Skip to comments.Jesus is a Capitalist [Pope Francis Errs]
Posted on 12/01/2013 3:27:58 PM PST by Moseley
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For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.
2 Thessalonians 3:10
Thanks for your above post.
I was wondering where William Bradford of the pilgrims had the idea that their attempt at communial living had gone against God. Excerpt from a previous thread with Bradford’s journal”
The experience that was had in this common course and condition, tried sundry years and that amongst godly and sober men, may well evince the vanity of that conceit of Plato’s and other ancients applauded by some of later times; and that the taking away of property and bringing in community into a commonwealth would make them happy and flourishing; as if they were wiser than God.
For this community (so far as it was) was found to breed much confusion and discontent and retard much employment that would have been to their benefit and comfort. For the young men, that were most able and fit for labor and service, did repine that they should spend their time and strength to work for other men’s wives and children without any recompense....
Upon the point all being to have alike, and all to do alike, they thought themselves in the like condition, and one as good as another; and so, if it did not cut off those relations that God hath set amongst men, yet it did at least much diminish and take off the mutual respects that should be preserved amongst them. And would have been worse if they had been men of another condition.
Let none object this is men’s corruption, and nothing to the course itself. I answer, seeing all men have this corruption in them, God in His wisdom saw another course fitter for them.
Thank you, Mel.
The communism of the Jerusalem Church reflected that the community was under siege and under a sort of martial law. Everybody was to pitch in, as their very survival was at stake. It was a “lifeboat” situation. There is not much in the experience to inform us of how to organize society under normal circumstances. Well, that’s the way most people have read Acts. But, if you’re into the Christian communist point of view, you wouldn’t be the first one. Christians have been forming voluntary communes all through the centuries, including the pilgrims who came here on the Mayflower, and the Shakers, and the Hutterites. Most of these experiments in communism fail. Some re-organize or simply evolve into more or less indistinguishable individualistic communities. The Shakers, one of the most successful communist experiments in history, died out as they became suspicious that those who would join were only interested in inheriting the wealth they had built up. The Hutterites are going as strong as ever and like the Amish, who technically speaking are communist, but cooperatists, are a great testimony to the Christian faith.
Capitalism is by far and away the best system the world has - that does not make it Christian - it allows it’s adherents the freedom to do as they wish within the context of their faith - to give as they should - as God demands of them but it also gives them the freedom not to give a toss and ignore God altogether!
Now if I as a Christian do not take the freedom of capitalism to give then what good will capitalism do for me in the hereafter - it will be my curse not my savior.
God will get you for that.
Thank-you for a most informative post in such a beautiful spirit. I know the Lord loves a joyful giver and that He is never failing to bless those who give - maybe not with money (or not always) but rather manifest spiritual blessings of joy and peace and love for our fellow human being!
With regard to Hong Kong, from a poor place forty years ago, it has turned into a place with a higher standard of living than the U.S. According to the Pope, this is not possible because the poor people of the world are waiting for the rich people to redistribute their wealth to them. People who wait and stay poor are the good people of the world. The Pope loves them. But people who adopt the “trickle down” economics, which is “naive”, which “kills”, and become rich, they would be the evil people. But, they don’t exist according to the Pope because “trickle down” only enriches the few and leaves the masses at the subsistence level. Hong Kong, therefore, doesn’t actually exist.
As to property rights in Hong Kong, it scores a 90 on a scale of 100, tied with Singapore for the highest in Asia:
Technically, land isn’t owned by private parties (or corporations). Land is owned by the government and leased to private parties. The leases, however, are very long-term. Because the leases are very long-term, they effectively create property rights in land:
Possibly the law of land ownership in Hong Kong will change with the adoption of the new basic law (or, Constitution) of the People’s Republic of China, which authorizes private property in land. But, I have no knowledge of this.
I think Jesus himself said this. My kingdom is not of this world. The immediately prior Pope (Benedict XVI) said Christianity is neither a political system nor an economic system.
Just about all people of good will speak to the goodness and necessity of justice and charity, but if this Pope wants a shiny sticker for this, fine. What makes the Bible remarkable in this era of “social justice,” is the following: The BIble recognizes and accepts inequality; it describes God as intending inequality; and it describes inequality as characterizing many aspect of the human condition, not just money.
Although he didn't "loudly" show off his deep faith (unlike the fraudulent and thoroughly evil Carter), President Ronald Reagan, along with Calvin Coolidge, were the two most Christlike presidents of the 20th century. Both were champions of liberty, freedom and, yes, capitalism. In my opinion, those principles are built on the solid foundation of Biblical principles.
Ultimately Christ is capitalist. He purchased with His blood for himself people of every tribe and nation.
Charity is not an exception to it. Charity is personally purchasing something to benefit someone else and it is chosen.
God cares (or knows) English grammar? I know, I've sinned, Father, I should of said "he must have had"! I stand by what I meant to say!
The Christianity of Yankees and of Midwesterners
Northern Europeans, Yankees (like Cal Coolidge), and Midwesterners (like Ronbo), have a more stoic form of belief. Latins and Southern Europeans tend to be more emotive. It is wrong for this Latin Pope to speak so cruelly of Northerners. To be so judgmental of people of other cultures is a form of prejudice and un-Christian.
If I might share a story about Midwestern values, it concerns Bob Dole. While I supported Jack Kemp early during the primaries, I was happy to support Senator Dole after he secured the nomination. Then, in his acceptance speech, there was a point where he recalled his father visiting him the hospital in Detroit, terribly wounded. He said to the convention, with a tear drop forming in his eye, he would not let the poor down. That tear drop never fell. That’s a midwestern man.
And, having shared that story about Midwestern values, I will share one about Latin values. My mother, an Italian-American, and I were watching the World Baseball Classic a few years ago. She much preferred the games being held in Puerto Rico (featuring the Caribbean teams) to the games being held in Arizona (featuring the U.S., Canada, Japan and Korea). She resonated with the Latin spirit of the Caribbean teams.
Yeah yeah, that was it.
I think it’s always safer to limit oneself to the words spoken (or written.) The Pope never said or suggested/implied that Hong Kong is not possible as you allege. I am certain that he understands what has happened in Hong Kong as well as we do. It is also worth noting that he spoke to the world and to the conditions in many other countries not just in the United States, Hong Kong and Singapore. All is not well in this world of ours, and our naive American style theoretical Libertarianism has not been tried anywhere any more than the ideal textbook Communism. I know from reading the paper that he is not proposing “socialism”, or any more involvement of government than we have here already in this welfare state. In the past couple of years, I had a friend, a Chinese economist scholar visiting a university here with whom I discussed for many hours various political and economic issues, and we both concluded that the US was more of a welfare state than the Communist China.
No Catholic on earth denies that the Pope is a sinner.
Anyone of good faith who has taken the time to compare what Popes actually say, versus the spin put on their words by the MSM, understands that caution is in order regarding any sensational claims about what the Pope said, on any topic.
Both of your replies grossly mistate what I wrote. NEVER did I say a word about government confiscation and NEVER did I say that capitalism lacked charity. You are arguing two points that you inferred from my comments incorrectly.
More than once, Jesus directs people to sell all they have and give it to the poor. Society in Jesus’ time was far less monetized than it is today. Jesus had little trouble wandering from town to town without money or a credit card and stayed the night in the homes of total strangers or simply on the ground because He knew His Father would provide all He needed and trusted fully in it.
Jesus wants us all to trust the Father in the same way but we lack the faith to turn a few fish and loaves of bread into a banquet for 5,000. That’s why material possessions and riches meant so little to Him - He could always summon whatever He needed. That’s why He could exhort people to sell all they had. The model worked for Him. In that context, His exhortation makes total sense as impossible as it sounds to most of us.
>The Pope never denied that Hong Kong could, by adopting the “trickle down theory,” experience rapid economic growth.
Looks like it’s put up or shut up time for me.
Paragraph 54. “This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts.”
“Never” maybe that’s a translation error but in English it means I can’t cite even one example that shows that the “trickle down theory” works.
And Hong Kong is not the exception to the rule. The rule is the more capitalist is the country, the richer it is.
Furthermore, the more capitalistic is a country, the more honest and less violent it is, the more civil liberties are enjoyed by the people, the longer is life expectancy, the cleaner is the air and water, the more generous the country is with the poor, the more intelligent are the people, and the more competitive their athletes are in Olympic sports.
I even checked out the correlation of capitalism and how and successful are their girls in international beauty pageants, and found that to be positive but insignificant.
If you will look at paragraphs 52 to 60, there are very few references to scripture or to prior encyclicals. There is a reference to Ex. 32 that - what? - proves the Aaron was a supply-side economist? There is also a quotation from St. Chrysostom, a early Doctor of the Church. I think that’s it. Two tie-ins. So, this entire section is almost entirely fresh. But, maybe I’m wrong. Check it out for yourself. I make no claim to be infallible.
Regarding St. Chrysostom, here is a short but balanced commentary of his teachings regarding the poor (which includes the very quotation cited by Pope Francis). St. Chrysostom said the rich had a moral obligation to share of their wealth to the poor; and, that forced redistribution of the wealth would be useless. Sounds like my kind of Christian. But, who is St. Chrysostom anyway? He’s not infallible. And, why should you trust me to summarize him. Check it out:
Some future Pope will apologize for this attack on capitalism, as John Paul II apologized for the Pope who denied that Jupiter had moons. The wild accusations of tyranny and murder. The name-calling. And calling those who disagree, some of whom have whom the Nobel Prize in economics, calling them naive.
>No, this is absolutely false.
I can see there is no room for discussion with you. Perhaps you are an infallible authority. Anyway, as you say there was a condition which the two agreed to, and then held back. Now, since you are such an authority, would you give the time line involving the Jerusalem Church and the siege of Jerusalem? I kind of thinking there’s a connection.
If, as you say, I am completely in error, I would appreciate the correction.
Jesus was and is a KING... not a duly elected official...
In Jesus kingdom EVERYTHING BELONGS to Jesus.. even YOU..
NO DEMOCRACY in Jesus kingdom.. NONE..
To Jesus...... earthly kingdoms are BIZARRO WORLD..
AND..... they are...
Here’s some more good stuff on the Jerusalem church:
Jesus and his apostles, disciples, and early followers, being Jewish or Jewish proselytes, traveled from Galilee to the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem, c. 33, at which time the city was under Roman occupation as part of Iudaea province. After an incident in the Temple, he was crucified in Jerusalem at a site called Golgotha and buried nearby. According to Christian belief, on the third day he was resurrected, and after appearing to his disciples and others ascended to heaven.
Jerusalem was the first center of the church, according to the Book of Acts, and according to the Catholic Encyclopedia: the location of “the first Christian church”. The apostles lived and taught there for some time after Pentecost. Jesus’ brother James was a leader in the church, and his other kinsman likely held leadership positions in the surrounding area after the destruction of the city until its rebuilding as Aelia Capitolina, c. 130, when all Jews were banished from the city. In about 50, Barnabas and Paul went to Jerusalem to meet with the “pillars of the church”: James, Peter, and John. Later called the Council of Jerusalem, this meeting, among other things, confirmed the legitimacy of the mission of Barnabas and Paul to the gentiles, and the gentile converts’ freedom from most Mosaic law, especially circumcision, which was repulsive to the Hellenic mind. Thus, the Apostolic Decree (Acts 15:1921) may be a major act of differentiation of the Church from its Jewish roots (the first major act being the Rejection of Jesus as Messiah), though the decree may simply parallel Jewish Noahide Law and thus be a commonality rather than a differential. In roughly the same time period Rabbinic Judaism made their circumcision requirement of Jewish boys even stricter.
When Peter left Jerusalem after Herod Agrippa I tried to kill him, James appears as the principal authority. Clement of Alexandria (c. 150215) called him Bishop of Jerusalem. A second-century church historian, Hegesippus, wrote that the Sanhedrin martyred him in 62.
In 66, the Jews revolted against Rome. Rome besieged Jerusalem for four years, and the city fell in 70. The city was destroyed, including the Temple, and the population was mostly killed or removed. However, according to Epiphanius of Salamis, the Cenacle survived at least to Hadrian’s visit in 130. A scattered population survived. Traditionally it is believed the Jerusalem Christians waited out the JewishRoman wars in Pella in the Decapolis. The Sanhedrin relocated to Jamnia. Prophecies of the Second Temple’s destruction are found in the synoptics.
>I hadn’t seen this prior to just now. But, this lines up with my impressions of what was going on. It is my impressions that the time from about Pentecost or so to the Siege of Jerusalem, the new community of believers (most of them Jews, but also gentiles), became outcast from the Jewish patriots (or zealots).
>So, during the time they were still in Jerusalem, but becoming outcast from the Jewish patriots, this is when I suppose the Jerusalem Church adopted its communist arrangement. Anyway, that’s how I differentiate the communism of the Jerusalem Church from the normal, individualistic, private property arrangements provided by the Bible.
I blitzed through most of the papal document and found it a hopelessly liberal view of reality. The only way to make sense of it is to list a “good” column and a “bad” column; put each concept he disparages in the “bad” column, and each concept he encourages in the good column. When you are done, the lists will help you realize who he is and what he stands for.
For those who love God, it might be simpler and more profitable to seek that which is good, true, beautiful, virtuous, honorable, righteous, etc... than to pursue a list of liberal pseudo-virtues.
As Jesus warned us, “by their fruits you will know them”.
Absolutely. Hesus wasn’t about forcing people to do anything.
As soon as you start giving government that kind of power you are inviting men into the position only God can occupy.
Your point about the voluntary aspect of the sharing arrangement is very important. Regarding the Jerusalem Church, sometimes I use the word voluntary Communism or Christian Communism. Even the family, isn’t the family communistic? I think I see how we got here. When I said that the conditions of the Jerusalem Church were unusual, and it operated under something like martial law, perhaps this left it possible to think that I was saying that the sharing going on was imposed from without.
Your point about Wikipedia is also correct. I use it for its convenience. But I don’t rely on it. I rely on either myself or on valid sources.
I really hate these kinds of claims coming from both sides. These political-economic constructs are created by men and not God. Some are definitely better than others and I think one that is based in personal liberty is absolutely the best, but it is not without flaw.
While we do our best to make our way here, we need to be storing our treasure in Heaven first.
>didn’t Jesus himself rely solely on others for his support, putting his trust in God?
Paul writes about this. He said some are made eunuchs for the glory of God. Within the Christian tradition, there have always been those who follow Jesus in this way. St. Francis of Assisi, the namesake of the current Pope, is universally loved.
I am happy for these people who are made eunuchs; and, I am also happy that some are made garbagemen, and some are made nurses, and some are made policemen, and I could go on and on.
How does it happen that we get the right mix of people? Well, when I was in the military, which is a very communistic organization, a central planner, the big personnel manager, made some kind of assignment based on the needs of the military and my abilities relative to others and perhaps accommodating some preferences.
What is the track record of central planning for getting the mix right? Actually, it’s not so bad. Cuba is in better shape than Somalia. Maybe, if they allowed a few basic human rights in Cuba, like religious freedom, we could normalize relations with that country. But, here’s the thing, capitalism is so much better.
Now, is the superiority of capitalism due to it being morally superior to what we might call democratic socialism? Or, is the difference merely a practical one? While I think this Pope is out to lunch regarding economics, and I would give him an F and make him repeat the course with a non-Marxist professor, I don’t hold his mistakes about economics against him as though he were an evil person. I don’t do that in part because I don’t like being called evil, an oppressor, a tyrant, and a murderer by the Pope because I have come to the conclusion I have come to regarding the superiority of capitalism. I prefer to follow the rule judge not, lest ye be judged, and also the rule he who calls his brother fool is guilty of murder.
>What about the story of Jesus and the rich young man?
That fellow Jesus never ceases to amaze me. On the one hand he seems to deny “eye for an eye” and on the other hand he seems to say “if your right eye offends thee, pluck it out.” Can you take this man seriously? Does he really say, instead of lucking out the eyes of evil people, we should pluck our own eyes out?
No, not if you read him as a Jew.
On the so-called denial of “eye for an eye,” he said this doesn’t apply to name-calling. He said if a man strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other check. To be right on the right check is to be hit with the left hand. This is an idiom. The left hand is the weak hand. It’s an insult. Let the insult go, says Jesus, unless you are hit on the other cheek. Then, “eye for an eye” kicks in.
About “if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out,” no, Jesus is not saying we should pluck our own eyes out. He is saying that if we have particular weaknesses, we should arrange our lives so as to avoid temptations we cannot resist. With this understanding of “pluck it out” in mind, let’s consider Jesus and the rich young man.
In their conversation, the rich young man says he keeps the commandments. According to Ec. 12:13, that settles it. Every Jew would know this, and especially any Jew who comes from a wealthy family so that he would have received an education. But, no, the rich young man wants to be perfect. We know no man is perfect save for one. Again, every Jew would know this. So Jesus, looking in his heart, convicted him of his sin, which was self-righteousness. This man needed to pluck out his eye.
If you have been putting off plucking out your eye, this explanation should come as quite a relief.
Have you read the encyclical?
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