The practical atheism of Christians who vote for the Democratic Party...

(Thanks to James) On this Election Day, here's an artifact of history from the editors of Touchstone, a Christian magazine I subscribe to and recommend. Originally run in 2003, this editorial is more pertinent today than it was five years ago. If you read nothing else, be sure to read the last two paragraphs...

Practical atheism revisited

Last week I came upon an editorial I wrote during the 2003 political season which seems to me even more applicable now. Today I would add that whatever one thinks about Senator Obama's plans for using government power to take money from those who have more of it and give it to those who have less, the social control which must be gained to make such things come to pass has never boded well for Christians in the countries where it has happened. The Gentiles, even--or perhaps especially--the religious ones, have not changed their opinions about people who regard them as morally unclean, nor will they fail to punish them for it when they gain sufficient power. What concerns them, I believe, is not so much that the poor be enriched, but that the middle classes be brought as low as possible by confiscation of their ethically significant wealth...

The fifth paragraph is especially important. As I recall, David Mills contributed so much to it that he should be identified as co-author. -Steve Hutchens, for the editors of Touchstone, November 1, 2008

________________


There has been much response to Touchstone’s April (2003) issue [“The Godless Party”], in which the Democratic Party was characterized as godless, and portrayed as having developed in recent years into something no Christian can in good conscience support. Subscriptions have been angrily canceled and declarations that we will be prayed-for received. More national attention, some of it very high-level, has been given to this issue than any other we have published. The most common accusations made by critics are that Touchstone, a religious magazine, is now dabbling in politics, where it has no business, and that the April issue was in fact a Republican party tract in which the editors displayed their political preferences more than their Christianity. What, one suspects, some of our off-put correspondents wished to see in this next issue is some kind of muted apology that we were in some places a bit rough and high-handed, along with a good-natured admission that good Christians can have varying opinions on these matters. But we don’t think they can. Things have gradually but surely come to the point we must say that to the degree Christians have been co-opted by the Democrats, they are no longer good.

The April, 2003 Touchstone was, to be sure, out of the ordinary, as James Kushiner indicated in the introductory material.  It is true that we normally "don't do politics,” at least not directly. Here, however, we made an exception to our rule.  The senior editors agree that the Democratic party has in the last generation undergone changes that make it impossible for a knowledgeable Christian to vote in good conscience as a Democrat, just as it was once impossible for a knowledgeable Christian in Germany to vote in good conscience for the Nazi party, whatever good that party may have done, and however many religious allies it might have had.  (Remember the smiling bishops of Deutsche Gemeinde and the grim joke about making the trains run on time.) As Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Alexandr Solzhenitsyn, Jerzy Popieluszko, Corrie Ten Boom, Maximilian Kolbe, and a host of other witnesses remind us, there are “political matters” about which Christians sin if they remain silent and passive. It is true that the Church and the State are two distinct sovereignties; it is not true, nor has it ever been, that the churches are obliged by God (pace the Internal Revenue Service) to remain silent when the state or its organs, such as its political parties, devote themselves to evil purposes.

When one says what we did in the United States, with our two-party system, the more conservative party gains by default. We assure our readers that we have our doubts about the Republicans as well, as the editorial in the last issue indicated. We would turn against it just as quickly and vehemently if it took the same line on moral issues that the Democrats have.  Touchstone is not partisan in the sense of intentionally for any party--but it is against the Democratic Party as presently constituted.  There is a difference, and the difference is the Democrats’ choice and the Democrats’ fault. We did not force them to become what they are, and would not have attacked them as did if they had not made themselves into the party of abortion, anti-family feminism, and homosexuality. In these matters we are only reporting what we see, and would appreciate it if those who disagree with our observations would stick to the facts instead of bloviating on our nasty and unspiritual disposition.

I believe we are encountering in angry letters to the editor stung consciences, attempting to return the blame—a very heavy blame—that we have placed on them by condemning their support, usually in the name of charity, for the party of child-murder and moral license.  One of the most effective ways to do this is accuse us of partisanship, to allege we are merely conservative Republicans attacking Democrats with a religious bludgeon. That is not true.  We are Christians, Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox, denouncing the Democratic party as constitutionally anti-Christian. "Equal treatment" will not be accorded the Republican party for its sins because in our judgment that party has not become godless in the same way the Democratic party has, yet. While liable to criticism on a number of issues, not least the ambivalence of its practical support for the pro-life cause, the Republican Party has not crossed the line that would make a similar attack necessary.

One of the most common defenses for Democratic loyalties is to assert the moral equivalence of the two parties, to claim that their respective errors leave the Christian to vote for the one he thinks most Christian, or least unchristian. If the Democrats endorse abortion, sodomy, and the like, Republicans cut social programs for the poor. This is a plausible and attractive argument except for one thing. We know with certainty that abortion and sodomy are evil, but we do not know with any certainty whether any particular disbursement of funds for the poor is good or bad or mixed. Our faith directs us to give alms, quietly and generously, and to bless and care for the widows and the fatherless, but also tells that those who will not work shall not eat. Distinctions, often difficult ones, must be made in our policies between who should be marked as poor and who should not, and on how collective monies should be spent or not spent for their relief, the kind of distinctions that have historically marked differing party philosophies, and upon which Christians have historically had differences of opinion. A Christian may think the Democrats’ social and economic programs are superior to the Republicans’, but he knows that the Democrats’ moral policies are aggressively ungodly.

In the United States one doesn’t attack God by declaring himself an atheist and establishing a party on the principle. God is, after all, like the Eagle, one of our national emblems. If one wishes to make a political point of unbelief, he will doubtless be happier in France. The way to do away with God here, in a country with a consensual history, even among its non-Christians, of Christian principle, is incrementally and surreptitiously to make Christianity immoral. Lift up A Woman’s Right to Choose or Every Child’s Right to be Wanted as unexceptionable points of public piety, so making Christians’ historical opposition to infanticide mean-spirited and un-American. Represent their conviction that homosexuality is sinful as hatred for the homosexual and an attempt to deprive him of his civil rights. Make Christian belief that fornication is sin and illegitimacy is an evil society should make every effort to discourage into perverse, bigoted desire to assert moral superiority and grind the faces of the subsidized poor. Make attempts to bring natural law or universally accepted moral principles to bear on public discourse a covert attempt to establish religion. Enlist dim and compromised Christians by representing to them that the party standing for all these things is the party of Christian charity because the public resources it uses to assist in killing some children are used to feed others. Do these effectively, and one can talk as much about God and be as religious and true-blue American as one pleases. The threat of any real God has been effectively removed, while the party that has accomplished this feat can claim both civic and religious virtue.

There is, I suspect, no way one can convince devout Democrats, especially those who think of themselves as serious Christians, that the April issue wasn’t a politically motivated attack on their party by the Republican religious right, but that is because they have no choice but to see it that way. They simply cannot read it as it was intended to read: as a Christian protest against the sinful and shabby habits of mind that allow them to support the Democratic party.  If we are correct, their right to believe themselves Christians is called into serious doubt by what is said in this issue, and they know it.  That is why we are hearing, along with congratulations, a great many screams. Our call is not to vote Republican, but to think and act like Christians in the political arena as much as any other. We doubt this can be done in cooperation with the Democratic Party any more than it can be done with Nazis or Communists, for we recognize little substantive difference between explicit and practical atheism.

(S. M. Hutchens, for the editors of Touchstone)

Tim Bayly

Tim serves Clearnote Church, Bloomington, Indiana. He and Mary Lee have five children and fifteen grandchildren.

Comments

Thank you for this post. I do find the moral equivalence argument most disturbing, for it is used by many to cover over a multitude of sins which they still bear.

I would say if the last five years have shown me anything is that the ills Touchstone's identified in the Democrat Party have now infected the Republican Party with much of the same godlessness and continuation of immoral practices such as unjust standards and support for other abominations.

right on, but (at least in this election), the parties' distinctions w.r.t. sodomy aren't really obvious to me. but perhaps the general orientation toward the issue might?

Amen as usual Rev'd Bayly.

If you take a quick look around the Reformed Web world you would find several who are defending the vote for Obama.

Sad really...

Jer. 8:6 I have paid attention and listened,

but they have not spoken rightly;

no man relents of his evil,

saying, 'What have I done?'

Everyone turns to his own course,

like a horse plunging headlong into battle.

7Even the stork in the heavens

knows her times,

and the turtledove, swallow, and crane

keep the time of their coming,

but my people know not

the rules of the LORD.

As you know, todays election was between the right-wing canidate... and the extreme right wing canidate.

"abortion, anti-family feminism, and homosexuality. "

You are kidding, right? BOTH parties are for abortion- the GOP controlled the government for 6 years and didn't both to change it. The fact of the matter is that if they repealed it, the Dems wouldn't even have to campaign to win elections- projections show women defecting at a 80-20 ratio rather than current 60-40.

As for anti-family feminism... ? How on Earth do you get that?

As for homosexuality... Obama wants them seperate but unequal and McCain wants the states to decide if they are seperate and unequal. I'm not seeing a differance.

"We know with certainty that abortion and sodomy are evil, but we do not know with any certainty whether any particular disbursement of funds for the poor is good or bad or mixed. "

... Let me get this straight. Actions that half the country (and the rest of the civilized world) considers okay you are against, but things that have been considered bad, without dissention for all of human history... you are fine with?

"Our faith directs us to give alms, quietly and generously, and to bless and care for the widows and the fatherless, but also tells that those who will not work shall not eat."

Yes, you'd rather let a thousand children go to bed hungry than let a single slacker slip through. How do you sleep at night?

"God is, after all, like the Eagle, one of our national emblems."

That is blatant idoltry.

"If one wishes to make a political point of unbelief, he will doubtless be happier in France. "

Not really. They are currnelt promoting Cathlotism as the bulwark against the Islamic hoards as you would put it.

"Lift up A Woman’s Right to Choose or Every Child’s Right to be Wanted as unexceptionable points of public piety, so making Christians’ historical opposition to infanticide mean-spirited and un-American."

It is un-American- it was legal until the 1830s in the states. Than the medical lobby declared that women were not competant to make decisions and got the states to ban it except if a doctor approved. And the doctors didn't care.

"Represent their conviction that homosexuality is sinful as hatred for the homosexual and an attempt to deprive him of his civil rights. "

Because it is?

"Make Christian belief that fornication is sin and illegitimacy is an evil society should make every effort to discourage into perverse, bigoted desire to assert moral superiority and grind the faces of the subsidized poor. "

Amazingly countries that help their poor have a lower rate of people having kids out of wedlock. However, Christians oppose such programs because they are "immoral". I guess the results are irrelevant- all that matters is making yourself feel superior.

"Make attempts to bring natural law or universally accepted moral principles to bear on public discourse a covert attempt to establish religion."

Because it IS.

"for we recognize little substantive difference between explicit and practical atheism."

Which is why the Republicans have succeded in abolishing these... oh wait- they haven't. You know why? Because you are a tool to them. The corpritists need the theocrats, but pushing their agenda would alienate the moderates. Which is why they never will.

We see a very clear line in the sand here.

The true way is very narrow.

We know with certainty that abortion and sodomy are evil, but we do not know with any certainty whether any particular disbursement of funds for the poor is good or bad or mixed.

This is a boneheaded statement in the article. We do know with certainty that socialism, fascism, and communism is rot gut bad.

>That is blatant idoltry.

Dear Mr. Skinner,

You're tone-deaf when it comes to hearing others' arguments, and bad at making your own. I suggest you take a reading comprehension course and then come back and make a stab at it again--this time maybe with a dictionary on the table next to you.

I don't take kindly to a man attacking another man's arguments here without getting those arguments right as he attacks them.

Sincerely,

"I don't take kindly to a man attacking another man's arguments here without getting those arguments right as he attacks them."

...providing you disagree with the arguments of the fellow being attacked.

"This is a boneheaded statement in the article. We do know with certainty that socialism, fascism, and communism is rot gut bad."

DO we know for certain that socialism (as opposed to Marxism) is bad?

It may well be, but if you are going to assert such a thing, you ought to be prepared to prove it using the Word of God.

It may well be, but if you are going to assert such a thing, you ought to be prepared to prove it using the Word of God.

Deu 5:19 'You shall not steal.

Case closed.

"Deu 5:19 'You shall not steal.

Case closed."

Too simplistic.

You might just as well argue that war is always wrong based on the commandment, Deu 5:17 Thou shalt not kill.

You might just as well argue that war is always wrong based on the commandment, Deu 5:17 Thou shalt not kill.

You err not knowing the Scriptures. The command in 5:17 is not that one should not kill but that one should not commit murder, from the Hebrew ָרַצח

rāṣaḥ.

DO we know for certain that socialism (as opposed to Marxism) is bad?

That's the problem -- I don't think we DO, anymore. America's founders certainly wanted to steer clear of invasive, big government, which is what is necessary for socialism.

We want to patriotically wave our flags while promoting strongly anti-American principles. Socialism is un-Constitutional.

Your neighbor on the left makes 40K. You make 25K. Your neighbor to the right makes 10K.

This is not fair.

So you get your gun and visit your neighbor to the left and at gunpoint relieve him of 15K which you give to your neighbor on the right. Each of you now have 25K. This is not stealing. This is the redistribution of money in the name of equality.

This is fair.

It may well be, but if you are going to assert such a thing [that socialism is bad], you ought to be prepared to prove it using the Word of God.

Aren't we supposed to keep church and state separate? Isn't religion a private matter? Now we've got to insert the opinions of ancient Biblical authors with backwards ideas into sophisticated modern politics?

Let's see... is the Bible really against godless secular humanism? I can't think of a verse at the moment, except that the early believers shared all things in common. So maybe that means we should embrace a socialist Big Brother who provides universal health care, etc.

When we use the Bible to defend our positions, they poo-poo that. When we don't, they demand biblical proof. Go figure.

This is fair.

No, Mark -- that tactic is not fair. It is only fair when we allow our Big Brother do it for us.

Render unto Ceasar what is Caesar's, right?

In case anybody wonders why the founders didn't establish a federal income tax, this inevitable governmental plundering of its citizens [in the name of progress] has something to do with it.

"Socialism as opposed to Marxism."

ROTFLMHO

Pausing to wipe tears of laughter away and to catch my breath.

Would anybody mind telling me the distinction between socialism and marxism except that socialism is a incremental version of revolutionary marxism?

LOL

"

Your neighbor on the left makes 40K. You make 25K. Your neighbor to the right makes 10K.

This is not fair.

So you get your gun and visit your neighbor to the left and at gunpoint relieve him of 15K which you give to your neighbor on the right. Each of you now have 25K. This is not stealing. This is the redistribution of money in the name of equality.

This is fair."

Redistribution of wealth doesn't involve taxing money from one person and handing it to another- it involves taking a portion of their income based on its size and using it to pay for programs that help people.

Not to mention there is a bigger flaw- you claim it is stealing... because the government is using force. The government uses force for ALL its activities. When it repossess peoples property, is that stealing? What about banning people for polluting? After all, that is taking value from their property.

"Let's see... is the Bible really against godless secular humanism? I can't think of a verse at the moment, except that the early believers shared all things in common. So maybe that means we should embrace a socialist Big Brother who provides universal health care, etc."

How is that any different from basing a country's legal system on the Law of the Old Testament, as most theonomists are wont to do? The only difference lies in which Testament you are using as a basis for your laws -- but it's still theonomy.

Redistribution of wealth doesn't involve taxing money from one person and handing it to another- it involves taking a portion of their income based on its size and using it to pay for programs that help people.

Oh yes I see the difference. They don’t give my money to other people. No, no. They use my money to buy stuff that they give to other people. They determine for me (based on whatever moral standard or ethical principle they see fit) what is a worthy cause and who is worthy to receive it. I’m comforted to know that my money goes to good causes like bailing out banks for the sub prime stupidity forced on them by liberal nice guys and of course abortions for women who couldn’t afford them on their own. I am thrilled to know that my money goes to pay for catechizing the nations children in the god hating secular church called public education. All hail Washington DC. Praise be to the state.

Not to mention there is a bigger flaw- you claim it is stealing... because the government is using force.

It is stealing whenever one party takes what does not belong to them. What rights do governments have? Governments don’t have rights. Only people have rights. The Government has a biblical mandate to bear the sword to carry out justice on the evil doer. There is only one standard of right and wrong upon which justice is to be based and that is God’s law.

The government uses force for ALL its activities.

Oh well then of course ALL is justified.

"Would anybody mind telling me the distinction between socialism and marxism except that socialism is a incremental version of revolutionary marxism?"

Go look it up for yourself, Bret -- socialism, communalism, etc predated Marx by hundreds of years.

You need to firm up your knowledge of history and ecomomics before engaging in arguments such as this one.

"How is that any different from basing a country's legal system on the Law of the Old Testament, as most theonomists are wont to do? The only difference lies in which Testament you are using as a basis for your laws -- but it's still theonomy."

I don't believe such practices were stated or encouraged by the New Testament. Early Christians adopted them for many reasons, most of which were probably secular. After all, communalism is more efficient that individualism- it just breaks down after a certain size and needs more work to keep up.

Needless to say, we can't adopt communalism for 300 million people. We CAN adopt social democracy, where the government provides a safety net. Which is done by every other stable country on Earth. Works quite well.

I also like how "stealing is wrong". I guess taking food from someone who has extra to feed starving children is also wrong, eh? It is amazing how many things that Christians put ahead of human life. And before you dismiss this as a rhetorical trick, remember that the saying comes from times where people bought up food so that there was a shortage and prices rose, netting them a profit. This occurred as recently as the 70s in Bangladesh, causing an artificial famine, although there are probably more recent cases.

Health care ironically works similarly. There are simply people who it isn't profitable to treat. And so they don't get treatment.

"How is that any different from basing a country's legal system on the Law of the Old Testament, as most theonomists are wont to do? The only difference lies in which Testament you are using as a basis for your laws -- but it's still theonomy."

I don't believe such practices were stated or encouraged by the New Testament. Early Christians adopted them for many reasons, most of which were probably secular. After all, communalism is more efficient that individualism- it just breaks down after a certain size and needs more work to keep up.

Needless to say, we can't adopt communalism for 300 million people. We CAN adopt social democracy, where the government provides a safety net. Which is done by every other stable country on Earth. Works quite well.

I also like how "stealing is wrong". I guess taking food from someone who has extra to feed starving children is also wrong, eh? It is amazing how many things that Christians put ahead of human life. And before you dismiss this as a rhetorical trick, remember that the saying comes from times where people bought up food so that there was a shortage and prices rose, netting them a profit. This occurred as recently as the 70s in Bangladesh, causing an artificial famine, although there are probably more recent cases.

Health care ironically works similarly. There are simply people who it isn't profitable to treat. And so they don't get treatment.

"I also like how "stealing is wrong". I guess taking food from someone who has extra to feed starving children is also wrong, eh?"

Was Joseph wrong?

Gen 41:46 And Joseph [was] thirty years old when he stood before Pharaoh king of Egypt. And Joseph went out from the presence of Pharaoh, and went throughout all the land of Egypt.

Gen 41:47 And in the seven plenteous years the earth brought forth by handfuls. Gen 41:48 And he gathered up all the food of the seven years, which were in the land of Egypt, and laid up the food in the cities: the food of the field, which [was] round about every city, laid he up in the same. Gen 41:49 And Joseph gathered corn as the sand of the sea, very much, until he left numbering; for [it was] without number......

Gen 41:53 And the seven years of plenteousness, that was in the land of Egypt, were ended. Gen 41:54 And the seven years of dearth began to come, according as Joseph had said: and the dearth was in all lands; but in all the land of Egypt there was bread. Gen 41:55 And when all the land of Egypt was famished, the people cried to Pharaoh for bread: and Pharaoh said unto all the Egyptians, Go unto Joseph; what he saith to you, do. Gen 41:56 And the famine was over all the face of the earth: And Joseph opened all the storehouses, and sold unto the Egyptians; and the famine waxed sore in the land of Egypt. Gen 41:57 And all countries came into Egypt to Joseph for to buy [corn]; because that the famine was [so] sore in all lands.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Gen 47:14 And Joseph gathered up all the money that was found in the land of Egypt, and in the land of Canaan, for the corn which they bought: and Joseph brought the money into Pharaoh's house.

Gen 47:15 And when money failed in the land of Egypt, and in the land of Canaan, all the Egyptians came unto Joseph, and said, Give us bread: for why should we die in thy presence? for the money faileth.

Gen 47:16 And Joseph said, Give your cattle; and I will give you for your cattle, if money fail.

Gen 47:17 And they brought their cattle unto Joseph: and Joseph gave them bread [in exchange] for horses, and for the flocks, and for the cattle of the herds, and for the asses: and he fed them with bread for all their cattle for that year.

Gen 47:18 When that year was ended, they came unto him the second year, and said unto him, We will not hide [it] from my lord, how that our money is spent; my lord also hath our herds of cattle; there is not ought left in the sight of my lord, but our bodies, and our lands:

Gen 47:19 Wherefore shall we die before thine eyes, both we and our land? buy us and our land for bread, and we and our land will be servants unto Pharaoh: and give [us] seed, that we may live, and not die, that the land be not desolate.

Gen 47:20 And Joseph bought all the land of Egypt for Pharaoh; for the Egyptians sold every man his field, because the famine prevailed over them: so the land became Pharaoh's.

Go look it up for yourself, Bret -- socialism, communalism, etc predated Marx by hundreds of years.

You need to firm up your knowledge of history and ecomomics before engaging in arguments such as this one.

First, Gene, I didn't say anything about communalism.

Second, I never said that socialism didn't predate marxism. Somebody who was well schooled in reading would realize I asked what the difference was between socialism and marxism. That socialism predates marxism does nothing to suggest that they are synonymous.

So, it seems my economic and history abilities are in fine order. Now, what of your reading comprehension skills? Those are pretty important for engaging debate as well wouldn't you agree?

Gene,

You desperately need to consider the difference between a text that is descriptive and a text that is prescriptive.

Note the result of Joseph's actions. The people became slaves to Pharoh. So, Joseph's actions are perfectly acceptable if you desire to make slaves of a population to the government.

Go look it up for yourself, Bret -- socialism, communalism, etc predated Marx by hundreds of years.

You need to firm up your knowledge of history and ecomomics before engaging in arguments such as this one.

First, Gene, I didn't say anything about communalism.

Second, I never said that socialism didn't predate marxism. Somebody who was well schooled in reading would realize I asked what the difference was between socialism and marxism. That socialism predates marxism does nothing to suggest that they aren't synonymous.

So, it seems my economic and history abilities are in fine order. Now, what of your reading comprehension skills? Those are pretty important for engaging debate as well wouldn't you agree?

(edited response)

Mr. Skinner said: "I also like how "stealing is wrong". I guess taking food from someone who has extra to feed starving children is also wrong, eh? It is amazing how many things that Christians put ahead of human life."

Mr. Skinner,

The suppressed premise in your argument is that certain situations justify the breaking of one law in order to fulfill another. Such a principle is indicative of situational ethics. The burden is to demonstrate the principle upon which we are allowed to break one law in favor of another. You explicitly state that "human life" is such a principle by which to judge. However, you leave undefined the scope of "human life."

Given your basic premise in its undefined state, we can justify the claim that Third World nations have a right to forcibly confiscate the wealth of the United States and redistribute it among their own poor. Indeed, any nation where some were starving (regardless of the reason for their starving, since you also failed to stipulate any qualifying criteria for redistribution) would be justified in taking as much as they saw fit from anyone who was not starving, in order to give it to the poor.

Rather than placing the responsibility and liberty in the hands of individuals who have worked for what they have to give freely as they are willing, you would have unrestrained force and an implicitly arbitrary principle of "human life" determine how best to do things.

But your argument is even more ridiculous when brought into an opponent's position. For one may easily and justifiably argue that "human life" ought to be defined as anything that contributes to the preservation of life in its existence and quality. To steal from some in order to give to others provides "human life" for the starving, but diminishes "human life" for those who are stolen from. Once again we face the need to distinguish by what criteria we are justified in choosing to take and to give.

Your problem is not simply a lack of Biblical knowledge, nor even a disdain for Christian principles. Your problem is that you cannot discern the consequences of your own position. You wish to be free to do as you see fit in a given situation, and to deny to others that same principle when it opposes what you would desire to see happen. In other words, you wish to have the position of God to determine as you see fit.

Mr. Skinner, I would recommend, I would implore, I would even beg that you reconsider the folly of what you have said here. Such sentiments extend beyond the security of your own destiny, for it is the beliefs you espouse here, taken up by men in power, that lead to the destruction of human life and the rejection of God's Sovereign authority.

Mr. Jarr,

There is no such thing as an august principle or ideology. While Marxism or Socialism received their labels at point X and point Y in the recorded history of modern Western Thought, the principles upon which they are founded extend beyond recorded history.

Socialism, at its most basic level, is the forcible (or coerced) removal of privately owned wealth redistributed by those who confiscate it by force or coercion. Marxism is a more radically developed theory based upon the same basic principle.

Since the dawning of sin in the heart of man the desire to take as one sees fit against the will of another has been implicit or explicit in nearly every resultant outward act of sin. It is the usurpation of God's authority and the implicit and envious usurpation of glory (what else is it to subvert another's will than to work out circumstances according to our good pleasure?).

Good and Evil begin, as all principles begin, with a simple or basic or foundational premise or presupposition. All the sophisticated and complicated multiplication of (autonomous) rationalizations cannot remove these basic starting points of belief.

Truth is eternal, as is its implied contradiction, or what is False. The unfolding history merely reveals the particular form of corruption, though not its ultimate origins.

"Second, I never said that socialism didn't predate marxism. Somebody who was well schooled in reading would realize I asked what the difference was between socialism and marxism."

Bret, you wrote:

"Socialism as opposed to Marxism."

ROTFLMHO

Pausing to wipe tears of laughter away and to catch my breath.

Would anybody mind telling me the distinction between socialism and marxism except that socialism is a incremental version of revolutionary marxism?

LOL

Actually, Bret, you didn't "ask" anything -- your question was clearly rhetorical, servng to preface your statement, phrased as part of a quesion, that "socialism is a incremental version of revolutionary marxism".

And, certainly you were saying that socialism does not predate Marxism.

By stating that socialism is a incremental version of revolutionary marxism, you are saying which means that socialism is subsumed under the term Marxism, in which case it would necessarily have had to have been invented by Marx.

The opposite is the case, however - Marx did not invent socialism -- Marxism is simply Marx's personal take on socialism, which was around for centuries berore his birth.

And, certainly you were saying that socialism does not predate Marxism. By stating that socialism is a incremental version of revolutionary marxism, you are saying which means that socialism is subsumed under the term Marxism, in which case it would necessarily have had to have been invented by Marx.

Behold the result of public education.

Wrong again Gene.

By observing that socialism is an incremental version of revolutionary Marxism does not negate that the incremental version may have been prior to the revolutionary version.

Keep trying to bail yourself out. You'll get there eventually.

All Italics?

"The suppressed premise in your argument is that certain situations justify the breaking of one law in order to fulfill another. Such a principle is indicative of situational ethics. The burden is to demonstrate the principle upon which we are allowed to break one law in favor of another."

No, Joshua, Mr. Skinner is saying that it is the perogative of government to CREATE laws in order to make people do as they ought. The government breaks no laws by doing this.

People ought to pay their debts, support their children, and pay their taxes, and if they fail to do so, any government worth its salt will step in and see that they do; a government is within its rights to do this, and neither the Bible nor anyone else would call this stealing.

Similarly, people ought to care for the needy, and if they do not, the government is within its rights to step in and make people do their duty towards their fellow man.

This is one of the purposes of government, as illustrated by the story of Joseph in Genesis.

"All Italics?"

Only Bret's words were supposed to have been italicized:

Socialism as opposed to Marxism."

ROTFLMHO

Pausing to wipe tears of laughter away and to catch my breath.

Would anybody mind telling me the distinction between socialism and marxism except that socialism is a incremental version of revolutionary marxism?

LOL

...but, the whole thing came out in italics. After two tries, I moved on.

Wrong again Gene.

By observing that socialism is an incremental version of revolutionary Marxism does not negate that the incremental version may have been prior to the revolutionary version.

I suggest you pursue a course in logic, in addition to boning up on history and economics.

Whoa, everybody settle down and realize with whom and what we are dealing with here.

Both David and Tim Bayley are both screaming fundamentalist Christians. There is no reasoning with them. They can only understand what is stated in the scriptures. They haven't reached the 21st Century and still believe in witches, ghosts, goblins, omni-entities and Sarah Palin.

After all, they do make their money by

frightening the less educated with their Hell and Heaven stories. Why would they want to quit? They have their audience and want their applause.

Gene,

All you need is a course on reading comprehension and all will be well.

Health care ironically works similarly. There are simply people who it isn't profitable to treat. And so they don't get treatment.

I can't figure liberals out. How does this all fit into global warming, saving the planet, and the notion that human beings are bad for the enviornment, and that there are WAY too many of them? Isn't this one of the reasons they want to promote/fund abortion world-wide? Whatever happened to their Darwinist doctrine of survival of the fittest?

The fact that they have compassion for the poor at all proves there is a God, and it further shows that Darwinism, which seeks to abolish God, is a lie.

Mr. Jarr:

Let me address each of your paragraphs individually:

First:

"No, Joshua, Mr. Skinner is saying that it is the perogative of government to CREATE laws in order to make people do as they ought. The government breaks no laws by doing this."

Do you consider yourself a Christian Mr. Jarr? If so, it is incredible that you fail to recognize that it is God's Law that dictates to ALL governments what justice is and how it should be upheld. If you are not a Christian, and thereby reject Scripture and God's Law, upon what principle do you justify the government's "prerogative" to create law? If the prerogative of government is self-justified, then nothing prevents the government from creating a law that makes what you would consider "fundamental rights" illegal or unlawful.

Next:

"People ought to pay their debts, support their children, and pay their taxes, and if they fail to do so, any government worth its salt will step in and see that they do; a government is within its rights to do this, and neither the Bible nor anyone else would call this stealing."

Upon what principle or authority do you argue that people ought to do these things Mr. Jarr? Why is the government obligated to ensure that such things occur? By what standard are we operating here? The Scriptures do not give governments the authority to enforce laws that are unjust. There are separate spheres of authority including individual, family, and Church to name three. You seem to collapse all authority into the State, which is precisely how ancient pagan cultures viewed the State, and how modern Communist countries have viewed the State. It is decidedly NOT how Scripture views the State.

Last:

"Similarly, people ought to care for the needy, and if they do not, the government is within its rights to step in and make people do their duty towards their fellow man.

This is one of the purposes of government, as illustrated by the story of Joseph in Genesis."

Until you provide a standard and justification for the several "oughts" that you identify, there remains no standard or criteria beyond your personal opinion by which to judge them as adequate. The appeal to Joseph has already been addressed. First, it is not prescriptive, but descriptive--at no point in the narrative is it indicated that Joseph was obeying a God-given law. Second, the results of Joseph's actions led the entire populous into complete slave-dependency upon the Egyptian rulers, hardly an ideal situation for human flourishing, even by the indefinite standards you seem to espouse.

Mr. Jarr, I have but a slight idea from whence you derive your ideas, but they are contrary to the revealed Law of God, and I would recommend you to consider more carefully your thoughts against the whole testimony of God's Word.

After all, they do make their money by frightening the less educated with their Hell and Heaven stories.

The fact that you don't appear frightened would seem to defeat your attempted point. You can email me and I'll explain that for you.

"Similarly, people ought to care for the needy, and if they do not, the government is within its rights to step in and make people do their duty towards their fellow man.

This is one of the purposes of government, as illustrated by the story of Joseph in Genesis."

Gene-- first, someone has already said that the government doesn't have any "rights." It exists to protect the rights of its citizens [which doesn't include making up "rights"]. Second, who then determines what "a citizen's duty to his fellow man" is? The government. It therefore becomes my duty to pay for any woman's abortion, and it is also my duty to provide free health care for anyone who wanders over the border. It is my duty to bailout greedy bankers and borrowers. It is my duty to rebuild cities which are below sea level in hurricane zones. It is my duty to make sure school kids have plenty of condoms, that daycare is provided so women can work, that homosexuality is considered normal, that convicts are comfortable in prison, etc. It is my duty to do whatever the godless leaders in power require, and they are always dreaming up more duties we are obligated to perform on behalf of others, because it gives them more power.

Have you ever stopped to consider the enormous waste and fraud involved when the government gets involved in all these mega-million dollar projects?

I hear Obama has a poor brother in Kenya whom he doesn't personally help. I also saw a Charitable Contribution figure on his tax return recently -- very low. But he wants to force us to do our duty. How about giving incentives for doing our duty, instead of compelling?

Here's a biblical command for you:

2 Corinthians 9:7

"Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver."

Both David and Tim Bayley [sic] are both screaming fundamentalist Christians.

Aspentroll-- why do they appear restrained and tame and compared to you, then?

There is no reasoning with them.

An obviously reasonable person like yourself should know.

They haven't reached the 21st Century and still believe in witches, ghosts, goblins, omni-entities and Sarah Palin.

Are trolls typically this ignorant of subjects they barge in and bellow about?

They can only understand what is stated in the scriptures.

Everybody worships something. What foolish and depraved myth are you worshipping, sir?

They have their audience and want their applause.

No doubt trolls are vastly superior, which gives them the right to act like ogres.

Aspentroll, it's even worse than you think. Consider the fact that they wear bow ties. Now THAT is scary.

Dear Mark,

Only when we're not spewing spittle across the room with our tobaccy-chewing fundy friends. Long ties work better then cause you can use em to wipe down your mouth afterward.

David

After all, they do make their money by

frightening the less educated with their Hell and Heaven stories.

Aspentroll, did you sleep through the tolerance & diversity classes, or are you wishing to illustrate the sucessful outcome of a secular-humanist government education?

Why would they want to quit? They have their audience and want their applause.

How long until the trolls have us wearing yellow crosses to alert decent citizens to our anti-social poison?

"The suppressed premise in your argument is that certain situations justify the breaking of one law in order to fulfill another. Such a principle is indicative of situational ethics. The burden is to demonstrate the principle upon which we are allowed to break one law in favor of another. You explicitly state that "human life" is such a principle by which to judge. However, you leave undefined the scope of "human life.""

Too bad the definition of moral dilemnias is when to rules collide... and that the entire field of ethics exists to deal with it. What do you do when rules conflict? Let people die rather than sully your hands?

Given your basic premise in its undefined state, we can justify the claim that Third World nations have a right to forcibly confiscate the wealth of the United States and redistribute it among their own poor. Indeed, any nation where some were starving (regardless of the reason for their starving, since you also failed to stipulate any qualifying criteria for redistribution) would be justified in taking as much as they saw fit from anyone who was not starving, in order to give it to the poor."

You are strawmanning. It is only one of many principles.

"Rather than placing the responsibility and liberty in the hands of individuals who have worked for what they have to give freely as they are willing, you would have unrestrained force and an implicitly arbitrary principle of "human life" determine how best to do things."

You don't value human life?

"To steal from some in order to give to others provides "human life" for the starving, but diminishes "human life" for those who are stolen from. Once again we face the need to distinguish by what criteria we are justified in choosing to take and to give."

Living is differant from having stuff.

"Your problem is not simply a lack of Biblical knowledge, nor even a disdain for Christian principles. Your problem is that you cannot discern the consequences of your own position. You wish to be free to do as you see fit in a given situation, and to deny to others that same principle when it opposes what you would desire to see happen. In other words, you wish to have the position of God to determine as you see fit."

I lack voices in my head to tell me what to do. Sanity sucks.

The consequences of my position are rationing in famines, taxes and a social safety net. Your position seems to be social darwinist.

"Socialism, at its most basic level, is the forcible (or coerced) removal of privately owned wealth redistributed by those who confiscate it by force or coercion."

So every country on Earth is socialist except anarchy's?

"I can't figure liberals out. How does this all fit into global warming, saving the planet, and the notion that human beings are bad for the enviornment, and that there are WAY too many of them? Isn't this one of the reasons they want to promote/fund abortion world-wide? Whatever happened to their Darwinist doctrine of survival of the fittest?"

You are confusing liberal with communitarians and pogressive. Many liberals don't brake for such people. I'll give you a hint- liberals value freedom.

"The fact that they have compassion for the poor at all proves there is a God, and it further shows that Darwinism, which seeks to abolish God, is a lie."

Morality doesn't come from God. Plato proved that.

"Do you consider yourself a Christian Mr. Jarr? If so, it is incredible that you fail to recognize that it is God's Law that dictates to ALL governments what justice is and how it should be upheld. If you are not a Christian, and thereby reject Scripture and God's Law, upon what principle do you justify the government's "prerogative" to create law? If the prerogative of government is self-justified, then nothing prevents the government from creating a law that makes what you would consider "fundamental rights" illegal or unlawful."

Like suspending habeous corpous... wait the US has done that. I guess we fit in category 2.

"

Upon what principle or authority do you argue that people ought to do these things Mr. Jarr? Why is the government obligated to ensure that such things occur? By what standard are we operating here?"

The government has a responsibility to uphold legal contracts.

"You seem to collapse all authority into the State, which is precisely how ancient pagan cultures viewed the State, and how modern Communist countries have viewed the State. It is decidedly NOT how Scripture views the State."

You are commiting an ad hominum fallacy.

"Until you provide a standard and justification for the several "oughts" that you identify, there remains no standard or criteria beyond your personal opinion by which to judge them as adequate."

The government is a servant of its people. Poor people fall under the category.

"Second, the results of Joseph's actions led the entire populous into complete slave-dependency upon the Egyptian rulers, hardly an ideal situation for human flourishing, even by the indefinite standards you seem to espouse."

So death is preferable before government handouts?

"Gene-- first, someone has already said that the government doesn't have any "rights." It exists to protect the rights of its citizens [which doesn't include making up "rights"]. Second, who then determines what "a citizen's duty to his fellow man" is? The government. It therefore becomes my duty to pay for any woman's abortion, and it is also my duty to provide free health care for anyone who wanders over the border. It is my duty to bailout greedy bankers and borrowers. It is my duty to rebuild cities which are below sea level in hurricane zones. It is my duty to make sure school kids have plenty of condoms, that daycare is provided so women can work, that homosexuality is considered normal, that convicts are comfortable in prison, etc. It is my duty to do whatever the godless leaders in power require, and they are always dreaming up more duties we are obligated to perform on behalf of others, because it gives them more power."

You live in a society that has given you so much. Guess what? It wants to be payed back. You aren't an island.

"Have you ever stopped to consider the enormous waste and fraud involved when the government gets involved in all these mega-million dollar projects?"

Yep. It comes out to about 1% is entirely wasted.

"I hear Obama has a poor brother in Kenya whom he doesn't personally help. I also saw a Charitable Contribution figure on his tax return recently -- very low. But he wants to force us to do our duty. How about giving incentives for doing our duty, instead of compelling?"

Read up on tradgedy of the commons. Or the fact that charities often have worse graft rates than the government.

"Everybody worships something. What foolish and depraved myth are you worshipping, sir?"

Nothing. Abject worship is unbecoming of a free man.

"you wishing to illustrate the sucessful outcome of a secular-humanist government education?"

:)

http://starwars.yahoo.com/photos/sith-creed

>Abject worship is unbecoming of a free man.

You missed the point where that isn't a choice. But self-deception is, and it appears to be one you have fully embraced.

"You missed the point where that isn't a choice. But self-deception is, and it appears to be one you have fully embraced."

You have not proved that I am decieving myself. In fact you have provided no proof whatsoever. Try again.

As for there not being a choice... does that mean you don't believe in free will?

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