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1 Cornithians 9 - decentralization or socialism?

Discussion in 'Religious Debates' started by ideogenous_mover, May 27, 2020.

  1. ideogenous_mover

    ideogenous_mover Well-Known Member

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    Here are the verses in question:

    4 Don’t we have the right to food and drink? 5 Don’t we have the right to take a believing wife along with us, as do the other apostles and the Lord’s brothers and Cephas? 6 Or is it only I and Barnabas who lack the right to not work for a living?

    7 Who serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat its grapes? Who tends a flock and does not drink the milk? 8 Do I say this merely on human authority? Doesn’t the Law say the same thing? 9 For it is written in the Law of Moses: “Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain.” Is it about oxen that God is concerned? 10 Surely he says this for us, doesn’t he? Yes, this was written for us, because whoever plows and threshes should be able to do so in the hope of sharing in the harvest.

    ----

    So, what kind of a economic community bests fits the model that Paul gives you here, and what are the implications of these passages as they pertain to workers or work theory
     
    #1 ideogenous_mover, May 27, 2020
    Last edited: May 28, 2020
  2. URAVIP2ME

    URAVIP2ME Veteran Member

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    Since there often is a connection to the Constitution of the old Mosaic Law, speaking in relation to the economy the knowledge we have of economics can strengthen our trust in Scripture as having a thriving economic community.
    For example: the Law Code that God gave addresses economic problems we have today:
    * The Law required to set aside produce for the poor ( kind of like taxaction or insurance for them )
    * The needy were to have interest-free loans ( thus they had access to credit )
    * There was restoration of hereditary lands to the original owners every '50 years' ( in other words, property rights were protected, a Jubilee year )
    - see Leviticus 19:9-10; Leviticus 25:10; Leviticus 25:35-37; Deuteronomy 24:19-21
    So, with the addition of adding the Bible's moral standards or values that surpasses business standards.
    - Deuteronomy 15:7-11; Deuteronomy 25:15; Psalms 15
     
  3. Soapy

    Soapy Son of his Father: The Heir and Prince

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    The store owner : if he eats his own store content is, in fact, eating his own profit. He should pay for the goods he takes off his shelves like anyone else but at a discount that does not break his profit (‘Have your cake and eat it’)

    In general, then, workers SHARE in the profit of the business they work for.. they are PAID A WAGE.

    The WAGE is afforded through the PROFIT of their labour in the business and the goods sold due to good economic Marketing.

    So, every Apostle, every supporter of an apostle, every man who has a wife... should be sharing in the benefits (as profit) of what his tenure allows for: The Apostle in the grace and mercy and heavenly abode of Christ; the supporter in the happiness of Paradise; and the man in the pleasure of his own wife (cooking, washing, etc for him)...; and if no wife then, like the store owner, himself in Christ!
     
  4. Brian2

    Brian2 Well-Known Member

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    I don't, it's good to see a passage in the context of what Paul was talking about.
     
  5. ideogenous_mover

    ideogenous_mover Well-Known Member

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    As an aside, I like the interpretation that God would be concerned for animal welfare
     
  6. Soapy

    Soapy Son of his Father: The Heir and Prince

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    I don’t think the passage was congratulating God on being concerned for animal welfare.

    The passage was saying that even an animal should benefit from its labours... the animal will work better if it is given a ‘sideways’ incentive to do the job assigned to it. The animal itself does not know what the job it is doing is worth to it’s master. It’s only thought is to eat the fodder in front of it - the offshoot of that is that it walks forward (in a circle or straight line) searching out fresh fodder. If the animal was muzzled then it would certainly have less incentive to move and probably be induced forward with a whip... not good!

    I don’t think there is a single scripture verse where Jesus is concerned about animal welfare. Sure, he spoke about birds arrayed in beautiful coloured feathers but then again he spoke about ‘dogs’, ‘Snakes’, and ‘Foxes’.. I think you can see context ... The birds are about GOD’s welfare.

    Also, God and to a lesser extent, Jesus, didn’t stop one animal eating another, nor helped an orphaned animal... the LAWS of nature given BY GOD dictate their welfare : one animal dying feeds another animal living... It is interesting to hear and see wildlife adventurers actually coming to the conclusion to NOT HELP struggling animals that are victims of NATURAL failings. Of course, where MAN has caused the problem (illegal snares, destination of nesting habitat, etc.) we CAN and SHOULD put forth our welfare hands!
     
  7. Vouthon

    Vouthon In varietate concordia
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    @ideogenous_mover That's a good exegetical question. Another passage that might help elucidate the one your asking about:


    "For you know the generous act of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich...

    I do not mean that there should be relief for others and pressure on you, but it is a question of a fair equality between your present abundance and their need, so that their abundance may be for your need, in order that there may be equality. As it is written,

    The one who had much did not have too much,
    and the one who had little did not have too little.
    "

    (2 Corinthians 8:13-15)



    Paul's Gentile churches in the diaspora were literally financing James's Jewish Jerusalem church, through a primitive ecclesial form of redistributive 'mutualist' economics - that is closest, I guess, to a form of libertarian socialism.

    As Paul inform us himself in Romans: "the Gentiles have come to share in [the Jews'] spiritual blessing, they ought also to be of service to them in material things" (Romans 15:27).

    The Fordham historian L.L. Welborn has noted in a Cambridge University Press study from 2013:


    https://www.cambridge.org/core/serv...texts_and_consequences_of_a_pauline_ideal.pdf


    In Corinthians, Paul stipulates as the criterion and goal of the collection for the poor saints in Jerusalem the ideal of ‘equality’ (ἰσότηϛ): ‘for the purpose [of the collection] is not that there [should be] relief for others and affliction for you, but rather [it should be] out of equality (ἐξ ἰσότητοϛ). In the now time, your abundance should supply their lack, in order that their abundance may supply your lack, so that there may be equality (ὅπωϛ γένηται ἰσότηϛ)....

    Paul’s appeal to ‘equality’ as the principle that should govern relations between Greeks and Jews would be especially shocking, if Hans Dieter Betz is correct in his interpretation of Paul’s subsequent statement in Corinthians about the effect of the collection as signifying the obligatory submission of the Achaians to the Jerusalemites...

    Paul’s surprising description of material poverty as the source of spiritual wealth in the paradigmatic instances of the Macedonians and Jesus sets the parameters within which the Corinthians are encouraged to conceive of their relationship to the poor saints in Jerusalem, and so to embrace the principle of ‘equality’. Paul is arguing implicitly that the poor Jerusalem saints are in the position of the superior party, by virtue of spiritual wealth, which has alleviated the Corinthians’ deficiency; so now, as the beneficiaries, the Corinthians are obliged, by the logic of inverse proportion, to make an extraordinary gift to the Jerusalem Christians, in order to restore ‘equality’.


    The famous statement: "There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus" (Galatians 3:28) testifies to the fact that there was to be a fundamental spiritual equality between all Christians but Paul elsewhere explains that it had a 'material' component as well: wealthier members were obliged to redistrubute their superfluities to poorer members, so that an "equality" (ἐξ ἰσότητοϛ) in income distribution might ensue.

    In practice, it meant that the wealthier Gentile churches (then in 'abundance') were redistrubuting resources to the poorer Jewish church headquarted in Jerusalem (then in 'need'), with the mutual understanding that if and when the tables were reversed, the same mutualist egalitarian ethic would apply in their time of need.

    This did not necessarily entail an absolute equality - without any differentials in income (although an unnuanced interpretation could viably construed it as such) - rather it was designed to mitigate the excesses of superfluous wealth and poverty in the community. The same system is described in Acts:


    The community of believers was of one heart and mind, and no one claimed private ownership of any possessions, but everything they owned was held in common. With great power the apostles bore witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great favor was accorded them all. There was no needy person among them, for those who owned property or houses would sell them, bring the proceeds of the sale, and put them at the feet of the apostles, and they were distributed to each according to need. (Acts 4:32-35)

    And all who believed were together and had all things in common; and they sold their possessions and goods and distributed them to all, as any had need. (Acts 2:44-45)


    St. Paul appears to have interpreted this doctrine as follows: everyone is entitled to work for a living and keep what they require for the necessities of life (even perhaps, something left over to secure oneself) but whatever a person or group has in abundance, is owed by debt to the "poor" so that there can be equality amongst Christians not only spiritually but to an extent materially as well, inasmuch as "The one who had much did not have too much, and the one who had little did not have too little."
     
    #7 Vouthon, May 28, 2020
    Last edited: May 28, 2020
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  8. ideogenous_mover

    ideogenous_mover Well-Known Member

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    That would be unfortunate. Racking my brain, I can't think of any really. Well, there is the metaphor of the 'lamb' I guess.

    Animals are worthy of theological doctrines of protection if you notice how we treat some of them. I just a saw a video the other day of how they cart chickens around, it didn't look very fun for the animals. I had also watched the joe rogan show with joel salatin, a farmer, which I think was done a few days ago. He talked about switching to a model of affirming animal's lives as opposed to the factory farming model, which meant preserving the 'pigness' of the pig etc

    Plugging that back into a metaphor for humans, it seems that many people who live pay check to pay check are driven into life, rather than finding things in the future to pull them forward. So then, it seems that it is a sin that they suffer when working. Odd, for I had thought that christians advocated general hardship

    That seems to be how animals were domesticated I thought, otherwise how do you pull a pug out of a wolf
     
  9. ideogenous_mover

    ideogenous_mover Well-Known Member

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    Which I suppose is ironic, since christianity hasn't been all that popular on the east side of the med. sea since that was written

    Thanks for all the context, but now to look again at 1 Cor 9:9: this seems to declare that you are entitled to enjoy your work, actually. And as well, not even to have work be perceived as a necessity at all, when you engage in it. For the ox (man in christian interpretation) is not muzzled, and therefore does not need to be driven forward into work. Rather, he is engaging in work as if it were a joy, and gravitates toward the future without being driven. How many people nowadays can say this? People living paycheck to paycheck don't think of work as a joy, but rather, they are muzzled and driven forward. Our western models often do not entitle you to job security, and so make work into toil
     
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  10. Vouthon

    Vouthon In varietate concordia
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    Another very good exegetical point.

    That is perfectly true from a Christian social perspective, inasmch as we understand work to be a "vocation" essential for human flourishing (as opposed to just a means of getting by), the path by which we share in God's own creative activity - indeed, Pope St. John Paul II wrote a lengthy encyclical letter on this very theme in 1981, entitled Laborem Exercens ("Through Work"). Some relevant excerpts:


    Laborem Exercens (14 September 1981) | John Paul II


    Human work is the key to the solution … of the whole “social question.” To consider work is of decisive importance when trying to make life “more human.”

    Laborem Exercens (“On Human Work,” Donders translation), Pope John Paul II, 1981, #3.

    Work is in the first place “for the worker” and not the worker “for work.” Work itself can have greater or lesser objective value, but all work should be judged by the measure of dignity given to the person who carries it out.

    Laborem Exercens (“On Human Work,” Donders translation), Pope John Paul II, 1981, #6.

    Work remains a good thing, not only because it is useful and enjoyable, but also because it expresses and increases the worker’s dignity. Through work we not only transform the world, we are transformed ourselves, becoming “more a human being.”

    Laborem Exercens (“On Human Work,” Donders translation), Pope John Paul II, 1981, #9.

    Workers not only want fair pay, they also want to share in the responsibility and creativity of the very work process. They want to feel that they are working for themselves — an awareness that is smothered in a bureaucratic system where they only feel themselves to be “cogs” in a huge machine moved from above.

    Laborem Exercens (“On Human Work,” Donders translation), Pope John Paul II, 1981, #15.

    Yet the workers’ rights cannot be doomed to be the mere result of economic systems aimed at maximum profits. The thing that must shape the whole economy is respect for the workers’ rights within each country and all through the world’s economy.

    Laborem Exercens (“On Human Work,” Donders translation), Pope John Paul II, 1981, #17

    Created in God’s image, we were given the mandate to transform the earth. By their work people share in God’s creating activity….Awareness that our work is a sharing in God’s work ought to permeate even the most ordinary daily activities. By our labor we are unfolding the Creator’s work and contributing to the realization of God’s plan on earth. The Christian message does not stop us from building the world or make us neglect our fellow human beings. On the contrary it binds us more firmly to do just that.

    Laborem Exercens (“On Human Work,” Donders translation), Pope John Paul II, 1981, #25.

    However, the Christian tradition (historically, outside 'Prosperity Gospel) has been very critical of "capitalist" mistreatment of the worker - particularly the bifurcation of capital and labour:


    Laborem Exercens (“On Human Work”) , Pope St. John Paul II, 1981 #30:

    “the principle of the priority of labor over capital ” (ibid., 12):

    "This consistent image, in which the principle of the primacy of person over things is strictly preserved, was broken up in human thought. The break occurred in such a way that labor was separated from capital and set in opposition to it, and capital was set in opposition to labor, as though they were two impersonal forces, two production factors juxtaposed in the same “economistic” perspective” [ Laborem Exercens , 13].

    " In the modern period, from the beginning of the industrial age, the Christian truth about work had to oppose the various trends of materialistic and economistic thought … the danger of treating work as a special kind of “merchandise,” or as an impersonal “force” needed for production (the expression “workforce” is in fact in common use) always exists , especially when the whole way of looking at the question of economics is marked by the premises of materialistic economism

    In all cases of this sort , in every social situation of this type, there is a reversal of the order laid down from the beginning by the words of the Book of Genesis: man is treated as an instrument of production. Precisely this reversal of order, whatever the program or name under which it occurs, should rightly be called “capitalism” …Everybody knows that capitalism has a definite historical meaning as a system, an economic and social system, opposed to “socialism” or “communism.”

    It should be recognized that the error of early capitalism can be repeated wherever people are treated on the same level as the whole complex of the material means of production, as an instrument and not in accordance with the true dignity of their work.


    On account of this: "In consideration of human labor and of common access to the goods meant for humankind, one cannot exclude the socialization, in suitable conditions, of certain means of production” ( Laborem Exercens, 14), which is in line with the Pauline exegesis I provided in my last post.
     
  11. Soapy

    Soapy Son of his Father: The Heir and Prince

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    And a metaphor is where it ends!!
    The only doctrine worthy to be presented concerning animals is that those who are made in the image of YHWH God (namely, HUMAN BEINGS) should not inflict cruelty towards anything of any sort and especially anything that has a spirit of consciousness (Animals) in it. It is true that even trees and plants of all sorts have a type of spirit in them so deliberately and with malicious intent destroy such for the enjoyment of the cruelty, is sinful... the act reflects the mindset of the human who does such a thing.... An interesting question: Did Jesus every squash an ant or a millipede or woodlouse?
    Wrong... this idea was wrongly interpreted and indeed was brought into force by some weird groups that flogged themselves and intentionally inflicted cruelty on themselves mis-believing that such acts brought them closer to YHWH God... it doesn’t!!!

    The truth is that the apostles are warned NOT TO SEEK COMFORTS but only ACCEPT IT if it is offered in a GODLY MANNER. Also, if another person is destitute then if that apostle can offer THEIR OWN COMFORT (maybe an overcoat or sone morsel of food) then that apostle should offer it to that destitute person.
     
  12. ideogenous_mover

    ideogenous_mover Well-Known Member

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    That's a reasonable selection of quotes, I didn't know Pope John Paul II was thinking about this that much.. I'm kind of curious if this sort of thinking matches to what other popes thought about work, back hundreds of years ago.. It must have been no easy task to build the very large churches back in the middle ages for example

    As to this above quote, well, creating 'human work' is getting harder and harder. I wonder how this Pope would have responded to the ascendancy of automation and AI taking over work. Does the Catholic church have any comments on the lifestyle of the Amish ?

    Hm .. Well in my case, I haven't always had the most 'dignity' when working, generally being a factory worker and all. The only time I felt I had got some of it, was when I managed to get jobs where I'm 'off the radar,' and so then I can exercise some modicum of self determination. Otherwise, one as a good as animal in a cage that is set spinning a wheel

    I don't know.. well he cursed a fig tree for not giving figs in at least one gospel

    Well, maybe you want to look up my thread on john the baptist, where his lifestyle is discussed as being one of self-denial. Also consider the essenes, who exercised a bit of self denial out there in the harsh desert, and probably exercised celibacy. Asceticism is shown to be fairly pervasive throughout the world of spiritually as well, I had thought. And as to paul himself, he variously refers to making his body subject to harship
     
    #12 ideogenous_mover, May 29, 2020
    Last edited: May 29, 2020
  13. Soapy

    Soapy Son of his Father: The Heir and Prince

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    Paul May well espouse hardship for himself but that is because he was afflicted with a pain of some sort. He did not pray for God to remove it as it gave him credit of suffering (much like Michael Corleone (“The Godfather” trilogy) did not have surgery to fix his damaged sinus, preferring to suffer with it to give him credibility as a ‘hoodlum’.

    What God desires is that we live with afflictions as much as we can do as not to be seen to be desiring comforts in the flesh. Jesus expresses as something like: ‘if you are poor, remain poor for the sake of others worse than yourself’ (Not those exact words though!). The point being that we do not come to God through Jesus for the simple sake of being flush with bodily (or wealth) health. The miracles Jesus performed (by means of the power of his Father and God: YHWH) were simply to show that God had the power to heal all manner of human problems. AND that mankind also had such powers invested in them IF they subdue themselves to the power of YHWH instead of they’re own belief. Jesus said:
    • ‘These things you see me do, you too will also do... and indeed, GREATER THINGS THAN THESE WILL YOU DO’
    When I posted this before, some trinitarian wit decided that Jesus was merely claiming that the apostles/disciples would preach further and gain more converts than he did... and while this is certainly true, it was not the fullness of the statement. Indeed, mankind is healing the sick and bringing sight to the blind as Jesus did (not yet as quickly nor as keenly) but try telling a first century Jew that a man would walk on that heavenly body they see in the sky, called the Moon. They would have certainly stone you to death for such an ‘absurd and irreligious thought’. In Jesus’ days the people did not know about bacteria nor even what the purpose of blood in the body was. A person in a Coma was considered ‘Dead’. And out-and-out mental health issues were considered ‘indwelling of a satanic spirit’. Today we know better (although of course, Satanic possession is REAL in rare cases!!!)
     
  14. Samantha Rinne

    Samantha Rinne Resident Genderfluid Writer/Artist

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    Neither. Capitalism.

    Socialism does not make allowances for the right to work, but instead advocates that the hardworking share their "fortune" (as if it's luck that bought them wealth) by intervention of government.

    In a socialist society, one plants a vineyard, and random people who up and say "come brother, there is enough for everyone." That may be, but you didn't plant the vineyard . You didn't even help occasionally. You came when it was time to harvest and demand your fair share. If you have something to trade, or if I'm feeling generous this is one thing. But socialism (what you're proposing) is theft. I make the crops, yet someone takes them without giving me anything of value back. On the other hand, anyone who helps with plowing and such gets their share.

    Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out grain. This is to say, if you mess with an animal while it is producing grain, pretty soon ir will not only stop making grain, but it'll stomp on you! In the same way, government overreach eventually results in people just quitting their jobs, and the system usually collapses, resulting in mass starvation.
    A capitalist society works because after one has finished farming, they have more than what they ever need for one thing, so they trade for another.

    We see this in the anime Wolf Children. This Japanese girl has two kids with a wolf... spirit? Werewolf? Something like that. Not wishing to expose her kids to scrutiny, she moves to the small town, and starts farming. She originally intends to plant just one field worth of crops, since it's subsistence, and two field is more than she needs. But the nearby farmer tells her to plant two. "Just trust me on this" he says. When harvest time comes, she finds she can barter.
     
  15. ideogenous_mover

    ideogenous_mover Well-Known Member

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    Hm, well to me that comes round again to 'muzzling the ox.' You can't live with afflictions and function as a happy ox, I think we are revealing some doctrinal problems here

    When in history were 'greater things' done? Who spontaneously heals the blind or the sick, or generates food out of thin air? Or rises from the dead?

    Let's go back to when Jesus spontaneously generates the fish and the bread then. Those guys following him didn't contribute their mental power into making all those things erupt from nothing, and who knows, maybe it was a hard thing for Jesus to create at that moment. If you were to imitate him as a prodigious farmer, then it does amount to sharing crops with random masses of people. And those masses didn't give him anything in return right? If I recall, Jesus sent them home. Which is kind of a weird thing to do if you're trying to gain followers. So he didn't even really accept their fellowship, instead he went on to try and prove everyone was rejecting him

    Well, it's more like it will have an unpleasant life.. That's why, if you apply the verse to humans, it contradicts other Christian ideas that you should lead a life of hardship
     
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