Thursday, December 24, 2009

Jesus and the health care bill

Over the past few months, a number of people I know who could be classified
as "Liberals" have raised the question of the Christian perspective on the
current health care bill, noting that "Christian compassion" and a sense of
"Christian charity" should compel Christians everywhere to support this bill
as a way of fulfilling the Christian mandate to care for the needy...

I could not disagree more; here is my response to any Liberal who takes this view:

It's a PERSONAL thing
Example after example, in Scripture, of God's model for charitable giving
shows that His intention is that Charity should be a PERSONAL thing, coming
from the heart and extended to those directly around us. There is absolutely
no mandate in Scripture to manipulate Governments to forcibly extract taxes
from citizens in order to direct those funds to the needy... And any attempt
to correlate Christian Charity with Government Programs simply demonstrates
both a profound misunderstanding of scriptural principles on Giving and Serving
as well as a complete disregard for America's Constitution, which LIMITS the
powers of the Federal government, most especially when it comes to taxes...
WE are to care for the needy, WE are to work for Justice, with our own hands
and backs and voices and resources, NOT to write to our Senators to vote for
an abusive TAX bill that masquerades as a "health care bill"...

Please don't feed the Animals (teach a man to fish)
Supposedly the Liberals' motivation is "compassion" for these needy, those who
do not have any health care coverage at all... But if this is true, which approach
is truly the more compassionate, to GIVE a man a fish, or to TEACH a man to fish?
What is more "compassionate" for America's citizens, to FORCE us all into
complete dependence on Big Government, or for Big Government to get out of the way
so that we can learn to fish, learn to rely on ourselves? Which approach is a
more long-term solution, and therefore more "compassionate"?

Waste, Fraud and Abuse
The Bible also teaches us to be shrewd, to make wise decisions, to take a
mature and thoughtful approach to big decisions, especially those that
involve Money... If I give money to a Charitable organization, and then find out
that the management of this organization has been blowing its contributions
mostly on things like trips to Vegas, or prostitutes, or big homes for its staffers,
etc., would it be "uncharitable" of my neighbor, who hears about this, NOT to give
his money to this organization? Do you honestly think the Bible would still
compel him to give his money to this organization despite these demonstrated
reports of Waste, Fraud, and Abuse?

So it is with the current Administration and this health care debacle:
Obama, Reid and Pelosi have clearly demonstrated their complete disregard for any kind of financial prudence... They have spent billions of federal dollars with virtually no accountability (the GAO chief says they have "no idea" where
50 billion dollars of Bailout 1 went...)... The massive and out-of-control Spending has been done under the alarmist banner of, "if we don't do this the world will end!!"...
And all of this driven by their determination that the Government should control as much of the private sector as possible...

This is the "charitable organization" that is compelled by the Bible to now force
health care on its citizens??? You cannot be serious... I'm amazed that this even
needs to be said, but the Bible in no way condones Waste, Fraud, and Abuse,
even for "charitable" reasons... Indeed, one famous example is the bitter hatred the people of Israel had, in Jesus' day, for what they called
"Publicans", or "tax collectors", who were Jews working for the occupying
Roman government and who were famous for extorting high taxes from the Jews
while sucking up to the Romans...

I think there is plenty of Scriptural basis to say that Government, and its Tax
schemes, is the complete OPPOSITE of the methods and means by which Christians are to
care for the needy...

Fools for Jesus?
It's very important here to make one critical point that keeps being
overshadowed in these health care discussions: Nearly everyone AGREES that it
would be a very good thing to make sure that everyone has access to affordable,
quality health care; we just disagree about the who, the how, and the how much.
Sensible thinking requires that any big project, with a big budget, any
substantial Venture, needs to be carefully and thoughtfully planned out,
guided by three big questions:
    How will the venture be structured?
    Who will control it?
    How much will it cost (and you could add, Where will the money come from?)
There is nothing in Scripture that encourages us to be foolish, even when it comes to
Charity... Again, I'm surprised that this point even needs to be made...
Nothing in Scripture approves of individuals, or government, acting like Fools, and
to the extent that Government foolishness oppresses the individual, Scripture
certainly condemns it...

The Hypocrisy thing
This is perhaps the most disgraceful part of a Liberal's attempt to tie
Scripture to government programs... The appeal of such an approach is a kind of
Christian-ized "moral imperative" thing, a kind of, "we ought to do this because
the Bible wants us to care for the needy"... Well the Bible also clearly
and thunderously condemns homo-sex, so where is the call to make that
activity illegal, to manipulate Government to allow or disallow Scriptural imperatives?
The Bible clearly holds the life of the Unborn as precious in the sight of God,
so how does that square with the so-called "pro-choice" position??

How can anyone invoke Scripture to support personal Political views on certain
issues, and competely ignore Scriptural positions on other issues? Either we
manipulate Government to carry out Christian agendas or we do NOT, but we cannot
pick-and-choose which issues to tie to Scriptural compulsions and which not to...

That's called Hypocrisy.

And if the true reason to support this health care mess is "compassion", where is
the outrage over the TRILLIONS this Administration is wasting, and will continue
to waste? Where is the horror over the national DEBT, demonstrated to be roughly
200% worse at this point than during any past Administration? If we truly care about the poor, the needy, the under-privileged, the "disenfranchised", where is the indignation over the complete devastation this Administration is foisting on the country's finances,
money that could be used to help with the social programs some think we need?
We should be calling for their heads...

But this too is Hypocrisy.

It is disingenuous to link any kind of Scriptural imperative to the utter chaos
coming out of Washington these days; a clear, honest, informed understanding of the
whole message of the Bible (not just a bit here and a bit there, twisted to make it say
what we want it to say) shows that there are virtually no grounds at all for Government-run, Tax-funded "charities". I think Jesus would be (is) outraged at this "health care" catastrophe, primarily because it will make the plight of the needy worse, and it will prove to be a significant injustice to millions of Americans...

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Only Two Religions

There are really only two major divisions of Religion in the world:
One acknowledges and reveres some kind of God or "higher power" or
"great Spirit", a supernatural Force that transcends humanity and
has certain "intentions"or a Will for how humans ought to live
(some religions of this type affirm multiple gods, but the
concept is still the same: HE is -- or THEY are -- far, far above us
and should be worshiped and feared and obeyed)...

The second disavows any kind of "god" in favor of a MAN-centered
view, focused mainly on "spirituality" or "inner peace" or "balance",
or even one's "path" in life, not because some "god" wants it that way
but because walking one's "path" is (they believe) the way to achieve
true and deep "fulfillment" in this life...

Today's neo-Atheists, Reductionists, Materialists, and Naturalists
DO have -- contrary to what they try to insist -- a "religion",
if "religion" is defined as any organized system of beliefs which is
followed assiduously, and which functions as the framework for one's
entire World View... This type tends to elevate Science or "human
potential" to god-like status, and they revere these pursuits every bit
as much as Theists revere their Deities...

We can believe whatever we choose, of course, from "the Great Pumpkin"
to Jehovah and every supernatural -- or natural -- icon in between.
But for those who THINK, and who therefore are more interested in TRUTH
above all other motivations, when it comes to World Views, the picture
changes quite a bit:

A MAN-centered World View cannot be viewed as "equal to" a Theistic
World View; that is a confusion of Premise and Conclusion. The proper
comparison of a "non-god" religion to a "God(s)-centered" religion would be,
"I believe the more RATIONAL position is that there is in fact NO god,
THEREFORE, all that remains, for this life (which ends at death) is to find
my 'higher purpose', my 'path' while I live." The comparison is between
Theism and Atheism, not between Theism and MAN-centered "spirituality"
or even "Science"...

So, to me, the most important question of Life is not about "fulfillment"
or "destiny" or finding one's "path"; the most important question is a
two-fold inquiry: (a) Is there a God (or gods), and (if yes),
(b) what is His (Their) Will for me? If the answer to (a) is "NO"
(on purely Rational grounds), then it would seem to me that we are free
to believe whatever we choose, and the subject of TRUTH becomes irrelevant.
But if the answer to (a) is "YES", then (b) becomes the most important
pursuit of our lives.

I for one simply don't have any interest in discussions on World Views or
"religion" that don't begin from this base, because I want the TRUTH
above all else. Arguments along any other lines seem to me to be just
a chasing after the wind, an abyss of Subjectivity, and not very interesting...