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Why Socialism and Communism are Christian

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Capitalism and Greed

Christianity has been tried for more than eighteen hundred years. Perhaps it is time to try the religion of Jesus.

Dr Milman, Dean of S Pauls

According to the Reverend W D P Bliss, T G Shearman pointed out as long ago as the 1880s that around 0.05% of the population, own 60% of the wealth of “this land” (the USA). Today the distribution of wealth is if anything far worse.

A book by Richard G Wilkinson and Kate Pickett was published in 2009. It is called The Spirit Level, the metaphorical title referring to measuring the level of equality of a society, as the various subtitles added to different editions suggest, or explain:

  • Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better
  • Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger
  • Why Equality is Better for Everyone

The authors compared economic data with social inequality indices such as the Gini Coefficient to show that wealthy societies like the USA and the UK were very unequal in how the wealth was distributed among their people. It led to very bad data in respect of problems such as “homicide, infant mortality, obesity, teenage pregnancies, emotional depression and prison population”.

People’s wellbeing and their social cohesion were high in countries that were less wealthy but in which people felt wealth was more fairly distributed—for instance Finland, Norway and Japan. That sharing is a deep instinct is suggested by academic social studies—usually involving game playing—which show that people will pay to reduce inequality, and that even infants have an innate sense of fairness.

Of course, not everyone has the same abilities. When economics is driven by competition, so that the rule is everyone for themselves and each company for itself, some must succeed and others fail. Though sad and apparently wasteful, we are told the benefit is that the strong, the smart, the shrewd, and the perceptive will rise in the social hierarchy. Capitalist Christians who are often utterly appalled by Darwin’s theory of evolution, suddenly call upon him to explain the way capitalism works for the good of us all. They call it social Darwinism.

In fact, it is often the selfish, the unscrupulous and the dishonest capitalists who succeed best, and this outcome is the result of the basis of the system—competition. The competitive system encourages people of poor character to do well, and because it does encourage them, they may end up as millionaires or billionaires, though many, perhaps most, are no better than criminals!

The avaricious man is like the barren sandy ground of the desert which sucks in all the rain and dew with greediness, but yields no fruitful herbs or plants for the benefit of others.

Zeno

via Why Socialism and Communism are Christian.

Written by mikemagee

14 April, 2013 at 11:46 pm

Poorer Voters Concerned with Economics not Religion until they Get a Bit Better Off

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Voter Turnout by Income

Analysis of voter presidential choice from two large surveys of voter choice and personal characteristics—from family income to race, gender and religious identity—allowed sociology professor, Thomas Hirschl, and statistics professor, James Booth, to identify the degree of polarization and its source in the population.

Hirschl said that upper income white Protestants, who believe the Bible is the literal word of God, have more than doubled their odds of voting Republican—from 2.7 GOP voters for every one Democratic voter in this group in 1980, to 6.1 for every one in 2008. Conversely, secularly minded, upper income white Protestants reversed their partisan preference, from 1.9 to 1 in favor of the Republican Party in 1980, to 2.2 to 1 in favor of the Democratics in 2008. A similar but nut less pronounced split happened among upper income white Catholics, albeit evident only in households that had a total income greater than $75,000 (2009) per year. Hirschl added:

There was no comparable trend among lower income white Protestants or Catholics. African-Americans remained loyal Democratic voters throughout the 28 year study period, regardless of their religious identity.

Rich and Poor States Voting

This study of three decades of voter choice has shown that the influence of religion on voter choice among upper income white Protestants and Catholics intensified in the years between the elections of Ronald Reagan in 1980 and Barack Obama in 2008. It suggests that religious identity strongly motivates upper income white voters, but not African-Americans or lower income whites. Poor people are less concerned with religion and politics that the richer middle classes, remaining more loyal to the Democratic party as the party of economic reform.

The trouble is that the graphs shown here suggest that when poor people get even quite marginally better off they think they are rich, and a fair proportion of them start to vote, though they might not have before, and start to vote Republican. It ought not to require any great intelligence to see that very many so called “middle class” voters are actually poor, and fool no one but themselves by pretending they are on a par with Mitt Romney. The GOP has no inclination to wake them up while they are dreaming the American Dream.

Written by mikemagee

26 October, 2012 at 4:37 pm

Catholic Church to Lose Historic Property Tax Exemption in Italy

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The Santa Brigida convent in Piazza Farnese run as a bed and breakfast

In December 2011, after new austerity measures were adopted in the country, 130,000 Italians signed an online petition urging the government to strip the Church of its tax exemption. The move could net Italy revenues of 500 million to 2 billion euros annually, municipal government associations said. The figure is 6 billion euros a year according to UAAR, the Italian Humanist Association. The extra income from previously exempt properties in Rome alone, including hotels, restaurants and sports centers, could reach 25.5 million euros a year, La Repubblica daily newspaper reported.

Marco Catalano, a 35 year old shopkeeper in Rome, who goes to church twice a month, told the New York Times:

It was time that they paid, too, with all the exemptions they’ve had throughout the years. They own the most beautiful buildings in downtown Rome, on Italian soil, and rent them out at market prices. They don’t give them for free or at low prices for charity.

Written by mikemagee

14 October, 2012 at 12:02 am

No Relationship Between the Level of Sacrificial Behaviour and Religiosity

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Sacrificing to God Game

Physorg.com reports that Professor Paul Frijters and World Bank economist Juan Baron, economists at the University of Queensland (UQ) and the World Bank in Washington found a pervading and persistent “default belief” among believers and nonbelievers in bargaining with the unknown, and it was greater in times of uncertainty. Professor Frijters said:

There seems to be a default belief that people can bargain with the unknown, and they need a lot of evidence to the contrary before it fades away. Much like some cultures dance for their gods in order to get rain, Western participants will spend money on problems even when that expenditure has no demonstrable effect. Even when witnessing hundreds of occasions where it made no difference, they keep sacrificing large portions of their income to the perceived source of the problem. Only if they personally experience dozens of disappointments will they slowly stop sacrificing.

Professor Frijters said the study was an important stepping stone towards a general theory of human behaviour that will be revealed in a book due later this year called An Economic Theory of Greed, Love, Groups, and Networks, to be published by Cambridge University Press.

In it, 500 participants played a game in which the price for the goods they “produced” was determined by a source of uncertainty called Theoi. Although the price was set completely at random for each of 20 rounds, the participants had the option of contributing some of their produced goods to Theoi. At the start, the average participant donated half of all production towards Theoi, even when there was no relationship between the level of sacrifice and the market price. Professor Frijters said:

Even after 20 rounds, the average participant still donated a quarter of all production. There were no participants who didn’t donate anything for all 20 rounds, and there were very few who didn’t donate anything the last 10 rounds. The wish to sacrifice was very strong. In an experiment where the level of sacrifice was set initially at 10 per cent, nearly all participants changed the level to much higher. Aggregate sacrifices were over 30 per cent of all takings in the main experiments, and only slightly lower if we didn’t use a human name for the uncertainty in price (like Theoi) or if we allowed participants to see what others experienced. Sacrifices only really dropped when the level of uncertainty was lower.

General findings were:

  • there was no relationship between the level of sacrificial behaviour and whether participants belonged to a recognised religion
  • engineering students donated more than economics students
  • participants who were selfish towards others were also less likely to sacrifice to Theoi.

The authors conclude that “any important source of uncertainty” will witness the development of a religion around it in which people sacrifice towards its perceived source.

While this is only a summary by an online agency of the paper, if it is at all accurate, the findings are terrible. The authors totally lack any scientific credibility on this evidence. Their choice of the word Theoi (Gods) suggests they had already a conclusion in their minds when they chose that as the name of this mysterious agent.

It seems the subjects’ knowledge of the mechanics of the game was simply that they could donate some of their money to Theoi (“a sacrifice”) before it decided upon their winnings. To be told that is to imply that the “sacrifice” might influence the outcome. It is therefore quite natural to any inquisitive human being to conduct a series of experiments to determine what the optimum “sacrifice” is. For most people it would simply be a matter of “suck it and see”, and in only 20 tries there is little chance for anything more sophisticated, anything approaching a scientific method. So, on the information provided in the summary, Professor Frijters and Juan Baron have presupposed an outcome—everyone believes in a supernatural agent, so must be at heart religious—and have not even been clever enough to disguise it, by using words like gods and sacrifice that give away their thinking. The subjects, whether atheists or believers are simply trying to get a clue about what strategy will give the best rewards in the game. The superimposition of gods and sacrifice are simply in the minds of the experimenter. One would hazard a guess that they are themselves religious believers!

Written by mikemagee

4 September, 2012 at 12:42 am

Why Did the English Levellers Think the Bible was their Guide?

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Levellers Day: Still Celebrated

Prominent historian, Christopher Hill (The World Turned Upside Down, 1975), reports the words of a Leveller in Chelmsford, which show that English workers at the time of the English Revolution, around 1650, considered the Bible to have been a working man’s political, even revolutionary, handbook! The Levellers believed in the sovereignty of the people, were committed to religious toleration and wanted democratic control of the army through representatives called “Agitators”. He wrote:

The relation of master and servant has no ground in the New Testament. In Christ there is neither bond nor free. Ranks such as those of the peerage and gentry are ethnical and heathenish distinctions. There is no ground in nature or scripture why one man should have £1,000 per annum, another not a pound. The common people have been kept under blindness and ignorance and have remained servants and slaves to the nobility and gentry. But God hath now opened their eyes and discovered unto them their Christian liberty.

Sadly, now God has closed the eyes of millions of US Protestants, who think that the bible, far from favoring the poor, favors the megarich, while the poor deserve to be abandoned economically if not and physically mistreated—and so they vote Republican. The contrast between the actual practical morals of Christ, and this US version of Christianity, championing people abuse and oppression, has largely been brought about by right wing political schemers calling themselves pastors, for their own gain, and to confuse and disarm the poor. It has been done by telling believers:

  1. they need to interpret the bible in an absurdly complicated way for it to be read as inerrant, which they teach it necessarily is because it is God’s own work, and God cannot be wrong, and so it has to be read the way the pastors say!
  2. to direct their attention to Paul and away from Christ because the Jesus Christ of the three synoptic gospels, Matthew, Mark and Luke, is perfectly easy to understand, and very pointedly favors the poor, whereas Paul is much more confused and confusing, so suits the obfuscating vicars and ministers all the more.

In the Sermon on the Mount, Christ blessed the poor in spirit, the meek, the merciful and the peacemakers, and offered no blessings at all for the rich in spirit, the arrogant, the cruel and the troublemakers. To be blessed meant to be made holy so that they would be guided by God into His kingdom. It could not be plainer that Jesus favored the poor to the exclusion of the rich. Indeed, Christ tells a rich man he has to give his wealth to the poor to be saved. So riches are no blessing, rather they are the way that those who are not blessed betray their greedy cruel natures to the world at large.

Written by mikemagee

30 June, 2012 at 1:43 am

Christian Imperialism and the Wickedness of the West

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Christianity took 300 years before it was accepted by the Roman emperor, Constantine, as his administration’s preferred religion, a few decades before it officially became the Roman state religion in 381 AD, when Theodosius’s edict banned paganism and enforced belief in the Christian Trinity. The Christian church was triumphant. The task now was to convert the world, a task that suited Roman imperialism. As Christianity was the religion of Rome, Christians were Roman citizens. Christian faith was now identical to loyalty to Rome. Faith was no longer the practical morality of loving kindness taught by Christ but was patriotic loyalty, like the worship of the emperor. Devotion to God had become a political principle uniting the people of the empire by equating the Church and the state, as many Americans do today.

By the thirteenth century, the Fourth Christian imperialist Crusade (1198-1204 AD) had resulted only in the sacking of Constantinople, a rich Christian city, the rival to Rome in the eastern empire, and increasingly Christians were turning from Catholic Christianity to the heresies of Catharism and Bogomilism, Christianities untainted by imperialism, and therefore much closer to the Christianity of the apostles.

Then came the early modern rush to colonize the world with the pope’s blessing! The Spaniard, Juan Gires de Sepulveda, claimed its justification was how grave people’s sins were, and the rudeness of their nature—reasons why the Indians’ position was to be servants of sophisticated people like the Spanish. He wondered how we could doubt that these people—so uncivilized, so barbaric, contaminated by impieties and obscenities—had been justly conquered by such an excellent, pious and most just king as Ferdinand the Catholic and by such a most humane nation, excellent in every kind of virtue!

Of course, the most humane nation, excellent in every kind of virtue, with such excellent, pious and most just Christian kings, called Presidents, is today the USA. Yet, the United States itself grew out of a colony of Europeans exploiting native Americans and imposing European Christianity upon them. They freed themselves of their European masters but sought and now, with no moral hesitation, still seek to impose their own will on others. Latin American theologian Ismael Amaya writes on American missionary Christianity:

Much of the motivation behind the colossal effort to support the gigantic missionary enterprise around the world, is the conviction that God has raised America—especially Anglo-Saxon America—as the vessel of redemption of the world.

American Christian missions are both products and purveyors of American culture. Now the US invades other countries willy nilly and steals their resources in the name of the God, whom they always invite to bless them whatever sins they commit, and a democracy commonly cited as imperial justification for war—though they themselves are not at all democratic but ruled by a rich oligarchy. They set up a constitution democratic and secular in form and practice only to surrender it to the verbal gymnastics of professional clergymen and politicians.

Curiously, in early Christian thought based on the bible (as the Christian commentator, Lactantius, observed), the west was considered as evil, and the east good. Now in the eyes of most of the world—all those whom the US cannot buy or intimidate—that is not merely metaphorically but is demonstrably true, though western propaganda attempts to portray the western world as good and the rest wicked.

Christians revived duallism, with Satan the wicked half and Christ the good half of it, but the west no longer takes its moral stance from the good God. Christians have been tricked into adoring the wicked God, and now do it with chilling enthusiasm. Traditionally, the good God is the metaphorical God of light, the God of Dawn and the coming day, who since time immemorial, has therefore been considered able to see everything in the forthcoming day. He has foresight. The wicked God is the God of dusk and darkness, who cannot see ahead for he is the advancing darkness. The god of darkness and night only knows what has already happened.

Good differs from evil in the use of foresight. Good people who adopt the morals of the good God differ from the wicked ones in having foresight, and personally using it. Good people can see the consequences of their actions and do no ill. If wicked people can do the same, they justify their wickedness, or they assume they can do no wrong. An imperial religion demands justification of this kind, and is incompatible with kindness and consideration. The practical morality of Christ is incompatible with imperialism and conquest. More…

Dawn or Dusk?

Not Christian, Rich Christian, Poor Christian, Christian

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“Blessed are the Poor” is not…
”Blessed are the Rich!”

Having read the gospel message of the active life of Christ, just how can American billionaire Republicans and their kin here in the UK succeed in fooling everyone that they can be Christians at all? Yet they pass off the message that the capitalist dog-eat-dog system of treating people as objects for exploitation is compatible with Christ’s teaching of treating people as objects of kindness and love. Nothing seems so easy as the ease by which the rich perpetually fool the poor into believing what is utterly against their best interests, including the nature of Christianity.

Written by mikemagee

25 December, 2011 at 7:08 pm