Archive for the ‘morals’ Tag

Arguing with the Indoctrinated 2 (Voluntary)   6 comments

So, I have established that I believe taxation is nothing more than highway robbery conducted by the majority using government as their bully boy.

I subscribe to the 10 Commandments that say “Do not steal” and I follow Jesus (God incarnate) as my example. When you actually study the Bible, you begin to notice that God never forces anyone to do anything against their will. He sets standards and consequences for not meeting them, then He leaves us free to decide our own path … to obey or to disobey as we choose.

Take Adam for example. God gave him one rule — don’t eat of that fruit on that one particular tree in the garden. He didn’t put the fruit out of Adam’s reach. Why? Because God understands that obedience is not truly obedience if you have no choice. He made keeping the one rule voluntary for Adam to give Adam a choice in the matter. Adam could have chosen to not eat of the fruit. He had lots of others available to him, but he exercised his right of self-determination and paid the consequences.

When the rich young ruler wanted to know what he needed for eternal life, Jesus told him to give up everything he owned. It was completely voluntary. The guy went away without accepting eternal life. Jesus, being God, knew his heart and knew he loved his wealth more than he loved God. Jesus didn’t make him give up his wealth or accept eternal life. He offered an option, the consequences of which were to be left out of the Kingdom.

When his disciple James first became a disciple, James asked what he could do to make himself right with God. James was a tax collector, which could be done honorably, but mostly was not because the Romans allowed tax collectors to make huge profits off the collection by adding their own fees. Jesus knew James’ past habits and his newly acquired heart and told James to return what he had stolen from the people, plus interest. He did not tell James to give up everything he owned and become a beggar. That was not necessary for James to become right with God.

Jesus does the same thing with all of us. The vast majority of humankind will be left out of the Kingdom of Heaven not because God decided they are unfit, but because they love something else (called “the world” in the Bible) more than they love God. They might greatly desire to secure a future in Heaven, but they will not give up their own will, come to God on His terms and live according to God’s guidelines. They prefer to follow their own will rather than submit to God.

I know, we don’t like that word “submission” in the 21st century, but basically what it means is to VOLUNTARILY do what you know is right, even if it goes against your own personal interests.

Jesus voluntarily went to the cross for us, even though He had all the power in the world to stop it. He stands at the door and knocks, waiting for us to voluntarily let Him into our lives. There is no coercion with God. There is simply a choice to be made and the consequences of that choice.

Do we do it His way or ours? Christians are meant to be in submission to God’s way of doing things.

So, what does that have to do with my view of taxation?

Taxation is not voluntary. If I don’t pay my taxes, the federal government comes, confiscates everything I own, and puts me in jail (google Wesley Snipes)  So, clearly taxation is not a God thing. Yes, Jesus said “Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s”. Christians don’t have the option to not pay our taxes because God has better things for us to do than languish in prison for tax evasion. If we go to prison, it darn well better be for something Jesus would do.

But that doesn’t mean we can’t oppose taxation and do what we can to retrain thoughtful people away from the coercive nature of the government we live under.

God placed in my heart that when we are coerced into providing charity for others, we are not doing God’s work. Yes, Christians should give from our surplus to the poor and needy (who are not necessarily the financially destitute). Our family strives to give 10% of our net income to our church, which participates in charities that help people who actually need help (Food Bank, Rescue Mission, an agricultural mission in Tanzania, an English & citizenship school for the foreign born). Other Christians we know attend other churches that conduct other ministries from the tithes of the other Christians. I know some richer people who give a larger percentage of their income to the church. That is voluntary. Nobody is forcing any of us to give. We do it because we love God and He teaches us to show His love of people through giving a portion of what He gives us back to Him to be used to help folks who need help.

Opposition to taxation is not about a lack of generosity. I daresay if we were to compare my voluntary contributions to charity against the vast majority of population, I’d look a great deal more generous than any of the folks screaming for wealth redistribution. I’d like to give more, but the federal government takes 15% of my income, so I can’t afford it. I’ll be able to give even less when the State of Alaska institutes a proposed 30% tax on my income. That is fewer people who need actual help getting the help they need.

My opposition to taxation is based upon the understanding it is wrong for a portion of our society to force folks to be generous and then to waste that stolen money on buying votes for the political class.

Is it generosity if your “giving” is coerced? I submit that it is not.

And, yes, I will continue to hit this topic and you’re welcome to join in.

Arguing with the Indoctrinated 1 (Robbery)   8 comments

Twitter rather limits the intelligence of a conversation by restricting you to 146 characters, but it also boils down the essence of the stupidity people believe, highlights how they take things out of context and how they ascribe evil motives to people they’ve never met and know almost nothing about.

Rather assume those I disagree with are evil, I assume they are ill-informed and indoctrinated.

Economics 101 – first class of the semester — the professor explained that there’s no such thing as a free lunch.

  1. Everything costs somebody something.
  2. If it doesn’t cost you something, it cost someone else something to provide it to you.

This was not a new concept for me. My mom was a child of the Great Depression and my father had been a young working man during it. They understood the concept of TINSTAAFL instinctively and they passed those lessons onto my brother and myself. I wasn’t the only one in the class to grasp the concept, but I was the youngest. Most of my classmates argued from the traditional “socialist” viewpoint that a society owed those who make less money a living and if that means taking money from those who made more money, then it really wasn’t going to hurt “the rich.”

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that so many of my generation are still wrapped up in that concept and don’t really understand the implications of TINSTAAFL and that they’ve passed the concept onto their children.

I’m not wealthy by any means, never have been. My parents were lower middle class earners who paid taxes for basic societal necessities like roads. My husband and I have earned as high as the 25% tax bracket and we’re currently in the 15% tax bracket. So I’m not a wealthy person defending my own stuff. So why would I defend the “wealthy” by arguing against increased taxation?  Don’t I understand I’m arguing against my own interests? Don’t I want some of what that wealthy person has? Aren’t I angry that the wealthy have so much income and I have so little? Don’t I think corporations are morally wrong and abusive of society?

Yes, corporations are wrong and I think it is obscene that a corporate CEO can be paid more in one year than I will make in a lifetime. I would like to make more money. But …. The next few blog posts are going to be on this subject.

I ascribe to the 10 commandments, one of which says I may not steal. Stealing is absolutely against the Law of God. What is stealing? The forcibly taking of another person’s property (which includes their money and could include services they provide as part of a business). It is morally wrong and considered illegal for me to don a mask and use a gun to coerce money out of passersby in the park near my home. Yes, that would add to my family income and there are times I could really use that extra money and I could make careful observations to assure that I only rob people who can afford to lose the cash, but it’s still against the law and I’d go to jail for doing it. Even if I were giving the money to charity, I would still go to jail because it would still be wrong and against the law. Rightfully so.

If I engaged in a mob that did the same thing, we’d still be wrong and breaking the law, even if we conducted an election among ourselves and invited the passersby an opportunity to vote in it — robbing them would still be wrong and illegal.

So why is it that we think that it’s okay when the government coerces money from people?

Yeah, yeah, we voted — yada yada. I didn’t vote to create the federal government, the State of Alaska or the Fairbanks North Star Borough. All of those entities came into existence before I could vote. Every vote I’ve cast in the last 35 years (exempting my dumb college student period) has been an attempt to reduce that web of government. I DID NOT vote to have my neighbors steal from me to use what I earn for their own purposes, especially when those purposes fly in the face of everything I hold sacred. I didn’t vote for the government to steal from my neighbors to use what they earn for my purposes. Other people may have voted for that, but that vote makes them no better than a mob at the park robbing people for the money in their wallets.

I’m going to keep talking about this subject for a while and you’re free to argue with me if you want.

Guilt and Shame are NOT Synonyms   Leave a comment

For 15 years, I worked as an administrator in a social work setting. I was not a social worker, I was a paper-pusher who helped social workers. We had a lot of great conversations about my faith and their take on faith in general.

Christians, I upheld our “brand” well. They (mostly) came to understand that I am sane and reasonable. Over the years, some of them would come to me to ask if I thought a client’s religious beliefs were pathological religiosity or true faith. My coworkers came to understand that they lacked the knowledge to truly evaluate that distinction.

One subject we might have discussed a couple of hundred times was the difference between guilt and shame and their place in the Christian self-analysis.

Shame and guilt are words used synonymously in our society, but they really aren’t the same work. You can figure that out by looking at their opposite.

  • Guilt’s opposite is innocence or moral purity.
  • Shame’s opposite is honor and glory

Hosea 4:7 – “I will change their glory into shame”.

Philippians 3:19 – “They glory in their shame.”

Both shame and guilt include falling short of some standard, which is subjectively experienced as feeling unacceptable and wrong or bad. Guilt is violating a rule, law or commandment. It fits solidly into a moral or legal framework. But shame is more difficult to define.

We can feel shame and guilt at the same time. If I tell a lie, I am guilty of lying. I may also feel guilty for telling the lie because I know that lying is wrong. I might also feel shame because I thought I was a strong enough person to tell the truth.

Shame and guilt may also diverge from one another. I may admit that I broke a rule or a law (and hence by guilty), but I may not feel shame for what I have done. For example, when I speed, I am  guilty of a traffic infraction, but if I am on the Parks Highway at midnight on a clear summer’s night, I’m not risking anyone’s life, so I don’t feel shame.

Conversely, people shame for things that are morally irrelevant. For example, many people feel shame about their bodies. Body issues are morally neutral and yet we can experience extreme and painful shame over them. I am personally ashamed of my singing voice because it is awful, but I’ve broken no law or moral rule when I belt out a tune on the hiking trail. Although I am not guilty of violating a moral or legal standard, I feel shame.

The third relationship between guilt and shame is in opposition to each other. We can feel shame for doing the right thing or sense a certain glory in doing the wrong thing. The Bible warns Christians not to be ashamed of Christ. We usually don’t recognize the psychological implications of this. Believing and being identified with Jesus Christ is the most morally right thing we can do, yet we can feel ashamed for doing it.

The fact that guilt and shame can function independently or in opposition to each other show that they point to two different system or standards of evaluation. Guilt and innocence deal with morals, rights and wrongs. Shame deals with models — our sense of what is heroic.

 

 

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