• Bitter Crank
    9.3k
    It easier for 20th / 21st century believers (or philosophers) to think about the meaning of loving their neighbors than it is of loving God. God, after all, has no needs to be met, and by any definition has the wherewithal to take care of Himself, Herself, or Itself.

    Micah 6:8 provides the Prophetic view: What does God require of us? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. The New Jerusalem Bible translates "love mercy" as "love tenderly"--nice, I think. Maybe "keeping good company with God" is another way of putting it.

    It's always useful to repeat THE WHOLE QUOTE of what Marx said about religion: Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people. One could substitute 'anodyne" or "analgesic" for "opium". It spoils the phrase, but it enhances the meaning.

    Like many elderly non-believers or agnostics, I know Christianity on a first hand basis as my first "operating system". There is plenty in it that can function in the pejorative meanings of "opium" or "opiate", as well as ameliorative meanings,
  • baker
    1.3k
    (I'm not a Christian philosopher.)

    People should fear the Lord -- the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. God shouldn't be treated as one's buddy.
  • Bitter Crank
    9.3k
    The established Church policy is to spread Christianity through persuasion, not coercion.Apollodorus

    As well it should. I would still advise incipient missionary to package their persuasion in the form of concern for others' material and emotional needs. "Spiritual" is too liquid or fluid a concept to form the basis of a plan for converting either the natives or the next-door neighbors.

    Exactly!
  • Apollodorus
    531
    Like many elderly non-believers or agnostics, I know Christianity on a first hand basis as my first "operating system". There is plenty in it that can function in the pejorative meanings of "opium" or "opiate", as well as ameliorative meanings,Bitter Crank

    However, that applies equally, if not more so, to Communism and other atheistic systems. Millions died because Stalin and Mao imagined that the agricultural sector could be run on purely Marxist principles without reference to practical knowledge of farming. Just an example, there are many more.
  • Hanover
    6.1k
    No! "spiritual salvation" delivered in the absence of love (agape) or absent concern for the person's wellbeing, results in the missionary position of ramming Jesus down their throat or up their ass, whichever you prefer.Bitter Crank

    Thank you for the visual.

    If the premise is that the acceptance of Jesus as one's savior is a necessary component for eternal salvation from damnation, then the absence of immediate concern for the person's wellbeing would be of little concern. That is to say, I would welcome a good anal or oral Jesus rogering if it meant saving me from an eternity of teeth gnashing. Sometimes, I suppose, the medicine one must take to save one's self from a horrible outcome is a bit painful, especially when taken rectally.

    Your post makes more sense if I were to assume you think the acceptance of the Jesus part is largely superfluous, but the part where people actually care for one another critical. That makes sense, but it might not be Christianity you're espousing.
  • Bitter Crank
    9.3k
    Yes, it does apply equally well to Socialism or Communists. Stalin and Mao were not what Marx had in mind, in my humble opinion. Both of them have a lot of blood on their hands. For instance, the Ukrainian famine (millions died) was engineered by Stalin to divert wheat from consumption to foreign sales to provide cash for military/industrial development. Mao had a lot of bad ideas.
  • Apollodorus
    531
    God shouldn't be treated as one's buddy.baker

    I fully agree with that. Otherwise we can easily start imagining that we are "God's brother" or something and maybe one day even that we are another "God" which would amount to the sin of idolatry and blasphemy and might land us in a mental clinic or worse. It isn't unheard-of.
  • Apollodorus
    531


    Correct. Christianity at least believes in the rule of law, Communism doesn't. Marx himself wrote that the concept of the rule of law is "obsolete verbal rubbish" and this was faithfully followed by Lenin and others. Don't forget Marx believed in dictatorship as the central feature of the socialist state and he gave the Paris Commune as an example and model for socialist society.
  • Hanover
    6.1k
    People should fear the Lord -- the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. God shouldn't be treated as one's buddy.baker

    The three levels of fear: http://www.puretorah.com/resources/Fear%20of%20G-d.pdf
  • Bitter Crank
    9.3k
    If the premise is that the acceptance of Jesus as one's savior is a necessary component for eternal salvation from damnation, then the absence of immediate concern for the person's wellbeing would be of little concern.Hanover

    That's the way it comes off in the mouths of some evangelicals. "You've accepted Jesus as your personal savior; Sweet Jesus, we are done here. Sorry about your starving to death, but you'll soon be with Jesus and that's what matters."

    I won't go into the process of how Jesus got from dead itinerate preacher to 1/3 of the Godhead, beyond saying that there is a big gap between Jesus and Christianity from the first. "The Church" was already in its neonatal existence when believers sat down to put the Gospels and Paul's (et al) letters together. The gap between Jesus and the first interpretations of the NT is wider still.

    Marx himself wrote that the concept of the rule of law is "obsolete verbal rubbish"Apollodorus

    In the hands of the bourgeoisie, "the rule of law" is a system plundering the resources of society -- labor, natural resources, etc, for their own benefit. As Marx put it, "the state is a committee to organize the affairs of the bourgeoisie."
  • Hanover
    6.1k
    Correct. Christianity at least believes in the rule of law, Communism doesn't.Apollodorus

    I'm not a Marxist, so I don't defend it, but I don't believe it a tenant of communism that there be anarchy with the absence of law. Those nations I've seen claiming to be Marxist tend toward totalitarianism, which is a superabundance of law.

    Christianity, on the other hand, freed its adherents of Mosaic law, and, from a Protestant perspective at least, allows salvation from faith alone, meaning adherence to any rule, or the performance of any particular act, is eliminated.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matthew_5:17
  • 180 Proof
    3.4k
    :up:

    In the hands of the bourgeoisie, "the rule of law" is a system plundering the resources of society -- labor, natural resources, etc, for their own benefit. As Marx put it, "the state is a committee to organize the affairs of the bourgeoisie."Bitter Crank
    :100:
  • Apollodorus
    531
    I'm not a Marxist, so I don't defend it, but I don't believe it a tenant of communism that there be anarchy with the absence of law. Those nations I've seen claiming to be Marxist tend toward totalitarianism, which is a superabundance of law.Hanover

    Marx said very clearly that the socialist state which is a transitional phase from capitalism to communism is a dictatorship (Critique of the Gotha Programme, 1875). And there is much more:

    “A revolution is certainly the most authoritarian thing there is; it is the act whereby one part of the population imposes its will upon the other part by means of rifles, bayonets and cannon — authoritarian means, if such there be at all; and if the victorious party does not want to have fought in vain, it must maintain this rule by means of the terror which its arms inspire in the reactionists” - F Engels, “On Authority”, Almanaco Republicano, 1874

    Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin and others (State and Revolution, Terrorism and Communism, etc.) clearly base their ideas on Marx and Engels' own statements.

    Quite different from Christianity, really.
  • Hanover
    6.1k
    Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin and others (State and Revolution, Terrorism and Communism, etc.) clearly base their ideas on Marx and Engels' own statements.

    Quite different from Christianity, really.
    Apollodorus

    My position wasn't to equate Christianity to Marxism, but it was to respond to your post that Marxism did not respect the rule of law. You're pointing out in this post that the law followed by Marxist nations has been historically brutal, but that's a concession there is a rule of law, the thing you deny.

    Christianity, on the other hand, from a Protestant perspective, is not rule oriented. A believer is saved. A denier damned. It's not that complicated. Judaism and Catholicism, on the other hand, rely heavily upon rules and rituals for their practice.

    Christianity posits the wretched state of the unsaved soul and the glory of God for sending his son to earth to die for our sins. Whether there is beauty in a theology that claims a divine being created us in a despicable state in order that we be saved is in the eye of the beholder, but I do agree that Christianity when practiced by the kind hearted is a lovely thing. Whether Marxism would be a lovely thing if practiced by the kind hearted is an unknowable thing because it seems to attract the worst of our kind. But what should be clear from this is that it matters less what system you subscribe to, whether it be the idealism of pure Marxism or the kingdom of Jesus Christ, but more so upon whether you are a kind hearted soul or not.
  • tim wood
    6.7k
    Nor should be forgot the relationship between love and justice, "Love" not being a synonym for forgiveness. In a sense love is justice, the caveat being that perfection in either is hard to realize - or impossible. Thus any claims along the lines of love or justice to be made modestly and with modesty, and at the same time subject to question or even suspicion until examined.
  • Fooloso4
    1.5k
    @180 Proof


    That which is hateful to you, do not do to anyone. This is the whole of Torah and the rest is commentary. Go study it. — Hillel the Elder, 1st c. BCE

    I thought you might post this.

    Confucius180 Proof

    And glad to see this as well.
  • Apollodorus
    531
    My position wasn't to equate Christianity to Marxism, but it was to respond to your post that Marxism did not respect the rule of law. You're pointing out in this post that the law followed by Marxist nations has been historically brutal, but that's a concession there is a rule of law, the thing you deny.Hanover

    Sorry but I think that's a (deliberate?) misinterpretation of my comment.

    Marx was not an Anarchist, he was a Statist at least in the Socialist phase. His Socialist State was a DICTATORSHIP, the "dictatorship of the proletariat". In a dictatorship, the ruling party doesn't rule according to law but according to its own decrees or diktats.

    That's what I meant: he believed that a socialist government would be above the law, not that there would be no laws in the absolute sense of the word. And this was exactly what was implemented by his later followers.

    In Communist countries like Soviet Russia and the Communist Bloc, a country would have an official legal code, but the ruling Communist Party would take the law into its own hands as it pleased, for example, by ordering courts to sentence people to death without due process or simply arresting, jailing or executing them without any trial.

    In other words, the law was there but wasn't applied. The state was "above the law".
  • Tom Storm
    967
    In Communist countries like Soviet Russia and the Communist Bloc, a country would have an official legal code, but the ruling Communist Party would take the law into its own hands as it pleased, for example, by ordering courts to sentence people to death without due process or simply arresting, jailing or executing them without any trial.

    In other words, the law was there but wasn't applied. The state was "above the law".
    Apollodorus

    Of course, they are dictatorships. That's how they do things.
  • Valentinus
    1.2k

    “Thou shalt love the Lord and thy neighbor”: a Reconsideration in Philosophical PerspectiveApollodorus

    I am not sure what you mean by a "reconsideration. " But the words go like this:
    "Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."

    That is quite a to do list.
  • Apollodorus
    531
    I am not sure what you mean by a "reconsideration. "Valentinus

    Well, I was going to address this but the discussion went a bit off track and I had other things to do.

    I will try to explain. In the last hundred years, Christianity in the Western World has changed almost beyond recognition. Especially from the 1950s onward, the Church has become increasingly involved in politics, usually of a leftist inclination, becoming in many cases little more than a charity organization attached to civil-rights movements and similar causes. As a result, it has lost many followers.

    In my opinion, the reason behind this lies in the ways the central Gospel commandments, “Thy shalt love the Lord thy God” and “Thy shalt love your neighbour” have been interpreted or misinterpreted.

    Christianity in the Gospels is referred to in certain specific terms such as “the Way of the Lord”, “the Way of Truth” and “the Way of Righteousness”. Such phrases encapsulate the essence of what Christianity is about: Christianity acknowledges God, who is the embodiment of Truth, Order and Justice, as the supreme authority and pledges itself to follow his Law and walk in his ways, in the Way of Righteousness, at all times.

    Christianity’s first and greatest commandment, “Thy shalt love the Lord thy God” is also reflected in its central creed which says “I believe in One God, the Almighty Father”, in a clear recognition of God’s supreme authority and man’s duty to submit to his Will and follow his Law. This has been the inspiration and backbone of the Church and of the Christian World for two millennia.

    What happened in the 1900s was that emphasis shifted more and more from the first commandment to the second, and concern for social issues gradually replaced concern for religious and spiritual matters. This has undermined the spiritual authority of the Church and has allowed it to become a tool in the hands of social and political movements with no spiritual objectives.

    I think the decline of Christianity in the Western World can only be reversed by the correct "reinterpretation" or "reconsideration" of these two central commandments which together have always formed the very foundation of the Christian Faith.
  • god must be atheist
    2.9k
    "In Marxist dictatorships, people were convicted of crimes with mock trials, others were executed without a fair trial despite the law required it." -- Not a verbatim quote, but I agree with it.

    I don't see much difference between that and the possibly true undercover operations of the FBI and the CIA. I don't see much real life example of the FBI killing people without trial, true. I see plenty of it in movies and on tv plays. However, I am aware of the ongoing atrocities and human rights violations committed illegally by US agents on a larger scale in Quantanimo bay.

    Is that not an act of a dictator? To order actions that go against the law of the nation and get it carried out?

    Take another, more peaceful example. Canada's prime minister allegedly stole billions of dollars from taxpayers. The details are secondary for the purpose of this post; the truth is questionable. Is committing a crime and getting away with it because of political status, not a dictatorial act? The facts are not known by the public, there are allegations both in the press, the media and in the parliament, but still.

    The point is that dictatorial acts happen in the cleanest, cuddliest, most innocent democracies as well.
  • god must be atheist
    2.9k
    I think the decline of Christianity in the Western World can only be reversed by the correct "reinterpretation" or "reconsideration" of these two central commandments which together have always formed the very foundation of the Christian Faith.Apollodorus

    I think the decline could only be reversed if the dumbing of the population by not teaching anything useful in schools and by a heavy emphasis on cultural pressure to become Christian can be spread to other areas of the world, from the United States of America.

    People are not dumb in other countries. They will be forced to see (if they have any analytical ability; which they do) that god created evil, yet god is forced to be believed to be infinitely good. They know the impossibility of the quality of omnipotence. They know 3-1 is not equal to zero, and never will be. Your presenting to a billion atheists and agnostics Christianity without first carving their frontal cortex from their skull will encounter a lot of derisive laughter.
  • Tom Storm
    967
    In Marxist dictatorships, people were convicted of crimes with mock trials, others were executed without a fair trial despite the law required it." -- Not a verbatim quote, but I agree with it.god must be atheist

    Christianity did the same thing for ages. The heretic was appropriated from religion and placed in a political context. Islamic fundamentalism is still at it.
  • Apollodorus
    531
    Your presenting to a billion atheists and agnostics Christianity without first carving their frontal cortex from their skull will encounter a lot of derisive laughter.god must be atheist

    I doubt there would be any need for that as many seem to have already been lobotomized by Covid-19 and by reading too many Marxist fairy tales. The number of Christians in Marxist societies like China is certainly growing by the day.

    By the way, Christianity was mostly spread through persuasion, not coercion. Pagan rulers and the educated among the upper classes tended to convert of their own accord as happened in the Roman Empire and later in Russia and many other parts.

    Plus, nobody was talking about "presenting Christianity to atheists and agnostics". The OP is about how Christians and other believers view the commandments mentioned.
  • baker
    1.3k
    In Communist countries like Soviet Russia and the Communist Bloc, a country would have an official legal code, but the ruling Communist Party would take the law into its own hands as it pleased, for example, by ordering courts to sentence people to death without due process or simply arresting, jailing or executing them without any trial.

    In other words, the law was there but wasn't applied. The state was "above the law".
    — Apollodorus

    Of course, they are dictatorships. That's how they do things.
    Tom Storm

    Oddly similar to how the capitalists and the bourgeois do things.
  • baker
    1.3k
    The OP is about how Christians and other believers view the commandments mentioned.Apollodorus
    Are there any Christians and believers here who could speak up?
  • Apollodorus
    531
    Are there any Christians and believers here who could speak up?baker

    That remains to be seen. I'm in no hurry.
  • Apollodorus
    531
    Oddly similar to how the capitalists and the bourgeois do things.baker

    That was exactly my opinion. Marxists come up with fantastic stories of replacing capitalism with paradise on earth, only to end up with something very similar or worse.
  • Fooloso4
    1.5k
    Hess associates Christian love with “sharing knowledge of God with the whole world”. This suggests that an essential aspect of Christian love is not as some might assume having an attitude of affection, etc. toward our neighbor or even concern for his material wellbeing, but primarily concern for his or her spiritual salvation.Apollodorus

    This is how Hess understands it, but it is not the gospels say. Given Jesus' emphasis on the Law we should see what is said there:

    Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against any of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. (Leviticus 19:18)

    In Mark there is a distinction made between love of God and love of your neighbor. Two separate commandments:

    Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.' (12:30

    The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these." (12:31)

    In Matthew:

    If you want to enter life, keep the commandments. Which ones?" he inquired. Jesus replied, "'You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, honor your father and mother,' and 'love your neighbor as yourself.'19:17 - 19)

    Jesus replied: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment.And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' (22:37-39)

    Again two commandments one greater than the other.

    In Luke we find the first commandment to love the Lord your God, followed by the tale of the good Samaritan.

    He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. (10:34)

    "Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?" The expert in the law replied, "The one who had mercy on him." Jesus told him, "Go and do likewise."(10:36-37)

    In Romans:

    The commandments, "You shall not commit adultery," "You shall not murder," "You shall not steal," "You shall not covet," and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: "Love your neighbor as yourself." (13:9)

    Luke and Romans clearly show that love of your neighbor means concern for your neighbors well being. Nothing is said about spreading the "good news".
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