Regional Conference Leadership Meets with Ted Wilson Concerning His Annual Council Remarks


#81

Noel,

There are some points I’d like to comments on because, according to me, they are not altogether correct.

First of all, we have to be careful not to employ a double standard. When God established the tithe system, would you say that God coveted or stole it by force of law? I don’t think so.

When God asked the harvesters not to take what had fallen on the ground and to leave it to the poor, do you think that He was misguided to allow these poor to get food “without having to earn it”? Do you think that it was theft?

Second, when you said that socialism and social justice promote class division, it is simply not true as class divisions existed well before the advent of socialism. For example, since you mentioned France (full disclosure: I am French), before the French revolution, there were already classes: the nobility, the clergy, and the Third Estate which comprised everybody else. And even in the Third Estate, there were also classes.

The nobility and the clergy didn’t pay taxes which were paid solely by the people in the Third Estate. Now, what is correct is when you said that there was hatred because many in the Third Estate didn’t like the fact that they had to pay heavy taxes to pay for the expenses and wars of the nobility (who didn’t work) and of the clergy (when the church was already super rich).

But what is interesting to notice is that it was the nobility and the clergy that were funneling the money from the pockets of the lower classes into theirs (well, some people would say that nothing has changed today except that, instead of the nobility and the clergy, now we have politicians, big business, and Wall Street).

This is why, back then, some intellectuals began to question the situation. For example, Jean-Jacques Rousseau wrote Discourse on the Origin and Basis of Inequality Among Men and On the Social Contract; or, Principles of Political Rights addressing the questions of inequalities and what we call now democracy.

So, contrary to what you said, socialism and social justice don’t promote class division and hatred. They just acknowledge what has been there all along.

It is not that “social justice” is bad by definition. The problem is that people can put anything they want in that expression.

Concerning the minimum wage, the problem is not the $15. The problem is that, previously, the hospitality industry (and some other industries, or businesses) had been using a business model that was not sustainable and equitable.

If your business is about paying wages that don’t allow your workers to live correctly then there is a problem in your business model.

If your business is about funneling the money mainly to the CEO and shareholders at the detriment of the employees, the customers, and/or the community in which the business is establised then there is a problem in your business model.

As for France (again), the reasons why people are protesting are because:

  1. they know that, in a democracy, you have to be involved to keep it alive;
  2. they are fed up with governments that caters to the rich (for example, a tax that wealthy people had to pay has been suppressed) and big business (tax cuts) whereas the taxes on the employees and retirees, and the taxes on first necessity products keep increasing;
  3. they have the sentiment that they are not being heard, and they know that it is by being in the streets that things will change.

In France, and in the other countries in Europe, there is a rich tradition of social struggles/involvements that brought a lot of social benefits, like free (higher) education, universal health coverage, retirement, paid vacations, worker rights and protections, public services, etc.

Of course, not everything is perfect but when you compare with what we have in the US, it is like comparing the day to the night.

In the US, higher education is astronomically expensive (one of the most expensive in the world), healthcare is scandalously expensive and its access atrocious (the worst in the Western world according to the WHO), the retirement system is a joke, there is no real paid vacation system (the vacation time we have in the private system is not mandatory. It is based on the “good will” of the companies), worker rights are laughable, public services are under attack, the justice system is criminally incompetent. As for the political system, well, don’t get me started.

In other words, the social conditions in the US are the worst when compared with the other Western countries (and it is not just me saying this). But what gets me the most is to see that many Americans are oblivious to this and still think that America is the best country in the world and that the rest of the world envy them.

No… And yes.

No, because there is nothing wrong, by definition, with social justice (it is what we put in it).

But yes, because the social justice movements have the tendency to rely too much on human strength, good will, and understanding, even when they are started by a church or religious people.

For example, the problem with Rousseau (and many humanist theories like Marxism and socialism) is that he thought that Man was good at the core (and that he just needed a good education) whereas the Bible says the human heart is deceitful and desperately wicked.

Let’s consider the case of the creation of the church in Acts 2. There, we can see that they shared and put things in common. It was like communism. But the big difference was that the church community was led by the Holy Spirit whereas in communist countries, people are led by human beings (of course, even in the church the good things didn’t last as they went further and further from God).

So, all the good-willed people who promote social justice have to remember that, without the leadership of the Holy Spirit, it can, indeed, become “one of the most seductive and socially destructive sophistries of our time”, like you said.


(William Noel) #82

Socialism teaches that charity and socialism are synonymous when they are very different. One is voluntary where the other is enforced using coercion, envy, lying and stealing.

Charity is willingly giving from what God has given you to help someone else. It is you wanting to share the blessings of God with others so they will love Him, too. God promised to bless those who were charitable and that their fields would produce more than they needed to provide for their households, so leaving the corners of fields and the edges of orchards unharvested was the way God wanted them sharing from the abundance of His blessings with others. Nowhere in the Biblical instructions for charity can you find any government involvement. Neither do you find the concept that everyone has to have the same standard of living because all are told to depend on God as the provider of their needs.

Socialism is based on the concept that the affluent must be stripped of their wealth and that it must be given to the poor. Well, that just doesn’t happen because those who take from the affluent enrich themselves before giving just enough to the poor to show that they aren’t keeping it all. Their political survival depends on always having people in need of their “assistance” so they write rules that trap the poor in poverty and destroy the family and poverty becomes multi-generational.

Here’s the worst part about Socialism: the concept that society must perfect itself and the most essential part of that is eradicating all faith in God so the state can rule supremely and without challenge. The state must cleanse society of all who would dispute their authority so a “pure state” can be created. If a person refused to be “re-educated” and become loyal to the state the ruler is justified in having them killed. That Socialist concept was the basis Adolph Hitler used to justify the Nazi death camps. It is the basis for Stalin’s purges in Ukraine, Georgia and other parts of the old Soviet Union. It was the basis for Pol Pot’s murderous regime in Cambodia. It was the basis for Mao Zedong’s revolution and rule in China. Through the 20th Century such people who studied Socialism instead of scripture were responsible for the murder of more than 100 million people.

I’m sorry, but the lessons of history are too great for me to ignore and I cannot support the imposition of Socialism so long as there is any strength in my body. I am a servant of Jesus and I see Him doing great and powerful things when I obey His instructions instead of the teachings of Socialism say all faith in God must be eradicated from society.


(William Noel) #83

I think your words have removed all doubt about how severely you’ve been seduced by the sophistry.


#84

We have to be careful when we speak of socialism (or communism which, technically, is not the same thing. I think that, in the US, when they speak about socialism, they mean communism). There is a difference between the doctrine itself and the modes of application. In the US, we like to associate the term “socialism” with dictatorship and it is a big mistake. It is true that people like Lenin called for revolutions as a mean to establish communism but it was because he knew that the powers-that-be (nobility, clergy, bankers, etc) would never relinquish the power that have over the people. But the US also had its revolution.

Also, when you speak about the willingness to give, we have to notice that no nation on Earth is without some coercion of some sort, even in democratic countries. For example, in every country, people have to pay taxes and I am pretty sure that most of them don’t particularly like these taxes. But they don’t have a choice. Even in Israel, God instituted the tithe and it was mandatory. But many didn’t want to pay… (what a surprise :slight_smile: )

This is not really accurate. Historically, Marx questioned the source of that wealth and showed that most of the time, it was based on dispossession, meaning that some people with power would come and take by force what was not theirs.

For example, the peoples of Europe didn’t elect or choose their kings, princes, lords, etc. The nobility imposed itself upon the people by force.

In America, the native inhabitants were forced out of their lands.

In the business world, the owners of the modes of production would dispose of the labor of the workers practically at will but those workers would have practically no right and no say.

Etc…

So, in a Marxist point of view, the wealthy stole their wealth from the people. So, taking from the rich is considered giving back to the people what was stolen from them in the first place.

Well, it is true that communism is against religion. But, in fact, the church is responsible for that. Throughout history, the Christian church has been aligning itself with the powerful and the wealthy, has often been a power of oppression, maintaining the people in ignorance, fear, and superstitions. The so-called Church of Christ has waged wars and crusades, responsible for massacres and persecutions, been against freedom, for tyranny and colonialism.

Had the church behaved differently, had the church followed the example of Christ, people would not have been fed up with it. We cannot blamed the oppressed to want to shake down their shackles.

Of course, the irony was that the “freedom fighters” were not better than the people they criticized. Why? Because they were humans and the human heart is deceitful and wicked.

Good… but take them all, don’t leave some lessons behind. If Socialism/Communism is unbearable to you, then Capitalism should also be unbearable to you. Because Capitalism can be also another form of dictatorship. Many dictatorships in the world have the support of the US and in this countries, it is not socialism that rules but the power of money and big business. A perfect example of this was Chili under Pinochet.

As for Jesus, I am sure He would disavow a lot of things that the churches and the Christians are doing in His name.


#85

Obviously, you don’t know me… :slight_smile:


(GMCald) #86

Uhm…no. God asked his followers to give out of submission to his will. What you are suggesting is the that government also force all your neighbours to tithe as well…at a point of gun, nonetheless. That is just theft with extra steps.


(George Tichy) #87

So, is everyone on this site now a “Dude?”

Image result for patronizing


#88

I’m not really sure that it’s a problem with Capitalism, since many problems that we see with “Capitalism” today are not due to capitalism, but rather governmental protectionism that permits and feeds monopolies and certain gigantic structures that wouldn’t exist apart from Government protection and subsidy.

For example, consider something like copyright and patent law. If you eliminate it, then most of the large corporations today would be forced from their rent-seeking thrones into value markets, where they would no longer hold advantage because they corner some utilization of technology and hoard it as “their own”, when it’s largely derived through enormous amount of “historic crowdsourcing” and “intellectual property” that is public domain.

Hence, I’m not sure that you are arguing against Capitalism, since in a free market setting you wouldn’t have the extreme polarization of wealth that we see today, especially in era of technological development today where we crowdsource most of our scientific and technological progress.


(William Noel) #89

No. The only difference between Socialism and Communism is the amount of force used to implement and enforce it. They arise from the same philosophical foundation. It is probably more accurate to describe communism and totalitarian socialism. The objective for Socialism described by many 19th and 20th Century advocates is communism that is rigidly enforced by police and military with opponents being imprisoned so they can be “re-educated” and if they continue to resist, be killed. Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot and the other mass murderers of the 20th century followed their guidance.

False. Through history capitalism has freed more people from the moral and economic depravity of Socialism/Communism than anything else and it has created more personal prosperity than any other economic concept. Now, if you’re using the heavily-regulated capitalism that we have in America as your model for capitalism, I can understand why you would say that because we no longer have the real capitalism in America that the nation enjoyed a century ago and which gave it the strongest and most vibrant economy on the planet. What we have today is the crony capitalism that socialism creates when laws are written allowing those in power to profit while burdening those who they claim to be helping with an increasing load of rules and taxation. One of the great economic ironies in our world today is that China with its strongly communist government is more truly capitalistic than America. It was by embracing capitalism that China has transformed from a poor, third-world country to an economic, industrial and technology powerhouse.

I agree. Isaiah chapter 58 describes the conceptual challenge that, combined with the ministry model of Jesus, is the foundation of my ministry where I see people breaking the chains of poverty and being drawn into closer relationships with God. It is a personal ministry that has grown into a church-supported ministry because of the blessing and guidance of the Holy Spirit. There is no need for government involvement because God provides for everything. That is the point where I most vigorously oppose government-based social programs because God’s purpose in charity is to let us become His agents in ministering His love to others so they will be drawn into a closer relationship with Him. Government programs based on socialism don’t do that because their objectives work actively against God. I have experienced the power of God in my life, I see Him working through me and others so the idea of supporting anything that works against Him would be the personal equivalent of me choosing to be Judas Iscariot.


(Dwayne Turner) #90

On closer examination I acknowledge that your 8 point document is as you have characterized it. However, whether or not the “at home” things you can do are collectively more effective is debatable.

Jesus speaking to His people (the Lost Sheep of Israel) and the founders addressing the SDA is not at all one in the same as celebrities using their public voice. This is the problem… those who believe that we (in the SDA Church) should be involved in issues of Social Justice make grandiose claims as to the nature of the mission, scope, and works of Jesus that are more in line with their visions of what constitutes responsible Christianity, while enjoying no biblical support all the while. Yes, it is true… Jesus spoke in public, but His audience was His own people. Are you saying that if anyone says anything openly of a corrective nature, he or she is automatically an activist? Your own 8 point illustration clearly suggests that activism is associated with society-at-large or the community around you. The church you belong to just simply isn’t either of these entities.

I wrote…

Then you responded…

Timteichman… this is that “moment of truth”… the moment where so many abandon “discussion” and resort to “characterization of discussion.” And you say my posts are “Greek to you”… I think you know full well what my posts are saying… but just in case… No one as offered actual examples of Jesus playing the role of an activist, or Ellen G. White, or James White, or Uriah Smith; as has been claimed by the author of this article. No examples… not one. Yet, you and others continue to refer to unspecified acts of Jesus and the founders as acts of Social Justice. I have offered proof that what has been characterized as Activism is, in fact, attempts at in-house reforms. If what I say isn’t true, you should be able to deal with what in my claims is not true and offer what you believe is truth.

Why is all this so important to me? It is because we are now in danger of embracing a line of thinking that will determine how we receive and impart the message for this hour. Social Justice is a temporal focus, that guarantees we will become hostile to the message of Jesus coming soon. Full-blown Social Justice works for generations and generations to come, while the message we hold says “we don’t have much time left”. Social Justice does not address the condition of the hearts of men, but rather the state of society on a whole. Our message deals with the hearts of men, not merely to help them become more just… but to save their souls. Laws don’t convert people… but sermons, bible studies, etc., accompanied by the Holy Spirit does. This we can do… the other we can not. This focus of social justice was precisely the focus Israel had when Jesus came the first time… and precisely the reason why they rejected Him!

Consider this text:

John 18:35-36
35 Pilate answered, Am I a Jew? Thine own nation and the chief priests have delivered thee unto me: what hast thou done?

36 Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.


#91

One could argue that all of the social frameworks arise from the philosophical foundation of statism which is the foundation of the “forced system”.

We could argue that Socialism/Communism/Capitalism are all problematic under umbrella of statism, and wouldn’t be a problem under umbrella of contractual voluntarism.

Hence, I’m not sure that your distinction here is justified.


(William Noel) #92

I agree that the distinction is not huge because they are political fraternal twins. Described another way, it is like the difference a Bengal Tiger a Siberian Tiger. They may not live within the same borders but neither of them will have any reservations about turning you into prey and eating you.

The most significant difference is between the U.S. Constitution and the philosophy of Socialism. The Constitution declares specific limitations on what government can and cannot do and what rights and privileges belong to the citizen. Further, the government is subject to the will of the citizens. Socialism refutes any law that limits what it can do as it works to seize and exercise total control over all citizens. It endorses the use of massive falsehoods to confuse and divide opposition while giving privileges to a limited number and subjugating all the rest to insure total loyalty.


(GMCald) #93

Wow George. You get offended by things pretty easy. Dude is a pretty common greeting between friends where I come from. But leave it to a SJW to be offended by facts and words. Have a good day, mate.


(Steve Mga) #94

Greenmile –
Sorry, but WORDS on ‘paper’ do NOT carry vocal sounds.
Depending on the VOCALIZATION of the word “Dude” is HOW it is interpreted
here in the U.S.
Sorry, George wasn’t able to hear your Friendly sounding way of talking.
Steve.


#95

I am not suggesting anything. What I meant was that in every nation, there are mandatory things for which we don’t have much choices, like taxes. Taxes are supposed to be used for the greater good, to pay for education, police forces, fire station, infrastructure maintenance, etc. Each country or political system has its own way to determine what’s mandatory.

As for tithe, God complained against Israel and accused them of theft because they were not paying the tithe and offerings…


(Steve Mga) #96

You need to do MORE study as to the VARIOUS WAYS the average Israelite might
USE the various offerings, INCLUDING the TITHE.
Quite INSTRUCTIVE!
Perhaps they were not doing ANY of those allowable things that God was calling
them back to.


#97

Arkdrey,

There are, in fact, a problem with Capitalism: the love of money, and you know what the Bible says about that.

Also, you should be aware that, most of the time, the problem is not with the government but with Big Business using, manipulating, or even infiltrating the government. Big business has the money necessary to corrupt the politicians that we supposedly elected. Because Big Business is not interested in playing fairly: they are only interested in making money at all cost, period. Speaking of protection, subsidies, and even tax cuts, it is oftentimes the businesses that ask for them.

A free market has its place but it needs to stay in its place. Not everything should be handled through a market because the interests of a business oftentimes are contrary to the interests of a society. For example, we should not have private prisons because the interests of the prison business is to have more inmates to increase their earnings whereas the interests of a society is to have less inmates. But what do we see? Because we have a big prison business in the US, they lobby lawmakers to be “tough on crime” and send thousands of people behind bars even for minor infractions. There were even cases where the prison industry gave kickbacks to judges to have them send people to their facilities (for example, there were two judges in Pennsylvania who were doing just that and were busted).


#98

Love of money is not the primary motive for capitalism, since money is merely an exchange medium. Capitalism is driven by a concept of “market value” that one generates by providing goods and services that are of benefit to other.

So, Capitalism is a system of exchanging mutual benefit. As such it is modular, in a sense that it exists as a system of transactions between two parties that agree to exchange value. It doesn’t really need to involve money, since money merely facilitates that exchange. And as such it propagates and scales into what we call “market”, or the aggregate of these exchanges that take place.

Hence, Capitalism isn’t about “love of money”, but rather about “love of value”.

Love of money is a perversion of Capitalism, hence it becomes detrimental and systematically manipulative, but it’s not at the guiding force of Capitalism.

Government in that case would be the biggest business that sells influence, and it is a problem, since “Big business” that it sponsors wouldn’t exist otherwise. Typically, the government use by big business is to undercut the competition.

For example, a corporate status would grant big business an advantage over the small one, since the liability doesn’t rest with actual person, and that kind of business arguably has no direct moral accountability.
Absent of two things: “Corporate status” + “Intellectual Property enforcement”, most of the big businesses today would not exist. So, it is very much a government problem.

I wouldn’t say that the interest of society is to have less inmates. If such is the interest, then prisons shouldn’t exist at all, and there wouldn’t be any inmates.

The interest of society is to have less crime and some sort of system of justice. I would agree that the present-day prison system, be it government or private, is problematic since it penalizes the victim twice, first in context of the crime, and second it taxes the victim to feed the criminal, which doesn’t get reformed when they are thrown with other criminals and then are stripped of viable means to re-integrate into a society which then perpetually distrusts them, which leaves them more open to embrace anti-social behavior.

Hence, the societal context matters. Both Communism and Socialism are great ideals, if people would voluntarily adhered to either Communism or Socialism. The problem is that these are generally executed by totalitarian regimes that end up manipulating and exploiting the populations with excuse of managing these systems.

Hence, free market Capitalism is the best voluntary system that we have that integrates intensives to provide mutual value and benefit. Of course, it turns problematic in a society that is corrupt and immoral, hence these immoral societies generally deserve their totalitarian leaders that they inevitably get.


#99

You are right here. Societal context matters a lot.

I believe that many “ism” system could work if it was not for the weaknesses of the human heart.


(George Tichy) #100

This sounds so loving, so caring, and… so naive… :roll_eyes:

If Capitalism is not properly regulated, if Government actually becomes regulated by Capitalism (or by the NRA…), then the result is Vulture Capitalism. It can easily give away $1.3 Tri to the (already) richest in the Nation, and still say,“We need to eliminate SS, Medicare, and Medicaid.” How lovely, isn’t it?.. :upside_down_face: :upside_down_face: