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  1. #21
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    Re: Who is my neighbor?

    Quote Originally Posted by Talthas View Post
    If they are doing this, then they are not actively involved in doing personal actions of charity toward another person. Either they are passively submitting to the State to determine who is a worthy recipient of charity or they are serving the State directly, not the person who has been designated by the State as a worthy recipient of charity.

    Are there no homeless people where you live? Jesus' gospel was about loving people where you are, with what you have, in the present moment, as it is and as they are right now. It wasn't about giving your money to a huge collectivist group so that they can decide for you what the correct moral choice is.

    But he did it where he was, with what he had. He didn't just hand the guy over to Centurions or the Pharisees and say, "this guy needs help.. I've paid my taxes, so I have contributed to this guy's health... fix him." He also didn't say, "the Romans will reimburse you out of the money I paid them this year in taxes."

    You insist on comparing apples to oranges. The situation in the Parable of the Good Samaritan is not the same as the one you are portraying. Continuing to insist that it is flies in the face of all evidence and all of the arguments which you have not yet rebutted.

    You're supposed to love everyone, everywhere. Even your worst enemy. Even the person who takes the money from you that is supposed to be used for food and runs in the liquor store. If he comes back and asks you for money again you are supposed to give it to him again, and again.

    So why can't you do both? Where you live and everywhere else.

    ---------- Post added at 11:43 PM ---------- Previous post was at 11:29 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by eye4magic View Post
    Today we call those charities and there are millions of them around the world and there could be millions more. They are often run by people volunteering their service and time helping other people in need (Matthew 25:31-46). And in a Christ-centered society, they would most likely run even more efficiently than they operate now.

    Government is in the business of governing and adjudicating the laws of the land. A Christ-centered government (as you suggested) would be in the business of adjudicating the law of the land whose fundamental principle would be empowering people to be more Christ-like since the government is following the teachings of Christ. What would a society of Christ-like people look like? The Good Samaritan in your OP is a great starting model. When people are more Christ-like and serve (help) their neighbor in need as a norm, the government can be free to do its business of adjudicating the law. It would have no need to be large and over-reaching to adjudicate the law of the land especially in a Christ-like society.


    I could agree with that. For example, we'd have far fewer nonsense cases clogging the courts as people would give freely and not bicker like the current property line dispute I'm in...3 inches *sheesh* and we'll probably be in court for years and waste untold thousands.

    However, I'd say that what would be best would be to transfer all of that energy into doing good and charity...public works, FEMA, education, healtcare and the like...so at the most government would stay the same size. Although I'd personally like to see it bigger.
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  2. #22
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    Re: Who is my neighbor?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried View Post
    Christ didn't instruct on the function of government, he instructed on human behavior and will. He does not define what is proper in one role or another, only what is appropriate as a human being and child of god.
    That doesn’t mean we couldn’t do as Cowboy suggested: “We have the ability to make our government conform to the teachings of Christ.”

    Christ didn’t instruct us in a number of things, but we have the fundamental principles. The principles work when applied and lived.

    And if those people want to sue government for charity? Should that government stop them? "
    In a government that conformed to the teachings of Christ, there would most likely be a harmonious relationship between the majority of the people and the government. A Christ-conforming government could not exist without a Christ-conforming society. Just as today, we deserve what we get in our leaders. Our leaders are a reflection of the people as a whole. In a government conformed to the teachings of Christ, the same equation would most likely play out.

    Do you think the neighbor really cares if a man hands him bread while wearing a uniform or not?
    It’s not about a uniform, it’s about the heart-to-heart. It’s about you and me loving our neighbor as our self and being honored for this responsibility and mandate. It's about the one-on-one contact. It's about serving the Christ in others. Who has this responsibility to extend the heart-to-heart to another in pain? The Good Samaritan parable addresses this directly. A Christ-conforming government would govern wisely and be concerned with the duties of government. A Christ-conforming people are given the mandate to be good Samaritans. (Matthew 25:31-46)

    Does Jesus really care?
    The fundamental commandment seems to answer that. If we love God and we love our neighbor, this equation (principle) of life works well.

    Why not have the government help people just as anyone else would?
    In a government that conforms to the teachings of Christ, the government would benefit by championing individual responsibly and having us be our brother’s keeper. Why? Because society would become more responsible, compassionate and sensitive-wise, to the pain of others, while government would be be free to do what it does best: adjudicate the laws of the land.

    Why not have the government be an extension of the will of those it represents? Why not have the virtue of charity be an a part of all aspects of life?
    It can do that by adjudicating the laws of the land, maintaining the peace and by helping to facilitate people helping and serving people.
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  3. #23
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    Re: Who is my neighbor?

    Quote Originally Posted by chadn737 View Post
    1) A fundamental difference between charities and the government is that I am not obligated to give to a charity if I think they misuse my money. I am obligated to give to the government. I have literally thousands of charities that I can choose to contribute too and evaluate based on the quality of performance. If I try to reallocate my funds away from the Government, the law will come after me. You do not have to give to the Catholic Church if you so choose.

    2) Our power to "make our government" do anything is limited. As majorities will rule, if I feel that Obamacare is a mishandling of my money, I have no power to make that conform or to reallocate my funds elsewhere. I am obligated under law. You money also goes to fund war. Is that charity or conforming to the teachings of Christ? If I were allowed to distribute my money at my own will, then I have complete control over its usage and can guarantee that it will go to things that will further Christ's kingdom.

    3) You completely failed to address my second and primary point in my original post. That obligatory redistribution removes the responsibility from the individual and ultimately the moral meaning behind it. When you have no choice in the matter, it is not a sacrifice.



    Your entire argument rests on the assumption that you are to receive something for your sacrafice...a just return, choice, quality of performance, "complete control", etc. which is not what Christ said at all. You should give freely and not expect anything in return.

    You sound like a home schooler that is miffed they have to pay property tax to support a school system they don't use. That misses the point entirely.

    In fact, you should give even if you KNOW you are being screwed and you should give MORE and should expect nothing in return...not even a tax deduction.


    Matthew 5:40-42
    21st Century King James Version (KJ21)
    40 And if any man will sue thee at the law and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also.
    41 And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him two.
    42 Give to him that asketh thee; and from him that would borrow of thee, turn not thou away.
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  4. #24
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    Re: Who is my neighbor?

    Quote Originally Posted by CowboyX View Post
    Your entire argument rests on the assumption that you are to receive something for your sacrafice...a just return, choice, quality of performance, "complete control", etc. which is not what Christ said at all. You should give freely and not expect anything in return.

    You sound like a home schooler that is miffed they have to pay property tax to support a school system they don't use. That misses the point entirely.

    In fact, you should give even if you KNOW you are being screwed and you should give MORE and should expect nothing in return...not even a tax deduction.


    Matthew 5:40-42
    21st Century King James Version (KJ21)
    40 And if any man will sue thee at the law and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also.
    41 And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him two.
    42 Give to him that asketh thee; and from him that would borrow of thee, turn not thou away.
    A swing and a miss. You have completely missed the point, although ironically, you touch on it without knowing it"

    "You should give freely"

    Taxes are not giving freely. The point of my argument is not that we should expect anything in return, but rather that what we give does not come from the heart and is not a freely given sacrifice. It completely looses its moral meaning. If I am robbed at gun point, then there is nothing moral or free in my giving up my money. It is not a personal sacrifice. Sacrifice is given, not taken.

    I think you completely miss the heart of Christ's command. Charity is a spiritual act that expects the giving to come freely from the heart and will of the person....not under force of law.
    I typically cite original research papers and reviews that are available only to a personal or institutional subscriptional. If you wish a PDF copy of the papers I cite, send me a request.

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  6. #25
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    Re: Who is my neighbor?

    Quote Originally Posted by CowboyX View Post
    You should give freely and not expect anything in return.
    And that’s the model of the millions of the charities around the world. People give freely, from their heart and expect nothing in return. So in your Christ-conforming government there would most likely be millions more charities in the country whose main objective is not only to receive financial donations freely, but they also depend on people, the individual loving heart freely being extended as the good Samaritan and volunteering to help feed the sick, house the poor, visit those in prison, and help those who are destitute and impoverished. So just like people serve a tour of duty in the military, perhaps in a Christ-conforming society, people would volunteer to serve a tour of duty at a local charity.

    As Chad points out, and as Christ teachings shows, we cannot enforce morality. Christ teachings acknowledges that “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle’ if the heart is not willing to give freely.

    That’s why a Christ-conforming government would most likely work to support the charity model which is at the ground level, in the trenches of society, where citizens, the individual can be involved in the process of service and giving the one-on-one heart contact to their neighbor in need. It is this personal contact, between the giver and the receiver at the heart level that allows the Spirit to move among us and bless society. It is transformative.

    Once people in a society are removed from the opportunity of serving their neighbor in need, as a norm, because some government far away is "taking care of it by sending a welfare check", it’s easy for a society to become insensitive toward the sufferings and pain of others and lose our natural compassion toward life. What we don't use, we tend to lose.
    Last edited by eye4magic; October 5th, 2013 at 02:15 PM.
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  7. #26
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    Re: Who is my neighbor?

    Quote Originally Posted by CowboyX View Post
    You're supposed to love everyone, everywhere. Even your worst enemy. Even the person who takes the money from you that is supposed to be used for food and runs in the liquor store. If he comes back and asks you for money again you are supposed to give it to him again, and again.
    This is another twisting of the intent of the Scriptures. The moral thing to do with someone in the situation above is to do what you can to help them turn their life around and stop their path of immorality which is leading to their poor state. Subsidizing immorality is not charity... it's not even a kindness. It's just perpetuating more of the same, and that is not something Jesus would have wanted. When Jesus came across sinners, He ate with them... taught them... told them to follow Him and turn their lives around. He did not instruct Judas to open the purse and hand them some money to go spend it on prostitutes and wine. Your analogy speaks even more loudly of your utter failure to understand the message of the Gospel.

    Quote Originally Posted by CowboyX
    I could agree with that. For example, we'd have far fewer nonsense cases clogging the courts as people would give freely and not bicker like the current property line dispute I'm in...3 inches *sheesh* and we'll probably be in court for years and waste untold thousands.

    However, I'd say that what would be best would be to transfer all of that energy into doing good and charity...public works, FEMA, education, healtcare and the like...so at the most government would stay the same size.
    All the State-run programs you have mentioned are not "charity" in anything remotely like the Christian sense of the word. They are nothing but state subsidies with no intrinsic moral value, because it is not individuals who are personally making the decision to help and then personally doing the things they have decided to do. All of the programs you've mentioned are nothing more than a bureaucrat or politician deciding what is most advantageous for them and their career, ordering someone else to set events in motion, and yet other people passing out money or goods or services that were not their own and which were taken from other people to those who the State has arbitrarily deemed are worthy to receive it.

    Real charity looks like a privately run soup kitchen, not a WIC program. It looks like a Church-run recreation center, not subsidized daycare. It looks like people putting their money together and working to repair or build a house for someone in need, not HUD or Section 8 housing projects.

    Charity is not about the State, which is a morally bankrupt and corrupt institution full of lies and greed. Charity is people having open hearts and then personally acting on what their hearts are moved to do in service to other people.

    And as a point of fact, Christians in America are among the most generous people in the world when it comes to donating their personal money, time, effort, and talents to helping the situation of those less fortunate than they are. We don't need the State to tell us who needs help and how we should be giving it to them. All we need is someone saying, "I need help," and if we have the ability, we give it. At least... that's how I was raised, and it's been the experience I've had at every church where I've been a member. I know it's not always like that because no institution is perfect... but that's how it's supposed to be.
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  8. #27
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    Re: Who is my neighbor?

    Quote Originally Posted by chadn737 View Post
    A swing and a miss. You have completely missed the point, although ironically, you touch on it without knowing it"

    "You should give freely"

    Taxes are not giving freely. The point of my argument is not that we should expect anything in return, but rather that what we give does not come from the heart and is not a freely given sacrifice. It completely looses its moral meaning. If I am robbed at gun point, then there is nothing moral or free in my giving up my money. It is not a personal sacrifice. Sacrifice is given, not taken.

    I think you completely miss the heart of Christ's command. Charity is a spiritual act that expects the giving to come freely from the heart and will of the person....not under force of law.

    You do give freely as you are free to be a member of this society or not. You can go live somewhere else, in another country or on the side of a mountain by yourself. You can hide your money in off-shore bank accounts like a greedy little miser and actively work through lobbyists to have your oh-so terrible tax burden reduced. Simply, you can choose to work against the system, or drop out, or you can work to make it better.

    ---------- Post added at 07:30 PM ---------- Previous post was at 07:14 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by Talthas View Post
    This is another twisting of the intent of the Scriptures. The moral thing to do with someone in the situation above is to do what you can to help them turn their life around and stop their path of immorality which is leading to their poor state. Subsidizing immorality is not charity... it's not even a kindness. It's just perpetuating more of the same, and that is not something Jesus would have wanted. When Jesus came across sinners, He ate with them... taught them... told them to follow Him and turn their lives around. He did not instruct Judas to open the purse and hand them some money to go spend it on prostitutes and wine. Your analogy speaks even more loudly of your utter failure to understand the message of the Gospel.
    Thanks for missing the entire point of the New Testament which is LOVE. Not judgement. Jesus is the epitome of love in that he loves you and gives to you even when you sin. Even when you directly sin against him he still loves you. The people that tortured him and murdered him he LOVED and forgave even as the blows were coming down.

    39"But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. Matthew 5:39

    (that's so he can hit you again on the other side, you're to let him do it)

    Try to remember that when you hear someone railing or passing judgement on another who maybe received food stamps they were 'entitled' to.




    ---------- Post added at 07:37 PM ---------- Previous post was at 07:30 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by Talthas View Post
    All the State-run programs you have mentioned are not "charity" in anything remotely like the Christian sense of the word. They are nothing but state subsidies with no intrinsic moral value, because it is not individuals who are personally making the decision to help and then personally doing the things they have decided to do. All of the programs you've mentioned are nothing more than a bureaucrat or politician deciding what is most advantageous for them and their career, ordering someone else to set events in motion, and yet other people passing out money or goods or services that were not their own and which were taken from other people to those who the State has arbitrarily deemed are worthy to receive it.

    Real charity looks like a privately run soup kitchen, not a WIC program. It looks like a Church-run recreation center, not subsidized daycare. It looks like people putting their money together and working to repair or build a house for someone in need, not HUD or Section 8 housing projects.

    Charity is not about the State, which is a morally bankrupt and corrupt institution full of lies and greed. Charity is people having open hearts and then personally acting on what their hearts are moved to do in service to other people.

    And as a point of fact, Christians in America are among the most generous people in the world when it comes to donating their personal money, time, effort, and talents to helping the situation of those less fortunate than they are. We don't need the State to tell us who needs help and how we should be giving it to them. All we need is someone saying, "I need help," and if we have the ability, we give it. At least... that's how I was raised, and it's been the experience I've had at every church where I've been a member. I know it's not always like that because no institution is perfect... but that's how it's supposed to be.
    That is just you opinion informed by your ideology and it is full of contradictions. There are many enormous charities that don't require any personal action ("personally doing the things they have decided to do") besides sending the check, the same as you send a check for your taxes (if you do).
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  9. #28
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    Re: Who is my neighbor?

    Quote Originally Posted by eye4magic View Post
    Once people in a society are removed from the opportunity of serving their neighbor in need, as a norm, because some government far away is "taking care of it by sending a welfare check", it’s easy for a society to become insensitive toward the sufferings and pain of others and lose our natural compassion toward life. What we don't use, we tend to lose.

    Just because that may happen doesn't mean the effort is bad or wrong.

    For example:



    Would you agree that this guy has "become insensitive toward the sufferings and pain of others"? It is obvious to me he has as he knows absolutely nothing about their situation.

    But does he have to? It seems the problem he has is with himself.
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    Re: Who is my neighbor?

    A third argument.

    Our government is not a religious one. It is not a Christian one. We have a secular government that must represent peoples of all beliefs and creeds. You using religious beliefs as justification for a policy. How is this different than the sort of "theocracy" the Left has been crying about for years?
    I typically cite original research papers and reviews that are available only to a personal or institutional subscriptional. If you wish a PDF copy of the papers I cite, send me a request.

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    Re: Who is my neighbor?

    Quote Originally Posted by chadn737 View Post
    A third argument.

    Our government is not a religious one. It is not a Christian one. We have a secular government that must represent peoples of all beliefs and creeds. You using religious beliefs as justification for a policy. How is this different than the sort of "theocracy" the Left has been crying about for years?

    That is the same mistake conservatives have made for years confusing religious worship or practice with religious teachings. No one is saying you have to accept communion to get your food stamps, or you have to join and attend church regularly, or wear a cross around your neck or as a lapel pin.
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  12. #31
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    Re: Who is my neighbor?

    Quote Originally Posted by CowboyX View Post
    That is the same mistake conservatives have made for years confusing religious worship or practice with religious teachings. No one is saying you have to accept communion to get your food stamps, or you have to join and attend church regularly, or wear a cross around your neck or as a lapel pin.
    huh? You are couching the reason we should do all this in religious teaching. That is to impose religious belief. If I were an atheist, then what would be the relevance of your argument other than to insist that I have to give up my money in accordance to your religious beliefs? That is theocracy no?
    I typically cite original research papers and reviews that are available only to a personal or institutional subscriptional. If you wish a PDF copy of the papers I cite, send me a request.

  13. #32
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    Re: Who is my neighbor?

    Quote Originally Posted by chadn737 View Post
    Our government is not a religious one. It is not a Christian one. We have a secular government that must represent peoples of all beliefs and creeds. You using religious beliefs as justification for a policy. How is this different than the sort of "theocracy" the Left has been crying about for years?
    Keep in mind the question here is why do you oppose supporting or allowing the state to provide charity. Not do you think the state is obligated to by the bible. Charity is a christian value and it strikes non-Christians as odd that a christian would oppose charity in any form not directly in violation of another moral value. (for instance giving away graven images as a charitable act would obviously make no sense).

    Some take separation of church and state too far. The idea is only that the state does not establish or endorse religion. That people vote with their own religious views in mind is perfectly appropriate. Religious views can easily find secular expression. An atheists distaste for religious arguments is often in the mix but I think its not a real argument that people can't support christian virtues in secular action.
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    Re: Who is my neighbor?

    Quote Originally Posted by CowboyX View Post
    You do give freely as you are free to be a member of this society or not. You can go live somewhere else, in another country or on the side of a mountain by yourself.
    That doesn’t address the principle that we cannot enforce morality without conflict. You brought in Christ’s teachings which teaches us this principle. You can’t make a person not lie, steal or give money to the poor without conflict. Yes, we can have laws that throw people in jail. Yes, we can have laws that force people to be moral. But that doesn’t work well. We have a lot of people in our jails. We also can't make a young healthy person pay a higher health insurance monthly premium rate for the same coverage that a person who is unhealthy yet has a lower rate.

    What would your Christ-conforming government do? What did Christ do? He sat and talked and ate with thieves and sinners and from this he was able to reach their hearts and championed them to change their lives. Why would they need to change their lives? Because he knew that he could not force thieves and sinners and the selfish and hard-hearted to change their ways unless they came to that realization on their own, unless there was a change of heart. A Christ-conforming government would understand this all too well.

    We can’t force people to help or give money to the poor who don’ t want to give without creating conflict. What we can do, as you suggested, is what Christ did. We can create a culture, a framework that facilitates the good Samaritan approach where people naturally and freely want to give from their heart because they are part of the process of this spiritual principle. That structure can also be a catalyst for people to change and open their hearts.
    Last edited by eye4magic; October 5th, 2013 at 05:25 PM.
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    Re: Who is my neighbor?

    Quote Originally Posted by Talthas View Post
    This is another twisting of the intent of the Scriptures. The moral thing to do with someone in the situation above is to do what you can to help them turn their life around and stop their path of immorality which is leading to their poor state.
    In the story of the good Samaritan, the Samaritan didn't lecture the man he found, or ask him why he was in such a state, or determine if he was endorsing a lifestyle of sin or not. He just helped him and asked for no change in behavior in return. You read values into the story that suit you. The story itself only teaches that to love your neighbor is to help them.

    Now it is legitimate to say that you are concerned that the kind of help you provide is most beneficial. That is perfectly reasonable. But then you should work to help charity be effective, not to simply end it. For every welfare queen there are many more people that need and can use the help who are good people. For every cheater their are many more legitimate folks in need. To say the harm of the few who by their own choice squander charity outweighs all those who genuinely benefit is I think a rather strong error in judgement.

    All the State-run programs you have mentioned are not "charity" in anything remotely like the Christian sense of the word. They are nothing but state subsidies with no intrinsic moral value, because it is not individuals who are personally making the decision to help and then personally doing the things they have decided to do.
    It's a representative democracy. Charity programs are not designed by aliens or robots. The people who put them together are not elected by demons or ghosts. All along the chain its human beings making personal decisions they want to help other people. Whether I'm the guy who hands someone a sandwich or not doesn't matter. What matters is the man gets a sandwitch and I'm happy to help him get it.

    ---------- Post added at 06:10 PM ---------- Previous post was at 06:06 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by eye4magic View Post
    We can’t force people to help or give money to the poor who don’ t want to give without creating conflict.
    We generally don't. Welfare programs don't have specific taxes. They come from the general fund which is a pool of money. All of us pay, but our dollars stop being "ours" when we hand them over. At that point legislation decides how the money is spent.

    The programs that have dedicated taxation, are for the most part, not charity programs. They have some element of that but its not their stated purpose. They are more like a kind of forced insurance system.
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    Re: Who is my neighbor?

    Quote Originally Posted by CowboyX View Post
    Thanks for missing the entire point of the New Testament which is LOVE. Not judgement. Jesus is the epitome of love in that he loves you and gives to you even when you sin. Even when you directly sin against him he still loves you.
    That's right, he does love the soul and forgives. And the fundamental message that we see in Christ's teachings to sinners and to us today is simple, straight forward and clear. "Go and sin no more." John 13-15

    ---------- Post added at 05:23 PM ---------- Previous post was at 05:14 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried View Post
    We generally don't. Welfare programs don't have specific taxes. They come from the general fund which is a pool of money. All of us pay, but our dollars stop being "ours" when we hand them over. At that point legislation decides how the money is spent.

    The programs that have dedicated taxation, are for the most part, not charity programs. They have some element of that but its not their stated purpose. They are more like a kind of forced insurance system.
    I think our welfare system needs an overhaul. The Good Samaritan would be a good model to begin with.

    This type of thinking is a good model: People helping people.
    http://www.nbcnews.com/video/nightly...7039/#53197039

    ---------- Post added at 05:58 PM ---------- Previous post was at 05:23 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by CowboyX View Post
    Just because that may happen doesn't mean the effort is bad or wrong.
    The issue isn't about bad or wrong, it's about moving forward and seeing how to make society function more harmoniously, smoothly and efficiently. I think your idea of "creating a Christ-conforming government" allows us to honestly look at what we have now and re-think what our role is as responsible, morally-driven citizens. Personal responsibility is at the center of Christ's teachings.

    Would you agree that this guy has "become insensitive toward the sufferings and pain of others"?
    He's just talking about abuse.

    In that America is a very generous country, at some level, the welfare mentality of knowing that some government office is sending someone a check who may be suffering emotionally, mentally, spiritually or physically has numbed many people to other people's hardships and sufferings. The individual is no longer in the equation of being the good Samaritan as a norm, as a moral responsibility, as a honor.

    Interestingly enough today, with our 24-hour news coverage, when it does happen and someone is the good Samaritan and is involved in some kind and life-saving act of someone else, it hits the news as being "something special and unusual" instead of what it should be, a responsible, moral act that should be a norm.
    Last edited by eye4magic; October 5th, 2013 at 07:38 PM.
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  18. #36
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    Re: Who is my neighbor?

    Quote Originally Posted by eye4magic View Post
    I think our welfare system needs an overhaul. The Good Samaritan would be a good model to begin with.
    I think every system can always do with improvement, and certainly our welfare systems fit that bill. I'm not sure the Samaritan story is all that informative beyond the general virtue of charity, but certainly as a starting point it's good.

    Charity is actually very challenging. And I think Jesus would probably go farther than I would personally, but then again that's why he makes a great ideal. Sometimes ideals must be tempered by practicality (at least for us secular folks) but none the less the ideal serves as a measuring stick to make sure your only giving in to practicality so far as you need to rather than just as an excuse.

    My personal views on charity are pretty complicated... Jesus, not so much I think.
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    Re: Who is my neighbor?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried View Post
    Keep in mind the question here is why do you oppose supporting or allowing the state to provide charity. Not do you think the state is obligated to by the bible. Charity is a christian value and it strikes non-Christians as odd that a christian would oppose charity in any form not directly in violation of another moral value. (for instance giving away graven images as a charitable act would obviously make no sense).

    Some take separation of church and state too far. The idea is only that the state does not establish or endorse religion. That people vote with their own religious views in mind is perfectly appropriate. Religious views can easily find secular expression. An atheists distaste for religious arguments is often in the mix but I think its not a real argument that people can't support christian virtues in secular action.
    It strikes me as odd that anyone would consider an involuntary and obligatory tax to be considered the equivalent of "charity. It strikes me as even more odd knowing that so much of that money does not go to the sorts of things that could even be considered charitable. Is military funding and the payment of government debts now considered charity?

    One must have a very perverted definition of charity, one that renders the term all but meaningless, in order to not see the difference.
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    Re: Who is my neighbor?

    Quote Originally Posted by CowboyX View Post
    You do give freely as you are free to be a member of this society or not. You can go live somewhere else, in another country or on the side of a mountain by yourself.
    You still have not answered my objections to the "like it or leave it" point that I made several posts ago. Your idea of what constitutes a good and morally correct system are very, very different, and it appears to be almost entirely driven by the fact that you are a collectivist and I am not. Collectivism is the antithesis of the personally accountable moral understanding that Christians are called to have, and it's fundamentally incompatible with Christian thought, as I've pointed out several times before in other ways. You can't keep critiquing Christian values from a Collectivist standpoint and hope to convince anyone that there's an inconsistency in Christianity because it doesn't agree with those collectivist values. You're comparing two dissimilar and fundamentally incompatible things, as I've pointed out several times before.

    Quote Originally Posted by CowboyX
    Thanks for missing the entire point of the New Testament which is LOVE. Not judgement. Jesus is the epitome of love in that he loves you and gives to you even when you sin. Even when you directly sin against him he still loves you. The people that tortured him and murdered him he LOVED and forgave even as the blows were coming down.
    This is a straw man, like the vast majority of your arguments have been. I never said or implied anything about judgement. All I said was that Christians have a different obligation toward people who are chronically dependent upon charity than simply giving them more handouts. The whole point of Jesus' message was that everyone should be taking responsibility for themselves and their actions and working to make the world a better place. If there is someone who is literally drinking his life away on a street corner, the moral thing to do for a Christian is not to simply throw a dollar bill in his cup or buy him a case of beer. It's not even just to give him food. It's to help him turn his life around so that he's not killing himself with alcohol. That's nothing that a person can simply fork over money to the state and expect that it will be done. Trust me on this one; I work in a state-run hospital, and we see more than our share of drug addicts and alcoholics. I don't judge them as people, but I can - and have a moral obligation to - tell them that what they are doing will kill them if they don't stop... and try to get them the help that they need.

    There is a difference between observing the fairly straightforward consequences of a given set of choices and making a value judgement about the character of a person doing those things. I do the first many times, on a daily basis. I do the second almost never.

    Quote Originally Posted by CowboyX
    Try to remember that when you hear someone railing or passing judgement on another who maybe received food stamps they were 'entitled' to.
    Try to remember not to use straw men.

    Quote Originally Posted by CowboyX
    That is just you opinion informed by your ideology and it is full of contradictions. There are many enormous charities that don't require any personal action ("personally doing the things they have decided to do") besides sending the check, the same as you send a check for your taxes (if you do).
    And while some of them are great, and that's good for people who don't have the ability to get out and do things anymore, a lot of those so-called "charities" (Goodwill comes to mind immediately) are anything but. There's a large number of charities who spend exorbitant amounts of money on executive salaries and other things not related to the cause they purport to uphold.

    Also... that doesn't address my point. The personal decision to send money to a charity *is* a personally motivated action that has nothing to do with the coercion of the State. It is in no way equivalent to paying taxes because a) the person has a choice of which charities and causes to support and can stop supporting them if he doesn't like what they're doing, b) taxes aren't voluntary, and c) you don't have any say over what the State does with your money when they take it from you.

    Please don't bring up any equivalencies between charities and taxes again until you adequately rebut these points.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried View Post
    In the story of the good Samaritan, the Samaritan didn't lecture the man he found, or ask him why he was in such a state, or determine if he was endorsing a lifestyle of sin or not. He just helped him and asked for no change in behavior in return. You read values into the story that suit you. The story itself only teaches that to love your neighbor is to help them.
    Like CowboyX, you have incorrectly assumed that helping someone stop doing what they are doing is passing judgement on them or their actions. Furthermore, I never said anything about lecturing people. All I said was that giving someone more money to go spend it on drugs or alcohol when those things are killing them is not charity and that there is a deeper and bigger obligation to help them fix the root of the problem and not simply contribute to its perpetuation, which is not a loving thing to do. Since Christian charity is based out of love for one's fellow human being and not out of some misguided sense of moral superiority, it stands to reason that charity would take the form that is the most loving way the person can give.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried
    Now it is legitimate to say that you are concerned that the kind of help you provide is most beneficial. That is perfectly reasonable. But then you should work to help charity be effective, not to simply end it. For every welfare queen there are many more people that need and can use the help who are good people. For every cheater their are many more legitimate folks in need. To say the harm of the few who by their own choice squander charity outweighs all those who genuinely benefit is I think a rather strong error in judgement.
    You are still making the false equation between state-run subsidies and charity. State-run welfare is *not* charity in anything that remotely resembles a Christian sense. I have given a long and thorough list of why State-run welfare or other subsidies are not equivalent to the Christian understanding of what charity is and ought to be. This is the primary objection I have been making from the beginning of this thread, and it has been ignored every time, because it is fundamentally inimical to the Collectivist viewpoint that you and CowboyX have been espousing from the beginning. Until you understand that and start addressing that point as it is, we're going to continue to talk at cross-purposes.
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  22. #39
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    Re: Who is my neighbor?

    Quote Originally Posted by chadn737 View Post
    It strikes me as odd that anyone would consider an involuntary and obligatory tax to be considered the equivalent of "charity. It strikes me as even more odd knowing that so much of that money does not go to the sorts of things that could even be considered charitable. Is military funding and the payment of government debts now considered charity?
    Collecting taxes aren't charity. Its the giving them to people in need part that is charity. Just like collecting your paycheck is not charity on behalf of your employer even if you then spend that paycheck on helping the poor.

    One must have a very perverted definition of charity, one that renders the term all but meaningless, in order to not see the difference.
    One must like to find excuses to hold onto their money to begrudge the state giving it to people in need.

    ---------- Post added at 12:08 PM ---------- Previous post was at 11:47 AM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by Talthas View Post
    Like CowboyX, you have incorrectly assumed that helping someone stop doing what they are doing is passing judgement on them or their actions.
    And where exactly did I say anything at all about passing judgement? How do you know me to be making an assumption I never voiced?

    Since Christian charity is based out of love for one's fellow human being and not out of some misguided sense of moral superiority, it stands to reason that charity would take the form that is the most loving way the person can give.
    So now you presume to say who loves other people and who doesn't? And when did I say anyone was misguided in their moral superiority? You make a lot of assumptions instead of actually listening or directly responding to arguments.

    While you may take umbrage with a particular technique for helping people, what I am addressing is the means through which it is done, not the specific kind of aid. Private charities can and do give people money directly in some cases. And since we live in a market economy, any goods or services you give someone enable them to better spend other income on whatever they like. Your charity cannot control someone else's behavior unless you control their very life.

    You further seem to presume that all government charity is simply a lump sum of cash. That is far from the case. Most of it goes to pay for specific goods and services and for social workers who try to take a personal hand in helping people turn their lives around. It's not ideal, the best help is from people who love you personally and are committed to you, but not everyone has that.

    What I object to in your line of reasoning is that you make so many qualifiers about how and when to give charity and what kind to give when Jesus clearly is trying to break down such barriers and advocates for nearly unconditional love and aid.

    You are still making the false equation between state-run subsidies and charity.
    You make a false dichotomy.

    State-run welfare is *not* charity in anything that remotely resembles a Christian sense. I have given a long and thorough list of why State-run welfare or other subsidies are not equivalent to the Christian understanding of what charity is and ought to be.
    And they have all been rebutted.

    This is the primary objection I have been making from the beginning of this thread, and it has been ignored every time, because it is fundamentally inimical to the Collectivist viewpoint that you and CowboyX have been espousing from the beginning. Until you understand that and start addressing that point as it is, we're going to continue to talk at cross-purposes.
    No, you are the one burying your head in the sand from the central argument and making up excuses as to why bread from one hand is so different from bread from another. You let your political philosophy dictate when charity is good and when charity is bad based on whether or not a government employee is handing it out or not.
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    Re: Who is my neighbor?

    Quote Originally Posted by CowboyX View Post
    We have the ability to make our government conform to the teachings of Christ.
    Should the government also conform with these teachings of His?

    Worship the Lord and serve him only. Mt 4:10
    Repent. Mt 4:17
    Follow me. Mt 4:19
    Pray. Mt 6:5
    Do God’s will. Mt 7:21
    Acknowledge Jesus before men. Mt 10:32
    Love God with all your heart, soul and mind. Mt 22:37
    Make disciples and baptize them. Mt 28:19

    Do you advocate having government follow Jesus in all those teachings?
    "If we lose freedom here, there is no place to escape to. This is the last stand on Earth." - Ronald Reagan

 

 
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