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Online Luzita

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Re: Bono meets Pope Francis
« Reply #30 on: September 25, 2018, 03:14:02 PM »
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You can say heís only criticizing Christians who donít share his politics only if you consider scripture like Matthew 25 to be a political statement rather than a message from Christ.

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The religious message is that ďthe least of theseĒ should have their needs met. Jesus is setting the goal. How we accomplish the goal is where politics comes in.

People with liberal politics believe that government should care for the needy and tend to think anyone who doesnít agree lacks compassion and isnít listening to Jesus. Therefore, they conclude, conservatives are cold and heartless and bad Christians.

But that isnít necessarily true. Iíve seen statistics showing that conservatives give more to charity ó both in money and in time ó than liberals do. I think giving to the poor out of your own pocket requires greater commitment and personal sacrifice than agitating for government to do it.

There are reasons why some people donít like what they consider ďsocialismĒ even though they donít want anyone to go without. Some are afraid of giving government too much power. Some worry about creating a culture of dependency that is not in the ultimate best interests of the people supposedly being helped.

Now, you can also argue that private charity alone canít get the job done, and in a democracy government action represents our values as a society.

It is because of such factors that peopleís politics may differ even though they agree on basic Christian principles.

I donít disagree with anything you are saying, in theory.  The problem though, is that in practice, many Christians advocate solving problems of poverty directly instead of through the government.  The ďconservative generosityĒ is largely comprised of tithing to the church.  But if you look at the typical church budget, only a tiny percentage goes to help the poor.  The bulk goes to church facilities.  I donít consider funds that build a basketball gym or fancy facilities giving back to God.  More like a co-op.

Other funds go to helping people but with evangelical strings attached which hinders its effectiveness as aid and sends mixed signals about who Jesus really was.

So as charitable organizations, most churches are highly inefficient.  Ironically, this is the argument many conservatives make against government programs and the liberal approach.

So everything you say is true, but not the whole story and I believe liberals have some very valid points.  And of course Bonoís message to the church was exactly this...the church should be leading the way in helping with extreme poverty and AIDS, which in many cases, it wasnít.  If the church was doing its job, the issue about liberal vs conservative approach would be moot.


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I never said that liberals don't have valid points. In fact I included some of those valid points in my post. And you have raised other valid points, such as that the church wasn't always leading the way -- well, on AIDS it wasn't, for the most part, and Bono actually helped change that.

What I was getting at was that the tendency by liberals to denigrate the compassion of conservatives, or to equate Christian teaching with a particular brand of politics, is not valid. For my part, I want my government to help people in need, but I also very much understand why many are leery of that approach. My own family come from a country where the idea that government would take care of redistribution of wealth led to a small ruling class controlling all the wealth and power and everybody else having nothing, neither material wealth nor rights.  And you shouldn't have to have that sort of thing in your own background to understand how often it has happened.

You say that "conservative generosity" consists of tithing to the church. I'm not sure that's accurate, since I believe I've seen stats showing that conservatives give more to secular charity as well as religious charity. But I don't have the data in front of me so I'm not sure.

I donít really think we are disagreeing on any principles but maybe arguing a bit on degrees of truth.  For example, I agree that you canít or shouldnít equate a particular Christian teaching with a political point of view.  But people do, and the reason they do is that some Christians say and do things that support that linkage.  Especially in more recent times.

I donít have any data either.  I would be curious what it would suggest.  To make the point clearly...if taxes were reduced by 3% of income, how many self-described Christians who are currently tithing would continue tithing and then give the 3%  tax savings to a pure aid/charity organization?  This was the direction the Bush administration was headed with its Faith-based programs and my recollection is that it didnít work very well.

No doubt we have many lessons of what happens when a corrupt government makes promises to the poor to gain power.  I am not advocating for a Chavez-like socialism or any kind of socialism for that matter.  Iím just saying that if the conservative philosophy you describe was effective it would have already solved the problem.  It is obvious to me that humans are not inherently generous enough to bring about the degree of social balancing that needs to take place in order to prevent wide-scale civil unrest that would make us all poorer.


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I think we are agreeing on many principles, but I keep feeling you misunderstood the point of my post. It wasn't about establishing whether the liberal or conservative approach is better; it was about acknowledging that reasonable, sincere Christians might disagree in this area. I'm glad you agree that a Christian teaching can't necessarily be equated with a political position.  Several posts back, when you said "You can say heís only criticizing Christians who donít share his politics only if you consider scripture like Matthew 25 to be a political statement rather than a message from Christ," I felt that was what you were doing, which is what motivated my comment. But if that isn't what you meant then everything's cool.

Offline Tortuga

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Bono meets Pope Francis
« Reply #31 on: September 25, 2018, 03:31:56 PM »
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You can say heís only criticizing Christians who donít share his politics only if you consider scripture like Matthew 25 to be a political statement rather than a message from Christ.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

The religious message is that ďthe least of theseĒ should have their needs met. Jesus is setting the goal. How we accomplish the goal is where politics comes in.

People with liberal politics believe that government should care for the needy and tend to think anyone who doesnít agree lacks compassion and isnít listening to Jesus. Therefore, they conclude, conservatives are cold and heartless and bad Christians.

But that isnít necessarily true. Iíve seen statistics showing that conservatives give more to charity ó both in money and in time ó than liberals do. I think giving to the poor out of your own pocket requires greater commitment and personal sacrifice than agitating for government to do it.

There are reasons why some people donít like what they consider ďsocialismĒ even though they donít want anyone to go without. Some are afraid of giving government too much power. Some worry about creating a culture of dependency that is not in the ultimate best interests of the people supposedly being helped.

Now, you can also argue that private charity alone canít get the job done, and in a democracy government action represents our values as a society.

It is because of such factors that peopleís politics may differ even though they agree on basic Christian principles.

I donít disagree with anything you are saying, in theory.  The problem though, is that in practice, many Christians advocate solving problems of poverty directly instead of through the government.  The ďconservative generosityĒ is largely comprised of tithing to the church.  But if you look at the typical church budget, only a tiny percentage goes to help the poor.  The bulk goes to church facilities.  I donít consider funds that build a basketball gym or fancy facilities giving back to God.  More like a co-op.

Other funds go to helping people but with evangelical strings attached which hinders its effectiveness as aid and sends mixed signals about who Jesus really was.

So as charitable organizations, most churches are highly inefficient.  Ironically, this is the argument many conservatives make against government programs and the liberal approach.

So everything you say is true, but not the whole story and I believe liberals have some very valid points.  And of course Bonoís message to the church was exactly this...the church should be leading the way in helping with extreme poverty and AIDS, which in many cases, it wasnít.  If the church was doing its job, the issue about liberal vs conservative approach would be moot.


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I never said that liberals don't have valid points. In fact I included some of those valid points in my post. And you have raised other valid points, such as that the church wasn't always leading the way -- well, on AIDS it wasn't, for the most part, and Bono actually helped change that.

What I was getting at was that the tendency by liberals to denigrate the compassion of conservatives, or to equate Christian teaching with a particular brand of politics, is not valid. For my part, I want my government to help people in need, but I also very much understand why many are leery of that approach. My own family come from a country where the idea that government would take care of redistribution of wealth led to a small ruling class controlling all the wealth and power and everybody else having nothing, neither material wealth nor rights.  And you shouldn't have to have that sort of thing in your own background to understand how often it has happened.

You say that "conservative generosity" consists of tithing to the church. I'm not sure that's accurate, since I believe I've seen stats showing that conservatives give more to secular charity as well as religious charity. But I don't have the data in front of me so I'm not sure.

I donít really think we are disagreeing on any principles but maybe arguing a bit on degrees of truth.  For example, I agree that you canít or shouldnít equate a particular Christian teaching with a political point of view.  But people do, and the reason they do is that some Christians say and do things that support that linkage.  Especially in more recent times.

I donít have any data either.  I would be curious what it would suggest.  To make the point clearly...if taxes were reduced by 3% of income, how many self-described Christians who are currently tithing would continue tithing and then give the 3%  tax savings to a pure aid/charity organization?  This was the direction the Bush administration was headed with its Faith-based programs and my recollection is that it didnít work very well.

No doubt we have many lessons of what happens when a corrupt government makes promises to the poor to gain power.  I am not advocating for a Chavez-like socialism or any kind of socialism for that matter.  Iím just saying that if the conservative philosophy you describe was effective it would have already solved the problem.  It is obvious to me that humans are not inherently generous enough to bring about the degree of social balancing that needs to take place in order to prevent wide-scale civil unrest that would make us all poorer.


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I think we are agreeing on many principles, but I keep feeling you misunderstood the point of my post. It wasn't about establishing whether the liberal or conservative approach is better; it was about acknowledging that reasonable, sincere Christians might disagree in this area. I'm glad you agree that a Christian teaching can't necessarily be equated with a political position.  Several posts back, when you said "You can say heís only criticizing Christians who donít share his politics only if you consider scripture like Matthew 25 to be a political statement rather than a message from Christ," I felt that was what you were doing, which is what motivated my comment. But if that isn't what you meant then everything's cool.

That statement about Matthew was saying exactly what youíre saying...that the scriptures are apolitical.  The only way you could say he was criticizing Christians for their politics is if you take the view that the Bible is a book instructing Christians on political matters rather than spiritual matters.  I said ďonly if you consider...Ē.

Bono used Matthew 25 to make the point that some Christians were not living out scripture.  I was saying that was a spiritual criticism not a political one.  Iím a little lost how you took the opposite conclusion but it certainly explains why you thought we were disagreeing and I thought we werenít.


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« Last Edit: September 25, 2018, 03:41:41 PM by Tortuga »

Offline shineinthesummernight

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Re: Bono meets Pope Francis
« Reply #32 on: September 25, 2018, 06:34:40 PM »
Since politics means the balance of power within society, I'm not sure how you can conclude that the Bible is apolitical.  There is a definite preferential option for the poor, and it's stated so often that it would be impossible to miss in the New Testament.  It seems to me that Christ is very concerned with how the poor are treated; in fact, he states that this is how we will be judged.  Since individuals don't give enough charitably speaking to take care of the poor, the government necessarily has to step in.  The crying, hungry baby cannot wait upon the whims of charitable giving.

Offline Tortuga

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Re: Bono meets Pope Francis
« Reply #33 on: September 25, 2018, 06:45:37 PM »
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Since politics means the balance of power within society, I'm not sure how you can conclude that the Bible is apolitical.  There is a definite preferential option for the poor, and it's stated so often that it would be impossible to miss in the New Testament.  It seems to me that Christ is very concerned with how the poor are treated; in fact, he states that this is how we will be judged.  Since individuals don't give enough charitably speaking to take care of the poor, the government necessarily has to step in.  The crying, hungry baby cannot wait upon the whims of charitable giving.

Christ didnít speak to or teach governments.  His ministry was to people and he taught each of us to care for the poor.  He didnít get into the details of how we should do it (i.e. be generous by voting for taxes the government would use to help the poor vs help them directly.)

The last two sentences of your post I agree with and that was the point I was trying to make.  But I donít think you can het that point from the Bible.


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Offline dwaltman

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Re: Bono meets Pope Francis
« Reply #34 on: September 26, 2018, 09:09:16 AM »
A thread that I actually learned something from...

Offline shineinthesummernight

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Re: Bono meets Pope Francis
« Reply #35 on: September 28, 2018, 11:37:00 AM »
Cool you learned something, Dwaltman?  What did you take away from all this?
    I would argue that Christ did come for societal as well as personal transformation.  The Catholic Church was actually the first to initiate hospitals, schools, charitable organizations, etc.  In this sense, the Christian movement has transformed society in myriad ways.  I think that we can convince ourselves (wrongly) that politics does not come in to play in our lives if we just don't discuss it or pay it much attention.  Nevertheless, politics, which at its most basic level involves the balance of power, is embedded in everything--relationships, institutions, societies, etc.  Their is a political aspect to a work meeting, a marriage, a community gathering, etc.:  whom is in charge?  who gets to speak and who is listened to?  how is power distributed?  is it shared or given freely?  All of these questions come into play and we can see them at work in many events of our day.

Offline Tortuga

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Re: Bono meets Pope Francis
« Reply #36 on: September 28, 2018, 03:43:03 PM »
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Cool you learned something, Dwaltman?  What did you take away from all this?
    I would argue that Christ did come for societal as well as personal transformation.  The Catholic Church was actually the first to initiate hospitals, schools, charitable organizations, etc.  In this sense, the Christian movement has transformed society in myriad ways.  I think that we can convince ourselves (wrongly) that politics does not come in to play in our lives if we just don't discuss it or pay it much attention.  Nevertheless, politics, which at its most basic level involves the balance of power, is embedded in everything--relationships, institutions, societies, etc.  Their is a political aspect to a work meeting, a marriage, a community gathering, etc.:  whom is in charge?  who gets to speak and who is listened to?  how is power distributed?  is it shared or given freely?  All of these questions come into play and we can see them at work in many events of our day.

Great post.  You canít cleanly delineate the religious from the political.


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Online Luzita

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Re: Bono meets Pope Francis
« Reply #37 on: October 01, 2018, 08:53:19 PM »
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You can say heís only criticizing Christians who donít share his politics only if you consider scripture like Matthew 25 to be a political statement rather than a message from Christ.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

The religious message is that ďthe least of theseĒ should have their needs met. Jesus is setting the goal. How we accomplish the goal is where politics comes in.

People with liberal politics believe that government should care for the needy and tend to think anyone who doesnít agree lacks compassion and isnít listening to Jesus. Therefore, they conclude, conservatives are cold and heartless and bad Christians.

But that isnít necessarily true. Iíve seen statistics showing that conservatives give more to charity ó both in money and in time ó than liberals do. I think giving to the poor out of your own pocket requires greater commitment and personal sacrifice than agitating for government to do it.

There are reasons why some people donít like what they consider ďsocialismĒ even though they donít want anyone to go without. Some are afraid of giving government too much power. Some worry about creating a culture of dependency that is not in the ultimate best interests of the people supposedly being helped.

Now, you can also argue that private charity alone canít get the job done, and in a democracy government action represents our values as a society.

It is because of such factors that peopleís politics may differ even though they agree on basic Christian principles.

I donít disagree with anything you are saying, in theory.  The problem though, is that in practice, many Christians advocate solving problems of poverty directly instead of through the government.  The ďconservative generosityĒ is largely comprised of tithing to the church.  But if you look at the typical church budget, only a tiny percentage goes to help the poor.  The bulk goes to church facilities.  I donít consider funds that build a basketball gym or fancy facilities giving back to God.  More like a co-op.

Other funds go to helping people but with evangelical strings attached which hinders its effectiveness as aid and sends mixed signals about who Jesus really was.

So as charitable organizations, most churches are highly inefficient.  Ironically, this is the argument many conservatives make against government programs and the liberal approach.

So everything you say is true, but not the whole story and I believe liberals have some very valid points.  And of course Bonoís message to the church was exactly this...the church should be leading the way in helping with extreme poverty and AIDS, which in many cases, it wasnít.  If the church was doing its job, the issue about liberal vs conservative approach would be moot.


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I never said that liberals don't have valid points. In fact I included some of those valid points in my post. And you have raised other valid points, such as that the church wasn't always leading the way -- well, on AIDS it wasn't, for the most part, and Bono actually helped change that.

What I was getting at was that the tendency by liberals to denigrate the compassion of conservatives, or to equate Christian teaching with a particular brand of politics, is not valid. For my part, I want my government to help people in need, but I also very much understand why many are leery of that approach. My own family come from a country where the idea that government would take care of redistribution of wealth led to a small ruling class controlling all the wealth and power and everybody else having nothing, neither material wealth nor rights.  And you shouldn't have to have that sort of thing in your own background to understand how often it has happened.

You say that "conservative generosity" consists of tithing to the church. I'm not sure that's accurate, since I believe I've seen stats showing that conservatives give more to secular charity as well as religious charity. But I don't have the data in front of me so I'm not sure.

I donít really think we are disagreeing on any principles but maybe arguing a bit on degrees of truth.  For example, I agree that you canít or shouldnít equate a particular Christian teaching with a political point of view.  But people do, and the reason they do is that some Christians say and do things that support that linkage.  Especially in more recent times.

I donít have any data either.  I would be curious what it would suggest.  To make the point clearly...if taxes were reduced by 3% of income, how many self-described Christians who are currently tithing would continue tithing and then give the 3%  tax savings to a pure aid/charity organization?  This was the direction the Bush administration was headed with its Faith-based programs and my recollection is that it didnít work very well.

No doubt we have many lessons of what happens when a corrupt government makes promises to the poor to gain power.  I am not advocating for a Chavez-like socialism or any kind of socialism for that matter.  Iím just saying that if the conservative philosophy you describe was effective it would have already solved the problem.  It is obvious to me that humans are not inherently generous enough to bring about the degree of social balancing that needs to take place in order to prevent wide-scale civil unrest that would make us all poorer.


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I think we are agreeing on many principles, but I keep feeling you misunderstood the point of my post. It wasn't about establishing whether the liberal or conservative approach is better; it was about acknowledging that reasonable, sincere Christians might disagree in this area. I'm glad you agree that a Christian teaching can't necessarily be equated with a political position.  Several posts back, when you said "You can say heís only criticizing Christians who donít share his politics only if you consider scripture like Matthew 25 to be a political statement rather than a message from Christ," I felt that was what you were doing, which is what motivated my comment. But if that isn't what you meant then everything's cool.

That statement about Matthew was saying exactly what youíre saying...that the scriptures are apolitical.  The only way you could say he was criticizing Christians for their politics is if you take the view that the Bible is a book instructing Christians on political matters rather than spiritual matters.  I said ďonly if you consider...Ē.

Bono used Matthew 25 to make the point that some Christians were not living out scripture.  I was saying that was a spiritual criticism not a political one.  Iím a little lost how you took the opposite conclusion but it certainly explains why you thought we were disagreeing and I thought we werenít.


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The way I took your statement was that a certain political stance isnít just a political stance, itís a religious stance. I guess I took it that way because Iíve heard that sort of equivalence made before. But now I look at your statement and I can appreciate how you were really saying the opposite.


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Offline Tortuga

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Bono meets Pope Francis
« Reply #38 on: October 02, 2018, 06:06:14 AM »
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You can say heís only criticizing Christians who donít share his politics only if you consider scripture like Matthew 25 to be a political statement rather than a message from Christ.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

The religious message is that ďthe least of theseĒ should have their needs met. Jesus is setting the goal. How we accomplish the goal is where politics comes in.

People with liberal politics believe that government should care for the needy and tend to think anyone who doesnít agree lacks compassion and isnít listening to Jesus. Therefore, they conclude, conservatives are cold and heartless and bad Christians.

But that isnít necessarily true. Iíve seen statistics showing that conservatives give more to charity ó both in money and in time ó than liberals do. I think giving to the poor out of your own pocket requires greater commitment and personal sacrifice than agitating for government to do it.

There are reasons why some people donít like what they consider ďsocialismĒ even though they donít want anyone to go without. Some are afraid of giving government too much power. Some worry about creating a culture of dependency that is not in the ultimate best interests of the people supposedly being helped.

Now, you can also argue that private charity alone canít get the job done, and in a democracy government action represents our values as a society.

It is because of such factors that peopleís politics may differ even though they agree on basic Christian principles.

I donít disagree with anything you are saying, in theory.  The problem though, is that in practice, many Christians advocate solving problems of poverty directly instead of through the government.  The ďconservative generosityĒ is largely comprised of tithing to the church.  But if you look at the typical church budget, only a tiny percentage goes to help the poor.  The bulk goes to church facilities.  I donít consider funds that build a basketball gym or fancy facilities giving back to God.  More like a co-op.

Other funds go to helping people but with evangelical strings attached which hinders its effectiveness as aid and sends mixed signals about who Jesus really was.

So as charitable organizations, most churches are highly inefficient.  Ironically, this is the argument many conservatives make against government programs and the liberal approach.

So everything you say is true, but not the whole story and I believe liberals have some very valid points.  And of course Bonoís message to the church was exactly this...the church should be leading the way in helping with extreme poverty and AIDS, which in many cases, it wasnít.  If the church was doing its job, the issue about liberal vs conservative approach would be moot.


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I never said that liberals don't have valid points. In fact I included some of those valid points in my post. And you have raised other valid points, such as that the church wasn't always leading the way -- well, on AIDS it wasn't, for the most part, and Bono actually helped change that.

What I was getting at was that the tendency by liberals to denigrate the compassion of conservatives, or to equate Christian teaching with a particular brand of politics, is not valid. For my part, I want my government to help people in need, but I also very much understand why many are leery of that approach. My own family come from a country where the idea that government would take care of redistribution of wealth led to a small ruling class controlling all the wealth and power and everybody else having nothing, neither material wealth nor rights.  And you shouldn't have to have that sort of thing in your own background to understand how often it has happened.

You say that "conservative generosity" consists of tithing to the church. I'm not sure that's accurate, since I believe I've seen stats showing that conservatives give more to secular charity as well as religious charity. But I don't have the data in front of me so I'm not sure.

I donít really think we are disagreeing on any principles but maybe arguing a bit on degrees of truth.  For example, I agree that you canít or shouldnít equate a particular Christian teaching with a political point of view.  But people do, and the reason they do is that some Christians say and do things that support that linkage.  Especially in more recent times.

I donít have any data either.  I would be curious what it would suggest.  To make the point clearly...if taxes were reduced by 3% of income, how many self-described Christians who are currently tithing would continue tithing and then give the 3%  tax savings to a pure aid/charity organization?  This was the direction the Bush administration was headed with its Faith-based programs and my recollection is that it didnít work very well.

No doubt we have many lessons of what happens when a corrupt government makes promises to the poor to gain power.  I am not advocating for a Chavez-like socialism or any kind of socialism for that matter.  Iím just saying that if the conservative philosophy you describe was effective it would have already solved the problem.  It is obvious to me that humans are not inherently generous enough to bring about the degree of social balancing that needs to take place in order to prevent wide-scale civil unrest that would make us all poorer.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

I think we are agreeing on many principles, but I keep feeling you misunderstood the point of my post. It wasn't about establishing whether the liberal or conservative approach is better; it was about acknowledging that reasonable, sincere Christians might disagree in this area. I'm glad you agree that a Christian teaching can't necessarily be equated with a political position.  Several posts back, when you said "You can say heís only criticizing Christians who donít share his politics only if you consider scripture like Matthew 25 to be a political statement rather than a message from Christ," I felt that was what you were doing, which is what motivated my comment. But if that isn't what you meant then everything's cool.

That statement about Matthew was saying exactly what youíre saying...that the scriptures are apolitical.  The only way you could say he was criticizing Christians for their politics is if you take the view that the Bible is a book instructing Christians on political matters rather than spiritual matters.  I said ďonly if you consider...Ē.

Bono used Matthew 25 to make the point that some Christians were not living out scripture.  I was saying that was a spiritual criticism not a political one.  Iím a little lost how you took the opposite conclusion but it certainly explains why you thought we were disagreeing and I thought we werenít.


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The way I took your statement was that a certain political stance isnít just a political stance, itís a religious stance. I guess I took it that way because Iíve heard that sort of equivalence made before. But now I look at your statement and I can appreciate how you were really saying the opposite.


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Yeah, so not to argue with both of us but now that you put it that way it sounds a bit like splitting hairs.  It is certainly fair to say that many peopleís political stance is (in their minds) based 100% on their perception of religious truth.  That is an equivalence that is true.  My point was that Jesus himself seemed intentionally apolitical and that the Bible is a book of individual spiritual instruction, not a political manifesto.  You cannot deny though that people base their political views on their understanding of scripture and that politicians use scripture to justify their political positions.  That does not however mean that when Bono preaches to the church or ďprovides spiritual leadershipĒ that he is engaging in ďpoliticsĒ, which is what the original argument was.  Spiritual beliefs shape many things in your life, one of which is your political views.  But not all political views are grounded in spiritual truth.


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« Last Edit: October 02, 2018, 06:11:22 AM by Tortuga »

Online Luzita

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Re: Bono meets Pope Francis
« Reply #39 on: October 02, 2018, 11:24:09 AM »
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You can say heís only criticizing Christians who donít share his politics only if you consider scripture like Matthew 25 to be a political statement rather than a message from Christ.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

The religious message is that ďthe least of theseĒ should have their needs met. Jesus is setting the goal. How we accomplish the goal is where politics comes in.

People with liberal politics believe that government should care for the needy and tend to think anyone who doesnít agree lacks compassion and isnít listening to Jesus. Therefore, they conclude, conservatives are cold and heartless and bad Christians.

But that isnít necessarily true. Iíve seen statistics showing that conservatives give more to charity ó both in money and in time ó than liberals do. I think giving to the poor out of your own pocket requires greater commitment and personal sacrifice than agitating for government to do it.

There are reasons why some people donít like what they consider ďsocialismĒ even though they donít want anyone to go without. Some are afraid of giving government too much power. Some worry about creating a culture of dependency that is not in the ultimate best interests of the people supposedly being helped.

Now, you can also argue that private charity alone canít get the job done, and in a democracy government action represents our values as a society.

It is because of such factors that peopleís politics may differ even though they agree on basic Christian principles.

I donít disagree with anything you are saying, in theory.  The problem though, is that in practice, many Christians advocate solving problems of poverty directly instead of through the government.  The ďconservative generosityĒ is largely comprised of tithing to the church.  But if you look at the typical church budget, only a tiny percentage goes to help the poor.  The bulk goes to church facilities.  I donít consider funds that build a basketball gym or fancy facilities giving back to God.  More like a co-op.

Other funds go to helping people but with evangelical strings attached which hinders its effectiveness as aid and sends mixed signals about who Jesus really was.

So as charitable organizations, most churches are highly inefficient.  Ironically, this is the argument many conservatives make against government programs and the liberal approach.

So everything you say is true, but not the whole story and I believe liberals have some very valid points.  And of course Bonoís message to the church was exactly this...the church should be leading the way in helping with extreme poverty and AIDS, which in many cases, it wasnít.  If the church was doing its job, the issue about liberal vs conservative approach would be moot.


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I never said that liberals don't have valid points. In fact I included some of those valid points in my post. And you have raised other valid points, such as that the church wasn't always leading the way -- well, on AIDS it wasn't, for the most part, and Bono actually helped change that.

What I was getting at was that the tendency by liberals to denigrate the compassion of conservatives, or to equate Christian teaching with a particular brand of politics, is not valid. For my part, I want my government to help people in need, but I also very much understand why many are leery of that approach. My own family come from a country where the idea that government would take care of redistribution of wealth led to a small ruling class controlling all the wealth and power and everybody else having nothing, neither material wealth nor rights.  And you shouldn't have to have that sort of thing in your own background to understand how often it has happened.

You say that "conservative generosity" consists of tithing to the church. I'm not sure that's accurate, since I believe I've seen stats showing that conservatives give more to secular charity as well as religious charity. But I don't have the data in front of me so I'm not sure.

I donít really think we are disagreeing on any principles but maybe arguing a bit on degrees of truth.  For example, I agree that you canít or shouldnít equate a particular Christian teaching with a political point of view.  But people do, and the reason they do is that some Christians say and do things that support that linkage.  Especially in more recent times.

I donít have any data either.  I would be curious what it would suggest.  To make the point clearly...if taxes were reduced by 3% of income, how many self-described Christians who are currently tithing would continue tithing and then give the 3%  tax savings to a pure aid/charity organization?  This was the direction the Bush administration was headed with its Faith-based programs and my recollection is that it didnít work very well.

No doubt we have many lessons of what happens when a corrupt government makes promises to the poor to gain power.  I am not advocating for a Chavez-like socialism or any kind of socialism for that matter.  Iím just saying that if the conservative philosophy you describe was effective it would have already solved the problem.  It is obvious to me that humans are not inherently generous enough to bring about the degree of social balancing that needs to take place in order to prevent wide-scale civil unrest that would make us all poorer.


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I think we are agreeing on many principles, but I keep feeling you misunderstood the point of my post. It wasn't about establishing whether the liberal or conservative approach is better; it was about acknowledging that reasonable, sincere Christians might disagree in this area. I'm glad you agree that a Christian teaching can't necessarily be equated with a political position.  Several posts back, when you said "You can say heís only criticizing Christians who donít share his politics only if you consider scripture like Matthew 25 to be a political statement rather than a message from Christ," I felt that was what you were doing, which is what motivated my comment. But if that isn't what you meant then everything's cool.

That statement about Matthew was saying exactly what youíre saying...that the scriptures are apolitical.  The only way you could say he was criticizing Christians for their politics is if you take the view that the Bible is a book instructing Christians on political matters rather than spiritual matters.  I said ďonly if you consider...Ē.

Bono used Matthew 25 to make the point that some Christians were not living out scripture.  I was saying that was a spiritual criticism not a political one.  Iím a little lost how you took the opposite conclusion but it certainly explains why you thought we were disagreeing and I thought we werenít.


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The way I took your statement was that a certain political stance isnít just a political stance, itís a religious stance. I guess I took it that way because Iíve heard that sort of equivalence made before. But now I look at your statement and I can appreciate how you were really saying the opposite.


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Yeah, so not to argue with both of us but now that you put it that way it sounds a bit like splitting hairs.  It is certainly fair to say that many peopleís political stance is (in their minds) based 100% on their perception of religious truth.  That is an equivalence that is true.  My point was that Jesus himself seemed intentionally apolitical and that the Bible is a book of individual spiritual instruction, not a political manifesto.  You cannot deny though that people base their political views on their understanding of scripture and that politicians use scripture to justify their political positions.  That does not however mean that when Bono preaches to the church or ďprovides spiritual leadershipĒ that he is engaging in ďpoliticsĒ, which is what the original argument was.  Spiritual beliefs shape many things in your life, one of which is your political views.  But not all political views are grounded in spiritual truth.


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I agree that not all political views are grounded in spiritual truth. And also, some spiritual truths have more than one valid political interpretation.
« Last Edit: October 02, 2018, 11:26:23 AM by Luzita »

Offline Tortuga

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Re: Bono meets Pope Francis
« Reply #40 on: October 02, 2018, 12:46:28 PM »
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You can say heís only criticizing Christians who donít share his politics only if you consider scripture like Matthew 25 to be a political statement rather than a message from Christ.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

The religious message is that ďthe least of theseĒ should have their needs met. Jesus is setting the goal. How we accomplish the goal is where politics comes in.

People with liberal politics believe that government should care for the needy and tend to think anyone who doesnít agree lacks compassion and isnít listening to Jesus. Therefore, they conclude, conservatives are cold and heartless and bad Christians.

But that isnít necessarily true. Iíve seen statistics showing that conservatives give more to charity ó both in money and in time ó than liberals do. I think giving to the poor out of your own pocket requires greater commitment and personal sacrifice than agitating for government to do it.

There are reasons why some people donít like what they consider ďsocialismĒ even though they donít want anyone to go without. Some are afraid of giving government too much power. Some worry about creating a culture of dependency that is not in the ultimate best interests of the people supposedly being helped.

Now, you can also argue that private charity alone canít get the job done, and in a democracy government action represents our values as a society.

It is because of such factors that peopleís politics may differ even though they agree on basic Christian principles.

I donít disagree with anything you are saying, in theory.  The problem though, is that in practice, many Christians advocate solving problems of poverty directly instead of through the government.  The ďconservative generosityĒ is largely comprised of tithing to the church.  But if you look at the typical church budget, only a tiny percentage goes to help the poor.  The bulk goes to church facilities.  I donít consider funds that build a basketball gym or fancy facilities giving back to God.  More like a co-op.

Other funds go to helping people but with evangelical strings attached which hinders its effectiveness as aid and sends mixed signals about who Jesus really was.

So as charitable organizations, most churches are highly inefficient.  Ironically, this is the argument many conservatives make against government programs and the liberal approach.

So everything you say is true, but not the whole story and I believe liberals have some very valid points.  And of course Bonoís message to the church was exactly this...the church should be leading the way in helping with extreme poverty and AIDS, which in many cases, it wasnít.  If the church was doing its job, the issue about liberal vs conservative approach would be moot.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

I never said that liberals don't have valid points. In fact I included some of those valid points in my post. And you have raised other valid points, such as that the church wasn't always leading the way -- well, on AIDS it wasn't, for the most part, and Bono actually helped change that.

What I was getting at was that the tendency by liberals to denigrate the compassion of conservatives, or to equate Christian teaching with a particular brand of politics, is not valid. For my part, I want my government to help people in need, but I also very much understand why many are leery of that approach. My own family come from a country where the idea that government would take care of redistribution of wealth led to a small ruling class controlling all the wealth and power and everybody else having nothing, neither material wealth nor rights.  And you shouldn't have to have that sort of thing in your own background to understand how often it has happened.

You say that "conservative generosity" consists of tithing to the church. I'm not sure that's accurate, since I believe I've seen stats showing that conservatives give more to secular charity as well as religious charity. But I don't have the data in front of me so I'm not sure.

I donít really think we are disagreeing on any principles but maybe arguing a bit on degrees of truth.  For example, I agree that you canít or shouldnít equate a particular Christian teaching with a political point of view.  But people do, and the reason they do is that some Christians say and do things that support that linkage.  Especially in more recent times.

I donít have any data either.  I would be curious what it would suggest.  To make the point clearly...if taxes were reduced by 3% of income, how many self-described Christians who are currently tithing would continue tithing and then give the 3%  tax savings to a pure aid/charity organization?  This was the direction the Bush administration was headed with its Faith-based programs and my recollection is that it didnít work very well.

No doubt we have many lessons of what happens when a corrupt government makes promises to the poor to gain power.  I am not advocating for a Chavez-like socialism or any kind of socialism for that matter.  Iím just saying that if the conservative philosophy you describe was effective it would have already solved the problem.  It is obvious to me that humans are not inherently generous enough to bring about the degree of social balancing that needs to take place in order to prevent wide-scale civil unrest that would make us all poorer.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

I think we are agreeing on many principles, but I keep feeling you misunderstood the point of my post. It wasn't about establishing whether the liberal or conservative approach is better; it was about acknowledging that reasonable, sincere Christians might disagree in this area. I'm glad you agree that a Christian teaching can't necessarily be equated with a political position.  Several posts back, when you said "You can say heís only criticizing Christians who donít share his politics only if you consider scripture like Matthew 25 to be a political statement rather than a message from Christ," I felt that was what you were doing, which is what motivated my comment. But if that isn't what you meant then everything's cool.

That statement about Matthew was saying exactly what youíre saying...that the scriptures are apolitical.  The only way you could say he was criticizing Christians for their politics is if you take the view that the Bible is a book instructing Christians on political matters rather than spiritual matters.  I said ďonly if you consider...Ē.

Bono used Matthew 25 to make the point that some Christians were not living out scripture.  I was saying that was a spiritual criticism not a political one.  Iím a little lost how you took the opposite conclusion but it certainly explains why you thought we were disagreeing and I thought we werenít.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
The way I took your statement was that a certain political stance isnít just a political stance, itís a religious stance. I guess I took it that way because Iíve heard that sort of equivalence made before. But now I look at your statement and I can appreciate how you were really saying the opposite.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Yeah, so not to argue with both of us but now that you put it that way it sounds a bit like splitting hairs.  It is certainly fair to say that many peopleís political stance is (in their minds) based 100% on their perception of religious truth.  That is an equivalence that is true.  My point was that Jesus himself seemed intentionally apolitical and that the Bible is a book of individual spiritual instruction, not a political manifesto.  You cannot deny though that people base their political views on their understanding of scripture and that politicians use scripture to justify their political positions.  That does not however mean that when Bono preaches to the church or ďprovides spiritual leadershipĒ that he is engaging in ďpoliticsĒ, which is what the original argument was.  Spiritual beliefs shape many things in your life, one of which is your political views.  But not all political views are grounded in spiritual truth.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

I agree that not all political views are grounded in spiritual truth. And also, some spiritual truths have more than one valid political interpretation.

Yes your last sentence is what I was trying to say.


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Offline Maximus

  • Desert Rose
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  • Posts: 2,295
  • Some days you wake up in the army
Re: Bono meets Pope Francis
« Reply #41 on: October 13, 2018, 11:09:58 AM »
My religious beliefs impact my political beliefs. Life is my primary concern. I can never vote for a candidate who is pro abortion even if I believe with 99 percent of their other platform. For example. I love our senator, but I wonít vote for her because of the life issue.