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I am a 1967 graduate of The Citadel (Distinguished Military Student, member of the Economic Honor Society, Dean's List), a 1975 graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (M.Div., magna cum laude, member of the Phi Alpha Chi academic honor society); I attended the Free University of Amsterdam and completed my History of Dogma there and then received a full scholarship from the Dutch government to transfer to the sister school in Kampen, Holland. In 1979 I graduated from the Theological Seminary of the Reformed Churches of Holland (Drs. with honors in Ethics). My New Testament minor was completed with Herman Ridderbos. I am also a 2001 Ph.D. graduate of Westminster Theological Seminary (Systematic Theology) in Philly with a dissertation on the "unio mystica" in the theology of Dr. Herman Bavinck (1854-1921). I am a former tank commander, and instructor in the US Army Armor School at Ft. Knox, KY. I have been happily married to my childhood sweetheart and best friend, Sally, for 43 years. We have 6 children, one of whom is with the Lord, and 14 wonderful grandchildren.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

How Do We Do Social Justice?

Doing Social Justice

In the last installment I listed for you a number of those who line up on the left side of the theological and political aisle. These folks want us to believe that they have the answers to our nation’s as well as the world’s crises. Brian McLaren’s latest book has as its sub-title “Jesus, Global Crises, and a Revolution of Hope.”[1] He poses questions such as, “Have you heard debates about the causes of poverty? In your current understanding, what are the primary causes of poverty?” And “How do you think most Christians today respond to the issue of poverty?”[2]

The questions are left intentionally broad and open-ended and the last one would require, it would seem, some significant data before them before they could make a valid assessment of what “most Christians” think about the issue of poverty. The questions are designed to make us think, but also to help promote the agenda of taxing the wealthy so that there is more social justice in our country and in the world. “Most Christians”—I’m using Bri’s hidden survey—don’t have a lot of time to contemplate global injustice, although our consciences feel a twinge of sorrow from time to time when we see the commercials of Third World countries on TV after a nice dinner of pheasant under glass and a $300.00 bottle of wine. Jim Wallis hammers on the need to redistribute wealth, along with Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama (he’s actually Irish and his name used to be O’Bama, but he changed it because there aren’t that many black Irishmen), Ron Sider, John Yoder, and old Bri. Bri devotes a whole section in his book to the subject of poverty as does Wallis in God’s Politics.

One of the egregious flaws in all these works is that they are all concerned about social justice (or injustice) and yet they don’t ever give a solid biblical definition of what exactly social justice is; they simply leave it up to “most Christians” to pool their ignorance. Since so many today are becoming enamored of social causes, we would do well to be precise—as precise as possible—when we speak about such important and broadly sweeping matters like social justice. Not to do so is to go off half-cocked like so many did with the impending Y2K crisis or as many are doing now with the current hoopla about global warming.

One of my favorite economists, Thomas Sowell, wrote an article that appeared in my local newspaper (The Orange County Register, Local, “More cold water on global warming, p. 9) that began this way: “It has almost become something of a joke when some ‘global warming’ conference has to be canceled because of a snowstorm or bitterly cold weather.” Indeed. Sowell goes on in the article to remind us that the task of old-fashioned journalists is to inform the public, rather than pushing an agenda. With the necessary changes in place, I would echo Sowell’s words and remind people like Wallis, McLaren, Sider, and others that the theologian/ethicists job is to inform God’s people on what the Word of God says and not to push an agenda. As I mentioned last time—and it is worthy of repetition—McLaren, Wallis, Sider, Campolo, and others have a definite agenda irrespective of what “most Christians” might think.

But can’t it be argued that to some extent we all have an agenda? Of course that is the case. I am a theological, economical, and political conservative. I’m more than willing to state that up front. The names listed above will not and have not done that. They present their agenda and leave “most Christians” on their own to figure out what their theological and political proclivities are. Given the state of biblical discernment in the modern Church, “most Christians” are pretty easy prey.

Does God Favor the Poor?

It’s a growing consensus that God favors the poor, which means that he’s a little displeased or ticked off with the wealthy. Again, without question Scripture has a great deal to say about greed and the accumulation of wealth for the sake of accumulating wealth. But it doesn’t condemn all wealthy people; Abraham is a case in point. Growing conventional wisdom among “some Christians” is that God favors the poor, but is that so? I’m not asking if we are moved when we see scenes of Third World poverty, but if God actually favors the poor.

If we are seeking to form a Christian view of social justice we should turn to Scripture. When we do that, we discover a treasure trove of biblical truth that enables us to begin to formulate a God-pleasing way of doing social justice. Before we proceed, however, I should inform you that I am a covenantal theologian/pastor/teacher who believes that God has given us an entire Bible that comprises the books of both the Old and New Testaments. You can agree or disagree, but for better or worse, that is my settled conviction.

That being the case, I’ll begin with Old Testament texts and then move on to the New Testament. As I proceed I want to express my indebtedness to Dr. Cal Beisner for laying such a solid foundation in his book Prosperity and Poverty.[3] In Jeremiah 21:12, God’s people are commanded to “execute justice” (ESV)[4] and to deliver those who have been wronged by the oppressor. Just one chapter further, Jeremiah repeats this instruction: “Do justice and righteousness, and deliver from the hand of the oppressor him who has been robbed.”

At this point, it is imperative that we ask the logical question: What is “justice”? This is an essential question to ask since not any definition of justice will do if we are seeking to do social justice according to biblical principles. Beisner is correct when he writes, “For all its importance, justice is a virtue often misunderstood. The word is an ideological football cast to and fro by foes accusing each other of injustice. Few are eager to define it clearly—particularly not in light of Scripture.”[5] He gives us two of the chief images found in Scripture when it comes to justice: 1) conformity with a right standard and 2) rendering each his due.[6]

With this brief definition Beisner has already unmasked the likes of Wallis, McLaren, Campolo, and their ilk precisely because he has defined his terms. The RL (Religious Left—it’s the counterpart to the Religious Right, even though neither of these organizations has a fixed address) proceeds on the hope that their readers will not ask for a precise definition so that they can proceed in their intellectual pursuits. Their readers have, as often as not, imbibed of the Kool-Aid and know better than to ask for a definition, since they would show themselves to be among the uninitiated. Pretending to know the definition, they happily sip their white wine and eat their brie.

As real Christians, what is the standard to which we are to adhere? For Bible-thumpers the answer is clear: Scripture; for intellectuals like Bri, Wallis, and Campolo the answer is to get a refill on the Chardonnay.

In Psalm 106:3, we are told that those are blessed who “observe,” “keep,” or “maintain”[7] justice (judgment).[8] Therefore, in Scripture justice and truth are inseparably related. This truth is driven home in Leviticus 19:35-36: “You shall do no wrong in judgment, in measures of length or weight or quantity. You shall have just balances, just weights, a just ephah, and a just hin: I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt.” The word translated “judgment” is the same word in Psalm 106:3 where it was translated “justice.” God’s children are to be honest in business dealings having just balances, weights, and measurements. The reason appended is that God saved them, therefore they are to be just and true in their practices.

Beisner correctly concludes, “But the standards of measurement God mentioned in connection with justice do not indicate that justice stops at truthfulness in economic transactions or even at economic relationships as a whole. They indicate that all behavior should be governed by the same unbending standards. This is the chief sense in which justice and equality are related: the same standards apply equally to all people and relationships.”[9]

Within historical Christianity, then, the biblical notion of justice means that each person is rendered his due according to God’s established righteous standards. Hold on to this truth for it will serve us well in developing a concept of social justice as Christians. It will also serve you well in unmasking the unbiblical nature of a great deal of Wallis’, McLaren’s, Campolo’s, and Sider’s writings, especially when it comes to the point about God being on the side of the poor. The reason these men tend in this direction is simply because they have an ideological agenda. It is also the reason why there is such scant use of Scripture or, when Scripture is ostensibly used, it is twisted, tortured, and distorted to meet their ideological purposes. This is also typical of what Rick Warren does in his books. He has something he wants to say so he fishes around trying to find some biblical text that is remotely close to what he wants to talk about (if he cannot find what he wants in a translation, there is always a handy text from The Message to aid him), giving the semblance of being biblical.

What will guide us well in our understanding of the issue at hand? Once again, we return to Scripture to aid us. I’ll begin with two Old Testament texts and from there move on to the New Testament. One of the clearest to begin with is found in Leviticus 19:15: “You shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great, but in righteousness shall you judge your neighbor.” The clear message here is impartiality to either the poor or the great. Beisner states, “God is not ‘on the side of the poor,” despite protests to the contrary.”[10] Another key text that explains the same idea is Deuteronomy 1:17: “You shall not be partial in judgment. You shall hear the small and the great alike. You shall not be intimidated by anyone, for the judgment is God’s.” Again, the main theme is impartiality. In the New Testament, Romans 2:11 (“For God shows no partiality.”) and Colossians 3:25 (“For the wrongdoer will be paid back for the wrong he has done, and there is no partiality.”) reinforce what the Old Testament taught on the concept of impartiality.

This is why books like McLaren’s, Campolo’s, Sider’s, and Wallis’ are so insidious in nature. They give you the impression that they are mainline, mainstream Christians who are “neutral” on the subject of politics, economics, and theology, but in point of fact they are not. As I mentioned, we all have presuppositions regarding these subjects. It is preferable and the better part of honesty simply to lay your cards on the table from the outset and say, “This is who I am and this is what I’m about.” That way, everyone is well served. But the emergents and others like them are not willing to tell either the young or older evangelicals what they really believe because if they did, a number in their current following would walk away.

What is Needed?

In my estimation, what is most needed at this point in the history of the Church is not a “purpose-driven” life, but rather one that is cross-centered and cross-driven. We do not need less Scripture, but more; we don’t need less exegesis, but more; and we don’t need less familiarity with the confessions of the Church after Nicaea, but more. Young and old alike are in desperate need of being more conversant with the Word of God and less with the world and its ways. We all need more discernment so that we can easily detect when a modern writer is attempting to lead us into Marxism or the worn-out Social Gospel. We need less Rob Bell videos and more solid biblical preaching and teaching.

To all who are enthralled with the works of the emergents and the men’s names I listed in this installment, let me ask you this: when was the last time you found any of these men giving you extensive biblical texts to back up what they were saying? Did you honestly find any deep explanation of the Word of God or was there just a mentioning of a text and then departing from it to go on to talk about what they wanted to discuss in the first place? Did they give you some in depth material from the Word of God or did they just give you some graphs and tell some stories? You need to answer these truthfully because nothing less than your eternal destiny hangs in the balance.


[1] Brian McLaren, Everything Must Change, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2007).

[2] Ibid., 17.

[3] E. Calvin Beisner, Prosperity and Poverty, (Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2001).

[4] The NASB & the NIV translate “administer justice.”

[5] Beisner, PaP, 43.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Hebrew: rm;v’; LXX: fula,ssw.

[8] Hebrew: jP’_v.mi; LXX: kri,sij.

[9] Beisner, PaP, 44.

[10] Ibid. Referring to Ron Sider, Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger, (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 19842), pp. 75ff.

Labels:

27 Comments:

Blogger IceDawg said...

I like it! A positive message from the word of God on what justice looks like. James 1:22-25 tells us to do what God's word says. So far I've learned we're supposed to give each man his due. That should help us guard against both greed and the abuse of people for the sake of wealth and the entitlement culture that comes along with socialism. (Believe me, being from Canada, entitlement culture is rampant here. You don't want that... - this little aside comes to you free of charge). So in between those extremes we do have rich and poor living in right relationship according to God's word.

Can't wait to see where this ends up going. Thanks Rattlesnake...

2:00 PM  
Blogger wordsmith said...

Thanks, Rattlesnake, for reminding us that true justice is defined for us in Scripture, and it's not some vague notion that everybody ought to have the same size piece of pie.

2:10 PM  
Blogger Rattlesnake6 said...

Icedawg,
I lived in Canada for almost ten years, so I know what you mean. If you can find any books by Bill Gairdner, ("The War Against the Family" & "The Trouble with Canada") get them, because they are excellent. He is sending me his new book to review entitled "Oh, Oh Canada!" Thanks for stopping by.
Wordsmith,
You're always welcome here. Thanks.

3:03 PM  
Blogger Jeff said...

The other matter of social justice is, IMHO, not a matter of "giving each his due" (because that phrase can be abused), but giving each an equal opportunity. That goes along well with the equality of people in the court system. People, likewise should have an equality of opportunity.

Social justice is often dealt with as "equality of results." That, is NOT what Scripture says. No one has the right to an equality of results, but instead an equality of opportunity. Not everyone is to be guaranteed this or that. We don't need two cars in every garage and two chickens in every pot.

Thanks, Ron, for the reminder. The broadly stated things of my neighbor over in Grandville amongst others is so incredibly sad.

8:30 AM  
Blogger Rattlesnake6 said...

Jeff,
How does the Christian church provide everyone with an equal opportunity, given what Scripture teaches us about gifts and talents that differ? Is everyone equally intelligent? Equally gifts musically? I can tell you right now, you don't want to hire me as the choir director!
Could you elaborate a little more please?

12:08 PM  
Blogger SolaMeanie said...

I think something that happens with issues such as this is that people confuse what the church is supposed to do with what the state is supposed to do. Or what we as individual Christians are supposed to do.

As a believer who is supposed to give cheerfully, I should do so if I see a need I can meet out there. However, I do not believe that our government of "we the people" is in the business of socialistic wealth redistribution schemes, or confiscation of one's livelihood by force. If the people vote for a tax increase for benevolence, that's another matter altogether.

Another thing that would be good for some to remember -- we are not Europe. We do not have a parliamentary system, a monarchy or a constitutional monarchy. We have a representative republic with government strictly proscribed in its function. At least it's supposed to be that way.

5:11 PM  
Blogger Kyle said...

I wrote a paper on this subject last year as part of a class I was involved in. I wish I'd been aware of Cal Beisner's book at the time, it would have been useful! But it seems I came away with much the same conclusion as he. If you'd be interested, Ron, I could send you a copy.

7:56 PM  
Blogger Rattlesnake6 said...

Kyle,
Yes, please send it along to bavinck@socal.rr.com

8:33 PM  
Blogger Jeff said...

Ron,

When I think of equality of opportunity, I think of that being a matter within the governmental sphere of life, not so much within the church.

In terms of equality of opportunity, I think of the government banning discrimination based on race, gender, etc., forbidding businesses (churches and private organizations excluded) from discrimination in hiring, firing, housing, etc. I do know the danger this can cause if it is extended to the church and other private organizations where the state has no business sticking its nose in.

Is my idea way off? I mean to speak of the public sphere. Because when the social justice advocates say, "to give each their due" it can mean so much you dare not give them that leeway. Am I missing something here?

1:42 PM  
Blogger wordsmith said...

Jeff, I find one part of your comment confusing. You talk about "forbidding businesses (churches and private organizations excluded) from discrimination in hiring...," which sounds great, but you're forgetting one thing: Businesses *are* private organizations, unless they've gone public with their stocks and all that stuff. Ma and Pa Kettle's shoe store would therefore be excluded from discrimination laws. (Whether or not government-mandated non-"discriminatory" hiring practices is a good thing is, of course, another story.)

2:17 PM  
Blogger Jeff said...

Maybe I should talk in terms of business vs. the church. In terms of doing justice, the mom and pop store in Chinatown who only advertises its jobs in Chinese language newspapers is engaging in racial discrimination.

Churches, the law in America has usually understood, are free to discriminate based on their belief systems which bind them together. The Boy Scouts can choose to discriminate against homosexual or atheistic scoutmasters. (I am an Eagle Scout class of 1987.) It is no violation of social justice for a private organization to discriminate against those who do not agree with their message or beliefs.

8:09 PM  
Blogger Randy said...

Ron,
Remember that you are called to be a pastor before a satire writer.

You wrote: Barack Obama (he’s actually Irish and his name used to be O’Bama, but he changed it because there aren’t that many black Irishmen),

That isn't funny. It isn't helpful, and if you recall -- the people of God often place much emphasis in a name...

8:45 PM  
Blogger Randy said...

Giving people their due? It's a nice and clean biblical concept, but... that precludes that Jesus and his unfair pay of vineyard workers was out of the ordinary or that the Rich Young Ruler was an oddity that didn't exist or that the Son of Man came to a poor family. The lowly gleaner Ruth and the whore from Jerico and the lowly shepard called David became the great king.

Perhaps God doens't prefer or bless rich or poor more, but the Spirit of God most often began great works among the lowely. And more often than not --- the faithful lost their eartly fortunes rather than gain more as a result of faithfulness.

Truth and Justice are certainly tied together. I would remind us that mercy is also tied into these two virtues. Micah 6:8... What does the Lord require of us?

The gospel message doesn't reward people because they work hard or because of their nationality or skin color or political party.

The gospel message isn't about working hard to 'make it.'

Perhaps the real difference in our perspective is this: Some of us believe that somehow the gospel message is good news for the hungry and the thirsty and the cold and the sick.

Others believe, as does Ron I think, that the gospel is good news in regard to eternal salvation, but it doesn't contain much good news for those who are outside the 'predestined' camp.

Irnoically, Jesus dies and God goes out. The holy curtain rips apart; God is now out. And where does the gospel explode? Everywhere -- and particularly among those who have been kept away from God's story.

So, every time we keep a cup of cold water from the poor whether it be through our donations or through our elected representatives who raise our taxes,(please remember that we decide who votes to raise our taxes) we are failing to give a cup of cold water.

This is not to suggest that govt. helps promote the gospel, but it does mean that govt. is capable of good.

If it is not capable of good, then we have no business in Iraq either.

And if it is capable of good, then why is it fine to support our spreading of goodness in Iraq but not here in our own country?

9:12 PM  
Blogger Jeff said...

Randy,

Let's not overstate the gospel either. The gospel, like the kingdom, begins inwardly, and works outwardly from there.

The problem is people like Bri, et al., are equating the cup of cold water with the gospel itself. In the Christian life, deed follows Word. The gospel transforms hearts first before it transforms culture.

But in one matter, you are right. God is the One on mission.

7:26 AM  
Blogger IceDawg said...

Randy,

So... do you think God favors the poor or not? If the gospel is giving a cold cup of water to the poor, how do you give the gospel to the rich? I have to agree with Jeff. The gospel's primary purpose is to deal with our spiritual poverty. When the Holy Spirit changes our hearts, the deeds, as the book of James tells us, will flow from that. So a cup of cold water is just a vehicle to show our thankfulness to God for His compassion to us. However, if that person never hears the reason for our behavior explained, the act will only point to man and not to God. How then will that person understand their dependence on God if they are never told about it?

To let the government take care of the poor, in my experience, results in one thing: abuse. Like the rich, the poor are born in sin and will look out for #1. I'm not sure about how it works in the States, but here in Canada, the government is happy to spend my money on taking care of the poor. That means I give to my church who helps the poor and then have some more taken from me by the government.

That would all be tolerable, except the irritating part becomes having your neighbors drinking and swearing outside your bedroom window into the wee hours of the morning because they don't go to work and have no intention of doing so because the government (indirectly me) is footing the bill for their living expenses (plus bad habits).

Another autobiographical story comes from my experience working in landscaping. It was not uncommon for workers to put in 10 weeks and then miraculously get laid off. Why 10 weeks? That was the magic number that had to be completed in order to be able to go back on unemployment (government paid vacation) for 6 months. How does that square with 2 Thes. 3:10? Since it doesn't, what do you do with those "poor"?

I have not read anyone here saying that we should not give a truly poor person a cold drink should they need it. I have not heard anyone here say that God rewards people because they work hard or because of their nationality or skin color or political party.

Anyway, I know this post is wordy, but, in my reading of the original post, I think doing justice and loving mercy as described in Micah 6:8 is exactly what rattlesnake has in mind. The two must work hand in hand don't you think?

11:27 AM  
Blogger jazzact13 said...

--Remember that you are called to be a pastor before a satire writer.

You wrote: Barack Obama (he’s actually Irish and his name used to be O’Bama, but he changed it because there aren’t that many black Irishmen),

That isn't funny. It isn't helpful, and if you recall -- the people of God often place much emphasis in a name...--

I disagree, I thought it was funny, especially in light of the squabblings over his name.

I'm glad, rattlesnake, that you made reference to the scripture about not favoring either the poor or the rich. Yes, there are things in scripture about the responsibilities of those who are rich in regards to helping those who are poor, but even that isn't indiscriminent (even the NT says that those who don't work will not eat).

So much of what the emergents are calling "social justice" isn't justice, it's injustice against the rich. It's not more just for the poor to exploit the rich, then for the rich to do the same to the poor.

12:27 PM  
Blogger Kyle said...

Randy,

So, every time we keep a cup of cold water from the poor whether it be through our donations or through our elected representatives who raise our taxes,(please remember that we decide who votes to raise our taxes) we are failing to give a cup of cold water.

So, if I vote for the fellow who wants to lower taxes across the board rather than the fellow who wants to raise them across the board, supposedly for poverty relief, I'm withholding a cup of water from a thirsty soul?

This is absurd, Randy, and I hope you can see it. What happens when it gets to the point that 95% of your income is demanded for taxes so the government can do "charitable works"?

This is not to suggest that govt. helps promote the gospel, but it does mean that govt. is capable of good.

There is a difference between doing good, and doing mercy. It is not the government's job to do the latter. And we shouldn't be confusing the distinct categories of justice and mercy.

3:23 PM  
Blogger Rattlesnake6 said...

Randy,
Thank you for reminding me what my job is. Also, thank you so much for your charitable judgment that I care for no one outside the "predestined." Nice compassionate touch. I really don't ever remember seeing you at Grace, but if you visited, you might very well come away with a different--more accurate--picture.
But even if you're not willing to listen to me, there's some very good advice on this thread. You might do well to heed what is said, because every time you open your mouth, you keep making my case for me.
I'm not certain who Icedawg is, but I appreciate your Canadian perspective on how Socialism really doesn't work. Please don't take this personally, but you are certainly hurting in the looks department. You must have played a lot of hockey and took some pucks to the face.

4:29 PM  
Blogger SolaMeanie said...

Randy,

Out of curiosity, what do you think the main point of Jesus' parable about the vineyard workers is? I'm genuinely curious.

5:20 PM  
Blogger Randy said...

Good thoughts here in the comments section.

Regarding the concepts of justice and mercy, these are two biblical concepts that can't be seperated. We can't expect a Yahweh kind of justice if we dont' expect the same kind of mercy. God's justice and his mercy are intrinsically tied together.

Likewise, faith and works are tied together more than the reformed tradition often suggests. James doesn't seem to suggest that one follows the other, but like God's justice and mercy -- he suggests that they are tied together in such a way that they can't be seperated.

This is one of the beautiful points of Orthodox theology. The Orthodox tradition recognizes them as two different things, and yet doesn't assign one as coming before the other.

10:28 PM  
Blogger SolaMeanie said...

Randy,

I don't think anyone suggests that justice and mercy aren't tied together. Obviously, those who are in Christ don't get the justice we deserve. That's mercy. Those who refuse to repent and trust in Christ will end up getting justice.

As for faith and works, I hope you don't misunderstand James. Some try to make him compete with Paul, but they are complimentary. When James refers to being justified by works, he is talking about being justified before men and not before God. Big difference.

As to Orthodox theology, I know quite a bit about it working with Russians. The Orthodox don't just appreciate art. They worship it. And their soteriology is the same basic works theology you find in Roman Catholicism.

7:59 AM  
Blogger Rattlesnake6 said...

Randy,
If you are so enamored of Russian Orthodoxy I suggest that you join them or, as Sola suggested, just go RC. There really isn't that much difference between them.
Justice and mercy are two of God's attributes, but not every gets mercy. At the same time, merciful actions by the church ought not to include being a kind of ecclesiastical welfare state that just doles out food, clothing, and money.

9:58 AM  
Blogger Kyle said...

Randy,

Justice and mercy are tied together, but they are distinct. Mercy is NOT a subset of justice. Mercy is non-justice.

3:38 PM  
Blogger Sister said...

Ron,

If you don't know that "icedawg" is your son Geoffrey, then you're either stupider than you sound in your blog (not likely) or you're a very poor liar.

icedawg and Ron,

Making sweeping generalisations about your neighbours behaviour is not exactly clear and irrefutable evidence that socialism does not work.

Ridiculous.

10:20 PM  
Blogger IceDawg said...

Thanks sister. Since you know who I am, who are you? Strong words are easy when you're anonymous. Anyway, I don't remember saying anywhere that my observations about my neighbor were irrefutable evidence. I think I even say in my post that it is based on my experience. However, my opinions do represent what I believe happens (based on my experience) in socialism. Are you denying these things do happen? I think I am still allowed to make observations about the abuses that come along with socialism, no?

The reason why I think socialism doesn't work is because it assumes that if you give people the right environment they will get better. Scripture tells us that is not the case. THAT is why I think socialism (or any ism, for that matter) does not work.

12:54 PM  
Blogger Sister said...

"Thanks sister. Since you know who I am, who are you? Strong words are easy when you're anonymous."

I figured out who you were from what you wrote about yourself. It's not that hard if you're willing to pay attention.



"Anyway, I don't remember saying anywhere that my observations about my neighbor were irrefutable evidence."

No. You didn't. You just presented them as such.



"I think I even say in my post that it is based on my experience. "

"Experience" and "Ignorance" are fully interchangeable here.



""Are you denying these things do happen?"

I don't deny that these things happen. I do, however, deny that it is alright to allow the hundred people who truly need support to fall through the cracks because of the one dishonest guy who keeps you up at night. To do otherwise is shortsighted, naive, and selfish... And that you can't deny. Mike Harris' conservative government went down in flames in the 2003 Ontario provincial election, in large part because of the peripheral effects his government's welfare reforms had on the neediest constituents' basic rights and freedoms. Or are you the last Ontarian Christian with any "Common Sense?"



"I think I am still allowed to make observations about the abuses that come along with socialism, no?"

Funny, though, how your astute observations don't include any perspective beyond your bedroom window.



"The reason why I think socialism doesn't work is because it assumes that if you give people the right environment they will get better. Scripture tells us that is not the case. THAT is why I think socialism (or any ism, for that matter) does not work."

I'm not going to make a case for or against socialism, but I will declare that the kind of christian (small 'c' intended, 'cause it ain't Christ-like) conservatism that you and your father advocate involves charity only for people who think like you and embrace your ideology. Thank God we have a government that is willing to ensure a basic foundation for human dignity by providing food and shelter to all of its remaining citizens after you're done dishing out your charity to those who you think, with all your questionable wisdom, deserve it.

Jesus fed the 5000... not just the few who he thought were diligent enough to arrive first.

4:31 PM  
Blogger IceDawg said...

Sister,

I think it probably helps that my picture is beside my name, no? Anyhow, I don't think your assessment of my comments is very thorough and you are attributing all sorts of attitudes to me that I don't have. Suffice it to say that I think the poor should most definitely be taken care of. I don't see how you could read the Bible, profess to believe it and say otherwise. However, I don't think the government is the best agent to do so. I have seen MANY examples where EI and welfare keep the folks in poverty rather than helping them out of it.

Probably our definitions of who the poor are and which of them needs financial assistance will differ, but that's no reason to imply all those things in your post.

5:59 AM  

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