Can we stop the collapse of democracy?

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neverfail
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Re: it is the spirit in which you give it, not how much, that counts!

Post by neverfail » Sun Sep 24, 2017 9:55 pm

cassowary wrote:
Sat Sep 23, 2017 11:52 pm
neverfail wrote:
Sat Sep 23, 2017 3:27 am

Cass, will you ever shake off your conviction that the more closely the behavior of nations adhere to your cherished Weslayan values the more prosperous they are bound to become.
My pastor likes to quote John Wesley, founder of the Methodist Church. He keeps telling us that Wesley said, "First gain all you can, and, secondly, save all you can. Then give all you can."

The first two will make you rich. The richer you are the more you can afford to give. There are strong links between Christian values and prosperity. [/url]
Cassowary, I am not saying that John Wesley was anything other than a good man who followed in the footsteps of Jesus Christ as best he knew how. However, he was also a man of his own time and society - which happened to be England during the Georgian Age of Enlightenment. It was an time of rising (though skewed) prosperity and growing optimism. Wesley seems to have sought out practical solutions to the challenges of his day and I fear might have as a consequence, missed the point.

I draw your attention to Christ's parable of The Widow's Mite:

https://www.gotquestions.org/widows-mite.html

Question: "What does Jesus want us to learn from what He said about the widow’s mite?"

(quote)
There are several things that the story of the widow’s mite teaches us. First, God sees what man overlooks. The big gifts in the temple were surely noticed by people; that’s probably what the disciples were watching. But Jesus saw what no one else did: He saw the humble gift of a poor widow. This was the gift that Jesus thought worthy of comment; this was the gift that the disciples needed to be aware of. The other gifts in the treasury that day made a lot of noise as they jingled into the receptacles, but the widow’s mites were heard in heaven.

Here was a woman in need of receiving charity, yet she had a heart to give. Even though the amount was negligible—what could a widow’s mite buy?—she gave it in faith that God could use it. The widow’s faith is also evident in the fact that she gave the last of her money. Like the widow of Zarephath, who gave her last meal to Elijah (see 1 Kings 17:7–16), the widow in the temple gave away her last means of self-support. Does that mean the widow left the temple completely destitute, went home, and died of starvation? No. The Bible teaches that God provides for our needs (Matthew 6:25–34). We don’t know the details of this particular widow’s future, but we can be certain that she was provided for.
(unquote)
.........................................................................................................................

Cass, if you believe that Christianity is a creed whose intent is to make men rich in the worldly sense then I would suggest that you are definitely barking up the wrong tree and perhaps should consider trying out another religion. The widow in the parable gave only a pittance but gave it from a generous heart. Unlike the wealthy Jews who, under a sense of obligation from a Jewish religious law of the time impelling the Jewish faithful to tithe themselves, gave infinitely more but made a show of doing it so that others would think highly of them.

It was that widow who found her place in heaven.

Christianity is for the salvation of souls: not for the accumulation of worldly riches.

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SteveFoerster
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Re: Can we stop the collapse of democracy?

Post by SteveFoerster » Mon Sep 25, 2017 11:07 am

If drinking alcohol were a sin, then the very first miracle of Jesus would not been to turn water into wine at the wedding in Cana, nor would it have been present at the Last Supper.
Writer, technologist, educator, gadfly.
President of New World University: http://newworld.ac

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Sertorio
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Re: Can we stop the collapse of democracy?

Post by Sertorio » Mon Sep 25, 2017 11:11 am

SteveFoerster wrote:
Mon Sep 25, 2017 11:07 am
If drinking alcohol were a sin, then the very first miracle of Jesus would not been to turn water into wine at the wedding in Cana, nor would it have been present at the Last Supper.
If over one or two hundred years from now people read this type of discussion, what will they think of us?... Will they think we were a bunch of nice people but just a bit crazy?...

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cassowary
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Re: it is the spirit in which you give it, not how much, that counts!

Post by cassowary » Mon Sep 25, 2017 4:28 pm

neverfail wrote:
Sun Sep 24, 2017 9:55 pm


I draw your attention to Christ's parable of The Widow's Mite:

https://www.gotquestions.org/widows-mite.html

Question: "What does Jesus want us to learn from what He said about the widow’s mite?"

(quote)
There are several things that the story of the widow’s mite teaches us. First, God sees what man overlooks. The big gifts in the temple were surely noticed by people; that’s probably what the disciples were watching. But Jesus saw what no one else did: He saw the humble gift of a poor widow. This was the gift that Jesus thought worthy of comment; this was the gift that the disciples needed to be aware of. The other gifts in the treasury that day made a lot of noise as they jingled into the receptacles, but the widow’s mites were heard in heaven.

Here was a woman in need of receiving charity, yet she had a heart to give. Even though the amount was negligible—what could a widow’s mite buy?—she gave it in faith that God could use it. The widow’s faith is also evident in the fact that she gave the last of her money. Like the widow of Zarephath, who gave her last meal to Elijah (see 1 Kings 17:7–16), the widow in the temple gave away her last means of self-support. Does that mean the widow left the temple completely destitute, went home, and died of starvation? No. The Bible teaches that God provides for our needs (Matthew 6:25–34). We don’t know the details of this particular widow’s future, but we can be certain that she was provided for.
(unquote)
Thanks for the reminder of the story of the widow's mite. Jesus was saying that the amount you give does not matter to God. She gave from her poverty. She gave even though she could not afford it. The rich gave from their wealth - it did not hurt them. So her mites pleased God more than the large sums donated.
.........................................................................................................................

Cass, if you believe that Christianity is a creed whose intent is to make men rich in the worldly sense then I would suggest that you are definitely barking up the wrong tree and perhaps should consider trying out another religion. The widow in the parable gave only a pittance but gave it from a generous heart. Unlike the wealthy Jews who, under a sense of obligation from a Jewish religious law of the time impelling the Jewish faithful to tithe themselves, gave infinitely more but made a show of doing it so that others would think highly of them.

It was that widow who found her place in heaven.

Christianity is for the salvation of souls: not for the accumulation of worldly riches.
The purpose of Christianity is not to make men rich. But it seems to have that effect. Not all Christians become rich. But empirical evidence suggests that on the average, it does raise people's incomes - according to Jonathan Gruber. Whether that comes from God's blessings or behavioral changes as a result of its ethics, I leave it to the reader.

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cassowary
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Re: Can we stop the collapse of democracy?

Post by cassowary » Mon Sep 25, 2017 4:43 pm

SteveFoerster wrote:
Mon Sep 25, 2017 11:07 am
If drinking alcohol were a sin, then the very first miracle of Jesus would not been to turn water into wine at the wedding in Cana, nor would it have been present at the Last Supper.
That's a very good question which I have myself asked. I was told that alcohol is to be consumed in moderation only at special events such as weddings. And not on a daily basis.

Alcohol is a touchy subject and its permissibality varies from church to church - from total abstinence to moderate daily use. The Methodists, I believe, are stricter than most.

Total Abstinence: Wesleyan Methodist Church of Australia (2012 Handbook)

Neverfail, take note. Its the same here in Singapore. But I understand not all Methodists agree with this level of prohibition.

neverfail
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Re: Can we stop the collapse of democracy?

Post by neverfail » Mon Sep 25, 2017 5:26 pm

Sertorio wrote:
Mon Sep 25, 2017 11:11 am
SteveFoerster wrote:
Mon Sep 25, 2017 11:07 am
If drinking alcohol were a sin, then the very first miracle of Jesus would not been to turn water into wine at the wedding in Cana, nor would it have been present at the Last Supper.
If over one or two hundred years from now people read this type of discussion, what will they think of us?... Will they think we were a bunch of nice people but just a bit crazy?...
:o
Que sera, sera Sertorio. History is not a one way street. For all that you (or I) can forsee the distant future, Christianity might have undergone a great and glorious revival by then. :)

neverfail
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Re: the inter-denominal politics of Christian churches in Oz.

Post by neverfail » Mon Sep 25, 2017 6:01 pm

cassowary wrote:
Mon Sep 25, 2017 4:43 pm
SteveFoerster wrote:
Mon Sep 25, 2017 11:07 am
If drinking alcohol were a sin, then the very first miracle of Jesus would not been to turn water into wine at the wedding in Cana, nor would it have been present at the Last Supper.
That's a very good question which I have myself asked. I was told that alcohol is to be consumed in moderation only at special events such as weddings. And not on a daily basis.

Alcohol is a touchy subject and its permissibality varies from church to church - from total abstinence to moderate daily use. The Methodists, I believe, are stricter than most.

Total Abstinence: Wesleyan Methodist Church of Australia (2012 Handbook)

Neverfail, take note. Its the same here in Singapore. But I understand not all Methodists agree with this level of prohibition.
Thanks for alerting me to the fact that we still have a Methodist Church here in Australia. It must be numerically such a small, obscure sect as to have been "operating below my radar" for years.

You see, our (mainstream) Methodist Church (technically) ceased to exist in 1977 when it merged with two other protestant denominations to form the Uniting Church in Australia.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uniting_C ... _Australia

A few years later a friend of mine who was a member of the UC told me in confidence "it is just not working!" Too many theological and procedural differences separated former members of the 3 evangelical former denominations who made up its congregation. The result was its ossification into rival factions.

In 1969, before negotiations to form the new church began in earnest, the referendum revealed that in that year around 14% of Australians identified as Methodists; around 8% as Presbyterians and only around 3% as Congregationalists. By comparison, the Anglican Church accounted for just over one quarter and the Catholic Church just under one quarter of our confessional allegiance.

I suspect that the desire of these evangelical protestant church to form a block as large as the Anglican and Catholic Churches (for the sake of added influence) that prompted the merger. With hindsight it might have been ill advised. The Uniting Church membership has since shrunk from around 20% of our population to just over 5% of total. with that demise the influence of evangelical Protestantism has collapsed.

Meantime (excuse me for rubbing salt in the wound cass ;) ) Anglican Church membership has dropped from over one quarter of population to now just over 20%. In the same interim years the Catholic Church has grown from under 22% of total to just over 27% of total. Among the Christian churches the big winner in terms of expanded influence and prestige.

Having said that the apparent gain by default of the others is not such a win as might appear. The Catholic Church in this country has its own set of weaknesses while adherence to Christianity (and Christian values) has declined. with the growth of non-belief and non-christian religions in this country to the point were arguably the position of Christianity itself has considerably weakened.

Jim the Moron
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Re: Can we stop the collapse of democracy?

Post by Jim the Moron » Mon Sep 25, 2017 7:00 pm

"The Catholic Church in this country has its own set of weaknesses while adherence to Christianity (and Christian values) has declined. with the growth of non-belief and non-christian religions in this country to the point were arguably the position of Christianity itself has considerably weakened."

Say, what, neverfail? (I'm still trying to sort that puppy out.)

Are you telling us that Thor and Zeus are gaining ascendance over Christ among Australians?

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cassowary
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Re: the inter-denominal politics of Christian churches in Oz.

Post by cassowary » Mon Sep 25, 2017 8:58 pm

neverfail wrote:
Mon Sep 25, 2017 6:01 pm
cassowary wrote:
Mon Sep 25, 2017 4:43 pm
SteveFoerster wrote:
Mon Sep 25, 2017 11:07 am
If drinking alcohol were a sin, then the very first miracle of Jesus would not been to turn water into wine at the wedding in Cana, nor would it have been present at the Last Supper.
That's a very good question which I have myself asked. I was told that alcohol is to be consumed in moderation only at special events such as weddings. And not on a daily basis.

Alcohol is a touchy subject and its permissibality varies from church to church - from total abstinence to moderate daily use. The Methodists, I believe, are stricter than most.

Total Abstinence: Wesleyan Methodist Church of Australia (2012 Handbook)

Neverfail, take note. Its the same here in Singapore. But I understand not all Methodists agree with this level of prohibition.
Thanks for alerting me to the fact that we still have a Methodist Church here in Australia. It must be numerically such a small, obscure sect as to have been "operating below my radar" for years.

You see, our (mainstream) Methodist Church (technically) ceased to exist in 1977 when it merged with two other protestant denominations to form the Uniting Church in Australia.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uniting_C ... _Australia

A few years later a friend of mine who was a member of the UC told me in confidence "it is just not working!" Too many theological and procedural differences separated former members of the 3 evangelical former denominations who made up its congregation. The result was its ossification into rival factions.

In 1969, before negotiations to form the new church began in earnest, the referendum revealed that in that year around 14% of Australians identified as Methodists; around 8% as Presbyterians and only around 3% as Congregationalists. By comparison, the Anglican Church accounted for just over one quarter and the Catholic Church just under one quarter of our confessional allegiance.

I suspect that the desire of these evangelical protestant church to form a block as large as the Anglican and Catholic Churches (for the sake of added influence) that prompted the merger. With hindsight it might have been ill advised. The Uniting Church membership has since shrunk from around 20% of our population to just over 5% of total. with that demise the influence of evangelical Protestantism has collapsed.

Meantime (excuse me for rubbing salt in the wound cass ;) ) Anglican Church membership has dropped from over one quarter of population to now just over 20%. In the same interim years the Catholic Church has grown from under 22% of total to just over 27% of total. Among the Christian churches the big winner in terms of expanded influence and prestige.

Having said that the apparent gain by default of the others is not such a win as might appear. The Catholic Church in this country has its own set of weaknesses while adherence to Christianity (and Christian values) has declined. With the growth of non-belief and non-Christian religions in this country to the point were arguably the position of Christianity itself has considerably weakened.
What a pity. The spread of the Methodist church's teachings about alcohol (total abstinence) will go a long way to help Australians, especially the Aborigines who suffer from a high degree of alcoholism. It is a cause of their poverty. It ruins marriages and also makes it hard to keep your job. Drinking too much is also bad for your health, which may partly account for their relatively shorter lives.

That is not the only social benefit of Christian ethics. But this example shows how behavior induced by religious beliefs can have an economic and social impact. I think that Jonathan Gruber was on to something, when his research showed that adherence to the Christian faith raises income levels - on the average of course.

But that is nothing new. Max Weber said something similar.

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Sertorio
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Re: Can we stop the collapse of democracy?

Post by Sertorio » Tue Sep 26, 2017 2:36 am

neverfail wrote:
Mon Sep 25, 2017 5:26 pm
Sertorio wrote:
Mon Sep 25, 2017 11:11 am
SteveFoerster wrote:
Mon Sep 25, 2017 11:07 am
If drinking alcohol were a sin, then the very first miracle of Jesus would not been to turn water into wine at the wedding in Cana, nor would it have been present at the Last Supper.
If over one or two hundred years from now people read this type of discussion, what will they think of us?... Will they think we were a bunch of nice people but just a bit crazy?...
:o
Que sera, sera Sertorio. History is not a one way street. For all that you (or I) can forsee the distant future, Christianity might have undergone a great and glorious revival by then. :)
Or people may come to realize that from all suggested alternatives, the existence of a God is the most unlikely one. Self awareness is the only miracle this universe has produced, and it has nothing to do with God. Or, if collective conscience is at all possible, maybe God is nothing more that a self aware Universe... And we seem to be still very far from that...

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