Member Since: 6/21/08
Lots of comments and questions, I'll try to answer them all without parsing your post.
First I'd like to go back to the point of this thread, which is about Christianity and wealth. When you say the wealthy are less giving than the poor, how do you define wealth? As I've pointed out before, even the poorest among us in the West live a life of luxury compared to those in Third World countries. You can be considered 'poor' in the USA and live in a home with air conditioning, drive an SUV, and watch the game or the fights on a big flat screen TV. Are these people part of the wealthy who do not give as much as the poor, or are they considered poor?
My point in citing the examples of Solomon and Job in the Old Testament is that it indicates to me that wealth in and of itself does not make anyone more of a sinner than someone who is poor. In some ways, the wealthy are vilified by those on the left like homosexuality is vilified by those on the right. This ties into the way I viewed Christian universalism in that we are not in control of where we are born, into what nation. By mere accident of birth in the United States I have vastly more opportunities than a child born in Bangladesh or some other Third World country. I will also be exposed to Christianity from birth and am far more likely to 'choose' Christianity as my religion than a child born in India or Indonesia or Afghanistan as well, thereby giving me a greater chance at salvation (under the Western Christian paradigm) than any of those children. How is that fair?
And you know as well as I Ridge that Christian universalism (CU) does not teach that there is no justice or refining period in the afterlife. The view of CU that I have always held is that ALL are judged in the afterlife for their actions while on earth, not because of original sin but their own deeds. CU teaches (as far as I know) that this period is not eternal, like the traditional Western view of Hell, but only as long as is necessary to purge the person of sin.
If the wealthy are sinners (apparently the worst kind to some)and Jesus came to save sinners, then the wealthy are included in his salvation the same as the murderers, rapists, fornicators, liars, adulterers, etc.
As far as putting 'cards on the table', it appears that you assume that because I can find points I disagree with in this thread that I must have answers to the questions and rebuttals to the remarks that have been made. This is like saying that a person can not critique a fight or a football game unless they're a fighter or a football player. I do believe in God because of the world I see around me, the order, the complexity of life itself. I don't see how it came to be all by itself. Now just because I believe that doesn't mean I have an answer as to why God doesn't intervene and make people stop hurting one another. I could say that it's all because of free will, or I could take the Muslim idea and say that everything we face is a trial given to us by God to see if we will keep faith in him no matter what happens. I could say that I believe in reincarnation, that earth is a form of purgatory in and of itself, and by being born here we are fulfilling some sentence based on acts committed in a prior life. Or a combination of all three. Any one of those would suffice to meet the need you have for me to put my cards on the table but the truth is I don't have all the answers.
On to another point. On the one hand you talk about moral progression, from the Mosaic law to the law of Christ; yet earlier in your post you describe a Hellish world filled with nuclear bombs, child rapists and sexual predators, wealthy who pray on the weak. And yet in the same post you say our reality is on it's way out and that all things are being made new. From the way you've described it, I'm not sure things have changed very much from the time of Moses til today, other than the inventions of advanced technology. Do you hold the view that mankind is progressing inch by inch to the establishment of the kingdom of God here on earth?
Lastly, as far as cards on the table, do you consider yourself wealthy? And by what standard do you say you are or are not wealthy? Do you feel that your actions are in accord with the beliefs and ideas you've espoused on this thread and others?