Bad Arguments

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In this week’s edition of bad arguments we are going to feature a post that has been making its way around social media. Now since this particular post contains a religious element, let me be clear that I am a non-religious person. I was raised catholic but personally I am what you would call an agnostic atheist. Meaning I do not think there is one specific personal god but I am generally unsure as opposed to being a gnostic atheist which would mean that I d not believe there is a god and I am absolutely certain about this position. I think the latter position is untenable as it’s hard to be certain about things like the existence of god.

Now that is a lot of buildup for what is essentially a stupid meme. The core of the idea here is that Jesus says to Christians that they should do good works. They should feed the homeless, love your neighbor, and care for those less fortunate than yourself. All of which are ideas we can agree on. The punchline then is to imply that people simply say those same things and are labeled as commie libtards by Christian conservatives. This is a bad argument. Like I said previously the ideas outlined here are pretty universal among everyone. The disagreement is how to go about helping the less fortunate, not that they should be helped. I would argue that the typical Christian conservative is more in line with what Jesus is saying in this than your average communist. The implication is that YOU should do these things. Meaning that you as an individual should give your own money and time to people less fortunate than yourself. So if someone is calling you a commie it’s probably because you are not saying those things. It’s probably because you are saying things like “we need a wealth tax”, “eat the rich”, “healthcare is a human right”, and other such nonsense. These are not the ideals laid out by Jesus. These are rooted in the idea that someone else should do the good works for you. You think that increasing tax rates helps the poor by having the government gun steal money from you and your neighbors. Even though 90% of that money will be wasted on bureaucracy and the other 10% will go into the pocket of a politician. You think that it is virtuous to suggest stealing money from the rich in order to give to the poor rather than simply going and giving to charity yourself. You think that the government should just provide healthcare to everyone and steal money from people who built businesses in order to do so. You are not righteous and you are not in alignment with Jesus. Jesus did not say, take from others to care for the less fortunate. He said for you to give your own money and time. Here is a link to an article that talks about the differences between charitable giving between secular and religious people from the Hoover institute. What it shows is that religious people regardless of faith are 25 percentage points more likely to donate money and 23 percentage points more likely to volunteer their time than are secular people.

So what is my point?

The point is this. This is an example, of which there are many, of a meme that is reposted with only .02 microseconds of thought put into it. If you truly shared the ideas outlined here, you wouldn’t be calling for giant government overreach you would be calling for people as individuals to be more generous. If someone is calling you a commie because of what you are saying it’s probably because you are spouting communist ideals, if you had simply said “rich people should be more generous” there is probably no one of religious faith who would disagree with you. It’s when you start saying “rich people should be more generous, so we should just force them to give money to people through the government” that people start thinking you’re a commie. The reality is that the people you are attempting to attack with this meme are far more likely to be charitable than the people reposting this meme. Maybe instead of demanding that other people do things you should follow through and increase the amount of volunteer work and charitable giving that YOU do, lead by example.

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