Saturday, June 04, 2011

About Killing Al Quaeda

An interesting question that we should ask: When our government kills an Al Quaeda militant, is the US really one enemy down? When a predator drone wipes out ten mushahadeen, is the US really ten dead bodies closer to victory?

If the answer is "No, not really," then I think our current policy is destined to fail.

About Christian Charity--Does Socialism Follow Jesus' Teachings?

Too many people armed only with scriptures written thousands of years ago claim to understand God's will and know "exactly" how we should behave socially and politically.

When the last books of the New Testament were written, slavery was acceptable and monarchy was the preferred form of government.

The most important lessons from the bible are, for the most part, not literally applicable to us. To better understand, we need to cut through the history, discriminate between what was present and relevant then and what is present and relevant now. We must read the subtext, and therein lies the difficulty.

For instance, many socialists claim that Jesus, with his message of charity for the weak and needy, would have advocated programs such as social security, medicaid, and medicare. Isn't it Christian to help the elderly, the poor, and the sick?

But social security, medicaid, and medicare all rely upon the violent, coercive powers of government to redistribute wealth involuntarily from the productive to the non-productive. Does love of one's neighbor come from the barrel of a gun?

Others, and I count myself among them, consider Jesus' proclamations to be calls to individual action. I should help the elderly, the sick, those weaker than I am.

According to the socialist model, my property is forcibly taken from me and (lacking major corruption), delivered to those in need. The first caveat, of course, is that socialism breeds corruption and inefficiency. The formula for helping people in this way ends up hurting more. The second caveat is that a man who pays his taxes is not charitable. He does so in order to avoid being harmed. Jesus did not say, "Blessed are the shirkers and those who cower before might." There's simply no charity in the socialist system.

According to our alternate model, men can demonstrate their devotion to Jesus' teachings by acting according to their free will.

Should the old version of the story be true, when we die and meet St. Peter at the Pearly Gates, which will be the more valid petition: "I paid my taxes," or "I gave of my own free will"?

So the trick to Christian theology isn't to say "This and this happened and in ancient Judea would have resulted in that and that, therefore the same should be true for us."

The trick to Christian theology is to strike at the meaning of Jesus' teachings, God's will itself, if you're a believer.

If you're not a believer, then you've already discounted this post. Alas.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

About God's Will

It is upsetting to submit in prayer "Thy will be done." We don't often pray for God's will but for our own.

At the same time, it can be comforting to know that His will indeed will be done, and-- whether we know it or not--it is for the best.

If God is omniscient, he knows more than I do or ever can. I must admit this when I'm at a crossroads of faith. I must rest assured that no matter the hardship for me or another whom I love, it is part of something bigger than I can fathom.

I don't have to like God's will in a temporal way. In prayer I might even submit a list of grievances. I think God understands and forgives such insolence. Nevertheless, despite my misgivings I should end every prayer with "Thy will be done."

In the end, His will is superior to mine, whether I like it or not.

Bill of Rights