectively if we think it is a sin to judge other Christians.

For Example, Paul and Jan Crouch, the owners of Trinity Broadcasting Network, are sitting on well over 1 Billion USD in total assets (see http://www.ministrywatch.com for their financials...in 2009 [the last year for data] they had 857,000,000.00 in Total Assets and they were bringing in 165,000,000.00 per year). It would be insane to think that as Christians we do not have an obligation to speak out against their obscene hoarding of wealth and callous disregard for the poor.

[-] -2 points by justhefacts (1275) 2 years ago

Again, if YOU as a Christian haven't done what you are calling on other Christians to do, you are a hypocrite. A whited sceplcre filled with dead bones.

That you have never seen or heard of a church that takes care of it's poor, does not mean there are no such churches. Of course many Churches aren't accepted as Christian even if they do take care of their poor.

Christ did not say "make sure someone takes care of the poor". He said YOU take care of them. When He separates the sheep from the goats-there is no reference to "if ye have spoken out about the fact that others have not given unto the least of these" you are a sheep, or if you have held anything back you are a goat. The condemnation is in NOT doing all YOU can or should do yourself.

[-] 1 points by buphiloman (840) 2 years ago

I am poor (I live below the poverty line, and I own no car or home), and I do give my time, money, and effort to helping the poor.

All you need do is show me one instance of a church where the wealthy congregants/parishioners are asked to sell their property in order to house/feed/clothe/educate the poor and I will concede the point.

Do you think it right that Paul Crouch has over 1,000,000,000.00 USD in total assets and yet he sits on gold plated lounge chair barking at the public for more money and promising them divine favor for donations and divine retribution for criticism?

[-] -1 points by justhefacts (1275) 2 years ago

I took a moment to think about what I was trying to say here, and clarify it for you. The Bible does not indicate that the early Church asked for, or demanded, or even suggested, that ANY of it's members "sell their property in order to house/feed/clothe/educate the poor". Your comments are based on the assumption that it does.

http://www.christnotes.org/commentary.php?com=mhc&b=44&c=4

http://www.christnotes.org/commentary.php?com=mhc&b=44&c=5

The links are to Matthew Henry’s commentary on Matthew 4 and 5, and they illustrate many things regarding how and what the “commune” style living of the early church you mentioned actually involved.

1) that the Church did not command, expect, or even ask those who had property or riches or possessions worth selling to consecrate them to the Church. It was entirely voluntary. 2) The early Church was a pure and holy establishment and those who were called by God to be apostles, and who with purity of heart volunteered or offered themselves to became apostles set themselves apart from the world by selling their worldly possessions and dedicating themselves to the work of God full time. 3) Many members were not able to devote their lives to the full time service of God and “kept back” that which they needed to survive and maintain their families and livelihoods –and simply gave that which was “over and above” those needs to the Church.

From Henry's commentary on 4 (link above):

“The disciples loved one another. This was the blessed fruit of Christ's dying precept to his disciples, and his dying prayer for them. Thus it was then, and it will be so again, when the Spirit shall be poured upon us from on high. The doctrine preached was the resurrection of Christ; a matter of fact, which being duly explained, was a summary of all the duties, privileges, and comforts of Christians. There were evident fruits of Christ's grace in all they said and did. They were dead to this world. This was a great evidence of the grace of God in them. They did not take away others' property, but they were indifferent to it. They did not call it their own; because they had, in affection, forsaken all for Christ, and were expecting to be stripped of all for cleaving to him. No marvel that they were of one heart and soul, when they sat so loose to the wealth of this world. In effect, they had all things common; for there was not any among them who lacked, care was taken for their supply. The money was laid at the apostles' feet. Great care ought to be taken in the distribution of public charity, that it be given to such as have need, such as are not able to procure a maintenance for themselves; those who are reduced to want for well-doing, and for the testimony of a good conscience, ought to be provided for. Here is one in particular mentioned, remarkable for this generous charity; it was Barnabas. As one designed to be a preacher of the gospel, he disentangled himself from the affairs of this life. When such dispositions prevail, and are exercised according to the circumstances of the times, the testimony will have very great power upon others.”

The average Christian today, is like the average Christian was then- not someone who has reached the point in their perfection of their faith and Christlikeness which allows them to relinquish all trust in the “mammon”/God of this world and put their trust completely in the God of Heaven and Earth. The Early Church leaders understood this and they did not require or even ask all members to do it. But it obviously the central hope and goal of Christianity to bring as many human beings as possible to that point because it is upon that principle that the salvation of God pivots.

Another one of the GRAND principles of Christianity is the belief that "all things" on Earth are God's, and belong to Him." Right?

In the Bible God basically says-"Now that you are a Christian, you understand that everything you and everyone else has, is mine, and that you are only stewards over the stuff I have given you. You may find at certain times in your life that you have more of my stuff than you need, so I will place the people in your life who need that exact stuff so you can pass it along to them from Me. Please let them know it's from Me to them too...that's REALLY important."

God does NOT basically say: "Now that you are a Christian, you are part of the elite group to which I have granted complete authority to make sure that my stuff is equally and fairly distributed everywhere. If you see someone else-especially another CHRISTIAN-who has more of my stuff than anyone else does, it is your duty and obligation to call them out on it loudly and repeatedly. If that doesn't guilt them into sharing my stuff, then find a way to take it from them and give it to whomever you deem needs my stuff."

[-] 1 points by buphiloman (840) 2 years ago

Another one of the GRAND principles of Christianity is the belief that "all things" on Earth are God's, and belong to Him." Right?

Try telling that to Goldman Sachs, see how long it takes them to call security.