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Monday, January 23, 2017

ONIM For January 23, 2017

Christian News
 
World News
 
The Women's March On Washington
 
Standing Rock Sioux - DAPL News
 
The Pick(s) Of The Litter 





Friday, January 20, 2017

Are We Christians Trying Too Hard To Fit A Stereotype? Part II

For the near future, the articles posted on Fridays will consist of reviews of Christian writings from 2 perspectives. The first perspective will be that of the view of the role of the Church in America as described by the report, The Crisis Of Democracy. This report is a view of the role of the Church from a liberal viewpoint. This perspective is an observation of the past which was interrupted during the protest years of the 1960s. That time was described by the report as having an 'excess of democracy.' And that view says the following (click here for the source):
In the past, those institutions which have played the major role in the indoctrination of the young in their rights and obligations as members of society have been the family, the church, the school, and the army. The effectiveness of all these institutions as a means of socialization has declined severely. The stress has been increasingly on individuals and their rights, interests, and needs, and not on the community and its rights, interests, and needs.

 The second perspective is an observation, not an ideological declaration, about the Church made from the Left in Russia prior to its October, 1917 Revolution--we should note that Russia also underwent a February, 1917 Revolution. This perspective was written by Vlad (a.k.a., Vladimir Lenin) and it went like this (click here for the source):

Religion is one of the forms of spiritual oppression which everywhere weighs down heavily upon the masses of the people, over burdened by their perpetual work for others, by want and isolation. Impotence of the exploited classes in their struggle against the exploiters just as inevitably gives rise to the belief in a better life after death as impotence of the savage in his battle with nature gives rise to belief in gods, devils, miracles, and the like. Those who toil and live in want all their lives are taught by religion to be submissive and patient while here on earth, and to take comfort in the hope of a heavenly reward. But those who live by the labour of others are taught by religion to practise charity while on earth, thus offering them a very cheap way of justifying their entire existence as exploiters and selling them at a moderate price tickets to well-being in heaven. Religion is opium for the people. Religion is a sort of spiritual booze,   in which the slaves of capital drown their human image, their demand for a life more or less worthy of man.

The reason for reviewing Christian writings from these two perspectives is to determine whether today's writings show that the Church has changed since the times in which those observations were made. And for the record, I just want to say that I am not a fan of Lenin regardless of how I refer to him.

Tim Keller certainly needs no introduction (click here for a bio anyway). He is rightfully
a highly esteemed Christian leader. He has just written a short article that both compares and implores today's Church to be like the first Church (click here for the article). Keller makes this comparison and appeal because of the volatility of our current times. This volatility especially applies, but is not limited to, today's changing sexual mores.

Keller states 3 characteristics about the first Church. The first characteristic is that it 'both offended and attracted' those around them. It offended people with its exclusivity and rejection of Rome's civil religion and much of its way of life. On the other hand, it also appealed to people because of how the Church's members kindly treated others on a personal basis. Its second characteristic dealt with the close and personal relationship with God which the Church taught its members to have. Its third characteristic was that Church offered an assurance of eternal life with God.

How do those early marks of the Church relate to today's world. The exclusivity of the Church applies not just to members but to practices such as our sexual practices. We are called to belong to a loving counterculture to today's status quo. Quoting from one of two books on the Early Church,  Keller notes that a religion that fails to distinguish itself from culture of the society in which it exists will become 'unnecessary' and cease to exist. 


So how does all what Keller notes fit into the two observations made at the beginning. We should note that whereas Keller calls on the Church to distinguish itself from its surrounding culture, this seems to only apply in terms of personal morality such as its members' sexual practices. For Keller doesn't call on the Church to distinguish itself in the areas of concern that either of the two quotes from the beginning deal with. For the quote from The Crisis Of Democracy dealt with how Christians are to live in society and to obey their private and public sector authority figures while Lenin was critical of how the Church failed to both enable workers to free themselves from exploitation and challenge the upper class to refrain from exploiting those underneath them. Keller addresses none of these issues. In fact, if one looks at the conservative Church in America, one finds more than enough encouragement for today's Church in America to not distinguish itself from its surrounding culture in terms of what it teaches about acceptable economic and social structures with the exception of racism.

Thus, Keller's boasting of the charity that the Church's members are to show and of the assurance of eternal life that the Church teaches does not challenge economically and politically exploitive structures. And in terms of the Gospel, that means that the Church is missing an opportunity to comfort some who are oppressed and to call certain people to repentance for how they take advantage of those who rank below them. Thus, though what Keller emphasizes is good, true, and necessary, it is incomplete because it does not address all the causes of exploitation. Here we should note that Keller and some others are doing excellent work in terms of challenging racism in society. But racism is not the only source of suffering that today's vulnerable experience and is not the only sin of oppression that those with power practice.

In other words, Keller's message in this article, despite the excellent points it makes, does not make the Church surpass the role that was described in the report The Crisis Of Democracy or challenge Lenin's observation of the Church during his time. And that is what is missing from the cited article by Tim Keller.




 

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Comments Which Conservatives Block From Their Blogs For January 18, 2017

Jan 3

To Joseph Pearce and his blogpost on some of what Queen Elizabeth said. The part focused on here is where Pearce states that Queen Elizabeth is advocating subsidiarity. This appeared in the Imaginative Conservative Blog.

The writer of this article grossly misinterprets the Queen in a certain area. For the Queen said:

But even with the inspiration of others, it’s understandable that we sometimes think the world’s problems are so big that we can do little to help. On our own, we cannot end wars or wipe out injustice, but the cumulative impact of thousands of small acts of goodness can be bigger than we imagine.

Pearce interprets her as saying the following:

Can we really believe that the head of state of one of the most powerful countries in the world is extolling the principle of subsidiarity—the principle that individuals, families, local communities, charities and churches can change society for the better whereas big and burdensome governments tend to make the big problems even bigger?

What Pearce's interpretation misses is the key phrase 'On our own.' Because of that phrase, Pearce's exclusive-or interpretation of saying that either big gov't saves the vulnerable or local groups of people help the vulnerable but not both presents a false dichotomy. In addition, to exclude gov't from helping people is to say that gov't can only represent those people who can help themselves. And such leaves the vulnerable wholly dependent on the benevolence and access to resources that those around them have.
 

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To R. Scott Clark and his blogpost quote of Carl Trueman who complained that we are intolerant of the wrong things. This appeared in the Heidelblog.

Intolerance should not just be determined by the tenets and behaviors we are objecting to, but by the context in which these beliefs and behaviors exist as well. It is one thing to be intolerant of heresy or immoral sexual behavior in the Church, but should we be intolerant of it in society as well?

Right now we have battle lines being drawn between post Modernists and authoritarian traditionalists with both have something significant contribute to the other, but with neither one of them listening because they they think know enough already. It is wrong for either of these groups to be intolerant of others in society. Why? Because society is not the Church, it includes both those who belong to the Church and those who don't. And while some in the Church are upset because they feel that they are being marginalized by society's acceptance of different sexual orientations and identities, the truth is that the Church, for centuries, has had society marginalize those who practice certain sexual sins and it has done so with all of the personal traits of the pharisee from the parable of the two men praying.

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Jan 4

To R. Scott Clark and his blogpost quote of Paul Helm that questions whether there is a right side of history? This appeared in the Heidelblog.

Let's approach this subject on a case by case basis. Were those who opposed slavery in America on the right side of history or if there is no right side of history, are they to be placed next to those who supported slavery as if there is no difference between them?

Seems to me that the right side of history is the side that does not invoke shame for one's position. And it also seems that we should not let the fact that the right side can be wrongly identified be used to deny the existence of the right side of history.

As for comparing the Enlightenment with Medieval times, there is no reason why we can't compare those two times on a trait by trait basis so that both get a mixed report even though side might be more preferable to the other. Otherwise, we have only shown ourselves to have a fear of having a preferred time period being examined more closely.

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Jan 17

To Joseph Pearce and his blogpost asking whether Trump will be a nationalist or an imperialist. The article describes in binary terms nationalism on one hand and imperialism/internationalism/globalism on the other hand. This appeared in the Imaginative Conservative blog.

The use of terms 'nationalism' and 'imperialism' is understandable but inadequate. For while one dictionary definition of nationalism allows a nation to pursue imperialism while the other definition merely advocates for self-rule. Likewise, internationalism or globalism is not the same as imperialism. Internationalism or globalism can refer to collaborative efforts between nations in some sphere whereas  imperialism involves controlling or conquering rather than collaboration. In addition, we need to recognize that in both nationalism and globalism, we can have either democratic rule or elite-centered rule.

Thus, we need to be clear about the terms we are using. Each nation should respect the right of the people from all other nations to exercise self-rule. But such does not eliminate internationalism. Because some of what a nation does can impact other nations, there is an international accountability. In addition, certain moral values must not be violated in how a nation treats subsets of its population or there must be international accountability.

But something else must be said about either self-rule and collaborative efforts. They can be based on democratic principles where all people are involved in the decision making processes or they can be elite-centered. For example, the US is now considered by some to be an oligarchy (see  http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-echochambers-27074746  ). Thus, regardless of the national interests Trump pursues, because we are a nation that suffers from elite-centered rule, his pursuits will not result in self-rule.

An example of elite-centered rule from an internationalist perspective could be seen in Obama's efforts to fast-track the TPP. His efforts simply removed democratic principles from the decision making process. In addition, the result of the TPP would be to give foreign investors power and control over each member nation in that corporations could sue governments over laws that were democratically passed if such laws cost the corporations profits while these same corporations were not accountable to the governments. But when talking about internationalism, are we going classify the ICC or the UN with their internationalism in the same category as trade agreements such as the TPP or the EU?

The problem we have in describing the world around us is that we tend to use binary thinking. During the Cold War, we had the Free World vs Communism. However, there were many things practiced by some in the Free World that resembled the pejorative stereotype we assigned to Communism. And there were democratic efforts made by Socialists that were not duly recognized and thus distinguished from Lenin-Stalin Communism by the Free World. So we should see that this model of nationalism vs imperialism where the former neglects to distinguish between democratic rule and elite-centered rule while the latter fails to distinguish imperialism from internationalism and the different types of globalism is flawed.

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To Art Carden and his blogpost about Adam Smith’s Invisible Hand. In that article, Carden describes the conflict as being the invisible hand o the market vs fist of the state. This appeared in the Imaginative Conservative blog.

There are two problems with this article. First, the binary understanding of the conflict that exists regarding markets. That conflict being the invisible hand of the market vs the fist of the state. The second problem is tendency for some to misunderstand what Smith said.

According to this article, it seems that the invisible hand of the market represents the freedom of all people while the fist of the state represents alien tyrants. The history of labor struggles in the US strongly contradicts that perception. For we should note that representation in the free market is not based by the individual but by the dollar or whatever currency is involved. Those with the most dollars have the most say while those with the least wealth are barely heard. And in a society where things are valued more than people, the public interest is not necessarily served by those who have the greatest say over what happens in the market. Again, the history of American labor struggles bares this out. We might also want include the history of offshoring jobs as well.
interest.

In addition, what if the state is working democracy, how can its decisions that limit the free market be described as the fist of an alien tyrant? Rather such a government is putting limits on a market that is anything but democratic.

Second, Smith did not speak of the invisible hand of the market by observation alone, but by some speculation. His description of the invisible hand came from arguing against mercantilism and the influence that those with wealth had over government officials. So did eliminating mercantilism also eliminate the influence that those with wealth have over government officials.

In addition, the line from the article that says:


This is where the invisible hand of the market comes in. Voluntary market exchange reveals the patterns of specialization, division of labor, and production most consistent with consumers’ preferences. Others’ talents, tastes, values, and knowledge constitute the invisible hand. I convey information about my own talents, tastes, values, and knowledge with offers to buy or sell. Others convey their knowledge by their willingness to accept my bids and offers. I am being led by the invisible hand of others’ knowledge toward patterns of specialization and production that leave us most satisfied, given that we are all free to accept or reject any offer.

does not entirely represent Smith's sentiments. The following is what Smith also wrote about the division of labor (see http://www.gradesaver.com/the-wealth-of-nations/study-guide/quotes as it quotes Smith):

In the progress of the division of labor, the employment of the far greater part of those who live by labor, that is, of the great body of the people, comes to be confined to a few very simple operations; frequently to one or two. But the understandings of the greater part of men are necessarily formed by their ordinary employments. The man whose whole life is spent in performing a few simple operations, of which the effects, too, are perhaps always the same, or very nearly the same, has no occasion to exert his understanding, or to exercise his invention, in finding out expedients for removing difficulties which never occur. He naturally loses, therefore, the habit of such exertion, and generally becomes as stupid and ignorant as it is possible for a human creature to become. The torpor of his mind renders him not only incapable of relishing or bearing a part in any rational conversation, but of conceiving any generous, noble, or tender sentiment, and consequently of forming any just judgment concerning many even of the ordinary duties of private life.

It seems that those who use Smith to promote free markets, do so selectively.


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To Joe Carter and his blogpost on 5 facts about Martin Luther King Jr. This appeared in the Acton blog.

But there is one other fact about Martin Luther King if we are to truly honor him. That fact was that opposing racism was not his only core concern. He also opposed materialism and economic exploitation as well as war and militarism. In fact, he saw the three of them, that is racism, materialism/economic exploitation, and war/militarism as being inseparable and incapable of being defeated for as long as our society cared about gadgets, profits, and property rights more than it was concerned about people (see http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article2564.htm as just one of several references that support what was just written about King).







Tuesday, January 17, 2017

How Can One Interfere With A Ghost?

The latest news that is fit to print is about how we are taking umbrage with the revelation that Russia interfered with our nation's democracy. How dare someone infringes on our monopoly? After all, infringing on the democracies of other nations has been copyrighted by the US and other nations are allowed to do the same only if they receive explicit written permission from our government.



But what is obscured because it is not fit to print is the fact that we don't need a foreign power to interfere in our affairs for our democracy to be threatened. Certainly the MSM (a.k.a., the mainstream media) does not tell us this. Why? It is because their owners don't want their secrets to be revealed. Here we should note a study that was reported on by the BBC basically said that we no longer have a democracy. Instead, what we have is oligarchy, which is the rule of the rich (click here).


Why do we no longer have a democracy? The first reason is that we define democracy exclusively in concrete terms. Democracy, for most of us, consists of voting every x number of years for leaders whom we hope to ignore until the next election. The fact that we are voting for the right leaders has already hurt our chances at achieving a democracy. For what leaders want to do is to lead and to do that they must control the rest of us in some way, shape, or form. 

If democracy means that the people rule, then looking for leaders to vote for sabotages our efforts to achieve a democracy. It's not that our elected officials are never called to lead, it is that the more power is concentrated into a smaller and smaller group of people such as it is when we elect leaders, the less the people are ruling and thus the weaker the democracy. Rather than looking for the right leaders who will save us by their decision making prowess, we need people who can lead but who listen to us more than they lead. And that requires that we spend more time to become better informed on the issues and spend less of our spare time entertaining ourselves into submission.

What we have now is basically a democracy once removed. It is a democracy for those with wealth since our elected officials pay far more attention to the welfare and concerns of the wealthy than they do to us. That was the point of the previously cited article on how the US is now an oligarchy. Those with wealth have more power over the voting practices of our elected officials than the general population does. And what some believe is that the more our government serves those with wealth, then those with wealth will serve the rest of us. That is why I call our form of government a democracy once removed.


There is another reason why we don't have a democracy. That reason is, in a different way than just stated, because we are too concrete in our definition of a democracy. For us, a democracy is voting every x number of years. But if we look at the origin of the word, we find that democracy has an abstract meaning that isn't necessarily guaranteed by the use of elections. The original meaning of the word 'democracy' is that the people rule. And what is implied here is a certain egalitarian status for all people. Here we can thank Jeff Halper, an Israeli activist for Palestinian rights, for clarifying what it means for the people to rule. Just as we don't have a democracy when one economic class gains control over the government, we also don't have a democracy when one ethnic group tries to gain control over the government. And that is true whether that ethnic group is defined by race, language, national origin, or religion (see pg 74 of An Israeli In Palestine). Our problem today is not with victimhood and identity politics as some contend. Rather, our problem is with tribalism and the yearning to control and dominate all others rather than to share with and protect others. And that problem is not just because of the actions of a specific economic class or ethnos, it also because of those from different ideologies and political parties. Each group that is contending to gain control over our nation is exhibiting the arrogance Martin Luther King Jr. once attributed to the West when he was speaking against the Vietnam War (click here):

The Western arrogance of feeling that it has everything to teach others and nothing to learn from them is not just.
Each group that seeks to dominate whether they be a religious group, a political party, an ideological group, or a race is exhibiting the arrogance King complained about.

In reality, Russia could not harm our democracy because it simply no longer exist. In fact,  our democracy might never have existed. That doesn't mean that Russia didn't interfere with our elections. But it does mean that the political system with which Russia interfered was not a democracy in the first place.


 

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Is This The Key To A Successful Leftist Revolution?

Currently, I am in the middle of watching a documentary about the battle over Chile. This battle culminated in the 1973, 9/11 military coup and attack on the Presidential Palace of then President Salvador Allende. That battle had started a few years earlier than that attack. The major players involved were the workers, the bourgeoisie along with the help they received from the Christian Democrats, and the United States. And what began as a democratic, leftist run government was changed into a brutal military dictatorship that installed and supported a very strong free market economic system. Of course, other such democratic, leftist run governments suffered a similar fate to what Allende's government in Chile did. The most notable examples occurred in Iran (1953) and Guatemala (1954). So we see that when leftist governments come to power through democratic processes, they are at risk of being attacked from powerful internal and external enemies.

Another way the Left can gain control is through revolution and autocratic rulers. But as Rosa Luxemburg pointed out about Lenin's government, such regimes are more bourgeoisie than Marxist because their basic structure resembles how the bourgeoisie run their businesses. And here we should note that the Conservative, pejorative of equating Socialism with "big government" is deliberately deceptive. For the hallmark of Socialism from the Marxist tradition is worker control. And those who are most opposed to worker control are in favor of elite-centered rule exercised by either the public sector elites, as with Lenin, or the private sector elites, as is currently with the US (click here).  We should note that those who have the love of money will not object to "effective" elite-centered rule. In addition, religiously conservative Christians will more probably support elite-centered rule because of they have a natural affinity toward authoritarianism.

We should note that a society relies on both structures and a set of widely held public moral values. Certainly, a leftist Revolution involves a change in the structure of our government and, hopefully, the workplace too. But such changes have occurred before only to be quickly undone by those who have wealth and/or connections with outside power. One of the reasons why those leftist structures that have arisen democratically are so vulnerable is because the values shared by those on the left are not widely held. Thus, perhaps, it is time to evaluate whether those on the Left should make changing society's moral values a prerequisite to changing its political structure. 

Without reference to changing society's political structure, Martin Luther King Jr. talked about the set of moral values required for joining the 'right side of the world revolution.' For he said the following (click here for source):
we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin the shift from a "thing-oriented" society to a "person-oriented" society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.

Note that King states that we have a choice between two sets of values. One set puts a higher priority on things than on people: for King, things include 'profit motives,' gadgets, and 'property rights.' The other choice would be to put a higher value on people than on things. And note what King says follows when a society puts a higher priority on things: racism, materialism/exploitation, war/militarism. BTW, what was added to that list comes from a similar King discussion on this topic. And if we note, what the largest enemies of past Marxist governments are, we find them to be those with wealth and the military.


Here, we should note that having a 'thing-oriented' society rather than a 'person-oriented' society will bring other consequences than just providing a hedge against leftist governments. It brings constant conflict and injustice. And in a world where the proliferation of WMDs is inevitable, constant conflict and injustice can only spell destruction for thing-oriented societies if not the whole world.



 

Monday, January 2, 2017

ONIM For January 2, 2017


Christian News

World News

Standing Rock Sioux - DAPL News

Pick(s) Of The Litter



Friday, December 30, 2016

Are We Christians Trying Too Hard To Fit A Stereotype? Part I

There are two statements that today's Church should use to measure whether its interactions with the outside world reflects a faithful following of the Lord Jesus Christ. The one statement is a declaration of purpose recorded in a report called The Crisis Of Democracy (click here). The report was written for a liberal organization called the Trilateral Commission and it talked about the 1960s and the problems that those in authority, including those from both the private and public sectors, were experiencing in not receiving the respect and obedience they deserved. The identified cause for that lack of respect and obedience was an 'excess of democracy' that existed during that time period. The report stated that this lack of respect for and obedience to the proper authority figures was due to the failure of certain institutions of indoctrination to effectively train people to learn how to maintain the status quo. The statement in question says the following (click here for the source):
In the past, those institutions which have played the major role in the indoctrination of the young in their rights and obligations as members of society have been the family, the church, the school, and the army. The effectiveness of all these institutions as a means of socialization has declined severely. The stress has been increasingly on individuals and their rights, interests, and needs, and not on the community and its rights, interests, and needs.

We should note that the status quo back then consisted of Jim Crow segregation, an immoral war in Vietnam that ignored the democratic solution previously proposed by the Geneva Accords, the 2nd class status given to women, and the rampant materialism of the establishment.

The second statement comes from Vladimir Lenin as he was discussing the topic of religion and Socialism. Unlike some other Socialists, Vlad, as some of the kids from my Sunday School class have come to "affectionately" refer to him as, said some pretty negative things about religion, in general, and Christianity, in particular. And taken as a doctrinal statement in any ideology, we would have to disagree with what he said. But if he was merely describing what he observed about religion and how it was interacting in his part of the world, then we would be hard pressed to contradict him since we weren't there. And my guess is that Lenin's observation is pretty much correct. For Lenin said the following (click here for the source):
Religion is one of the forms of spiritual oppression which everywhere weighs down heavily upon the masses of the people, over burdened by their perpetual work for others, by want and isolation. Impotence of the exploited classes in their struggle against the exploiters just as inevitably gives rise to the belief in a better life after death as impotence of the savage in his battle with nature gives rise to belief in gods, devils, miracles, and the like. Those who toil and live in want all their lives are taught by religion to be submissive and patient while here on earth, and to take comfort in the hope of a heavenly reward. But those who live by the labour of others are taught by religion to practise charity while on earth, thus offering them a very cheap way of justifying their entire existence as exploiters and selling them at a moderate price tickets to well-being in heaven. Religion is opium for the people. Religion is a sort of spiritual booze,   in which the slaves of capital drown their human image, their demand for a life more or less worthy of man.

BTW, just a disclaimer here. My quoting of Lenin in no way implies that I support the kind of rule he instituted the October, 1917 Revolution in Russia. I don't. But his observations of religion back then have importance for today.

Now, why, when we are told that it is only what Jesus said that should be used as a standard for the Church, should we use these statements to judge its actions and direction? The answer is rather simple. The answer is how can we allow the Church to be used as one of several institutions of indoctrination to automatically maintain to a system that is maintaining itself by commiting serious sins? In addition, how could our educational institutions and the army possibly have the same goals for indoctrination as the Church? In addition, if they cannot, then why do we allow the Church to work for the same end results as our educational institutions and the army? And why are we relying on indoctrination in the first place?

Thus, the review below will eventually get around to comparing what is said in the article being reviewed with the above cited statements. 

This week this blogpost is reviewing an article by R. C. Sproul Jr on whether Christians can support Socialism (click here for the article). R. C. Sproul Jr. (click here for a bio) is the son of the famous Reformed theologian, R.C. Sproul Sr. A couple of spoiler alerts are called for here. First R.C. Sproul Jr. has a bit of a checkered present. There is no need to pile on by listing what is documented. Nor is there a need to shame him for he is struggling with temptations many of  us struggle with and don't always succeed in controlling. We should hope and pray for the best for him while we take seriously what he has written in the article we are reviewing.

Another spoiler alert is that R.C. Sproul Jr. clearly states that Socialism is contrary to God's Word. And his reasons for saying so are shared by many religiously conservative Christians who oppose Socialism. This is why we are examining what he wrote in the article being reviewed.

How does R.C. Sproul Jr. define Socialism? He defines in such a way that makes it easy for his readers to confuse Socialism with political liberalism and the Democratic Party. For he defines it as when any big government steals from those who have to give to those who don't have. So his objections to Socialism seem to consist of opposing big government as well as theft via taxes used to help others. For this is what R.C. Sproul Jr. says:

Socialism operates under the premise that the state not only has the authority to take what rightfully belongs to one man to give it to another, but has a duty to do so. Whether it is socialized education, or socialized health care, or socialized medication, or socialized retirement, or simply the taking of cash from one man to give to another, it is of a piece. That we might be in favor of education or medicine or retirement, that we might want to see others receive these blessings, however, should not lead us to support programs that take the wealth God has entrusted to the care of one man to give to another. When one man takes from another by force we rightly call this stealing, something forbidden by God in the Ten Commandments. When ten men or ten million men elect civil leaders to take the wealth of others by force, this too is something forbidden by God in the Ten Commandments. It no more makes a difference if this stealing benefits us or those we would like to see benefited.

We should also note is the other objection R.C. Sproul Jr. has to Socialism. He declares that Socialism doesn't care for the poor because it doesn't help the poor as God has told us to. Here we should note that how society should care for the poor is not specifically spelled out in the New Testament. And using the OT is problematic since we do not live in a theocratic state. However, in the Old Testament, some money and partial control of property was to be surrendered in order to feed the hungry. And Israel was often chastised for not caring for the vulnerable.

Now what seems to be assumed in R.C. Sproul's arguments against Socialism is that what a person has been compensated with by their business either as owner or employee completely belongs to them. That assumption is based on the belief that what legally belongs to someone is what morally belongs to them. And we are saying this seems to be assumed because of his silence regarding the legal but immoral acquiring of wealth by businesses.


Now challenging those two assumptions is the basis for Socialism from the Marxist perspective. And Socialism's concern here from the Marxist perspective can be illustrated by the following question: Did all of James Madison's wealth morally belong to him even though much of it was garnered through owning slaves? If one was to answer that question with a 'yes,' then one is legitimizing slavery Madison's owning of slaves. And though we don't have slavery now, we can ask a similar question by saying: Does all of the wealth that a business owner gains morally belong to them even though they are exploiting their workers such as through paying poverty wages? Again, if one answers that question with a 'yes,' then one is legitimizing the paying of poverty wages even when those wages are being subsidized here through taxpayer funded government assistance programs or by using sweatshop labor either here or abroad.

What we should note here is that R.C. Sproul Jr.'s view of Socialism is more governed by Conservative Libertarianism ideology than by Christianity. And the reason for that is that there are extensive ties between Conservative Libertarianism and the political beliefs of many religiously conservative Christian leaders in this country. 


We should also note that Conservative Libertarianism, believes in cutting as many business's ties to its social responsibilities as possible. And logically speaking, this is done by redefining the traditional business definition of the word 'stakeholder' to that of consisting solely of stockholders or other business owners. The traditional business definition of the term was that stakeholders included all who were impacted by the operations of a given business whether that includes members of the community in which the business resides, its workers,  its vendors, its customers, those who share the same environment, and all others who are impacted by a given business's operation as well as a given business' owners.

Now let's go back and compare R.C. Sproul Jr.'s view of Socialism with how the Church is viewed both by Vlad and the writers of the report, The Crisis Of Democracy. In that report, workers were to submit to the demands of the owners of the businesses they worked for and perhaps doing that without questioning their bosses' authority. And note that what Vlad said was that religion is an accessory to the oppression and exploitation of workers by teaching both employees and employers how to be comfortable with a status quo that relies on the exploitation of labor. Thus, what R.C. Sproul Jr. has written about not stealing the wealth of others while being silent on how that wealth is gained seems to support the notion that he at least somewhat believes that what is legal is moral. In other words, if the law allows for the exploitation of workers by underpaying them, then it is moral for businesses to pay their workers poverty wages and workers should show respect for the authority of business owners by being content and passive. Here we should also add that Conservative Libertarians deny that businesses can underpay workers because they believe that underpaying employees is impossible for they also do not believe in minimum wage.

Thus, what R.C. Sproul Jr. is teaching about Socialism as a Christian makes him, and those who agree with him on the subject both fit the stereotype of Christians provided by both Vlad and follow the declared purpose of the Church by those who wrote The Crisis Of Democracy. And he does this by not questioning the assumption that all the wealth we gain through owning businesses or even being employed belongs to us alone.


 BTW, there is an ironic postscript here. In case you haven't noticed, poverty wages here that require workers to apply for taxpayer funded government assistance programs means that businesses are stealing taxpayers' money to subsidize their payrolls with government assistance progams. It is unfortunate that R.C. Sproul Jr. with his concern for those who are being stolen from did not notice this example of theft.