Thursday, August 27, 2009

Loving the Poor

According to the U.S. Census Bureau one in eight people are deemed to be in poverty, which is about 35 million people. Despite that 46% of these people own their own home, 76% have air conditioning and most own their own car, have television, cell phones, and typically have food and water, let’s accept the impoverished in America as being one in eight people.



That’s a rather large problem. I think the amount of people on welfare is much smaller than these figures, but I haven’t been able to ascertain the accurate data on that yet. The question that is often debated is how can the poor be helped and whose responsibility is it to give them aid.



Some think it is the government’s job to provide that aid and are comfortable with a form of socialistic welfare to the poor. Others think it is a job of faith based organizations to provide this care to the people in their community. The former often creates an unhealthy dependency on the government tantamount to an entitlement mentality of those who receive these benefits. The latter perspective can create the same sort of dependency and entitlement just directed towards faith based institutions instead of the government.



There is a question of whether such dependency is truly giving aid to these people. Of course, it meets their basic needs are met to some degree, but what does it rob them of at the same time? It causes generational dependency on someone else for ones needs to be met. It doesn’t promote freedom from poverty, but dependency to a system of receiving aid from an institution.



Think about it this way. Parents raise their children with the intended result of them being self-sufficient. They are teaching them along the way to learn how to support themselves financially, to be wise with their money. If a parent has not done this they have children who continually return to the nest for shelter, food, and help to pay off their debt, etc.



When people depend on an institution for their aid, it’s like children who never grow up to become self-sufficient generation after generation. I don’t blame the people in this situation; the institutions have a great deal of the responsibility for causing this situation.



People have a diversity of needs that an institution simply cannot meet. My husband and I saw a woman struggling to get her motorized wheel chair fastened onto the back of her car. My husband went to aid her in this task. It was quiet an ordeal. It was so very hot outside, we felt terrible that she has to do that on a regular basis. She said she really needed the motorized scooter, but Medicare said no and gave her a chair that is much more difficult to manage. A person who cares about her could easily see that the scooter would have been a better option for her.



What if caring for those in need was something that Americas did because they loved people? If those who need are one in eight, then that’s seven people per each person in need that can help those people one on one. Picking up extra groceries for a neighbor, helping the disabled do yard work and with house repairs, babysitting a single mother’s children so that they can go to work, etc. How much more love is shown to a person when an individual gives a helping hand, then when an institution mails out a monthly check?



This past week I heard a story a man told about a friend of his who was once a teenager in a group home thinking that life had nothing to offer for he had only experienced hardship. Being cared for by the system wasn’t something he saw as good will, but something that was the result of not being treated well. One day a man visited the group home and gave each teenage boy two hundred dollars. His reason was that God told him to. That teenage boy suddenly realized there was some good in the world and someone cared about him. Today he is the CEO of a Fortune 500 company. One act of kindness changed his life in a way an institutionalized form of care never could.



What if American’s loved their neighbor and got involved helping the poor directly. Of course, many American’s give to charity and volunteer for charities. But how about, one on one looking out for the needs of the poor you come in contact with. If only 2 in 8 did this for the 1 in 8 that would be two people helping to every one in need. Would social security, medicare, disability, and other forms of welfare even be needed anymore?



What would this do for people? Maybe people would be enabled to find their liberty to not be dependent, but experience being loved by those who really do care about them. Maybe their children will grow up to be upstanding citizens in their community and pass on the help to others in need because someone was there to show them they cared. Let us not put off loving our neighbors onto a government institution or even unto a charitable institution faith based or otherwise. Let us give of our own time, money, and love and help those who need helping respecting their individuality and retaining their dignity.

59 comments:

CyberKitten said...

karla said: Despite that 46% of these people own their own home, 76% have air conditioning and most own their own car, have television, cell phones, and typically have food and water, let’s accept the impoverished in America as being one in eight people.

It might help to understand how the US Census people define poverty. Over here I think it's as a defined as those who earn below 50% of the avarage wage IIRC. So the fact that they have cell phones and air-con isn't much of an indicator..

Karla said...

I linked that info to the source where there is more information.

CyberKitten said...

I was surprised that the link didn't actually go to the US Census Bureau but to something called The Heritage Foundation (a Right Wing Think Tank by any chance?)

Anyway - the actual information can be accessed here...

http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/poverty/poverty.html

It's always good to go the original source don't you think?

Karla said...

I ought to have posted the U.S. Census Bureau itself. This was a study I read about the statistics. I am not familiar with The Heritage Group, the article just came up in a google search.

However, I was attempting to use a very broad number 1 in 8 rather than underestimating the number of people termed poor in the US.

So the point of the post revolves around offering a viable solution to truly help those in need assuming there are at least 1 in 8 that are very much in need.

CyberKitten said...

The way you solve the poverty issue is by understanding the underlying causes of poverty and by addressing those causes.

Eliminate the causes and you eliminate the problem.

Karla said...

Cyber, I can agree with that.

What do you see as the causes?

CyberKitten said...

Oh, there are *many* causes of poverty!

There are the practical causes - like lack of education or opportunity as well as low wages...

Then there are the ideological causes. It is arguable, for example, that Capitalism not only causes poverty but needs poverty in order to exist. Maybe Capitalism is the problem that needs to be addressed.... [grin]

GCT said...

Wow, what forward thinking you have done. I mean, wow. If just people helped others then we wouldn't need other services...I can't believe no one has ever thought of that before. Oh wait, they have. Oh, and it doesn't seem to work, which is why we need to have social safety nets.

Oh, and CK is right. We need to address the roots of what causes poverty, not treat the after effects. Part of that is that a more capitalistic system does indeed rely on people in poverty. Ironically enough, the system tends to break down if those people in poverty are unable to continue to work, however, because the rich make their living off of the backs of the poor. And, no, that's not just a slogan, but the truth. Those who run companies are dependent on the workers to produce.

If you want to treat the symptoms, you could back efforts to have living wages instituted, but I'm sure you would find that too socialistic. It's much better to have CEOs that make over 400 times what the average worker makes in their company. Yup, for every $1 the average worker makes, the CEO makes $400. Sure, that's fair, isn't it? Oh, and don't forget the golden parachutes and outrageous bonuses that go along with it (like the bonuses that AiG gave out to workers that basically ran the company into the ground).

You don't have any solutions. You don't even know what the problem is. You simply want to rail against taxes and the government.

Karla said...

GCT, why is it you twist everything I say into a negative when I am speaking of a positive.

Of course there are root causes that need to also be addressed, but there will always be people in need and I see it as a higher obligation of a person to be other centered than to shirk that responsibility to an institution.

I agree, the government is doing this because people aren't. So my post is about people doing it, because that is better, and it would help the government not need to carry that burden.

And when I mean people doing it, I'm not talking about each person supporting the weight of another, but each person helping others learn to support their own weight.

If children never become self-sufficient and always need to be dependent upon their parents they never taste true freedom of living. They are always being cared for after they ought to have the maturity to walk on their own two feet.

I don't blame anyone who is dependent on the government and don't walk on their own, but I want to do something to help them so they aren't dependent.

Socialism just creates more dependency not less. I'm not following your reasoning on that. What do you mean by "living wage"?

GCT said...

"Of course there are root causes that need to also be addressed, but there will always be people in need and I see it as a higher obligation of a person to be other centered than to shirk that responsibility to an institution."

It's not shirking to realize that we simply aren't equiped to help people on a large scale.

"I agree, the government is doing this because people aren't."

It's also doing what people can't do. How will people on an individual basis be able to handle giving aid to others on a large scale and in an equitable manner? Sure, it sounds nice to think that we could all simply help our fellow humans, but it's just not reality. But, hey, I know you don't really worry about what reality is.

"So my post is about people doing it, because that is better, and it would help the government not need to carry that burden."

No, it's about being unrealistic and not understanding the issues at hand.

"And when I mean people doing it, I'm not talking about each person supporting the weight of another, but each person helping others learn to support their own weight."

Sure, teach a person to fish and they can catch their own. How do you do that? Do you know how to get someone to be self-sufficient when their only job skills have become redundant?

"If children never become self-sufficient and always need to be dependent upon their parents they never taste true freedom of living. They are always being cared for after they ought to have the maturity to walk on their own two feet."

No argument here, but it's not the issue.

"I don't blame anyone who is dependent on the government and don't walk on their own, but I want to do something to help them so they aren't dependent."

That's nice, but I don't believe you, since you really only seem to want to tear down government.

"Socialism just creates more dependency not less. I'm not following your reasoning on that."

Who said I was advocating socialism? That you can't even follow my argument without resorting to crying out "Socialism" does not bode well for you.

"What do you mean by "living wage"?"

This is what I'm talking about. You don't even know the terms and ideas that you are talking about, but you feel qualified to expound on it and make ill-informed judgements on what we should do and how we should get rid of government and how it takes away our freedom. I'm still wondering how it takes away one's freedom if the government offer health care or a safety net.

Karla said...

GCT,

Just because I am analyzing and disagreeing with some of the things the government is doing, doesn't mean I am against the government. Government is a necessary institution, but it has boundaries to it's jurisdiction.

Also, just because I talk about helping the poor as individuals doesn't mean there isn't more to the story or more to be done. There are causes and there are injustices that need to be righted.

It isn't an easy thing, this could take generations to fix. I'm not suggesting a quick fix. These things take time and effort.

GCT, really, do you you speak to everyone in the manner in which you speak to me? I've gone out of my way to be kind and respectful to you. Why do I irk you so much?

Karla said...

How it takes away freedom?

Don't you see dependency as a lack of freedom? If I need the government for my daily survival, I am rather enslaved to them in a manner. They decide how much money I would get and what health care things they will pay for, and what education they will approve. And they make it very hard to get off of that kind of care.

Someone I know is on welfare for her and her children. When she goes to get a job, her welfare gets cut back so much that she can't live. So she has to leave the job in order to feed her family. There isn't an incentive to work, she gets more if she doesn't work than if she does. She isn't free to get a job unless that first job attempt is enough to pay for all her expenses and the raising of her small children.
Her dependency robs her of making choices about her own life and obligates her to continue in dependency in order to feed her children. She can't work to get more money so she can save it up and get off the government aid.

GCT said...

"Just because I am analyzing and disagreeing with some of the things the government is doing, doesn't mean I am against the government....blah blah blah"

So, your rhetoric about taxes being theft, socialism running rampant, etc were what? Street theater?

And, your overly simplistic views on poverty are exposed, but of course, there's more to it, right? Like how we're going to magically increase freedom that hasn't been lost by getting the government out of our lives - even though you support government now. Give me a break.

"GCT, really, do you you speak to everyone in the manner in which you speak to me? I've gone out of my way to be kind and respectful to you. Why do I irk you so much?"

I don't find you to be kind or respectful at all. Your rampant intellectual dishonesty is one big part of that. Also, your insistence on your open-mindedness and all that is simply a bunch of lies and hypocrisy and I really dislike those things when engaged in discussions, and I generally don't have high regard for people who not only use those tactics, but support others who do.

"Don't you see dependency as a lack of freedom?"

No, because for the umpteenth time I've said it, we are social animals that are dependent on each other by nature (put in bold so that you'll hopefully actually read it this time). Also, what freedom does one have when one is destitute? Finally, how does your "solution" increase freedom, since you are simply substituting private people for the government. Duh.

"Someone I know is on welfare for her and her children. When she goes to get a job, her welfare gets cut back so much that she can't live."

Say it with me this time, "Living wage." Oh yeah, too socialist for you.

MS Quixote said...

Hey Karla,

The correlation between internet atheism and leftist ideology is so utterly astounding that I'm thinking I have a sample irregularity. How can it be that seemingly every interent atheist is a leftist? Have I fallen into to nest of lefties that just happen to be atheists?

Probably, but based on what I've seen, I'll be surprised if the great majority of internet atheists are not leftists. In some measure, this is the church's fault for entering into politics: a place it should never be. With that said, it appears to me that internet atheists display a substantial amount of faith in government, something that one would assume is an anathema to atheism, if there is such a thing--anathema, that is.

I understand the rationale on paper. It makes sense, it looks right, it could conceivably work. No worries there. but to make the leap to the intellectual conclusion that this then is the best way to proceed appears like nothing more than faith to me, given the results of governance throughout history. If anyone has read history, why would anyone have faith in goverment, regardless of whether it's run by religous folk or secular folk? In a word, faith...

CyberKitten said...

MSQ....

What's an 'internet atheist'?

MS Quixote said...

Hey Cyber,

Long time...hope things are well with you. Internet atheist...shorthand for atheists I encounter on blogs or websites, or that frequent them.

CyberKitten said...

Hi MSQ - Yes, everything is fine here.

Wouldn't a shorter shorthand just be 'atheist'?

Personally my atheism actually pre-dates the *existence* of the Internet [laughs]

MS Quixote said...

"Wouldn't a shorter shorthand just be 'atheist'?"

I'm not certain that atheists as a whole are so consistently leftist as their internet brethren seem to be. So, no, the shorter shorthand wouldn't necessarily work...

"Personally my atheism actually pre-dates the *existence* of the Internet [laughs]"

I won't tell if you don't :)

Karla said...

Quixote,

I'm glad to see you comment. I think, maybe, worldview has a big impact on the way we see everything including government. . . I have talked to at least one libertarian atheists on the internet.

When you say the church shouldn't be involved in politics, do you also mean an individual Christian American citizen shouldn't be involved?

Karla said...

GCT, I really don't know why you persist in dialoging with me if you think I'm so terribly dishonest, etc. What is your purpose here?

CyberKitten said...

karla & MSQ you might want to check out this link (or simply Google Christianity & Socialism:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_socialism

Christianity & Socialism go *way* back and is certainly prominant in the British Labour Party (both before and after Tony Blair). I think that atheists come from all over the political spectrum - as do theists.....

MS Quixote said...

"When you say the church shouldn't be involved in politics, do you also mean an individual Christian American citizen shouldn't be involved?"

What I know for certain on the positive side, Karla, is that Christians should pay their taxes and respect governmental authorities as divinely ordained and pray for them, no matter who they are, Democrat or Republican. That much is certain from Scripture. And before OMGF jumps on me, this does not mean with must be complicit under a Hitler.

What I'm certain of from the negative side is that Christians should not be contributing to political candidates, organizing political action groups, sponsoring legislation, preaching who to vote for and handing out pamphlets in church, having politicians in the pulpit, lobbying Congress, marching in protest rallies, and a thousand other things.

The time, money, effort, and talent expended on such efforts should be devoted to the mission of the church: feeding the poor, caring for the orphan, alien, and widow, evangelism, edification of the saints, and proclaiming the word. The Bible seems very clear to me on such things, and it's no wonder the church is so impotent these days. Change hearts, not laws.

If an individual Christian wants to vote--I do not, btw--that's probably a matter of conscience between them and the Lord, and in matters of conscience there is liberty. Anything more than that seems contrary to biblical teaching.

This position seems scriptural, and if you take a look around you, it seems validated by observation of the current societal conditions we find ourselves in here in America.

Now, if memory serves, I believe you have a friend in politics. If that's his vocation--as if he were a fireman, or teacher, or athelete--then so be it. But if he were called to be a minister and left it for office, there's something wrong there.

GCT said...

MS,
"How can it be that seemingly every interent atheist is a leftist?"

I'll take that as a compliment. Let's not forget that the established conservative position is so aligned with religion as to be ridiculous. Plus, the liberal side is oriented towards more freedom and equality. Still, if you read some DA (go to a political topic) you'll find some conservative atheists, as well as some Ayn Randian atheists.

"With that said, it appears to me that internet atheists display a substantial amount of faith in government, something that one would assume is an anathema to atheism, if there is such a thing--anathema, that is."

Not at all. We are simply cognizant that anarchy doesn't work, deregulation doesn't work, etc. etc. etc. And, go ahead and look back at history - it supports what I just said.

GCT said...

"GCT, I really don't know why you persist in dialoging with me if you think I'm so terribly dishonest, etc. What is your purpose here?"

So you can feed your persecution complex.

No, actually I'm just pointing out your BS. I know that you aren't capable of seeing it, but perhaps others are.

Karla said...

Quixote, I agree with what you say in the positive side paragraph, but I think I digress in most of the rest of what you stated. On one hand, I think, speaking of America, Christians have botched their involvement in politics (ie the Religious Right). I think this has left a bad taste in most Christians and non-Christians mouths.

However, I don't think that Christians are to stay in the realm of the Church and not affect the rest of society as we are called to be making disciples of nations.

I don't have any politician friends, but I am networked with Christians who don't seek to align with the donkey or the elephant, but with the Lamb with regard to cultural, social, and even political matters. I don't think America would exist if Christians hadn't gotten involved in the government.

But still I think our involvement is to look strikingly different from the Religious Right and much more from a place of love of all people, than condemnation of them.

I think this is evidenced in similitude to the life of Joseph who was second only to Pharaoh and provided wisdom and practical aid to all of Egypt. Or take William Wilberforce for a good example.

Billy Graham, while he avoided politics, was a friend and adviser to many a President.

Check out some you-tube vidoes of Lance Wallnau. He really has a timely message for the Church. However, ignore the websites calling him a false prophet, he isn't a prophet, much less a false one. I've listened to him extensively in person and by watching DVD's and I vouch for his integrity, etc.

Karla said...

GCT, you don't have any problems with me advocating loving our neighbors and giving to the poor, right?

Can we agree on that?

MS Quixote said...

"Let's not forget that the established conservative position is so aligned with religion as to be ridiculous."

We're agreed here.

MS Quixote said...

"However, I don't think that Christians are to stay in the realm of the Church and not affect the rest of society as we are called to be making disciples of nations."

I agree, it's just that we apparently differ on the means. Making disciples is a church function, not a political one

"I don't think America would exist if Christians hadn't gotten involved in the government."

Exactly, and now you have the church complicit in slavery, continental genocide, and a host of other evils.

"I think this is evidenced in similitude to the life of Joseph who was second only to Pharaoh and provided wisdom and practical aid to all of Egypt. Or take William Wilberforce for a good example."

Well, if by a stroke of providence you're made second in command like a Joseph or a Daniel, no worries. But for every Wilberforce, there's 100 John Hagee's saying we should encourage Jews to go to Israel so 2/3rds of them can be slaughtered, 100 guys invoking the Bible to support all kinds of horrendous political involvements. Sounds good on paper; in reality, it's horrid.

"Billy Graham, while he avoided politics, was a friend and adviser to many a President."

I get you, Karla. But how does one become a change agent in a culture if they're married to it? It's like the drunk parent telling their kids not to drink. And make no mistake, worldly power is a source of drunkenness for the church.

You'll agree, of course, that Jesus did not start a protest rally when John the Baptist was thrown in jail :)

It's a big issue...just some quick thoughts. You're right, it's much more complex than a few sentences can treat fairly...

Karla said...

Quixote, thanks for your response. I won't dig into the topic here, but to say that there have been injustices in the church's involvement in government, but I think we can't go to the other extreme, either. I really don't see a divide between secular and religious. I think, if I did go into all that I am talking about, I'm sure we'd find a lot of commonality.

cl said...

Karla,

"How much more love is shown to a person when an individual gives a helping hand, then when an institution mails out a monthly check?"

Good point. The love shown might actually provide a catalyst for personal growth as it is a personal relationship, something dynamic and living that government checks can't accomplish.

"GCT, why is it you twist everything I say into a negative when I am speaking of a positive... really, do you you speak to everyone in the manner in which you speak to me? I've gone out of my way to be kind and respectful to you."

In my opinion, the key to success here is realizing that GCT believes his position is intellectually superior to yours, derives some sort of benefit from insulting you, tends to label all who disagree with or misunderstand him as "intellectually dishonest," and tends to think in only black-and-white extremes when viable middle ground usually exists. The latter is what leads to his frequent, "Oh, so you're saying X," when you've really only said B. For example, that's why Quixote had to include a disclaimer with his "respect governmental authorities" comment. MS knows GCT.

As evident by the arrogance and condescension he constantly lavishes upon you, I opine that GCT is unfortunately stuck in the same old-world mentality he hypocritically criticizes: the idea that his side is the right side, and your side is the wrong side, the "us-vs.-them" mentality by which religio-political bullies have historically vanquished their opponents. It's really an outdated evolutionary characteristic, given the pressing need for all of humanity to anchor itself to some common ground and move forward.

The best thing you can possibly do to silence him is to ask a tough question that leaves no holes for lateral or ad hominem attacks, as we saw with my questions to his "what have we learned from religion" attempt-at-an-argument. Remember that? Remember how quiet he got?

GCT,

"It's not shirking to realize that we simply aren't equiped to help people on a large scale."

Correct; it's pessimism. In truth, anybody who's not drowning can throw a line.

MS Quixote,

"..based on what I've seen, I'll be surprised if the great majority of internet atheists are not leftists. In some measure, this is the church's fault for entering into politics: a place it should never be. With that said, it appears to me that internet atheists display a substantial amount of faith in government, something that one would assume is an anathema to atheism, if there is such a thing--anathema, that is."

Good words. Even weirder is that both the Christian advocating as Karla does - and the atheist advocating as GCT does - ultimately put their faith in the same thing: other people. Karla in "other people" via individuals, GCT in "other people" via government. I imagine he'll say I've strawmanned him, as he denied having faith in government. Rather, he just disbelieves in the productiveness of anarchy.

Regarding the conversation between Christians and politics, I say that politics should be as taboo in church as God is in schools.

Cally said...

Karla,

I haven't had time to weed through all the dialogues, but I was wondering if anyone challenged you on just merely acceptance of people. It seems as if your post and other posts are very directly related to changing someone, rather than just plainly accepting them. Jesus was able to accept people for where they were/are at in life and yet still set them free from what binds them. Charity is good to a point, but unless you get to know someone first and then understand their needs. The giving is rather pointless.

Please keep your reply to no more than 3 paragraphs (15 sentences) as I really don't have too much time on hand to blog. I like to do it on the side. I generally try to follow the rule, "the more the words the less the meaning" if you know what I mean...the verse is found somewhere in Ecclesiastics.

Thank you for your time.

GCT said...

Karla,
"GCT, you don't have any problems with me advocating loving our neighbors and giving to the poor, right?

Can we agree on that?"

Depends on what you mean by those things and how you seek to do them. If "loving our neighbors" means to proselytize to them and/or withold aid unless the person does some sort of religious rite (as some religious organizations do!) then we have big disagreements.

Also, I find your ideas about how to do these things to be callous, unrealistic, and motivated more by political propaganda than by reality.

GCT said...

MS,
"We're agreed here."

I'm surprised that got by you, since I wasn't speaking favorably. The current alignment of the repubs with the religious right has brought us war in Iraq, abstinence only education which fails our youth, and a lot of other bad policy.

GCT said...

Do I have to point out, yet again, that cl's claims to victory ring hollow when I've already said that I won't engage him in his sophistry? So, when he claims that I got silent because his question was too hard for me to answer, doesn't it look just a little bit self-serving of him? This is especially true after the insults he has just heaped on me that he knows I won't respond to. Karla, will you chide him for throwing insult my way even though he is on your side?

Karla said...

Cally said "Jesus was able to accept people for where they were/are at in life and yet still set them free from what binds them. Charity is good to a point, but unless you get to know someone first and then understand their needs. The giving is rather pointless."


I agree. I am all about setting people free and not putting bondage of external change upon them. That's why I think it aids people better to receive help from those who know them rather than checks in the mail from the government. At the same time, I'm not suggesting the government stop this aid and leave them with nothing. This could take years to accomplish in a national scale.

Karla said...

GCT "If "loving our neighbors" means to proselytize to them and/or withold aid unless the person does some sort of religious rite (as some religious organizations do!) then we have big disagreements."

No, of course it wouldn't mean any of this you describe. It would mean giving without expecting anything in return. True love is unconditional.

I don't know if you can follow me on this, but sometimes the person(s) in need are better aided by helping them share in their gain, but giving them work rather than handing them money. However, there are many situations where people do just need to see someone loves them without asking them to do anything at all. Each person is different, and we can't put them into a box of how their needs are best met. A parent knows each child feels loved in different ways, and knowing a person first can help with giving the aid in the way they can receive without feeling undignified.

Also, GCT, I don't fit in the box you keep putting me in and I think that is what cl was trying to communicate to you.

Karla said...

CL wrote, "Even weirder is that both the Christian advocating as Karla does - and the atheist advocating as GCT does - ultimately put their faith in the same thing: other people. Karla in "other people" via individuals, GCT in "other people" via government."


CL, I'm not quite sure what you are getting at here. . . I think love is better demonstrated between people rather than from organizations, but that is because my faith is in God.

GCT said...

"I don't know if you can follow me on this, but sometimes the person(s) in need are better aided by helping them share in their gain, but giving them work rather than handing them money."

Of course, but how do you accomplish that one a national scale? It would be nice if we could all personally help those who need it, but we can't. That's why we institute things like government aid programs. It's because we realize that we can't undertake such things as helping all the poor in individual ways. It ends up being a collective thing by necessity.

"Also, GCT, I don't fit in the box you keep putting me in and I think that is what cl was trying to communicate to you."

1) I'm addressing your arguments, not putting you in boxes. Learn the difference.
2) When cl insults me, it's him trying to communicate with me, but if I call his inane ramblings stupid, then you rebuke me. Nice double standard you've got going on there. Apparently, as long as people agree with you, they are held as being more kind, gentle, etc regardless of what they say/do. Then, you have the gall to turn around and accuse me of the very thing that you are guilty of.

MS Quixote said...

"I'm surprised that got by you, since I wasn't speaking favorably. The current alignment of the repubs with the religious right has brought us war in Iraq, abstinence only education which fails our youth, and a lot of other bad policy."

GCT--I wasn't speaking favorably either. Christianity's involvement with the right (and left) is ridiculous in my view as well. Either we agree, or I've misunderstood you.

Karla said...

GCT, I have several times publicly asked CL not to speak adversely towards you and you know this is true. I have spoken to you towards him less times, I believe, even overlooking things you have said to him and me many many times.

I chose to let it slide with him this time as his tone was much less than what I normally get from you.

However, I will delete you last comment towards him because you were over the top with that and just trying to get a reaction out of me. Really this is rather juvenile don't you think?

cl said...

Karla,

I said, "Even weirder is that both the Christian advocating as Karla does - and the atheist advocating as GCT does - ultimately put their faith in the same thing: other people. Karla in "other people" via individuals, GCT in "other people" via government."

..and you replied, "I'm not quite sure what you are getting at here. I think love is better demonstrated between people rather than from organizations, but that is because my faith is in God."

I agree. What I meant was, both you and GCT are in agreement that other people need to help other people, yet he seems to want to chide you for your approach, while maintaining the superiority of his own.

You said, "I don't fit in the box you keep putting me in and I think that is what cl was trying to communicate to you."

Well yeah, that and that there's no reason to talk to people with such arrogance.

GCT,

You complained, "Karla, will you chide him for throwing insult my way even though he is on your side?"

I didn't insult you. An insult is more like what you said to me the last time you came to my blog: "You are a troll, a liar, and a useless sack of s--t." Now that's an insult. Here, I was just noting that you're being a total jerk to Karla when there's no need for it. Lose the complex.

You said, "So, when he claims that I got silent because his question was too hard for me to answer, doesn't it look just a little bit self-serving of him?"

If you have an answer for the argument referred to, I'm all ears. If you're really about logic and rationalism and all that like you claim, you should easily be able to cast aside your personal distaste for me to discuss an argument, right?

Lastly, I'm not on Karla's side. How quickly you forget.

GCT said...

MS,
"GCT--I wasn't speaking favorably either. Christianity's involvement with the right (and left) is ridiculous in my view as well. Either we agree, or I've misunderstood you."

I've known about your stance on church/state separation, and we've always been in very good agreement there. I was not necessarily talking about that, but about the policies that one political side pursues and how much the right and the religious right band together to fight the evil liberals.

Ah, whatever. I like your stance on the political process, although I don't see why you would abstain from voting if that is done as a result of your stance.

GCT said...

Karla,
"GCT, I have several times publicly asked CL not to speak adversely towards you and you know this is true."

Yet, when he does it, you turn a blind eye or chide me by saying that he's trying to communicate something to me (as if I'm too thick to see what he's doing).

"I have spoken to you towards him less times, I believe, even overlooking things you have said to him and me many many times."

Just admit it, this is simply not true and you have a bias that is showing. It's natural. Those who can't support their arguments always need to resort to such tactics.

"I chose to let it slide with him this time as his tone was much less than what I normally get from you."

What a load of BS, and you know it. It's good to see it coming out though, as we both always knew what you are really about.

"However, I will delete you last comment towards him because you were over the top with that and just trying to get a reaction out of me."

He is a liar and a sophist and an idiot, and I stand by that. I will not apologize for it either. Nor was I trying to get a reaction out of you, I was exposing your hypocrisy.

"Really this is rather juvenile don't you think?"

Ah, but it's not juvenile to lie and be a hypocrite? It's not juvenile to come here and insult someone who isn't going to fight back and make pronouncements of victory towards someone who has stated that he wants nothing to do with you? It's not juvenile (hypocritical and blatantly dishonest) to hold different standards for different people depending on whether they agree with your viewpoint or not? Really Karla, I thought you claimed that you were looking for honest, open dialog or some reasonable facsimile. Instead, what you really want is to proclaim your beliefs and have them go unchallenged. Any challenge is, of course, taken as insulting to you because you can't separate your beliefs from yourself. So, naturally, I'm the evil atheist for daring to question your beliefs, which, of course, should be held as sacrosanct and above reproach. I mean, you believe them after all, so therefore they are true. Right? How pathetic, and yes, it is pathetic. Reality does not conform to your will. You should conform your beliefs to reality. You, however, are completely incapable of doing such, which is a pity, because you will continue to wallow in ignorance and superstition until you can open your eyes to this fact.

And, you will continue to be held in thrall by idiots like cl, and charlatans like Strobel, et. al.

Now, be a good little girl and delete this one too.

Karla said...

GCT, I'm really sorry you see things that way. I'm not going to defend myself further. I do feel like I've failed you because I have tried very hard to be kind and respectful to you and to show you that I do respect your non-beliefs just the same as everyone else in this room and that I don't have to agree with someone to respect them and accept them. Where do you think we should go from here?

Karla said...

Also, GCT, I am sorry for using the word "juvenile" I shouldn't have even said that. I don't want to demean you in any way, and that was out of line of me.

Karla said...

CL, I understand. Thanks for pointing out the agreement. It is much better to see where people agree then where they disagree. I want to try and do that more.

Also, please don't respond to GCT's last response to me or you. I've responded, and I want to leave it at that. I don't want further arguing on this blog that is not my heart for this space. I hope peace can prevail henceforth.

GCT said...

"I do feel like I've failed you because I have tried very hard to be kind and respectful to you...to respect them and accept them. Where do you think we should go from here?"

Well, first of all, you can stop with the respectful carp. We both know that I've chided you many times on this point. Let me do so again.

It is not respectful of you to simply say nice, polite things. Attempts at placation are not respect. Dealing with my arguments would be a sign of respect. Actually reading them would help as well. Or, how about not being intellectually dishonest?

When you abjectly refuse to consider that you might be wrong about something, and then claim that you are open minded, you are being disrespectful.

When you use double standards, you are being disrespectful.

When you routinely ignore points made against your position you are being disrespectful. When you further claim that you have not done this and/or that you have answered objections that you have not, you are adding to the disrespect.

When you misuse words over and over (after being corrected), you are being disrespectful to the language as well as open and honest discussion.

In short, I simply don't find you to be respectful at all. Saying, "Please" or "Thank you" is not the same as being respectful.

Karla said...

I just wanted to clarify that all have freedom to continue to address the subject matter in a respectful manner.

GCT, I really don't want to be at odds with you on a personal level. Can we move beyond this? On my side, I will try to be more attentive to opposing views and address them more fully. I don't want anyone to feel their view isn't treated with respect or ignored. That is not my intention and I apologize for where I have failed in that.

The existence of God (including His Triune nature) is more to me than debatable philosophy. He is my whole life and His reality affects every single area of my living and being. So that is something my mind has closed around, I have been honest about that. There is still a large spectrum of philosophy that I am open minded about because of this starting place and not despite it.

Also, GCT, it would be helpful to me, if there is anything, no matter how small, that you do agree with in regard to a post -- that you let me know so we can build on some commonalities instead of always discussing our differences. Would that be okay with you? I'm sure you can find something in each post where we agree.

cl said...

As far as the OP is concerned, GCT said,

"It would be nice if we could all personally help those who need it, but we can't. That's why we institute things like government aid programs. It's because we realize that we can't undertake such things as helping all the poor in individual ways."

I fundamentally disagree with this and believe it's the same flawed thinking that's led to bloated yet failing social service programs. IMO, it's really a defeatist and untrue claim: now, there are exceptions to every rule, and some people really can't help others because they themselves need help, but the truth is that the rest of us retain the ability to directly help other human beings.

Some of us can do this in small ways - like buying an extra water for the homeless lady out front on a summer day, or even just stopping to converse with the local street people in our neighborhoods - other people can do bigger things, like sponsoring Thanksgiving luncheons for those without home or family. Etc. To make these points is not to argue that zero social service programs are wholly unnecessary, either. I'm just saying, the whole "I can't help because.." attitude is a cop-out.

Really, with the aforementioned caveat kept in mind, only those who are unduly focused on themselves can't figure out ways to personally and directly help those in need.

Karla said...

CL, good points. We certainly need to be mindful of individually helping those in need even if we did have a very good welfare program (which we don't). And even if that welfare program was constitutional and ethical it would still be good or even better for people to help their neighbor as they are able to. I think modern society has lost much of what it means to live in community, but is struggling to find real community life again.

GCT said...

Karla,
"CL, good points."

Except for the part where he misrepresented my argument, but whatever. He's allowed to do that here I see.

I think even you have to agree, however, that I was not speaking about individuals throwing up their hands and saying that they shouldn't help others but that doing it on a large scale that helps all those in need is not something that individuals are equiped to do. That that would escape both of you could be a mitigating factor in your defense I guess, but that would be admitting to not being able to follow an argument that I've made multiple times now. cl's in the spot of either not having the requisite intelligence to follow along or simply being dishonest. Where will you fall Karla?

"And even if that welfare program was constitutional and ethical it would still be good or even better for people to help their neighbor as they are able to."

What is unconstitutional about our welfare? Good luck, but you don't need it because you'll simply ignore this or cut and paste in some rationale from some right winger that doesn't know what he's talking about (which suits you just fine since you don't know either).

Karla said...

GCT, you responded to my response to CL, but not to CL's response. Do you have thoughts on his?

GCT said...

Isn't it pretty obvious? His points about what I said are either intentionally misinterpreting what I said or he is unable to grasp a simple point. That was a rather simple point as well...were you unable to grasp that?

cl said...

Karla,

GCT assumes I either misrepresented or misunderstood him, but did you notice how the possibility that he may have misrepresented or misunderstood my answer never even comes up? He just assumes his own knee-jerk assumption is correct, and that his opponent is either stupid, or operates in bad faith. To me, not only is that arrogant, but completely antithetical to a spirit of rational inquiry, for how can one learn anything if their opponent is always wrong?

GCT,

"cl's in the spot of either not having the requisite intelligence to follow along or simply being dishonest."

See, that's the thing that leaves me continually scratching my head when I read your remarks. First, why do you assume I'm either dumb or dishonest? Because I didn't say something like, "Golly gee, GCT, I agree that doing it on a large scale that helps all those in need is not something that individuals are equiped to do?" I said before that you often think in black-and-white, and here you've confirmed it again: that I'm dumb or dishonest isn't the only two options, GCT, and your claim is a textbook either/or fallacy: you omit the possibility that I did understand you, and you omit the possibility that maybe you misunderstood me.

I understood the aforementioned part of your argument! I understood that you believe "large-scale assistance is necessary because individuals can't solve it all!" Guess what? I know it may be anathema that someone disagrees with you, but it's not that misunderstood or misrepresented you; it's that I don't share those particular beliefs of yours.

My point - which for some reason you didn't even address - is that if individuals in every family, town and city helped their own, there would be no need for the "large-scale assistance" you claim is necessary.

Don't jump to conclusions; that you don't hear the answer you want doesn't mean your opponent has misunderstood or misrepresented your argument. Instead of demeaning them or deleting their comments, why not try giving people who disagree with you the benefit of the doubt once in a while? You might just learn something about yourself.

GCT said...

I'd just like to point out the cl has confirmed what I wrote. He's either too stupid to understand what I wrote or too dishonest to actually deal with it. Now that he's been caught out, he tried to cover for it and either compounded his stupidity or his dishonesty or both.

Karla said...

GCT, sounds to me that you are addressing CL's comment, so it will be his prerogative to respond to what you have said, rather than I.

GCT said...

He can respond all he wants, but it'll be the same old, dishonest BS (or stupidity). That's a big reason why he's been moderated on Daylight Atheism (not because Ebon thinks he's a threat as cl dreams up in his mind). It's because I and others noticed his inability to act in good faith when debating. It may very well be due to simple stupidity, but it's more likely due to dishonesty.

Karla said...

GCT, it is difficult for me to accept that since you call me dishonest too. Also, I have not observed what you claim regarding him. So I ask for you to be cordial to him. You don't have to respond to him if you don't want to.

GCT said...

Ah, I have to be cordial, but it's considered cordial when he lies and distorts my words? Once again, I'd like to point out your double standard.