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Author Topic: Usury is sinful?  (Read 20557 times) Average Rating: 0
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zoarthegleaner
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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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zoarthegleaner
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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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« 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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Grace is also my name,
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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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Grace is also my name,
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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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zoarthegleaner
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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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Courteous is my name,
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Grace is also my name,
but when things go wrong
its Courteous whom I blame;
but its Grace who sees me through it.
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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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