Apropos of TBogg's observations, I would just add in response to Rick Warren's statement:
WARREN: Well, certainly the Bible says we are to care about the poor. There’s over 2,000 versus in the Bible about the poor. And God says that those who care about the poor, God will care about them and God will bless them. But there’s a fundamental question on the meaning of “fairness.” Does fairness mean everybody makes the same amount of money? Or does fairness mean everybody gets the opportunity to make the same amount of money? I do not believe in wealth redistribution, I believe in wealth creation…there's almost nothing in the Scriptures that addresses "fairness."
What the prophets address, and certainly what the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth address, is justice. Those "over 2,000 versus [sic] in the Bible about the poor," don't address fairness to the poor. They address justice.
And believe me, as a lawyer who represented people in court, justice is not fair; especially if you lose. It seems very unfair indeed.
Justice is not about fairness. It is about what is just. As for what is "just" and "redistribution of wealth," I would start with the words of John the Baptist:
The crowds would ask him: "So what should we do?"Is it fair for John to demand that level of sacrifice? Or is it just? Or is he just demanding a redistribution of wealth in a teaching contrary to the clear will of God, else why would some people be rich, and some poor? In simplest terms, fairness is about me, and what is good for me. Justice is about what is right; and that certainly may not be good for me. For Warren to jump from scriptures that mention the poor, to "fairness" that defends the position of the wealthy (like Warren), is reprehensible.
And he would answer them, "Whoever has two shirts should share with someone who has none; whoever has food should do the same." (Luke 3:10-11, SV)
To John's words I would add words I've used here more than once before*:
"What keeps you from giving now? Isn't the poor person there? Aren't your own warehouses full? Isn't the reward promised? The command is clear: the hungry person is dying now, the naked person is freezing now, the person in debt is beaten now-and you want to wait until tomorrow? "I'm not doing any harm," you say. "I just want to keep what I own, that's all." You own! You are like someone who sits down in a theater and keeps everyone else away, saying that what is there for everyone's use is your own. . . . If everyone took only what they needed and gave the rest to those in need, there would be no such thing as rich and poor. After all, didn't you come into life naked, and won't you return naked to the earth?But as long as these matters are not within your control, or it's about "redistribution of wealth," or you can't help it if you're well off and others are too lazy or greedy to be as comfortable as you, then everything's okay. Apparently. After all, as long as you give money to the church, God wants you to be rich!
"The bread in your cupboard belongs to the hungry person; the coat hanging unused in your closet belongs to the person who needs it; the shoes rotting in your closet belong to the person with no shoes; the money which you put in the bank belongs to the poor. You do wrong to everyone you could help, but fail to help."
"The large rooms of which you are so proud are in fact your shame. They are big enough to hold crowds--and also big enough to shut out the voices of the poor....There is your sister or brother, naked, crying! And you stand confused over the choice of an attractive floor covering."
Well, that's what Rick Warren seems to think. The passage TBogg quotes comes from an interview where Warren says just that:
“The biggest problem for all of our economic problems is our inability to delay gratification,” Warren said, with individuals and the government following the attitude of, “I want it and I want it now, and I’m going to buy it even if I can’t afford it.”The consistent teaching of Christianity since the letters of Paul is that our expectation of gratification is the fundamental problem. Not that we should suffer in order to achieve perfection; but the relentless pursuit of gratification, delayed or immediately satisfied, is what got us into this mess in the first place. And frankly this:
WARREN: I hold everybody responsible for that. I hold the people who got themselves in debt. I hold the government that got themselves in debt. I hold multiple administrations. It’s not the fault of any one person. There's plenty enough blame to be passed around.Just sounds like: "First we point the finger at everyone who screwed this up, because the best starting point is laying blame." And that is so antithetical to Christian teachings as to be virtually un-Christian (if it weren't so commonly accepted among Christians). 'Do not judge, and you will not be judged.' Does that sound at all familiar?
*in fact, in connection with Rick Warren. There is indeed nothing new under the sun.