DOES JESUS DRAFT CHRISTIAN SOLDIERS?

Last Crusader by Karl Friedrich Lessing (1808–1880)
Last Crusader by
Karl Friedrich Lessing (1808–1880) (from here)

I am in a sorrowful condition. I am in an endless argument about politics. I don’t seem to be able to win, to change hearts and mind. WOE is me.

So here my last crusade to win a war of words with a couple of commenters. The picture above is how I expect to look when I come back from this contest. Even the horse I rode on will be exhausted.

What is the subject? Should our government redistribute our wealth?

In my last post, 2016 POST ELECTION STRATEGY AND TACTICS – PART 5, I included a picture of George Washington with this caption.

It may be laid down, as a primary position, and the basis of our system, that every citizen who enjoys the protection of a free government, owes not only a proportion of his property, but even of his personal services to the defence of it, and consequently that the Citizens of America (with a few legal and official exceptions) from 18 to 50 Years of Age should be borne on the Militia Rolls, provided with uniform Arms, and so far accustomed to the use of them, that the Total strength of the Country might be called forth at Short Notice on any very interesting Emergency. — George Washington, in “Sentiments on a Peace Establishment” in a letter to Alexander Hamilton (2 May 1783); published in The Writings of George Washington (1938), edited by John C. Fitzpatrick, Vol. 26, p. 289. (from here)

What Washington described were his requirements for a draft army levied by each of the states.  Is a draft a good idea? What’s that got to do with this post, you ask? Well, let’s see. When someone decides to take part of your earnings and give them away to the poor and needy, are they not drafting you to “fight” in the “war” against poverty?

Without a doubt we each have an obligation to help defend and strengthen our society, but is it a good idea to draft people to defend and strengthen our society.  Isn’t a volunteer army a better idea?

Let’s look at how the Bible told the leaders of ancient Israel to manage its “draft” when they were on the verge of battle.

Deuteronomy 20:3-9 New King James Version (NKJV)

And he shall say to them, ‘Hear, O Israel: Today you are on the verge of battle with your enemies. Do not let your heart faint, do not be afraid, and do not tremble or be terrified because of them; for the Lord your God is He who goes with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you.’

“Then the officers shall speak to the people, saying: ‘What man is there who has built a new house and has not dedicated it? Let him go and return to his house, lest he die in the battle and another man dedicate it. Also what man is there who has planted a vineyard and has not eaten of it? Let him go and return to his house, lest he die in the battle and another man eat of it. And what man is there who is betrothed to a woman and has not married her? Let him go and return to his house, lest he die in the battle and another man marry her.’

“The officers shall speak further to the people, and say, ‘What man is there who is fearful and fainthearted? Let him go and return to his house, lest the heart of his brethren faint[a] like his heart.’ And so it shall be, when the officers have finished speaking to the people, that they shall make captains of the armies to lead the people.

What the classic example of how this “draft” worked?  There was a man named Gideon. After some motivational talks (which included miracles), our Lord persuaded Gideon to fight the Midianites. Our Lord did not want a big army. He wanted an army who believed in the cause.

Judges 7:2-8 New King James Version (NKJV)

And the Lord said to Gideon, “The people who are with you are too many for Me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel claim glory for itself against Me, saying, ‘My own hand has saved me.’ Now therefore, proclaim in the hearing of the people, saying, ‘Whoever is fearful and afraid, let him turn and depart at once from Mount Gilead.’” And twenty-two thousand of the people returned, and ten thousand remained.

But the Lord said to Gideon, “The people are still too many; bring them down to the water, and I will test them for you there. Then it will be, that of whom I say to you, ‘This one shall go with you,’ the same shall go with you; and of whomever I say to you, ‘This one shall not go with you,’ the same shall not go.” So he brought the people down to the water. And the Lord said to Gideon, “Everyone who laps from the water with his tongue, as a dog laps, you shall set apart by himself; likewise everyone who gets down on his knees to drink.” And the number of those who lapped, putting their hand to their mouth, was three hundred men; but all the rest of the people got down on their knees to drink water. Then the Lord said to Gideon, “By the three hundred men who lapped I will save you, and deliver the Midianites into your hand. Let all the other people go, every man to his place.” So the people took provisions and their trumpets in their hands. And he sent away all the rest of Israel, every man to his tent, and retained those three hundred men. Now the camp of Midian was below him in the valley.

So it was Gideon went to battle with only three hundred men (plus God) against an army of thousands. Because Gideon had obeyed God and his soldiers wanted to fight and believed God would bring them victory, the Midianites had already lost.

Take the time to study Judges 6-8.  Gideon himself serves as an object lesson. Imagine trying to lead an army of Gideon’s. Look at the effort God expended bucking up Gideon’s courage. What man could have given Gideon the courage to fight boldly?

So why do our health, education, and welfare systems work so poorly and cost so much?

  • Even when they care, the draftees, the people paying the costs of the war on poverty don’t have any significant control on how their money is spent. Once the politicians get their hands on our money, those politicians largely control how that money will be spent.
  • Politicians manage the war on poverty, and the mechanics of getting reelected rewards those politicians who use health, education, and welfare spending to buy votes.  Effectively, for the sake of votes politicians steal some people’s money and give it to other people, and often they just give that money to bureaucrats, not the people who need it.
  • There are some good people working on health, education, and welfare programs, but many of the workers are just there to make a living. They are not devoted to the cause. Instead of winning the war on poverty, they are devoted to getting a secure job and receiving a healthy government pension. Effectively, most are just government employees who give money to unions which give money to politicians who hire more government employees who give more money to unions which give more money to politicians………

Some Relevant Posts

  • #1 The Worst One Of All (kingdompastor.wordpress.com): This is the last post in a series that starts here, Top 10 Things That Are Killing The Church! What is Pastor Randy‘s number 1 thing killing the Christian church in America? Instead of going out into the country seeking souls to save, Christians are sitting in their pews waiting for the unsaved to come to church.  What does think we should be doing?

    How we do THE MISSION is by getting into the streets, communities, neighborhoods and getting to know them.  It is US reaching out and going TO them.  Now excuse me, but I have to leave.  I’m volunteering in a low-income neighborhood to help elementary students become better readers.

    is spot on, but consider his example. Don’t most of us believe government is suppose to do those health, education, and welfare things? Well, government does not love people enough to save their souls. That is something Christians do. If we don’t have enough charity to save someone’s soul, what is the chance we will care about their health, education, or welfare?

  • Spiritual Warfare: Authority, Part Deux (sharethecoffee.wordpress.com): This is post about love and wisdom. Why link to this post? Successful health, education, and welfare programs require charity in the old sense of the word, agape love. Government-run health, education, and welfare programs don’t inspire agape love.  Christian-run health, education, and welfare programs primarily exist, however, because most Christians feel at least some degree of love for God.

    John 14:15 New King James Version (NKJV)

    15 “If you love Me, keep My commandments.

    H/T to The Life Project: Finding Clear and Simple Faith for the link to Spiritual Warfare: Authority, Part Deux.

  • THE ADVANTAGE OF A REPUBLIC OVER A DEMOCRACY: This is an old post of mind that references The Federalist, Paper # 10, written by James Madison. The subject is how the Constitution was designed to mitigate the effects of factional politics. What should we learn from reading The Federalist, Paper # 10? It is definitely not a good idea for half the population to use the Federal Government to feed off the other half.

Anyway, it is bedtime.  This crusade is over. Time to feed a tired old horse and brush it down, get some rest, and prepare for the battles to come.

34 thoughts on “DOES JESUS DRAFT CHRISTIAN SOLDIERS?

  1. Loved the picture up top, I can definitely relate. Good post again Tom, I think you know my sentiments on the subject at hand. Rest up indeed, there are many battles ahead.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. @Tricia

      Glad you liked that picture. I certainly enjoy it.

      Not sure what kind of knight that fellow is supposed to be. This website (=> http://knightstemplarvault.com/last-crusader/) says he is supposed to be a Knight Templar. I think this (=> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knights_Templar) Wikipedia article suggest that is true, but I never studied the uniforms these guys wore. Since thing were handmade back then, there was not much uniformity anyway.

      Here (=> https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Carl_Friedrich_Lessing) is more of Carl Friedrich Lessing’s work.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Take heart Tom,and get some well deserved rest. We’re called to just plant seeds…and go bed, trusting the Father will water and fertilize them. These kinds of battles are a good thing, they cause us to exercise our debate skills and to think critically,on both sides. There is nothing more wonderful then brain cells actually engaged and full of life. The world we live in can make us brain numbingly stupid.

    It really matters,although we seldom get to see it all play out. Just consider that 20 years ago I was a weak Christian at best,and a raging liberal feminist at worse. If dozens, perhaps hundreds of people had not challenged my thinking, I’d be there still.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ironically, the crusader in question was a Knight of St. John aka a hospitaller. They operated less on the principle of fighting a religious war but on the principle of providing medical services and protection, especially to the poor and vulnerable during the Crusades.

    I have mulled it over and I think I see our areas of disagreement and will enumerate my positions.

    1. On the nature of government: it is the natural association of free persons into a regulatory body for the common good of each other and as such exists to serve the human person according to his whole and true nature.

    2. On the nature of the individual: each individual human person shares the common rights and responsibilities inherent in the shared humanity in common to all. Each human person is, from the moment of conception, inducted into the greater human family, an association that was ordained by God and is inviolable.

    3. On the nature of material goods: the right to material good sufficient for the sustenance of each person’s basic needs is common to all human persons, implicit in the human right to life.

    These are just three. There are likely more, but all of our disagreements stem primarily from these three.

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    1. @Stephen

      Ironic, I presume, because the crusades predate the Protestant Reformation?

      See my reply to Tricia.

      Both the Knights Templar and Knights Hospitaller were generally honorable and brave men. I suppose Carl Friedrich Lessing knew enough about them to have a preference, but I don’t.

      Your positions are your positions. I won’t disagree about that.

      I don’t agree with your first proposition, your definition of government. It is a predicate to tyranny. Who decides the individual’s whole and true nature? You have already made it clear you won’t let the individual decide for him or her self.

      Your second proposition renders the notion that government is a free association meaningless.

      Your third proposition is a direct attack on private property, therefore tyranny. At best, you propose majoritarian tyranny, but that just leads to greater tyranny.

      Liked by 2 people

        1. No, not in my view as it has nothing to do with the government forcing them to do anything . “For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, even beyond their ability. ENTIRELY ON THEIR OWN, they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the Lord’s people.” Joyfully and voluntarily, as it should be in my view.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. @Tricia
          Excellent!

          @Stephen
          You are trying to solve the wrong problem.

          Consider.

          Exodus 36:2-7New King James Version (NKJV)
          The People Give More than Enough

          2 Then Moses called Bezalel and Aholiab, and every gifted artisan in whose heart the Lord had put wisdom, everyone whose heart was stirred, to come and do the work. 3 And they received from Moses all the offering which the children of Israel had brought for the work of the service of making the sanctuary. So they continued bringing to him freewill offerings every morning. 4 Then all the craftsmen who were doing all the work of the sanctuary came, each from the work he was doing, 5 and they spoke to Moses, saying, “The people bring much more than enough for the service of the work which the Lord commanded us to do.”

          6 So Moses gave a commandment, and they caused it to be proclaimed throughout the camp, saying, “Let neither man nor woman do any more work for the offering of the sanctuary.” And the people were restrained from bringing, 7 for the material they had was sufficient for all the work to be done—indeed too much.

          We have the Great Commission because the problem is one of belief. If people believe and love our Lord God, they will give freely. Otherwise, we have no system that will solve the problem of poverty. For as Jesus said, what comes out of us depends upon what is in our heart.

          Liked by 1 person

      1. Ironic because it is a model for “government run healthcare” that I admire quite a bit.

        “It is a predicate to tyranny.” Cain tyrannized Abel with no government we would recognize save for that idolized state of nature the classical liberals talk about. Man was given dominion over all living things; he gave himself dominion over other men. Indeed, I would say that any desire to dominate another human being is the true mark of Cain. Murder is merely domination taken to its logical conclusion: the domination of life itself.

        No one decides the nature of the human person; it is inherent and objective to the human person. If we truly believe that we were endowed with our humanity by our Creator, than our nature is not for us to decide. We can discover our nature, but we cannot decide what it is. Just as we cannot change the nature of rocks, neither can we change the nature of man from what it was in the beginning i.e. male and female he created them and all that that implies.

        What seems to be lost in translation here is this: you are talking about what a human person can practically do and I am talking about what he can actually do. For example, practically speaking, a man can say he is really a woman. Actually speaking, the reality of his nature is metaphysical as well as physical and cannot actually be changed even though he undergo surgery.

        My second proposition does no such thing. We cannot deny that we are all human, that being human endows us with rights and responsibilities. Even that jackdaw Jefferson didn’t say something as radical as that. He appeals in the Declaration not only to the common heritage of the British people, but to their human nature. The Founders believed, as I do, in the inviobility of the human person. Sure, they said individual, but the endowment comes from the same source: God and our Nature. Our nature is human, no matter how many people say they are trans-species or whatever. This proposition is, ironically, the greatest inoculation against identity politics you could ask for. By admitting that man has a metaphysical and unchanging nature implicit in his humanity, you negate the arguments that say a person can change their nature by physical surgery. You must, however, accept at the same time that, if you have a certain nature that grants you certain rights and responsibilities, then you must also conclude that these same rights and responsibilities belong to all human beings. To say otherwise would deny the very existence of human nature as anything except a figment of white, cis-gendered oppression. The acknowledgement that there is an objective order that we belong to and that order was not created and cannot be changed by us is no great, tyrannical feat. Christians have been saying it for centuries. Heck, moral people have been saying it for centuries. Our founders said it. Either we believe that all men are endowed by their creator with rights or we believe God somehow singled out America to have all the rights.

        So how do you square that with John Locke’s parable of the apple tree? Locke posited that each man had a right to material goods only insofar as he could reasonably use them. He said everyone had this right. Private property actually enhances what I have just said. The fruits of the earth are common to all because God made it so from the beginning. That is just plainly in Genesis. Unless you are going to find a direct descendant of Adam and give him the whole of the earth, you must conclude that Adam being the father of all mankind grants his patrimony to be our inheritance and the earth is common to all humans. The Medievals and the early Americans held to this ideal. The Boston Commons were where everyone in the community had the right to graze their livestock. Each person had their own livestock and their own property, but for the benefit of all, they held some land in common for common use and utility. No one person could use the commons exclusively without wasting it. So it was held in common so that nothing was wasted and all benefited. How communist! Or was it merely the logical result of the idea that rights held in common, when understood correctly, actually ENRICHES private property and enhances the right and the need for such a right? For there WAS tyranny in the Massachusetts Bay colony, but it was not economic.

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        1. @Stephen

          The bigger the government gets — the more it does — the more it dominates us. That is just plain and simple logic. While we may not own ourselves (we were bought at the highest price), we also do not own each other. God commands us to love Him and each other, but whether we obey His commands is up to each of us. Those who do not love Him choose wrongly, of course.

          Part of obeying God is trying to see things from His point of view. That includes studying the Bible, what He has revealed to us through it. Some people choose not to do that, and we have no right to make them read the Bible and study it. Would not do any good, anyway. There is only one God, and that ain’t you, and it ain’t me.

          What you are doing is posing extraneous arguments designed to get the camel’s nose into the tent. Is there property we all share in common because the government owns it? Well, the government does have to own something. Is the government owning a lot of property just so we can share it a good thing? Generally the answer is no. The problem is that when everyone is responsible no one is responsible. In fact, when property is held in common for productive uses, we just end up fighting over it, and the poor get shoved aside. The problem is that the poor are poor so they don’t have the resources — material, mental, physical, and/or spiritual — to make much use of common properties.

          What is the subject? Should our government redistribute our wealth? You are plainly off topic. If the government just gave the poor what it already owns, it would just run out of stuff to give away. Then we would be back to this debate again.

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        2. “The bigger the government gets — the more it does — the more it dominates us.” Define big. Right now, there are fewer federal workers in modern US history. So it cannot be in terms of employees. Do you mean in terms of scope i.e. the number of agencies? Do you mean in terms of services provided? I always hear that government is big and that the next big regulation will destroy my life, but the biggest thorn in my side recently has been a school board referendum upping the property taxes and thereby raising my rent for next year and the federal hiring freeze which has put my hunt for a better job–at least in the fed–on hold. Neither have much to do with what the fed is doing. So please, define your terms.

          “That is just plain and simple logic.” No, that is accepting a maxim as a given without proving it. Again, you would have to first define size since it is the first term in your syllogism. Or are you using Kantian logic i.e. make up an universal moral maxim based on your personal, empirical observation? In which case, I have some strong arguments against that epistemology. If, however, you are using Classical Logic, then we need to define the terms.

          “God commands us to love Him and each other, but whether we obey His commands is up to each of us.” And up to the government to enforce Commandments–in the Early Christian rendering–six and eight, with nine being dubiously enforced.

          “Is there property we all share in common because the government owns it?” You seem to be arguing a positive law point when I am arguing a Divine and Natural law point. I am saying that the earth and its fruits is man’s inheritance from Adam. Every person has the right to work the earth and gain such property for himself as he needs. This is the Universal Destination of Material Goods i.e. the whole of the earth was given by God through Adam to all mankind. Again, this. is. in. Genesis.

          Due to the fall of all creation, however, the natural world is broken and material goods are distributed such that many go without what they need. This creates the moral imperative for man to alleviate the conditions of the broken natural world.

          What I am suggesting is that the moral imperative inherent in the natural brokenness of the world extends to every level of human society, beginning with the human person, and extending, according to their nature, to every other unit. This is highlighted by two things: the universal brotherhood of mankind through our common ancestry and transcendental nature and the universal call to holiness. So again, there is a natural–i.e. the common humanity of mankind binds us in a transcendental community ordained by God through nature–and a Divine–the universal call to holiness from the Gospel and the testimony of the cross–imperative for the whole human family–yes, family, not nations or social groups or whatever, but family–to care for those humans that do not receive a just portion–just in that they have need of the basic needs of a human person–of the fruits of the earth.

          “In fact, when property is held in common for productive uses, we just end up fighting over it, and the poor get shoved aside.” Then I suggest you read up more on the Puritans you admire. Again, the commons in New England communities form a perfect example of property held in common that enriched everyone. The tragedy of the commons was that the affluent abused the common right and overgrazed. That, right there, is theft, not the existence of the commons. In the Medieval context, the commons was part of the manor of the landowner. The landowner had ownership, but the peasants had rights. To bar peasants from using the commons was, to the Medievals, akin to theft.

          In Mongolia, the grasslands were compared to those in China and Russia. The Mongolians allow shepherds to move around collectively and, as a result, the soil degredation is about 9%. Compare that to Russia’s mix of private and state ownership and China’s communization which yields about 73% soil degradation.

          The lobster industry of Maine is partially successful due to the self-regulation of the lobstermen and their subsequent lobbying of the Maine government. They have set trap limits, informal fishing territories, and other things on their own initiative.

          These ideas extend even into the digital age with Open Source software. With the collaboration and support of other free and like-minded people, free software has been developed that rivals products from giants like Microsoft and Adobe. This model favors a use and reuse model rather than the commodity exchange model.

          Now, out of these examples, only one actually had the intervention of a type of governmental figure i.e. the Medieval one and even that one was based on ancient custom rather than mandated law. And you know what? That is perfectly fine. Some industries can operate without government intervention and I say that the government should make it as easy as possible for them to do so. Some industries cannot due to concerns for public safety. Imagine if we held a nuclear plant in common.

          I am more on topic than you think and I will show you why. Your question–Should our government redistribute our wealth–cannot be answered because it is a wrong one. First, it presupposes that all wealth is an absolute right. A simple belief in Divine Providence disproves this belief. A simple acceptance of Locke’s apple tree parable–I notice you haven’t addressed that bit yet–disproves it. A more complex exegesis from the Scriptures and Natural Law as expressed by Basil of Caeserea disproves it.

          Second, it ignores the preceding question i.e. should the government enforce moral imperatives? Without answering this question first and examining the consequences of its answer, then we cannot arrive at whether any action of the government should or should not be done since there is no framework preceding the question to make it intelligible.

          Liked by 1 person

        3. @Stephen

          Big government is not difficult to define. From the perspective of people what matters is whether we live to please God or the government. To please God, we must render unto to God what is God’s, not to the government.

          You say there are obvious truths, that freedom is only the right to make the right choice. Where is the evidence government forces us to make the right choice and render unto God what is God’s? Whenever we give government that sort of power, the end result is almost always religious persecution. Even now we have people angrily trying to force us to pay for abortions, accept same-sex marriage, and force Christianity into a closet.

          Do we need government regulations? Never said otherwise. We need a limited government, one that exists to protect us from each other. What we don’t need is a government that allows our leaders to redistribute the wealth or try run our lives. It doesn’t work, and your examples don’t show otherwise. I also don’t have the time to research every obscure point you bring up.

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        4. “Big government is not difficult to define.” So please define it.

          “To please God, we must render unto to God what is God’s, not to the government.” And that means a societal commitment to the prudent and just management of material goods i.e. abstaining from the sin of Sodom.

          “In its various forms – material deprivation, unjust oppression, physical and psychological illness and death – human misery is the obvious sign of the inherited condition of frailty and need for salvation in which man finds himself as a consequence of original sin. This misery elicited the compassion of Christ the Savior, who willingly took it upon himself and identified himself with the least of his brethren. Hence, those who are oppressed by poverty are the object of a preferential love…”

          “You say there are obvious truths, that freedom is only the right to make the right choice.” Seeing as I am fairly Augustinian on this point, yes that is pretty accurate. Man has no right to do anything except the good. He has the freedom of the operation of his will, but since Paul and Augustine both define the operation of the will towards evil as slavery, no Christian can say that man has freedom to do evil since freedom would, coming from God, be found in the submission to the Divine, not human appetites. The pagan philosophers were of the same opinion. Happiness, being man’s end and purpose in life, is achieved through the life of virtue which necessarily rejects that freedom can be found in anything but the good. Why else would St. Paul say we are enslaved or bound by our sins if we were actually free?

          “Where is the evidence government forces us to make the right choice and render unto God what is God’s?” Well, isn’t that the common argument for the death penalty? If criminals fear capital punishment, they will not do what warrants it, right? The government forces us not to murder, steal, or deceive. Are you saying that because the government is secular, it cannot be rendering to God what is His? There are numerous examples from Scripture that prove this false. My favorite, however, is this: Whatsoever you do to the least of my people, so you do unto me.

          “Whenever we give government that sort of power, the end result is almost always religious persecution.” If we gave government power to make the right choices, it would necessarily follow that their power is directed towards the right choice which cannot include religious persecution. Therefore, you are describing an scenario where government has been given power to act for the WRONG choice, not the right ones.

          “Even now we have people angrily trying to force us to pay for abortions, accept same-sex marriage, and force Christianity into a closet.” Hmm, its almost as if the government was empowered by people who have an alternative view of what is real and, being “of the people” want their government to reflect it. From their perspective and their determination of the meaning of harm and life, it is quite rational. In fact, if you get one that has read a bit, they base a lot of their contentions on the same principles you do: individual rights, bodily autonomy, rendering to Caesar what is Caesar, making religion a personal thing, etc.

          “We need a limited government…” We agree. “…one that exists to protect us from each other.” If that is the case, then why not abolish it and just give everyone a rifle with some ammunition. It would certainly save tax payer money.

          “It doesn’t work, and your examples don’t show otherwise. I also don’t have the time to research every obscure point you bring up.” What this says is that a) you are not putting as much thought into your comments as I am and b) you denounce things without actually knowing what they are. I had assumed you had studied common property in practice more since you seemed to adamant in denouncing it.

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  4. When the concept of human rights was proposed, the original rights were a right to life, a right to liberty, and a right to own and keep property. The debate ever since those human rights were acknowledged has been a debate about balance. Does my neighbor’s right to life mean that the government should take some of my property to buy him food and to shelter him? Does a woman’s right to liberty mean that the government cannot oppose her efforts (and the efforts of her doctor) to deprive her unborn child of the right to life? Your argument that government is wasteful and inefficient in providing social services is, I think, correct–at least on a pragmatic level. It does not answer the question as to whether my right to life is only a limit upon the government threatening my life, or whether the government has an obligation to promote the general welfare by giving assistance to the needy. J.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “It does not answer the question as to whether my right to life is only a limit upon the government threatening my life, or whether the government has an obligation to promote the general welfare by giving assistance to the needy.” Good point.

      Like

    2. @Salvageable

      Since this post continues an earlier debate, I did not address what has already been discussed. I suppose I should have referenced those posts. Still, I think your question adds something. Let’s talk about that balance.

      When the concept of human rights was proposed, the original rights were a right to life, a right to liberty, and a right to own and keep property. The debate ever since those human rights were acknowledged has been a debate about balance.

      As you continue, you define one aspect of the balance. The other aspect of the “balance” depends upon how we define rights and the role of government.

      The rights you listed are those suggested in the Declaration of Independence (if we equate property with the pursuit of happiness (not exactly true, I think, but that’s another post => https://citizentom.com/2013/05/03/what-are-the-signs-that-our-republic-is-about-to-fall-part-2/)), which are asserted to be God-given.

      The signers of the Declaration and the framers of our Constitution would generally have agreed that government does not give anyone their rights. Government and men in general can only infringe upon our individual rights. The problem? When does one individual, when he or she is exercising their God-given rights infringe upon the rights of another? Consider this famous judicial observation. We can swing our fists all we want, but hitting someone in the nose gets us in trouble. Essentially, how we determine when one person infringes upon the rights of another is what justice is all about. That is why some say the proper mission of government is justice.

      The balance you spoke of comes the notion that government gives us our rights. Hence, instead of just protecting our rights to life, government feeds, clothes, and shelters us. Unfortunately, government does not produce anything. So to feed, cloth, and shelter anyone, government has to take what belongs to one person and give it to another. That puts the same people in charge of protecting our property rights in charge of taking our property away from us and giving it to someone else. That is, this notion of government-given rights turns our government into a thief for hire. Give me your votes, and I will give you what that guy has. When government gives us our rights, that’s the sort of deal lots of people make with government official. Just human nature.

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  5. Tom-

    So you are the crusading Christian soldier and one can only suppose that makes Stephen and I the pagan barbarians that you are exhausting yourself in fighting your noble fight against? I can only suppose that you make the analogy as a joke, or I would wonder if you might be a casting your role here just a little over heroically.

    But speaking of the military, and speaking as a retired military person, I actually don’t think that voluntary military service is a good and noble idea. We have been at war continuously now for decades and yet only a few Americans and their families make all the sacrifices for the supposed good of all of us. Despite the years of war and their hawkish calls for us to be endlessly involved in these wars and in even more wars on the horizon, few of our politicians have actually served leading any sort of real, life threatening charge to battle. They don’t even want to sacrifice enough make their rich selves or the rest of us pay for their lead-from-behind bellicosity. Without the draft and the shared sacrifice that that requires, it becomes far too easy to sacrifice someone elseor someone else’s kids for selfish ammoral causes.

    And that’s the whole point. Military “service”, like all of our responsibilities to government, can only be voluntary where every citizen has the universal moral Christian virtues to selflessly sacrifice our own individual wants for the sake of all, especially for those most vulnerable and most in need of our protection from aggression. The military should protect the poor who cannot pay for its resources with even more cause than we protect the rich who may profit from war. And even the forced instilling of sacrifice for the nation and the community might better affect all of our attitudes about virtue and sacrifice and make us more accountable to those who serve.

    The military institutionally promotes universal virtues (courage, loyalty, brotherhood, duty, honor and integrity) and our solders, sailors, airmen and marines are expected brand those virtues across their souls. What do you suppose the “semper fidelous” that so many marines tattoo on their bodies means? These are not special individuals. They are individuals humbly forged into something special by their loyalty to a special virtuous cause and a communal institution of brothers and sisters dedicated to those universal virtues.

    Like U.S. military men and women, we Christian soldiers are expected to try to act in accordance with these universal virtues in every aspect of our lives. If we can expect one institution of government, the military, to sacrifice for universal virtues, why should we not expect the whole of government be created in a more virtuous and unselfish image according to the scope of the public good or service that that government institution was created to provide or enforce? Demonizing virtuous government service just because it is service to “the government” is like demonizing the marine corps. It will ultimately self fulfill the prophesy of the corruption that it originally claims. If one expects universal Christian virtues of government (including compassion and charity), then one is more likely to have a more virtuous government. If one believes that government is inherently corrupt, the you will inexorably get what you expect.

    The fact that you can’t really answer for the obvious Christian moral inconsistencies that your voluntary individualism creates in every aspect of the Christian community is what makes you feel so frustrated and beleaguered, not the fact that Stephen and I have pointed out those inconsistencies. We are not the barbarians at the gates (but one wonders if you are Caesar individually fiddling away).

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    1. @Tony

      You are making yourself out to be the victim? But I am the victim. I am the noble warrior. You two have ganged up on me and worn me down. You have even worn down my horse.
      😆

      You want a draft because you don’t want military personnel abused? Read this old poem => http://www.poetryloverspage.com/poets/kipling/tommy.html.

      When we draft people into the military, we risk taking the dregs of our society and trying to make them fit for war. It is far better to hold up the military as a special calling, to treat our soldiers, our policemen, our firefighters and such with respect and to pay them a fair salary. It far better to leave ourselves no excuse for abusing the people we need to serve us most devotedly.

      Have we managed our military properly? No. That’s because our leaders are too busy trying buy our votes instead of doing the job the Constitution requires them to do.

      Look at you. First you don’t like the wars we are in and blame Republicans. Then you use supposedly unnecessary wars as an excuse for a draft? And you blame that on the rich? You don’t demand any special goodies from your congressman? Of course you do. You are entitled. Is that not what your congressman told you?

      Please read the Constitution. That includes the 10th Amendment. Then justify to me why we spend three or four times as much on health, education, and welfare programs as we do on defense. Instead of attacking me personally for the simple, straightforward observation that people will do what people do, deal with the facts on the ground. We are sinners, and it is stupid and sinful to set ourselves up for temptation.

      I have asked how our elected officials justify violating their oath of office. Your answer is that only judges can read the Constitution, and we both know that is blithering nonsense.

      I have asked you how politicians can resolve an obvious conflict of interest. How can we trust the same people responsible for protecting our property rights with redistributing the wealth? Considering that they have to violate their oath of office to do what you want we both know why you cannot answer that question.

      The Bible makes charity a personal responsibility, not a government function. I don’t have any difficulty whatsoever proving that. My frustration is just the fact I am only human. I want to change hearts and souls, but only God can do that, and I am not He. Adam and Eve had a similar problem. We all have an itch to be God, but we can’t. So we create idols. And so some have made our government into their idol.

      You want to abort a baby? Make it legal.
      You want to smoke pot? Make it legal.
      You want cheap foreign labor. Make it legal.
      You want what your neighbor has. Redistribute the wealth.
      And so it goes…..

      Instead of just being an honorable so and so, our elected officials get to present themselves as our high priests, our spokesmen and representatives to the great god we call the state. And all we have to do is make other people (the rich) pay exorbitant taxes. Yet it is funny how the truly rich don’t object to this god. That’s because they know how to operate us and make our god give them what they want.

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  6. “Please read the Constitution. That includes the 10th Amendment. Then justify to me why we spend three or four times as much on health, education, and welfare programs as we do on defense. ”

    No offense, Tom, but I’m affriad that you obviously know little about constitutional law. Please read the cases before you condemn Judges for not following the law. Until then, you are like the person who condemns doctors but knows little about medicine or the reason for their diagnosis and treatment decisions.

    And as for military budgetary matters, the US spends more on our military than the budgets of next 10 countries with largest militaries combined. I’m personally more disturbed that we find it necessary to beat so many of our plowshares back into swords than that we still have so many plowshares left over.

    Finally, if you think that only the best and brightest privileged young men and women from the best schools are volunteering to serve their country during during this time of continuing war, then my noble knight, you should know that those are are in reality windmills that you have been tilting at. The reason why we can afford not to draft has more to do with economic and technological luxuries than because all the ivy leauguers are choosing to forgo material fortunes to selflessly serve their country, and that is because we have become a nation and a government that glorifies selfish individualism instead of virtue. In any event, you don’t really seem to be making a serious argument that, if the nation and the world were in dire jeopardy of being conquered by malevolent powers such as in WWII, it would be immoral to force everyone into service and to make sacrifices in order to counter that threat.

    That is the moral root of the problem that you still cannot address. You demand virtuous service from our military institutions of government, but you look upon all our other civil servants as leaches and thieves. You are willing to tax and spend to pay for some public goods and services, like national defense, but other goods and services that help the community and the poor are stealing. Forcing the military to conform to universal moral virtues is not making a God out of the military and expecting all other institutions of government to act in accordance with those values is not making a God out of them either. The only idolatry here is our making a God out of the individual.

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  7. On the question of rights, perhaps it is worth eluding to something sort of mentioned earlier. The first argument over “human rights” started in the Eden story when Adam and Eve decided that they had an individual ownership “right” to something, when in fact they “owned” nothing, not the garden, not the creatures who lived there, not even their own lives. All belonged to God and was provided by God out of love. They had no knowledge of good and evil because neither of those existed in their lives until they took what was never theirs to take.

    Have things changed since then. No. The Christian knows that none of us has any direct actual ownership right to anything, not even our own lives. All still belongs to God. Whatever right we can claim for ourselves and for others comes indirectly from our “natural responsibilities”, not from any so-called “natural rights”. We do not have and we never have had anything, not life, not liberty and certainly not our own God given property rights to our own material stuff or inventions. All that continues to actually belong to God.

    Our natural responsibilities, in contrast, all ultimately stem from God’s commandment to love Him and to love each other. A loving person tries to act unselfishly with virtue and avoid selfish vice. Acting virtuously and not acting with vice means respecting, affording and protecting the basic transcendental dignity that “God gifts” to every human being through His offer of love, even though we don’t deserve it and could never earn it, much less “own it”.

    Thus, it is the indirect effect of acting virtuously toward each other that implies what we call individual rights, not anything directly given by the God that began and sustains the universe and each one of us every second, backward and forward, from the beginning until the end of time. It is only our hubris that thinks that we have natural rights directly given by God that we somehow exclusively “own” individually and separately from each other and from God. It is that same unvirtuous pride that resulted in the fall of Adam and Eve. They thought, and were convinced by the serpent, that they some “owned” some human right to the fruit of that fateful tree. They never did and neither do we.

    Just as in Eden, all still belongs to God and we own nothing. We had no individual ownership of Eden and we have no individual rights to this world either. “Justice” is the practice of our communal recognition of our God given responsibilities to one another and to God, and if we have any “individual” rights, they flow indirectly and are only secondarily implied by that recognition, not because God gave you something that you somehow exclusively from all humans own. “Justice” in this world is not easy and tolerance and discretion. I will save the reasons for that for another post.

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    1. @Tony

      So we are in paradise, in the presence of God, and without sin? The Bible has this prohibition against stealing. Don’t you understand why? Do you let strangers walk into your house?

      It is late. I have got to go to bed. I will consider your comments tomorrow evening.

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      1. I’m afraid that you’re missing the point, Tom. I believe in man made “legal” individual rights, including property rights, and it is the fact that we are NOT in paradise anymore that we need such human justice. Doesn’t it seem a little ridiculous and presumptuous for us to assume that God defines Apple’s intellectual property right to a certain brand of cell phones, or that God in someway arbitrates the trademark infringement on someone who tries to imitate the McDonalds Hamburgler? Human justice is certainly necessary, but we pridefully give ourselves way too much credit when we assert God’s authorship on all the rights we invent and assert against each other.

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        1. Furthermore, can’t you see that there is a logical difference between negatively prohibiting something and positively asserting something? Do you think that saying that God prohibits lying is exactly the same thing as saying that we each have a God given right to always be told all the truth? Do you recognize the difference between negatively prohibiting something and positively expecting something.

          As for property, even if we assume the God given truth of the broad statement that “individual x should not subtract z from individual y” it does not really do much to positively define z for us, does it? By the negative statement we can certainly assume that z exists, but we can only indirectly conjecture that, because God gave x a “responsibility” not to take z from y, that God also affords some undefined “right” for y to actually have some z. (And if so, wouldn’t a just God have given us all equal amounts of z – that is sort of the argument that Stephen is making here). The “responsibility” is therefore clearly a “natural law”, however, because the supposed “natural right” can only indirectly and vaguely be extrapolated from the natural responsibility, then we should be very careful when we presume to define for God the rights that we purport that God gave us (as well as calling “unnatural” the ones that we presume to claim that God did not grant).

          And although the Bible is useful in very broadly defining our God given responsibilities, it is far less helpful in defining these indirectly assumed God given rights. For example, the ownership of land in fee simple is a relatively modern invention. In fact, most of our concepts about property ownership are modern. As I have said before, in modern terms, all property is actually (1) a bundle of rights and responsibilities (2) to use and exclude others from using (3) something tangible (like real or personal property) or intangible (like intelectual property). If there are perfect and absolute “God given” definitions for every bundle of rights and responsibilities that in modern times attaches to the myriad of tangible and intangible forms of property, then I’d love to hear it, but I doubt that a modern state in globalized economy could afford to limit our supposedly God given property rights to something gleaned by theologians from the Bible. We would end up, like the Taliban, regressing ourselves to our own 1st Century version of Sharia Law.

          As it is, whereas the whole concept of “God given” or “natural law” is a fairly ancient concept that Jesus understood and taught, the concept of “Natural rights” was invented only a few centuries ago, and whether and which rights are actually “God given”, they only actually seem to exist when a government made up of men define, arbitrate and enforce them.

          The foundational point of all this is that , according to Jesus, all of our “God given” responsibilities included in the Divine Law can be boiled down to one positive statement of law: love God and love each other. All God the given prohibitions and all the rights that we afford one another ultimately flow from this one positive injunction to love. Furthermore, all virtues come from acting in accordance with this positive statement just as all vices are actions in negation of this positive statement. Finally, justice, in so far as anything in this imperfect world can be just, comes from acting as much as possible in accordance with this fundamental positive God given law.

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        2. @Tony

          I am missing the point? Could it be due to that cloud of words that obscures your point?

          What was it like in the Garden of Eden? Read Genesis carefully. Very little is said. All we know is that once God drove Adam and Eve from the Garden, as He said they would, their lives became very harsh. As He had told Adam, eating the forbidden fruit was death.

          How do we define property? The dictionary speaks of possession. Possession speaks of ownership, but what is the point of being the owner? Life. With property we postpone death. We give ourselves time to reproduce. We give our progeny a start in life.

          In the Garden Adam and Eve had the promise of life in abundance from God. In the sea, does a fish worry about water? No, but we dread death because we live in a sea of it. We stop swimming — stop working — and we drown.

          We work; we toil to live. We produce things that either have value because these things either keep us alive or they distract us from the knowledge of our mortality. Because God made us to be fruitful and multiply, we must have property. Even if we are are Christians, we must own things. However, if we are Christians, then we will worship our Lord by giving what we can back to Him who gave us even His life.

          You say God “it” all belongs to God? Yes. Even we belong to God, and God says stealing is a sin.

          What can we steal? What belongs to someone else? Do I really have to tell you what belongs to someone else? Have you not been a parent? Is not one of the first words out of a child’s mouth “mine”? Did you not have to teach your children to respect the property of others? Didn’t you have to teach them when and how to share?

          You say “we pridefully give ourselves way too much credit when we assert God’s authorship on all the rights we invent and assert against each other.” All the rights we invent?

          Ecclesiastes 7:29 New King James Version (NKJV)

          Truly, this only I have found:
          That God made man upright,
          But they have sought out many schemes.

          All the rights we invent? You think we invent and through government give each other rights, innumerable and costly rights?

          Because God created us — because we belong to Him and not each other, we have the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, rights which are not mine or yours to give. All we can do is deny that anyone has the right — even if they think government gives them that right — to take away the God-given rights of their fellow human beings.

          Calling upon the pride and power of government changes nothing. It is too small a thing.

          So why might you be confused? We live in a world that none of us — none of us — could have invented. None of us even have the capacity to make pencils from scratch. Because our interactions are a tangled web, our laws are a tangled mess. Thus, the more ingenious manage — if they wish — to accumulate large amount of property using the law. Some even gather tens of billions. Yet for most of us the law is a very basic thing. What a man, woman or child earns through their toil belongs to them.

          You really ought to read what Frederic Bastiat, John Locke, and Thomas Paine wrote on this subject. It is far better than what I can write.

          Liked by 1 person

  8. Tom,

    Maybe I’m just too lost in my wordy obscurity to get your points, but most of what you wrote above just sounds to me like a word salad of non sequiturs. I can only guess that you are tired. You don’t really present any argument against the common legal definition of property, but instead say that we should know what our supposed divine property rights are based upon what babies believe? We should just turn our government over to the wisdom of toddlers? 😳 Then again, maybe we already have!

    “What a man, woman or child earns through their toil belongs to them.” That is an interesting statement for a Christian to make since we Christians believe that all we have rightfully “earned” is suffering and death. And no, Jesus did not hang on a cross so we get to own stuff. You seem to be conflating God given mercy with a divine right that you somehow “earn”. Doesn’t this sort of fly in the face of your “justification by faith” belief that no sinful human can really “earn” the love and mercy of God?

    However, even if one accepts your statement as true, it does little to practically define arbitrate or enforce those supposedly God given property rights. And even if one accepts your statement as a true statement, then you also must agree that, if my employer doesn’t pay me the exact fair share for my toil that God somehow grants me in earnings (however, one decides such a thing), then my employer is stealing my God given property from me. (My union brothers and sisters will be happy to hear that you think God is on our side of the table in our negotiations with management). Finally, even if your statement is accepted as true, why did Jesus say to render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s – did Caesar somehow “earn” those Isrealites’ Roman money by the sweat of the emperor’s mighty brow? It would not seem so, or at least it appeared that the Isrealites in their childlike sense of rights thought that they were being robbed by the Romans. In your scriptural expertise, wouldn’t this also mean that Jesus was condoning the Roman theft of divinely granted property? Or instead, don’t you think it more likely that the reason Jesus said this was because Jesus did not recognize any such divinely granted “material rights”, and He was telling his listeners rather to quit whining about their “material rights” and start focusing on their “spiritual responsibilities” to God?

    As simple and appealing as “[w]hat a man, woman or child earns through their toil belongs to them” may be, you’re going to have to explain to me better how God wants us to manage this right He gave us if it is to be workable for a complex modern capitalist system in a globalized economy. Until then, I think it might be more prudent to rely on man made legislatures, courts and police to imperfectly provide us with social justice. It is the duty of Christians to make sure that that government provided social justice works as much as possible in accordance with what the ancient fathers of the church thought that our God given Christian “responsibilities to God and each other” are.

    As for some of the philosophers that you mention, a good bit of what Stephen and I have written here does indeed deal their philosophies, and we have contrasted and compared them to other Christian philosophers such as Thomas Aquinas, although without much actual direct philosophical response from you. Where have you been brother? 🤔

    Anyway, goodnight and get some rest.

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    1. @Tony

      We should just turn our government over to the wisdom of toddlers? 😳 Then again, maybe we already have!

      So why insist upon giving the government more and more power?

      As noted, we are creatures of God, and God deserves our primary obedience. You say Jesus did not hang on a cross so we get to own stuff? Who ever claimed that He did? Who is obsessed with giving government the power to dispose of everyone’s property? Why are you not content to let other people figure out what to with their earnings?

      This question puzzles me.

      Doesn’t this sort of fly in the face of your “justification by faith” belief that no sinful human can really “earn” the love and mercy of God?

      Is justification by faith is letting other people rob us?

      We live in this world. We live here to prepare for the next. We have lessons to learn. Hence, we must feed, cloth, and shelter ourselves. That require work so we can obtain the property we need.

      You say I might please your union buddies? Sorry. I advocate limited government. What has that got to do with setting a wage scale? Nothing. A limited government would regulate a free market and oppose the formation of monopolies. Since monopolies generally result from more regulation, not less…..

      Why did Jesus say to render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s? Well, it wasn’t because the Romans were operating health, education, and welfare systems.

      Do you think Jesus thought highly of the Roman’s free bread and circuses? Not likely. Perhaps it is more important to remember what Jesus said first, render unto God’s what is God’s. After Jesus said that, the Romans crucified Him. The Romans also martyred many of Jesus’ disciples.

      The Bible does not endorse a specific type of government. Nor does it clearly define an economic system. What it does make clear is that we do not exist to fulfill each others desires. We don’t have the right to enslave each other. Even the majority does not have the right to force the minority to live under its thumb and accept its beliefs.

      Anyway, no one has to tell you how to figure out what belongs to you and what constitutes stealing. So I am not going to pretend I need to do that.

      Why have I cited some famous folks? They had already said what I want to say better than I could. Why haven’t I talked about Thomas Aquinas? I am sad to say I have never read anything he wrote, a problem with those government-run schools I attended? Perhaps.

      Thomas Aquinas lived before the Protestant Reformation. According to => https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Aquinas#Political_order, Aquinas was a monarchist. He also followed Aristotle’s concept of slavery, supporting it.

      Was Aquinas a good man? I suppose so, but that is for God to judge. Aquinas lived 1225 – 7 March 1274. Aquinas lived when people did not see a good alternative to monarchy. He lived when people still saw slavery as a sort of welfare system.

      So will I eventually cite some of Aquinas’ works. I hope so. His ideas helped to get us where we are today, but some of his ideas would take us back where we should not want to go. Since Aquinas lived others have taken his work many steps further.

      It is another day, but still the suggestion to hit the sack sounds good. Goodnight.

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  9. “Was Aquinas a good man? I suppose so, but that is for God to judge. Aquinas lived 1225 – 7 March 1274. Aquinas lived when people did not see a good alternative to monarchy. He lived when people still saw slavery as a sort of welfare system.”

    I’m not sure whether St. Aquinas was “a good man” or not has much bearing on the validity of his interpretations and expansions on Aristotelian metaphysics, but yes, by all accounts Aquinas was, pardon the pun, saintly. 😇

    One cannot get through law school without having some experience with Locke. In the Declaration of Independence, the slave holding Jefferson essentially plagerizes Locke’s inalienable rights ideas word-for-word. I think Jefferson used Locke’s natural rights more as a propaganda tool than because Jefferson wholely bought into the idea himself, else why did not our sainted Jefferson afford the humans that he owned their God given inalienable rights? In any event, I doubt that Jefferson would trust the natural custodians of such knowledge – clerics, scriptural scholars and theologians – in defining such things as “God given” rights. (To be honest, as lawyer, I’m not sure that I would recommend this either 😏, but as stated previously, I remain unconvinced of the whole concept).

    I certainly don’t claim to be an expert on philosophy. It’s more of a hobby than a vocation. However, I have learned that philosophical ideas follow a course – they build upon and divert off one another, often as a sort of dialectic. One cannot really understand the empiricist philosophers like Locke and Kant without some understanding of how they built upon and converged away from rationalist philosophers like Descartes and how they all took a new (and many think very wrong) tangent away from Aristotelian and Thomist metaphysics. Without the divine grounding to the rational metaphysical foundation that Aquinas provided, cracks soon appeared in the modernist philosophical structure.

    Skeptics like Hume doubted that reason could account for any morality and argued that random passion alone governed human action. Once a metaphysical hole opened where Aquinas’ empirical explanation of God once existed, the rationalist edifice was ultimately breached by atheism. Man became the middle of his own universe and his own rationalism became his new God.

    What naturally followed was Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche and Bentham, and their attempts to rationally build a political morality around man alone. And what we know came out of that was the horrific rational determinism of Facism, Marxism and Utilitarianism. Other modern (or perhaps “post modern”), mostly atheistic tangents that followed are the existentialists, the positivists and the humanists, to name only a few, but they all suffer from the same tautological flaw of being grounded in nothing and therefore ending in nothing.

    In his book, “After Virtue”, Catholic Philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre metaphorically describes the philosophical purging of classical metaphysics that occurred in the 17th and 18th Century with what would happen if today’s science was purged as a result of some apocalyptic trauma. Imagine if all science knowledge was suppressed and all science books and records were burned so that only a few fragments remained. Within a few generations, people might want to go back to science, but they would have lost even the language of science, and applying the fragments could be more confusing than just starting from scratch. However, once they experienced the dynamic results of getting just a few scientific theories correct, they would yearn for more.

    Stephen obviously is better equipped on this philosophical argument than I am, and he is explaining it much better than my poor attempt here, but you may wonder why should we care about all of this? After all, Thomas Aquinas, a scriptural scholar in his own right, would have been a good and saintly man if he had never written all of his complex and monumental metaphysical proofs. The most loving and saintly people I know seem to understand how to act virtuously without knowing a damn thing about Aquinas or Locke. (I think we might even be more hindered than helped by too mich pride in our own accumulation of knowledge – I confess that this pride has often been one of my many sins). Well, we should care for at least a couple of reasons.

    First, because as MacIntyre eludes, this wrong turn has corrupted the entire Gestault of western civilization. We are ungrounded. Because we so long ago bought into this rationalism centered on the individual, we Christians are just naturally losing the God argument to the atheists. Let’s face it, if you want to base your philosophical argument on only individualist rationalism sans God, Nietzsche’s uber man really does make more empirical sense than the magical slight of hand that Descartes and Kant innocently try to pull off. People naturally have the correct universal impulses toward virtue and against vice, but the modernist, individual-centered world is random and circular – without formal and final causes (i.e. God), it comes from nothing and goes to nowhere. What we have in society is what David Brooks in his recent book, “The Road to Character”, calls “The Big Me” dominating every aspect of our lives and we are still not fulfilled. We just can’t fill ourselves enough up with ourselves to ever be really be full.

    Second, we should care because all sides of the debate are trying to argue their political solutions and governmental systemics based upon these hollow, human centered philosophies. The inconsistencies are therefore just plain glaring. We have classic economic liberals (at a raging Darwinian level) who also claim to be puritanical in enforcing their social conservatism. And we have “anything goes” social libertarians who also want an almost totalitarian level of economic collectivism. I’m not sure whether or not I agree with how far Stephen would go with his conservatism, but he seems to me to be the only true and consistent conservative here.

    I’m ashamed to say as a life long Catholic that I have only started studying Aquinas in the last couple of years. Even the church only returned to full throated Thomism during the 20th Century. One can tell that it informs a good deal of what Pope Francis says and does. It is the reason why the Pope and many Catholics like Stephen are classically conservative both economically and socially.

    Aquinas is not an easy read and even the best books I’ve found on him can be very difficult. Aquinas puts forth several complex but elegant interconnected proofs that ultimately link together as a systemic metaphysical whole. It has forced me to rethink a good bit of what I thought true for most of my life. Wisdom, unlike just knowledge, however, mostly seems to come to me from admitting to myself that am wrong and understanding why. Regrettably, the fact that this seems to happen a lot should make me more humble than I am. Indeed, it should make us all more humble in spouting our political and theological dogmas than we are, but it doesn’t, does it? 😕

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    1. @Tony

      The reason you and Stephen require complex arguments is that you both are trying to come of with philosophies for living in this world that put man in charge. I don’t belong to you. You don’t belong to me. We belong to someone much greater, and it is up to Him to make us obey His commands.

      What you and Stephen are trying to do is justify your ability to interpret God’s wisdom for everyone else and a scheme for enforcing that wisdom. Yet you have yet to show that the wisdom of man justifies what you would do. Your arguments are ridiculously long and convoluted. Can you use God’s wisdom instead? Every time either you or Stephen actually quote the Bible you just make yourselves appear silly.

      Consider your attack on Jefferson, considered one of our greatest leaders. You essentially charged him with duplicity. When you want a government vastly more powerful than anything Jefferson would have wanted, who would you put in charge of it? The duplicitous? Who else is there? When we cannot trust someone like Thomas Jefferson, who? Of course, what Jefferson would have told you — what the Bible tells us — there is no one. That is why we have to keep our government small and seek God. Will we each seek God in the same way? No, but that is why Jesus gave us the Great Commission.

      Why didn’t Jesus give us the Great Government instead? I don’t know. I just know Jesus has to lead it. None of us are qualified to lead it.

      That’s why this argument really is not about individualism or collectivism. It is about what we are morally capable of doing, and it is about right and wrong. Big government requires us to give more power to our fellow citizens than we should. It is too great a temptation. Redistributing the wealth is taxation with the intent to steal. It is wrong, and we know that the power will be horrifically abused.

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The Latin Community

"You will be my witnesses." Acts 1:8

All Along the Watchtower

A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you ... John 13:34

The Sheriff of Nottingham in Prince William County

Welcome to Conservative commentary and Christian prayers from Gainesville, Virginia. That's OUTSIDE the Beltway.

The Derecho

Welcome to Conservative commentary and Christian prayers from Gainesville, Virginia. That's OUTSIDE the Beltway.

The Bull Elephant

Conservative and libertarian news, analysis, and entertainment

Always On Watch: Semper Vigilans

Welcome to Conservative commentary and Christian prayers from Gainesville, Virginia. That's OUTSIDE the Beltway.

The Family Foundation Blog - The Family Foundation

Welcome to Conservative commentary and Christian prayers from Gainesville, Virginia. That's OUTSIDE the Beltway.

Cry and Howl

Let not him that girdeth on his harness boast himself as he that putteth it off. I Kings 20:11

Twenty First Summer

Thoughtful. Positive. Relevant.

Dr. Luis C. Almeida

Christian College Professor

praythroughhistory

Heal the past. Free the present. Bless the future.

Dr. Lloyd Stebbins

Deliberate Joy

Lillie-Put

The place where you can find out what Lillie thinks

He Hath Said

is the source of all wisdom, and the fountain of all comfort; let it dwell in you richly, as a well of living water, springing up unto everlasting life

partneringwitheagles

WHENEVER ANY FORM OF GOVERNMENT BECOMES DESTRUCTIVE OF THESE ENDS (LIFE,LIBERTY,AND THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS) IT IS THE RIGHT OF THE PEOPLE TO ALTER OR ABOLISH IT, AND TO INSTITUTE A NEW GOVERNMENT...

PUMABydesign001's Blog

“I hope we once again have reminded people that man is not free unless government is limited. There’s a clear cause and effect here that is as neat and predictable as a law of physics: as government expands, liberty contracts.” Ronald Reagan.

nebraskaenergyobserver

The view from the Anglosphere

Freedom Through Empowerment

Taking ownership of your life brings power to make needed changes. True freedom begins with reliance on God to guide this process and provide what you need.

bluebird of bitterness

The opinions expressed are those of the author. You go get your own opinions.

Pacific Paratrooper

This WordPress.com site is Pacific War era information

The Isaiah 53:5 Project

Life: the time God gives you to determine how you spend eternity

altruistico

People Healing People

THE RIVER WALK

Daily Thoughts and Meditations as we journey together with our Lord.

Silence of Mind

Where God Speaks and Creation Listens

My Daily Musing

With God we will gain the victory, and he will trample our enemies. Psalms 109:13

atimetoshare.me

My Walk, His Way - daily inspiration

Nickel Boy Graphics

Comic Strips (Some Funny, Some Serious)

Rudy u Martinka

What the world needs now in addition to love is wisdom

Truth in Palmyra

By Wally Fry

Kingdom Pastor

Living Freely In God's Kingdom

The Life Project

Finding Clear and Simple Faith

In My Father's House

"...that where I am you may be also." Jn.14:3

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