Archive for the ‘debt’ tag
So, I listened to a little bit of Dave Ramsey today on talk radio because, well, conservative talk is about the only option in East Tennessee, and I usually prefer talk with which I disagree compared with bad pop and worse rock. If you don’t know who Dave Ramsey is, he’s basically a right wing pro-investment guy who, while mostly giving callers advice on money matters, periodically ventures into politics and religion. As you might imagine, Ramsey fits right in with a local radio station that gets most of its content from FOX News Radio.
Ramsey veered a bit off topic today during a segment in which he took some online comments from listeners. One person said that they did not see anything in the Bible about investing, saving money and amassing wealth, as Ramsey is well known to support. Ramsey then pointed to one of at least three passages in Proverbs that mentions storing up wealth. Some of the verses that at least implicitly reference this are Proverbs 13:11, 16:8 and 28:20.
Ramsey’s basic argument was that God actually wants believers to prosper financially and that all the arguments about the Bible contradicting itself (For instance, Jesus telling the disciples to sell everything they own and follow him) are bogus because of people take the passages out of context. Ramsey said God supports people investing and accumulating wealth because by doing so, believers are then better equipped to help others, and further, believers would be ill-equipped to serve and give back to the community if they were broke.
At least his spiel is consistent. Here’s what he had to say as quoted in an article from 2007:
Ramsey gets irritated when he gets emails and letters directing him to the scripture, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God” (Matthew 19:24). Ramsey believes in the inerrancy of the Bible but says such calls for poverty are “doctrinal nitpicking.” Ramsey contends that the Bible says the love of money (as opposed to money itself) is the root of all evil (1 Timothy 6:9-10), and that God asked rich men (Moses, Solomon) to work on his behalf. “The Bible does not say that you’re supposed to be poor,” he says. “Most of the patriarchs in the Bible were wealthy. You’re managing money for God.”
Yes, Ramsey read a Tweet from a listener that again mentioned the “eye of the needle” passage in the New Testament. I’m not sure where Ramsey gets the logic that people are taking Jesus’ words out of context. Jesus tells his followers to take no thought for tomorrow (i.e. don’t plan or the future) at least twice, once in Matthew 6 and again in Luke 12. Jesus tells people to sell all of their possession and explicitly says not to store up treasures on earth. He tells them without compunction to give up everything they have and follow him (Matthew 19:21).
Here is Matthew 6:19-21
19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Here is Luke 12:27-34
27 Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; but I tell you, not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. 28 But if God so clothes the grass in the field, which is alivetoday and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, how much more will He clothe you? You men of little faith!29 And do not seek what you will eat and what you will drink, and do not keep worrying. 30 For [n]all these things the nations of the world eagerly seek; but your Father knows that you need these things. 31 But seek His kingdom, and these things will be added to you. 32 Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom.
33 “Sell your possessions and give to charity; make yourselves money belts which do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near nor moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Here is the entire “rich young ruler” passage from 19:16-30:
16 And behold, a man came up to him, saying, “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” 17 And he said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments.” 18 He said to him, “Which ones?” And Jesus said, “You shall not murder, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, 19 Honor your father and mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 20 The young man said to him, “All these I have kept. What do I still lack?” 21 Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” 22 When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.
23 And Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly, I say to you, only with difficulty will a rich person enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” 25 When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?” 26 But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” 27 Then Peter said in reply, “See, we have left everything and followed you. What then will we have?” 28 Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, in the new world, when the Son of Man will sit on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life. 30 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.
Ramsey in his rant mentioned this passage directly and told people they should read all the way through rather than stopping at the “sell what you possess” part and read until the end. Well, OK, there it is. Jesus tells them that after they have given up everything, only then will they receive a “hundredfold” and will get to live forever. Ramsey is being intellectually dishonest, and as nearly all believers do, cherry picking parts of the Bible to assert his claim, while ignoring the totality of the book.
Also during this particular show (I don’t know how much of it was original and how much was just a piped in rant from years ago), but Ramsey also made this bizarre claim that since the Old Testament was supposedly written by Yahweh, that is, God the Father, and since the Old Testament predominantly mentions saving money and storing up treasure, then we should follow the OT on this particular issue and not what Jesus had to say. This is peculiar indeed because Jesus, of course, was claiming to be God himself and even said I and my father are one. So, presumably on this logic, anything that Jesus says in the New Testament gets the stamp of approval from the father.
But here is the crux of it and where it gets weirder: Jesus also said that he did not come to the destroy the law or the prophets, but to fulfill them. And this is why when people like myself say that the Bible contradicts itself, we mean that it is a serious and irreparable fallacy that simply cannot be reconciled. Yahweh presumably said one thing in the Old Testament, Jesus said something quite different in the New Testament, and Jesus, by claiming that he is fulfilling the law, leads us to believe that he is suffering from some kind of personality crisis because he, also as God, was present when the father said those things in Proverbs, and as God, he knew that he was going to utter something that directly contradicts it thousands of years later when he gets incarnated on earth. Such are problems that surface when one adds a dose of logic to a paradoxical and fallacious concoction like the Trinity.
I know I’ve said this before, but I continue to find it amazing that so many people buy FOX’s BS hook, line and sinker. It is literally a 24-7 wormhole of misinformation, deception, bias and misrepresentation.
Check out the chart in the following video at the 20 second mark:
According to this tongue-in-cheek billboard
along Interstate 35 near Wyoming, Minn., we apparently are supposed to be tired of the new Obama administration in preference to the former administration, which waged an illegal war and, meanwhile, doubled the national debt between Jan. 20, 2001 ($5,727,776,738,304.64) and Jan. 20, 2009 ($10,626,877,048,913.08). Here’s a search tool to get those numbers. Bush, of course, served between 2001-2008, and the Republican Party controlled both the House and the Senate from 2001-2006.
So, are we collectively pining for The Decider to be back in the office? A new Gallup poll says no, and proof is borne out from data collected from the Americas, Europe, Africa and Asia, although the latter is, not surprisingly, less approving. Globally, 51 percent of the world approves of the work of the current administration in 2009, up from 34 percent in 2008. Here is the global graph plus the charts from four main regions of the world:
This is really getting quite tiresome. If you are one who watches the news at least once a day, you hear a series of words that, once latched onto by TV anchors and politicians, seem to turn into, say, kudzu vines or cancer, spreading and metastasizing to the point that they have totally saturated (and choked) the verbiage market. That said, here are a few of my favorites … or should I say, most hated and most cliché:
- Change: Since the election is over, this one isn’t quite as prevalent as it was, but during the campaign season — as in every campaign season — it was noxious. While now-President-elect Barack Obama, perhaps, was capable of instituting the most change if elected, both candidates used the word ad nauseum to attempt to separate themselves from political buffoons, lobbyists and the current administrations failings. We heard, “Change we can believe in” from the Obama camp, and we heard the shockingly unclever turnaround, “Friends, that’s not change we can believe in” from McCain. Since Obama was capable of instituting the most change, quite literally, since his win would have meant a different party in charge of the highest office in the land, we at least thought his calls for change were coherent. McCain’s continual declarations that he too would bring change was laughable — unless, of course, he meant the kind of frightening change of a much older, less healthy (than Bush) man in the White House, who, if he died, heaven forbid, would leave us with Sarah Palin. Now, that would certainly have been change, but unfortunately friends, it wouldn’t have been the kind we could believe in.
- Vet: That’s right, no longer can the word “vet” simply mean a veterinarian or veteran. The media has latched onto this like a stray cat on fish bones. We can no longer use evaluate or analyze or discern or study up on or any other comparable phrase. All must be now and forever vetted. Vet, vet vet.
- Tap: Nope, not with your hands. And don’t tap the Rockies, at least now until you’re done reading this. “Tap,” with its almost taboo connotation, seems like a bizarre way to convey that Obama has appointed another person to his administration. I suppose the intended meaning is that Obama is “tapping” the resources of whoever he has named. But in headlines, we simply get: “Obama taps Richardson for commerce spot.”
- Wall Street/Main Street: This little gem came to the fore most recently during the bank fallout, and politicians have used it to comfort those in Anytown, USA by saying that propping up Wall Street is not the only important decision lawmakers must make. They also must find ways to help out Main Street, the little guy, Joe Schmoh, and the like.
- And finally, the winner for the most ubiquitous buzzword of the day: bailout. We seemingly bailout those companies who traditionally, have packed their pockets quite full of giant sums of money that you and I will never see. When they need help, we trip over ourselves to save them because saving them means saving jobs and saving future economic strife, while no one is standing in line ready to bailout the small business down the street who is just as affected by the economy as the big guys, yet has no one’s sympathy and no one’s extra resources to make it through. After all this, we haven’t come to the heart of the issue yet: We allow such companies to swell to the heavens, so that they become so massive and influential that their very failure would the entire economy into disrepair. Something is wrong with such a system.
And on that happy note, I leave with a quote from Benjamin Franklin about debt, which has been the cause of much of man’s economic woe for centuries:
Let honesty and industry be thy constant companions, and spend one penny less than thy clear gains; then shall thy pocket begin to thrive; creditors will not insult, nor want oppress, nor hungerness bite, nor nakedness freeze thee.