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BS: On Acts 4:32-35

WalkaboutsVerse 14 Sep 10 - 05:43 AM
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Emma B 14 Sep 10 - 07:49 AM
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Subject: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: WalkaboutsVerse
Date: 14 Sep 10 - 05:43 AM

Socialist ideas, of course, pre-date Karl Marx by centuries: e.g., the Levellers in the 17th century, John Ball and the peasants revolt
in the 14th century, and in the Bible...

Poem 82 of 230: ON ACTS 4:32-35

Believers were all one in heart and mind -
    They shared their excesses, giving in kind.
No-one claimed any possessions one's own -
    Yes, it was socialism on the throne.

So not long were there desperate folk -
    Fair distribution was the tongue they spoke.
And wealthy owners would sell part their deed -
    Funds, via apostles, to those in need.

Yet today, all round our troubled earth,
    Some Christians, safe at their own snug hearth,
Vote for their electorate's Right-Wing party -
    That's hypocritical, it seems to me.

(C) David Franks 2003
From http://walkaboutsverse.webs.com (e-scroll)
Or http://blogs.myspace.com/walkaboutsverse (e-book)


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: Slag
Date: 14 Sep 10 - 06:33 AM

Yes, if you lift the text from its context you see the element of socialism, don't you. When you consider that the fledgling "religion" was in survival mode it looks a little different. These folks were being hunted down and murdered by their brothers according to the flesh and by the Romans who were trying to maintain Pax Roma. Israel itself was under attack and in 70 AD was destroyed by Rome and the Second Diaspora ensued. It was hardly a political movement. Infact you might argue that it is the nature of Christianity to SURVIVE any and all political schemes including socialism. It is a subtle deceit to shift the focus of Christianity off of Christ and onto socialism. That was NOT their concern nor the intent nor the impetus of their beliefs. They were taking care of practical matters of their immediate condition while focusing on spreading the good news of Jesus Christ and what He had done by His sacrifice.

If you are a political bird you can choose either wing and it matters not. You can't fly to heaven on politics.


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: Emma B
Date: 14 Sep 10 - 07:49 AM

None of the four gospels of the New Testament mention the Essenes despite specific mention of the Pharisees, and the Sadducees.

According to historians, the Essenes flourished between the 2nd century B.C. and the 1st century AD
Josephus gave a detailed account of the Essenes in The Jewish War (c.75 A.D.)
Claiming first hand knowledge, he states that they comprised one of three major Torah schools – the other two being the Pharisees and the Sadducees - but were significantly less in number
He echoed the description by Roman writer Pliny the Elder that they had customs and observances such as collective ownership

The holy Essenes did not marry and lived a celibate life; the sect practiced communal residence, money, property, food and clothing.
Additionally they practised ritual immersion in water and ate together after prayer
Some scholars have asserted that Jesus himself was an Essene, since his teachings espoused many of the same codes of conduct.

The Essenes disappeared from history after the Diaspora whether, as a small pacifist group, they were massacred by the Romans or, as some have theorized, evolved into the early Christian church remains a mystery but they were certainly practising what some term 'Christian communism' - based on Biblical verses in Acts 2 and 4 - before the birth of Jesus


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: katlaughing
Date: 14 Sep 10 - 10:56 AM

I have not read this issue, but the Rosicrucian DIGEST of Nov. 2007 has several articles and podcasts on the ESSENES.


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: catspaw49
Date: 14 Sep 10 - 11:09 AM

Fifth time this one has been posted WavyFWBR..........New thread no less...............


Spaw


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: WalkaboutsVerse
Date: 14 Sep 10 - 02:38 PM

Frankly, I didn't check that, Spaw, and didn't know some of the interesting details posted above, thanks. And, given them, one wonders why the Soviet leaders, e.g., bothered so much to put Orthodoxy down..? They could have just said: "Your God is a socialist, too."


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: Joe Offer
Date: 14 Sep 10 - 03:12 PM

While I can see the purpose in quoting the poem in this thread, the fact that it has been posted four times before, makes it tacky. Well, I guess it's not as blatant as some.


But anyhow, I think WAV makes a good point here. It would seem to be that the verse from Acts makes it pretty hard to Christians to condemn socialism. Indeed, it would seem that socialism should be the ideal that Christians should strive for.

I suppose you could say that Jesus speaks favorably of capitalism in some parables (like the parable of the talents) - but when it comes to actual living, it appears that Christ and his followers shared their resources.

Maybe we need to learn to do the same.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: GUEST,Ed
Date: 14 Sep 10 - 05:11 PM

Joe, you have an astonishingly gentle and peacable wisdom. And you are wise full stop!


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 14 Sep 10 - 05:12 PM

As long as people are being seduced by the supernatural mumbo-jumbo then it's a bit of a joke calling it Socialism. Placing the teachings of Christ in an entirely Secular / Humanist context can be interesting, but the rest of it is the same old God Fearing crap. Where there is religion there can never be Socialism.


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: GUEST,Ed
Date: 14 Sep 10 - 05:43 PM

Placing the teachings of Christ in an entirely Secular / Humanist context can be interesting

I suggest placing the best teachings of Christ in an entirely Secular / Humanist context to be a good way forward. But only I know which they are...


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: Slag
Date: 14 Sep 10 - 06:35 PM

I guess I used invisible digits in my post because my argument was completely ignored. When Christ stood before Pilate and was asked if he were King of the Jews, he responded that his kingdom was not of this world. Significant is the fact that his kingdom is just that; a monarchy and I am sure that the scripture points out in a couple of places, I seem to remember, that Christ is called the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. That does not sound like socialism. Church and church governments have been an issue for the intervening centuries since the time of Christ and many of these forms of church government have lead to denominationalism, violence and murder and some of the most heinous and dispicable acts of history, none of which reflect the teachings of Christ.

The Christian is about Christ and His kingdom of which there is no end (the only way a monarchy can really succeed)). On this plane of existence it is a matter of heart, mind and soul. The Christian's first allegiance is to Christ. Christ prioritizes all that remains. This is seen in Christ's summation of the Hebrew Law "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and all thy soul and all thy mind and thy neighbor as thyself". He also told his followers to love their enemies and do good to those who persecute them. The Christian's interaction with the world is to be based in peace and love and non-violence. Paul points out in Ephesians and elsewhere that we battle spiritual wickedness (an interesting word unto itself) by SPIRITUAL means as demonstrated by the putting on of the armour of God. And, you may note, that the battle is not offensive but is so that the Christian will be able to stand his ground and give account for the beliefs he holds.

I have to agree with Suibhne Astray that most "religion" is mumbo jumbo. Many people follow a religion and some religions purport to follow Christ. I will say now that never a religion "saved" anybody. The writer of James had a few terse comments on what "true religion" ought to be and that is about ALL the Bible has to say on THAT subject. At best, a religious body may perserve the teachings of the Bible and may introduce folks to the good news, the gospel and point the way to Christ but they themslevs cannot effect salvation. That is the sole province of God.

Human governments are of man and inherently flawed by all foibles that befall mankind. History has seen a full range of human governments come and go and not a one has lasted the ages. Much more could be said about that but not here. Abuses of any form of government occur and those abuses are almost always against the common folk.

The Acts of the Apostles is about the establishment of the early Christian church amid the hostility of the Roman Empire, how they found ways to survive Rome and keep their core beliefs intact. How they took care of their own may be seen as a form of government but I see it more as how a loving family takes care of its own. What good parent would not care with all their means, their children? And how do they do this? Do you think of your family order as a government? Do you elect a Father and a Mother? Do you have periodic revolutions and bloodbaths? Do you submit to tyrants? Yes, I suppose that some do but such is not a normal healthy loving family. If you use the standards set forth in the Bible to judge religions and the institutions of mankind you may just see the need of a savior who is loving and kind.


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: Bobert
Date: 14 Sep 10 - 08:15 PM

Jesus was a good socialist... Guess that's why I love Him...

Ya'll ever notice how so many so-called Christains never get outta the Old Testament??? Hmmmmmm??? How many references are there to Jesus in the Old Testament, BTW???

B~


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: Ebbie
Date: 14 Sep 10 - 09:27 PM

SA says that where there is religion there can never be socialism.
Communalism, to me, is living with a like group, sharing resources and assets, liabilities and shortcomings. In what way socialism - and for that matter, communism - differs from that description I'm not sure; what I do know is that many religious groups in this country and in others have succeeded in that ideal for generations. There are at least two of those groups in Alaska, not Hutterites, that I know of. I know Canada has Hutterites who live communally and have for a hundred years or more.


http://www.hutterites.org/HutteriteHistory/

From that link:
"Hutterites differ in one major aspect (from Amish and Mennonites/eb): they believe in sharing their possessions in commons as demonstrated by Christ and His Apostles and as later further refined and described in the Book of Acts.
Christ commanded us to love one another, and Hutterites believe that living together is a wonderful and unique expression of love for their fellow man."


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: Bobert
Date: 14 Sep 10 - 09:43 PM

Now that's what Jesus is all about!!!

And bein' an ol' hippie, I'd rather us the word communalism than socialism... And there is a difference... Either beats what the US has now....

BTW, back in the 60s a bunch of folks started one of the longest runnin' communes in the country... They went by the name of "Twin Oaks" and made hammocks and other stuff...

Wonder what happened to them folks???

"Communalism" is kinda hard and long jump fir most folks but ya'll know what??? Come back in a hundred years an' people will be clustered in "work/live/play" communities where people just read about a time when silly people, ahhhhh, drove cars!?!?!?... And it will be "communal"... Gonna happen... It's smart, efficient and, best of all, it's, ahhhhhhhh, human??? What a concept???

B~


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: Kent Davis
Date: 14 Sep 10 - 10:08 PM

Christianity is voluntarily giving what belongs to you to those with whom you choose to share it.

Socialism is forcibly taking what belongs to others and giving it to those with whom the authorities choose to share it.

Whether Socialism is good, whether it is right, whether it is justifiable, whether it is the best system, dose not affect this fact: Socialism is not what is referred to in Acts 4:23-35.

Giving away other people's money is not charity.

Kent


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: Joe Offer
Date: 15 Sep 10 - 12:07 AM

"Forcibly taking" may be your perspective, Kent; but many socialist systems operate by community consent. Socialism is an economic system based on shared resources. How the political control is exercised, is a different matter.

And it's clear to me that the early Christian church was a close approximation of the socialist ideal, with an expectation of respect and fairness for every member of the community - NOT a rigid system imposed by a strong authority, but a society that takes the needs and abilities of everyone into consideration.

In recent history, the Israeli kibbutz is a close approximation of the socialist ideal. I can't buy the contention above that socialism is necessarily godless, by the way. It's an economic system, fer chrissake...


-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: WalkaboutsVerse
Date: 15 Sep 10 - 06:11 AM

Bobert: hadn't heard it for a while, but one of my anthropology lecturers also preffered the term "communalism". Important to me is the idea of "fair competition", which requires strong regulation, best achieved through natioinalisation/socialism - instead of free market capitalism, which produces revoltingly unfair and inhumane inequality.

Slag: The Bible looks at monarchism elsewhere and, although I probably have posted it before, this may save folks clicking a link...

Poem 225 of 230: AFTER PSALM 118:9 AND MATTHEW 4:8-10

The monarchies
    Now are blasphemies -
The only born-ruler
    Is a God-chosen Schooler.

(C) David Franks 2003
From http://blogs.myspace.com/walkaboutsverse (e-scroll)
Or http://walkaboutsverse.webs.com (e-book)


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 15 Sep 10 - 06:12 AM

Both WAV's poem & the verses in Acts (and much posted above) concern how Believers behave towards one another - in other words this is about Religious Nutters sharing their earthly possessions in the conviction their rewards will be in heaven. It is not a call for the emacipation of the Proletariat. Indeed, said Apostles would go on the lay the foundations for The Roman Catholic Church, perhaps the most long-lived instrument of human oppression yet devised. Socialism? I think not. Odd that WAV for all his published ultra right-wing polemic should even think such a thing!


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: WalkaboutsVerse
Date: 15 Sep 10 - 06:34 AM

S: you've called me, amongst other things, "right-wing" for being critical of economic immigration - this would not be "odd" if you'd finally realise that economic immigration is synonymous with capitalist immigration. I.e., if you are genuinley left-wing, you appreciate whatever the greenness of your grass and question economic immigration.


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 15 Sep 10 - 07:07 AM

You don't question economic immigration, WAV - your entire philosophy centres around culture & enthicity and the supposed dangers of what happens when people lose their cultural identity. Your notion of Culture is a volkish fantasy based on dodgy notions of racial purity & Nationalism, which you further compound by hiking it to the Occult in your espousals of a Global Christianity which is somehow in sympathy with your Nice Multicultural World. Basically what you want is a totalitarian segregated world order of enforced Bogus Folk Culture maintained by each Nation State for the purposes of Tourism. As dystopian future visions go I'd say it doesn't get any grimmer than that!


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: Bill D
Date: 15 Sep 10 - 11:13 AM

"Socialism is forcibly taking what belongs to others and giving it to those with whom the authorities choose to share it.

And what is the system called where "those who have plenty" use the government to write laws ensuring they will have MORE, no matter how those who are struggling try to cope?

The Golden Rule: "He who has the gold makes the rules"


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: WalkaboutsVerse
Date: 15 Sep 10 - 11:52 AM

...on The Daily Politics (BBC), today, one chap was given the chance to argue how quickly (without public sector cuts) the deficit could be fixed by taxing the rich - the ridiculously and inhumanely rich, as has been suggested above.


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: Bobert
Date: 15 Sep 10 - 12:35 PM

Hey, all governments "govern"... That means that there will be certain laws and standards that the government sets which are hopefully in the best interest of everyone... Socialism isn't taking things away just for the sake of taking things away... It is a system that tends to rewards everyone for hard work rather than just a few... So exactly what is wrong with that, Kent???

b~


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: Bill D
Date: 15 Sep 10 - 12:54 PM

Not only that, but if the rich don't pay enough of their share of taxes, those bridges & roads won't be comfy for their Mercedes and Lexus, and their gardeners and house cleaners won't be able to afford to live close enough to get to work... (well, you get the idea).

Governments MUST make decisions that certain parties are not willing to make for themselves.


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: GUEST,Guest from Sanity
Date: 15 Sep 10 - 02:59 PM

This thread should be a HOOT!..Being as some of the posters 'don't know shit from Shinola', about what they're talking about!!!

'Jesus was a socialist'???!!?? That is almost hilarious!...Except it's just so 'off the wall'!

I don't think anyone on here can be so screwed up, to suggest the Jesus would recommend belonging to either political party or either party's ideologies...but then, this is 'Mudcat', and there are some pretty far out wishful thinking crazies out there!

Here, play with this one, "My Kingdom is not of this world.'!!!!

Waving,
GfS


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: Joe Offer
Date: 15 Sep 10 - 03:34 PM

Hmmmm. It appears the ideologues on all sides, may make rational discussion impossible here....

Socialism is an economic system involving the sharing of resources for the common good. Socialism can be democratic, or not - but authoritarian forms of socialism seem to me to be a violation of the socialist ideal, which assumes equality among people. I think that ideal socialism also requires a high amount of concern for the community as a whole, with individual preferences subordinated to to the needs of the community.

Jesus seems to have been apolitical, but it's clear that he and his followers lived in a community which shared resources for the common good. Their religious beliefs and their sanity (or lack thereof) were immaterial...except to those who can only see the world through the blinders of mindless ideology.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: Penny S.
Date: 15 Sep 10 - 04:04 PM

This reminds me of a study weekend held by East Kent Young Congregationalists back in the early sixties, led by our minister. He used three quotes, one to summarise socialism, one communism, and one Christianity.

Socialism would have been, I suppose, Lenin, (quoting St Paul, but neither he nor the minister seem to have mentioned this) "he who does not work, neither shall he eat". Seen as wrong because it may leave the weaker unprotected. (Seems a bit like the coalition, too.)

Communism would have been Marx, "from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs". I did not grasp what was wrong with this, but there was some reason, apparently.

I cannot, unfortunately, remember what phrase summed up the Christian position. Possibly because I was still pondering what was wrong with Marx, possibly because of the minister's later behaviour to our family. If it was the bit about loving your neighbour, he didn't live up to it. (He wouldn't have done well by the other criteria either.)

He did issue handouts, but I've lost them.

As for people who think that monarchy is a model for divine rule, they should just study the history of monarchies. God wasn't, I recall, in favour of one for Israel, was He?

Penny


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: Slag
Date: 15 Sep 10 - 04:31 PM

Gee Joe, can't ideologies be rooted in rational thought? Impossible? Don'tcha remember that with God, all things are possible?

How a small group, a following of a peripatetic rabbi, manages their funds (Judas held the purse) hardly constitutes a doctrine on governing a nation. The break with worldly orders is clearly deomnstrated when Christ asked for the coin with Ceaser's image. "'Render' (repay, give back) to Ceaser, the things that are Ceaser's and to God, the thing's that are God's". A clear division.

It is not accurate to say Jesus was apolitical. He was (is) a Prince, representing the King of all Kings and he was here to claim what is rightfully belonging to his Father. And yes! He told Pilate that his kingdom was not of this world (at least not yet!).

Christ had a lot to say about money and it makes an intersting study. Bill_D is right on about the fact that those with the gold make the rules and most of those rules are about keeping the geetus out of your pockets and in theirs. Christ scared the hell out of the authorities and Rome with his attitude toward their power. That gold was the carrot before the donkey that keeps the whole thing working! What would happen if the peons quit caring about the carrot???!!! Arrrrgh! Crucify him! It was the only solution. All those elements are still in play today. Someone has just recently started a thread about "how poor were you or are you". I haven't looked in yet but I can tell you now that my rank or standing in what the world may consider success or failure means nothing. I have all that I need in this world. I have the Lord and the Earth and all that is in it is available to me if He decides that I need it.

Christ asks the question "What does it profit someone if a man should gain the entire world but lose his own soul?" And you know, we are here for such a short time. We don't "own" anything. We claim a right to use and / or abuse those things under our control but eventually we have to surrender them to someone else. Therefore we are "stewards" of the things under our control for that period of time. I believe this is the right perspective and it greatly troubles those wh would have ultimate control over us.

Another thing the Bible points out is that whoever holds the debt, owns the debtor and that is a fact. If you are deep in debt do you rest easy? I was shocked when President Obama said that the basis of America's economy was debt! And then I was really shocked when I considered that what he said was true! That IS a frightening thought! We are owned by those who hold our debt, a debt so great (by the estimation of some economists) that there is not enough money in the entire world to pay it off. There are big things in store for this world in the very near future.


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: Joe Offer
Date: 15 Sep 10 - 05:48 PM

Well, Slag, semantics can be tricky.

I would think that while "ideology" and "ideologue" may come from the same root, "ideologue" has the implication of a mindless adherent to a political creed, while "ideology" does not necessarily have that same implication of mindlessness. In this thread, both extremes agree that religious belief and socialism are incompatible. Ideologues on both extremes agree that Jesus was a mind-controlling, authoritarian capitalist; and that socialist thought does not allow for those who have religious leanings. As for me, I take a gentler view of religious faith - and of socialism.

One could say that the basis of the American economy is debt; but it is equally true that the basis of the American economy is credit, which isn't so frightening.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 15 Sep 10 - 06:25 PM

"Monarchy ... God wasn't, I recall, in favour of one for Israel, was He"

Only His Own.


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 15 Sep 10 - 06:31 PM

Twin Oaks Community (Wikipedia)

Twin Oaks Intentional Community

And a lot of other links if you Google ...


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: Slag
Date: 15 Sep 10 - 08:30 PM

Absolutely correct Foolestroupe! They had self-rule under the judges and they foolishly wanted what the other nations had, a King! And boy, did they ever get a winner. That is one of the funnier/sadder stories in the Bible.


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: mousethief
Date: 15 Sep 10 - 10:53 PM

Christianity is voluntarily giving what belongs to you to those with whom you choose to share it.

Socialism is forcibly taking what belongs to others and giving it to those with whom the authorities choose to share it.


Could be.


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: Kent Davis
Date: 15 Sep 10 - 11:55 PM

Joe Offer,

Thank you for your thoughtful reply to my post of 10:08 p.m. last night. We agree that that the word "socialism" can, in certain contexts, refer to a voluntary sharing. More commonly, such an arrangement is, I believe, called a "commune" if the means of production are jointly owned, and simply called "sharing" or "charity" if the means of production remain in individual ownership. However, the poem which opens this thread, and many of the posts prior to mine, are not talking about establishing voluntary communes nor about giving to charity, but are rather talking about state socialism. I'm sure we are in agreement that state socialism does indeed involve "forcibly taking".

I also "can't buy the contention above that socialism is necessarily godless, by the way". I'm not sure who made that contention. I certainly said nothing of the kind

Bobert,

You said that socialism "is a system that tends to rewards everyone for hard work rather than just a few... So exactly what is wrong with that, Kent???" There is nothing wrong with that. How well socialism actually succeeds at rewarding everyone for hard work is, of course, a matter of debate. However, I did not address that issue, nor do I intend to address it.

My point is simple: "Whether Socialism is good, whether it is right, whether it is justifiable, whether it is the best system, does not affect this fact: Socialism is not what is referred to in Acts 4:23-35. Giving away other people's money is not charity.

Bill D.,

I believe you and Jesus and the right-wing parties and the left-wing parties and I are all in agreement that people should pay taxes and that governments "MUST make decisions that certain parties are not willing to make for themselves." Only the anarchists disagree.

Some people, however, seem to think that voting for a tax increase is an act of charity. Voting for a tax increase may be good and wise (or otherwise), but it is not an act of charity. Giving away other people's money is not charity.

Kent


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 16 Sep 10 - 01:21 AM

Master, should we pay taxes to Ceaser?

Whose head is on this coin?

Ceaser.

Render unto Ceaser, that which is Ceasar's, and unto God that which is God's.

No more, no less.


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: WalkaboutsVerse
Date: 16 Sep 10 - 10:57 AM

Today Elizabeth Windsor said to Joseph Ratzinger that the car which had brought him from Edinburgh Airport to Holyrood Palace was "very small" - it was a Jaguar.


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: WalkaboutsVerse
Date: 16 Sep 10 - 01:58 PM

...just walked home from a nice C. of E. Evensong.


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: Joe Offer
Date: 16 Sep 10 - 08:06 PM

I suppose there is a natural tendency to demonize, that which we are not. If we're Conservative, we think Socialists are horrible. But the fact of the matter is that a good many Socialists choose Socialism because they truly believe it is the best thing for humankind - to provide for the needs of all.
And Capitalists think the same of their economic system, that it is the only way humankind can survive - to provide for the needs of those who earn what they need.

But most Socialists and most Capitalists seek to serve the needs of the community, not to impose tyranny upon people. Of course, there are a few megalomaniacal tyrants who seek to accumulate vast and oppressive powers; and it's also true that such persons are drawn to positions of authority. But on the whole, most people mean well. Of course, the worst tyrant is fear - if we fear our political opponents, there's not telling what we might do to them.

But for the most part, Socialists are well-meaning people - and so are Capitalists.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: Slag
Date: 17 Sep 10 - 12:46 AM

You are so right Joe. If you have an extended conversation with someone who is not in agreement with your view of HOW things should get done you usually find out that your goals are essentially the same. Diasagreements focus on ways and means and the ethics involved. Phrases like "The ends justify the means" challenge core beliefs. Same for "Jesus is the answer to everything". In the practical world these types of inflammatory statements serve no good. They may be useful as a motivator or winning the undecided but that's it. And that is also my way of agreeing with you concerning the difference between ideology and an ideologue.


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: GUEST,Guest from Sanity
Date: 17 Sep 10 - 01:22 AM

Just to clarify: Jesus was not recommending a political system as to itself, but rather, to his disciples, who were embarking on a mission to 'spread the Gospel', and believing that this world's goods, were NOT the goal, but acknowledging the needs of others, and meeting their needs..being as the disciples were now on a 'mission'. He also said, not to take money, with them, not store up 'STUFF'....and actually, 'STUFF' and the quest for more 'STUFF', often just get's in the way!

Twisting those passages is just nonsense!

GfS


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: Joe Offer
Date: 17 Sep 10 - 02:30 AM

Ideology and religious belief aside, I think it makes good sense to share resources for the common good. To me, socialism has an element of generosity in it that capitalism lacks. And yes, when it involves taking things from unwilling givers, the ideal of socialism falls down. In Chapter 5 of Acts, Ananias and his wife Sapphira didn't go along with the program, and they didn't fare so well.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: WalkaboutsVerse
Date: 17 Sep 10 - 06:00 AM

I agree with that Joe, but, as suggested above, also important to me is the idea of fair competition, which requires REGULATION (best done via nationalisation/socialism), rather than FREE-market capitalism, which produces very unfair inequality.


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: WalkaboutsVerse
Date: 17 Sep 10 - 06:15 AM

...by the way, I also think that the idea of no-inequality (doctors paid the same as process workers, e.g.), that may be heard from, e.g., some members of the Socialist Workers Party, in England, is also unfair.


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 17 Sep 10 - 06:32 AM

Why?


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: s&r
Date: 17 Sep 10 - 06:40 AM

So one can tug one's forelock to the better paid instead of the Monarchy?
People with degrees and certificates must be worth more than the hoi polloi

Stu


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: Joe Offer
Date: 17 Sep 10 - 03:17 PM

Hmmm. The idea of equal pay for all workers is not something one hears of here in the United States. I think that might bring back the lynch mobs. At first thought, it would seem that someone who put in extra years of education, should be paid significantly more than somebody doing less-skilled labor. BUT the highly-educated workers usually have jobs that are far more comfortable than manual labor, so maybe there IS a point in suggesting that all workers get equal pay. Don't know that I'm that generous, though. Would that mean we'd have to pay a living wage to somebody who works as a folk musician?
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: WalkaboutsVerse
Date: 17 Sep 10 - 03:45 PM

...and we want doctors, e.g., to go home to a few more creature comforts as, the next day, they have a more important job to do - helping heal a human is more vital than anything I've done on the shop-floor.


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: Slag
Date: 17 Sep 10 - 05:47 PM

I figured we'd get to Ananias and Saphira eventually. Their great sin was in lying to God. They demonstrated their UNBELIEF by lying. Had they truly believed they would have known they would have been found out (compare with the story of Achan in Joshua 7 [7:19 being key]). They were in it for prestige of some sort. Paul (Luke?) recognizes the rights of ownership when he states that as long as it was theirs they could do as they pleased but once they claimed to have given all to God it was no longer under their control. Giving, not taking, is the action.

Orwell's Animal Farm is a nice little parable of how socialism and the collective is susceptible to abuses. Unbridled captialism is also a potential evil. Robber barons and monopolists have demonstrated the latter. In truth there is NO human system, ideology or endeavor that is not susceptible to selfish and malicious intent. It seems that the majority of the wealth of the nations goes to combating evil which is itself a most corrupt and greedy endeavor. Price any lawyers lately?. The other extreem alternative is the loss of freedom and independence to a totalitarian regime.

A limited socialism seems to work for some countries as does a limited captialism for others or a combination of both. Like most things, the truth is in the middle and marked by moderation.


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: GUEST,Guest from Sanity
Date: 18 Sep 10 - 01:59 AM

NOW THAT was a stupid 'poem', void of understanding.....or substance. Where do you guys get this shit???.....Sheeesh!!!!

GfS


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: ollaimh
Date: 18 Sep 10 - 10:04 PM

i think kent missed the point. socialism is about taking back what other took improperly in the first place. like the land emclosures or the idea enclosures of modern intellectual property laws


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: Kent Davis
Date: 18 Sep 10 - 11:51 PM

Maybe I did miss the point. I thought WAV's point was that Acts 4:32-35 indicated that it is hypocritical for Christians to vote for a "right-wing" party. Maybe I misread the first post, in which he wrote "Socialist ideas, of course, pre-date Karl Marx by centuries: e.g., the Levellers in the 17th century, John Ball and the peasants revolt in the 14th century, and in the Bible..." Maybe I misread his last verse, "Yet today, all round our troubled earth, Some Christians, safe at their own snug hearth, Vote for their electorate's Right-Wing party - That's hypocritical, it seems to me."

Tell me, ollaimh, how do you read that?

My point is simple and, I would have thought, utterly uncontroversial: Acts 4:32-35 does not tell us which political parties deserve our votes. It does not deal with government policy. It does not deal with economic systems. It deals with private charity. Giving away other people's money is not charity.   Charity is giving away your own money.

There is nothing in Acts 4:32-35 about land enclosure. There is nothing about patents or copyrights or trademarks. Nothing about taking back Judean land seized by Rome. Nothing about returning to the ancient Israeli system of Jubilee years and inalienable inheritances. Nothing about politics. It's not there. The passage is about private charity. Read it for yourself:

"Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common. And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold and laid it at the apostles' feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need."

In case there is any confusion about whether the individual Christians still retained legal ownership of the property which they were voluntarily sharing, consider the next two verses:

"Thus Joseph, who was also called by the apostles Barnabas (which means son of encouragement), a Levite, a native of Cyprus, sold a field that belonged to him and brought the money and laid it at the apostles' feet."

Consider also Peter's rebuke of Ananias (who sold property and gave away part of the proceeds, but who dishonestly claimed to be giving away ALL the proceeds). In Acts 5:4, Peter said, of the property, "While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not at your disposal? Why is it that you have contrived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God."   Notice that Peter explicitly says that Ananias had retained legal ownership of the property (until he sold it) and further says that, after he sold it, he still retained legal ownership of the proceeds. This is not a government program. This is private charity. In Ananias's case, it was private charity gone wrong, but it was still private charity.

These passages tell us a great private deal about charity.   They do not tell us whether or not we should vote for the political right.

Kent


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: Joe Offer
Date: 19 Sep 10 - 01:18 AM

Well, Kent, you and I certainly read that passage differently. Seems to me that the early Christian community was well-nigh an ideal community, with everyone showing concern for the welfare of all - and sharing their resources. Yes, some owned property - but they sold it and gave the proceeds to the community.
Sounds like a commune or collective to me - and communes and collectives are the basic unit of socialist society.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: Kent Davis
Date: 19 Sep 10 - 02:06 AM

Joe Offer,

Why do I think that you and I read Acts 4:32-35 differently?

Some of the early Christians owned property. Some sold their property and gave it all away. All shared voluntarily. Everyone showed concern for the welfare of all or, one might say, participated in private charity by giving away their own money. That's what I wrote. Unless I have suddenly developed a new form of dyslexia, that's also what you wrote.

How do you think I read it?

Do you think we read it differently because I didn't call the arrangement in Acts 4 a commune or a cooperative? I didn't call it a commune or a cooperative because, as I understand it, the terms "commune" and "cooperative" generally imply common ownership of the means of production and/or the land. The early Christians could have set up a commune by laying the deeds to their land at the Apostles' feet. They could have, but what they actually did, according to the passage, was they kept individual ownership of real estate until they individually chose to sell it, and then brought the money from the sale to the Apostles. We agree on that, don't we?

WAV's chosen title and first post, including his poem, imply that Acts 4 tells us how to vote. Surely we agree that it does not.

Kent


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: Joe Offer
Date: 19 Sep 10 - 02:19 AM

Well, Kent, in the NRSV, Acts 4:32 says:

    Now the whole group of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one claimed private ownership of any possessions, but everything they owned was held in common.


You keep saying, "they kept individual ownership of real estate until they individually chose to sell it."

I think that means there's a big difference in our perspectives.

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: GUEST,Guest from Sanity
Date: 19 Sep 10 - 02:35 AM

Bravo Kent!!! Well done.
When I posted earlier, that the disciples were on a 'mission' to spread the 'Gospel', some people do not realize, that ALL inclusive of that Gospel, is to obey the commandment of LOVE!...as this quote from Timothy I:

":3 As I urged you when I was leaving for Macedonia, stay on in Ephesus 3 to instruct 4 certain people not to spread false teachings, 5   1:4 nor to occupy themselves with myths and interminable genealogies. 6 Such things promote useless speculations rather than God's redemptive plan 7 that operates by faith. 1:5 But the aim of our instruction 8 is love that comes from a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith. 9   1:6 Some have strayed from these and turned away to empty discussion. 1:7 They want to be teachers of the law, but they do not understand what they are saying or the things they insist on so confidently."

So, in light of that, wouldn't you agree, that the SHARING of property, and provisions, was to be governed, by the 'new found' LOVE, that was the commandment, and not by the order of a political persuasion??? That it was voluntary? Done by a motive of "Doing to others, as you would have done to you"?

Shouldn't that be the basis of our consciousness? Isn't that where our laws were originally intended to insure?..Equality for all??

But, alas, some don't see it that way...and want to use force and control, over the rights of others to live as they please,..then they lie, as to who they are!..and what they REALLY want! That is the form of our present political party(S). This is not what Jesus was talking about, nor should it be construed that Jesus was in any way recommending a worldly form of state government.

None the less.....Hats off to you KENT!!!!

Absolute Warmest Regards!!!

Guest from Sanity


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: Kent Davis
Date: 19 Sep 10 - 03:42 AM

Joe, I could be wrong, but I believe you and I are in agreement that the early Christians kept LEGAL ownership of property UNTIL they sold it. We agree (I think) that, even before they sold property, "no one claimed private ownership of any possessions, but everything they owned was held in common". We agree (I think) that, from a LEGAL perspective, individuals remained the owners of property UNTIL the property was sold. Thus we read of "owners of lands or houses". If individuals had lost LEGAL ownership of property upon becoming members of the church, then it would make no sense to say "as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them". If the individuals had already lost LEGAL ownership, they would not have been "owners" and they would have had no "lands or houses" to sell. Right?

If no field belonged to Barnabas, then he could not have "sold a field that belonged to him". Right?

Furthermore, Peter specifically reminded Ananias of this fact when he asked Ananias about the property he had just sold, saying "While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not at your disposal?" We are in agreement, I believe, that while the property remained unsold, it remained Ananias's own, and even after it was sold, it remained at his disposal. Right?

I believe we are in agreement that the passage describes voluntary acts of charity, rather than a government program. We both believe (I think) that this passage, although it certainly ALLOWS Christians to vote for socialist political parties, does not MANDATE that they do so. Right?

Kent

P.S.

Thanks, Guest from Sanity. I appreciate your kind words.


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: Slag
Date: 19 Sep 10 - 04:39 AM

Only Christians can be true socialists. Christians can only give one time because from then on evrything belongs to everybody. Makes you wonder why Christ would say, "A strong man armed keepeth his palace" (or "home" in some translations). Maybe Jesus should have looked up Paul and got some re-education.

One would have to agree that this was a unique time. When you examine the remainder of the Book of the Acts of the Apostoles you see that the early church was severely persecuted. Israel was in upheaval and political chaos. Jews were beginning to be despised by Romans and others of the Empire. Paul, at times had to take time out and work at his trade, that of a tent maker. He gathered donations from around the Mediterranean to help out those bretheran who apparently started off with no wants but ended up needing elyomasonary relief (alms). What happened to this wonderful system of shared communal living? And just because it was used by the apostles does that put a holy imprint upon it?

Were these early Christians right wingers or left wingers and how do you know? I submit they were neither but they WERE looking for the immiment return of Christ. Throughout history since that time we have had groups of people so sure that the Second Advent was at hand they have done what? They have sold everything gone out and stood on hilltops expecting to see Christ decending.

As far as the early Christians' modus and social organization, esepecially in this passage, it ought to be de-emphasized. This "poem" is a shining example of text-lifting and perverting scripture to fit one's ideological concern while completely missing the message.


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: GUEST,Sugarfoot Jack sans cookie
Date: 19 Sep 10 - 07:19 AM

"Only Christians can be true socialists."

Utter, arrogant, codswallop. You might want to try to understand what socialism actually is before making fatuous statements like that. Socialism is a broad church (pun intended) and people from all creeds and walks of life choose to call themselves socialists; it's an inclusive school of thought and welcomes everyone as diversity of thought is one of it's strengths. As it's primarily an economic and political system it's irrelevant what a socialist's faith or lack thereof is.

One of my big gripes about today is anyone who thinks compassion should be the bedrock of our society is immediately classed as a 'left-winger'. It's as if altruism, caring and the wish to demonstrate some personal responsibility for the society we live in actually offends some people; invariably ones with more money then the rest of us. This idea that people who actually give a shit about those who are most vulnerable and at risk in society are some sort of malcontents jealous of those with material wealth is, I suspect, born of a innate sense of self-preservation and greed that makes such people very scared of what they perceive they will have to give up.


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: GUEST,Guest from Sanity
Date: 19 Sep 10 - 02:43 PM

I haven't met one person, regardless of political persuasion,
Capitalist, Socialist, liberal, conservative, libertarian, or flying hippopotamus, upon receiving their paycheck, with increased tax taken out, and looking at what was left, for their wage, looking up and saying "Oh Goody, I'm helping the lazy, disenfranchised, needy, illegal immigrants, or single parents with a slug of kids! Damn, why didn't they take out more?!?" Love, indeed, is NOT the bedrock of socialism. A controlling ideology is.

The early Christians(too bad the organized church screwed that up, too) were giving out of a sense of love.
Ananias and his wife Sapphira, bought the 'big one', because, as the text reads, They lied to the 'Holy Spirit', in regards to what they held back.

GfS


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: WalkaboutsVerse
Date: 19 Sep 10 - 04:55 PM

Thanks for posting Acts 4:32-35 here, Kent; and, having read it again, I stand by the "socialist ideas" remark of my opening post.


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: Joe Offer
Date: 19 Sep 10 - 05:44 PM

Yeah, the whole Tea Party movement is based on the illusion that this is reality: "Oh Goody, I'm helping the lazy, disenfranchised, needy, illegal immigrants, or single parents with a slug of kids! Damn, why didn't they take out more?!?"

If you investigate further, you'll find that most of your tax money goes to support people who are wealthier than you are. A relatively small percentage of tax money goes to "social programs."

I certainly wouldn't say that only Christians can be true socialists but I would say that Acts 4 should make Christians open to socialism, since socialism embodies the same ideals expressed in Acts 4. I think that if a person is truly Christian, he/she should at the very least be very uncomfortable with capitalism and the possession of riches.

I think Jesus was serious when he said, "Go, sell all you have and give to the poor."

As for socialism taking wealth from unwilling victims, all I can say is, "That's the breaks." If the majority votes in a socialist form of government, then I guess that means we should have at least some level of redistribution of wealth.

And that brings up another thing: I think that the socialist ideal almost demands a democratic form of government. There have been authoritarian forms of socialism, but I think that an economic system based on shared resources should logically include shared decision-making.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: Slag
Date: 19 Sep 10 - 08:57 PM

Well, Sweetfoot Jack without your cookie, I see you are real swift on the uptake. That opening statement was what we like to call SARCASM. Ya see, I didn't REALLY mean that only Christians could be true socialists.

Joe, no one has mentioned the Tea Party until you! I believe that is on another thread! Also if you read the context of the "...go and sell..." story it was a specific direction given to a specific individual, a rich young ruler, who had a hang up about his wealth. That said character had a twisted way of thinking that he could please God while helping himself at the same time or rather that his only real duty to God was in keeping the Jewish laws while still amassing wealth unto himself. Christ gave that command to no other person in scripture. He ASKED the disciples to come and follow him.

Right on on your last statement Joe. It would surprize some here to learn that Marx had no love for socialism. He viewed it in about the same class as capitalism and just another step that society must endure on the invetible path to communism.


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: Bobert
Date: 19 Sep 10 - 09:17 PM

It's always hard to pick out that one part of the Bible that kinda says it all... Yeah, I know from Psalms that God is my rock... It it repeated enough but...

...I think my favorite passge is from the Book of Mathew where Jesus tells Methew that there is "nothing lost that one day won't be found nor secret kept that one day won't be common knowledge"... Can't quite put my finger on chapetr/verse but that's purdy much what Jesus said to Mathew and that is very comforting 'cause...

...it means that the bullshiters and liars and will be one day found out... When one thinks that one is on the right (correct) side of huymanity it is nice to know that the thugs will one day be pointed out... It's nice to think that one day the truth will be known...

I mean, if the American people knew during the mad-dash-to-Iraq what they know today Bush and Cheney wouldn't have been able to take the country into a senseless anti-human war... "nor secret kept that won't one day be common knowledge"...

If everyone lived knowing that their bukllshit would one day be known as just that then there would be alot less bullshit... I mean, people would have to play it straight up... Meaning, telling the truth...

In spite of people who are threatened by me I have allways lived in a ***truthfull*** manner where I don't have to cover old bullshit with new 'n improved bullshit... "[no] secret kept that won't one day be common knowledge"... Ain't a bad philosophy to live by... A supreme (and Godly) "personal responsibility" kinda thing...

B~


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: Slag
Date: 19 Sep 10 - 10:21 PM

You are right on Bobert. If you believe then you believe that ALL will be brought out. Luke 8:16-18. Elsewhere Jesus teaches that there is nothing hidden that will not be revealed. However Psalms 103:11,12 tells us that as far as the east is from the west God will put away our transgressions and remember them against us no more. Jesus also tells us that our sins will be remembered against us no more.

The point in all this is that to those who come to Christ for forgiveness, they are forgiven all and for those who do not, their sin remains against them.

When we cry out for justice (and it is right that we do so) we also need to remember that there are two edges to that sword. It cuts both ways. We need to be sure of our facts in the case against those who oppress and we need to be sure about our own condition. For myself, I will call for justice for the next person to his relief but for myself, I know what I am. I ask only mercy and I forgive all those who owe me. Why? (Matt 6:14-15). And because I believe that Christ bore the punishment that was rightfully mine in his own body and paid the price I could NEVER pay. I cannot ask for justice for myself as that would also put that burden back on me. No thanks!

Also, I must consider that there are those on both side of a question who are in good conscience attemmpting to do what they believe to be the right thing. The questions they face are not easy and the ramifications are far-reaching. They seek guidence form above as well as from their peers and from those they represent. Let's be sure we are not buying into propaganda and that we are not calling for blood when all is not known to us.

I have good conscince about my political views and I know they are very different from many of you as I read your views. I cannot judge you but I can and do judge the merit of your ideas. Even so, your hearts may be truly in line with what you consider to be right (correct, that is!). So be it. That is what is great about the American system. We don't have to go killing each other just because we see things differently. We can try to convince others and then engage in fair and open elections, then live with the outcome. No rigme is forever in the US.


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: katlaughing
Date: 19 Sep 10 - 11:09 PM

Personally, I follow what Woody said about God, the Bible, and Love.


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: Kent Davis
Date: 19 Sep 10 - 11:18 PM

It occurs to me that some of us seem to be starting from the assumption that, since it was good for people (i.e. the Christians of Acts 4) to do a thing voluntarily (i.e., have all things in common), then it is would also be good for a majority to impose a somewhat similar arrangement involuntarily.

Others don't share that assumption.

It is not enough to show that what the early Christians did was good. (All agree that giving away one's own money is good.) To reason from Acts 4 to state socialism, one would have to show two things:

1) that the voluntary economic arrangement of Acts 4 is good AND

2) that imposing such an arrangement upon the unwilling is also good.

Acts 4 does not address item 2. That is why one can never determine from Acts 4 which political party deserves one's vote.

Kent


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: GUEST,Guest from Sanity
Date: 20 Sep 10 - 12:41 AM

It would be safe to say, that Jesus was NOT talking about a political system, but rather a way of living that included LOVE being the beginning and end of your motives, and goal..not to mention that Love creates it own circumstances. Love is also the 'currency' of His 'kingdom'. Unless you are in that mindset, I think those outside, have little to opinion-ate about it....nor should they try to promote their favored ideology, claiming an endorsement from Jesus, on the matter.

You're talking about a earthly political systems, He was talking about spiritual laws to obey, which brings a different order of cause and effect.

Not the same thing.

GfS


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: Joe Offer
Date: 20 Sep 10 - 01:09 AM

I dunno. I would think the ultimate, ideal political system would be "a way of living that included LOVE being the beginning and end of your motives." Maybe it isn't a possibility in this life, but it's something to strive for. I think that if Christ's teaching means anything, it has to apply to this life first - not so much to the next life. I think that in the next life, we'll be living out the consequences of what we've chosen to do in this life.

I think that a concern for the common good is essential in all society. We cannot live together in peace if we have no concern for each other. The word "charity" implies something optional, done voluntarily out of good will. I think we have an obligation to show concern for each other and for our community.

It's interesting to see how some people start to dance around when they get forced into talking about Christ's attitudes about power and wealth. Jesus didn't have much good to say about either - but people still try to prove that their wealth and power are their God-given rights...

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: Stu
Date: 20 Sep 10 - 04:24 AM

Slag - apologies, I missed your tone, as you say slow on the uptake, sorry.

Human beings are altruistic by nature in my opinion. There is a school of thought that believes this to be an evolutionary trait but I don't suppose it matters, but what does matter is that when the chips are down people really do care for each other. You only have to look at the army of carers in the UK that look after relatives at home, at their own expense, often without training and sometimes woeful help from the state. True heroes.


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: GUEST,Bob L
Date: 20 Sep 10 - 04:41 AM

"Jesus didn't have much good to say about [power and wealth]"

OTOH, how many parables concern the actions of a (righteous) rich man/ruler? And what about Joseph of Arimathea?


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 20 Sep 10 - 10:18 AM

Matthew 19:24, Mark 10:25, Luke 18:25.

NB - This is not a reference to obscure / narrow passageways, rather a direct statement on the God / Mammon dilema which had afflicted wealthy Christians down the centuries.


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: GUEST,Guest from Sanity
Date: 20 Sep 10 - 12:51 PM

Joe Offer: "Jesus didn't have much good to say about either - but people still try to prove that their wealth and power are their God-given rights..."

I think if you got a red letter 'New Testament', and read just the 'red letters'(actual quotes by Jesus), I think you may revise your thinking, on that.

However, you have said that you are Catholic, and Catholics, by in large, are not given to personal reading of the Bible, as much as they rely on the 'church's' interpretation, and Canon Law.

You might jump in and do some reading, of the 'red letters'. It's a lot heavier, than most folks initially think!

GfS


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: Bobert
Date: 20 Sep 10 - 01:06 PM

I have three Bibles and I love my "red letter" edition more than the other two, one of which is an old, old Phillips edition...

I agree with Joe 100% that taking care of the poor is an "obligation" that we are all charged with... That differs from the concept of "charity"... That is where the politics ("poli"cies) come into play... That is why I don't understand how so many folks on the right who profess to be Chriastain can be so against social progarms that help the poor among us??? There is a disconnect here...

(But, Boberdz... They just don't like the government doing that because it's "socialism"...)...

Hey, during my days as a "social"worker I had to fine food for my cliebnts on a regular basis... Some of the churches did have food closets or pantries that their congregation donated and that was all well and fine... Problem is that, given the needs, these food closets didn't scratch the surface...

So if the so-called Chrisyain Right wants to step to the plate and take care of the poor than I'm sure that if we find that they can handle the job then I'm sure the government would be more than happy to get outta that business...

Until then, we do have a collective obligation...

B~


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: Penny S.
Date: 20 Sep 10 - 01:58 PM

Going back to the render to Caesar passage, it is probably more complex than it looks. The group was in the Temple, where there should have been no money but Temple money (remember the money changers?) that is God's money. Bearing in mind the times, and the context - that people were trying to catch Jesus out, it is quite possible that He wanted people to think about what is due to God - and come to the conclusion that it is everything. As in "All things come from Thee, and of Thy own do we render Thee", which is obviously anachronistic. But with spies from the Antonia fortress about, He couldn't exactly say that, could He?

I know that it is argued that it is natural for humans to be altruistic, and that this could be accounted for by evolution. (But I'm just off to a dreaded meeting which may be attended by somwone who, with his partner, operates on opposite principles, acting as if others must provide him with what he wants. He is withholding his maintenance money until we do what he demands. The mills are grinding slowly, but will get him in the end - but in the meantime, I have to deal with him, and it is hard. Sorry about the bad pun, and the thread creep (and there's another one) but it's on my mind.) There are enough selfish people around to show that that has evolutionary advantage, too.

I am reminded of the slogan "the world has enough for everyone's need, but not for everyone's greed". The early church was trying to live by that, but has ended up with robes and marble halls, and shanty towns of believers.


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: Jack the Sailor
Date: 20 Sep 10 - 02:30 PM

>>Joe Offer: "Jesus didn't have much good to say about either - but people still try to prove that their wealth and power are their God-given rights..."

I think if you got a red letter 'New Testament', and read just the 'red letters'(actual quotes by Jesus), I think you may revise your thinking, on that.<<

Not me. I read the red words most often and truly agree with Joe. Furthermore I would say that the values required to accumulate and hold wealth and even the desire to enjoy wealth are not compatible with God's message.

I love the "Eye of the needle comparison. It speaks both to my sense of logic and to my imagination.

Is it impossible, no. But it is easier for a rich man to pass through the eye of a needle. Theoretically with a fine enough blender, one could pass a camel through the eye of a needle. But once it came out the other side, it would not be recognizable as a camel. It think the same is true for the Kingdom of Heaven. I think that for the purposes of this example 99.99% of Western society, myself included are rich people.

Take Tim Tibow as a prime example. Considered by many to be a role model of Christian faith, he has signed a contract to work on the Lord's Day, supporting and enabling tens of thousands to work on the Lord's Day. He will probably do so for the next ten to twenty years and become very rich for doing so.

He is deliberately defying a Commandment and he certainly is not innocent of that fact.


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: Joe Offer
Date: 20 Sep 10 - 05:39 PM

Ah, Sanity, you may think I'm one of those Bible-illiterate Catholics, but I don't really think so. I have a BA Theology and 8 years of seminary treaining, and I've led a weekly Bible study since 1985, and I've translated a good deal of the New Testament from the Greek.
Yesterday's Gospel reading in the Catholic Lectionary was Luke 16:1-13, the passage about how one cannot serve both God and mammon, which is a very good example of the detachment from material goods that Jesus taught. I think the Common Lectionary reading was the same.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: Slag
Date: 20 Sep 10 - 07:21 PM

Penny S! Yes. The Jews had what was called the Temple Shekel and it was this standard that money changers changed other currency into. Judas Ischariot was paid in thiry pieces, that is thirty Temple Shekels. Understanding the difference does add some flavor and dimension to the story, doesn't it?

And yes, it would be heaven on earth if only... but that IS the problem, isn't it. A lot of your comments seem to forget that there is such a thing as evil in our world. Given human nature, it is much easier to pick out the evil in others than in ourselves and no matter how much we do NOT like to think of ourselves as evil, it exist. If evil doesn't exist in every man, then just what is Christ saving you from? Why did he have to die? Before Christ can be yours, you have to go through that humiliating little thing called repentence where you own your shortcomings and failures and outright crimes have to be admitted and turned from. That's the "being honest with yourself" you must have before you can be honest with God!

A fine example of this is following Peter's "Great Confession". I paraphrase: Jesus and company were walking along and Jesus stops short and turns to his followers and asks the question "Who is it that people are saying I am? Somebody say "Some say your are John the Baptist, come back from the dead!" Somebody else say" Some are saying you are Elijah the Prophet who is to preceed the coming of the Messiah!." Another says "They say you are the reincarnation of Jeremiah the Weeping Prophet" (as Jesus was known to weep openly and in public).

"OK" says Jesus, "Who do YOU say I am?" and Peter speaks right up and says "You ARE the Messiah, the Son of the Living God." Jesus goes on to pronounce Peter blessed because he (the flesh and blood Christ) did not tell him this but that the Holy Spirit from the Father in Heaven declared it to his heart. This is revealed Truth with a capital "T"! Rocky (Which is what Peter's name means) must have felt wall-to-wall and ten foot tall.

Jesus then tell the Disciples to keep it to themselves as time was not tripe for such revelations to be freely given out. He then began to tell them that he must first suffer many things at the hands of the powers that be and that he will soon be killed. Peter, probably still on a spiritual high from the praise he received says words to the effect "By the Living God, this must not be so!" BOOM! Christ says to Peter "Get thee behind me SATAN!"

Look, Peter's heart was in the right place but he didn't know everything. He did not know and was not made privy to God's plan for His Messiah. Peter was so righteous in his indignation against harm coming to his Messiah. And it is just so easy for ANYONE to fall into evil because of our limited natures and the limit to our own knowledge and understanding. Right up to the Garden of Gethsemane Peter didn't get it. That's why he drew the sword out and began whacking away.

Peter had to be devastated when Christ said that to him "Get thee behind me Satan!" What he missed is, even though we can receive spiritual enlightenment and be blessed by God Himself we remian pretty much spiritual dunces when left on our own. We see and read things and figure things out in this dimensional universe of ours and we can be down right clever about it too, but we are babes in the matters of the unseen worlds that be. God saves us. God protects us. God will let us "see" some things and not others. And without God's hand of mercy upon us Satan would own us. We are no match for him at all. I know these things to be true and I went through a taste of Hell to learn it and only by the grace of God did I survive that experience with my mind and soul in tact.

Elsewhere in the NT Paul explains that Christians do not wrestle agains flesh and blood but against spiritual powers and wickedness (literally "twistedness" in high places. As to the particulars of what this battle may appear like on this world, look around you. We see evil and wrong doing on ALL sides, not just the right and left. I believe the "right-left" thing is just a diversion to the honest seeker's heart, putting his attention on things that count little as far as their spiritual welfare is concerned. The things that must be and must come to pass will play out as scripted by the Almighty. My freewill is the freedom to choose or reject Christ, period. Once in Christ I have ultimate freedom, but then, that is another discussion.


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: mousethief
Date: 20 Sep 10 - 08:41 PM

Taxes are what we pay for living in a civil society.

According to a roughly Rousseauvian way of looking (which the founding fathers of the US&A were steeped in), a government is a contract between people to work together and cede some power to a government that in an anarchist world (move to Eritrea, anyone? didn't think so) would remain the prerogative of the individual.

As such, the government is the instrument of the nation-society acting as a whole. From a communitarian point of view, in addition to individual rights and responsibilities, the nation-society as a whole has rights and responsibilities, which devolve in a slightly changed form onto its members.

The capitalist system creates inequalities of wealth and opportunity in which the wealthy gain power over the non-wealthy which, if not corrected, result in damage to the nation-society as a whole. It is thus the job of the government, as the organ of action for the nation-state as a whole, to readjust the power/opportunity equation and prevent the rich from causing great harm to the non-rich through the exercise of the power that money affords. Or to put it blatantly, the only protection the non-rich have against Big Money is Big Government.

One way we ameliorate the damage of unequal distribution of wealth is through regulation of business and industry, in particular of the prevention of monopoly, which is bad for both the individual and business (all business except the holder of the monopoly). Without regulation there is no free market, because the tendency toward monopoly, which is endemic in capitalist systems/societies, leads to the ultimate non-free market (viz the monopoly).

The other way we ameliorate the damage to the nation-society caused by capitalism is through the social safety net. Since the accumulation of wealth by the wealthy through capitalist means, even when properly regulated, rides roughshod over the needs of the individual, the social safety net acts as a brake against total ruination of people who either through inability or bad luck cannot make a way in the labor marketplace. Yes, it is true that it can also be used by people who through laziness don't want to put in the effort to make a way in the labor marketplace. But the instances of this are far fewer than the shrill voices of the right make them out to be. That the right opposes not only welfare but also WPA-style jobs creation shows what the real issue is -- people not being willing to work is thus shown to be a smokescreen, the ultimate underlying issue being, "I want to participate in the nation-society enough to get rich, but not enough to where it costs me anything in the form of taxes."

And really the corporation is not a basic right. It is a charter granted by the nation-society which supposedly is for the betterment of the nation-society. When it is not acting for the betterment of the nation-society, the nation-society has the right (seldom exercises in the extremest sense/way), to take back the charter. I would dearly like to see more of this in certain instances, such as for entities that are "too big to fail" -- entities too big to fail are too big to exist. Let the nation-society's ability to charter or not charter corporations work for the betterment of the society as a whole, for spending shitloads of tax money to bail out large banks is not for the betterment of the society as a whole if there is another way. And there is.

Thus, since the entire monetary system is a way of ordering commerce (which is in any at the very least a necessary evil in a world where not everybody just eats their own produce and makes their own tools, etc., and is arguably, and I would argue for this, a positive good), and since the monetary system is a function of the nation-society itself and thus ought to be seen as serving the nation-society as a whole and not merely the super-rich, agreeing to take part in the commerce using the monetary system is tantamount to agreeing to take part in the government that makes it possible, which includes taxation. Taxation is a necessary part, from both a makes-it-possible and makes-it-moral point of view, of having a system in which it's possible for people to enrich themselves at all. Far from being "theft", as some demagogues of the right portray it, taxation is a vital part of what makes the system work in the first place. Without taxation there would be no government, and without government there would be no monetary system, and without a monetary system there would be no people getting rich by making (or mining) and selling things.

Thus I feel perfectly justified in telling taxophobes that if you don't like the way our system operates, go make your own, and let's see if you can make one that both has no taxes, and doesn't devolve into a serf- or slave-based economy. Buy an island with all your riches, and persuade people to live there and work in your factories, and so forth. No fair getting help from the outside world, which for the most part operates on principles that are direct outworkings of what you say you despise. A government (and all societies have a government, whatever nomenclature you wish to use) would be one governed not by representatives of the people, but by the rich, whose taxes would be taken out in blood and sweat. (I know I know that sounds Marxist but with only a little thought you can see that it isn't.) Although sadly our own country (US&A) is very rapidly devolving into an oligarchy, in which the elected officials are working not for the society as a whole, let alone the people who elected them, but for the large businesses that fund their election campaigns. And I fear the only thing that can change that, short of a massive outcry from the public resulting in great changes in how campaigns are conducted, is bloody revolution. May it not come while I'm alive.


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: Kent Davis
Date: 20 Sep 10 - 09:32 PM

Joe Offer,

You wrote "I would think the ultimate, ideal political system would be "a way of living that included LOVE being the beginning and end of your motives." Maybe it isn't a possibility in this life, but it's something to strive for". That is beautiful and I agree completely. I think every participant in this thread also agrees.

I hope you won't think this question is rude but, do you know anyone who thinks the IDEAL is something other than love?   

Kent

P.S.

Would you agree that a a moral obligation and a legal obligation are not necesssarily the same? Would you agree that Jesus teaches us our moral obligations but not necessarily our legal obligations? Or do you think that moral obligations should (provided that a majority agrees) be given the force of law?


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: GUEST,Guest from Sanity
Date: 20 Sep 10 - 11:54 PM

Ah, Joe, I didn't imply that you were 'Bible illiterate"...but being as you broached the subject of Bible literacy, Let's take a look at a verse in the most read book in the Bible, I Corinthians 13:3:If I give away everything I own, and if I hand my body over so that I may boast but do not have love, I gain nothing."

...and yet, there is no contradiction...unless it's in the applied interpretation!

Waving,

gfS


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: Joe Offer
Date: 21 Sep 10 - 03:19 AM

Well, Sanity, as the Germans would say, "Na, und?" (Yes, and....?).

So, are you saying that as long as you have love in your heart, there's no need to be uncomfortable with power and wealth?

And Kent makes a similar point about love - and I don't know what he's getting at either, but I think his implication is that love is a wonderful but impossible ideal, so it can safely be avoided in real-life politics.

Seems to me that it's the usual song-and-dance that conservative Christians do, to rationalize their wealth and power and comfort in the face of poverty.

Jesus gave only one description of the Last Judgment, in Matthew 25, and it was a very graphic description. These are the criteria he says we'll be judged on:

  • feeding the hungry
  • giving drink to the thirsty
  • welcoming the stranger/alien
  • clothing the naked
  • caring for the sick
  • visiting the imprisoned

We Catholics call those the corporal works of mercy. Jesus gives the list four times in this short passage; so I get the impression he means it, that this is what we will be judged on. It doesn't say anything about having faith or the right creed or performing the proper rituals. It's very clear to me that these works of mercy are required of all humankind - it's the only way we can live together in a humane society.
To a good extent, socialism embodies these works of mercy and makes them a normal part of society. It seems to me that both Jesus and Socialism seek the same thing for humankind.

Oh, and next Sunday's gospel in the Common Lectionary (and the Catholic Lectionary) is Luke 16:19-31, the story of Dives and Lazarus. If you will recall, the rich man doesn't fare very well in this story.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: GUEST,Guest from Sanity
Date: 21 Sep 10 - 12:23 PM

Yes Joe, but those things are done on a personal basis, as from me to you...because of compassion to our fellow humans. Jesus was not instituting a political system, or ideology, to control other people. Perhaps, if you believe that's what Jesus was saying, then it would seem incumbent on you, that you should promote Jesus, and his 'message of socialism'...but many people, (and on here), gag at the thought of Jesus, because of what 'religion' has portrayed him....but then, use His message to promote their particular political bent. Sorta' rings of hypocritical, don't you think?

Yes, we should be of a compassionate mind and heart for our fellow man, and allow others to be free to choose what path to follow!....is that Democratic, or Republican???????..Liberal, or Conservative????....or personal, between you and God??????

GfS


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: WalkaboutsVerse
Date: 21 Sep 10 - 05:53 PM

I've said, here, "If we like fair competition, we don't like capitalism"; tomorrow, apparently, at the Liberal Democrats Conference, Vince Cable is going to say: "capitalism kills competition."


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: Kent Davis
Date: 21 Sep 10 - 11:32 PM

Dear Mudcatters,

Above it was said "Kent makes a similar point about love - and I don't know what he's getting at either, but I think his implication is that love is a wonderful but impossible ideal, so it can safely be avoided in real-life politics."

I implied nothing of the kind.

Seven times on this thread I have made one point, and yet various posters have responded as if I had said something else.

Here is my point: Acts 4:32-35 provides no information on how we should vote.

1. That is not a "contention…that socialism is necessarily godless".
2. That is not a claim that socialism is "taking things away just for the sake of taking
      things away".
3. That is not a denial that "Governments MUST make decisions that certain parties are
      not willing to make for themselves".
4. It is not an argument against paying taxes, nor an argument for lower taxes.
5. It is not a defense of capitalism.   
6. It is not an attack on regulation, nor a plea for less regulation.
7. It is not a denial that "the early Christian community was well-nigh an ideal
    community, with everyone showing concern for the welfare of all - and sharing their
    resources."
8. It is not a denial that "the ultimate, ideal political system would be a way of living
      that included LOVE being the beginning and end of your motives."
9. It is not a denial that Christ's teaching "has to apply to this life first".
10. It is not an implication that love "can safely be avoided in real-life politics".

It DOES imply that: Acts 4:32-35 provides no information on how we should vote.

The reason Acts 4:32-35 provides no information about how we should vote is that Acts 4 is not about the government. It is about the church. It is not about a government program. It is about voluntary charity. Charity is not giving away other people's money.

Giving away other people's money, be it good, bad, or indifferent; be it a crime or be it an obligation; be it necessary or expedient or democratic or wise or good or peachy-keen, is not charity. Acts 4 is about charity. It does not APPLY to politics.

I didn't say, and I don't think, that Acts 4 supports CONSERVATIVE politics. I didn't say, and don't think, that it opposes socialism. It doesn't apply to politics. It doesn't support OR oppose liberalism or conservatism or Maoism or anarchism or Stalinism or libertarianism or monarchism or feudalism. It isn't about politics. It isn't about government at all. It's about voluntary giving within the church.

Acts 4:32-35 provides no information on how we should vote.

Hoping that this is now clear, I remain,

Humbly Yours,

Kent


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: GUEST,Guest from Sanity
Date: 22 Sep 10 - 02:11 AM

Sounds pretty correct, to me. This was something that the disciples, and the church, at the time, did. It has no bearing on anything conjured up by the politicos...nor should it be construed as such.

GfS


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: Joe Offer
Date: 22 Sep 10 - 05:32 AM

Well, Kent, I disagree. If the U.S. had Social Democrats, I would be a Social Democrat - and I think that Acts 4 supports my belief that Social Democracy is the political system which supports a generous society that is closest to the teachings of Jesus Christ.

We can say that it's not nice to mix faith and politics, but it's simply not true. Both faith and politics express our most heartfelt values. My heartfelt belief is that individuals and the community must serve the needs of those in need. And if the community is to serve those in need, then the governmental system must also serve those in need. The wealthy can take care of themselves.

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 22 Sep 10 - 05:52 AM

The wealthy can take care of themselves.

Which is why people are in need.


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: GUEST,Guest from Sanity
Date: 22 Sep 10 - 12:07 PM

Joe Offer: "Both faith and politics express our most heartfelt values."

However, in our present reality, Faith is used to build up values and morals, because the human soul is valuable... Politics tries to talk you out of them!!...and 'it's all right, we're equally stupid, and immoral..VOTE FOR ME!

GfS


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 22 Sep 10 - 05:40 PM

One could do worse than to study up a bit on the Shakers---whoe were a truly religious, wholly communistic society.


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: Kent Davis
Date: 22 Sep 10 - 10:26 PM

Acts 1:24-26. A treatise on electoral reform?

"And they prayed and said, "You, Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which one of these two you have chosen to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place." And they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias, and he was numbered with the eleven apostles."

Well, does this passage mean that government officials should be selected by lot? If not, why not?

Is it because the passage is talking about the church, not the government?

Kent


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: GUEST,Guest from Sanity
Date: 23 Sep 10 - 01:43 AM

Correcto mundo, Kent.

Political minded people don't get it. The only time they bring up 'separation of church and state' is when in comes to shutting up us 'small people' who are trying to hold up morality!...or common sense!

GfS


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: GUEST,Steamin' Willie
Date: 23 Sep 10 - 09:30 AM

If you take heart in any way from this, either by virtue of your interpretation or by hoping a hero of yours had similar views to yourself..

Good luck.

Just allow me to point out that trading within a community is still socialism, or at least allows for it. the difference is the divvying up of the profits to either enrich yourself (ultimate capitalism) or enrich the whole defined community (ultimate socialism.)

When Acts 4 etc was supposedly written, travel was far less, so the definition of community, greater good etc was a bit different to now. Indeed different to when Marx defined a nation as a socialist unit, or slightly further back when Adam Smith used a nation as a trading unit.

So, the conundrum of whether Jesus would back Karl or Adam seems to miss the point that neither was a defined concept,as the "unit" was so different.

Mind you, I remember as a kid hearing a bible story of Jesus kicking the crap out of traders in the temple? I think I got that right, or have I been eating cheese before bed time again?


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: Jack the Sailor
Date: 23 Sep 10 - 02:37 PM

Socialism isn't about trading, profit is not the goal. The political "unit" during Jesus's day was the Roman empire.


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: Slag
Date: 23 Sep 10 - 03:19 PM

Yes Kent, yes Ggfs, elsewhere in Acts (Ch 2) it says that they had all met in prayer in the Upper Room. They were of one mind and in one accord. Believe me, it wasn't a Union meeting. It wasn't a poltical meeting. By it's very definition, this is NOT what politcs is about. Nor was it for the establishment of a Utopia. It was a board meeting to fill a position and it was for guidance and direction. Peter gave the inspirational speech which was preceeded by a unique Holy Spirit demonstration (often immitated but never duplicated).

Acts 4:32-35 is excerpted out of this context. The disciples' goal was to "spread the gospel", that is to say the "Good News" of what Jesus Christ had done for sinful Mankind and IT SURE WASN'T TO SET UP A SOCIALIST GOVERNMENT! They encountered practical problems in doing so and they were attempting to take care of those problems that were preventing the accomplishment of their mission.

Church organization and government are addressed elsewhere in the scriptures, most notably in First and Second Timothy. This is, itself a most interesting and enlightening topic, the history and development of the primitive and early church(es), the rise of Catholocism, Church doctrine, classical heresies and etc. But honest folks, that is NOT what is going on in Acts 4:32-35. That passage has been TEXT LIFTED (a technical term) and co-opted by a socialist to lend color and credence to a human ideology that was completely unknown to people of Saint Peter's day. Indeed, if one were to have voiced such an idea or promoted such an idea at this time they would have immediately run afoul of the Roman Empire.

And to preclude the argument that that was exactly what happened to the early church, it wasn't. The early church was seen by the Romans as an offshoot of Judasim and an internal problem to Judasim. Judaism saw Jesus as a blasphemer and the early church as a problem that would draw Rome more into the affairs of Israel and therefore a threat to what remaind of stability and independence. After Paul's arrest (which was quite some years after the miracle of Pentecost), his arguments before the Tetrachy of Israel and the one that mattered most was the fact that he was a Roman Citizen, period. History denies what this little "poem" purports to be true.


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: Kent Davis
Date: 23 Sep 10 - 09:27 PM

Slag,

I just re-read all of your posts in succession. I appreciate your clarity, your insightful analysis, and your breadth of knowledge.

Kent


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: Joe Offer
Date: 24 Sep 10 - 01:38 AM

Ah, you guys are sure doing the hokey-pokey here, dancing around trying to proved that Acts 4:32-35 says something other than it does.
It's clear the the early Christians lived by socialist principles, sharing their resources and taking care of the needs of all:
    32All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had. 33With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all. 34There were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales 35and put it at the apostles' feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need. (NIV)

It certainly fits the dictionary definition of socialism.

You put your right foot in, you put your right foot out....That's what it's all about!

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: Slag
Date: 24 Sep 10 - 06:08 AM

Joe O, I consider you a friend in the Lord, bear with me: a big difference between Catholic and Protestant theology comes down to the question of how we view grace and I suspect that our posts do have a little backwash over that basic difference. Briefly stated, many Protestants believe that there is no act or deed a human can do that will effect the salvation of one's soul. We see Christ as having paid the entire bill for all Mankind and the debt with Heaven is forever cancelled (John 3:17-21, John 5:24 and Rom 5:15-21, 8:1-28 among others). That only leaves the question of what you will do with the pardon which is offered to you in the person of Jesus Christ. It is completely personal and one-on-one with Christ himself. Do you surrender your living death and accept the new life in Christ or do you go your own way saying that you are good enough to impress God and gain His favor on your own. Are you saying "Savior? Your Son? We don' neeed no ----Savior!" to paraphrase an old movie.

The Roman Catholic Church has what Protestants see as "works" which garner or warrant merit with God. These are the sacraments which include baptism, confession, marriage and extreem unction among others. And Joe, yes, my bias is a mile wide here, I admit and I am sure I gave you the short end of the deal. I hope you will give a much better picture from your point of view. I welcome your comments.

But regardless of either point of view I think you must admit that the RCC is NOT endorsing any political system over another and especially not socialism. The temporal governments the RCC has historically been involved with are monarchies and indeed the Vatican heirarchy is setup to reflect the divine monarchy of God Himself, is it not? I think the very Church which you represent to us would tend to come down on my side of this argument rather than yours, but then, that is just my opinion. But that does tend to put it all back in the arena of Cristianity and not in the provence of human ideology.


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: GUEST,Guest from Sanity
Date: 24 Sep 10 - 11:58 AM

Anyone who has been to the Vatican, will note the opulence, and wealth, of the place....gold, marble, finest woods and paintings, private security force, Mercedes-Benz limousines, finest fabrics, their own bank, top notch food, prepared by world class chefs........................................................................................................................................................................and Catholic beggars just outside the gates.

Surely, if the Pope is infallible, and that was Jesus had in mind, would he have overlooked that????

Instead, you have the poorest of people making donations, sometimes of their last amounts, just to light a votive candle, for a deceased loved one, in hopes they can get them out of 'Purgatory'.

Karl Marx said "If I had two men, Francis of Assisi, and (St.)Paul of Tarsus, he could have taken over Russia, and Western Europe, and never fire a shot"

In 1972, a film on Francis of Assisi, "Brother Sun, Sister Moon", by Franco Zeffirelli, Francis goes to the Vatican, to 'ask Pope Innocent III's advice. This scene, taken from Vatican archives, depicts that meeting. The scroll Francis begins to read, was a prepared statement, by his friend, Paulo, who was able to arrange the meeting, at great risk.

Music for the film was done by Donavan

The composer Leonard Bernstein had originally been approached to provide a score but the plans fell through.

The film is also known for the score composed by Riz Ortolani.

St. Francis of Assisi before the Pope


..and part two, to be fair.....

The film is worth seeing, in it's entirety.

In closing, I've heard it once said, "Religion is man's way of reaching God.....Jesus Christ, was God's way of reaching man"

Guest from Sanity


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: Jack the Sailor
Date: 24 Sep 10 - 12:05 PM

I don't think that Acts 4:32-35 was telling people how to vote today. But it does put modern day "Christian" Tea Party followers who equate Socialism, Evil and Obama on shaky ground.


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: GUEST,Guest from Sanity
Date: 24 Sep 10 - 12:27 PM

No Jack, it puts us ALL to shame!

By the way, 100

GfS


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: Joe Offer
Date: 24 Sep 10 - 03:13 PM

Sanity says:
    Anyone who has been to the Vatican, will note the opulence, and wealth, of the place....gold, marble, finest woods and paintings, private security force, Mercedes-Benz limousines, finest fabrics, their own bank, top notch food, prepared by world class chefs........................and Catholic beggars just outside the gates.
Well, other than public areas like St. Peter's Basilica and the gift shop, most of the Vatican looks a bit dingy. Yes, Mercedes does seem to be the vehicle of choice, but most Catholic Mercedes cars I've seen, look just like taxicabs. I'm sure there are a few limousines, but even the Popemobile isn't particularly lavish.

As for the food and lodging, most of the menu items seem quite Spartan, and the bedrooms look like monks' cells. I had lunch in Rome with a monsignor (now a bishop) who worked in Cardinal Ratzinger's office. He took me to a pizza place two blocks from the Vatican, within view of the entrance to the Vatican garage. I didn't see lavish cars going through the gate. They were mostly the little cars you see all over Rome, and a few cars that looked like taxicabs.

Yes, you see beggars around the Vatican, just as you will see them in many tourist locations in Europe. You will also find that Rome has Catholic programs set up to help the homeless and needy. And no, the services do not adequately fill the need.

Sanity, do you have no homeless people where you live? Have you never been to Europe to see the Mercedes taxicabs and buses?

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: GUEST,Guest from Sanity
Date: 24 Sep 10 - 04:26 PM

Joe, First of all, I'm not criticizing the Catholic Church as a whole, but rather illustrating that the interpretation of the scripture in question, is NOT the way the Vatican sees it.....and yes, we do have homeless people where we live, not a lot, though, and one less, because we have taken him in, and he is living in the rental unit, above the garage, rent free, though he would do some minor chores, and my son employs him, when he has work for him. His name is Matthew.

Hey, how'd you like the clips from 'Brother Sun, Sister Moon'??

I originally saw it at a 'drive-in', in '72. I then went and invited EVERYONE I knew, and paid for them to see it..for free!

Sincerely,

Guest from Sanity

P.S. Thank you for replying!


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: Kent Davis
Date: 24 Sep 10 - 09:20 PM

Joe Offer, I could hardly begin to say how much I appreciate all that you do, so please don't take this as a personal dig.

You say that we are "dancing around trying to prove that Acts 4:32-35 says something other than it does". What, Joe? What do you think I am trying to prove?

Kent


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: WalkaboutsVerse
Date: 25 Sep 10 - 05:47 PM

"I don't think that Acts 4:32-35 was telling people how to vote today. But it does put modern day "Christian" Tea Party followers who equate Socialism, Evil and Obama on shaky ground." (Jack)...no "Gapes of Wrath" (Steinbeck) at the Tea Party, then!


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: GUEST,Guest from Sanity
Date: 25 Sep 10 - 06:27 PM

That last post, has risen to the utmost heights of absurdity! Instead of bashing EVERYTHING allegedly 'liberal', just check your own deal, and see if it falls in line.
So many 'progressive libs' want to set policies how OTHER people should behave, while being totally self centered, opinionated doers of NOTHING, except, of course, bitch! Why don't YOU do something that you expect everybody else to do???


GfS


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: WalkaboutsVerse
Date: 26 Sep 10 - 01:11 PM

"Why don't YOU do something that you expect everybody else to do???" (GfS)...they don't have to, of course, but, according to web stats, thousands have read at least some WalkaboutsVerse, and, God willing, one day soon it will be millions.


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: michaelr
Date: 26 Sep 10 - 01:58 PM

God forbid.


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: s&r
Date: 26 Sep 10 - 02:17 PM

God and the UN forbid

Stu


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: s&r
Date: 26 Sep 10 - 02:24 PM

WAV has posted over 20000 samples of his poetry according to google. That means that each posting has "attracted"" a couple of curious browsers. How many I wonder are regular readers?

Stu


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: GUEST,Guest from Sanity
Date: 26 Sep 10 - 05:03 PM

Stick to poetry, then. Your analysis, on Acts4:32-35, makes no reason....or rhyme. I think it was just a way for you to interject an 'off the wall' political comment....and Jesus' statements, were NOT endorsing any political agenda! ...especially anything, or premise of, or about the Tea Party, nor backlash towards or political upheaval. If anything, we are in the mess we are in now, because, as so often the case, 'History teaches us that man NEVER learns from history!'...nor hardly even studies it, without using it to put a 'spin' on it!..to further, yet, another stupid idea!

GfS


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: Slag
Date: 26 Sep 10 - 06:24 PM

Well, right up to the last several entries this thread has been a good debate and learning experience, then it devolved to personalities and stubbourness, methinks.

The merits are rooted in the validity of one's exegesis of the scripture and the hermeneutic extrapolations. Boy, if I didn't throw you with THAT mouthful, then you are THERE dear brothers! Ok, theology then! We need to agree to disagree without being disagreeable. I seldom approach a subject in an open forum such as The Mudcat, thinking I am going to change anyone's mind. What I do hope for is that I can educate or show reason for what I hold to be true. Sometimes it is just to show that other points of view are possible and even reasonable. Yeah, and I like to spout off every once in a while too, like everyone else. I find debate fun. The last thing (and sometimes it's the first thing) I get is a new perspective, a new way of looking at the issue(s): I learn something.

Yes, I see some comments here as boneheaded but I try to demonstrate that with reason and logic and not name calling. Let the reader decide. I have gone back over some of my older posts in other threads and have seen some pretty boneheaded and obstinate things I have said. It's the nature of the forum; as it pretty much takes place in real time without much focused preperation, that is, we (or at least I am) are generally shooting from the hip based on what we already know and our own core values and beliefs.

Now, on to other matters, I have not read WAV other than the above plus his comments here at the 'cat so I do not have anything to say about his abilities as a poet. However, as an exegete, I do find him lacking as my above posts demonstrate.

Ggfs to me, seems strong on logic but, man! You use it as a club! Are you angry? What is it you hope to accomplish? What comes across is arrogance and contempt for those not as "smart" as you or however as smart as you perceive yourself to be. You ARE smart, you know. You don't have to club down others to prove it.

Sorry, if I have offended anyone, by the way. Not on this thread at any rate!!


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: Kent Davis
Date: 26 Sep 10 - 09:25 PM

Amen to that.

Kent


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: GUEST,Guest from Sanity
Date: 26 Sep 10 - 09:30 PM

Sorry, if it came off that way...if you would have heard the tone of my voice, there would have been absolutely NO anger in it.
None the less, I apologize if it sounded that way.

Regards,

GfS


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: GUEST,Guest from Sanity
Date: 26 Sep 10 - 09:51 PM

I guess I could have said it this way:

In socialism, there is an expectation, that everyone is expected to provide for the needs of everyone else, either in a community, or country, or even the entire world, whatever parameters you wish for it to extend. However, this is not consistent with the early Christian church, even though, as I pointed out before, that the disciples, at the time, elected to do that, because they were focused on 'spreading the Gospel', instead of amassing personal material gain. Paul, was a tent maker, makes a point of pointing that out, so he could not be accused of, making a living, from his preaching; that what he was doing, was NOT for 'profit'.

If that isn't enough, I could have said it this way..from several different translations:

        
New International Version (©1984)
If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

New Living Translation (©2007)
But those who won't care for their relatives, especially those in their own household, have denied the true faith. Such people are worse than unbelievers.

English Standard Version (©2001)
But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

New American Standard Bible (©1995)
But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

International Standard Version (©2008)
If anyone does not take care of his own relatives, especially his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

GOD'S WORD® Translation (©1995)
If anyone doesn't take care of his own relatives, especially his immediate family, he has denied the Christian faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

King James Bible
But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.

American King James Version
But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he has denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.

American Standard Version
But if any provideth not for his own, and specially his own household, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an unbeliever.

Bible in Basic English
If anyone has no care for his family and those in his house, he is false to the faith, and is worse than one who has no faith.

Douay-Rheims Bible
But if any man have not care of his own, and especially of those of his house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.

Darby Bible Translation
But if any one does not provide for his own, and specially for those of his house, he has denied the faith, and is worse than the unbeliever.

English Revised Version
But if any provideth not for his own, and specially his own household, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an unbeliever.

Webster's Bible Translation
But if any provideth not for his own, and especially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.

Weymouth New Testament
But if a man makes no provision for those dependent on him, and especially for his own family, he has disowned the faith and is behaving worse than an unbeliever.

World English Bible
But if anyone doesn't provide for his own, and especially his own household, he has denied the faith, and is worse than an unbeliever.

Young's Literal Translation
and if any one for his own -- and especially for those of the household -- doth not provide, the faith he hath denied, and than an unbeliever he is worse.
Barnes' Notes on the Bible

But if any provide not for his own - The apostle was speaking 1 Timothy 5:4 particularly of the duty of children toward a widowed mother. In enforcing that duty, he gives the subject, as he often does in similar cases, a general direction, and says that all ought to provide for those who were dependent on them, and that if they did not do this, they had a less impressive sense of the obligations of duty than even the pagan had. On the duty here referred to, compare Romans 12:17 note; 2 Corinthians 8:21 note. The meaning is, that the person referred to is to think beforehand (προνοεἶ pronoei) of the probable needs of his own family, and make arrangements to meet them. God thus provides for our needs; that is, he sees beforehand what we shall need, and makes arrangements for those needs by long preparation. The food that we eat, and the raiment that we wear, he foresaw that we should need, and the arrangement for the supply was made years since, and to meet these needs he has been carrying forward the plans of his providence in the seasons; in the growth of animals; in the formation of fruit; in the bountiful harvest. So, according to our measure, we are to anticipate what will be the probable needs of our families, and to make arrangements to meet them. The words "his own," refer to those who are naturally dependent on him, whether living in his own immediate family or not. There may be many distant relatives naturally dependent on our aid, besides those who live in our own house.

And specially for those of his own house - Margin, "kindred." The word "house," or "household," better expresses the sense than the word "kindred." The meaning is, those who live in his own family. They would naturally have higher claims on him than those who did not. They would commonly be his nearer relatives, and the fact, from whatever cause, that they constituted his own family, would lay the foundation for a strong claim upon him. He who neglected his own immediate family would be more guilty than he who neglected a more remote relative.

He hath denied the faith - By his conduct, perhaps, not openly. He may be still a professor of religion and do this; but he will show that he is imbued with none of the spirit of religion, and is a stranger to its real nature. The meaning is, that he would, by such an act, have practically renounced Christianity, since it enjoins this duty on all. We may hence learn that it is possible to deny the faith by conduct as well as by words; and that a neglect of doing our duty is as real a denial of Christianity as it would be openly to renounce it. Peter denied his Lord in one way, and thousands do the same thing in another. He did it in words; they by neglecting their duty to their families, or their duty in their closets, or their duty in attempting to send salvation to their fellow-men, or by an openly irreligious life. A neglect of any duty is so far a denial of the faith.

And is worse than an infidel - The word here does not mean an infidel, technically so called, or one who openly professes to disbelieve Christianity, but anyone who does not believe; that is, anyone who is not a sincere Christian. The word, therefore, would include the pagan, and it is to them, doubtless, that the apostle particularly refers. They acknowledged the obligation to provide for their relatives. This was one of the great laws of nature written on their hearts, and a law which they felt bound to obey. Few things were inculcated more constantly by pagan moralists than this duty. Gelgacus, in Tacitus, says, "Nature dictates that to every one, his own children and relatives should be most dear." Cicero says, "Every man should take care of his own family " -

Any questions???

GfS


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: Joe Offer
Date: 27 Sep 10 - 01:00 AM

OK, GfS, I would not disagree at all, that 1 Timothy 5:4 says that people should provide for their families - and that is indeed a good thing. However, that does not preclude caring for one's community and shared use and ownership of resources, an ideal clearly expressed in Acts 4:32-35. I don't see these ideals as conflicting in any way.

My point, and the point expressed by WAV, is that there is nothing in Scripture that indicates that socialism is evil. Indeed, it is clear from Acts 4:32-35 that the early Christian church lived in a shared-resources community very similar to a socialist commune or kibbutz.

But no, you can't accept that early Christians lived a socialist way of life. Hey, they did everything short of singing the Internationale. They shared whatever they had, and they renounced private ownership of property.

-JOE-


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: Slag
Date: 27 Sep 10 - 02:44 AM

Well done, well said Ggfs! I seem to recall somewhere that Jesus talked more about money wealth and the responsibilities that go with it than he did about heaven or hell, so the snapshot of financial bliss (except for Ananias and Saphira) here in Acts would be difinitive of nothing but the local condition at that limited point in history. I have already pointed out that Paul made continuous solicitations from other Mediterranean church communities for funding for the brethren in Jerusalem. Conclussion? All was not well there financially. Why? We only have the general history of the time in that area to guide speculation. Again, Israel and especially Jerusalem was in political upheaval. Factions within Judaism were warring with each other and the entire area was destabilized to some extent. There was a tetrarchy, four rulers over the area plus the Roman overseership and the heirarchy that it included. Christians were being blamed for much of it and the governing factors were coming down hard on Christians and other breakaway groups. It was like, chaos, man!

You can rightly argue that there was a socialist element at work in the Acts 4 passage but socialism did not exist. Socialism had another 1800 years to go before world economic events including the rise of capitalism and other conditions brought about it's declaration and arrival on the world stage. This was not socialism. It didn't exist. This was a closed community in survival mode for many of them or perhaps ultimately for all of them. The focus was not on internal government but on mission. I believe it is only mentioned to demonstrate what was declared earlier: that they were in accord, of one mind and heart. In light of the bulk of the NT, the Pauline doctrines in First and Second Corinthians, the church was analagous to a functioning living human being. If my body operates as a socialistic empire, thank God! It works (sort of) but it is of limited durability. No rebellions, please! Most of what the body does is on autopilot. It does not need conscious input to do the things that tend to keep it alive. There is no debate and no descention in the ranks. It is of all, one accord. Kind of how an ant colony or bee hive works. Notice the absence of conscious thought. To my way of thinking, the only way to have a perfect socialist utopia would be to have everybody lobotomized.


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: GUEST,Guest from Sanity
Date: 27 Sep 10 - 05:44 AM

Okay, Joe. I am not saying that the disciples did not share their stuff with one another...they did. However, Jesus, himself said that His 'Kingdom was NOT of this world'..and if that is the case, why would he be instituting a form of ideology, to which a government would/should be formed, or modeled after??

I think He was speaking in spiritual terms, rather that earthly or political terms. What the Apostles and disciples did was of their own, in response to what they 'flashed on'....and they were setting out to turn everyone on to it..remember, these guys, saw dead people raised, sick healed, food multiplied, walking on water etc. etc. and then they see they guy telling them about this stuff, and showing them, all this stuff, crucified, and come back three days later. Thomas, we are told, put his fingers in the nail and spear holes...they were blown awa-a-a-y!

Now, before Jesus ascended, which they claimed to have also seen, whether He just dissipated in a cloud, or was 'lifted up' by a cloud, or even a cloud like object, (but described as a cloud -- whatever), He told them a few things. Here: 1.To love God above ALL things. 2.To Love one another 3.The 'things you saw me do, you'll be doing them, too, and even more'. 4.I'll be back for you 5.Tell every living thing about what you've seen, and they way to get through, to access His 'Kingdom'....along with a few other things. OKAY? We're on the same page??

These guys had access, and were using some pretty 'far out' power!
They were walking around tapped into something rather extraordinary..so much,that BEFORE Acts 4:32-35,in Acts 3:1-6,Peter is walking into town passes a lame guy, who couldn't walk, who was begging for some spare change. So Peter looks at the guy, and, here's the account:(Hint: Peter didn't send the beggar to the clinic, all expenses paid!) (Once again, in several translations, ending with the Douay-Rheims, 'Catholic version')....

New American Standard Bible (©1995)
But Peter said, "I do not possess silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you: In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene-- walk!"

International Standard Version (©2008)
However, Peter said, "I don't have any silver or gold, but I'll give you what I do have. In the name of Jesus the Messiah from Nazareth, walk!"

GOD'S WORD® Translation (©1995)
However, Peter said to him, "I don't have any money, but I'll give you what I do have. Through the power of Jesus Christ from Nazareth, walk!"

King James Bible
Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.

American King James Version
Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.

American Standard Version
But Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but what I have, that give I thee. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.

Bible in Basic English
But Peter said, I have no silver or gold, but what I have, that I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, get up on your feet.

Douay-Rheims Bible
But Peter said: Silver and gold I have none; but what I have, I give thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, arise, and walk.

Now, when this kind of stuff is going down, do you really think, that the message was socialism????.. as an end???...or do you think that it could be that they just weren't concerned with earthly stuff, as much as this 'REALLY COOL NEW' THING, and just sold off, their crap or gave it away, to facilitate their needs, and people who needed stuff, so they could keep doing this?

To all those skeptics out there: Josephus, a Jewish historian, living at the same time, who didn't particularly believe in Jesus, records some of the same accounts, not every detail, but yes, this stuff WAS going down!

On top of that, 11 out of 12 Apostles were given a chance to blow off this 'new' message, or be killed....and they all blew them off, and were killed. They MUST have had something more tangible, than what has been passed down, through the pollutions of various church governments, and variations of that theme, watered down, to what people now see as 'merely religion', and denominations, thereof.

Nope, they weren't about the business of setting up a political system, or organization, or model of government, but got a hold of something HEAVY, that was even a threat to Rome, the known world government....and by the way, that is still true to this day!...only difference, is that the religions, have been co-opted politically...and guess what's gone??..yep, the POWER, and the LOVE!!

Absolutely The Very Warmest Regards,

Guest from Sanity


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: GUEST,Guest from Sanity
Date: 27 Sep 10 - 05:48 AM

Oh Slag,...Shhhhhh.......You sorta' hit on it......Socialism, as a political form of government, was founded, during the backlash to the industrial revolution.

GfS


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 27 Sep 10 - 06:08 AM

is that there is nothing in Scripture that indicates that socialism is evil.

There is, however, plenty in Socialism to indicate that Scripture is evil.


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: WalkaboutsVerse
Date: 27 Sep 10 - 08:58 AM

Yes S. - as I questioned early on this thread, leaders of, e.g., the U.S. Socialist R. put a lot into putting Russian Orthodoxy down. But there have also been successful Christian socialist parties - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_socialism

And I haven't read Steinbeck (mentioned above) for several years, but wasn't one of his characters a preacher, or lay preacher, very critical of the free-market status quo in Grapes of Wrath..?


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: s&r
Date: 27 Sep 10 - 10:58 AM

The opinions of a fictional character in a novel don't really signify a great deal, whatever thoughts Steinbeck gave him...


Stu


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 27 Sep 10 - 11:45 AM

My dream is equal consideration of each and every one of us; I think if everyone gave everyone else equal consideration then we'd move another notch up the evolutionary ladder.


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: GUEST,Guest from Sanity
Date: 27 Sep 10 - 02:33 PM

GUEST,Suibhne Astray: " My dream is equal consideration of each and every one of us; I think if everyone gave everyone else equal consideration then we'd move another notch up the evolutionary ladder."

Are you trying to start a new 'religion'??

GfS


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: Slag
Date: 28 Sep 10 - 03:46 AM

Yes Suibhne, many Socialists do go out of their way to be antagonistic towrd the Scripture. Much is the pity. Christianity or at least Christian scripture does not endorse any political system or form of government. That is not its intent and that is the point I have been seeking to demonstrate here. It, the conclusion drawn in the poem, is a non-sequiter. It is illogical. It only reflects an opinion and sentiment.

Italy and other countries have had some success with Christian Socialism and if they had enough agreement and it seemed to work for them, fine and more power to them. Unfortuenately many have bought into Hegel, Marx, Lenin and atheism. And that is MY opinion. It is unfortunate for them because it limits whatever appeal the socialist theory may have for potential adherents. Unfortunate for their point of view, good for mine.

If humans have a distinguishing feature aside from any physical characteristics, it is that we are religious creatures. We are going to worship something. It is what we do and what precipitates all branches of intellectual inquiry. We look for the reason, the cause and we search for the "why" of things. This leads us beyond ourselves and that is the essence religion and of humanity. In my opinion.


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: GUEST,Guest from Sanity
Date: 28 Sep 10 - 04:06 AM

Slag: "If humans have a distinguishing feature aside from any physical characteristics, it is that we are religious creatures. We are going to worship something. It is what we do and what precipitates all branches of intellectual inquiry. We look for the reason, the cause and we search for the "why" of things. This leads us beyond ourselves and that is the essence religion and of humanity. In my opinion."

Then again, wherever the force of life came from, before we were here, we were in, and with it. Perhaps a little 'amnesia' affected us, once we manifested, into this dimension. Perhaps where we came from, is trying to communicate something to us something....like, bring more light and life, into this dimension, and remember from where you came......

Just maybe a consideration?

GfS

P.S. Hi Slag!


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: Slag
Date: 28 Sep 10 - 04:25 AM

Olla, Amigo! The Waters of Oblivion! The River Lethe, the River of Forgetfulness. It's an old theme and one explanation for deja'vu! To think that intelligent consciousness were existent in the stuff of the cosmic infintessimal and was somehow smelted out and forged in the universal holocaust and then further refined in the element-rendering heat and chaos of a super nova. Simmplicity moving toward complexity while obeying the rigid demands of the Second Law of Thermodynamics: entropy! Oblivion? Indeed. It is why we seek.

PS "Hi!" right back at'cha Buddy!


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: GUEST,Guest from Sanity
Date: 28 Sep 10 - 04:57 AM

Guess I'll consider that, as well, but just one question:....'WHAT???'

You mean, that energy can neither be created, nor destroyed, but change into different forms??...and one exit from one form to another, is 'entropy', by the observer, from the dimension being observed FROM??...and as it exits one, is born into another??...being neither created, nor destroyed??..is THAT what yer sayin'?..........

.............or not?

GfS


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 28 Sep 10 - 06:17 AM

Yes Suibhne, many Socialists do go out of their way to be antagonistic towrd the Scripture. Much is the pity.

Socialism is born of Secularism. The value of scripture is purely cultural, thus we might embrace them as part of an overall Secular Enlightenment that views such things in context with using them as a basis for Absolute Belief. Even an Aggressive Secularist like myself might stand in awe before Rylands Papyrus p52, but I would not endorse a belief in the supernatural as a basis for government nor the notion that some Obscure Judean Hippy Cult hung up on possessions (man) were somehow influential on a political philosophy that arose in direct resaction to industrial capitalism some 1800 years later. On the contrary, it seems the teachings of said Obscure Judean Hippy Cult were the foundantions of the very capitalism socialism arose in order to challenge, thus the very term Christian Socialism far from being tautologous is, in truth, something of an oxymoron.


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: GUEST,Guest from Sanity
Date: 29 Sep 10 - 12:17 AM

THAT was a stupid, and hateful post, that said absolutely NOTHING, except you think that you're hot.

You're not.

GfS


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: Joe Offer
Date: 29 Sep 10 - 01:59 AM

Well, you may have half a point, Suibhne. I can't see how you can say that Christianity is the foundation of capitalism. That just doesn't jive with the practice of shared resources and caring for the needs of all and renouncing individual property ownership, that are the primary aspects of the scripture passage we're discussing (Acts 4:32-32).

But I do agree with your comment about "Christian Socialism," as a political party name. I'm most familiar with the Christian Socialist Union of Germany, which is quite right-wing and capitalist; but it's my understanding that there are Christian Socialists in other European countries who are just as right-wing.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 29 Sep 10 - 06:59 AM

I can't see how you can say that Christianity is the foundation of capitalism.

It's a puzzler for sure, Joe, but the evidence is all around us, from the worthy paternalism of Victorian Industrialists - for whom God ordered the estates of the rich man in his castle and the poor man at his gate - to the Right-Wing Televangelists of the USA - who seem as remote from the teachings and example of Jesus as it's possible to get. In fact, most manifestations of Christianity are replete with institutionalised injustice in which God will somehow know his own, and, as we have seen, poverty is a functional prerequisite in His sacred order. On such feudal foundations, irrespective of Christ's teachings to the contrary, was Capitalism built and continues to be justified in the name of Christ. On a more personal level in my experience it is the wealthiest people tend to make the most devout Christians, seeing no harm in the extravagences such privilege bestows upon just as long as they make their charitable donations to the poor by direct debit. As they say on your side of the pond - go figure!


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: GUEST,Guest from Sanity
Date: 29 Sep 10 - 09:05 AM

Suibhne Astray: "Socialism is born of Secularism."

Then, in fact, it is NOT born out of Jesus' teachings, right? It is, in fact, a separate system?

So, what does that have to do with Acts 4:32-35?
Nothing!..So you can't have it both ways......which underlines my original point, that Jesus was NOT talking about socialism, nor were the disciples establishing it, nor pushing it, as an 'article of faith'.

So, is this why Secularist/Socialist rhetoric, so 'anti' spiritualistic message??

Karl Marx said, "Religion is the opiate of the masses"...which in it's way, is true, IF you draw a distinction between spiritual, and religious!...Sometimes, the two of them are exclusive of the other.

GfS


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: Joe Offer
Date: 29 Sep 10 - 09:51 AM

Hmmmm. I think both Suibhne and Sanity have "cause and effect" defects in their reasoning.

I would say that Socialism is in accord with the ideal expressed in Acts 4:32-35.

Capitalism, on the other hand, seems most directly allied with the teachings of Calvin, not Christ.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: GUEST,Guest from Sanity
Date: 29 Sep 10 - 11:10 AM

...and I think you are fence sitting. Jesus was not talking about instituting socialism, and never was.

Consider this quote from Jesus, himself:
Mark 14:7New American Standard Bible (©1995)
"For you always have the poor with you, and whenever you wish you can do good to them; but you do not always have Me.

International Standard Version (©2008)
because you will always have the destitute with you and can help them whenever you want, but you will not always have me.

GOD'S WORD® Translation (©1995)
You will always have the poor with you and can help them whenever you want. But you will not always have me with you.

King James Bible
For ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good: but me ye have not always.

American King James Version
For you have the poor with you always, and whenever you will you may do them good: but me you have not always.

American Standard Version
For ye have the poor always with you, and whensoever ye will ye can do them good: but me ye have not always.

Bible in Basic English
The poor you have ever with you, and whenever you have the desire you may do them good: but me you have not for ever.

Douay-Rheims Bible
For the poor you have always with you: and whensoever you will, you may do them good: but me you have not always.

This does NOT sound like a compulsory socialism system to me....and you??

IN CONTEXT: Mark 14:3-7 "And being in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at meat, there came a woman having an alabaster box of ointment of spikenard very precious; and she brake the box, and poured it on his head.

4 And there were some that had indignation within themselves, and said, Why was this waste of the ointment made?

5 For it might have been sold for more than three hundred pence, and have been given to the poor. And they murmured against her.

6 And Jesus said, Let her alone; why trouble ye her? she hath wrought a good work on me.

7 For ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good: but me ye have not always."

This is completely consistent with my earlier post, about Jesus speaking of something entirely different, and quite contrary, to what is being put forth here......(Not that most who are using the words, or life of Jesus to promote THEIR private agenda really care, anyway).

GfS

GfS


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: Slag
Date: 30 Sep 10 - 07:38 AM

You nailed that one Joe.   Having read Calvin, he was one of the meanest cusses of his day, a vituperous ranter who wanted to lord over anyone he could. He actually sounds like the religionists the guys are thrashing over on the True Test of Atheism thread.

He contended that the only real material way we can know we are among the Chosen (which gets off into Predestination, etc,) is if we have God's favor and material blessings. There is so much wrong with that, just on the face of it, that it really doesn't deserve discussion. But nonetheless, in it's day it was a most popular view and of course, the Protestant Work Ethic was born, as all those wanna be "redeemed" tried to demonstrate God's benevolence toward them by making lots and lots of money. Calvin is gone but the ethic lives on.


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: Joe Offer
Date: 30 Sep 10 - 10:52 AM

Sanity, I didn't say that Jesus instituted socialism. I said that Acts 4:32-35 is consistent with the ideals of socialism - and therefore, that socialism may not be as horrible as some people want to portray it.

And when Jesus said we will always have the poor with us, He wasn't saying we shouldn't work to alleviate their suffering - Matthew 25 says that very clearly, that we are bound to serve those in need or we will suffer eternal damnation. And since Jesus gives this list four times (feed the hungry, clothe the naked, etc.), it's clear to me that these are the criteria upon which we will be judged. WHAT we believe will be relatively unimportant. And I think that means that lots of non-believers will end up in eternal happiness, while many so-called believers may be surprised to find their fate was not what they expected.

Suib, the "prosperity gospel" is a favorite topic of some television evangelists - the idea that if you are "saved," God will give you prosperity here on earth. I think it's a ruse, but it's a very popular ruse. I think there's a tie between the "prosperity gospel" of today and the Calvinism of the industrial "robber barons" of the 19th century.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: Slag
Date: 30 Sep 10 - 06:17 PM

No Joe, the believers work hard and the exploiters, well, they exploit the hard working. Same it true of religion and politics. Exploiters love to see the true believers a coming!

In context, the Sermon on the Mount and the Last Judgment are connected. I believe the point of the Sermon was that no matter how good you may think you are, God standard is higher and NO ONE can enter Heaven on their own merit (excepting Christ) and that we have need of the Sacrifice acceptable to God the Father, the Judge. Remember the warning to those who point to their own work and say Lord, Lord did we not do this and that? And then God says to them "depart from me, ye workers of iniquity. I never knew you!" Seems to me, the criterion for salvation is the personal knowledge, or rather "knowing" the Christ. Once knowing Christ, acceptable good works are a spontaneous result of that bond.


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 30 Sep 10 - 06:40 PM

the "prosperity gospel" is a favorite topic of some television evangelists - the idea that if you are "saved," God will give you prosperity here on earth.

Scarey stuff, Joe. How do they square that with Matthew 19:23-24, Mark 10:24-25 and Luke 18:24-25? As Zappa said - if there is a hell, it waits for them, not us.


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: WalkaboutsVerse
Date: 01 Oct 10 - 12:06 PM

I saw a documentary on South Korea showing how strongly such "prosperity gospel" (Joe) has taken off their, sadly.


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: GUEST,Guest from Sanity
Date: 01 Oct 10 - 12:13 PM

Slag: "Seems to me, the criterion for salvation is the personal knowledge, or rather "knowing" the Christ. Once knowing Christ, acceptable good works are a spontaneous result of that bond."

It seems to me, that rather than the Christians who 'know' or 'believe', the criteria, is but just a little different, than that...more like,..its not who you know, or what you know, but who, or what you obey.......according to your scriptural post in Matthew. Am I correct in what you are saying?

GfS


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: Penny S.
Date: 01 Oct 10 - 04:05 PM

For some reason, a quote from the English politician, atheist member of the Labour party and essayist, Roy Hattersley, comes to mind. He was speaking in an interview, and referred to Christian Socialism as known in Britain - not a political party, but a contribution to political thought. He said that he was a Christian Socialist without being a Christian, and Tony Blair was a Christian Socialist without being a socialist. That was easy to agree with.

Penny


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Subject: RE: BS: On Acts 4:32-35
From: Slag
Date: 01 Oct 10 - 06:26 PM

Ggfs and all:

There is an old debate that is perhaps the key feature of most of what goes under the banner "Protestant" and it was also a key feature to the problems Luther had with Roman Catholicism. What is necessary and sufficient for salvation, for a righted relationship with God. The RCC had some steps involved that Luther did not see as being a requirement at all. Since these "steps" were the sole provence of Roman Catholicism, the dispensation was at their discretion and at their price. People were paying huge sum to have priests and clergy pray their loved ones who had passed from this life, out of Purgatory and thus keeping them from Hellfire and Damnation.

When Luther read Roman 1, verse 17 "For the just shall live by faith" he is said to have penned the word "sola" or "alone" above "faith". Without a lot of references, at least at this point, there is a lot of scriptural evidence for his conclusion. In Paul's letter to the people of the church at Ephesus he writes: "For by grace are ye saved through faith and that not of works lest any man should boast. We are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works which God hath foreordained that we should walk in them." Ep 2:8-10. The take on this is that imperfect man is incapable doing any redeeming act that would set the record straight for his initial rebellion from God in the Garden. God's clear promise which runs through the entire Bible, Old and New Testament alike, is that He will effect the restoration of mankind in His own time and His own way. The implications here are deep and far reaching and run the entire gamut ot theology and ALL that entails: far too much for this forum. To paraphrase and extrapolate a little, what the above is saying that there is NO GOOD WORK you can do to be right with God. Rather it is what He has already done for you that will set the record straight. The only thing you can DO, is believe that what He has done in the person of His son, Jesus Christ, has already set the record straight. Jesus says in the book of John, chapter 3 "For God sent not his son into the world to condemn the world but that the world through him, might be saved (17). He that believeth on him is NOT (emphasis mine) condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Through Christ, God has wiped away all the transgressions, all the sin, all wrong doing in our world for all time. Because Christ has paid the debt for us we now have a clean slate and always will have with God if we but just accept His free gift (18) (which is what "grace" literally means-a gift). That is IF you choose to accept it!

And there is the rub! And because of pride, most people will never stoop to admitting they are guilty and worthy of condemnation, in need of a Savior, depended, etc., etc. They say "I'm a good person. I don't do this, I don't do that. I DO do good things and help people, fight for the right, give to the poor and needy, visit the imprisoned and so on. That is the crowd to whom Christ will one day say "Depart form me, you twisted up people. I have never known you." It seems harsh but indeed, these unfortunate folks never have known God for if they knew Him they would have seen all the He has done for them in effecting their salvation and offering it to them free of charge. Had they DONE THAT, they would know that he is loving and kind. And ultimately, God being God, he sets the ground rules for this existence. Paul sates in Romans 8:1 "There is therefore now NO CONDEMNATION to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh (the world and the corrupt things that are in it) but after the spirit.

If you read the Book of John and the Book of Romans you will get a much cleared picture than the one I have outlined. A final picture of the grace of God demonstrating that no work will effect one's salvation is that of the thief who dide on a cross next to Jesus. He did not protest his innocence. He did not ask Jesus to deliver him from the hideous thing his fellow humans were doing to him. He merely said "Lord, remember me when you come into your kingdom" (Lk 23:42) to which Jesus replied, and I paraphrase, "I tell you the truth, this day you WILL be with me in paradise."(43) The thief was not baptized, did no good work, could do no good work but his salvation was assured by Christ in his presence. We are all in the same boat as that thief, helpless and dying a death rightfully ours to die and unable to do anything about it except seek Christ's indulgence. That's grace. Amazing!

Other theologies hold that if you do no good turn to prove you have truly believed then your faith is suspect. They point to the book of James where it say that "But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?" (Jm 2:20). The argument here is that if you truly have faith, you will also be inspired to good works which are many and varied. I see this as also a valid argument because if you really love some one you will seek to do good things to and for them. Love, after all, is a verb! I think it is a matter of sequence rather than priority. First comes love. All else follows. Some, however believe that still you must do something. Repentance comes to mind, a turning away from one's old life and bad habits for instance. James is a short book and a quick read and it stands in strong contrast to the Pauline doctrines and yet, as I see it, there is no real disagreement between them, just different perspectives and emphasis.

Lastly, you may ask "Salvation? Salvation from what?" To what?" This too is a theme that sees development over the span of the entire Bible and there are many questions it generates, again, beyond the scope of this forum. Briefly, from an eternal torment, having existence without the source of all life: God. Regardless of the visual metaphor of fire and brimstone or the Lake of Fire or Gehennah (the dump outside of Jerusalem) it is not a pleasant thing. In this life salvation has the effect of release from guilt and habitual acts the are detrimental to one's psyche and physical health. It re-prioritizes one's life and when you are re-connected to God you are connected to Life with a capital "L".

Apparently I'm not really big on brief but that is a lot of territory to cover. That is a "Protestant" Christian point of view.


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