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Author Topic: Usury is sinful?  (Read 20836 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: March 03, 2008, 11:53:55 AM »

Hey y'all,

Basically, another poster on another thread brought up this topic.  So, to keep it from detracting from the OP of that thread, I thought we could discuss it all on it's own here since it is an issue that's very important (and quite relevant) for us Christian's in today's economic outlook. 

I guess I had overlooked this topic in the scriptures and Tradition.  Is it truly frowned upon?  How can we, in today's credit driven world, deal with it?  What about 401(k)'s and IRA's and the like?  In America, you cannot own a house without a loan from the bank.  What are Christian's to do?  And what specifically to the Scriptures and Saints say about this?

In Christ,

Gabriel
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« Reply #1 on: March 03, 2008, 12:12:23 PM »

Hey y'all,

Basically, another poster on another thread brought up this topic.  So, to keep it from detracting from the OP of that thread, I thought we could discuss it all on it's own here since it is an issue that's very important (and quite relevant) for us Christian's in today's economic outlook. 

I guess I had overlooked this topic in the scriptures and Tradition.  Is it truly frowned upon?  How can we, in today's credit driven world, deal with it? 

For starters, one can cut up the credit card, pay that sucker off, cancel the account, and live frugally within one's means.  It's not that difficult once you get started but it does require a radical change in one's outlook and attitude towards money.  My wife and I are in the process of doing just that.  I've lived through massive credit card debt and repayment and it's not something that I would wish on my worst enemy.  Yes, I put myself in that situation through irresponsibility, but I've paid back what I owed and realized one does not need a credit card.  Indeed, both of my wife's grandparents have lived their entire lives without a credit card or indeed an ATM card.  Her grandfather has bought everything, including two homes and a number of automobiles, with cash, and most of that AFTER the powers-that-be decided that we must live in their "credit driven world".

Quote
In America, you cannot own a house without a loan from the bank. 
I have to disagree.  The problem arises when people think loan = free money and they live outside their means.  The incredible rise in foreclosures due to variable rate loans and borrowers inability to educate themselves and guard against predatory lenders is indicative of a much larger problem of people who do not, cannot and will not live within their means. 

Again, I say this as someone who has screwed up their financial life once through such irresponsibility.  A friend of mine who makes less than $50k a year working one job has two kids with a stay-at-home wife lives in a nice town about forty miles from DC with a 2 bedroom house w/ finished basement.  He also has two running cars and a third that he's restoring.  He paid for his house in cash, has no credit card, and puts about 15% of his earnings away into savings and a retirement account.  He's utterly flabbergasted at his peers who have no savings and are enslaved to creditors when he makes so much less a year than he does and do not have the responsibility to provide for a wife and two children.

He's one of my heros and a major impetus (along with my wife's grandfather) for getting my life back in order and being responsible.  It's not easy, but it is possible. 
 
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« Reply #2 on: March 03, 2008, 12:22:56 PM »

Apparently, yes. In the OT, there are many passages that prohibit and condemn lending money and charging interest (Exodus 22:24; Leviticus 25:36-37; Deuteronomy 23:20-21; Ezekiel 18:8-17; 22:12; Psalms 15:5; Proverbs 28, vs. eight). I don't recall any specific lift of these prohibitions in the NT. (The parable of talents is certainly not about money at all, as far as I can see, so it does not count.)
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« Reply #3 on: March 03, 2008, 03:33:34 PM »

I agree with Schultz. Frugality is great! Especially when compared to living in debt. Basically, we've substituted one form of feudalism for another by living in financial debt.
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« Reply #4 on: March 03, 2008, 04:19:34 PM »

Hey y'all,

Basically, another poster on another thread brought up this topic.  So, to keep it from detracting from the OP of that thread, I thought we could discuss it all on it's own here since it is an issue that's very important (and quite relevant) for us Christian's in today's economic outlook. 

I guess I had overlooked this topic in the scriptures and Tradition.  Is it truly frowned upon?  How can we, in today's credit driven world, deal with it?  What about 401(k)'s and IRA's and the like?  In America, you cannot own a house without a loan from the bank.  What are Christian's to do?  And what specifically to the Scriptures and Saints say about this?

In Christ,

Gabriel

There is nothing wrong with barrowing money to buy a home. What is troubling is that people don't realize what they are getting into with some of these newer types of loans. Many today are in trouble because they have misused arm type loans. Many professionals mortgage lenders also are at fault because they never explained to applicants what these loans are and misinformed honest people about arms. The main issue is mortgage brokers were feeding off of uneducated people. 
  There is an old Greek saying that says. There are two places where man must be careful not to leave his mark. One on paper and the other ,  angel
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« Reply #5 on: March 03, 2008, 04:29:36 PM »

I agree with Schultz. Frugality is great! Especially when compared to living in debt. Basically, we've substituted one form of feudalism for another by living in financial debt.


Don't remind me!

(*has a small mortgage in student loans*)
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« Reply #6 on: March 03, 2008, 04:33:39 PM »

There is nothing wrong with barrowing money to buy a home. What is troubling is that people don't realize what they are getting into with some of these newer types of loans. Many today are in trouble because they have misused arm type loans. Many professionals mortgage lenders also are at fault because they never explained to applicants what these loans are and misinformed honest people about arms. The main issue is mortgage brokers were feeding off of uneducated people. 
  There is an old Greek saying that says. There are two places where man must be careful not to leave his mark. One on paper and the other ,  angel

Never make a deal with the devil, you always lose. ha ha.

I consider usury, a form of slavery.  It is slavery without whips and chains in the literally sense, but they do exist in the metophorical sense.
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« Reply #7 on: March 03, 2008, 04:34:49 PM »

There is nothing wrong with barrowing money to buy a home.

But lending money and charging interest is, according to the Bible, a sin. And lenders would not lend if there were no borrowers. So, if you are a borrower, you are helping those who lend with interest, or, in other words, you are assisting someone in committing a sin.
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« Reply #8 on: March 03, 2008, 04:43:13 PM »

If you're like me and pay off your bills monthly, you don't get charged interest  Tongue

In general, on a note, if it wasn't for debt, this country would not have gained the economic advantage that it has today, and would not be the great capitalist country it is today. The US financial system is based around debt. Hell, every financial system in the world is based around debt. How many doctors, lawyers, accountants, theologians, seminarians, etc. would make it through school if there was no ability to take out a loan to pay for schooling? Or how many people would be without houses if there was no ability to take out a home mortgage loan? How would new ventures on the cutting edge ever develop if there were no such thing as Angel investors? Lets face it, if you use debt wisely its the greatest financing tool ever created.

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« Reply #9 on: March 03, 2008, 04:58:52 PM »

Don't remind me!

(*has a small mortgage in student loans*)

For me personally, my student loans made me money in a sense.  The interest rate on them is under the rate of inflation, so it makes no sense for me to pay them off early. My wife had some private loans for law school, which were 8%, which I can understand would totally suck, but she got hit by a car and the settlement was to the exact thousand dollars what she needed to pay off the private part....she says God allowed a little bit of pain for a great reward.
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« Reply #10 on: March 03, 2008, 05:00:26 PM »

But lending money and charging interest is, according to the Bible, a sin. And lenders would not lend if there were no borrowers. So, if you are a borrower, you are helping those who lend with interest, or, in other words, you are assisting someone in committing a sin.

Given that Jews themselves reinterpreted those passages, I think we can too since they were OT. I think the guiding principle is not to overcharge interest, or charge interest to those we are helping out personally as charity.
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« Reply #11 on: March 03, 2008, 05:01:46 PM »

For me personally, my student loans made me money in a sense.  The interest rate on them is under the rate of inflation, so it makes no sense for me to pay them off early. My wife had some private loans for law school, which were 8%, which I can understand would totally suck, but she got hit by a car and the settlement was to the exact thousand dollars what she needed to pay off the private part....she says God allowed a little bit of pain for a great reward.

Fortunately, there's a new federal program that will forgive the unpaid balance of federal student loans after ten years in public service.  Since I planned on being a career prosecutor anyway, that's how most of mine will go away.
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« Reply #12 on: March 03, 2008, 05:26:35 PM »

Given that Jews themselves reinterpreted those passages, I think we can too since they were OT. I think the guiding principle is not to overcharge interest, or charge interest to those we are helping out personally as charity.

Since when do we follow the example of the Talmudists? They don't even have the same OT as us.

The Fathers didn't reinterpret this. Usury is a sin.
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« Reply #13 on: March 03, 2008, 05:44:26 PM »

Since when do we follow the example of the Talmudists? They don't even have the same OT as us.

The Fathers didn't reinterpret this. Usury is a sin.

Then I guess we are all going to hell.
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« Reply #14 on: March 03, 2008, 05:49:25 PM »

Usury is slavery to the world. It creates a Servile State which is ultimately unChristian.
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« Reply #15 on: March 03, 2008, 05:51:24 PM »

Since when do we follow the example of the Talmudists? They don't even have the same OT as us.


I think it's pretty ironic that you are insinuating that I think we do given that I have spent an inordinate amount of time explaining to Protestants that we do not have the same OT as them. Of course you have no way of knowing that but that is why I find it personally ironic.

However, let's not pretend that differences are total between the Masoretic text and the Septuagint. They are different, but they are not completely different, and I doubt that they are different on the point of usury.

You might also want to ask why the Masoretic text is taught in Hebrew at your OCA seminary St Vladimir's though since you seem to have so much of an issue with it Wink
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« Reply #16 on: March 03, 2008, 05:52:50 PM »

Usury is slavery to the world. It creates a Servile State which is ultimately unChristian.

Most Orthodox Churches in this country either have or had mortgages.

The problem is not with borrowing money with interest. The problem is using interest in a sinful way.

in the time the Fathers wrote, usury was generalized and could be avoided. It cannot be avoided now. Everything we do has some connection with interest.

We can either choose to go move to the woods, or we can use our money responsibly as good stewards of God's blessings.
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« Reply #17 on: March 03, 2008, 05:53:56 PM »

If you're like me and pay off your bills monthly, you don't get charged interest  Tongue

In general, on a note, if it wasn't for debt, this country would not have gained the economic advantage that it has today, and would not be the great capitalist country it is today. The US financial system is based around debt. Hell, every financial system in the world is based around debt. How many doctors, lawyers, accountants, theologians, seminarians, etc. would make it through school if there was no ability to take out a loan to pay for schooling? Or how many people would be without houses if there was no ability to take out a home mortgage loan? How would new ventures on the cutting edge ever develop if there were no such thing as Angel investors? Lets face it, if you use debt wisely its the greatest financing tool ever created.

-Nick

I don't think the issue is really with debt, borrowing or loans as much as it is with charging interest on these debts. Imagine you could borrow the amount you needed and be fully reassured that would only have to pay exactly that amount back and not a single cent more. How great would that be?
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« Reply #18 on: March 03, 2008, 06:10:46 PM »

But lending money and charging interest is, according to the Bible, a sin. And lenders would not lend if there were no borrowers. So, if you are a borrower, you are helping those who lend with interest, or, in other words, you are assisting someone in committing a sin.

Ok than. Paying your landlord so he can pay his mortgage must also be a sin. Wink
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« Reply #19 on: March 03, 2008, 06:13:50 PM »

Ok than. Paying your landlord so he can pay his mortgage must also be a sin. Wink

Actually, yes. I know it sounds funny, but from a strictly Scriptural standpoint usury is a sin, and any action on our part that assists it is a sin.
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« Reply #20 on: March 03, 2008, 06:15:08 PM »

I don't think the issue is really with debt, borrowing or loans as much as it is with charging interest on these debts. Imagine you could borrow the amount you needed and be fully reassured that would only have to pay exactly that amount back and not a single cent more. How great would that be?

It wouldn't--there would be no incentive for anyone to loan money because they would LOSE money due to inflation.

Well ok in a fantasy land I agree, it would be great Smiley
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« Reply #21 on: March 03, 2008, 06:15:14 PM »


The problem is not with borrowing money with interest. The problem is using interest in a sinful way.


Both.
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« Reply #22 on: March 03, 2008, 06:19:21 PM »

Both.

No. I'm arguing that it has to be understand in its cultural and historical context...kind of like you do with Genesis there Wink
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« Reply #23 on: March 03, 2008, 06:25:21 PM »

I don't think the issue is really with debt, borrowing or loans as much as it is with charging interest on these debts. Imagine you could borrow the amount you needed and be fully reassured that would only have to pay exactly that amount back and not a single cent more. How great would that be?

If it's so important to not pay interest, then save and pay in cash rather than going for instant gratification.  Interest is the fee for having now what you would otherwise have to save to have.
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« Reply #24 on: March 03, 2008, 06:38:11 PM »

Actually, yes. I know it sounds funny, but from a strictly Scriptural standpoint usury is a sin, and any action on our part that assists it is a sin.


Romans 6:14 For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.
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« Reply #25 on: March 03, 2008, 07:09:35 PM »

For starters, one can cut up the credit card, pay that sucker off, cancel the account, and live frugally within one's means.  It's not that difficult once you get started but it does require a radical change in one's outlook and attitude towards money.  My wife and I are in the process of doing just that.  I've lived through massive credit card debt and repayment and it's not something that I would wish on my worst enemy.  Yes, I put myself in that situation through irresponsibility, but I've paid back what I owed and realized one does not need a credit card.  Indeed, both of my wife's grandparents have lived their entire lives without a credit card or indeed an ATM card.  Her grandfather has bought everything, including two homes and a number of automobiles, with cash, and most of that AFTER the powers-that-be decided that we must live in their "credit driven world".

Rather than attacking the idea of credit and modern banking because of its misuse by people (and taking out a loan you can't pay for a la the current foreclosure, racking up credit card debt, etc. is entirely irrelevant to credit and is more a matter of self control), the ability to obtain a loan has revolutionized the standard of living for many people around the world.  There is no better example of this than the work of Dr. Muhammad Yunus. 
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« Reply #26 on: March 03, 2008, 09:09:48 PM »

the ability to obtain a loan has revolutionized the standard of living for many people around the world.  There is no better example of this than the work of Dr. Muhammad Yunus. 

I still think that receiving a loan does not help the individual more than saving and using cash, unless the person using the credit turns that money around and makes more in investment interest than what he's paying in repayment interest.  Yes, it is quick cashflow that in the short-term increases standard of living.  But it also mortgages the future, forcing people to work longer later in life, rather than actually retire, and I'd argue this situation is actually a reduction in quality of life.
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« Reply #27 on: March 03, 2008, 09:23:07 PM »

I don't want to give the impression that I'm attacking, or even against, capatilism per se, but it's fairly obvious that the love of money is something that Christians are to be very wary of.  I'm very worried that the Christian world-view today is shaped by a more secular world-view of which money seems to be at the center.  We're definately light years away from when the first Christians shared everything they had in a very communal sense; something that seems to go completely against the grain of the Western, individualistic ethos.  

Yet, what I'm primarily interested in is; what exactly is 'usury' as defined by Scripture,  why has it been prohibited (or has it?), and how can a Christian even exist in a Capitalist society while maintaining a Christian outlook?  I have some ideas and theories, but I'm chiefly interested in hearing how y'all  understand the issue?  And how, for those of you who've chosen to, have you learned to live with less?  
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« Reply #28 on: March 03, 2008, 09:44:13 PM »

I still think that receiving a loan does not help the individual more than saving and using cash, unless the person using the credit turns that money around and makes more in investment interest than what he's paying in repayment interest.  Yes, it is quick cashflow that in the short-term increases standard of living.  But it also mortgages the future, forcing people to work longer later in life, rather than actually retire, and I'd argue this situation is actually a reduction in quality of life.

I believe Nektarios is speaking specifically of the Grameen Bank, which offers microcredit to poor women in Bangladesh.  The idea is that by making small loans to the extremely poor for business purposes, they'll be able to repay the loan with their earnings, while also retaining enough to substantially improve their standard of living. 
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« Reply #29 on: March 03, 2008, 10:00:31 PM »

I believe Nektarios is speaking specifically of the Grameen Bank, which offers microcredit to poor women in Bangladesh.  The idea is that by making small loans to the extremely poor for business purposes, they'll be able to repay the loan with their earnings, while also retaining enough to substantially improve their standard of living. 

An interesting point indeed, and one which would buck many of the lending trends.  It's a decent model for business, but not for personal use; and then the question becomes: is usury disallowed for businesses by the Bible?

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« Reply #30 on: March 03, 2008, 10:03:42 PM »

I believe Nektarios is speaking specifically of the Grameen Bank, which offers microcredit to poor women in Bangladesh.  The idea is that by making small loans to the extremely poor for business purposes, they'll be able to repay the loan with their earnings, while also retaining enough to substantially improve their standard of living. 

Bingo. 

People can grossly abuse the fruits of capitalism, but then again every previous and contemporary economic system has had as many serious problems.  The point is that capitalism has the most potential to eradicate extreme poverty... not so that everyone has a plasma TV, more like so that children won't be malnourished, communicable diseases can be slowed and the like. 

And even in middle class America the responsible use of credit has enabled to own homes or attend university that would otherwise never have been able to. 
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« Reply #31 on: March 03, 2008, 10:25:05 PM »

No. I'm arguing that it has to be understand in its cultural and historical context...kind of like you do with Genesis there Wink

Is fornication also to be understood in its cultural and historical context... like my daughter and her fiance are truly loving each other and living together, and of course having this most wonderful, fulfilling sex... glory be to them, no sin?
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« Reply #32 on: March 03, 2008, 10:25:46 PM »



Romans 6:14 For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.

Yeah. So go ahead and fornicate, you're under grace...
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« Reply #33 on: March 03, 2008, 10:27:24 PM »

Rather than attacking the idea of credit and modern banking because of its misuse by people (and taking out a loan you can't pay for a la the current foreclosure, racking up credit card debt, etc. is entirely irrelevant to credit and is more a matter of self control), the ability to obtain a loan has revolutionized the standard of living for many people around the world.  There is no better example of this than the work of Dr. Muhammad Yunus. 

Well, and the ability to live under the same roof and have great sex and not be bound to each other for life has also, presumably, revolutionized the standard of living of very many people around the world...
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« Reply #34 on: March 03, 2008, 10:28:10 PM »

I still think that receiving a loan does not help the individual more than saving and using cash, unless the person using the credit turns that money around and makes more in investment interest than what he's paying in repayment interest.  Yes, it is quick cashflow that in the short-term increases standard of living.  But it also mortgages the future, forcing people to work longer later in life, rather than actually retire, and I'd argue this situation is actually a reduction in quality of life.

Why all this philosophy... a sin is a sin is a sin...
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« Reply #35 on: March 03, 2008, 10:30:57 PM »

The secular life is about having more than your neighbor. If your neighbor buys a BMW than you have to purchase a Mercedes Benz. It forces good people to compete with each other. The outcome becomes hatred. Competition is what drives the economy, fuels the beast. The secular life destroys souls. Being Christian today is difficult from a spiritual aspect, for those unaware.
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« Reply #36 on: March 03, 2008, 10:33:56 PM »

I don't want to give the impression that I'm attacking, or even against, capatilism per se, but it's fairly obvious that the love of money is something that Christians are to be very wary of.  I'm very worried that the Christian world-view today is shaped by a more secular world-view of which money seems to be at the center.  We're definately light years away from when the first Christians shared everything they had in a very communal sense; something that seems to go completely against the grain of the Western, individualistic ethos.  

Yet, what I'm primarily interested in is; what exactly is 'usury' as defined by Scripture,  why has it been prohibited (or has it?), and how can a Christian even exist in a Capitalist society while maintaining a Christian outlook?  I have some ideas and theories, but I'm chiefly interested in hearing how y'all  understand the issue?  And how, for those of you who've chosen to, have you learned to live with less?  

The Scripture is against usury. Love of money is a separate issue. Murder is a sin, and so is envy. Usury is identified in the Bible as a sin, and so is the love of money. While all things are related, there is no real reason to always try and deduce one sin from another or to whitewash one sin and say that it is the other that is "really" a sin.
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« Reply #37 on: March 03, 2008, 10:37:50 PM »


Yet, what I'm primarily interested in is; what exactly is 'usury' as defined by Scripture,  why has it been prohibited (or has it?), and how can a Christian even exist in a Capitalist society while maintaining a Christian outlook?  I have some ideas and theories, but I'm chiefly interested in hearing how y'all  understand the issue?  And how, for those of you who've chosen to, have you learned to live with less?  

Usury means charging interest. Like, you give one cent to someone, and say, give me back this cent and one half of the cent. Or, one thousand dollars that I gave you, plus two hundred dollars. It does not matter what exactly is the interest and why is it being charged and whether the lender uses it for good or for evil purposes. The Scriptures are clear. You charge interest, so you are doing what the Lord commands you NOT to do. You aid someone who is charging interest by agreeing to pay this interest - so, you are patraking in sin.

As for how a Christian can exist in a Capitalist society - he cannot.
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« Reply #38 on: March 03, 2008, 10:45:20 PM »

As for how a Christian can exist in a Capitalist society - he cannot.

And that's why no matter how inspired a document is, it isn't literally applicable after a few thousand years. 
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« Reply #39 on: March 03, 2008, 10:47:19 PM »

And that's why no matter how inspired a document is, it isn't literally applicable after a few thousand years. 

Well... maybe it IS literally applicable, but we aren't up to the mark in everything and anything.
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« Reply #40 on: March 03, 2008, 10:51:29 PM »

There's nothing stopping you from entering paradise now. 
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« Reply #41 on: March 03, 2008, 11:04:48 PM »

Usury means charging interest...
As for how a Christian can exist in a Capitalist society - he cannot.
Yet, are we at fault if someone else charges us interest?

 
And that's why no matter how inspired a document is, it isn't literally applicable after a few thousand years. 
Then why waste your time on a forum whose very members base there very lives on this very document? Wink  Oh, wait; more sarcasm? Roll Eyes
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« Reply #42 on: March 03, 2008, 11:10:31 PM »

Yet, are we at fault if someone else charges us interest?

You don't have a savings account?

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Then why waste your time on a forum whose very members base there very lives on this very document? Wink  Oh, wait; more sarcasm? Roll Eyes

I simply admit what others practice but don't admit. 

I believe that Orthodox Christianity is about taking the spirit of the Gospels and making it relevant to any time period or culture - not literally applying the externals of one time period and culture to other times. 
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« Reply #43 on: March 03, 2008, 11:10:40 PM »

Well... maybe it IS literally applicable, but we aren't up to the mark in everything and anything.

No one has lived up to the glory of God. That is why we needed a savior.
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« Reply #44 on: March 03, 2008, 11:15:24 PM »


No one has lived up to the glory of God. That is why we needed a savior.

Right, but right here on this forum, people spend time and eloquence condemning those who fornicate, and yet nobody spends nearly as much time and eloquence condemning those (beginning from our very beloved selves) who partake in usury. Meanwhile, usury is as much a gross sin and insult to God as fornication is.
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« Reply #45 on: March 03, 2008, 11:18:51 PM »

You don't have a savings account?
 
I live in NYC. Starting Home prices in the suburbs start at about 600k. Do you have a savings account to buy it out right?
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« Reply #46 on: March 03, 2008, 11:19:20 PM »

I wonder where Christ's advice to one of His servants fits in here:

Wherefore then gavest not thou my money into the {e} bank, that at my coming I might have required mine own with usury? -Luke 19:23

Perhaps, I think the usury of the Bible is concerned more with charging exorbitant amounts of interest or exploitation and taking advantage of the poor, I suppose who are usually going to be the ones who are in debt and in need of borrowing.
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« Reply #47 on: March 03, 2008, 11:25:37 PM »

I wonder where Christ's advice to one of His servants fits in here:

Wherefore then gavest not thou my money into the {e} bank, that at my coming I might have required mine own with usury? -Luke 19:23

Perhaps, I think the usury of the Bible is concerned more with charging exorbitant amounts of interest or exploitation and taking advantage of the poor, I suppose who are usually going to be the ones who are in debt and in need of borrowing.

But this is not an advice that Christ gives to His disciples, to give money to the "bank." He just tells a story, a parable, where the main hero is some king (maybe a pagan king). And the meaning of this parable, of course, has absolutely nothing to do with charging interest on the loaned money - it's about a person's spiritual growth.
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« Reply #48 on: March 03, 2008, 11:33:04 PM »

But this is not an advice that Christ gives to His disciples, to give money to the "bank." He just tells a story, a parable, where the main hero is some king (maybe a pagan king). And the meaning of this parable, of course, has absolutely nothing to do with charging interest on the loaned money - it's about a person's spiritual growth.

I quite agree with you that Christ's advice here is not literal and that it's not financial counsel which Christ seeks to give here but rather spiritual. However, I doubt very much that Christ would contradict His own commandments in order to deliver some spiritual message. Perhaps, then we are to understand the commandment somewhat differently rather than as some kind of absolute prohibition. Very often it's the middle way, avoiding extremes, which scripture is really pointing to.
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« Reply #49 on: March 03, 2008, 11:36:09 PM »

Right, but right here on this forum, people spend time and eloquence condemning those who fornicate, and yet nobody spends nearly as much time and eloquence condemning those (beginning from our very beloved selves) who partake in usury. Meanwhile, usury is as much a gross sin and insult to God as fornication is.
Not that I doubt you, dear brother, it's just that I've never heard this before in such an absolute manner like I'm used to hearing about fornication.
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« Reply #50 on: March 03, 2008, 11:36:44 PM »

But this is not an advice that Christ gives to His disciples, to give money to the "bank." He just tells a story, a parable, where the main hero is some king (maybe a pagan king). And the meaning of this parable, of course, has absolutely nothing to do with charging interest on the loaned money - it's about a person's spiritual growth.
Let us assume that you have never barrowed a penny. When you pay taxes you are paying towards a deficit. You are funding a loan payment to the world bank. You're just as guilty. Does Christ tell us not to pay taxes?
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« Reply #51 on: March 03, 2008, 11:43:11 PM »

Let us assume that you have never barrowed a penny. When you pay taxes you are paying towards a deficit. You are funding a loan payment to the world bank. You're just as guilty.

But of course I am. And when people are supporting the war machine that supports the absolute power of corporations over the whole wide world, or when they are electing mass murderers to the White House... they are as guilty. And I am as guilty, too. A lot more than a couple that loves each other and has great sex without tying a stupid "knot," I guess.
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« Reply #52 on: March 03, 2008, 11:44:50 PM »

I quite agree with you that Christ's advice here is not literal and that it's not financial counsel which Christ seeks to give here but rather spiritual. However, I doubt very much that Christ would contradict His own commandments in order to deliver some spiritual message. Perhaps, then we are to understand the commandment somewhat differently rather than as some kind of absolute prohibition. Very often it's the middle way, avoiding extremes, which scripture is really pointing to.

How about His words in another parable about hacking a guy to pieces? Is that a tacit approval of this kind of punishment, too?
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« Reply #53 on: March 04, 2008, 12:09:44 AM »

But of course I am. And when people are supporting the war machine that supports the absolute power of corporations over the whole wide world, or when they are electing mass murderers to the White House... they are as guilty. And I am as guilty, too. A lot more than a couple that loves each other and has great sex without tying a stupid "knot," I guess.

Fornication isn't the same thing. One can be married and fornicate. Fornication before marriage is also wrong. If it doesn't work out to become marriage the damage is hurtful to the next relationship that works out to be meaningful. Sex is used as an expression of eros. How special is it when it's given to many. If it works out than glory to god. But if it doesn't, that is where the problem is. It is our duty as parents to guide our children.
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« Reply #54 on: March 04, 2008, 01:48:24 AM »

How about His words in another parable about hacking a guy to pieces? Is that a tacit approval of this kind of punishment, too?

I'm sorry but I'm not sure I'm familiar with any parable which refers to the things you mention above and which in return Christ praises those who committed such actions. If you have a reference I'd be interested in giving it more thought. Thanks
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« Reply #55 on: March 04, 2008, 02:22:04 AM »

I live in NYC. Starting Home prices in the suburbs start at about 600k. Do you have a savings account to buy it out right?

Ummm...I think he asked if you had a savings account because you get interest on a saving's account; heck, you get interest on some checking accounts. If you have either one of these you are guilty of the sin of usury. If you have credit cards you may not be directly guilty of usury, but you are guilty of making another fall into this sin...so if you do so without absolute necessity, you are culpable. There are also various bonds, CD's, etc. that give interest...ownership of these would be usurious. And as for owning a home, I guess you have to ask yourself, is it really worth it when you must force your lender into the sin of usury inorder to buy one?
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« Reply #56 on: March 04, 2008, 10:25:57 AM »

Ummm...I think he asked if you had a savings account because you get interest on a saving's account; heck, you get interest on some checking accounts. If you have either one of these you are guilty of the sin of usury. If you have credit cards you may not be directly guilty of usury, but you are guilty of making another fall into this sin...so if you do so without absolute necessity, you are culpable. There are also various bonds, CD's, etc. that give interest...ownership of these would be usurious. And as for owning a home, I guess you have to ask yourself, is it really worth it when you must force your lender into the sin of usury inorder to buy one?
I didn't know a corporation can be held accountable for a sin. Yes Father, Citibank is here for there confession. Roll Eyes
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« Reply #57 on: March 04, 2008, 10:43:13 AM »

Fornication is a sin towards a future husband or wife. In Orthodoxy time is irrelevant. We have to look at it from the all perspectives. Lets use a theoretical wife as an example.
When my wife was 4 she had long brown hair down to her legs, when she was 5 she learned to ride a bike, when she was 10 she had a birthday party, when she was 18 she graduated high School, when she was 19 she had sex with Sam, when she was 20 she had sex with Joe, when she was 22 she had sex with tom. The question is who is she sinning against?
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« Reply #58 on: March 04, 2008, 10:51:52 AM »

Fornication is a sin towards a future husband or wife. In Orthodoxy time is irrelevant. We have to look at it from the all perspectives. Lets use a theoretical wife as an example.
When my wife was 4 she had long brown hair down to her legs, when she was 5 she learned to ride a bike, when she was 10 she had a birthday party, when she was 18 she graduated high School, when she was 19 she had sex with Sam, when she was 20 she had sex with Joe, when she was 22 she had sex with tom. The question is who is she sinning against?

Yes, but no one's arguing that fornication is not a sin.  The assertion is that, for the same reason that fornication is a sin, usury is also just as much a sin.  How do you answer the charge that they're NOT different in terms of degree?
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« Reply #59 on: March 04, 2008, 10:54:38 AM »

I didn't know a corporation can be held accountable for a sin. Yes Father, Citibank is here for there confession. Roll Eyes
At the Last Judgment, when the books are opened and all people are judged for EVERYTHING they have ever done or not done, I don't think participation in the sins of a corporation will go unnoticed.
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« Reply #60 on: March 04, 2008, 10:55:10 AM »

Yes, but no one's arguing that fornication is not a sin.  The assertion is that, for the same reason that fornication is a sin, usury is also just as much a sin.  How do you answer the charge that they're NOT different in terms of degree?
Sin is a sin when it affects people. Not corporations.
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« Reply #61 on: March 04, 2008, 11:02:24 AM »

Sin is a sin when it affects people. Not corporations.
IOW, you're arguing from your own logic, not from the Scriptures and Tradition that say that usury is a sin.  How do you justify logic that disregards the word of Scripture?

Besides, you talked earlier of corporations affecting people.  If you are to talk of what affect we have on corporations, then we're talking about corporations being sinned against.
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« Reply #62 on: March 04, 2008, 11:13:20 AM »

IOW, you're arguing from your own logic, not from the Scriptures that say that usury is a sin.  How do you justify logic that disregards the word of Scripture?
I will agree with you that people misusing corporations to profit unjustly are guilty of sin if they misuse there power. When the book are opened the corporation will not exist to be held accountable. The people will. I think it's beyond our power to control the worldly powers. We fell into them.  It is under our control to not fornicate.
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« Reply #63 on: March 04, 2008, 11:36:07 AM »

Rather than attacking the idea of credit and modern banking because of its misuse by people (and taking out a loan you can't pay for a la the current foreclosure, racking up credit card debt, etc. is entirely irrelevant to credit and is more a matter of self control), the ability to obtain a loan has revolutionized the standard of living for many people around the world.  There is no better example of this than the work of Dr. Muhammad Yunus. 

Perhaps my words were strong.  I am not attacking the very idea of credit.  After all, I used credit to attend college by obtaining a student loan which, as Anastasios pointed out, has an interest rate lower than the rate of inflation so, from my perspective, it's barely credit and more an agreement to pay back over time a large amount of money that will, in effect, be less than what I borrowed once all the math is worked out. 

Like most things in this world, credit can be good when used in moderation.  People nowadays, however, view credit as a right instead of a privilege and that has led us as a nation down the garden path of unmanageable debt.  It can be a very dangerous thing and, IMHO, a thing that many people do not need, with the possible exception of a mortgage.  I think many people tend to think more in terms of wants instead of needs and suffer financially as a result. 

Take, for example, any number of my coworkers.  They complain about the cost of parking in downtown Baltimore when every single one of the loudest voices lives very close to public transportation, be it bus, light rail, or commuter train.  My firm reimburses the entire cost of a monthly transit pass (inlcuding commuter rail) but may only cover 2/3 of the cost of parking depending on the garage/lot.  The passes are also tax deductible.  I save almost $1000 a year in transportation costs and $300 a year in taxes.  Now that my wife is working at my firm, we'll be saving over $2500/year total just by using public transportation to get to work.  For those among my coworekrs who live within the grasp of Maryland MTA's service, this should be a no brainer.  Sadly, it's apparently quantum mechanics.

Yes, that's anecdotal, but it's just one example of how a want can trump a need that can save you thousands of dollars a year.  Of course, not everyone lives near public transportation.  But those that do and don't use, and then complain about commuting costs are just examples of how screwed up our financial priorities are in this country, and that includes the notion that credit is a right rather than a privilege.

In short, credit can be a great thing.  It has done wonders for many, many people the world over.  But, like most, if not all, good things, it's abuse leads to the chains of debt resolution.
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« Reply #64 on: March 04, 2008, 11:40:19 AM »

Usury means charging interest. Like, you give one cent to someone, and say, give me back this cent and one half of the cent. Or, one thousand dollars that I gave you, plus two hundred dollars. It does not matter what exactly is the interest and why is it being charged and whether the lender uses it for good or for evil purposes. The Scriptures are clear. You charge interest, so you are doing what the Lord commands you NOT to do. You aid someone who is charging interest by agreeing to pay this interest - so, you are patraking in sin.

As Anastasios pointed out, many government backed student loans charge an interest rate less than the rate of inflation.  With payments stretched out over, say, a decade, once all the math is completed, the money paid back can be actually less than the money loaned.

So it ultimately the rate and time of repayment does factor into the definition of a loan as "usurious".
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« Reply #65 on: March 04, 2008, 11:42:12 AM »

I didn't know a corporation can be held accountable for a sin. Yes Father, Citibank is here for there confession. Roll Eyes

Corporations may be autonomous legal entites, but they are controlled by humans, by their stock holders, by their corporate board. It would be they who are guilty of the sin of usury, it would be they and their employees that you are causing to sin when you take out a loan.
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« Reply #66 on: March 04, 2008, 11:42:59 AM »

Sin is a sin when it affects people. Not corporations.

So stealing from Wal-Mart isn't a sin?
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« Reply #67 on: March 04, 2008, 11:49:39 AM »

Fornication is a sin towards a future husband or wife. In Orthodoxy time is irrelevant. We have to look at it from the all perspectives. Lets use a theoretical wife as an example.
When my wife was 4 she had long brown hair down to her legs, when she was 5 she learned to ride a bike, when she was 10 she had a birthday party, when she was 18 she graduated high School, when she was 19 she had sex with Sam, when she was 20 she had sex with Joe, when she was 22 she had sex with tom. The question is who is she sinning against?

Actually traditionall speaking, fornication is regarded as a sin against the woman's father, not one's future spouse. Whereas adultery is traditionally regarded as a sin against the husband (and only the husband)...let's be sure to understand the proper sociological context of the laws we are fighting so hard to uphold.

Perhaps you should read the relative Canons of St. Basil to give you some insight into this matter, of particular interest is his 21st. Canon:

'If any man cohabiting with a woman fails afterwards to rest content with inatrimony and falls into fornication, we judge such a man to be a fornicator, and we consider him to deserve even more in the way of penances. We have not, however, any Canon by which to task him with the charge of adultery if the sin is committed with a woman free from marriage. For an adulteress, it says, being defiled shall be defiled, and shall not return to her husband. And "anyone who keeps an adulteress is foolish and impious." One, however, who has committed fornication cannot be denied the right to cohabit with his wife. So that a wife must accept her husband when he returns from fornication, but a husband must send a defiled wife away from his home. The reason for these inconsistencies is not easily to be found, but at any rate a custom to this effect has obtained prevalence.'

Perhaps you can see why I take issues with the rigid application of some of these ancient canons and laws, which are clearly based on a different society and time...as foreign to us (thank God) as ancient economies would be to modern economies.
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« Reply #68 on: March 04, 2008, 12:04:00 PM »

If it's so important to not pay interest, then save and pay in cash rather than going for instant gratification.  Interest is the fee for having now what you would otherwise have to save to have.

In strictly economic terms thats not true because at the rate inflation is spreading a dollar today is worth more than a dollar 2 weeks from now..... Further, as prices rise and income lies stagnant, the non-instant way of getting things becomes longer and more drawn out.

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« Reply #69 on: March 04, 2008, 12:08:21 PM »

Actually traditionall speaking, fornication is regarded as a sin against the woman's father, not one's future spouse. Whereas adultery is traditionally regarded as a sin against the husband (and only the husband)...let's be sure to understand the proper sociological context of the laws we are fighting so hard to uphold.

Perhaps you should read the relative Canons of St. Basil to give you some insight into this matter, of particular interest is his 21st. Canon:

'If any man cohabiting with a woman fails afterwards to rest content with inatrimony and falls into fornication, we judge such a man to be a fornicator, and we consider him to deserve even more in the way of penances. We have not, however, any Canon by which to task him with the charge of adultery if the sin is committed with a woman free from marriage. For an adulteress, it says, being defiled shall be defiled, and shall not return to her husband. And "anyone who keeps an adulteress is foolish and impious." One, however, who has committed fornication cannot be denied the right to cohabit with his wife. So that a wife must accept her husband when he returns from fornication, but a husband must send a defiled wife away from his home. The reason for these inconsistencies is not easily to be found, but at any rate a custom to this effect has obtained prevalence.'

Perhaps you can see why I take issues with the rigid application of some of these ancient canons and laws, which are clearly based on a different society and time...as foreign to us (thank God) as ancient economies would be to modern economies.
In the context of Greek society. When a father gives his daughter in marriage he is offering Pricka along with her virginity. Virginity was a garenttee in that culture. The woman would be sent back to her father where she would remain unmarried forever if she wasn't a virgin.
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« Reply #70 on: March 04, 2008, 12:14:09 PM »

In strictly economic terms thats not true because at the rate inflation is spreading a dollar today is worth more than a dollar 2 weeks from now..... Further, as prices rise and income lies stagnant, the non-instant way of getting things becomes longer and more drawn out.

-Nick

Okay, fine, interest at any rate above the rate of inflation is said fee and last time I checked, inflation wasn't running at a 13.9% clip.
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« Reply #71 on: March 04, 2008, 12:15:33 PM »

Fornication is a sin towards a future husband or wife. In Orthodoxy time is irrelevant. We have to look at it from the all perspectives. Lets use a theoretical wife as an example.
When my wife was 4 she had long brown hair down to her legs, when she was 5 she learned to ride a bike, when she was 10 she had a birthday party, when she was 18 she graduated high School, when she was 19 she had sex with Sam, when she was 20 she had sex with Joe, when she was 22 she had sex with tom. The question is who is she sinning against?


All sins are against GOD, no?

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« Reply #72 on: March 04, 2008, 12:23:42 PM »

All sins are against GOD, no?

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« Reply #73 on: March 04, 2008, 12:38:30 PM »

When you sin against your brother you are affecting his salvation. If he hates you will he go to heaven?
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« Reply #74 on: March 04, 2008, 12:58:21 PM »

When you sin against your brother you are affecting his salvation. If he hates you will he go to heaven?

Psalm 50 is commonly known as David's lamentation after Nathan showed him his sin in having Uriah killed so David's sin of adultery would be covered.  By your paradigm, one could say that David sinned against Uriah twice over by sleeping with his wife and then having him killed.  But nowhere in that Psalm does David mention Uriah.

He decries his own sin against God, specifically when he prays, "Against You only have I sinned and done this evil in Your sight."

While we can definitely sin against our brother, it has always been my understanding that all sin is against God.
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« Reply #75 on: March 04, 2008, 01:52:50 PM »

Perhaps my words were strong.  I am not attacking the very idea of credit.  After all, I used credit to attend college by obtaining a student loan which, as Anastasios pointed out, has an interest rate lower than the rate of inflation so, from my perspective, it's barely credit and more an agreement to pay back over time a large amount of money that will, in effect, be less than what I borrowed once all the math is worked out. 

Like most things in this world, credit can be good when used in moderation.  People nowadays, however, view credit as a right instead of a privilege and that has led us as a nation down the garden path of unmanageable debt.  It can be a very dangerous thing and, IMHO, a thing that many people do not need, with the possible exception of a mortgage.  I think many people tend to think more in terms of wants instead of needs and suffer financially as a result. 

Take, for example, any number of my coworkers.  They complain about the cost of parking in downtown Baltimore when every single one of the loudest voices lives very close to public transportation, be it bus, light rail, or commuter train.  My firm reimburses the entire cost of a monthly transit pass (inlcuding commuter rail) but may only cover 2/3 of the cost of parking depending on the garage/lot.  The passes are also tax deductible.  I save almost $1000 a year in transportation costs and $300 a year in taxes.  Now that my wife is working at my firm, we'll be saving over $2500/year total just by using public transportation to get to work.  For those among my coworekrs who live within the grasp of Maryland MTA's service, this should be a no brainer.  Sadly, it's apparently quantum mechanics.

Yes, that's anecdotal, but it's just one example of how a want can trump a need that can save you thousands of dollars a year.  Of course, not everyone lives near public transportation.  But those that do and don't use, and then complain about commuting costs are just examples of how screwed up our financial priorities are in this country, and that includes the notion that credit is a right rather than a privilege.

In short, credit can be a great thing.  It has done wonders for many, many people the world over.  But, like most, if not all, good things, it's abuse leads to the chains of debt resolution.

I still think we are talking about two separate issues.  The type of capitalism / credit / usury  that I have in mind is for-profit work done in developing nations that is raising people out of extreme poverty.  I think that the work of mercy that this becomes is entirely in line with the spirit of the Gospel.  Whereas being a back alley loan shark would probably be today's equivalent of biblical usury. 

For the other issue of financial irresponsibility and over consumption that almost define modern American society, I agree with you entirely - I find them disgusting.  I appreciate your anecdote about public transportation as I also receive a free bus pass since I'm a student.  My commute is 12 km each way, since the weather is so nice right now (I'll rub it in how beautiful AZ is  Grin ) I mostly ride my bike, but during the winter and summer I usually take the bus.  The reason why I don't think this is directly related to capitalism is that you can find examples in non-capitalist societies of the same thing.  And, I don't think there could ever be a viable economic system that would keep people from being stupid.  At least with capitalism, we have the option to live within our means and only use credit to help ourselves (like a mortgage or student loans).
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« Reply #76 on: March 04, 2008, 02:02:44 PM »

I still think we are talking about two separate issues.  The type of capitalism / credit / usury  that I have in mind is for-profit work done in developing nations that is raising people out of extreme poverty.  I think that the work of mercy that this becomes is entirely in line with the spirit of the Gospel. 

I would agree with you on this entirely.  You mentioned Dr. Muhammad Yunus earlier.  His work is entirely within the spirit of the Gospel, AFAIC.  Everyone wins with microcredit, it seems.

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Whereas being a back alley loan shark would probably be today's equivalent of biblical usury. 

I'd add predatory home mortgage companies who convince even skeptical buyers that they can afford that home with a variable rate loan. Smiley

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« Reply #77 on: March 04, 2008, 02:24:36 PM »

Why all this philosophy... a sin is a sin is a sin...

I'm sorry I didn't see this earlier...

Why?  I'm not going to debate whether the Church at any point has seen usury as sinful - historical documents can attest to that.  I'm not going to debate whether the Church considers usury sinful now - I'm not in a position to make that determination.  My slant was that if you can convince people that borrowing money (and paying interest in exchange) is unnecessary in most cases, then the question will become moot as people will do it less.
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« Reply #78 on: March 04, 2008, 05:08:11 PM »

Psalm 50 is commonly known as David's lamentation after Nathan showed him his sin in having Uriah killed so David's sin of adultery would be covered.  By your paradigm, one could say that David sinned against Uriah twice over by sleeping with his wife and then having him killed.  But nowhere in that Psalm does David mention Uriah.

He decries his own sin against God, specifically when he prays, "Against You only have I sinned and done this evil in Your sight."

While we can definitely sin against our brother, it has always been my understanding that all sin is against God.


The whole point is that our sins affect others salvation. It is best to not put someone in the position to have to forgive us.

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Luke 15:21
"The son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. '


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« Reply #79 on: March 04, 2008, 05:12:51 PM »


The whole point is that our sins affect others salvation. It is best to not put someone in the position to have to forgive us.


Of course that's true.  I have not doubted that at all.  Indeed, I specifically stated that some sins can be against another.

But you have said that all sins are not against God.

I find that very wrong and the citatation from Luke you posted proves my point.  The Prodigal stated he has sinned against heaven, not just against his father.
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« Reply #80 on: March 04, 2008, 05:19:48 PM »

Of course that's true.  I have not doubted that at all.  Indeed, I specifically stated that some sins can be against another.

But you have said that all sins are not against God.

I find that very wrong and the citatation from Luke you posted proves my point.  The Prodigal stated he has sinned against heaven, not just against his father.

Sorry I didn't make it clear. Both are involved.
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« Reply #81 on: March 04, 2008, 05:38:10 PM »

Corporations may be autonomous legal entites, but they are controlled by humans, by their stock holders, by their corporate board. It would be they who are guilty of the sin of usury, it would be they and their employees that you are causing to sin when you take out a loan.


The employees are just as responsible a tax collector for doing there job.

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24After Jesus and his disciples arrived in Capernaum, the collectors of the two-drachma tax came to Peter and asked, "Doesn't your teacher pay the temple tax?"

 25"Yes, he does," he replied.
      When Peter came into the house, Jesus was the first to speak. "What do you think, Simon?" he asked. "From whom do the kings of the earth collect duty and taxes—from their own sons or from others?"

 26"From others," Peter answered.

   "Then the sons are exempt," Jesus said to him. 27"But so that we may not offend them, go to the lake and throw out your line. Take the first fish you catch; open its mouth and you will find a four-drachma coin. Take it and give it to them for my tax and yours."
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« Reply #82 on: March 04, 2008, 06:08:15 PM »

Corporations may be autonomous legal entites, but they are controlled by humans, by their stock holders, by their corporate board. It would be they who are guilty of the sin of usury, it would be they and their employees that you are causing to sin when you take out a loan. 

That would make government officials (elected and otherwise) and voting citizens culpable for the sin of the government.  Instead of a slippery slope, how about a greased hillside?
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« Reply #83 on: March 04, 2008, 07:08:31 PM »

That would make government officials (elected and otherwise) and voting citizens culpable for the sin of the government.  Instead of a slippery slope, how about a greased hillside?

The citizens of a republic are culpable in the actions of the state, especially if they supported the ruling party.
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« Reply #84 on: March 04, 2008, 07:29:33 PM »

The citizens of a republic are culpable in the actions of the state, especially if they supported the ruling party.

Since we are speaking of sin (an important matter to have all details correct on)... Does this include the disenfranchised?  Should all people be confessing to their Father confessors the sins of the nation?  State?  County?  City?  Of the company they work for?
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« Reply #85 on: March 04, 2008, 08:20:01 PM »

Since we are speaking of sin (an important matter to have all details correct on)... Does this include the disenfranchised?  Should all people be confessing to their Father confessors the sins of the nation?  State?  County?  City?  Of the company they work for?

Well, that would depend on the degree of involvement; every day we do small things that would be regarded or sins or things that, knowingly or unknowingly, would make our neighbour fall into sin. Every minor infraction throughout the day is generally not recorded to be read back at a later time for confession. But if we are more directly involved, such as a congressman voting for a bill with immoral implications or a member of a corporate board voting for the company to do something regarded as sinful (such as engage in usury?) then I would presume that such things should be confessed...at least as much so as any other sin.
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« Reply #86 on: March 04, 2008, 08:56:24 PM »

Well, that would depend on the degree of involvement; every day we do small things that would be regarded or sins or things that, knowingly or unknowingly, would make our neighbour fall into sin. Every minor infraction throughout the day is generally not recorded to be read back at a later time for confession. But if we are more directly involved, such as a congressman voting for a bill with immoral implications or a member of a corporate board voting for the company to do something regarded as sinful (such as engage in usury?) then I would presume that such things should be confessed...at least as much so as any other sin.

The government can not confess. They lend to the banks at the prime lending rate. They are at the heart of the problem. I will agree that all people should accept a degree of liability, but on a personal level we are not sinners because we barrow.
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« Reply #87 on: March 04, 2008, 09:05:13 PM »

Sharia loans are obviously the answer to our dilemma.
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« Reply #88 on: March 04, 2008, 09:08:53 PM »

The government can not confess. They lend to the banks at the prime lending rate. They are at the heart of the problem.

Rates that are controlled by the seven member governing board of the Federal Reserve.

Quote
I will agree that all people should accept a degree of liability, but on a personal level we are not sinners because we barrow.

I personally don't buy that usury is a sin, but if we are going to say that it is and be consistent then we must say that when we borrow with interest we are causing someone to engage in the sin of usury. By your reasoning, people who fence stolen property arn't engaging in an immoral act because they didn't actually steal it themselves.
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« Reply #89 on: March 04, 2008, 09:10:30 PM »

Sharia loans are obviously the answer to our dilemma.
They don't have to be sharia loans.
Our local Community Centre offers interest free loans for low income earners to purchase white goods. You don't have to be muslim (or even religious) to introduce interest free loans.
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« Reply #90 on: March 04, 2008, 09:16:32 PM »

They don't have to be sharia loans.
Our local Community Centre offers interest free loans for low income earners to purchase white goods. You don't have to be muslim (or even religious) to introduce interest free loans.

To the best of my knowledge, Sharia loans aren't limited to Muslims.
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« Reply #91 on: March 04, 2008, 09:17:42 PM »

Then I guess we are all going to hell.

Allowing yourself to be taken advantage of by the usurers is one thing; that doesn't qualify as a sin. Lending money at interest; that's the sin itself. That's the position of Thomas Aquinas at least, and he defends it with his usual scholastic rigor.

Speaking for myself, I've gone my whole life without being usurious. It really isn't that hard.

I think it's pretty ironic that you are insinuating that I think we do given that I have spent an inordinate amount of time explaining to Protestants that we do not have the same OT as them. Of course you have no way of knowing that but that is why I find it personally ironic.

However, let's not pretend that differences are total between the Masoretic text and the Septuagint. They are different, but they are not completely different, and I doubt that they are different on the point of usury.

I have no problem with the Masoretic text. After all, St. Jerome's Vulgate is based on it, and that is also something of a holy translation. I am speaking on the level of canon, not textual differences. The Jews rejected a whole bunch of books in our OT, and we don't, like the Protestants, consider them an authority on that matter. And anyway, even the Jews don't allow usury among their own kind. Only for us gentiles.

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You might also want to ask why the Masoretic text is taught in Hebrew at your OCA seminary St Vladimir's though since you seem to have so much of an issue with it Wink

St. Vladimir's also employs Fr. Paul Tarazi, who was kicked out of Balamand for calling my patron Saint a "jackass," and who propagates Nestorian text-critical methods that debase God's word.  Wink But again, I am not exactly anti-Masoretic text.
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« Reply #92 on: March 04, 2008, 09:18:09 PM »

To the best of my knowledge, Sharia loans aren't limited to Muslims.

They're also not interest free, the interest is simply applied in a lump sum at the outset which, according to some Islamic scholars, gets around the formal requirements (though others disagree)...I don't think they'd quite work for us if we actually too usury seriously.
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« Reply #93 on: March 04, 2008, 09:19:21 PM »

Rates that are controlled by the seven member governing board of the Federal Reserve.

I personally don't buy that usury is a sin, but if we are going to say that it is and be consistent then we must say that when we borrow with interest we are causing someone to engage in the sin of usury. By your reasoning, people who fence stolen property arn't engaging in an immoral act because they didn't actually steal it themselves.
  If you believe that the government stole the money from tax payer, than yes, but the truth is that our government barrowed that money from the world bank. Wink
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« Reply #94 on: March 04, 2008, 09:28:32 PM »

  If you believe that the government stole the money from tax payer, than yes, but the truth is that our government barrowed that money from the world bank. Wink

Actually, more of our national debt is, by far, owed to the federal reserve than any other entity. Around 40%.
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« Reply #95 on: March 04, 2008, 09:40:50 PM »

Actually, more of our national debt is, by far, owed to the federal reserve than any other entity. Around 40%.

The federal reserve is backed by gold. This county hasn't backed any money since right after WWII. If you can even find a phone number to the federal reserve. I will donate $20 to this forum.
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« Reply #96 on: March 04, 2008, 09:48:18 PM »

The federal reserve is backed by gold. This county hasn't backed any money since right after WWII. If you can even find a phone number to the federal reserve. I will donate $20 to this forum.

1)  The dollar is not backed by gold and the Federal Reserve doesn't back anything.  We've also only been a fiat currency since the 1970's or so, not since the end of WWII.

2)  Here's the contact info for the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, one of the 12 district banks of the Federal Reserve System.  I believe you owe the forum twenty non-gold backed dollars (although I'm sure Robert would accept Gold Eagles, as well).
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« Reply #97 on: March 04, 2008, 09:49:13 PM »

The federal reserve is backed by gold. This county hasn't backed any money since right after WWII.

I don't know where you've been, but federal reserve notes haven't been backed by gold since 1971.

Quote
If you can even find a phone number to the federal reserve. I will donate $20 to this forum.

http://www.federalreserve.gov/FRAddress.htm
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« Reply #98 on: March 04, 2008, 09:50:32 PM »

1)  The dollar is not backed by gold and the Federal Reserve doesn't back anything.  We've also only been a fiat currency since the 1970's or so, not since the end of WWII.

2)  Here's the contact info for the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, one of the 12 district banks of the Federal Reserve System.  I believe you owe the forum twenty non-gold backed dollars (although I'm sure Robert would accept Gold Eagles, as well).

You beat me to it, but I did include a link with phone numbers to all federal reserve banks aswell as to the office of the Board of Governors...I guess it's time for someone to pay up. Wink
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« Reply #99 on: March 04, 2008, 09:53:00 PM »

You beat me to it, but I did include a link with phone numbers to all federal reserve banks aswell as to the office of the Board of Governors...I guess it's time for someone to pay up. Wink

I figured you were trying to one-up me with phone numbers for all the banks.  Does this mean OC.net gets $40?
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« Reply #100 on: March 04, 2008, 09:54:48 PM »

I figured you were trying to one-up me with phone numbers for all the banks.  Does this mean OC.net gets $40?

The way I count it, I provided a phone number for all 12 banks and the Board of Governors...13 in all. So that would total $260. Grin
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« Reply #101 on: March 04, 2008, 10:20:29 PM »

The head quarters are in Washington. I tried calling the number they have listed for two weeks. No one ever picked up the line. Try it for yourself.
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« Reply #102 on: March 04, 2008, 10:32:22 PM »

The head quarters are in Washington. I tried calling the number they have listed for two weeks. No one ever picked up the line. Try it for yourself.

That wasn't the challenge.  The gauntlet you threw down was to find a number, not get someone to answer it.
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« Reply #103 on: March 04, 2008, 10:35:07 PM »

That wasn't the challenge.  The gauntlet you threw down was to find a number, not get someone to answer it.
That's funny. I will honor the twenty dollars.
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Excellence of character, then, is a state concerned with choice, lying in a mean relative to us, this being determined by reason and in the way in which the man of practical wisdom would determine it. Now it is a mean between two vices, that which depends on excess and that which depends on defect.
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« Reply #104 on: March 04, 2008, 10:44:04 PM »

Is the forum sinning by excepting the money that I earned interest on. Because if it is than I will gladly hold back. I really don't want to lead you guy into sin. laugh
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« Reply #105 on: March 04, 2008, 10:47:39 PM »

Is the forum sinning by excepting the money that I earned interest on. Because if it is than I will gladly hold back. I really don't want to lead you guy into sin. laugh

Nope...has to come directly out of your next paycheck. Grin
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« Reply #106 on: March 04, 2008, 10:50:31 PM »

Nope...has to come directly out of your next paycheck. Grin
My checkbook is linked to my savings. Shocked
You have to try a little harder than that. Wink
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« Reply #107 on: March 04, 2008, 10:59:34 PM »

OK dear brothers,  I think y'all have answered my question.  I implore each of you to lay your swords down and let it go for the sake of each others' salvation. 
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« Reply #108 on: May 03, 2008, 11:09:02 PM »

A cut and paste from my blog:


I might have some typos. I've noticed some, but I don't think I corrected them all.


Quote
Calvinism & Usury
There is a link between Calvinism and our modern use of Usury. We now live in an age where High Usury is commonplace, yet the Bible and Historic Christian commentary for 15 hundred years were all against it. Except for one person. And that person was John Calvin.

In the book "Christianity's Dangerous Idea" Alister Mcgrath goes through the common consensus of Biblical interpretation in regards to the issue of Usury. He notes how everyone was against it. Then he turns to Calvin and shows how his view eventually became the common interpretation of the text among Prots and then about 3 hundred years later among Catholics, and eventhough he doesn't mention this, but it has alo become the view of some Orthodox in recent decades.

He says:





"Yet while Christians were Prohibited from lending money at interest, Jews
were explicitly exempted from this ban. This exemption led to the emergence of
the stereotype of the Jew as an avaricious moneylender, famously exemplified in
Shakespeare's Shylock in The Merchant of Venine. These views were not challenged
in the first phase of Protestantism. Martin Luther regarded the biblical
prohibition of usury as permanently binding. In his 1524 sermon on trade and
usury, Luther lashed out at any attempt to charge interest. In his view,
Christians "should willingly and gladly lend money without any charge." The
Elizabethan Protestant bishop John Jewel reflected the views of his age when he
raged from his pulpit against the iniquities of usury. "It is theft, it is the
murdering of our brethern, it is the curse of God and the curse of the people."
This uncompromising opposition to usury was embodied in a statute passed by the
English Parliament in 1571, which had the uniforeseen and unintended effect of
legitimating usury at a fixed rate of 10 percent.



Yet the lending of money at interest was essential to the emergence of
modern capitalism. A steady increasing hunger for capital led many in both
church and state to turn a blind eye to moneylending and to reconsider the
entire theological basis of the prohibition of usury. Calvin could not have been
unaware of these problems. The survival of the city of Geneva depended on being
able to sustain and develop its urban economy and remain independant of
potentially dangerous neighbors.



In 1545 Calvin wrote to his friend Claude de Sachin, setting out his views
on usury. The letter was not published until after Calvin's death (1564), when
Theodore Beza decided to make its contents generally known in 1575. At one
level, this letter can be read as a total inversion of the teaching of the Old
Testament; a more attentive reading confirms this suspicion but discloses the
sophisticated lines of argument that led Calvin to his surprising conclusion. So
how could Calvin reinterpret the Old Testament's explicit statement that usury
is prohibited to mean that it is actually permitted?.



Calvin's letter of 1545 reinforces the impotance of biblibal interpretation
to Protestantism. In one respect, Calvin reaffirmed the general Protestant idea
that not all the rules set out for Jews in the Old Testament were binding upon
Christians; in these instances, the Old Testament offered moral guidance only,
not positive prescription for conduct. Yet this way of interpreting the Old
Testament had been applied to cultic issues-such as the Old Testament's demand
for animal sacrifices. Calvin's extension of the principle to usury broke new
ground.



A fundamental theme recurring throuhout the letter was that things had
moved on. the situation in sixteenth-century Europe was not the same as that in
ancient Israel.
As Bieler points out in his magisterial study of Calvin's economic thought,
the new economic realities of the sixteenth century made it possible to view
interests as simply rent paid on capital. Calvin therefore argued for the need
to probe deeper and ascertain the general princliples that seemed to underlie
the Old Testament ban on usury in its original context. It was the purpose of
the prohibition, not the prohibition itself, that had to govern Protestant
thinking on this matter. "We ought not to judge usury according to a few
passages of scripture, but in accordance with the principle of equity." For
Calvin, the real concern was the exploitation of the poor through." through high interests rates.
This, he argued, could be dealt with in other ways-such as fixing of interest
rates at communally acceptable levels. Calvin's willinglness to allow a variable
rate of interest showed an awareness of the pressures upon capital in the more
or less free market of the age.

Calvin's views which were seen by many as running counter to the clear
meaning of the Bible, took some time to become accepted. By the middle of the
seventeenth century-more than one hundred years after Calvin's groundbreaking
analysis-usury was fully regarded as acceptable.
Protestant jurists such as Hugo
Grotius and Samuel Pufendorf supplemented Calvin's theological analysis with
clarifications of economic concepts, especially in relation to price and value,
that finally removed any remaining scruples about lending money at unterest. The
Catholic church did not legitmate usury, however, until 1830, apparently in
response to the widespread acceptance of the practice within predominantly
Protestant western Europe.

Yet Protestantism did more than bring about the theological adjustment that
opened the way to a modern capitalist economy, its early development in the
cities of Europe, especially in Switzerland, created the economic conditions
that made such a change inevitable and essential. During the period 1535 to
1540, an economic recession descended on the area around Geneva. Despite this
downturn, Geneva was able to survive and to go on to benefit from the subsequent
recovery throughout the region, which lasted from 1540 to 1555. It is now
thought that one of the prime reasons for Geneva's resilience during this period
was the emergence of the Swiss banking system, which allowed Basel and other
major Swiss Protestant cities sympathic to Calvin's religious agenda to bail him
out through large loans. The Swiss banking system emerged as a direct response
to a shared sense of identity throughout the Protestant cantons of Switzerland
and neighboring cities-including
Geneva..............................................................................................The
raising of capital for economic expansion thus became imperative for Geneva
around this time. Calvin's removal of the remaining theological impediments to
the practice of usury was not merely religiously progressive; it was essential
if his version of Protestantism was to survive. So intimate was the connection
between the religious system of Calvinism and the city of Geneva that the
collapse of the latter would have had disastrous implications for the
former."
[1]





Calvinism's noval interpretation of Usury is one of the causes of mass poverty in the World today. Yes, the world has always had it's poor, but Calvinism has made it even worse.





[1] pages 332-335 from the book "Christianity's Dangerous Idea: The Protestant Revolution-A History from the Sixteenth Century to the Twenty-First by Alister E. McGrath. Published by HarperOne, Copyright 2007











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« Reply #109 on: May 05, 2008, 03:41:13 PM »

^In short, usury in any form IS sinful, just like fornication, adultery, theft and murder, right?

I do believe that it really is. We should just admit it and stop making excuses (even though we all are engaged in it, and will continue to be).
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« Reply #110 on: May 05, 2008, 04:48:38 PM »

^In short, usury in any form IS sinful, just like fornication, adultery, theft and murder, right?

I do believe that it really is. We should just admit it and stop making excuses (even though we all are engaged in it, and will continue to be).


I agree




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« Reply #111 on: May 06, 2008, 09:18:04 AM »


I agree




JNORM888
I don't
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« Reply #112 on: May 06, 2008, 10:17:03 PM »

I don't
We can see why from your earlier posts on this thread, but is it possible you can still offer up a bit more substance than this?  Maybe some reason you haven't offered yet?
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« Reply #113 on: May 06, 2008, 10:34:03 PM »

It seems as though it falls on the level of participation.  Is taking out a loan for things truly needed the same as loaning money and charging interst to someone else?  Do I sin because someone else charges me interest?
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« Reply #114 on: May 07, 2008, 05:32:46 AM »

I agree with Heorhij, you cannot reinterpret out of inconvenience.  No matter how inconvenient something may be.
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« Reply #115 on: May 07, 2008, 11:09:53 AM »

We can see why from your earlier posts on this thread, but is it possible you can still offer up a bit more substance than this?  Maybe some reason you haven't offered yet?
The point I was trying to make is that lenders don't exist as individuals. When we borrow from the lenders we aren't causing there fall into sin.  A person who puts there money in a banking institution is more concerned with safety. keeping money home can cause injury to them as well as tempting thieves to rob the premises.
When we borrow for house loans, the bank has collateral if we default. The house itself is worth the weight of the loan. If we use credit cards and have the funds too back them. Where is the Usury?
When someone barrows that doesn't have the means to pay there debt back. Than it is a sin. It puts the lender in a position to use all means other than force. To reclaim the funds. Causing sins to happen. The sin happens when we want something for nothing. The system is intended for those who already have money. If you have no money than don't borrow.
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« Reply #116 on: May 07, 2008, 03:05:12 PM »

The point I was trying to make is that lenders don't exist as individuals. When we borrow from the lenders we aren't causing there fall into sin.  A person who puts there money in a banking institution is more concerned with safety. keeping money home can cause injury to them as well as tempting thieves to rob the premises.
When we borrow for house loans, the bank has collateral if we default. The house itself is worth the weight of the loan. If we use credit cards and have the funds too back them. Where is the Usury?
When someone barrows that doesn't have the means to pay there debt back. Than it is a sin. It puts the lender in a position to use all means other than force. To reclaim the funds. Causing sins to happen. The sin happens when we want something for nothing. The system is intended for those who already have money. If you have no money than don't borrow.
However, you're focusing on the borrower, on whom the biblical ban on usury places no restriction and is, in fact, irrelevant (except to reduce or eliminate interest payments).  You can borrow as much money under a biblical system as under the current capitalist, interest-driven system and not incur any divine sanction for immorality.  The biblical ban on usury, by definition, is a restriction against the lender, which your reasoning does not address.
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« Reply #117 on: May 07, 2008, 03:37:06 PM »

However, you're focusing on the borrower, on whom the biblical ban on usury places no restriction and is, in fact, irrelevant (except to reduce or eliminate interest payments).  You can borrow as much money under a biblical system as under the current capitalist, interest-driven system and not incur any divine sanction for immorality.  The biblical ban on usury, by definition, is a restriction against the lender, which your reasoning does not address.

The borrower is the lender.  Cheesy
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« Reply #118 on: May 07, 2008, 05:58:46 PM »

The borrower is the lender.  Cheesy
Huh Huh
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« Reply #119 on: May 07, 2008, 06:25:01 PM »

The borrower is the lender.  Cheesy

Ignorance is strength.

Are we sure this doesn't belong in a sub-forum for Newspeak?
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« Reply #120 on: May 07, 2008, 06:28:12 PM »

However, you're focusing on the borrower, on whom the biblical ban on usury places no restriction and is, in fact, irrelevant (except to reduce or eliminate interest payments).  You can borrow as much money under a biblical system as under the current capitalist, interest-driven system and not incur any divine sanction for immorality.  The biblical ban on usury, by definition, is a restriction against the lender, which your reasoning does not address.

But if there were no borrowers, there would be no lenders, and vice versa...

Borrowers actually encourage lenders to engage in usury. It's not quite the same as in, say, rape, when the rape victim is really, truly innocent.
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« Reply #121 on: May 07, 2008, 07:32:01 PM »

I think we need to do a bit of research and ask ourselves the question is usury in any way, shape or form sinful in an absolutist sense or is it only the exploitative use of usury that is sinful?

I think to answer this question we need to ask ourselves why Christianity might have considered usury to be sinful in the first place. Is it because of the social implications where it might have been the cause of exploitation and enslavement? However, if these can be eliminated or controlled and some good could come out of usury, then fundamentally it would seem that there would be no grounds for opposition towards such a system besides a rigid literal and legalistic interpretation and application of scripture.
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« Reply #122 on: May 07, 2008, 10:34:50 PM »

But if there were no borrowers, there would be no lenders, and vice versa...

Borrowers actually encourage lenders to engage in usury.
Not necessarily.  Borrowers encourage lenders to lend, no doubt.  Even without lenders expecting repayment with interest, we would still have people desiring to borrow money.  There's nothing in borrowing per se, however, that requires or even encourages lenders to add interest to the principal.
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« Reply #123 on: May 07, 2008, 11:13:37 PM »

But if there were no borrowers, there would be no lenders, and vice versa...

Borrowers actually encourage lenders to engage in usury. 

And Lenders borrow there money from people.  What I stated above is 100% correct. Wink
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« Reply #124 on: May 07, 2008, 11:17:40 PM »

And Lenders borrow there money from people.  What I stated above is 100% correct. Wink
But if I loan my brother $200 to pay a personal expense, the money comes out of my own income earned from work--it's not money I borrowed from someone else.  I guess that blows your little theory out of the water, don't it. Wink
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« Reply #125 on: May 08, 2008, 12:21:37 AM »

Simply the fact that the value of a dollar now will be no where near what it is in 10 years time due to inflation and other economic dynamics, even if I were to repay what I was loaned, I would be expected to accommodate that change in value, and hence the interest.
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« Reply #126 on: May 08, 2008, 07:30:56 AM »

But if I loan my brother $200 to pay a personal expense, the money comes out of my own income earned from work--it's not money I borrowed from someone else.  I guess that blows your little theory out of the water, don't it. Wink

But Christ said, don't loan - just give, and don't ask to pay you back...
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« Reply #127 on: May 08, 2008, 07:31:43 AM »

Simply the fact that the value of a dollar now will be no where near what it is in 10 years time due to inflation and other economic dynamics, even if I were to repay what I was loaned, I would be expected to accommodate that change in value, and hence the interest.

Expected by whom? Definitely not by someone who heard the Sermon on the Mount...
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« Reply #128 on: May 08, 2008, 07:33:25 AM »

I think we need to do a bit of research and ask ourselves the question is usury in any way, shape or form sinful in an absolutist sense or is it only the exploitative use of usury that is sinful?

I think to answer this question we need to ask ourselves why Christianity might have considered usury to be sinful in the first place. Is it because of the social implications where it might have been the cause of exploitation and enslavement? However, if these can be eliminated or controlled and some good could come out of usury, then fundamentally it would seem that there would be no grounds for opposition towards such a system besides a rigid literal and legalistic interpretation and application of scripture.

Right. And then let's ask ourselves, is sex outside of marriage sinful in an absolutist sense, or only in the exploitative sense? Murder? (Oh, that one especially... ask politicians...)
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« Reply #129 on: May 08, 2008, 08:55:15 AM »

But if I loan my brother $200 to pay a personal expense, the money comes out of my own income earned from work--it's not money I borrowed from someone else.  I guess that blows your little theory out of the water, don't it. Wink

You would than be committing a sin if you collect interest from your brother.  Wink
  But,when we borrow from a banking system we are borrowing against our own future earnings and our children's future. A prime example is the current mortgage crisis. Who will pay back the default loans? The answer is. The tax payer "us". To further prove my point. If the country was taken over by another force and they looked to take over the riches. They would whined up with nothing if the system falls. Money is worthless without the people that back it. Money is borrowed against our own future.
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« Reply #130 on: May 08, 2008, 09:15:01 AM »

Right. And then let's ask ourselves, is sex outside of marriage sinful in an absolutist sense, or only in the exploitative sense? Murder? (Oh, that one especially... ask politicians...)

Christ also said that if your eye causes you to sin that you should pluck it out and that if your right arm causes you to sin you should cut it off. He also said that unless you hate your father and mother you cannot be my disciple. I suppose you would take all of these in a rigid, literal and absolutist sense as well. I think what is important is that we interpret and understand scripture in the spirit of Christianity and Orthodoxy..." for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life."
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« Reply #131 on: May 08, 2008, 09:16:32 AM »

You would than be committing a sin if you collect interest from your brother.  Wink
  But,when we borrow from a banking system we are borrowing against our own future earnings and our children's future. A prime example is the current mortgage crisis. Who will pay back the default loans? The answer is. The tax payer "us". To further prove my point. If the county was taken over by another force and they looked to take over the riches. They would whined up with nothing if the system falls. Money is worthless without the people that back it. Money is borrowed against our own future.

But I collect interest from the bank and Christ even reprimanded the lazy servant for not having at least deposited his money in the bank and thereby collected interest on it.
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« Reply #132 on: May 08, 2008, 09:19:51 AM »

But I collect interest from the bank and Christ even reprimanded the lazy servant for not having at least deposited his money in the bank and thereby collected interest on it.

That was a parable meant for Bishops. The interest collected is peoples souls. Wink
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« Reply #133 on: May 08, 2008, 02:19:40 PM »

That was a parable meant for Bishops. The interest collected is peoples souls. Wink
WTH? Huh  Where in the world did you get this idea?
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« Reply #134 on: May 08, 2008, 03:38:38 PM »

WTH? Huh  Where in the world did you get this idea?

Read the next parable of the sheep and the goats. Was he referring to animals or people?
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« Reply #135 on: May 08, 2008, 03:43:45 PM »

Theres nothing wrong with charging interest, even the byzantine empire employed it. This was more of an issue under the papal states. If anyone doesnt like it then they should cut up their credit cards and not use them.
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« Reply #136 on: May 08, 2008, 03:51:32 PM »

Christ also said that if your eye causes you to sin that you should pluck it out and that if your right arm causes you to sin you should cut it off. He also said that unless you hate your father and mother you cannot be my disciple. I suppose you would take all of these in a rigid, literal and absolutist sense as well. I think what is important is that we interpret and understand scripture in the spirit of Christianity and Orthodoxy..." for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life."

Sorry, I can't agree with this. I am not talking about the "letter." I am talking about the spirit of the Sermon of the Mount, which we very conveniently forget, living in the anti-Christian, demonic society based on greed and on the globalistic Darwinian, homicidal expansion. We "support our troops" who are busy killing thousands of innocent civilians. We elect homicidal maniacs to rule the world because they appease our greed, promising to lower our taxes. We engage in usury every day, even though we know very well that it is strictly forbidden by the Mosaic Law, not to mention that it drastically contradicts the spirit of Christ. We recall the Sermon on the Mount only when somebody else has a televized sex affair...
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« Reply #137 on: May 08, 2008, 03:52:59 PM »

That was a parable meant for Bishops. The interest collected is peoples souls. Wink

The quoted parable refers to the Last Judgment where the servant who hid his talent (i.e. did nothing for himself or for anyone else) lost his talent to the one who had ten talents.

The parable of the sheep and goats also refers to the Last Judgment.

Neither parable has anything to do with usury.  Because modern translations of the Gospel use "every day" words to replace terms used in Jesus' time, there is clearly confusion in that Jesus was not referring to anything on earth, not even the actual monetary significance of a talent.  I stick to the King James or New King James for historically accurate and relevant Bible translations.
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« Reply #138 on: May 08, 2008, 03:58:26 PM »

I stick to the King James or New King James for historically accurate and relevant Bible translations.
I try and stick with the original Greek where I can. Cheesy
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« Reply #139 on: May 08, 2008, 04:02:53 PM »

I try and stick with the original Greek where I can. Cheesy

With the New Testament Greek translation for "talent", "sheep" and "goats", there ought to be no ambiguity.  The translation from 5 talents to "a whole lot of money" tends to mislead the actual intent of the passage where the Parable of the Talents was not about money per se but judgment.
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« Reply #140 on: May 08, 2008, 04:07:17 PM »

With the New Testament Greek translation for "talent", "sheep" and "goats", there ought to be no ambiguity.  The translation from 5 talents to "a whole lot of money" tends to mislead the actual intent of the passage where the Parable of the Talents was not about money per se but judgment.

I agree that talents were not money. Where we disagree is that I believe talents are people. The one that was reprimanded, a church leader.
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« Reply #141 on: May 08, 2008, 04:07:40 PM »

Christ also said that if your eye causes you to sin that you should pluck it out and that if your right arm causes you to sin you should cut it off. He also said that unless you hate your father and mother you cannot be my disciple. I suppose you would take all of these in a rigid, literal and absolutist sense as well. I think what is important is that we interpret and understand scripture in the spirit of Christianity and Orthodoxy..." for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life."

Ascetics gave up their fathers and mothers and everything else in the world and went to the desert for spiritual purification.  Christ said that such a life was not for everyone, just as not everyone was born a eunuch or a permanent virgin.  Interpreting what Christ said about sin was a figurative interpretation because He's saying how all of us have sinned (and how the children of Israel failed to live up to Mosaic Law) and no one is perfect.  Recall that Christ originally preached to the children of Israel and instructed His Disciples to not preach to the Gentiles.
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« Reply #142 on: May 08, 2008, 04:12:53 PM »

I agree that talents were not money. Where we disagree is that I believe talents are people. The one that was reprimanded, a church leader.

Refer to Matthew 25:14-30 (I'm using Orthodox Study Bible for interpretation):
The talents are the use of Gifts bestowed by God upon every person.  God does not show partiality to those who received based on their ability.  The wicked and lazy servant who buried his talent rejected God because such a servant used this divine Gift for earthly pursuits which did not result in any increase.  That person can be anybody including Hierarchs. The wicked and lazy servant also refused help from others in the community - staying silent and receiving his judgment.

One also has to look at Matthew 25:31-46 as a summation of the previous parable and the impending judgment.  The discussion of usury does not fit into the above 2 passages regarding the Last Judgment.  The sheep are righteousness and the goats are the unrighteousness; there's no mention of money.
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« Reply #143 on: May 08, 2008, 04:23:43 PM »

I try and stick with the original Greek where I can. Cheesy

Me, too.
The Parable of the Talents surely is not about money. It's about faith and works. I constantly see some Protestants try to make it into something about 'stewardship', however. And I have used it many times to absolutely destroy their "salvation by faith alone"-thing.
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« Reply #144 on: May 08, 2008, 08:41:04 PM »

That was a parable meant for Bishops. The interest collected is peoples souls. Wink

Do you think that Christ would have used as the subject of an analogy, something that he disagreed with or even condemned, without expressly clarifying this somehow throughout his discourse?

I think that where the condemnation of usury existed and was enforced the economic structure was based probably almost entirely on a bartering system. However, economic dynamics are completely different today and the value of the dollar is constantly changing as mentioned previously thus its value when loaned is not the same when returned.

Also you are condemning a system which, if used responsibly, helps so many people and so if you removed or eliminated that system so many people would be left disadvantaged in that they would not be able to purchase a home, or car to go to work, or a loan to study, or build a church, or other essentials that may be needed. I don't understand how that would be in the best interest of myself or others or even in the spirit of Christianity and Orthodoxy. I think what we as Christians may condemn is what is really usury and which is at times the exploitative (usurious) demands made by certain banks and financial institutions. However, I believe that most governments usually have some kind of watch dogs and checks and balances to ensure that for the most part this does not occur.
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« Reply #145 on: May 08, 2008, 08:49:30 PM »

Do you think that Christ would have used as the subject of an analogy, something that he disagreed with or even condemned, without expressly clarifying this somehow throughout his discourse?

I think that where the condemnation of usury existed and was enforced the economic structure was based probably almost entirely on a bartering system. However, economic dynamics are completely different today and the value of the dollar is constantly changing as mentioned previously thus its value when loaned is not the same when returned.

Also you are condemning a system which, if used responsibly, helps so many people and so if you removed or eliminated that system so many people would be left disadvantaged in that they would not be able to purchase a home, or car to go to work, or a loan to study, or build a church, or other essentials that may be needed. I don't understand how that would be in the best interest of myself or others or even in the spirit of Christianity and Orthodoxy. I think what we as Christians may condemn is what is really usury and which is at times the exploitative (usurious) demands made by certain banks and financial institutions. However, I believe that most governments usually have some kind of watch dogs and checks and balances to ensure that for the most part this does not occur.
Who is condemning the system? I think you should go over my posts in this thread. I am one of the few including yourself that think the system is pretty good.  Grin I was just pionting out that the verse you selected is being used out of context. If you would like to start a new thread about the parable, that is fine with me.
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« Reply #146 on: May 08, 2008, 09:04:12 PM »

Refer to Matthew 25:14-30 (I'm using Orthodox Study Bible for interpretation):
The talents are the use of Gifts bestowed by God upon every person.  God does not show partiality to those who received based on their ability.  The wicked and lazy servant who buried his talent rejected God because such a servant used this divine Gift for earthly pursuits which did not result in any increase.  That person can be anybody including Hierarchy. The wicked and lazy servant also refused help from others in the community - staying silent and receiving his judgment.

One also has to look at Matthew 25:31-46 as a summation of the previous parable and the impending judgment.  The discussion of usury does not fit into the above 2 passages regarding the Last Judgment.  The sheep are righteousness and the goats are the unrighteousness; there's no mention of money.

I don't have an Orthodox study bible. It could certainly be used in that context. I still believe it is about the Hierarchy rather than general people though.
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« Reply #147 on: May 08, 2008, 10:27:41 PM »

I don't have an Orthodox study bible. It could certainly be used in that context. I still believe it is about the Hierarchy rather than general people though.
Do you have any patristic sources to back up your interpretation of the parable?
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« Reply #148 on: May 08, 2008, 10:57:10 PM »

Do you have any patristic sources to back up your interpretation of the parable?
I have no patristic sources. I'm just offering my opinion.
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« Reply #149 on: November 21, 2008, 10:42:01 PM »

This thread has been inactive since May, but the ever changing economic climate of the USA and the world seems to make it even more relevant than in the past. 

 I cannot accept a definition that "interest and usury" are equal, they are not, which is to say the earnings called interest are not the same thing as the earnings from usury.  The earnings from interest are "earned", while the earnings from usury are "stolen."   That said, my answer to the subject line's question is the same as those who have posted dogmatically that "usury" is sinful, but earning interest is not sinful, indeed it is righteous, holy and commanded.   

Anyone reading the above paragraph can see the paradox which exists when we talk about the difference between "interest" and "usury."  The paradox arises in our choosing to call the profit from practicing usury "earnings."   True 'interest is "earned" while the so-called interest of usury is always "stolen."   

One of the gifts of the Holy Spirit and characteristics which we as Orthodox Christians are called to possess is the gift of discernment.  We are called to know the difference between good and evil, wise and foolish, righteousness and wickedness.  This is important because "one man's interest may be another man's usury."  This means while we can make broad generalities, we must also make wise distinctions since things are always black and white even when they are also in full color (that is to say there exists different shades and hues in color).

First, interest is always earned, i.e., it requires work which in truth is always an investment.  We may invest time, material, labor either directly or indirectly.  As Orthodox Christians we often say that the first commandment given to man was to fast even before the FALL.  But the first commandment given to man after the FALL was to WORK i.e., to invest himself into his own salvation.  This same commandment continues for us even under the Gospel's dispensation as stated by St. Paul to the Philippians: "Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.  For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure."

God expects and demands interest from His investments  Perhaps most of us haven't given this much thought, but the Parable of the Talents which has already been posted under this subject line is a most relevant passage establishing the dogmatic tone of the statement.  This is also the underlying reason for St. Paul's exhortation to the Philippians and to us all (whether Greek or Jew, male or female, wealthy or poor) to "work out your own salvation with fear and trembling."

Therefore, if God requires interest in his investments, it is not unlawful or ungodly for mankind to do the same, since we have been created in His Image.  It is fundamentally wrong to believe and act as if we by our own labors alone can gain anything.  God is the reward-er of every man's deeds, words and even their thoughts and subsequently, but not least of all, their prayers.   Furthermore, he takes from those who have failed to make lawful investments even that which He had given them to be guardians thereof until his return and distributes them to others who have proved themselves to be wise and thoughtful investors.

Secondly, but not least importantly, the whole of Creation (both heaven and earth and things visible and invisible) are God's investment(s) so as to enlarge, enhance and expand His gift of inheritance to His Only Begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ the one true THEANTHROPOS.   To withold God's earnings ("My Father worketh hitherto, and I work," our Lord answered the Jews) is theft, and if Crucifying our Lord be Deicide, what is stealing from God who said, "...bring the full tithe into the store house" (Malachi 3.10").  What is the tithe but God's earned interest on His investments. Was it not He who made the Sun to shine and the Rain to fall and the Earth to nourish and the Seed to grow and the Plant to bear Fruit and the Fruit to give an increase?   

The truth of the matter is that tithing is despised because it is simply to darn expensive, which is to say, we want to consume and deposit into the pit all that God has given us. We want to fatten ourselves, even though "...all the fat belongs to the Lord."  All the fat, i.e., the interest which is gained from investing ourselves into our labor, even the Ox which threshes can grow fat from its earnings, if he is not muzzled, not bad fat, but good fat (hasn't modern nutritional science taught us there is a difference?).  But I am not intending to expound loquaciously upon tithing, that would get my post posted elsewhere.  Wink

If in fact, our Lord is the true Prodigal Son who takes His inheritance and spends it among those who only want to use his doctrines and teachings to enrich themselves or to avoid labor (salvation by faith alone?) and subsequently returns to His Father's household with a train of seekers searching after Him (Follow me he told the two disciples who wanted to learn of the place where he dwelt) who would be washed and subsequently invited into a great feast, the the whole of His Incarnatational experience (which is without end, i.e., being enlarged, enhanced and expanding (like the expanding universe?)) can be correctly (i.e., Orthodox-ically) called an INVESTMENT TO AQUIRE INTEREST ON HIS INHERITANCE.

As I said, INTEREST IS NOT USURY. 

What is Usuary?  Who really cares to read my pithy thoughts which are full of illogical presumptions and bad grammer. 

 



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« Reply #150 on: November 21, 2008, 11:38:35 PM »

This thread has been inactive since May, but the ever changing economic climate of the USA and the world seems to make it even more relevant than in the past. 

 I cannot accept a definition that "interest and usury" are equal, they are not, which is to say the earnings called interest are not the same thing as the earnings from usury.  The earnings from interest are "earned", while the earnings from usury are "stolen."   That said, my answer to the subject line's question is the same as those who have posted dogmatically that "usury" is sinful, but earning interest is not sinful, indeed it is righteous, holy and commanded.   

Anyone reading the above paragraph can see the paradox which exists when we talk about the difference between "interest" and "usury."  The paradox arises in our choosing to call the profit from practicing usury "earnings."   True 'interest is "earned" while the so-called interest of usury is always "stolen."   

One of the gifts of the Holy Spirit and characteristics which we as Orthodox Christians are called to possess is the gift of discernment.  We are called to know the difference between good and evil, wise and foolish, righteousness and wickedness.  This is important because "one man's interest may be another man's usury."  This means while we can make broad generalities, we must also make wise distinctions since things are always black and white even when they are also in full color (that is to say there exists different shades and hues in color).

First, interest is always earned, i.e., it requires work which in truth is always an investment.  We may invest time, material, labor either directly or indirectly.  As Orthodox Christians we often say that the first commandment given to man was to fast even before the FALL.  But the first commandment given to man after the FALL was to WORK i.e., to invest himself into his own salvation.  This same commandment continues for us even under the Gospel's dispensation as stated by St. Paul to the Philippians: "Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.  For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure."

God expects and demands interest from His investments  Perhaps most of us haven't given this much thought, but the Parable of the Talents which has already been posted under this subject line is a most relevant passage establishing the dogmatic tone of the statement.  This is also the underlying reason for St. Paul's exhortation to the Philippians and to us all (whether Greek or Jew, male or female, wealthy or poor) to "work out your own salvation with fear and trembling."

Therefore, if God requires interest in his investments, it is not unlawful or ungodly for mankind to do the same, since we have been created in His Image.  It is fundamentally wrong to believe and act as if we by our own labors alone can gain anything.  God is the reward-er of every man's deeds, words and even their thoughts and subsequently, but not least of all, their prayers.   Furthermore, he takes from those who have failed to make lawful investments even that which He had given them to be guardians thereof until his return and distributes them to others who have proved themselves to be wise and thoughtful investors.

Secondly, but not least importantly, the whole of Creation (both heaven and earth and things visible and invisible) are God's investment(s) so as to enlarge, enhance and expand His gift of inheritance to His Only Begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ the one true THEANTHROPOS.   To withold God's earnings ("My Father worketh hitherto, and I work," our Lord answered the Jews) is theft, and if Crucifying our Lord be Deicide, what is stealing from God who said, "...bring the full tithe into the store house" (Malachi 3.10").  What is the tithe but God's earned interest on His investments. Was it not He who made the Sun to shine and the Rain to fall and the Earth to nourish and the Seed to grow and the Plant to bear Fruit and the Fruit to give an increase?   

The truth of the matter is that tithing is despised because it is simply to darn expensive, which is to say, we want to consume and deposit into the pit all that God has given us. We want to fatten ourselves, even though "...all the fat belongs to the Lord."  All the fat, i.e., the interest which is gained from investing ourselves into our labor, even the Ox which threshes can grow fat from its earnings, if he is not muzzled, not bad fat, but good fat (hasn't modern nutritional science taught us there is a difference?).  But I am not intending to expound loquaciously upon tithing, that would get my post posted elsewhere.  Wink

If in fact, our Lord is the true Prodigal Son who takes His inheritance and spends it among those who only want to use his doctrines and teachings to enrich themselves or to avoid labor (salvation by faith alone?) and subsequently returns to His Father's household with a train of seekers searching after Him (Follow me he told the two disciples who wanted to learn of the place where he dwelt) who would be washed and subsequently invited into a great feast, the the whole of His Incarnatational experience (which is without end, i.e., being enlarged, enhanced and expanding (like the expanding universe?)) can be correctly (i.e., Orthodox-ically) called an INVESTMENT TO AQUIRE INTEREST ON HIS INHERITANCE.

As I said, INTEREST IS NOT USURY. 

What is Usuary?  Who really cares to read my pithy thoughts which are full of illogical presumptions and bad grammer. 

 






I disagree.

I did a post some months ago called "Calvinism & Usury"

http://ancientchristiandefender.blogspot.com/2008/04/calvinism-usury.html


There is a link between Calvinism and our modern use of Usury. We now live in an age where High Usury is commonplace, yet the Bible and Historic Christian commentary for 15 hundred years were all against it. Except for one person. And that person was John Calvin.

In the book "Christianity's Dangerous Idea" Alister Mcgrath goes through the common consensus of Biblical interpretation in regards to the issue of Usury. He notes how everyone was against it. Then he turns to Calvin and shows how his view eventually became the common interpretation of the text among Protestants and then about 3 hundred years later among Catholics, and eventhough he doesn't mention this, but it has alo become the view of some Orthodox in recent decades.


Quote
"Yet while Christians were Prohibited from lending money at interest, Jews
were explicitly exempted from this ban. This exemption led to the emergence of
the stereotype of the Jew as an avaricious moneylender, famously exemplified in
Shakespeare's Shylock in The Merchant of Venine. These views were not challenged
in the first phase of Protestantism. Martin Luther regarded the biblical
prohibition of usury as permanently binding. In his 1524 sermon on trade and
usury, Luther lashed out at any attempt to change interest. In his view,
Christians "should willingly and gladly lend money without any charge." The
Elizabethan Protestant bishop John Jewel reflected the views of his age when he
raged from his pulpit against the iniquities of usury. "It is theft, it is the
murdering of our brethern, it is the curse of God and the curse of the people."
This uncompromising opposition to usury was emodied in a statute passed by the
English Parliament in 1571, which had the uniforeseen and unintended effect of
legitimating usury at a fixed rate of 10 percent.



Yet the lending of monay at interest was essential to the emergence of
modern capitalism. A steady increasing hunger for capital led many in both
church and state to turn a blind eye to moneylending and to reconsider the
entire theological basis of the prhibition of usury. Calvin could not have been
unaware of these problems. The survival of the city of Geneva depended on being
able to sustain and develop its urban economy and remain independant of
potentially dangerous neighbors.



In 1545 Calvin wrote to his friend Claude de Sachin, setting out his views
on usury. The letter was not published until after Calvin's death (1564), when
Theodore Beza decided to make its contents generally known in 1575. At one
level, this letter can be read as a total inversion of the teaching of the Old
Testament; a more attentive reading confirms this suspicion but discloses the
sophisticated lines of argument that led Calvin to his surprising conclusion. So
how could Calvin reinterpret the Old Testament's explicit statement that usury
is prohibited to mean that it is actually permitted?.



Calvin's letter of 1545 reinforces the impotance of biblibal interpretation
to Protestantism. In one respect, Calvin reaffirmed the general Protestant idea
that not all the rules set out for Jews in the Old Testament were binding upon
Christians; in these instances, the Old Testament offered moral guidance only,
not positive prescription for conduct. Yet this way of interpreting the Old
Testament had been applied to cultic issues-such as the Old Testament's demand
for animal sacrifices. Calvin's extension of the principle to usury broke new
ground.



A fundamental theme recurring throuhout the letter was that things had
moved on. the situation in sixteenth-century Europe was not the same as that in
ancient Israel.
As Bieler points out in his magisterial study of Calvin's economic thought,
the new economic realities of the sixteenth century made it possible to view
interests as simply rent paid on capital. Calvin therefore argued for the need
to probe deeper and ascertain the general princliples that seemed to underlie
the Old Testament ban on usury in its original context. It was the purpose of
the prohibition, not the prohibition itself, that had to govern Protestant
thinking on this matter. "We ought not to judge usury according to a few
passages of scripture, but in accordance with the principle of equity." For
Calvin, the real concern was the exploitation of the poor through." through high interests rates.
This, he argued, could be dealt with in other ways-such as fixing of interest
rates at communally acceptable levels. Calvin's willinglness to allow a variable
rate of interest showed an awareness of the pressures upon capital in the more
or less free market of the age.

Calvin's views which were seen by many as running counter to the clear
meaning of the Bible, took some time to become accepted. By the middle of the
seventeenth century-more than one hundred years after Calvin's groundbreaking
analysis-usury was fully regarded as acceptable. Protestant jurists such as Hugo
Grotius and Samuel Pufendorf supplemented Calvin's theological analysis with
clarifications of economic concepts, especially in relation to price and value,
that finally removed any remaining scruples about lending money at unterest. The
Catholic church did not legitmate usury, however, until 1830, apparently in
response to the widespread acceptance of the practice within predominantly
Protestant western Europe.

Yet Protestantism did more than bring about the theological adjustment that
opened the way to a modern capitalist economy, its early development in the
cities of Europe, especially in Switzerland, created the economic conditions
that made such a change inevitable and essential. During the period 1535 to
1540, an economic recession descended on the area around Geneva. Despite this
downturn, Geneva was able to survive and to go on to benefit from the subsequent
recovery throughout the region, which lasted from 1540 to 1555. It is now
thought that one of the prime reasons for Geneva's resilience during this period
was the emergence of the Swiss banking system, which allowed Basel and other
major Swiss Protestant cities sympathic to Calvin's religious agenda to bail him
out through large loans. The Swiss banking system emerged as a direct response
to a shared sense of identity throughout the Protestant cantons of Switzerland
and neighboring cities-including
Geneva..............................................................................................The
raising of capital for economic expansion thus became imperative for Geneva
around this time. Calvin's removal of the remaining theological impediments to
the practice of usury was not merely religiously progressive; it was essential
if his version of Protestantism was to survive. So intimate was the connection
between the religious system of Calvinism and the city of Geneva that the
collapse of the latter would have had disastrous implications for the
former."
[1]


Calvinism's noval interpretation of Usury is one of the causes of masses poverty in the World today. Yes, the world has always had it's poor, but Calvinism has made it even worse.





[1] pages 332-335 from the book "Christianity's Dangerous Idea: The Protestant Revolution-A History from the Sixteenth Century to the Twenty-First by Alister E. McGrath. Published by HarperOne, Copyright 20





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« Reply #151 on: November 22, 2008, 04:57:20 PM »

What is Usuary?  Who really cares to read my pithy thoughts which are full of illogical presumptions and bad grammer. 
Well, you gave us a long (by internet posting standards) essay on interest that only marginally addresses the primary "this-worldly" understanding of interest--an other-worldly view of interest is certainly a good thing to read, though.  You also defined usury as theft but said nothing more of that.  Why don't you go ahead and describe your view of usury a bit more and explain how your understanding of interest contrasts with your definition of usury?  IOW, what is usury to you, and how is it theft?
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« Reply #152 on: November 22, 2008, 05:09:44 PM »

I disagree.
You disagree with what?
  • With zoarthegleaner's argument that usury is okay?  But he never made such an argument; in fact, he did the exact opposite and called usury theft.
  • With zoarthegleaner's argument that interest is fundamentally different from usury?  Yet you go on to argue solely against usury without making any statements that interest and usury are the same thing.

Quote
Calvinism's noval interpretation of Usury is one of the causes of masses poverty in the World today. Yes, the world has always had it's poor, but Calvinism has made it even worse.
How so?
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« Reply #153 on: November 22, 2008, 07:23:45 PM »

I disagree.
You disagree with what?
  • With zoarthegleaner's argument that usury is okay?  But he never made such an argument; in fact, he did the exact opposite and called usury theft.
  • With zoarthegleaner's argument that interest is fundamentally different from usury?  Yet you go on to argue solely against usury without making any statements that interest and usury are the same thing.

Quote
Calvinism's noval interpretation of Usury is one of the causes of masses poverty in the World today. Yes, the world has always had it's poor, but Calvinism has made it even worse.
How so?

I dissagree with the idea that "Usury and interest are two different things". Who gets to define what is "Usury versus interest? In the western World John Calvin started the 10% limit. He thought that anything over 10% was "usury" (This is what I showed in the quote I gave).

But the Bible doesn't make that distinction. Also show me a Church Father that made that distinction. Usury and interest are one and the same to me. In the Old Testament, the Jews weren't allowed to charge interest on other Jews but they were allowed to do so for non Jews.


You also asked how did Calvinism make the situation worse.


Well, Whithout Usury our form of capitolism would be impossible.

Debt controls the World economy. Without it, we wouldn’t have what we have today. What John Calvin did was one of the necessary “contingencies”, that would lead to, what we have now (which was also shown in the quote I gave).





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« Reply #154 on: November 22, 2008, 07:56:30 PM »

I dissagree with the idea that "Usury and interest are two different things". Who gets to define what is "Usury versus interest? In the western World John Calvin started the 10% limit. He thought that anything over 10% was "usury" (This is what I showed in the quote I gave).

But the Bible doesn't make that distinction. Also show me a Church Father that made that distinction. Usury and interest are one and the same to me. In the Old Testament, the Jews weren't allowed to charge interest on other Jews but they were allowed to do so for non Jews.
But what about investing your money in an interest drawing account, such as a money market account or a retirement account?  How is the interest accrued by such accounts the same as usury?  Somehow, I think THIS is what zoarthegleaner is talking about.  One could even say that we should see this investment as praiseworthy, judging from what Jesus said in his parable of the talents (the wise servants, who invested their money with the bankers to draw interest, vs. the foolish servant, who buried his in the ground).

You also asked how did Calvinism make the situation worse.


Well, Whithout Usury our form of capitolism would be impossible.

Debt controls the World economy. Without it, we wouldn’t have what we have today. What John Calvin did was one of the necessary “contingencies”, that would lead to, what we have now (which was also shown in the quote I gave).
So now you have to establish just how capitalism increases the size of the chasm between the rich and the poor and how this is actually oppressive.
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« Reply #155 on: November 23, 2008, 12:06:41 AM »

Usury is at its most basic and fundamental level the accumulation of EXCESS, which is to say, taking more than is needed.  This is only a broad or general definition and in the relativity of individual experience may vary since the commandments of God allocate that we only take what we need.  As I stated in my first post "one man's interest may be another man's usury," therefore the needs of individuals (but also families, tribes, nations etc...) vary according to the hiearchial order within Creation to which they have been assigned by God.  This theme is everywhere present within the Holy Scriptures (and needs to be studied and used to test the Dogmatic theme of the American Dream, i.e., "We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal, but that is subject for another thread.).

Again starting with God we say He is the "maker of Heaven and Earth, all things visible and invisible," therefore, in that all things originate from Him, for Him and to Him, He can never be accused of receiving EXCESS or practicing USURY.  All Glory, honor, and power originate with Him,  belongs to Him and He Himself is the measure of all things.  To withhold one iota of Glory from Him is theft and whomever, be it an Angel, Man or any other Creation in Heaven above, on the earth or beneath the earth takes that which belongs only to God to itself and takes to itself excess.

As stated in the previous post, we Orthodox universally hold and confess that the first commandment given to Adam was to Fast.  Adam was not to take unto himself that which God had withheld from him, which was a Glory and likeness which Adam at that relative time unable to bear or measure up unto...however, Adam concured with the Serpent's whispers to his wife that God was witholding a measure of worth which if Adam possessed would increase his own self-worth.  That is to say that Adam sought to inflate the value of his ego through stolen interest, i.e., usury.   Once stolen, the weight of that Glory by which he thought to increase his self-worth began to corrupt his actual worth. 

Usury always introduces corruption into the value of whomever receives it.  Throughout the Holy Scriptures this theme is frequently rehearsed in many variant applications.  In the story of Abraham's payment of tithes to Melchizedek originates out of Abraham's refusal to hold in excess the profit/booty(?) which he and his soldiers acquired in the deliverance of Lot.  Abraham was refusing to be corrupted by a profit beyond the actual cost of his venture:

"And Abram said to the king of Sodom, I have lift up mine hand unto the LORD, the most high God, the possessor of heaven and earth,That I will not take from a thread even to a shoe latchet, and that I will not take any thing that is thine, lest thou shouldest say, I have made Abram rich: Save only that which the young men have eaten, and the portion of the men which went with me, Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre; let them take their portion."

This refusal by Abram subsequently earned him another greater reward when "After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward."

While there are many other examples, consider the commandment concerning the gathering of Manna in the wilderness,  "And Moses said, Let no man leave of it till the morning. Notwithstanding they hearkened not unto Moses; but some of them left of it until the morning, and it bred worms, and stank: and Moses was wroth with them."

Why did some of them ignore Moses commandment?  For what net value did they hope their over accumulation would result?  Were they hoping to only avoid work and personal labor?  May they not also have been looking at their accumulation as a goods which could be sold the next day to others who wanted to avoid the menial labor of gathering also and thereby gaining an advantage over their neighbors?  Perhaps these may appear to be only speculative or hypothetical questions, but it remains that their over-accumulation became corruption, a matter which had other consequences under the Mosaic Law which could even result in the burning of a house (tent).

Returning to my opening line: "Usury is at its most basic and fundamental level the accumulation of EXCESS.

Usury has as its primary purpose to be a means to avoid hard labor through excessive returns.  Excessive being broadly or generally defined as possession of more than one needs.  In the Lord's prayer we are taught to pray, "Give us this day our daily bread," and when the people coming to St. John the Baptist asked what could they do, he answered, "Give away your excess coat, meat, and to others to refuse taking more than what was allocated to them."


It may be true that these thoughts "only marginally addresses the primary "this-worldly" understanding of interest," but I am reminded of our Lord's words to Nicodemus which were, "If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?" 

The spiritual ailment of usury is widespread and has indeed been developed and spread more widely through our particular Economic system and that is what I am attempting to identify as the root of our present economic crisis which is affecting many and perhaps most of us.
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« Reply #156 on: November 23, 2008, 09:34:03 AM »

Honestly, I just do not understand the reason(s) for such a long discussion. Usury=giving money and demanding the money back with interest - is a sin. Period. Just like adultery or fornication or theft or murder or false testimony are sins, period. Unfortunately, we live in a society where usury is made a norm. Still, it's not a reason to modify Christ's understanding of usury to fit our own ideas and purposes in life. Whoever is involved in usury, must repent, without trying to justify him-herself. For example, I am involved in usury - although I never give money to people asking them to return the money with interest, I, nonetheless, use credit cards, i.e. I am participating in the system of organized usury, feeding it. I am very sorry that I am doing it, it's horrible, and I just ask God to forgive me this awful sin.
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« Reply #157 on: November 23, 2008, 05:41:18 PM »

Honestly, I just do not understand the reason(s) for such a long discussion.
Because this issue just isn't as cut and dried, or as black and white as you make it out to be.  You're convinced that usury is sinful and that this fact is so clear from Scripture and Tradition that we shouldn't even be discussing (that is to say, rationalizing) it.  I'm happy you're so convinced, but most of us aren't.  Maybe we're blind, or maybe we're just much more perceptive of the fine gradations of gray and a broad spectrum of other colors in this issue than you.  I don't know. Undecided  What I do know is that most of us need to discuss this issue at much greater length so as to see the larger picture.
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« Reply #158 on: November 23, 2008, 06:15:21 PM »

Honestly, I just do not understand the reason(s) for such a long discussion. Usury=giving money and demanding the money back with interest - is a sin. Period. Just like adultery or fornication or theft or murder or false testimony are sins, period. Unfortunately, we live in a society where usury is made a norm. Still, it's not a reason to modify Christ's understanding of usury to fit our own ideas and purposes in life. Whoever is involved in usury, must repent, without trying to justify him-herself. For example, I am involved in usury - although I never give money to people asking them to return the money with interest, I, nonetheless, use credit cards, i.e. I am participating in the system of organized usury, feeding it. I am very sorry that I am doing it, it's horrible, and I just ask God to forgive me this awful sin.


CO-sign!!!



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« Reply #159 on: November 23, 2008, 06:16:17 PM »

Honestly, I just do not understand the reason(s) for such a long discussion.
Because this issue just isn't as cut and dried, or as black and white as you make it out to be.  You're convinced that usury is sinful and that this fact is so clear from Scripture and Tradition that we shouldn't even be discussing (that is to say, rationalizing) it.  I'm happy you're so convinced, but most of us aren't.  Maybe we're blind, or maybe we're just much more perceptive of the fine gradations of gray and a broad spectrum of other colors in this issue than you.  I don't know. Undecided  What I do know is that most of us need to discuss this issue at much greater length so as to see the larger picture.


The only reason I see to talk about it more is to justify it. ......to ease ones conscience.





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« Reply #160 on: November 23, 2008, 06:24:00 PM »

I dissagree with the idea that "Usury and interest are two different things". Who gets to define what is "Usury versus interest? In the western World John Calvin started the 10% limit. He thought that anything over 10% was "usury" (This is what I showed in the quote I gave).

But the Bible doesn't make that distinction. Also show me a Church Father that made that distinction. Usury and interest are one and the same to me. In the Old Testament, the Jews weren't allowed to charge interest on other Jews but they were allowed to do so for non Jews.
But what about investing your money in an interest drawing account, such as a money market account or a retirement account?  How is the interest accrued by such accounts the same as usury?  Somehow, I think THIS is what zoarthegleaner is talking about.  One could even say that we should see this investment as praiseworthy, judging from what Jesus said in his parable of the talents (the wise servants, who invested their money with the bankers to draw interest, vs. the foolish servant, who buried his in the ground).

You also asked how did Calvinism make the situation worse.


Well, Whithout Usury our form of capitolism would be impossible.

Debt controls the World economy. Without it, we wouldn’t have what we have today. What John Calvin did was one of the necessary “contingencies”, that would lead to, what we have now (which was also shown in the quote I gave).
So now you have to establish just how capitalism increases the size of the chasm between the rich and the poor and how this is actually oppressive.


Look at the mortage alot of people have to pay. If they don't have a fixed "interest rate" then that increases their chances to not only stay in poverty, but to become more poor.

When rich countries give loans to poor countries, must the poor countries pay interest?

When alot of American slaves got out of slavery they were givin loans they couldn't repay. I can go on and on and on.


Charging people interest is wrong, and the idea that only "high interest" is usury is the idea of John Calvin. Not the Bible nor the Church Fathers and councils of the Church.

But since we live in a system of sin, we have to make the best out of what we have.




"Yet Protestantism did more than bring about the theological adjustment that
opened the way to a modern capitalist economy, its early development in the
cities of Europe, especially in Switzerland, created the economic conditions
that made such a change inevitable and essential. During the period 1535 to
1540, an economic recession descended on the area around Geneva. Despite this
downturn, Geneva was able to survive and to go on to benefit from the subsequent
recovery throughout the region, which lasted from 1540 to 1555. It is now
thought that one of the prime reasons for Geneva's resilience during this period
was the emergence of the Swiss banking system, which allowed Basel and other
major Swiss Protestant cities sympathic to Calvin's religious agenda to bail him
out through large loans. The Swiss banking system emerged as a direct response
to a shared sense of identity throughout the Protestant cantons of Switzerland
and neighboring cities-including
Geneva..............................................................................................The
raising of capital for economic expansion thus became imperative for Geneva
around this time. Calvin's removal of the remaining theological impediments to
the practice of usury was not merely religiously progressive; it was essential
if his version of Protestantism was to survive. So intimate was the connection
between the religious system of Calvinism and the city of Geneva that the
collapse of the latter would have had disastrous implications for the
former.""
[1]



JNORM888

[1] from the book "Christianity's Dangerous Idea: The Protestant Revolution-A History from the Sixteenth Century to the Twenty-First by Alister E. McGrath. Published by HarperOne, Copyright 20
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« Reply #161 on: November 23, 2008, 06:30:37 PM »

Honestly, I just do not understand the reason(s) for such a long discussion.
Because this issue just isn't as cut and dried, or as black and white as you make it out to be.  You're convinced that usury is sinful and that this fact is so clear from Scripture and Tradition that we shouldn't even be discussing (that is to say, rationalizing) it.  I'm happy you're so convinced, but most of us aren't.  Maybe we're blind, or maybe we're just much more perceptive of the fine gradations of gray and a broad spectrum of other colors in this issue than you.  I don't know. Undecided  What I do know is that most of us need to discuss this issue at much greater length so as to see the larger picture.

Let's then also discuss the various shades of gray in the issues of adultery, murder, theft, false testimony etc. - why not? Maybe we need to be more "perceptive" in all the fine gradations....
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« Reply #162 on: November 23, 2008, 07:05:08 PM »

Honestly, I just do not understand the reason(s) for such a long discussion.
Because this issue just isn't as cut and dried, or as black and white as you make it out to be.  You're convinced that usury is sinful and that this fact is so clear from Scripture and Tradition that we shouldn't even be discussing (that is to say, rationalizing) it.  I'm happy you're so convinced, but most of us aren't.  Maybe we're blind, or maybe we're just much more perceptive of the fine gradations of gray and a broad spectrum of other colors in this issue than you.  I don't know. Undecided  What I do know is that most of us need to discuss this issue at much greater length so as to see the larger picture.

Let's then also discuss the various shades of gray in the issues of adultery, murder, theft, false testimony etc. - why not? Maybe we need to be more "perceptive" in all the fine gradations....
No, let's just keep focused on usury, since such associations as you make with these other sins only serve to cloud this issue even more.
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« Reply #163 on: November 23, 2008, 07:08:06 PM »

Honestly, I just do not understand the reason(s) for such a long discussion.
Because this issue just isn't as cut and dried, or as black and white as you make it out to be.  You're convinced that usury is sinful and that this fact is so clear from Scripture and Tradition that we shouldn't even be discussing (that is to say, rationalizing) it.  I'm happy you're so convinced, but most of us aren't.  Maybe we're blind, or maybe we're just much more perceptive of the fine gradations of gray and a broad spectrum of other colors in this issue than you.  I don't know. Undecided  What I do know is that most of us need to discuss this issue at much greater length so as to see the larger picture.


The only reason I see to talk about it more is to justify it. ......to ease ones conscience.
Really?  You don't think it might actually be more nuanced than this?
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« Reply #164 on: November 23, 2008, 07:15:25 PM »

So now you have to establish just how capitalism increases the size of the chasm between the rich and the poor and how this is actually oppressive.


Look at the mortage alot of people have to pay. If they don't have a fixed "interest rate" then that increases their chances to not only stay in poverty, but to become more poor.

When rich countries give loans to poor countries, must the poor countries pay interest?

When alot of American slaves got out of slavery they were givin loans they couldn't repay. I can go on and on and on.
Claims that you have yet to substantiate.  Can you cite any outside authorities who support the above claims?  No, quoting your own blog doesn't count.

Charging people interest is wrong, and the idea that only "high interest" is usury is the idea of John Calvin. Not the Bible nor the Church Fathers and councils of the Church.
Maybe you already provided on this thread what I'm about to request.  If so, please forgive me and just point me to the relevant post(s).  Can you cite specific statements of Church Fathers who support your point of view?


But since we live in a system of sin, we have to make the best out of what we have.




"Yet Protestantism did more than bring about the theological adjustment that
opened the way to a modern capitalist economy, its early development in the
cities of Europe, especially in Switzerland, created the economic conditions
that made such a change inevitable and essential. During the period 1535 to
1540, an economic recession descended on the area around Geneva. Despite this
downturn, Geneva was able to survive and to go on to benefit from the subsequent
recovery throughout the region, which lasted from 1540 to 1555. It is now
thought that one of the prime reasons for Geneva's resilience during this period
was the emergence of the Swiss banking system, which allowed Basel and other
major Swiss Protestant cities sympathic to Calvin's religious agenda to bail him
out through large loans. The Swiss banking system emerged as a direct response
to a shared sense of identity throughout the Protestant cantons of Switzerland
and neighboring cities-including
Geneva..............................................................................................The
raising of capital for economic expansion thus became imperative for Geneva
around this time. Calvin's removal of the remaining theological impediments to
the practice of usury was not merely religiously progressive; it was essential
if his version of Protestantism was to survive. So intimate was the connection
between the religious system of Calvinism and the city of Geneva that the
collapse of the latter would have had disastrous implications for the
former.""
[1]



JNORM888

[1] from the book "Christianity's Dangerous Idea: The Protestant Revolution-A History from the Sixteenth Century to the Twenty-First by Alister E. McGrath. Published by HarperOne, Copyright 20
Can you quote an authority other than Alister McGrath?  Nothing against him, but it seems your pool of research on this issue is rather shallow.
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« Reply #165 on: November 23, 2008, 07:33:42 PM »

Ok than. Paying your landlord so he can pay his mortgage must also be a sin. Wink

Actually, yes. I know it sounds funny, but from a strictly Scriptural standpoint usury is a sin, and any action on our part that assists it is a sin.
Well this is a bummer.  I'm hoping to become a landlord within 6mos when I purchase my first duplex.  Is this really a form of usury?
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« Reply #166 on: November 23, 2008, 09:02:00 PM »

Thou shalt not lend upon usury to thy brother; usury of money, usury of victuals, usury of any thing that is lent upon usury: Unto a stranger  thou mayest lend upon usury but unto thy brother thou shalt not lend upon usury: that the LORD thy God may bless thee in all that thou settest thine hand to in the land whither thou goest to possess it (Deuteronomy 23:19-20).

Also, as has been repeated the Parables of the Talents and it remains for those who make a blanket claim that the earning of interest is sinful to explain how our Lord can call the servant unprofitable and to be subsequently cast into outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, it earning interest is sinful?  Has not our Lord identified the character of Himself (since He is the Lord) on the day of judgement? 

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« Reply #167 on: November 23, 2008, 09:34:54 PM »

Also, as has been repeated the Parables of the Talents and it remains for those who make a blanket claim that the earning of interest is sinful to explain how our Lord can call the servant unprofitable and to be subsequently cast into outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, it earning interest is sinful?  Has not our Lord identified the character of Himself (since He is the Lord) on the day of judgement? 
I think I know what you're trying to say, but maybe a clearer way to say it is to ask why the master didn't reward the lazy servant who buried his talent and didn't punish the shrewd servants who invested theirs to earn interest, if the earning of interest is sinful.
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« Reply #168 on: November 23, 2008, 09:39:53 PM »

What if the Parable of the Talents is about the Last Judgment and the "interest" earned on the talents received is really the talents that God gave each of us to glorify Him?  The metaphorical interpretation has nothing to do with usury.   Smiley

For the servant who hid his talent, that servant didn't do anything to glorify God; Hence, earning the punishment of being cast into darkness with gnashing teeth.
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« Reply #169 on: November 23, 2008, 09:45:06 PM »

What if the Parable of the Talents is about the Last Judgment and the "interest" earned on the talents received is really the talents that God gave each of us to glorify Him?  The metaphorical interpretation has nothing to do with usury.   Smiley

For the servant who hid his talent, that servant didn't do anything to glorify God; Hence, earning the punishment of being cast into darkness with gnashing teeth.
Of course we know the spiritual, allegorical interpretation, which was the ultimate truth Jesus wanted to communicate through this parable.  But must we thus deny the real-life scenario that is the basis for the parable?
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« Reply #170 on: November 23, 2008, 09:57:52 PM »

Of course we know the spiritual, allegorical interpretation, which was the ultimate truth Jesus wanted to communicate through this parable.  But must we thus deny the real-life scenario that is the basis for the parable?

Yes.  Usury was dealt with in the Old Testament.  The Muslims dealt with usury by banning interest.  Man has crafted civil laws capping interest rates except for payday and car title loans (some states have higher caps than 24% annually which I believe is MD's usury rate).

Quote
MARYLAND, the legal rate of interest is 6%; the general usury limit
is 24%. There are many nuances and exceptions to this law.  Judgments
bear interest at the rate of 10%.
Source

If usury can be seen as "fulfilling one's duty to God faithfully" then I suppose usury can be discussed in the context of the Parable of the Talents.

Quote
It often happens in life that people who have been greatly endowed by the Lord will diverse talents and earthly goods do not want to use them for the glory of God. But in His parable the Lord points out the servant who had only one talent and shows that it is not a high or noble position in life that is important, but whether or not a person has fulfilled his duty faithfully. Only that point will serve to justify us at the Lord’s Judgment, and prior to that our conscience can serve as our barometer, provided we are ready to heed it
The Parable of the Talents
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« Reply #171 on: November 24, 2008, 10:41:19 AM »

"What if the Parable of the Talents is about the Last Judgment and the "interest" earned on the talents received is really the talents that God gave each of us to glorify Him?"

Well, concerning the Last Judgment, of course it is...but as our Lord said to Nicodemus, "If I have told you earthly things, and you believe not, how shall you believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?"

But why do you think the "earthly part" of the Parable of the Talents has no "earthly reality" upon which the Lord based the Parable? 
---------

"If usury can be seen as "fulfilling ones duty to God faithfully" then I suppose usury can be discussed in the context of the Parable of the Talents."

Of course it is, He who gives to the poor, lends to the Lord and the Lord always pays back in multiples as stated in the Parable itself.

----

If "earning interest" is an unfaithful and ungodly, then so is receiving wages for work not performed in equal measure as ones neighbor, i.e., if my neighbor works eight hours and receives $80 dollars, and I do the exact same work for six hours I should receive $60 and the labourer who works four hours should receive $40; if however I work eight hours and earn $80 dollars and the Master hires a man to work only three hours but pays him $80 and he only works the easiest part of the day, has the Master been just?

If "earning interest" is sinful, why would not the unequal pay based upon the amount of labor performed not also be sinful?  And would not the man who labors be equally sinning when he receives an equal share for less than equal work as the man whose earnings were the interest accrued upon his investment. 

And what of the Landowner, would he not be sinning if he sold his gathered grain which he paid $200 dollars for seed and $600 dollars for labor and $200 dollars for marketing the harvested grain and then sells his produce in the market place for more than $1000 dollars which is his actual expense?  And what of the man who decides to lease another mans property for $1000 dollars and invests $1000 dollars (in seed, labor and marketing) and then goes to market and sells his produce for more than $2000 dollars,(i.e., for a profit=interest/gain)  be equally sinful as the man whose increase=profit/gain was acquired only through leasing?

If earning interest is sinful, so is making any and all profit and gain beyond actual cost, because all profit is increase/gain.

But if earning interest which is =  to making a profit/gain is sinful, so is undervaluing and selling any goods or services at a discount below actual costs, because that creates dishonest gain by creating a market below costs which increases sells resulting in losses to ones neighbor.

Furthermore, if this forum takes in more contributions than actual costs to operate so as to make a gain, it also has acted sinfully.  And if a Parish Church receives more income via tithes, offerings, donations, contributions, yard sales, bake sales, etc..., beyond its actual costs (whether evaluated weekly, monthly, semiannually, or annually) it also acts sinfully if it keeps that money in an interest bearing account for its future building program. 

Also, it X priest receives $100 month, but he manages his affairs so as to live on $80 dollars a month and then sends his widowed mother $20 dollars a month whose actual affairs are such that she only needs $10 dollars of the $20 dollars, but she wants to improve her living condition because the fence needs mending, the roof leaks, so she pays a man who charges her only $1 dollar above his costs which is $19 dollars, has not that man acted sinfully in equal measure to the man who leased his property or sold his grain or loaned money on interest to a man who is building a bigger barn?

If so, why did God only require the Israelites to ONLY tithe their increase and allow them to keep 90% (hypothetically) for their ownself.  Why did God allow them to choose to even use that increase to purchase strong drink for the feasts when beer (hypothetically) was sufficient? 

Why? Because INCREASE is not sinful, but is the created order established in "Be fruitful and multiply."
It is the established order in have "DOMINION and OCCUPY" until I come.  It is the established order in "Go and make Disciples of All Nations."

If Interest = increase/profit and INCREASE IS NOT SINFUL, then something other than the created ordinance established by God within Creation CORRUPTS INCREASE so as to make it sinful.

Be ye perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect, who Created all things to Increase save sin.












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« Reply #172 on: November 24, 2008, 10:49:14 AM »

Interest, Usury, Capitalism
 By the Rev. Hierotheos Vlachos, Metropolitan of Nafpaktos and Saint Vlassios

http://www.oodegr.com/english/koinwnia/politika/tokoglyfia_kapitalismos1.htm

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« Reply #173 on: November 24, 2008, 10:56:00 AM »

Thou shalt not lend upon usury to thy brother; usury of money, usury of victuals, usury of any thing that is lent upon usury: Unto a stranger  thou mayest lend upon usury but unto thy brother thou shalt not lend upon usury: that the LORD thy God may bless thee in all that thou settest thine hand to in the land whither thou goest to possess it (Deuteronomy 23:19-20).

Also, as has been repeated the Parables of the Talents and it remains for those who make a blanket claim that the earning of interest is sinful to explain how our Lord can call the servant unprofitable and to be subsequently cast into outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, it earning interest is sinful?  Has not our Lord identified the character of Himself (since He is the Lord) on the day of judgement? 

But there are no strangers anymore.

And the Parable of Talents is symbolic. It certainly does not talk about loaning money, and I am sure you know it.
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« Reply #174 on: November 24, 2008, 02:45:38 PM »

And the Parable of Talents is symbolic.
Yes, we all recognize that the Parable of the Talents is symbolic.  But how do you answer zoar's and my question regarding the real-world scenario that Jesus used to communicate His deeper message?

Quote
It certainly does not talk about loaning money, and I am sure you know it.
Yes, and I'm sure you know that zoar is not talking solely about loaning money, either. Wink
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« Reply #175 on: November 24, 2008, 02:58:58 PM »

And the Parable of Talents is symbolic.
Yes, we all recognize that the Parable of the Talents is symbolic.  But how do you answer zoar's and my question regarding the real-world scenario that Jesus used to communicate His deeper message?

I believe He just used an example that was understandable to His listeners. In another parable He gave an example of a king who goes against another king with twenty thousand soldiers, while the other king has forty thousand. That was simply an example of an action understandable for Christ's listeners. It does not follow from this example that it is morally good to invade another country militarily, does it? Similarly, I think, the parable of talents tells us that we have to work on ourselves, never being satisfied with something good that we might have by nature; we must try to increase this good in us. Money-loaning is totally irrelevant, I think...
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« Reply #176 on: November 24, 2008, 05:37:49 PM »

Why is Dr. Alister McGrath shallow?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alister_McGrath

I think the book I quoted from was far from shallow. He tracks how various Protestant interpretations changed through time, and he mostly quotes from primary sources. One of the issues in the book was "Usury" and he shows how the Protestant view eventualy changed, and since America was started by mostly protestants and since our American system comes from that tradition, what Mcgrath said is far from shallow.

Dr. Pelikan wrote a book that delt with the same time period, but I don't know if he talked about Usury for I never bought the book. Also Dr. Peter Harrison deals with alot of the same issues that Dr. Alister McGrath does, but so far I only have one of his books and it doesn't cover the issue of Usury. Instead it deals with Protestantism and the rise of Natural Science.

So tell me, why is Alister McGrath shallow? I agree with what he said. Do you have any evidence that would suggest he was wrong? If not, then what he said about the issue still stands.

Our system just didn't fall from the sky! It has a history, a development.......a context.

Also if you read most of the posts on this thread then you would of known what the Church Fathers had to say about the issue. So I shouldn't have to prove what others have done already.



P.S. "What I quoted from my blog was Mcgrath - not me"




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http://ancientchristiandefender.blogspot.com/
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« Reply #177 on: November 24, 2008, 06:07:16 PM »

Why is Dr. Alister McGrath shallow?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alister_McGrath

 Also Dr. Pelikan wrote a book that dealt with some of the same issues, but I don't have that one yet.

So tell me, why is Alister McGrath shallow? I agree with what he said. Do you have any evidence that would suggest he was wrong? If not, then what he said about the issue still stands.
First, I didn't say anything about Alister McGrath being shallow.  What I called shallow is YOUR  apparent reliance on little more than Alister McGrath.  Can YOU present other authorities contemporary with McGrath to deepen your pool of research?  Simply saying that Dr. Pelikan addressed the same question of usury doesn't count unless you can actually quote what he said.

Our system just didn't fall from the sky! It has a history, a development.......a context.

Also if you read most of the posts on this thread then you would of known what the Church Fathers had to say about the issue. So I shouldn't have to prove what others have done already.
I must have overlooked something, then.  I looked over this whole thread for one, JUST ONE, reference to any teacher whom we would call a Church Father.  I couldn't find any.  Not one.  And this thread is now 177 posts long.  Maybe you could help me see these patristic references I'm missing.
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« Reply #178 on: November 24, 2008, 06:14:26 PM »

Interest, Usury, Capitalism
 By the Rev. Hierotheos Vlachos, Metropolitan of Nafpaktos and Saint Vlassios

http://www.oodegr.com/english/koinwnia/politika/tokoglyfia_kapitalismos1.htm




Thanks for posting this link. I wonder if Max Weber's book is out of print? If not then I'm gonna put it on my list of books to get.




 

"Deification of money, hedonism and easy living are the things that prevail in the age we are living in.

The utilization and exploitation of money came to be developed within Protestant circles, within a morality that presumed money to be God’s blessing and the rich as those blessed by God. This topic has been expounded in detail by Max Weber in his widely-known classic, “Protestant Morality and the Spirit of Capitalism”. In it, he maintains that Capitalism, the rationalized utilization of money and life are the result of all the principles that were developed by the various Protestant groups in Europe.

Specifically on the worth of money, Max Weber quotes the guidelines given by Benjamin Franklin, which we find in his books, “Necessary hints to those who desire to become rich” and “Advice to a Young Tradesman…”. In these books, Franklin advises:

«Remember that TIME is Money…Remember that CREDIT is Money…Remember that Money is of a prolific generating Nature. Money can beget Money, and its Offspring can beget more, and so on... Remember this Saying, That the good Paymaster is Lord of another Man's Purse. He that is known to pay punctually and exactly to the Time he promises, may at any Time, and on any Occasion, raise all the Money his Friends can spare...».

This is the basic principle of the financial market that is nowadays undergoing a crisis."
[1]










JNORM888

[1] from the website link
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« Reply #179 on: November 24, 2008, 06:30:23 PM »


Clement of Alexandria is not a Father of the Church, but he said.


""His money he will not give on usury and will not take interest.". . .These words contain a description of the conduct of Christians." Clement of Alexandria 195 A.D.


"We must not take usury. . ."You will not lend to your brother with usury of money" [Duet 23:19]. Cyprian 250 A.D.


"Let a bishop, presbyter, or deacon who charges usury to those to whom he lends either cease doing so, or else let him be deprived." Apostolic Constitutions compiled around 390 A.D."
  [1]



JNORM888

[1] page 663 from the book a dictionary of early christian beliefs by David Bercot. (I don't recommend this book, just for the fact he picks and chooses what to put in and what to leave out)
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"loving one's enemies does not mean loving wickedness, ungodliness, adultery, or theft. Rather, it means loving the theif, the ungodly, and the adulterer." Clement of Alexandria 195 A.D.

http://ancientchristiandefender.blogspot.com/
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« Reply #180 on: November 25, 2008, 06:28:56 PM »

I will assume the statement that there are "no strangers anymore" is dependent upon St. Paul's Theological statement in Eph. 2, but if so, and the reasoning that there are "no strangers anymore" also means that all mankind must be considered and recognized as "fellowcitizens and members of the Household of God.  If the argument that there are "no strangers anymore" is unconditional and without clarification, then the what basis can the Holy Mysteries be withheld from a Jehovah Witness who wants to remain in the JW’s but through some quirk of circumstance and though enters into an Orthodox Divine Liturgy and wished to receive Communion?
I would concur with the starkness of the statement as it applies to and withing the Orthodox Church.  Certainly within the Household of God there are not or ought not to be strangers in the sense of being viewed as outside, apart and other than full fellow-citizenship withing the Church.  This is relative because in and under the Mosaic dispensation, there were graduated categories of citizenship.  King David Himself was one such graduated citizen.   Not all citizens of Israel were equal citizens within the Temple.
Consider St. Cornelius, his alms received interest from God at such a rate of exchange as to place him in the unique category of being the FIRST GENTILE fellowcitizen in the New Covenant Dispensation of the Household of God, and not he alone, but his whole household, family members and servants.  But to make a blanket statement that there are “no strangers anymore” without clarification or modification removes the boundaries between the Church and the world.  Between the Christian and the unbeliever, between the Saint and the Fornicator.
Please understand, I am not suggesting that the Old Testament Law allows for the Church to begin making loans to unorthodox, heterodox or any other dox.  That misses the point of why I referenced the text.  We are ultimately discussing the character of God of whom our Lord said, “Be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect.”  The Law of God did make a differention between the citizen and the stranger/alien and this continues in some measure even in the New Covenant.  St. Paul was able to say, “do good to all men as far as you are able, but especially to those of the Household of Faith.”  Whatever standard by which the good being done is measured, it applies much more and more immediately to those who are of the household of faith.
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« Reply #181 on: November 25, 2008, 06:59:10 PM »

^I don't know, Zoar. It just strikes me that Christ said, give, and expect (or demand) NOTHING in return. He did not specify, to whom should we give in such a manner and to whom not. So, usury, i.e. demanding back not just what you gave but also some extra, is just so incompatible with Christ, His teachings, His spirit.
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« Reply #182 on: November 26, 2008, 12:28:40 PM »

By the Rev. Hierotheos Vlachos, Metropolitan of Nafpaktos and Saint Vlassios

http://www.oodegr.com/english/koinwnia/politika/tokoglyfia_kapitalismos1.htm

Thanks for posting this link. I wonder if Max Weber's book is out of print? If not then I'm gonna put it on my list of books to get.

----------------

Forgive me, but this article and its dependence upon Max Weber do a great injustice towards Benjamin Franklin who was outspoken and an activist for charities.  And who said charity is the essence of Christianity among many other exhortations towards being charitable, both in America and abroad.
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« Reply #183 on: November 26, 2008, 12:29:58 PM »

In regards to the issue of how "Usury" changed from "interest" to one of only "high interest", the only source I have that talks about it extensively is Alister Mcgrath.

David Bercot only briefly mentions how "originaly" Usury meant "interest" charged in general and not the modern understanding of "only high interest".

As seen here
"USURY
Although the word "usury" has come to mean an exorbitant rate of interest on a loan, it originally meant any interest on a loan."
[1] page 663 from the book "A dictionary of early christian beliefs.

It will take me months to review/skim over the Ante, Nicene and Post Nicene Fathers over this issue.

So if you reject the information I gave from Dr. Alister Mcgrath then I guess there is nothing else I can say about the matter.


Take care, God bless, and have a Happy Thanksgiving




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« Reply #184 on: November 26, 2008, 01:12:06 PM »

Usury limits peoples freedom. The article zoarthegleaner posted makes that clear. We that live in the world pretty much have no choice but to commit this sin. Just as we who are born with ancestral sin had no choice when we were born. If you no longer want to sin I suggest you head for the hills to your local monastery, as this is the only means of escape.  I just can't see anybody living in the western world without falling into this sin and I just can't see God condemning all of these people that were born into this sin. Society as a whole will certainly be punished.
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Excellence of character, then, is a state concerned with choice, lying in a mean relative to us, this being determined by reason and in the way in which the man of practical wisdom would determine it. Now it is a mean between two vices, that which depends on excess and that which depends on defect.
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« Reply #185 on: November 28, 2008, 11:16:31 PM »

"The article zoarthegleaner posted makes that clear"  referenced article:http://www.oodegr.com/english/koinwnia/politika/tokoglyfia_kapitalismos1.htm
_________________________________

zoarthegleaner did not originally post the formentioned article.  Indeed, there are more than one issue zoarthegleaner finds in the article to be problematic, in fact so many that one post could not possibly be tolerated in this forum, both for its length and for the fact that zoarthegleaner is a very poor writer whose grammar makes reading zoar's thoughts sometimes intolerable.

This article (book?) needs a through critique and the first and easiest has already been posted, but for repetition's sake: I believe that the work cited above does a great injustice to Benjamin Franklin's whole body of work and misrepresents him by extracting one article out of that body and characterizing it in a manner that is wholly out of accord with that body of work on the subject for which it was made fodder against Usury (only vaguely helpful) and against Capitalism (of which it seemed to be the main aim to preach against).

Secondly, any cursory reading of the actual workings within the economic structure active throughout the Roman/Byzantium era doesn't "jive" with the idealist perspective to which the article stretches the limits of the critique towards, i.e., setting forth a triumphalist idealism which I admire and am inclined to want to pursue in my own affairs, but which I am doubtful has any actual continuous and large historical body of practical examples to proof-text the idealism set forth as the only Orthodox Way.

Just one cursory example is the sale of wheat.  The bread basked of that era was an area wherein Monasticism was widely present, but the prosperity of that region was often accused of gouging the market place and was not adverse to profit.

A second cursory example concerns the inflation of currency in the Roman/Byzantine era (inflation is a form of theft and a hidden tax/interset which affects the poor more than any other class of citizen or alien)

Other examples could be cited, but who has time or patience within this forum to engage in the topic and what would it profit? 

I presented a precise verse from the Law of God as found in Deuteronomy which contradicts the foundation of the articles presupposition, i.e., that the Bible prohibits earning interest and or usury (depending upon the readers predisposed interpretation of either).  Furthermore, I established incontrovertibly that the concept of profit and interest are inescapably established within the Divine Creation, i.e., God Loves INCREASE and has ordained INCREASE in Every thing but SIN.    Anyone who even nods to the idea of an expanding Universe has a basis for comprehending the analogous nature of this reality within Creation towards knowing God, and as our Lord Himself said, "If I have told you earthly things and you do not understand, how will you understand should I tell you heavenly things?" 

I can assent in general to the arguments made within the article about analogy of being and faith, but in actual fact the analogous principles for Knowing God are not found in theoretical abstract idealism, but in the actual realities of this world, a position clearly established by the Apostle Paul in the first chapter of Romans.

In general, the ending of the article was more edifying than the beginning and the middle was much too dependent upon Max Weber, but that said, the ending only presented a rather triumphalist idealism which may be engendered at the "individualistic" social level, but remains unknowable and perhaps wholly unrealistic at the social community level, except in isolated circumstances which are abnormal to the common flux of actual human experience.

I present the following summarization of the thoughts and deeds of Benjamin Franklin, which I add were the product of idealistic theory, but the result of him putting up or shutting up hard practical experience in striving to be first and formost a man whose aim was to be charitable to his own and even towards his enemies (according to his own abilities).

Concerning the poor and that they are in need of our charity, we both agree, but our difference is in the actual matter of its undertaking and the extent of our actual responsibility towards them in their poverty. Some would say we have fulfilled our responsibilities when we have delivered to them their momentary need alone and to those whose life is dictated by circumstances which they cannot themselves correct (illnesses, imprisonment, widowhood, orphanhood etc...) we are always obligated to be meeting their daily need, but to those whose circumstances are the product of ignorance and opportunity we must educate and provide opportunities, but to those who are lazy and indifferent to their own welfare except as to only curse the hand that feeds them because it did not feed them in the equality which they deemed deserved by their own existence alone, I set forth that which the Apostle himself established as a rule within the Church, if a man will not work, neither should he eat.
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« Reply #186 on: November 28, 2008, 11:23:05 PM »

Please not a slight amendment and edit to the second to the last paragraph which I present in whole with the final paragraph again.

I present the following summarizing of the thoughts and deeds of Benjamin Franklin, which I add were not the product of idealistic theory alone, but the result of him putting up or shutting up hard practical experience in striving to be first and formost a man whose aim was to be charitable to his own and even towards his enemies (according to his own abilities).

Concerning the poor and that they are in need of our charity, we both agree, but our difference is in the actual matter of its undertaking and the extent of our actual responsibility towards them in their poverty. Some would say we have fulfilled our responsibilities when we have delivered to them their momentary need alone and to those whose life is dictated by circumstances which they cannot themselves correct (illnesses, imprisonment, widowhood, orphanhood etc...) we are always obligated to be meeting their daily need, but to those whose circumstances are the product of ignorance and opportunity we must educate and provide opportunities, but to those who are lazy and indifferent to their own welfare except as to only curse the hand that feeds them because it did not feed them in the equality which they deemed deserved by their own existence alone, I set forth that which the Apostle himself established as a rule within the Church, if a man will not work, neither should he eat.
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« Reply #187 on: November 29, 2008, 04:54:36 PM »

Furthermore, I established incontrovertibly that the concept of profit and interest are inescapably established within the Divine Creation, i.e., God Loves INCREASE and has ordained INCREASE in Every thing but SIN.
IOW, zoarthegleaner has spoken, and his word is final.  No more debate possible. Angry

Yes, I'm just picking on you Wink, but there is some truth to what I say.  Such statements as "I established incontrovertibly" end up only derailing debates, because then the subject of debate becomes the authority you purport to have to make such final statements.  Now, what outside evidence can you provide that your interpretation of the Scriptures is correct?
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« Reply #188 on: November 30, 2008, 09:18:42 PM »

"Such statements as "I established incontrovertibly" end up only derailing debates, because then the subject of debate becomes the authority you purport to have to make such final statements.  Now, what outside evidence can you provide that your interpretation of the Scriptures is correct?"

Perhaps you are correct, if we Orthodox give our complete assent to the rule of dogmatic skepticism and eternal doubt.  To argue something to be "established incontrovertibly" (perhaps like, "We hold these truths to be self-evident?) is to become a modern heretic against the "incontrovertible" logic of reason which sets forth that everything must be eternally left open to skepticism and doubt since someone (or somemany), if not in this present time perhaps in the unknowable and uncertain future, may yet disagree and "disagreement is the incontrovertible evidence alone which proves the statement "I established incontrovertibly" to be nothing more than one person's opinion (whether intelligent or otherwise). 

(And to perhaps to further derail...)

Therefore, in the court of Public Opinion which accepts and establishes truth to be only knowable as a relative statement of propositions; my dogmatic statement/argument is without doubt unreasonable and heretical, and who in their Western frame of mind dares to doubt such reason?  Do we not demand as Pilate evidence for "What is TRUTH," while yet like Pilate we also remain doubtful that any reasonable answer to his question is possible?  Like Pilate, we may ourselves be convinced beyond a reasonable certainty of our own doubt as to the falsity of any charges brought against TRUTH and the certainty of TRUTH's innocence, yet, again like Pilate, we are willing to submit TRUTH to the judgment of the masses who in their prejudices could not accept TRUTH as a PERSON.

Thus, as the Metropolitan in the previous cited article correctly observed about Western Man (in general) and Western Christianity (in particular) we do not accept TRUTH AS REVELATION of the ONE PERSON(AL) THEANTHROPOS (HYPOSTASIS).  For Western Man/Christianity/and its disciples THERE IS NO INCONTROVERTIBLE JUSTIFICATION FOR CONVERSION TO CHRISTIANITY.  There remains only RELATIVE TRUTHS, which are mere propositions for philosophical debate, and conversion to anything deemed to be TRUTH is merely personal opinion.   MARS HILL IS THE BIRTH PLACE OF MODERN WESTERN MAN, and HIS (no sexism intended) CHRISTIANITY. (Is that to dogmatic?)

All this above is not to avoid the question of the prosecution, i.e., "what outside evidence can you provide that your interpretation of the Scriptures is correct?"  rather it is to establish that any and all evidence I might afterwords submit can only be accepted by those whose minds are not prejudicial against the TRUTH.  For such, the weakness of my "evidence" which may fail to answer Pilate's question will not be proof for cause of doubt and skepticism, even if that same evidence fails to acquit me of the charge of heresy (which is always implied as possible if not probable in the words "your interpretation of Scriptures.").

Furthermore, the statement "your interpretation of Scriptures" is much to broad to answer and defend without first establishing precisely which Scripture(s) is/are the foundation of the argument upon which the words "established incontrovertibly" refer.  Therefore, to restate the dogmatic proposition which occasioned the cause for questioning I now quote "the concept of profit and interest are inescapably established within the Divine Creation, i.e., God Loves INCREASE and has ordained INCREASE in Every thing but SIN."

So, as my first witness I produce from the Scripture itself these words, "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth."  Words which we as Orthodox universally accept as having Divine Inspiration (though words to which some influenced by Western skepticism may demur;  also see the Metropolitan's own characterisation and summarizing of these in his closing argument within the article of previous posted hyperlink).

And that is my first stated argument of evidence for my dogmatic proposition.  I do indeed believe it to be wholly sufficient within and of itself, but we Orthodox are want to demand our own proof for dogmatic propositions to which we are unfamiliar or inexperienced.  Of a certainty, the text does not state all that can and should be said (if in fact anything should be said at all) and questions breed questions like money breeds money ( Grin), or if it weren't for talkin', some of us wouldn't have anything to say.
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« Reply #189 on: November 30, 2008, 09:27:44 PM »

"Such statements as "I established incontrovertibly" end up only derailing debates, because then the subject of debate becomes the authority you purport to have to make such final statements.  Now, what outside evidence can you provide that your interpretation of the Scriptures is correct?"

Perhaps you are correct, if we Orthodox give our complete assent to the rule of dogmatic skepticism and eternal doubt.  To argue something to be "established incontrovertibly" (perhaps like, "We hold these truths to be self-evident?) is to become a modern heretic against the "incontrovertible" logic of reason which sets forth that everything must be eternally left open to skepticism and doubt since someone (or somemany), if not in this present time perhaps in the unknowable and uncertain future, may yet disagree and "disagreement is the incontrovertible evidence alone which proves the statement "I established incontrovertibly" to be nothing more than one person's opinion (whether intelligent or otherwise). 

(And to perhaps to further derail...)

Therefore, in the court of Public Opinion which accepts and establishes truth to be only knowable as a relative statement of propositions; my dogmatic statement/argument is without doubt unreasonable and heretical, and who in their Western frame of mind dares to doubt such reason?  Do we not demand as Pilate evidence for "What is TRUTH," while yet like Pilate we also remain doubtful that any reasonable answer to his question is possible?  Like Pilate, we may ourselves be convinced beyond a reasonable certainty of our own doubt as to the falsity of any charges brought against TRUTH and the certainty of TRUTH's innocence, yet, again like Pilate, we are willing to submit TRUTH to the judgment of the masses who in their prejudices could not accept TRUTH as a PERSON.

Thus, as the Metropolitan in the previous cited article correctly observed about Western Man (in general) and Western Christianity (in particular) we do not accept TRUTH AS REVELATION of the ONE PERSON(AL) THEANTHROPOS (HYPOSTASIS).  For Western Man/Christianity/and its disciples THERE IS NO INCONTROVERTIBLE JUSTIFICATION FOR CONVERSION TO CHRISTIANITY.  There remains only RELATIVE TRUTHS, which are mere propositions for philosophical debate, and conversion to anything deemed to be TRUTH is merely personal opinion.   MARS HILL IS THE BIRTH PLACE OF MODERN WESTERN MAN, and HIS (no sexism intended) CHRISTIANITY. (Is that to dogmatic?)

All this above is not to avoid the question of the prosecution, i.e., "what outside evidence can you provide that your interpretation of the Scriptures is correct?"  rather it is to establish that any and all evidence I might afterwords submit can only be accepted by those whose minds are not prejudicial against the TRUTH.  For such, the weakness of my "evidence" which may fail to answer Pilate's question will not be proof for cause of doubt and skepticism, even if that same evidence fails to acquit me of the charge of heresy (which is always implied as possible if not probable in the words "your interpretation of Scriptures.").

Furthermore, the statement "your interpretation of Scriptures" is much to broad to answer and defend without first establishing precisely which Scripture(s) is/are the foundation of the argument upon which the words "established incontrovertibly" refer.  Therefore, to restate the dogmatic proposition which occasioned the cause for questioning I now quote "the concept of profit and interest are inescapably established within the Divine Creation, i.e., God Loves INCREASE and has ordained INCREASE in Every thing but SIN."

So, as my first witness I produce from the Scripture itself these words, "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth."  Words which we as Orthodox universally accept as having Divine Inspiration (though words to which some influenced by Western skepticism may demur;  also see the Metropolitan's own characterisation and summarizing of these in his closing argument within the article of previous posted hyperlink).

And that is my first stated argument of evidence for my dogmatic proposition.  I do indeed believe it to be wholly sufficient within and of itself, but we Orthodox are want to demand our own proof for dogmatic propositions to which we are unfamiliar or inexperienced.  Of a certainty, the text does not state all that can and should be said (if in fact anything should be said at all) and questions breed questions like money breeds money ( Grin), or if it weren't for talkin', some of us wouldn't have anything to say.
Man!  I'd hate to see how you answer more complicated questions. Shocked
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« Reply #190 on: December 02, 2008, 02:33:12 PM »

Should I have rather quoted Deut. 28:12

"The LORD shall open unto thee his good treasure, the heaven to give the rain unto thy land in his season, and to bless all the work of thine hand: and thou shalt lend unto many nations, and thou shalt not borrow."   Deut. 28:12

Or perhaps Gen. 17:17
I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and  as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possess the gate of his enemies,




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« Reply #191 on: December 02, 2008, 02:52:38 PM »

Should I have rather quoted Deut. 28:12
No, because these passages require interpretation to see support for your message that lending with interest is okay.  These Scriptures don't interpret themselves.
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« Reply #192 on: June 17, 2009, 01:57:23 PM »

Good thread and very interesting posts.  Smiley

Interesting thing about the word Mortgage. I knew it was Latin in origin when I saw MORT. That's French for death, and morto in Italian. So, I looked it up and here's what I got:

"This comes from the Old French "dead pledge," apparently meaning that the pledge ends (dies) either when the obligation is fulfilled or the property is taken through foreclosure."


Ouch Undecided
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