“Jesus Taught Generosity and Charity, Not Government Assistance”

I've heard this claim a lot lately, and it seems to me bizarre, particularly when it focuses on an example like the Good Samaritan. A friend actually told me recently that the Good Samaritan didn't rely on the government to take care of the man, appealing to that as if it were an argument against governments being involved in addressing matters of need or equity or safety. That seems to me to be making a virtue out of an unfortunate reality. We could easily say that, if additional troops or police were sent to patrol the road from Jerusalem to Jericho, to eliminate bandits and protect travelers, that would interfere with individual charity. But that doesn't seem to me to be a valid argument why, when we have the opportunity, we should not put systemic structures in place as a community that address underlying social problems. It is, as one blogger recently put it, the difference between charity and justice – between putting a band-aid on wounds vs. trying to prevent injuries.

Helping a victim is good. But isn't trying to avoid people becoming victims better still?

The truth is that Jesus didn't explicitly say anything about what his followers should vote for or try to accomplish by means of government. They lived in a dictatorship, and so unless they were to take up arms and violently take over (something that Jesus seems to have opposed and which has not consistently proven an effective means of social change in the past), then their options are to expect God to do something, or to live in such a way as to present a challenge to society. Jesus' followers in fact did both, although not always to equal extents. But it does not merely seem perverse to suggest that, because Jesus didn't say how Christians should use their influence in a democracy, therefore they shouldn't use it. It also seems hypocritical, when those who take such a stance when it comes to addressing poverty, employment, and access to health care, nevertheless are happy to use their vote to influence society in other ways and in other areas.

There have been several posts on other blogs that relate to this topic. One is James Martin's three variations on Jesus' parables, reflecting what they might have sounded like if some of his followers' stances today had been Jesus' own (HT Morgan Guyton). Here's one of them. Click through to read the others:

The Rich and Therefore Blessed Young Man

1. As Jesus was setting out on a journey, a man ran up to him and knelt before him, and asked, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” 2. And Jesus said to him, “What have you done so far?” 3. And he said to Him, “Well I was born into a wealthy family, got into a good school in Galilee because my parents donated a few thousand talents, and have a high-paying job in the Roman treasury managing risk.” 4. Looking at him, Jesus felt a love for him, for the rich young man was blessed, and said to him, “One thing you lack: A bigger house in a gated community in Tiberias. Buy that and you'll be all set. And make sure you get a stone countertop for the kitchen. Those are really nice.” The disciples were amazed. 5. Peter asked him, “Lord, shouldn't he sell all his possessions and give it to the poor?” Jesus grew angry. “Get behind me, Satan! He has earned it!” Peter protested, “Lord,” he said, “Did this man not have an unjust advantage? What about those who are not born into wealthy families, or who do not have the benefit of a good education, or live in the poorer areas of Galilee, like Nazareth, your own home town?” 6. “Well,” said Jesus, “first of all, that's why I left Nazareth. There were too many poor people always asking for charity. They were as numerous as the stars in the sky, and they annoyed me. Second, once people start spending again, like this rich young man, the Galilean economy will inevitably grow, and eventually it will all trickle down to the poor. Blessed are those who are patient! But giving the money away, especially if he can't write it off, is a big fat waste.” The disciples' amazement knew no bounds. “But Lord, what about the Scriptures that tell us to care for the widow, for orphans, for the poor, for the sick, for the refugee? What about all the many passages about justice?” 7. “Those are metaphors,” said Jesus. “Don't take everything so literally.”

Also important on this topic is Fred Clark's post on what happens to widely-touted statistics about charitable giving when you remove giving to churches from the equation (also discussed by Hemant Mehta). See too Tim Suttle's piece on charitable giving among the poor, the rich, and the candidates.

 

  • Mary

    I notice that often people who disparage government assistance have no problem asking for it when THEY need it.

    • alfredo

      My wife and I started out dirt poor, with nothing, and we have never ever taken a government check EVER. With the help of God and people around us who cared for us, we made it and now, thank God are doing well. There are many like us, many. How dare you make such a statement. How self righteous of you. You don’t know anything, do you?

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

        I believe that Mary was referring to disability, one of the safety-nets that I think the vast majority of people consider to be appropriate and positive. I do not think there is any way that what she wrote, in view of her other comments, could be construed as meaning that everyone makes use of government assistance or loans – note her use of the word “often.”

        • Beau Quilter

          And I tend to think of those mature Americans, too old for full-time work, who saved dutifully for retirement their entire lives, only to have their savings wiped out in the myriad Wall street scandals of the past decade.

          Maybe welfare and medicare are not perfect; but neither is Wall street capitalism.

          Perhaps more to the point on this site: churches have no dependable or meaningful substitute for systemic care of the aged and poor. One would think that christians in our government (if they take NT precepts on caring for the poor at face value) would be the first to look for creative national solutions to poverty. Instead, politicians who tout their religion are more often prone to simply block such programs.

          Conservative right wingers want to plug their religion into government when it comes to marriage equality and science education. But when it comes to caring for the poor, “christian” values suddenly don’t belong in government.

          • zobva

            Exactly. The Church was told by the disciples to take care of the widows, the orphans and the elderly. The so-called “Religious Right” are the Sadducees and Pharisees of our day. The hypocrites that Jesus condemned for being more concerned with their legalisms than they were with loving their neighbors and helping people.

            “And while all the people were listening, He said to the disciples,“Beware
            of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and love
            respectful greetings in the market places, and chief seats in the
            synagogues and places of honor at banquets, who devour widows’ houses, and for appearance’s sake offer long prayers. These will receive greater condemnation.”
            - Luke chapter 20

        • Mary

          Thank you.

        • http://twitter.com/jonhendry Jonathan W. Hendry

          Many homeowners take advantage of the government tax policy that allows them to deduct their mortgage interest. That’s subsidized by people who don’t own their own home. And tax benefits for dependents is subsidized by people who don’t have dependents.

          Government assistance comes in many forms.

          • Straw Man

            Not taking something from me, is not the same thing as giving me something. That’s a bit of dishonest verbal slight of hand which is all too common these days.

            It’s like a mugger saying, “I want $100, but I’ll only take $50 from you, and $50 from the next guy. You should thank the next guy–he just gave you $50!”

          • Beau Quilter

            For good or ill, the government often tries to create incentives for investment, believing that investment is good for the economy as a whole. Presumably, renters benefit from the fact that their apartment owners don’t have to pay as much tax that then is passed down in increased rent.

            Again, I’m not arguing for or against investment incentives. Just laying out a bit of context.

          • zobva

            Yes, it does. And as a single man without children of my own I help subsidize the schools that the ones complaining about welfare send their children to. Except I don’t complain about it because I feel that it’s my social obligation as well as my Christian duty to help others.

        • Y. A. Warren

          Very few have disabilities that keep them from being useful to others in some way. It is demeaning to allow all this disability without any call for giving of one’s gifts to our collective community.

      • Mary

        Perhaps I should clarify my statement. Some of my family are getting government insurance because of the shortage of jobs. These are the same people who have put me down for my being on disability. And ironically they are against government assistance for the poor. So I am pointing out that there are people who, when they have a legitimate need for assistance, have no problem asking for it. However they want to deny it for others.

        • Mary

          I will share a little bit more about this situation. Actually they were reluctant at first to get assistance, but my dad pressured them into it. The reason why is because my dad is supporting their entire family and medical bills would bankrupt him. He is 84 years old and on a limited income. He is also thinking about telling them to get on welfare.
          So tell me which is better? Taking government assistance or bankrupting an old man?
          My brother-in-law had a siezure recently and ended up in the emergency room. Because of his refusal to get government insurance he ended up with a huge bill (I think it was about $20,000. My dad flatly refused to pay.
          They are devoted members of a church but the church cannot afford to pay their bills any more than my dad can.
          So people who are against government help are probably not aware of the realities of the people who need it. It is easy to just sweep the whole issue under the rug and pretend that it is the person’s fault. Problem solved!

      • http://www.facebook.com/christopher.heinze.50 Christopher Heinze

        Well, goody for you.

      • zobva

        “Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall”

        Proverbs 16:18.

        You need to get right with God. I’d be very afraid if I were you.

  • jake

    As a Conservative Libertarian and as Christian, I have to say that while I don’t believe that most poor people on welfare are lazy, and while Jesus doesn’t disparage welfare in and of it self, welfare can have the potential to be just as bad as not having it at all. For some, a cycle of dependency can never end, that to me, is unchristian. I absolutely agree with Jesus that we must help the poor, but we can debate what’s the best way of going about it, and I believe we must to helping people help themselves as the best way to do so.

    • Mary

      I do think that there should be incentive programs and educational opportunities to help people to get off welfare. Also, since there are so many single mothers on welfare it seems like they would need help with daycare also. I think instead of just cutting people off it would be best to look at the reasons why it is so difficult for people to get off of it.
      I am not talking about you but it really pisses me off that so many people do not get that there is a difference between being on welfare and being disabled. I am disabled and I have gotten abuse from some people who think I am faking it. Yes, I really enjoy the fact that I can’t drive anymore or get out much! And that I had to give up a job that I loved! People need to know that just because I look okay on the outside doesn’t mean that I am not disabled. And I am not lazy. I can’t tell you how much I have cried because I can’t do the things that I used to be able to do.

  • Tanya

    Dr. McGrath, its always amusing to see you bringing out Jesus when you can makeuse of him.

    • Mary

      And it is amusing to see you using withering sarcasm rather than contribute to the conversation.

  • alfredo

    What is being overlooked here is that when government helps one person they usually hurt three people doing it. You think money for all these programs comes frm the wealthy? It does not. It comes from people like you and me who probably can’t even afford it themselves. You talk about taking money from the wealthy. It has already been demonstrated that if you take all the wealth from everyone who makes over a million dollars, it will pay the governments bills for about nine days. Do we need welfare. Yes we do. There are people who are in bad straits through no fault of their own. What we don’t need is a program that people choose to stay on for generations. We are already into third and fourth generation welfare recipients (in the same families.) It would seem to me Jesus would think we are really hurting these people for basically they are enslaved to the politicians that give them their lifestyle.It cannot be forgotten,ever, that the only way government can do anything is at the point of a gun.I don’ think Jesus would be down with that.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

      I do not think that I am overlooking those things. The voices and movements I am opposing are those that talk of eliminating or leaving programs that address matters of justice and equity as they are. I am absolutely in favor of exploring creative ways of providing assistance that does not lead to dependence, that helps people live lives that are satisfying and fulfilled. As you will see, I have blogged about that topic. What I object to is the idea that addressing injustice is not a matter to be addressed through systemic social means at all – everyone should succeed or fail as they can, and rely on charity if the latter. That can be every bit as degrading, if not more so, as dependence on welfare.

      • Straw Man

        “Systematic social means” is not the same as “government,” and “government” is not the same as “society.” In fact the history in the U.S. is the opposite: government has a history of defeating systematic social means.

        In the past, for example, people formed mutual aid societies–secular ones for that purpose, in addition to churches, to whatever extent churches also served that purpose. They did many things to systematically protect the working-class members from penury in the event of disability or lost work. They also negotiated collectively with doctors, getting excellent rates. Doctors screamed about “ruinous competition” destroying their livelihood, and government took several steps that enforced price-fixing via the AMA, limited the supply of doctors, and destroyed the ability to bargain collectively with doctors. One result is the “out of control health care costs,” which they then blamed on “market failure.” Then, of course, the entity that created the problem proposed to fix it by creating “Obama care,” which does nothing to limit costs, but merely socialized them–in effect a massive handout to insurers and other powerful interests in the medical industry.

        By the way, the use of insurance for routine care is also absurd. Do we use car insurance for oil changes? Government created that too, by putting caps on wages in WWII. Employers could not compete by offering more money, so they offered non-monetary benefits including health insurance, and then competed to add silly trimmings like coverage for routine care. The result was a price explosion, because patients don’t comparison-shop when they’re not paying the price.

        Using government to achieve social justice is impossible, because even the best intentioned politician is incapable of achieving it–but our political system would never allow the best to come out on top anyway. So we have self-interested men with great–approaching absolute–power, purporting to act for the common good, but who never do, when we look past the rhetoric, or the superficial effects, at the actual “cui bono?” of the thing.

        • Mary

          “By the way, the use of insurance for routine care is also absurd. Do we use car insurance for oil changes?”
          Last I checked, routine medical care costs a hell of a lot more than an oil change. And guess what? If they don’t get regular care it COSTS EVERYBODY MONEY, including you. What happens if someone has heart disease or cancer that could have been caught sooner if they had seen a doctor? More expense for everyone, whether it goes through private insurance or the government.
          Of course the issue goes deeper than that because we are talking about people’s lives here vs. privileged people’s pocketbooks. Quite frankly I am chilled by the coldness of some of the posters here.

    • Justin Werner

      Your assertion that having the government help one person and harming three people doing it does not seem to be rational at all. Where do you get this information from? It sounds like the typical psychological programming that Republicans have accepted over the last thirty years (government *must* be doing something wrong), and I would be very disappointed to find out that is where you get such a notion. Please expand on your assertion and put some meat on its bones. Substantiate it. Make a case for the assertion, or you’ll just sound as if you’re spouting off.

  • http://digestofworms.blogspot.com/ admiralmattbar

    All government ruling is coercive. A government is whatever entity is in an area that gets to say, “Do what I say or I will hurt you.” This is what troubles me about government programs and lifestyle regulations (problems with both Christian conservatives, who want to control our choices, and Christian liberals, who want to control our wallets). The only time I can ever think of Jesus applying coercive force is when he drove the money-changers out of the Temple, and that can be seen as him enforcing God’s property rights (it was, after all, his father’s house). Jesus did not hurt the rich man who walked away upset because he was unwilling to give away his riches.

    Would you rob a rich man if you could get away with it and give his money to someone you have decided is more deserving? If you would, then I guess it makes sense for you to vote. If not, why would you vote on policies or politicians who perform the same action just with the very official-looking government logo attached to them?

    You could probably argue against this using utilitarian math. In all likeliness aggregate pleasure would increase from coercive force used on some who have many to provide services fro those who have less. I’m just not sure I can buy completely into utilitarianism as a Christian especially when it is used to justify coercive force.

    • Mary

      Yes, the government is coercive. That is the nature of government. And nobody minds as long as it fits with what they want. But then they protest if it is pointed out to them that the government isn’t just about their needs, but also the needs of others.
      How do you propose we should deal with this problem? If you will read my post below you will get an idea about the realities of the poor.

      • Straw Man

        Some people mind, Mary, even when government is cosrcively doing things they would otherwise like.

        But you’re justifying the use of force and threats by saying, “Tu quoque!”

        • Mary

          I have never been a victim of a crime, but it would be silly for me to insist that because of that we should not have any law enforcement. Most people do not object to paying taxes for that purpose.
          I am not justifying force or threats. We may have a coercive system but we don’t live under a dictatorship.
          Again, what is your solution to this problem? I am not against non-government help, I just don’t see that anybody has come up with a good way to deal with this.

  • http://twitter.com/jonhendry Jonathan W. Hendry

    Isn’t it the case that, in Jesus’ time, the Roman government had programs to help the poor, such as bread or grain subsidies?

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

      I know of such a practice of distributing free grain in Rome itself to eligible people, but not in other parts of the Empire.

  • sam

    So dictatorships should not be challenged, because it’s hopeless, nor should an American Revolution have worked? And just saying consistently doesn’t change your point, anticipating your backtrack.

    which has not consistently proven an effective means of social change in the past.

  • http://twitter.com/Bob__Barnes Bob Barnes

    Interesting argument considering the “government” of that time was pretty much the enemy of Christ’s followers and not voted in by them. In other words, it’s lame and dishonest.

    • Mary

      And how is that relevant?

  • Mary

    Since so many people here are pointing out the flaws (some justified) of government programs for the poor, I would like to mention some that actually DO WORK. The people who say that all government social programs are a failure are probably not aware of the successes, simply because they don’t make the news.
    I used to work for Mental Health America. This is a non-profit program that is funded by the government. They have a homeless assistance program that helps the mentally ill get medical care, housing, and financial assistance. I have seen people who were so sick as to be completely out of touch with reality (hallucinating, delusional) get well, get jobs and go on to lead productive lives.
    They also have a self-help program funded in California by the Mental Health Act. It is a one percent tax on those who make over a million dollars a year. This helps mental health consumers with socialization and coping skills. They also offer paid jobs as peer counselors. It also funds the same kind of programs for other organizations, such as the Department of Mental Health. Without these self-help programs, we would have higher hospitalisation rates, and since many mentally ill people have no insurance, the costs would be passed on to the taxpayers.
    The Department of Mental Health in California does an excellent job at helping poor people get mental health care and medications, funded by Medicaid.
    Many mental health consumers end up on social security disability. But do you know that the government offers incentive programs for the disabled (not just mental health consumers) to go back to work? They can work part-time and not lose their benefits. Many start out this way and then end up going to back to work full-time and so they don’t need disability anymore. There is a safety net in place also which ensures that if a disabled person relapses in their illness that they can get disability again.
    In California, we also have the Department of Rehabilitation, which helps the disabled get job training and even job placement with employers who work with this program.
    All this demonstrates that yes, THE GOVERNMENT CAN GET IT RIGHT.

  • Mike Arienti
    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

      Thanks for sharing that. It really does illustrate what one ends up with if one only thinks in terms of solutions on the individual and immediate family level and ignores systemic solutions, and passages which mention them such as the law regarding the Jubilee year.

      • Mike Arienti

        You just boxed yourself into “the system” which is part of the problem with modern society. We tend to compartmentalize everything and think if Piece A won’t fit in Box 1, then it must fit in Box 2. The truth is, some things work sometimes, some things work all the time, and some things never do.

        • arcseconds

          What makes you think McGrath is setting up such a false dichotomy? He’s implied that systemic solutions may exist, but I can’t see anything that commits him to thinking that all problems have either systemic or individual solutions.

  • Y. A. Warren

    Charity is not empowering; investment in others may be. Jesus told us to leave 10% on the vine for the poor to harvest. He did not tell us to plant, pick, cook, chew and vomit what we work for into the mouths of the “victims” who refuse to take up their own plows and run the “benevolent” despots out of leadership roles. I don’t know who mainstream “Christians” are following, but it certainly isn’t Jesus who is their “Christ.”

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

      The leaving of the edges of fields is in the Torah, and is not explicitly mentioned in the teaching of Jesus. But it is certainly true that charity which does nothing to address the systemic factors that perpetuate inequity is not an adequate solution. We ought to be asking how to make a more just society in which few if any need to depend on others for handouts.

      • Y. A. Warren

        Oops! Sorry. I was brought up in pre-Vatican II roman Catholicism where the Torah and the New Testament had blurry lines.

        Two words for addressing the systemic problem: birth control. I believe it is the right of every child to be conceived intentionally in a safe and committed community.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

          I don’t see how birth control is a solution to economic and societal systems which allow wealth, property, and resources to be accumulated by the few to the detriment of the many.

          • Y. A. Warren

            When women refuse to feed the maw of war and slave wages with their children, the machines of both will cease. This seems to me the ultimate in non-violent resistance.

  • Michael Hart

    I had the question asked about Christians role in the “Welfare” of others. Below is just a summary of my opinion and what the Bible says. ( this is meant to have no political meaning, just the Love of Jesus) I hope you have a great Friday! I challenge you to go out of your way to love your neighbor! I love you all and pray you all are blessed mightily today!!

    Jesus’ entire ministry centered around caring for the needs of the sick and infirmed, so if I were to list every word he spoke on the subject, it would fill many pages. Since we are looking at what Jesus said about having love for the sick and infirmed, the answer can be readily summed up in the context of Matthew 25:31-46, concerning the final judgment, when Jesus himself separates two kinds of Christian believers, the sheep and the goats.

    Matthew 25:31-46
    “But when the Son of Man comes in his splendor with all his angels with him, then he will take his seat on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be assembled before him and he will separate men from each other like a shepherd separating sheep from goats. 33 He will place the sheep on his right hand and the goats on his left.

    34 Then the king will say to those on his right: ‘Come, you who have won my Father’s blessing! Take your inheritance––the kingdom reserved for you since the foundation of the world! 35 For, I was hungry and you gave me food. I was thirsty and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger and you made me welcome. 36 I was naked and you clothed me. I was ill and you came and looked after me. I was in prison and you came to see me there.’

    37 Then the true men will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and give you food? When did we see you thirsty and give you something to drink?
    38 When did we see you a stranger and make you welcome, or see you naked and clothe you, 39 or see you ill or in prison and go to see you?’”
    40 And the king will reply, ‘I assure you, that whatever you did for the humblest of my brothers you did for me.’

    41 Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Out of my presence, cursed as you are, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels! 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat. I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink. 43 I was a stranger and you never made me welcome. When I was naked you did nothing to clothe me; when I was sick and in prison you never cared to visit me.’

    44 Then they too will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick or in prison, and fail to look after you?’

    45 Then the king will answer them with these words, ‘I assure you that whatever you failed to do to the humblest of my brothers you failed to do to me.’

    46 And these will go off to eternal punishment, but the true men to eternal life.” PNT

    This parable of the sheep and goats aligns with Jesus’ description of the greatest commandments by laying the pragmatic details (i.e. – the ‘how to’ instructions) of what it means to love your neighbor. Notice what Jesus says in verse 36 above, “I was ill and you came and looked after me.” This shows pragmatic love, not ethereal and ambiguous gestures of token faith. Agape Love!!

    The Greek word in Matthew 25:36 that has been translated as, “looked after me,” is epesképsasthé (episképtomai = NT: 1980) and it has the meaning of, “seeking out, in order to look at something, examine closely, inspect, observe.” Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words, Thomas Nelson Publishers says episképtomai is a later form of episkopeo (NT: 1983), literally, “to look upon,” which is rendered, “looking carefully,” in the Revised Standard Version of Hebrews 12:15, (King James Version = “looking diligently”), epi being probably intensive here; in 1 Peter 5:2, “to exercise the oversight, to visit, care for.”

    I know I have fallen short of showing love and caring for those in need but God is still working on me!!!

  • Smooth

    James F. McGrath – You’re no more Christian than I am Jewish! Youre a fraud!

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

      How are we supposed to know how Jewish you are, anonymous person?

      I’m a born again Christian, and a theological liberal. My testimony and a lot of details are available here on the blog. Perhaps you are someone who knows me well, and has important insights into blind spots in my own life? But if so, then presumably you will identify yourself and also explain why you choose to address my shortcomings in an anonymous blog comment on this particular post…

      • Smooth

        The point is…I’m not Jewish, nor do I claim to be Christian and then rail against a government who’s purpose is to ensure life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Youre a fraud!

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

          Umm, did you misunderstand my post?

  • zobva

    Neither did Jesus nor any of His disciples ever once tell His followers to be involved in politics or to get involved in any way, shape or form in changing secular government… but yet here you are in an internet article, trumpeting your secular political so-called “Religious Right “false teachings.

    No wonder Jesus called out the hypocrites, referring to them as a “nest of vipers!”

    If you had the love of Christ you would want the hungry fed, the sick healed, the poor comforted. Have you given away all of your money to the poor as He commanded? No, I thought not.

    “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of
    heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. “Many
    will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your
    name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many
    miracles?’ “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you” – Matthew 7:21-23

    If I were you I’d get right with God and stop preaching your secular war against the poor and the sick for — and against those who would help them.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

      And sometimes the best way to get things done is to work together as a society. Just as is often done to provide social security, law enforcement, and other things. The Bible knows of no centralized law enforcement agencies or fire fighters or other such things that we have today and take for granted. But few would argue that, because they did not exist in Biblical times, they cannot possibly be useful or advantageous.

  • Froi Vincenton

    Forced Giving Isn’t Charity and It Causes Harm

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

      What is “forced giving”? Do you mean taxation? Do you have a better way to fund schools, healthcare, emergency services, and other things that are in the interest of a society, but which not everyone will necessarily utilize, much less utilize equally? Why call such things “forced giving” which is not an apt description – and why the odd capitalization?

      • Froi Vincenton

        “Do you mean taxation?”

        You call that charity and compassion? You seriously need to understand what these words mean. And you sound like a dictator with messianic tendencies. It seems to be you believe that since your program is good and virtuous, because it is aimed at helping people and to fund those “services” you mention, you have the right to force people to be charitable.

        Take note that that scam was already implemented in China, where Mao encourage or “forced” the Chinese to do collective farming and works, in North Korea, in Cuba and in Venezuela.

        Of course we need to consider the element of DEGREE. To what extent would you want to force or encourage people to give in order to finance your programs? What you said justifies a higher degree of socialism which was implemented in North Korea and in Maoist China. And we all know the result of that type of “socialist” charity are government oppression and millions of dead bodies. If you’re a hardcore socialist, it might be hard for you to understand what I’m saying here. You’ve been brainwashed by the media and probably by your college professor.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

          I think you are having an imaginary conversation with the views you think that imaginary “hardcore socialists” have. If you think that Maoist China’s Communism is the same thing as socialism in Britain, for example, then you are badly misinformed. And I am not sure who you think is calling taxation “charity and compassion.” Certainly taxes can be used to provide services, in a manner that would otherwise depend on the goodwill of the rich if anyone but the rich were to experience them. But they are not the same thing, and I wonder who your imaginary interlocutor is that you envisage saying otherwise.

          • Froi Vincenton

            “I think you are having an imaginary conversation with the views you think that imaginary “hardcore socialists” have.”

            – LOL! That’s hilarious. I don’t think you understand socialism. You’re probably one of the white morons who believe Marx invented socialism when the fact is that he merely introduced his own concept of socialism.

            “If you think that Maoist China’s Communism is the same thing as socialism in Britain, for example, then you are badly misinformed.”

            – I said there’s an element of degree. The main common denominator between those systems is the degree of government involvement or intervention. Maoist China had a higher degree of government intervention or socialism compared to socialist Britain. You’re indeed clueless about socialism. AGAIN, Karl Marx did not invent socialism, so if you’re thinking of Karl Marx’s version of socialism then you are indeed stupid.

          • Froi Vincenton

            I don’t know why my previous reply is not visible here…

            I think I need to re-post it…

            “I think you are having an imaginary conversation with the views you think that imaginary “hardcore socialists” have.”

            – LOL! That’s hilarious. I don’t think you understand socialism. You’re probably one of the white morons who believe Marx invented socialism when the fact is that he merely introduced his own concept of socialism.

            “If you think that Maoist China’s Communism is the same thing as socialism in Britain, for example, then you are badly misinformed.”

            – I said there’s an element of degree. The main common denominator between those systems is the degree of government involvement or intervention. Maoist China had a higher degree of government intervention or socialism compared to socialist Britain. You’re indeed clueless about socialism. AGAIN, Karl Marx did not invent socialism, so if you’re thinking of Karl Marx’s version of socialism then you are indeed stupid.

  • Froi Vincenton

    I am an atheist, and I despise atheist leftists/socialists/communists/collectivists more than religionists or theists.

    What is charity? What is compassion? There is no such thing as forced charity. To claim that you are being charitable or compassionate by simply advocating welfare programs for the ‘little’ or the ‘poor’ is not just hypocritical; it is tyrannical as well. If you’re truly compassionate and charitable, why don’t you use your own money to help the poor instead of using the government to legislate charity and force others to contribute more. Remember that American imposes progressive taxation, and the harder you work and more you earn, the more you are obliged to pay bigger ‘contribution’ to the government.

    Charity should be voluntary. The notion that some people must be forced to contribute to the government cheapens the concept of compassion and charity.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

      You are free to despise whomever you like. But I am not sure what your comment was supposed to be addressing. When a society addresses a particular collective social need through taxation, such as education or healthcare, that isn’t charity. If you wish to make the case that healthcare or other such institutions are better provided through charity than a collectively funded system, you are free to do so, but it is not at all self evident that it is so, and history seems to provide significant counter-evidence.


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