National Allegiance

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thrombomodulin
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Re: National Allegiance

Post by thrombomodulin » Mon Apr 27, 2015 1:52 pm

TheEditor wrote:Hi Thrombomodulin (btw, is there a shorter name I can use? :) )
You can call me Pete. I chose the login ID long ago, somewhat randomly, out of a book called "Darwin's black box", which I was reading near the time I first joined the forum.
TheEditor wrote:For starters, 'Me thinks thou protesteth too much'. You stated that I 'critiqued your position.' Did I? I threw a whole lot of political labels out there, but I don't think I critiqued any particular view.
Although a label for my favorite view would be among those listed (I think you know what it is, we've discussed this before), this wasn't really about the particular view that I hold, but rather something common to all the views you listed. I took your comments to be affirming the idea that one should not apply to the bible to support their political views (for you said " they wed their political paradigm to their Biblical one somehow, and judge Christians that don't agree ... I really think it is an impossibility to wed the spiritual views with the political ones without treading on the sanctity of the spiritual"). It is with this that I was expressing disagreement.

To make the questions direct. Did the JW's base their stance on war (a political matter) on the bible, or did they not use the bible to arrive at their stance? Do you continue to hold the JW / Anabaptist / pacifist stance on war? If so, do you do so on grounds separate from the bible so as to preserve the "sanctity of the spiritual"? If indeed you affirm the bible could, or should, be used to support a Christian's stance on war, then can you explain how it can be consistent to criticize those who attempt to do the same to inform their views in other political matters?

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TheEditor
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Re: National Allegiance

Post by TheEditor » Mon Apr 27, 2015 5:33 pm

Hi Pete,

Sorry I forgot your name. I am really bad about that, and I always assume others are, hence the reason I always sign-off using my name. :D

Anyway, I think maybe I am failing to present my viewpoint correctly, which is not that unusual for me....just ask my wife. :lol:

To answer your last question first; Yes, the JWs did use the Bible to arrive at a "strict neutrality" position--being apolitical. I do not fault a person for using their spirit-directed conscience to come to certain life conclusions--including political ones. The problem as I see it is the inherent dicey nature of politics, hence it becomes harder to come to a "Biblical" position on politics.

But, leaving that aside, my main issue was not a person making political choices based upon their moral compass as shaped by the Bible, but rather, the interpretation or reading into the Bible preconceptions regarding political matters. I'll use a couple of (admittedly imperfect) analogies of what I am referring to.

I'll use "moral perspective" as a euphemism for "political ideology" for the purposes of my first analogy.

Brother Smith is raised to believe, or comes to believe, it doesn't matter which, that polygamy is a good moral choice. He then reads the Bible in such a way as to confirm his biases, understandably focusing on OT character's polygamy and finding means to explain NT principles away in order to justify his moral perspective.

Analogy number two; Brother Adams believes that it is the collective society's obligation to take care of the poor. He then reads accounts in Acts about "having things in common" and other such verses to justify his view of the social Gospel and the government's supporting of it.

I think this method is flawed, and it was that that I was critiquing. I believe that we, more often then not, allow our political and moral biases to do the interpreting of the Bible for us. That is why I try to remain apolitical. As I said to you I believe in another thread, I don't care if someone wants to spin their wheels on Libertarianism or Anarchocapitalism or what have you (I choose those because Iknow you identify with them), but I just can't get a passion up for them. I find myself if anything politically bi-polar. By the way, my main beef with Christians that follow Ayn Rand's philosophy is that she was an atheist, and I believe that atheism is the only view that one can hold to logically if they are going to champion economic Darwinism. Christianity does not allow for us to truly have self ownership, nor does it allow for us to have a true "barter"system with God; He owns everything.

Regards, Brenden.
[color=#0000FF][b]"It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery."[/b][/color]

thrombomodulin
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Re: National Allegiance

Post by thrombomodulin » Thu Apr 30, 2015 5:54 pm

TheEditor wrote:Sorry I forgot your name. I am really bad about that, and I always assume others are, hence the reason I always sign-off using my name. :D
And I'm sorry about my delay in writing back. The past few days have been rather busy, which isn't uncommon, and that's one of the reasons I don't post so much. I don't mind at all that you forgot my name - my memory on this isn't the best at that either.
TheEditor wrote:Anyway, I think maybe I am failing to present my viewpoint correctly...
Yes, this last reply is quite different from what I thought you had been saying in a previous one. Thank you for clarifying. I agree with the first part of what you said here. Certainly, one should not try to read into the biblical text something that isn't there. It is easy to do, and I hope I'm not succumbing to the error your are pointing out in my own efforts to understand the State from a biblical view. I agree that it is a dicey topic, because there is a limited amount of biblical material to go on, and because it is difficult, and maybe even impossible, to avoid contradictions in developing any theology of the State. Much could be said about difficulties with the passages Robby cited.
TheEditor wrote: That is why I try to remain apolitical. As I said to you I believe in another thread, I don't care if someone wants to spin their wheels on Libertarianism or Anarchocapitalism or what have you (I choose those because Iknow you identify with them), but I just can't get a passion up for them.
I find this topic to be quite fascinating, but I don't mind anyone who chooses not to spin their wheels on this topic. I wouldn't consider myself a follower of Ayn Rand's ideas, but my view is rather that of the Austrian school (Ludwig Von Mises, Murray Rothbard, Hans Herman Hoppe, Robert P. Murphy, Thomas Woods, etc,.). Since their view, unlike Rand's, is anti-State it could be well deserving of the "apolitical" label if ever circumstances arose for their implementation.

What relationship do you see between "economic Darwinism", as you have pejoratively called it, and atheism? Depending on exactly what you mean by it, I would probably be in favor it - although I am not an atheist.

Regards, Pete

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TheEditor
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Re: National Allegiance

Post by TheEditor » Thu Apr 30, 2015 6:43 pm

Hi Pete,
What relationship do you see between "economic Darwinism", as you have pejoratively called it, and atheism?


Sure, I'll try to explain my point of view.

Since we are told in the Scriptures that a) All things ultimately belong to God; and b) There is nothing we can do to Atone with God, save accept His provision (something that He did not have to do, but was an entirely benevolent act), this forces me to certain conclusions.

I use the term "soulless economic Darwinism" (a phrase I coined, I think?) because I believe that an economic Darwinist could have a soul. ;) However I believe such a philosophy to be more commensurate with Objectivism than Christianity.

Rand stated her philosophy in her fiction as well as her non-fictional writings. You are likely familiar with Galt's Oath:

"I swear by my life and my love of it, that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine."

The contradiction to certain basics of Christianity should be readily apparent. To me, if one has sworn allegiance to Christ, then it becomes increasingly difficult to follow an Objectivist economic philosophy. So, I expect someone like Penn Gillette to be a Randian. It's much harder for me to understand how a practicing Christian could be. I have read the arguments wedding the two, but there seems to be an awful lot of mental gymnastics and contortions that one has to go through to sooth the dissonance.

Regards, Brenden.
[color=#0000FF][b]"It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery."[/b][/color]

thrombomodulin
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Re: National Allegiance

Post by thrombomodulin » Thu Apr 30, 2015 7:26 pm

TheEditor wrote:Rand stated her philosophy in her fiction as well as her non-fictional writings. You are likely familiar with Galt's Oath: "I swear by my life and my love of it, that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine."
Yes, I recall that from reading Atlas Shrugged - a book I never finished. That statement in no way represents my own views, and I agree that it contradicts Christianity. This was not what I thought you would have meant by "economic Darwinism". I expected you would say something about how an unhampered free market leads to the destruction or impoverishment of some,, and so there would be a need for certain regulations to be made by the State, or more generally that State has to intervene to limit otherwise unbridled capitalism.

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TheEditor
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Re: National Allegiance

Post by TheEditor » Thu Apr 30, 2015 7:51 pm

Hi Pete,

I see what you are saying. Frankly, my way of viewing the world is that it's a hopeless cause. I believe that what you state about Capitalism is the way it tends to go without the restraints you mentioned, I'm just not sure the cure is as bad or better than the problem. My beef with Capitalist/Republican/Christians is that they believe that the free market (so-called) is some how immune to the abuses inherent in any system in which power winds up in the hands of a relative few. To illustrate my point about this "two sets of scales" kind of reasoning:

On the one hand, the Johnny-one-note conservative talk-show hosts will regularly tell their listeners that the "Government" thinks they are "stupid" and that they don't trust them with their own money. Then, maybe an hour later, or the next day, they will read a statistic that highlights the underlying stupidity of the American public; or they will revel in the humor of the "man on the street" not knowing certain answer to basic civics questions. Well, which is it? Are people "smart enough to run their own affairs" or are they "stupid?" One respected talk-show host I used to listen to said on his program prior to the housing collapse, that home ownership was a sure sign of a healthy economy. Six months later he opined that "not everyone should own a home"???? Give me a break.

Some will see morality laws as a necessary bulwark against sinful human nature, and then turn around and say that somehow, magically, exists no sinful human nature when it comes to business practices. Some talk as though the "entrepreneur" is the best example of altruism.

He that has the power holds it--by hook or by crook. Once we accept that, then we see the world as it is. Then the debate begins on what to do about it. Of course, I am limited and constrained by my conscience as to what steps I would be willing to take.

Regards, Brenden.
[color=#0000FF][b]"It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery."[/b][/color]

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dizerner
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Re: National Allegiance

Post by dizerner » Thu Apr 30, 2015 9:17 pm

Good post, TheEditor.

Just out of curiosity, did you ever have an "Apostasy Trial" when you left the JW? I just happen to have been reading about it.
~ Classical Arminian Christian Mystic ~

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TheEditor
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Re: National Allegiance

Post by TheEditor » Thu Apr 30, 2015 9:46 pm

Hi Dizerner,

No. I decided to stop attending. When I was attending Meetings, if you were an appointed "brother" to any office (Elder, Ministerial Servant) and you switched home Congregations, you had to wait for the visit of the Circuit Overseer (equivalent to a Bishop, but no costume) to be reappointed in the new Congregation. I was an appointed Brother, and it would have drawn more attention to me if I "stepped down" from my position, so I just switched Congregations. They have since changed that so your appointment "goes with you", so to say. What I did was switch Congregations and then I stopped attending. The CO (Bishop) came to my home to see if there was any trouble. I had grown a beard (which is a no-no for appointed Brothers) and he basically said "You know, if you come back I can assure you you'll be an Elder soon because you are qualified." I declined--by never going back.

I figured to go through with a Judicial Committee and tell them why I wasn't attending anymore would be to play into a game I no longer played. Since I viewed their authority the same way I viewed a Catholic Priest or a Mormon Bishop--meaning, not at all.

So, technically I am "inactive." But in the court of public opinion, I am an apostate I suppose. If someone cared to have a witch-hunt, they could find me, and deal with me accordingly. But I am probably off the radar.

Regards, Brenden.
[color=#0000FF][b]"It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery."[/b][/color]

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dizerner
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Re: National Allegiance

Post by dizerner » Thu Apr 30, 2015 9:52 pm

I see. :!: Thanks for answering.
~ Classical Arminian Christian Mystic ~

Singalphile
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Re: National Allegiance

Post by Singalphile » Thu Apr 30, 2015 10:00 pm

jaydam wrote:I believe that a Christian voting in a democracy is tantamount to attempting to direct the sword of the state in self interest and the interest of Christ, and ultimately an attempt through a majority to maintaining an earthly "Christian" kingdom.
Do you mean that you cannot imagine any situation in which you would vote or attempt to influence government in any way? And you would advise all others to make a decision now, as a matter of holiness, to never vote no matter what?

Is there a label for that sort of idea?
... that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. John 5:23

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