• Son of a Bitch
    2.6k
    Jesus is supposed to have said many things including that you should clothe the naked, feed the poor, how you treat the least of us is how you treat (H)im, love your neighbor as yourself, the rich have an easier time passing through the eye of a needle than knowing the Kingdom of Heaven, the way to the Father was through the Son, etc.

    Now think about those who profess themselves as Christians in these capitalist societies, including the Pope, most ministers, reverends, pastors, and the Sunday “faithful” flock. Is it even possible to live as a Christian and find “The Kingdom of Heaven” in such a wealthy and materialistic consumer society? I for one seriously doubt it unless you are homeless or intermittently homeless living off of charity and still being charitable as Jesus and His disciples did, keeping Jesus’ commandments (suggestions for finding peace?) and keeping His message close to your heart (the way to the Father is through the Son).

    Now think about the Native Americans who fed the starving Pilgrims (supposed Christians) who had invaded their native and sacred land (truly a Garden of Eden). “When I was hungry, you fed me.” They treated the Pilgrims like brothers and sisters (neighbors). Native Americans weren’t materially wealthy and were probably bewildered by the childlike Pilgrims who thought they could and should tame nature.

    Who is more Christian? The contemporary Christians or the Native Americans?
  • Son of a Bitch
    2.6k
    I for one am too old to rock and roll, and too young to die.
  • unenlightened
    5k
    too old to rock and roll, and too young to die.Noah Te Stroete

    You need a theme tune for the thread. I'm sure it's in the guidelines...



    Have you read Pirsig on the influence of Native culture on the (white) American psyche?
  • Son of a Bitch
    2.6k
    Yeah, that song was playing on SiriusXM when I posted that. :up:

    Have you read Pirsig on the influence of Native culture on the (white) American psyche?unenlightened

    The only book of Pirsig’s that I’ve read is Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. I do know that the founding fathers of the United States were heavily influenced by the Iroquois Nation, however.
  • Virgo Avalytikh
    177
    Is your suggestion that self-professed Christians do not engage in charity work?

    In any case, although Christians are called to give alms, that is not what makes one a Christian. What makes one a Christian is not the observance of a particular ethic (the Native Americans did not even identify themselves as Christians), but being in a particular relationship to the risen Christ, one of faith. I am speaking biblically here. Certainly, faith without works is dead, as James says in his epistle, but this is a comment about the nature of an authentic, saving faith.

    In any case, there does seem to be a leap being made. Why should living in a (partially) capitalistic, materialistic, or wealthy society be in tension with a Christian ethic? It is not money, after all, but the love of money which is the root of all evil. I'm not exactly sure what the argument is supposed to be here.

    There are all sorts of ways in which the non-capitalistic elements of (the way government coercively invades) society are in tension with a Christian ethic. The welfare state, for one, gives rise to the worst kind of atomised individualism, where 'alms' (taxes) are 'given' (confiscated), not in such a way that is motivated by helping those who need it most in the way that they most need it, but in such a way that creates a class of permanent dependants, and exempts the tax-payer from any further charitable action. 'I support these insitutions with my taxes,' they will say, 'I have already done my part'. Charity has to remain charity, and that is why capitalism has to remain capitalism.

    This might be interesting to some:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bP7RgdpSyMw
  • Son of a Bitch
    2.6k


    Do you even know what you are talking about? I’m not talking about religious dogma taken from the Bible that was sanctioned by the corrupt Roman Catholic Church that all Christian church denominations also use as their sacred text. Dogmatic bullshit is what it is full of.

    I am talking about the teachings of Jesus, His supposed actual words as portrayed in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Thomas, and Mary.

    And no, Jesus most assuredly condemned the wealthy. You can’t serve two Gods.
  • Son of a Bitch
    2.6k


    I strongly suspect you’re so defensive because you yourself love your wealth and privilege. I’m sorry Jesus has condemned you, but ease your mind in knowing that He condemns all those who do not repent, myself included. Also, I’m not religious.
  • Son of a Bitch
    2.6k
    Is there anyone else here who wants to be an insufferable self-serving twit? Jesus welcomes all sinners to repent. :smile:
  • iolo
    227
    Reading the Sermon on the Mounts, Acts and so on, I tend to see Jesus and the early Church as early socialists, and this dreadful capitalist society as there simply to be overthrown. It doesn't seem a deeply hopeful cause just now, but better than sitting around being miserable, I think. La lutta continua!
  • Son of a Bitch
    2.6k
    Jesus and his disciples had a communal purse. They lived off of alms. So, I tend to see your point of view.
  • Son of a Bitch
    2.6k


    Jesus literally said, “Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, and render unto God what is God’s.” He was talking about paying taxes. :razz:
  • Virgo Avalytikh
    177
    Do you even know what you are talking about? I’m not talking about religious dogma taken from the Bible that was sanctioned by the corrupt Roman Catholic Church that all Christian church denominations also use as their sacred text. Dogmatic bullshit is what it is full of.

    Neither am I. As I mentioned, I am discussing the biblical text. I am not a Roman Catholic.
    Noah Te Stroete
    I strongly suspect you’re so defensive because you yourself love your wealth and privilege. I’m sorry Jesus has condemned you, but ease your mind in knowing that He condemns all those who do not repent, myself included. Also, I’m not religious.Noah Te Stroete

    You know virtually zero about me. Why are you being personal? This is a philosophy forum.

    Jesus literally said, “Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, and render unto God what is God’s.” He was talking about paying taxes. :razz:Noah Te Stroete

    Careless eisegesis. This is not a proof-text for Jesus's moral approval of confiscationary levies, and the NT commentary tradition agrees with me on this point. The point here, as it is at Jesus's trial, is that Jesus's kingdom is not of this world. It is a spiritual, not political revolution.
  • Son of a Bitch
    2.6k


    I’m not being political. You clearly are. I was being descriptive of contemporary society, and you bring in some far right-wing Murray Rothbard nonsense about the coercive State and how taxes are theft. I’ve got you pegged and we both know it. You’re defensive about your wealth and privilege. Biblical commentary? What in any way does that have to do with what Jesus said? Do you even realize that the Bible’s various books from Genesis to Revelation were set by the corrupt, self-serving Roman Catholic Church? And now all denominations use it.
  • alcontali
    1.3k
    I’m not talking about religious dogma taken from the Bible that was sanctioned by the corrupt Roman Catholic Church that all Christian church denominations also use as their sacred text. Dogmatic bullshit is what it is full of.Noah Te Stroete

    In comparison to Rabbinic Judaism and Islam, what characterizes Christianity is that it does not necessarily reason from first principles contained in the scripture. I personally consider that to be Christianity's most serious weakness.

    In fact, Luther already pointed that out at his trial in Worms, Germany, in April 1521, before Charles V, emperor of the holy roman empire. Luther said:

    If you can show me through scripture and reason that I would be wrong, I will retract what I have said.

    Luther's defence was ultimately rejected by Church and Empire on grounds on what Van Eck, emissary of the papacy, argued. Van Eck said:

    The Bible itself is the arsenal whence each evil heretic has drawn his deceptive arguments.

    The Bible has never been used to reason from first principles, and therefore, Christianity is not dogmatic, which in my opinion, is the religion's most severe weakness.
  • Son of a Bitch
    2.6k
    The Bible has never been used to reason from first principles, and therefore, Christianity is not dogmatic, which in my opinion, is the religion's most severe weakness.alcontali

    You are not saying there isn’t Church dogma, are you? Google any Christian church denomination and you will find in their tenets of faith dogmatic nonsense. What Christ taught and what the various churches teach are starkly at odds.
  • alcontali
    1.3k
    You are not saying there isn’t Church dogma, are you?Noah Te Stroete

    Their advisories are not axiomatic from scripture, i.e. from the Bible. Therefore, no, not at all, their practices do not constitute a sound formal system.

    That is the difference with Rabbinic Judaism and Islam, which contrary to Christianity are effectively sound axiomatic formal systems.

    The difference is entirely and exclusively epistemic. It is really not about what the scripture says. It is about the consideration whether their advisories necessarily and provably follow from scripture.
  • Virgo Avalytikh
    177
    I’m not being political.Noah Te Stroete

    Taxation is not political? You are bemoaning capitlaism, are you not? Invasions of capitalism (by which I mean the 'free market', the peaceful exchange of goods and services) are necessarily either criminal or political (which is just legitimised criminality), for they must involve the invasion of justly held property.

    I was being descriptive of contemporary society, and you bring in some far right-wing Murray Rothbard nonsense about the coercive State and how taxes are theft.Noah Te Stroete

    I didn't mention Rothbard. But the State is a coercive monopoly and taxation is a confiscationary levy. These are just definitions.

    Max Weber on the State, whose definition is the most widely acknowledged: a compulsory political organization with a centralized government that maintains a monopoly of the legitimate use of force within a certain territory.

    Oxford Dictionary of Economics definition of 'tax': A payment compulsorily collected from individuals or firms by a government . . .

    You’re defensive about your wealth and privilege.Noah Te Stroete

    Ad hominem, and also irrelevant. Unless you are the worst-off person to have ever lived, everyone is privileged to some degree. Privilege is not a social problem to be solved. This is kind of knee-jerk egalitarianism that is as subject now to the levelling-down objection as it always has been.

    Biblical commentary? What in any way does that have to do with what Jesus said?Noah Te Stroete

    Because we have no knowledge of Jesus's words outside of the testimony of the canonical gospels (note that Thomas et al. date to the mid-second century at the earliest, and are rightly considered pseudopigraphical).

    Do you even realize that the Bible’s various books from Genesis to Revelation were set by the corrupt, self-serving Roman Catholic Church? And now all denominations use it.Noah Te Stroete

    'Set'? Are you referring to the formation of the canon? In fact, there is evidence from as early as the 2nd century that the NT canon was established very early, and not by a central authority (see the Diatessaron and the Muratorian fragment). The best historical treatments of this are Michael Krueger's three books on the formation of the canon.
  • Son of a Bitch
    2.6k
    The difference is entirely and exclusively epistemic. It is really not about what the scripture says. It is about the consideration whether their advisories necessarily and provably follow from scripture.alcontali

    And the various churches all believe that their different and varied tenets of faith do indeed come from Scripture. As I understand it, there are different sects of Jews (the Reformed and the Orthodox as examples), and there are the Sunni and Shia Muslims. The two Muslim factions have been at odds for centuries. Plus, there is the Wahabbists, too.
  • iolo
    227
    Jesus literally said, “Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, and render unto God what is God’s.” He was talking about paying taxes.Noah Te Stroete

    With money with a graven image on it, occupation money the Pharisees shouldn't have been carrying. He's making a joke, I think. What did Jesus think didn't belong to God?
  • Son of a Bitch
    2.6k
    I don’t even know how to respond to your raving histrionics. I could argue that personal property is theft, and keeping people from sharing the land is a form of slavery. I don’t actually believe this, but this is what you sound like. The State is formed through a social contract, I might argue, and thus protects the people rather than coercing them. Taxes are the cost of civil society. Rich people who want to horde their wealth and not pay for the commons and infrastructure that they benefit more from than anyone else is the true outrage I might argue.

    Furthermore, you are not aware of the several councils the Church held to set dogma and the format of the modern Bible?
  • Son of a Bitch
    2.6k
    With money with a graven image on it, occupation money the Pharisees shouldn't have been carrying. He's making a joke, I think. What did Jesus think didn't belong to God?iolo

    The way I read it, he wasn’t making a joke but was genuinely trying to avoid the folly of choosing sides between the occupiers (Rome) and the priests’ set trap for him.
  • Virgo Avalytikh
    177
    I don’t even know how to respond to your raving histrionics. I could argue that personal property is theft, and keeping people from sharing the land is a form of slavery. I don’t actually believe this, but this is what you sound like. The State is formed through a social contract, I might argue, and thus protects the people rather than coercing them. Taxes are the cost of civil society. Rich people who want to horde their wealth and not pay for the commons and infrastructure that they benefit more from than anyone else is the true outrage I might argue.Noah Te Stroete

    You could argue all of that, of course, but that doesn't make it plausible.

    Furthermore, you are not aware of the several councils the Church held to set dogma and the format of the modern Bible?Noah Te Stroete

    The canon was already long established at Nicaea 325, the first of the ecumenical councils.

    When all's said and done, you have asserted some sort of incompatibility between capitalism and a Christian ethic, and I have requested (not demanded) an argument to that affect. You have declined to furnish us with such, instead engaging in ad hominem attacks, and from a position of ignorance to boot. What are we to make of this?
  • alcontali
    1.3k
    And the various churches all believe that their different and varied tenets of faith do indeed come from Scripture.Noah Te Stroete

    Not true at all, and even admittedly so.

    The early history of Christianity was about mandatory Church council advisories, such as the one in Nicaea, and the one in Chalcedon. The religious persecutions against Arians, Nestorians, and Copts was about the fact that they rejected these Church council resolutions.

    For example, there is not one Church that pretends that the Nicene creed comes from the Bible. On the contrary, they all admit that the theory of the trinity was decided at the Council of Nicaea.

    As I understand it, there are different sects of Jews (the Reformed and the Orthodox as examples)Noah Te Stroete

    As far as I am concerned, Reformed Judaism is not a valid religion. It is also known to be epistemically unsound. In the context of Judaism, I only mention Orthodox (Rabbinic) Judaism as a legitimate formal system.

    there are the Sunni and Shia Muslims. The two Muslim factions have been at odds for centuries.Noah Te Stroete

    The following is an example where the Shia and the Sunni disagree, i.e. the Shahada (central Islamic creed):

    Sunni: There is just one God and Muhammed is his prophet.
    Shia: There is just one God, Muhammed is his prophet, and Ali is his friend.


    That last bit cannot possibly originate from the Quran or the Sunnah. Therefore, it is epistemically unsound. It clearly amounts to introducing an additional first principle. Now, in my opinion, Shia jurisprudence does not seem to derive any new theorem from this (heretical) addition. Hence, it does not materially affect their take on Islamic theory. In that sense, this addition does not particularly matter in practice.

    Plus, there is the Wahabbists, too.Noah Te Stroete

    It is a protest movement against heretical advisories of which they deem that they do not necessarily or provably follow from scripture, or which are even contradictory to scripture. It is obvious that heretical advisories exist, but I disagree with any condemnation in globo. In my opinion, the problem of heresy can only be assessed per existing advisory, on a case by case basis.
  • Son of a Bitch
    2.6k
    Jesus literally said that it is easier for a rich man to pass through the eye of a needle than to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Hence, wealthy people don’t get into Heaven. They must give up their wealth and follow Jesus. He literally said this to a rich man he asked him what he had to do to repent. This is clear in the Gospels. Not sure what else you want me to say. If you’re a true follower of Christ, you can’t be rich. I am much wealthier than the inhabitants of Haiti and other third world countries’ inhabitants, but I already conceded that Jesus would condemn me. My wife and I have iPhones, a 4K TV, three other HD TVs, a laptop with two extra 24-inch monitors, two cars, and a two-story house. My wife and I have a combined annual income of $69,000.

    You don’t hear me bitching and moaning about Christ’s incontrovertible teachings. What’s your problem?
  • iolo
    227
    The way I read it, he wasn’t making a joke but was genuinely trying to avoid the folly of choosing sides between the occupiers (Rome) and the priests’ set trap for him.Noah Te Stroete

    Couldn't it be both?
  • Son of a Bitch
    2.6k
    For example, there is not one Church that pretends that the Nicene creed comes from the Bible. On the contrary, they all admit that the theory of the trinity was decided at the Council of Nicaea.alcontali

    Apparently you’ve never heard of the probably hundreds of Protestant denominations who believe that the entire Bible is the divine Word of God, passed down to humanity through God’s will? Are you from the United States? Protestants aren’t taught about the Council of Nicaea and if they know about it, they would just say that God’s will was done.
  • Son of a Bitch
    2.6k
    Also, each Protestant denomination has its own tenets of faith that they have derived from their own interpretations of the Bible.
  • Virgo Avalytikh
    177
    Jesus literally said that it is easier for a rich man to pass through the eye of a needle than to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Hence, wealthy people don’t get into Heaven.Noah Te Stroete

    Logically, this actually does not follow. Jesus did not say that the wealthy certainly do not go to heaven, only that it is difficult for them to do so, which is not in dispute. There is no question, money can be a curse, and it is to many people. But what does it mean to be 'rich'? 'Rich' is, of course, a relative judgement. Suppose I pass a beggar on the street and give him a coin. He may now be a coin richer than the beggar on the parallel street, whom I have not so graced. Is my beggar now 'rich', and barred from entering the kingdom of heaven? Jesus himself was clothed. Was he the parable's 'rich man', compared with the naked? You are very confident that you have understood the spirit of Jesus's words here, but it is very doubtful that you have.

    Jesus commands a particular individual, not everyone for all time, to sell of his possessions. Why? The pericope itself tells us: he was excessively attached to his wealth, and this served as an impediment to discipleship. Others may find different spiritual impediments, but this was his. This ought not to be overblown into a universal imperative, which it isn't.

    Perhaps you can furnish us with a non-arbitrary threshold, biblically informed, as to when rich-status kicks in. Otherwise, I think one is well within one's intellectual rights in considering Jesus's preoccupation to be with the excessive love of money, to the detriment of helping one's fellow human being, as is consistent with the tenor of the rest of the NT.
  • Son of a Bitch
    2.6k
    Anyways, the question I was asking in the OP was who better personified the teachings of Christ? The pilgrims or the natives? The pilgrims had the Bible, but on the other hand the natives better personified Christ’s commandments.
  • Son of a Bitch
    2.6k
    Logically, this actually does not follow. Jesus did not say that the wealthy certainly do not go to heaven, only that it is difficult for them to do so, which is not in dispute.Virgo Avalytikh

    Wrong. He was saying that just as it is impossible for a person to pass through the eye of a needle, so it is impossible for a wealthy man to get into Heaven. This is very clear and obvious to anyone who has actually read the Gospels.
  • alcontali
    1.3k
    Apparently you’ve never heard of the probably hundreds of Protestant denominations who believe that the entire Bible is the divine Word of God, passed down to humanity through God’s will?Noah Te Stroete

    From a jurisprudential point of view, the scripture is a set of first principles, from which it is permitted to derive theorems, inasmuch as they necessarily and provably follow from these first principles.

    As such, religious jurisprudence is an axiomatic formal system. Just like for any formal system, religious jurisprudence is not interested in a justification for its first principles, from within the same system. That is not possible anyway, as it would lead to infinite regress.

    Furthermore, we also do not try to further justify the 9 axioms of number theory (PA) or the 10 axioms of set theory (ZFC). The principle of system-wide premises is simply the essence of the axiomatic epistemic domain.

    So, yes, we can say that the scripture comes from God, but so do ultimately the 9 axioms of PA and the 10 axioms of ZFC, or any first principles that we use.

    Protestants aren’t taught about the Council of Nicaea and if they know about it, they would just say that God’s will was done.Noah Te Stroete

    Protestants who do not know that the trinity was decided at the Council of Nicaea, and who do not know that it does not originate from the Bible, are simply ignorant about their own religion:

    In 325, the First Council of Nicaea adopted the Nicene Creed which described Christ as "God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father", and the "Holy Ghost" as the one by which was incarnate... of the Virgin Mary".[56][57]Wikipedia on the trinity

    Except for the Unitarians, all Protestants subscribe to the Trinity:

    Protestants who adhere to the Nicene Creed believe in three persons (God the Father, God the Son, and the Holy Spirit) as one God. Movements emerging around the time of the Protestant Reformation, but not a part of Protestantism, e.g. Unitarianism also reject the Trinity.Wikipedia on Protestantism and Trinity

    The Trinity is a theory that does NOT necessarily follow from the Bible. Hence, I consider it to be a heresy within the context of Christianity.
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