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This Month's Scripture Verse:

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.
2 Timothy 3:1-5


Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Comments Which Conservatives Block From Their Blogs For May 24, 2017

May 17

To R. Scott Clark and his blogpost on inclusiveness and exclusiveness for the Church. He talks about people being included in and excluded from the Church. But he also mentions the Church being put on the margins by culture. This appeared in Heidelblog.

Certainly there is a necessary exclusion when it comes to the Church. John tells us in his first epistle that only those who believe in Jesus as who He is and has been defined by God's Word and who love those who believe are Christians. And Jesus told us that the summation of the 2nd table of the law is to love one's neighbor as oneself. He also provided the parable of the Good Samaritan as example of how one is to be a neighbor to someone. If we are followers of Jesus, regardless of being imperfect, we will pursue His commandments.

But there is a missing dimension here as well. That dimension regards how inclusive/exclusive we are when sharing society with others. And this is perhaps where we receive the bulk of our criticisms and thus the primary reason why we begin to find ourselves being marginalized in society. We have been too exclusive in terms of how we share society with others. In the past, our exclusion of others has revolved around religious faith, denominational beliefs and identity, and race. Today, the key factors that determines whether many of us religiously conservative Christians wish to exclude others from being equal members of society are sexual orientation and identification. In short, it is disingenuous to cry martyr because we are shunned for trying to marginalize the LGBT community in society.  Some of us have also been trying to exclude people based on religious faith and/or national identity when it comes to responding to immigrants and refugees.

So why are some crying martyr over such actions? Perhaps it is because some Christian leaders, in order to cement their position in and control over the flock, have created a religious persecution industry here in America. For it isn't real persecution when we are marginalized for trying to marginalize others in society. It is real persecution when we are marginalized when trying to promote equality while preaching God's Word. And while God's Word requires that we preach against the sexual orientation and identity embraced by the LGBT community, there is nothing there that tells us to persecute that community by trying to marginalize them in society. And certainly God's Word opposes the idea of excluding the vulnerable such as immigrants and refugees from society.


May 21

To  R. Scott Clark and his blogpost quote of Ben Sasse who described John Dewey's design for education of displacing parents because of their "petty" concern for the welfare of their students. This appeared in Heidelblog.

The comment shows an ignorance to the reality that schools face with their children as well as the purpose of schools. According to the quote, the purpose of schools is to make sure nothing changes from generation to generation--kids have to be literate and traditions have to be passed down. But what should schools do for those whose handed down traditions need challenging? After all, some kids are neglected or raised in unstable homes or raised by ignorant or bigoted parents? How should schools then prepare children for the future? And isn't the purpose of education there to challenge what has been accepted to further critical thinking skills?

The above is not there for schools to usurp a child's parents' authority. Nor are schools there to overthrow all tradition.  But schools should not be totally submissive to the parents. There are too many other significant stakeholders in the education process for that to be acceptable. Teachers, for example, have specialized training that parents do not have. And so  shouldn't teachers have a say in what is taught? And doesn't society have a say in what is taught since society is the recipient of the children it educates?

Schools are not there to aid in the production of Stepford Children. In addition, the producing of such children sabotages the Sasse's goal of the article from which his quote is taken: That goal is to produce adults, Their goal isn't to produce adult children who cannot be intellectually independent.


May 23

To Joe Carter and his blogpost video that provides a simplistic model in trying to argue against tariffs and protectionism. This appeared in the Acton blog.

The value of any model is how well it simulates the reality it tries to portray. Now one doesn't have to understand everything about the model to realize its problems. First of all, what is called wasted resources is based on a limited set of considerations. For example, if the long range benefits of a tariff outweigh the present costs involved, then should we call the difference between domestic costs and world costs wasted? But let's forget the long range benefits assuming we are too impatient to wait for them. Are there benefits not mentioned in the video to the state of Florida to house domestic producers of sugar? For example, what about the workers who work at those domestic plants? Do they, and the communities and the state of Florida, benefit from the domestic production of sugar in Florida? IN addition, not all factors are being discussed here. For example, what if the supply of goods from other nations has reduced costs because of gov't subsidies for the production of those goods? Then doesn't free trade prohibit the nation consuming a particular set of goods from having its domestic producers being able to compete with the world producers? Such limits, if not destroys, the ability of domestic producers from growing and learning how to reduce its production costs. And that limits a particular nation's ability to diversify its economy.

But we might also argue from history. America used tariffs, against the standing economic advice of the day, to build up different sectors of its domestic economy. This allowed domestic producers to expand and even lower their production costs. This made our economy stronger.

The model presented in the video is meant to prohibit change within the economies of weaker nations. It prevents them from using the protectionist tools to grow and diversify their economies which nations like the U.S. used when it was a developing nation. Thus, this argument for free trade and against protectionism is an argument that is designed to keep the status quo regardless of the harm the status quo might be doing to the economies and people of a given developing nation. And that argument also defends the place of those nations that already benefited the most from protectionism and currently maintains today's status quo for those same nations. Basically, and this is not my terminology, enforcing free trade and prohibiting protectionism from being practiced by developing nations has been called 'kicking away the ladder.'


To Rev. Ben Johnson’s blogpost that claims that liberty and collectivism, or Christianity and Marxism, are opposing political systems and theologies. This appeared in the Acton blog.

The trouble with the article above is that it does not give the complete, or even accurate, picture of the competing systems. Collectivism as represented by Marxism, which is not a monolith in the first place, isn't competing with Christianity unless Christianity fully supports bourgeoisie control of society. In addition, liberty itself is not a monolith. For we have at least two kinds of liberty to talk about: individual liberty and corporate liberty. We call the latter kind of liberty 'democracy' for it is in a fully functioning democracy that corporate liberty is fully expressed. And so what is at odds with the notion of liberty described above is not just the Marxism, which is inadequately described above, but democracy. In addition, Christianity does not support individual liberty if that liberty is used to neglect or exploit the vulnerable. And if Christianity doesn't support that kind of liberty, then collectivism is not opposed to Christianity. Instead,  collectivism is oppose to what is today called 'conservative libertarianism. While those who do support that misuse of liberty are the privileged who support bourgeoisie control of society.

We should also note that in his book Anti-Capitalism, Ezquiel Adamovsky rejects the notion that Marx presented his ideas has being scientific. Rather, it was Engels who made that claim about Marx's ideas.

Finally, there is a religious perspective that both Marxism and its real chief rival, Capitalism, share. That religious perspective is that both are promising a materialistic utopia. Now Marx, and I say this as a person who leans toward Marxism, wrongfully believed that an absolute utopia could be established not through what was described above, but through a proletariat dictatorship. That is because such a dictatorship, which was actually a partial democracy, would so distribute goods and services that people would find true freedom. Capitalism also promises a utopia based on the distribution of goods. Only its utopia is relative when it claims to provide the very best distribution of goods possible. The problem here is that both systems are based in materialism. And materialism is, according to Christianity, nothing more than idolatry. We should note that neither system is a monolith and thus both systems have multiple variations that try to address these problems. But in the end, Marxism and Capitalism are two sides of the same coin.

Why I lean toward Marxism is not because of its materialism, I reject that. It is because I see in Marxism a greater potential for bringing people together to cooperate and collaborate in deciding how they will live. And its strength won't be found in the efficiency and effectiveness of the decisions made; its strength is found in the process of cooperating and collaborating.

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