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  #31  
Old 12-23-2005, 06:28 PM
SheetWise SheetWise is offline
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Default Re: Is libertarianism at odds with Christianity?

Jesus often told a story ...

"... The master took his one talent away from him and gave it to the man who had ten talents, and the one talent man was punished because he had not properly used the talent he had been given."

If only government was as discriminating.
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  #32  
Old 12-24-2005, 12:29 AM
Lash Lash is offline
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Default Re: Is libertarianism at odds with Christianity?

“So, am I acting against my creed in standing up for reduced aid to the poor, privatization of healthcare, and the abolition of welfare and Social Security?”

You are not. Healthcare / Welfare / Social Security are issues that are all about a means to an end. A stance one way or another on any of these issues has nothing to do with your personal relationship with your God. Does “God” want us to debate social issues or not?
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  #33  
Old 12-24-2005, 03:06 AM
natedogg natedogg is offline
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Default Re: Is libertarianism at odds with Christianity?

[ QUOTE ]


Is the Christian right concerned about those people in our society? Obviously not, according to their stand on affordable health care for all Americans, education and Social Security.



[/ QUOTE ]

This poor fool is making the common error that if you don't support a certain program it must mean that you don't support the stated goals of that program. It's the same thing as accusing those who oppose the PATRIOT act with "why do they hate America?".


[ QUOTE ]
would Christ, if He were walking around today, be a liberal? Would He really support social programs, caring for the poor, national healthcare, etc.?

[/ QUOTE ]

Not a chance. You see, he would have godlike intelligence and therefore he could easily understand basic economics.

natedogg
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  #34  
Old 12-26-2005, 02:58 AM
sweetjazz sweetjazz is offline
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Default Re: Is libertarianism at odds with Christianity?

coffee, the role between Church and State is a major problem throughout Western history. To some extent, your question touches on this.

I do think that it is clear that God expects Christians, once they have entered a relationship with Him that is based on his love and grace, to try to bring his Kingdom to Earth, and one of the ways to do so is to help the poor. That will likely involve sacrifices, and those sacrifices may come in a variety of fashions. It must even be considered whether one should support legislation that would help alleviate poverty, even though it would cause greater discomfort to that invdividual. Of course, other considerations also have to take place, such as the rights and welfare of all others affected by the legislation.

I don't think that Jesus is very clear in how he thinks people should try to alleviate poverty and most of his examples are of individuals helping other individuals. Of course, in the context of his times, this is how Jewish society functioned. The idea of the modern welfare state was not even in the discussion. So it seems to me that the duty of a Christian is to prayerfully reflect on the presence of poverty in the world, and seek God's guidance in doing what you think is best to reach out to those in need.

I suspect that God is more concerned that people are sincerely trying to do His will (which often involves going beyond our own natural prejudices -- be they our political philosophy or otherwise) than he does for what particular course of action we end up choosing. One suspects that those who truly accept the teachings of Jesus will find a way to do much more good than harm, no matter how they go about it.

Just my $0.02.
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  #35  
Old 12-26-2005, 05:42 PM
Borodog Borodog is offline
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Default Re: Is libertarianism at odds with Christianity?

One of the reasons that I admire the "teachings" of Jesus Christ (I put "teachings" in quotes not to mock them but because I'm not even sure the guy ever actually existed or said what is attributed to him; I am not a Christian nor a theist) is that they are fundamentally libertarian.

Some thoughts from my wife on the subject (more or less), who is both a libertarian and a Christian:

Politics and My Religion
Rachel Mills - September, 2004

"Never in our history has it been more imperative that Christians bring their values and beliefs to bear upon the world around them by embracing the privilege and responsibility of voting." - Dr. James Dobson

". . . to BEAR upon the world around them, by voting???" I want to throw something. I strongly suspect this man has heady designs on political power at some point. I firmly believe being a Sunday School teacher is a higher calling than town council, or even Congress.

Why? Because Christianity seeks to replicate itself in others as a moral code (partially) as one of its highest callings. In other words, convert others. Prosyletise. The Christian Right has their panties all in a wad about gay marriage and abortion. We must have laws protecting marriage! We must have laws saving the unborn! How did Jesus deal with parallel situations?

He saw the prostitute about to be stoned for adultery and He went straight to the Pharisees and said "We MUST have stronger laws against fornication! We must cure our society of this dispicable disease of lust! Whom amongst you is righteous enough to lead us to a more just society where my Father's moral code is strictly enforced, thereby making our land more pleasing to God?"

Wait... He didn't? But that's what James Dobson is doing. That's what my local Christian Coalition groupies are trying to do. (See Nathan Tabor.)

No no no no no. These men are not reading their Bible. If they are, how could they deal with the cognitive dissonance created by Jesus NOT doing that and instead TALKING down the angry self-righteous mob, getting in front of the stones, having guts, having mercy, showing love. Did you see "The Passion"? That was the moment I completetly lost it, because that is the Jesus that I know, from my personal experience.

My Jesus doesn't lobby. My Jesus loves.

My Jesus knows collective force is not success. Hearts, one at a time, are the prize. And since actions follow, hearts are the priority. Laws are irrelevant.

The problem is, this is where all the hard work is. One heart at a time is hard work. We have 290 million of those in this country alone. When you pare it down to 435 Congresspeople and 1 President, it starts looking like an easier bite to chew. But this is a faithless vision, where the mustard seeds merely irritate.

Christians! Your faith is better expressed at a Crisis Pregnancy Center and through paying attention to those around you, than at the ballot box if you really care about stopping abortion. Reach out through genuine love (not judgement) if you really believe. If you want to improve your society, you must hold hands, not sticks. You must be there every step of the way to help your brother lead a better life, and only when they see the stones coming might they accept your help, but you have to be there. Find a way. Get your nose out of the stupid NY Times or the Post, or James Dobson's little rally and find the time to ACTUALLY HELP someone who needs it, instead of putting on some show with the fellow pious.

I'm not saying don't vote. Voting is good. Moral politicians are good. But laws don't equal morality. Keep the law in perspective. It has a role not to be overestimated. The role of the Christian is higher than the law. Don't think that because you vote is has the remotest thing to do with being a good Christian. It's like saying because you watch "Friends", you're a good friend. It's simply not relevant. The realms are different. Not tangibly related.

True Christians express their faith through how they live, not how they vote. Voting takes fifteen minutes, Jesus wants your whole life.
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  #36  
Old 12-26-2005, 06:34 PM
natedogg natedogg is offline
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Default Re: Is libertarianism at odds with Christianity?

[ QUOTE ]
It must even be considered whether one should support legislation that would help alleviate poverty, even though it would cause greater discomfort to that invdividual.

[/ QUOTE ]

Remember that even if legislation is intended to alleviate povery, that doesn't mean that it will. Just because a politician stands up and calls it the "Clean Air Act" or the "No Child Left Behind" act doesn't mean these things will achieve the goals they claim it will.

I just want to point this out because the whole thread is begging the question that policies which are purported to benefit the poor would be supported by those who want to help the poor. But that's just not the case.

And some of the policies that are the best for the poor are roundly criticized and opposed by those who think they are helping. Low capital gains tax is one of the best things you can do for the poor but it doesn't sounds as compassionate to say "Jesus supports a low capital gains tax rate" does it?

natedogg
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  #37  
Old 12-26-2005, 06:59 PM
sweetjazz sweetjazz is offline
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Default Re: Is libertarianism at odds with Christianity?

nate, your point is a good one. It is important to consider whether the proposed program would be accomplish what it purports to do.

I am not so sure about your capital gains tax point though. For people who are very poor, it would be much more beneficial to them (in the short term) to receive any other form of tax reduction other than capital gains tax reduction.

There is a long-term value in getting poor people with some ability to save to be able to make money from saving and to reduce the amount of that profit that the government takes. It's not clear to me, though, that this benefit is very significant compared to those of other policies.
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  #38  
Old 12-26-2005, 07:44 PM
natedogg natedogg is offline
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Default Re: Is libertarianism at odds with Christianity?

[ QUOTE ]
nate, your point is a good one. It is important to consider whether the proposed program would be accomplish what it purports to do.

I am not so sure about your capital gains tax point though. For people who are very poor, it would be much more beneficial to them (in the short term) to receive any other form of tax reduction other than capital gains tax reduction.

There is a long-term value in getting poor people with some ability to save to be able to make money from saving and to reduce the amount of that profit that the government takes. It's not clear to me, though, that this benefit is very significant compared to those of other policies.

[/ QUOTE ]

The main benefit to the poor from low capital gains taxes is not a reduction in their personal tax liability. (If you wanted to do that the best thing you could possibly do is eliminate social security).

But lowering capital gains taxes *is* one of the best policies for the poor, because low capital gains spurs the investment that creates jobs. A job is far, far more beneficial than any handout of any kind.

natedogg
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  #39  
Old 12-27-2005, 12:25 AM
MMMMMM MMMMMM is offline
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Default Re: Is libertarianism at odds with Christianity?

[ QUOTE ]
I do think that it is clear that God expects Christians, once they have entered a relationship with Him that is based on his love and grace, to try to bring his Kingdom to Earth,...

[/ QUOTE ]

I think this may be a common misconception. Jesus did not encourage mankind to try to make the world like God's Kingdom; rather, he urged humans to shun the world with its wicked ways and to instead follow God. Jesus also said that his Father's kingdom *is not of this world*.


[ QUOTE ]
...and one of the ways to do so is to help the poor.

[/ QUOTE ]

Jesus did not advocate helping the poor as a way of bringing God's kingdom to Earth, but rather, as a way of following Jesus. When the rich man asked Jesus what more he could do to truly be good, after he has learned the (religious) law and done good things, Jesus said he could give all that he has to the poor and come and follow him (at which the rich man, deeply troubled, quietly walked away).

Jesus also said, "Whatsoever ye have done to the least of my brethren(/children/creation), ye have done to me." So according to this, when you help the poor, you are helping Jesus (or God); when you treat another kindly, you are showing kindness to God; and conversely, when you give the cold shoulder to someone in genuine need, you give the cold shoulder to God.


[ QUOTE ]
One suspects that those who truly accept the teachings of Jesus will find a way to do much more good than harm, no matter how they go about it.

[/ QUOTE ]

Quite possibly so; although in my opinion, most Christians (including Catholics) do not really understand certain of the key teachings of Jesus. Also, some of Jesus' teachings, if understood, are hard to accept and even harder to put into practice.
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  #40  
Old 12-27-2005, 01:26 AM
sweetjazz sweetjazz is offline
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Default Re: Is libertarianism at odds with Christianity?

M^6...thanks for the nice thoughtful and insightful post. I think you are in correcting my statement about bringing God's Kingdom to earth, as there is clear evidence that this cannot literally be accomplished.

At the same time, there are scriptural remarks which can be interpreted as suggesting that there is some value in trying to bring God's Kingdom to earth, even though this cannot be literally accomplished. The Lord's Prayer is probably the most salient example: "Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven." It seems possible to interpret the latter phrase as only pertaining to the Lord's will and not his Kingdom, but that does not seem natural to me. But I am certainly no expert.

***

nate...thanks for clarifying your point about capital gains tax. I agree with you about the value of creating jobs and do think that lowering captial gains tax can be the best thing for society when certain economic conditions hold. I am a bit skeptical about your claim that lowering capital gains taxes always creates more jobs, or at least don't create enough to make them more valuable to the poor than other programs that would be equally expensive. (I use the economic defintion of cost here to mean the amount of revenue lost to the government due to the capital gains tax reduction.) But I am also no economics expert.

There are also issues of poverty that job creation doesn't address, namely the fact that people with low-wage jobs do struggle just to make ends meet (let alone provide resources for their children to be able to escape poverty).

But while I might disagree with you on specifics, I do agree that finding ways to increase availability of jobs is one way to try to tackle poverty, and in some circumstances, one of the best ways.
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