Christians Turn Off Their Brains

Now there’s a title guaranteed to piss off a few people, but frankly, in my experience, it’s true.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that all Christians do this all the time, or for that matter that all Christians are stupid, imbecilic, or otherwise lacking in the gray matter department, as I’m sure I’ll be accused of. There are a lot of Christians whose intellect I admire.  But it seems that there is a subset of Christians –  call them fundamentalists, evangelicals or simply the seriously devout  – who choose willful ignorance over rational analysis every time. Why? I’m not sure, but I suspect it’s easy. A lot easier than tackling difficult questions of life, existence and morality.

I recently had the occasion to experience (again – it happens often) one of the prime indicators of my thesis, when I was alerted to a blog written by a woman who posted a little essay entitled Why I am Not a Democrat in which she  attempted to explain how her understanding, reading and interpretation of Scripture (The Bible) mandated that she could never allow herself to vote for a Democrat. I added a comment, as did PhillyChief and the Exterminator, which she answered in kind. OK, so far so good.

Perhaps she views her purpose for blogging different than I do, for after the first round of comments, she stated:

Please note: I will remove any comment that focuses on insulting the person rather than the argument.

You can read the whole post, with comments, and perhaps you’ll disagree, but I didn’t see any reason why she needed to make that caveat, as I saw nothing, absolutely nothing, that looked even remotely like a personal insult directed at her. Apprently, however, she was insulted, and when I sent another comment to her first response, I noticed two things: She had turned moderation on, so that she could review the comments before they appeared, and she had changed the title of the post to Can a Christian Be A Democrat?, thereby changing the entire focus of the post from herself to all Christians in general.

As it turns out, my second comment never showed up with the rest of the comments, nor did a long one from PhillyChief. (Philly actually wrote his own post about this blog here.) I’m going to therefore set forth what I wrote here, along with PhillyChief’s, so my readers can decide whether they were personally insulting.

Mine:

To Spanish Inquistor: I don’t expect nor demand that anyone “share their gains with me.” I don’t have a right to benefit from the hard work of others by “taking” their money away from them simply because they have it and I don’t. Thanks for pointing out so well why I am not a Democrat!

Oh, c’mon. That’s not what I said, and you know it. But thanks for twisting my words around and showing me why I am neither a Christian nor a Republican. In my experience, that’s a common debating tactic of both.

And I see you’ve now got moderation on. It wasn’t when I first posted. I guess it would now be reasonable for me to expect that this comment will not show up. Prove me wrong. I’ve had a lot a very reasonable comments (no ad hominems, no profanity) fail to show up on Christian’s blogs simply because they did not like what I had to say. Don’t disappoint me.

I also note that you’ve changed the title to the post, and hence the focus, from whether you can be a Democrat, to whether any Christian can be a Democrat. I assume the conclusion – no – is the same. While I’d agree that you personally, given your dependence on the words of one lonely book, (out of so many out there with ideas that could be useful in your decision making), could never be a Democrat, I’d have to disagree with the conclusion that NO Christian could be a Democrat. Jesus himself, with his emphasis on helping the poor (not just oneself), turning the other cheek, doing good for others while depriving yourself, etc, etc, etc, would probably have been a Democrat, not a Republican. He doesn’t talk about it in the New Testament, but he did reject many aspects of Old Testament law, and my guess is that given his overall message, he would have rejected Leviticus’s admonition against homosexuality, in favor of one of love for everyone, without bigotry or prejudice, because they are different than you. I’m sure he’s eating shellfish as we speak 😉

A Christian’s emphasis on such silly matters as homosexuality, guns and abortion as a basis for determining political decisions is somewhat … well…silly. Now, you don’t think they are silly, because you’ve cherry picked lines out of Scripture that confirm your particular personally held beliefs in those matters, and that’s your personal belief, and if that makes you a Republican, so be it. That’s the beauty of America, we get to think and believe and say what we want without recrimination. Go ahead, vote Republican. Just note that while those may be important personal reasons for you, there are many Democrats, indeed most of them, who are Christians, who would disagree with you. So the sheer weight of popular opinion is against you. That doesn’t make you wrong and them right, but it’s food for thought.

Philly’s:

I see you’ve conveniently ignored the issues of businesses outsourcing jobs, moving plants overseas, and buying foreign parts and supplies. Also, you’ve ignored the issue of the rich not actually contributing to the economy due to buying foreign products, investing abroad and using foreign banks. Once again, history shows we can’t place faith in the altruism of the rich or business, yet that’s your argument. Your faith is misplaced, possibly due to your own selfish interests.

The infamous Limbaugh quote of “the top 50% of wage earners pay over 96% of taxes” misses some important points:

1) The clear disparity in income between the top 50% and the bottom 50%
2) The effect the taxes have on the respective halves
3) The rich pay only 1.45% on any salary that they receive and nothing on non-earned income, which is the supermajority of their income, while the poor pay 7.65% on every dollar they get and essentially have little to no non-earned income.
4) The poorest have little if any discretionary income, therefore, they pay a much higher rate on consumption taxes than do those with discretionary income
5) The rich benefit far more from taxpayer expenses like police, fire, infrastructure and so forth than the poor. Btw, ask the citizens of New Orleans how much of a return on their tax dollars they got after Katrina. Murphy Oil and other large corporations got healthy amounts of aid.

Your arguments are nothing more than excuses to silence your conscience. You paint the less fortunate as lazy and refusing to work and you write off scripture as being individual rules instead rules for government. The first point is simply ridiculous and absurd. Even the Bible shows there are four categories of causes for poverty:

• Oppression and fraud (Prov. 14:31; 22:7; 28:15)
• Misfortune, persecution, or judgment (Job 1:12-19, Ps. 109:16; Isa. 47:9; Lam. 5:3)
• The culture of poverty – Proverbs 10:15 says, “The ruin of the poor is their poverty.” Poverty breeds poverty, and the cycle is not easily broken. People who grow up in an impoverished culture usually lack the nutrition and the education that would enable them to be successful in the future.
• Laziness, neglect, or gluttony (I doubt if I have to cite passages for you since you no doubt at least have these committed to memory)

You can’t simply ignore 75% of the bible and focus only on the 25% which suits you. Is that what you think passes for Christianity? If you won’t delve into the depths of the Bible, then look into the depths of your own heart. Do you honestly believe all of the less fortunate, those on the other half of that 50% you cite, are all simply lazy and refuse to work?

For your second excuse, true, it is the responsibility of us individuals to help the less fortunate and work for peace, but casting a ballot is also an extension of that responsibility and not, as you would make it out to be, an excuse for not helping the marginalized. A vote is an act of furthering the work we should already be doing, and it’s a reminder to the legislators, each and every INDIVIDUAL legislator, to live up to their responsibilities to the less fortunate.

I suggest you revisit The Parable of the Sower. “But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop”. Do not let your heart be hardened to the plight of your fellow men or to your responsibility to them. Do not try to assuage your guilt with selective reading of the Bible and visions of personal wealth, or place your faith in false idols.

Any reasonable person can see that while both comments criticize the blogger’s ideas, they are not personally insulting. The only conclusion one can reach, therefore, is that she did not want to see valid, oppositional, and presumably embarrassing comments on her blog, because it contradicted those preconceived notions that she had grasped to support her conclusion that Democrats were “evil” and not worthy of her vote, or for that matter, of any Christian.

The main thrust of our comments was that her reliance on Scripture to support her clear bigotry (against homosexuals, against people on welfare, among others) was misplaced, and she couldn’t handle it, so she simply ignored it. Out of sight, out of mind. And in a more general sense, this is what many Christians do to get through their days. They turn off their brains, ignore competing ideas and notions that contradict their pre-conceived prejudices, and use one, and only one, source to support their worldview. One single book, as I mentioned in my unpublished comment, out of literally millions of alternative and/or supplemental source materials at their disposal.

Can you imagine undertaking the study of any subject, be it scientific, historical or philosophical, and choosing one book, to the exclusion of all others, as the only source of knowledge on that subject? Could you consider yourself thoroughly educated? Obviously, not. But many Christians do use only one source for all of the answers to their questions on morality, life and science.

And I’m talking about people who use reason and logic every day of their lives, to make rational decisions about such things as “should I ignore this red light?” or “should I gulp down this bottle of Windex?”, answers to questions they’ll never find in the Bible. They use their brains by analyzing all the information at their disposal to make rational, oftentimes life-altering decisions. Yet, when it comes to their religion, they turn off their brains and read one book, written by unknown people who lived in the desert thousands of years ago, people who made their living — indeed eked out their very existence — by tending goats. They defer to anonymous ancient authors who fashioned a guidebook for life that made sense to their ignorant tribesmen, but that makes no sense in light of the amazing discoveries science has made over the millennia. Still, Christians accept only the truth of that one book, as they interpret it with the help of their knowledge-free pastor and friends.

I’m sure Kim is a wonderful person. She seems to have done a good job running her life, so far, and raising a family, at least by her own account. However, she is deluding herself if she believes that her book has all the answers, and furthermore, that it can be used to make decisions about who to vote for in a society that the authors of that book could not have envisioned in their wildest dreams. At the very least, she’s limiting her choices.

I hope she remembers the following, though. Not exactly apropos, but close:

Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s. Matthew 22:21

[Thanks to PhillyChief for the use of his spare brain, and the Exterminator for the use of his active one]

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39 thoughts on “Christians Turn Off Their Brains

  1. Well, I lasted a bit longer at that post than you guys did, but eventually I gave up. Here’s how her last non-response to me began:

    I want to take a few minutes to address some of your last comments, and then I would like to move on to my next topic.

    Interestingly, that was two days ago. She has yet to “move on,” not to be confused with MoveOn.Org, which is one of those awful, godless, Marxist, insulting Web sites.

  2. Ah, you made use of the famous two-headed Philly monster, eh?

    I think it is easy for people to turn off their brains, period. It need not be about religion, though that is an obvious area where you would expect it. Reason didn’t get them to where they are at. If they are comfortable there, they aren’t going to allow reason in to the discussion – for long.

    You will find that it’s true of other things as well. Patriotism is another. Ask most Americans – “Is this the greatest country in the world”? They will, almost unfailingly, say yes – immediately. But why? What objective evidence could they possibly present to prove that this is “the greatest country in the world”? If any good patriots here can answer my question, I’d love to hear it.

  3. Would you say your wife is the best wife in the world? Your children the best children in the world? Oh there are times I want to kill the Mrs., but I love her, and if you slight her I’ll knock your teeth out. I think that’s how patriotism works. You can scratch and claw and fight and push your country to be better, and lots of times it can piss you off, but you still love it. Unlike a wife though, you can tell your country it looks fat in those jeans. 😉

    So getting back to the post, I have to say it was fun googling bible passages. I’ve seen that line that poor people just don’t want to work thousands of times, and more times than not those people who say it are christians. I’m SO glad I found that bit about the four causes for being poor in the bible. I’m gonna drop that bomb a lot in the future I think.

    I can see how preachers can get addicted to those sermons. They’re so easy, and with people’s minds turned off, or at least set to follow almost anything you say, you can REALLY manipulate people with a few choice passages. I can’t imagine what it must have been like for her to get bible backfire.

  4. Good post. Kim obviously wasn’t prepared to deal with people who could refute her positions credibly. She probably also has a lot of her identity wrapped up tightly with her beliefs. Fundogelicals are taught to think that way. Also, she’s filled with the Holy Spirit, who informs her morality. A dispute with her values is a dispute with her God, which is a dispute with her inmost being (I hope all that makes some sense to you). So, even though you guys were discussing ideas, these are ideas in which Kim is deeply invested personally; they form a substantial part of her self-identity. Therefore, she can’t distinguish a discussion of her ideas from a discussion of her. Additionally, it’s often really difficult to have rational discussions with fundies because they’re much more accustomed to dealing with emotional content than intellectual substance.

  5. One argument that always gets brain dead, ignorant Republicans is that Bill Clinton was the most fiscally conservative president in the last thirty years; he reformed welfare, balanced the budget and actually had a budget surplus for his last two years of presidency. Under Reagan, government spending skyrocketed and the deficit tripled. And we all know how G.W. Bush has mananged (or mismanaged) the economy.
    I read somewhere that the Republicans were able to start getting people to vote against their economic self interest by exploiting racism in lower to middle income white Americans. Reagan started this with his myth of the “black welfare queen”. Most don’t even realize that if something catastrophic happened to them, they would expect the government to help them. If they knew how small a part of the budget social programs were, they’d be shocked; apparently, they think 90% of our budget goes to welfare, and (according to them) all welfare recepients are crack-addicted, lazy, baby producting lay abouts.

  6. I enjoyed reading your deconstuction of Kim’s post. I’m one of the moderators at ChatEVO and there are several members over there who honestly cannot write about cutting their dogs’ toenails without ‘testifying to the Lord.’ Reading Kim’s shrill post was so reminiscent of that. I almost wish I hadn’t visited her blog. (I love your header, BTW.)

  7. sabrina –

    Reagan did better than the ‘black welfare queen’ bit. If I remember correctly, he started his Presidential campaign talking about states rights in Philadelphia, Mississippi. You know, the place where Chaney, Schwerner and Goodman, three civil rights volunteers were murdered by good Christian Klansmen in 1964. ‘States rights’ is of course the Republican code for ‘It’s okay to hang niggers’. The South has been happily Republican ever since Nixon initiated that so-called Southern strategy which Reagan cheerily boosted at Philadelphia, Mississippi.

  8. As an objective observer I think your republican leaders are using mis-information strategy to abuse the mind o the American populace. However it is left to the blacks (with reference to Sabrinas post) to stand up and say that they have had enough. That does not include violence of course.
    If obama was an American citizen running for office of president in Kenya would he get the political backing of the current administration?
    It was not your ancestors that choose to go to foreign lands to become slaves. Now you are enlightened fight against all modern forms of slavery. But first i think the blacks must unite.
    Another issue is the lack of good public schools in black neighbourhoods in America. this goes a long way to reduce the development of a child’s mind thereby reducing his potentials and turning him into what the politician wants him to become; An insignificant factor in society.

  9. I’m politically obtuse and British to boot, so any comment I made on the subject of the Democrat / Republican issues in Kim’s post would sport with your intelligence unpleasantly, I suspect. So I’ll restrict myself to theology!

    Fundogelicals (LOVE that word) are lucky folk; they have an internally justified argument. They don’t need comparative religion, or ethics, or any kind of external reinforcement or validation. If you attempt to ‘mess with their heads’, or as we would say, reason with them politely, they treat it as a demonic attack and they’ve got a procedure for that too.

    Unless you do not have a disposition towards hypertension or any sort of congenital heart defect, I’d steer clear of them. It’s not a question of turning off their brains. They’ve just assumed a divine mandate not to use them. Jesus, a thinking man if he existed at all, must be spinning in his grave.

    Good work over there; I like your work!

    Blessings, TGW

  10. good post, good arguments! But i’d just not even bother with those people who think in that way, it’s almost a waste of energy to try to argue with them. But then, it’s so much fun!!

  11. The ability to doubt, to question premises, is indispensable to critical thought. Fundagelicals don’t allow themselves to doubt their dogma, and they attempt to apply that dogma to literally everything in their lives. Is it any wonder they have trouble thinking?

  12. I posted this originally at the blog of doubtingthomas426:

    If christians truly followed their precepts out to logical conclusions, some truly strange moral quandries would result, here’s an example;

    [originaly posted on doubtingthomas426 blogsite:

    Soooo….I have a question, and I’m sure it will offend just about everyone!

    If a christian parent really loved their children, I mean really, really, selflessly loved their children, wouldn’t they want their children to get into heaven? wouldn’t this become the number one priority over anything else?

    Why do christian parents not get their children baptized, then murder them? would this not ensure that your children would go to heaven?

    If I’m wrong about this, and the child must “accept jesus” first, then why do you not raise your children to that age, get them to fully accept jesus, then murder them so they have no more chance to sin and be cast into the fire and brimstone?

    Granted, you would be damning yourself by commiting murder, but would god not forgive you because you are willingly sending yourself to hell, sacrificing yourself in parallel to his son, to ensure another gets into heaven? Isn’t this sacrifice to save another’s soul the most noble thing you could do as a christian? If it is immoral, if the christian commiting the murder was sinning, how would that sin rub off on the victim? They would not be to blame, they would be an innocent, and one faithful to jesus at that!

    Why do christians not convert people and kill them? Why not, say, get the entire mass of an Amazon jungle tribe, or some African family tribes, get them all to accept jesus, then slaughter them? would this not assure the new convert’s acendance to heaven? Would this not save the deceased? would this not be more moral than trying to manage people’s faith, knowing that they could lose it and (Gasp! Horror!) become an atheist like me? Aren’t you christians supposed to be saving everyone you can? Don’t you have a moral imperitive from the bible to save others?

    Are you christians just to scared to commit yourselves to hell to save your own children? Are you too selfish? Or maybe…do you have a bit, just a little, mind you, of doubt?

    Please, feel free to point out any and all flaws in my logic.

    -Q

  13. Ex.

    Interestingly, that was two days ago. She has yet to “move on,”

    Well, she finally did move on, but with another Scripture interpreting post. I suspect that even though she’s blogging, with comments enabled, she really doesn’t want dissension. She’s writing for herself, and if someone wants to come along and agree with her, well, wouldn’t that be just lovely. But people like us…

    Evo

    Check my next post concerning patriotism.

    Philly

    I can see how preachers can get addicted to those sermons. They’re so easy,

    Sort of like the Tuna Helper of the philosophy world.

    Chappie

    A dispute with her values is a dispute with her God, which is a dispute with her inmost being (I hope all that makes some sense to you).

    I’m beginning to understand that. And trying to break through that is like trying to break through a Klingon force field. It seems you can pass through it from the inside out, but not the reverse.

    sabrina

    apparently, they think 90% of our budget goes to welfare, and (according to them) all welfare recepients are crack-addicted, lazy, baby producting lay abouts.

    They’re not? Are you sure? I could have sworn I saw that somewhere in Job, or maybe Hebrews.

    Max P

    I almost wish I hadn’t visited her blog. (I love your header, BTW.)

    Sorry about that, but I’m glad you enjoy the header. It’s one that has lasted the longest here, so far.

    Ric

    ‘States rights’ is of course the Republican code for ‘It’s okay to hang niggers’.

    States rights is also an excuse for the Supreme Court to ignore individual rights. Except when they want to elect their own President.

    exceptionngr

    If obama was an American citizen running for office of president in Kenya would he get the political backing of the current administration?

    Only if Kenya had oil.

    The Green Witch

    Fundogelicals (LOVE that word)

    Not to be confused with Fundo-Logicals, which is, you think of it, another good word for FaithFreeists.

    petescully

    But i’d just not even bother with those people who think in that way, it’s almost a waste of energy to try to argue with them. But then, it’s so much fun!!

    Been there, done that, stole the T-shirt.

    B.T. Murtagh

    Fundagelicals don’t allow themselves to doubt their dogma, and they attempt to apply that dogma to literally everything in their lives.

    That would not be fundo-logical. Hey, I’m really starting to get to like that word!

    Questioneverthing

    Please, feel free to point out any and all flaws in my logic.

    OK. Here goes….

    …ummmmm.

  14. Spanish…

    Really? please? there must be some flaw…if not, that’s just scary!!

    -Q

  15. Well, I guess the flaw is that the species would die out pretty quickly, if all children were killed before passing on their genes. So it’s a one generation phenomenon.

  16. I can understand your assessment of Christians as being “non-thinkers.” Many people who profess to be Christians allow someone else to tell them 1) what to believe, and 2) what the Bible says rather than studying for themselves. I had to use my brain to evaluate my options: whether to believe in God in the first place, and then whether or not to believe the Bible is God’s word, revealed by inspired men. If I believe that the Bible is God’s word – and I do – then it is my source of authority. For those who do not believe the Bible is God’s word, their source of authority is themselves. It’s one or the other. I just chose to follow the One who created me. But following still requires the thought process to be constantly engaged. I have to interpret and then gain the wisdom to apply what I learn to my life.

    There are brain-dead and illogical people of all beliefs – even non-believers.

  17. Philly, there are many causes of poverty, true. But you have to remember the context of my statement on my blog. The New Testament has much to say about our individual responsibility to help those in need. To claim that I’m “selfish” because I don’t believe the government should be throwing money at those who refuse to work is unfair and inaccurate. Since I believe I DO have a responsiblity to help those in need whenever I have the opportunity (Galatians 6:10), I do exactly that from my own pocket – not someone else’s. But God tells Christians that if a man “will not work,” neither shall he eat. We don’t have a responsibility to help those who have control over their situation but refuse to do anything about it. And that was my point about the Democratic (and Republican at times) Pary’s policy of taking money from those who work for it and giving it to those who will NOT work for it. There’s a big difference between a person who refuses to work and one who cannot work or is poor due to circumstances beyond his control.

  18. Thanks Kim, for the comment, and welcome to my blog.

    But following still requires the thought process to be constantly engaged.

    Then there’s hope for you yet! 😉

    But try to keep in mind how much you believe based on your faith, and how much you believe based on evidence and what you know. There is a huge difference.

  19. Kim,

    I pointed out 3 other possible reasons for poverty, reasons found in the bible, yet you ignore that and insist all poor people are lazy and refuse to work. You also ignore a lot of things. but thankfully here you don’t have the power to keep what you don’t like hidden from the world.

  20. Philly,
    Where did I say that all people are “lazy and refuse to work”? Really, I can’t find it, and I don’t believe that.

  21. Spanish (I don’t know what else to call you),
    Thanks. And I’m assuming there is hope for you, too 🙂

    I happen to believe that faith is and should be based on the evidence. Even God describes faith that way (“Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). I believe (have faith) in God because I believe the evidence supports it. I believe (have faith) in the Bible because I believe the evidence supports its inspiration. I agree. There is a huge difference.

    Have a good one!

  22. “I don’t believe the government should be throwing money at those who refuse to work” – Kim 24 July 2008 at 9:25 pm

    You didn’t say “lazy”. So sue me.

  23. Philly,

    My saying that the government should not be throwing money at those who refuse to work is a far cry from what you claim I said, which was that I “insist ALL poor people are lazy and refuse to work.” “Those who refuse to work” is a description of ONE group of people, not all.

  24. But Kim, that’s why social programs are so important – because most people in need are not lazy. Social programs need to be paid for by those who have benefited the most from the system. And even after being taxed, a person making over $100,000 a year still has much more than those at the bottom.

    Trust me – Jesus would want it. He hates selfish Republicans. And gun owners. And those that refuse to turn the other cheek and, instead, attack women and children who had nothing to do with slapping them in the first place.

  25. Kim said:
    “Those who refuse to work” is a description of ONE group of people, not all.

    I agree. “Those who refuse to work” pretty much describes the Bush Administration. The Prez, for instance, hasn’t done an honest day’s work in his entire life. Did the people who actually pushed through the Iraq War ever plan to work at their mission, or did they just assume that they could foist the real work off on others, like the poor U.S. military men and women? Did the speculators who caused the current economic crisis really work, or did they expect the working taxpayers to bail them out of their problems? During hurricane Katrina and its aftermath, who refused to work? Was it the people who were drowning, or huddling together in unlivable conditions, or fleeing for their lives? Or was it the oblivious cronies of George W. Bush?I could make an excellent case that those who refused to work are the very people you’ll be voting for, and those who did work are the ones who are suffering most in this recession that Phil Gramm doesn’t even recognize because he’s gotten rich sucking on the public teat most of his adult life.

    And that was my point about the Democratic (and Republican at times) Pary’s policy of taking money from those who work for it and giving it to those who will NOT work for it.

    So are we to assume from this statement that you frown on corporate welfare, that you don’t approve of the hypocritical politicians in the White House and Congress who take money from the actual workers to feed the corporate fat cats who sit on their asses pretending to do something while the actual work — both physical and intellectual — is being done by others?

    I happen to believe that faith is and should be based on the evidence. Even God describes faith that way (”Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). I believe (have faith) in God because I believe the evidence supports it. I believe (have faith) in the Bible because I believe the evidence supports its inspiration. I agree. There is a huge difference.

    With all due respect, Kim: What a bunch of claptrap that is. Faith can never be based on evidence, because then it wouldn’t be faith — it would be verifiable science. The rest of your argument is circular; you can’t use the bible to provide evidence that proves the truth of the bible.

    Obviously, if you want to just say, “Well, despite the fact that I have no evidence, I believe anyway,” we’d think you were wrong-headed and maybe a little bit dim-witted, but you’d sound sincere. When you claim to have evidence for your beliefs, you’re … pardon me for stating the obvious … a liar. You have no evidence whatsoever.

  26. Philly –

    I said, Those who refuse to work” is a description of ONE group of people, not all.

    Then you said, “You’re still insisting that people are poor for one reason and one reason only.

    I don’t know if you are purposely misrepresenting what I said or if you really do not understand, but I’ve done the best I can to explain it.

  27. John,
    I know what Jesus “wants” because He has revealed His will to us – and I trust Him.

    We are not going to come to an agreement on the function of government because we are fundamentally different in our beliefs. let’s put it this way: I will continue to personally help those in need out of my own pocket, and you can continue pushing the government to take it out of everyone else’s pocket.

  28. Exterminator,
    I am not a Bush supporter; however, to say that he has “never done an honest day’s work in his life” is factually inaccurate. He has worked, and whether or not you deem it “honest” will a matter of opinion.

    Congress has the Constitutional right to declare war, and the military men and women (God bless them) volunteer to perform their duties. So where is the problem?

    Again, no where have I said that every poor person is in their situation because they REFUSE to work. SOME people are poor because they refuse to work.

    Technically, we are not in a recession by definition.

    I’m assuming you are talking about CEOs when you mention “corporate fat cats.” I happen to know at least one CEO, and I know he does work – both physically in long hours and intellectually while running the company. I would be careful about generalizing.

    You are correct – at least in some cases: sometimes faith is not based on evidence. It’s called “blind faith.” That’s not my thing. I prefer to base my faith on evidence, which requires a little more time and effort, logic and reasoning.

  29. “Again, no where have I said that every poor person is in their situation because they REFUSE to work. SOME people are poor because they refuse to work.”

    From your original post:
    “[Obama’s] views politically are dangerous because when enacted, they destroy the economy, punish those who work hard while rewarding those who REFUSE to work…
    Those who REFUSE to work should not receive any assistance. The Democrat party promises assistance to those who REFUSE to work. Not only that, they promote taking money away from those who work hard and giving it to those who don’t. This is unscriptural!”

    (Plus of course posting a few passages from the bible that only mention those who don’t work.)

    In your original post and in subsequent comments, you repeatedly refer to having money taken away to give to people who REFUSE to work. If you can recognize and admit in your heart that people are poor for reasons other than refusing to work, then I don’t see why you failed to mention it in your posts. Clearly if you understand, as the bible shows, that people can be poor from things beyond their control, then they would require assistance from those who have more, so the government needs to provide that assistance.

    Now if you defend against that by invoking the argument that it’s not the government’s job to redistribute wealth and/or that the instructions in the bible are for individuals and not for governments, then I’d have to ask why did you even bother to bring up poor who REFUSE to work in the first place? Both of these arguments make it irrelevant why someone would be poor, so repeatedly insisting that they refuse to work begs the question of why bring it up? Why cite those passages from the bible that speak of those who refuse to work?

    Another question that comes to mind in light of your argument that the instructions in the bible are for individuals and not for government is how do you then argue for government to enact legislation such as outlawing abortion or gay marriage on biblical grounds? By using the bible to do away with any government responsibility for aiding the less fortunate, you then also do away with any government responsibility to enforce biblical morality. In one broad stroke you’ve removed the government’s responsibility to follow anything from the bible if the bible is simply instructions for individuals and individuals alone.

  30. Philly,
    The reason I focused on one aspect of why people are poor is because it is that very aspect (refusing to work) that Scripturally nullifies my (or the government’s)responsibility to help those in such a situation. Again, I approached this topic from a biblical perspective; and God tells us that if a man will not work, neither should he eat. This means that I cannot support a candidate or political party that wants to redistribute wealth to this particular group of individuals.

    This is relevant to my original discussion. The reason I brought it up is because it’s one reason why I cannot support the Democratic party nor their presidential candidate.

    From an economic and philosophical viewpoint, I do not support the Marxist theory of “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.” Socialism and Communism do not work. And I do not believe in punishing achievers in order to have more to reward those who will not attempt to help themselves. Does this make me selfish as you claim? Absolutely not because I will help those in need out of my own pocket rather than forcing you to do so out of your pocket.

    From a biblical perspective, the role of the government and a Christian’s relationship to it is defined in Romans 13:1-7: we are to be subject to the governing authorities, rulers are not a terror to good works but to evil, the government does not “bear the sword in vain,” and we must pay taxes. Christians are to submit to the law of the land and should not fear the authorities unless we do evil. The government has the authority to punish evil, which means the government serves as a protector of the people. And we must pay taxes, even if we don’t like it. The reason abortion should be outlawed is because human life should be protected by the laws of the land. I am opposed to gay marriage and would prefer that it be illegal. If given the choice, I would vote against legalizing gay marriage. However, the bottom line is this: The focus of the New Testament is on Christians serving God, serving their fellow man, and spreading the gospel wherever they can so that hearts can be changed. The only way our government’s practices are going to change is by men whose hearts are changed.

  31. I’ll try to make this very simple for you Kim. You can’t erase a responsibility to helping the poor because some of them might be poor by their own will. Your argument is repeatedly that because some poor are poor by their own will, that the government shouldn’t help anyone else who is poor (although you claim here that you recognize not all who are poor are poor because they refuse to work, you never mention that in your arguments). That reasoning is flawed, and the repeated omission of the poor who are poor by factors beyond them in your argument is a way to hide that.

    If “the government serves as a protector of the people”, then how can you argue against it protecting them from the ills of poverty? If “human life should be protected by the laws of the land”, then those laws must protect against the threats to life inherent in poverty like lack of access to healthcare, food, and shelter.

    Romans 13:1-7 is grossly inadequate for our modern times of representative government, and therefore a terrible passage to use for justification for your arguments. If you take it literally, then the United States is an affront to God for “the authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.” Rebelling against King George, therefore, was “rebelling against what God has instituted”. Furthermore, how could you ever vote against anyone currently in power, let alone reject their policies when “the authorities that exist have been established by God”?

  32. I never said that government should not take care of “anyone else who is poor.” You keep putting words in my mouth. On my blog in one response to The Exterminator, I said, ” I am very sympathetic to those in need and see nothing wrong with helping those who are truly in need because of circumstances beyond their control. Not only should we as individuals be helping these people, but I don’t have a problem with the government using some tax funds to assist (I said more about this in a response to The Exterminator.). However, this is not how our government currently operates.

    How can I argue against the government protecting people “from the ills of poverty?” Simple. Romans 13 isn’t talking about the “ills of poverty.” Within the context of Romans 13, Paul is talking about the government defending people against evil behavior: “For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good…” And, “for he [one in authority] does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil” (Romans 13:4).

    What “God instituted” in Romans 13 is government authorities in general. Resisting “the authority” is referring to resisting the laws in general. In other words, if we are not law-abiding citizens, we are resisting the authorities.

  33. Please then show me how Democratic economic policy gives money only to the poor who refuse to work, and how Republican economic policy shows how they can distinguish between the poor by their own hand and the poor by powers beyond them and subsequently helps only the latter.

    “Within the context of Romans 13, Paul is talking about the government defending people against evil behavior”

    And is not refusing to save people from the life threatening ills of poverty evil behavior? Is the government under any responsibility to defend people against its own potential evil behavior, or is government free to behave evilly?

    Certainly if you read Romans 13:1-7 literally, we would have no remedy against a government behaving evilly for “it is necessary to submit to the authorities”. This is why, taken as a whole, Romans 13:1-7 is a terrible passage to use for justification of your argument, for you can’t pick and choose which lines to cite and which to ignore.

  34. The reason I focused on one aspect of why people are poor is because it is that very aspect (refusing to work) that Scripturally nullifies my (or the government’s)responsibility to help those in such a situation.

    Who decides whether people refuse to work or are unable to work? You? The government, which in its current incarnation does absolutely nothing effectively — or unbiasedly — except milk the weakest members of our society?

    And what do you suggest? Would you shove a scrub-brush into someone’s hand and if he then refuses to clean your toilets you’ll accuse him of refusing to work. Who refuses to work, and under what circumstances? Can you cite some examples, and give some statistics?

    And how ignorant and/or blind do you have to be to say: Technically, we are not in a recession by definition. Of course we’re in a recession. Prices are higher for everything, work is scarcer, businesses are going under, banks are failing, people are losing their homes and their savings. You and the smug trickle-down theorists can call that whatever you’d like, but to anyone who isn’t hypnotized by Republican rhetoric, it’s an old-fashioned economic fuck-up on a large scale.

    You sound like Rush Limbaugh.

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