Sunday, June 26, 2005

you're not a Bible authority just because you're ang moh

Cai featured such a fascinating article by Oscar Wilde that I had to go read it for myself.

But oh well... its quite a weak case...

First of all, he thinks "charity creates a multitude of sins." He's trying to theorise some cause and effect relationship and thinks that charity is a means of the rich keeping the poor in their place. Hmm... I wonder, how many of you agree with this?

And mind you, here we speak of charity for its absolute own sake, in obedience to Christ's commands, rather than to chalk up a 'goodwill account' or to make people in debt to you or owe a favour.

Want an example of something that masquerades as charity? Just look at all the Aussies who said they wanted to withdraw the tsunami aid after the conviction of an Aussie drug trafficker by an Indonesian court. I'm not here to argue over the facts of the case presented, nor about religious bias (of the 3 judges 2 were Hindus and 1 was Christian I think - none were Muslims) but to show the hearts of some of them who said "let's take back the aid".

There's no such thing as realist "I scratch your back and you scratch mine" charity. It's not charity. Period. So, he hasn't actually proven how charity is the cause of evil except when its not charity.

And the second, more intellectual part. How Wilde believes that private property is the root of all evil. It is unfair too.

He says the ideal is the removal of private property (with Socialism) followed by the Individualism that would result. He 'predicted' correctly that if Socialism was Authoritarian it would result in Industrial Tyranny.

Finally, the part which actually appeared in cai's blog. So after private property is abolished, "true" Individualism will flourish, -

The true perfection of man lies, not
in what man has, but in what man is.

I can see how he brings the Bible into his idea, for Jesus taught many times about how a man's earthly possessions were like nothing and a useless measure of what he really had. I agree whole-heartedly that possessions hardly define a man. But when Christ spoke of perfection in God's eyes, it had absolutely nothing to do with what we did or could possibly do to make ourselves perfect, for we can do nothing about that. Christ was the only man on earth who lead a perfect, sinless life.

The problem here is the same, we keep blaming something else, we always keep blaming something else when we do bad or when we suffer and things go wrong. Here Wilde, using Socialism, attacks private property, saying it suppresses personality. What does he mean by personality? I can't actually pinpoint it from his article but it sounds like being totally self-expressive in everything.

And in the end, Christ is just someone who is telling you to "be thyself"... to express your own personality.

But that's a serious misreading. "Know thyself" - is to ask you to examine your soul, to realise your state of wickedness, your ghastly, greedy, selfish self and denial of truth. Jesus did not exactly mean it to be like, "discover the real you" or something likedat, he meant it for you to discover that the real you is wretched, selfish, sinful and going straight to Hell.

So, don't borrow words from the Bible to legitamise something you have to say. Even if you are Oscar Wilde.

And the account of the rich man who was sad when Jesus told him to sell all his possessions and follow Him, is not to show that private property is evil. It's to show that this guy was simply too attached to his worldly possessions! Instead of his possessions it could have been his wife, his family, his country, anything.

The fundamental mistake is Wilde attributes causation of evil to the wrong things!

And the account of the woman who anointed Jesus's feet with costly perfumes is not saying we should throw away all our possessions, but rather that we should be extravagant when praising God. Take note, she wasn't "developing her personality" but praising God!

Another serious error in this account is a misreading. The woman was not forgiven for the intensity of her love that caused the adultery, but for her repentence in washing of the feet with tears and wiping the feet with her hair.

It's obvious Wilde just skimms through the Bible and makes so many errorneous interpertations, so I think he's hardly someone who should (mis)quote it and mislead others.

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