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If taxation is theft, then I am greatly concerned for borther Vladimire Putin

Discussion in 'The Ancient Way - Eastern Orthodox' started by Jackson Cooper, Dec 7, 2017.

  1. Jackson Cooper

    Jackson Cooper "Nature does nothing in vain." -Aristotle.

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    If it is a sin to collect taxes by force, then Vladimir Putin would be committing a massive amount of sin every time he passes a budget. He seems like a nice guy, and I would gladly vote for him.
    All sin can be forgiven if repented of, but can you repent of something while continuing to do it? If it is a sin to tax, then it must be better for any Christian to simply abstain from being a part of modern governments.

    Some soldiers also questioned him, “What should we do?” He said to them, “Don’t take money from anyone by force or false accusation, and be satisfied with your wages.” (Luke 3:14).
     
  2. ArmyMatt

    ArmyMatt Regular Member Supporter

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    it's not a sin to collect taxes. we render unto Caesar, and that was directed to soldiers, not politicians. Putin is not sinning by taxing.
     
  3. Jackson Cooper

    Jackson Cooper "Nature does nothing in vain." -Aristotle.

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    If what is Caesar's is immorally owned, then would that imply that what is God's is also immorally owned in the same verse?
    The way I see it, money all belongs to God, and if God wants us to pay taxes then we do it. But does God want Putin to collect taxes?
     
  4. ArmyMatt

    ArmyMatt Regular Member Supporter

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    except it is not immorally owned, since elected officials don't own tax money
     
  5. hengesthorsa

    hengesthorsa Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Although in effect, they often do through various forms of corruption...in which case it isn't so much taxing as just outright stealing, using the power of the state as a weapon.
     
  6. ArmyMatt

    ArmyMatt Regular Member Supporter

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    but for this case, one would have to show Putin using the taxed money personally for gain
     
  7. gzt

    gzt The age of the Earth is 4.54 ± 0.07 billion years

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    Don't worry about Putin, let Putin worry about Putin. I suppose one could argue taxation is theft if only because private property is theft, which is a reasonable thing to argue. However, the whole idea of taxation as theft in modern thinkers is just not well-founded or well-regarded. Only some fringe capitalists think it (like Murray Rothbard, who believes parents have no obligation to feed their children, they can just let them starve to death because they're property). In general, taxation is considered as quite reasonable to do.

    The real thing to worry about is the souls of those who have acquired great wealth for themselves, as doing so generally requires usury, exploitation of workers, theft, and leaving the world in a worse place for future generations.
     
  8. Jesus4Madrid

    Jesus4Madrid Orthodox Christian

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    Taxation certainly can be theft.

    What is theft? Theft is the taking of another person's property or services without that person's permission or consent with the intent to deprive the rightful owner of it.

    I think we can all agree to some basic government services, like the protection of life, liberty and property. Taxing to pay for those basic services is fine, since we all agree to them. This is analogous to paying a fee to belong to a homeowner association.

    But beyond that, governments use our money for sinful ends, like fighting needless, unjust wars, publicly financing the killing of millions of unborn babies, or publicly funding the teaching of moral values that contravene Holy Orthodoxy. I don’t want to pay for these sinful acts, yet the government takes my money, against my will. It is the very definition of theft, it is wrong, and it shouldn’t happen. That it does shows how deprived our world is.
     
  9. ~Anastasia~

    ~Anastasia~ † Servant of God † Supporter CF Senior Ambassador

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    I'm not wishing to argue, and I'm likewise not happy about tax money being spent for purposes I would not approve. Some Christians even feel morally responsible for "Supporting sin" in these cases.

    But I have a question I don't know the answer to?

    What did Caesar use taxes to fund? Since Christ clearly said that due taxes should be paid to Caesar (and since the money bore Ceasar's image, I think we could further say that money IS a worldly institution - useful but in the end, of the world systems.

    I am thinking we are not ourselves liable for what our money is spent on. Our only legitimate options are to abandon money (at least as much as becomes taxable) or abandon our country, and these can be difficult.

    Whether taxation used to support things the people would not want to support is immoral is a different issue, but falls on the heads of the ones deciding. Even so, if their job is to represent the masses, if that's what the masses want, they might have excuse (though if my job forced me to do that, I'd hope I would resign).

    Putin is yet another matter. But running an entire country, he has much to provide for. It's not my business - I'm nit aware if any wrongdoing, but then I haven't looked for it. He should have his spiritual advisor/priest/whoever, and in the end it's between him and God. I'm not sure we can possibly know enough about what he's doing to judge him, and why would we? Anytime we are concerned for someone, since we can't go to him with the Church, our place is to pray. But I honestly doubt we know enough either way.
     
  10. hengesthorsa

    hengesthorsa Well-Known Member Supporter

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    These topics are of interest to me, but since I'm still a guest in TAW, I should probably keep my mouth mostly shut, rather than risk (unknowingly) teaching wrong.
    @gzt 's post, though, strikes me as very right. I was just working a prayer for the materialltly wealthy into my prayer booklet earlier today.
     
  11. Jesus4Madrid

    Jesus4Madrid Orthodox Christian

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    I see what you are saying. But our acquiescence to government taxation as per Christ’s words don’t necessarily make the government’s actions legitimate.

    Christ also commanded us to “turn the other cheek”, but that doesn’t mean assault is morally right. We can’t always control the actions of others but we can control ours. We put up with evil like Christ did. But just because we put up with it doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t denounce it for what it is.

    As for Putin, I agree with you. He has a tough job to do. I think it would be hard to follow Christ being the leader of any country. I would say that he seems to be relatively benign with respect to the Church compared to other world leaders, certainly compared to past presidents and leaders of Russia.
     
  12. ~Anastasia~

    ~Anastasia~ † Servant of God † Supporter CF Senior Ambassador

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    Putting forth your thoughts for comments upon them wouldn't be teaching, if you did in that manner.

    I would gues by the uncertainty around the fringe questions this might not be so cut and dried.

    We know what our own relationship with money should be. I'm not sure whether the Church has much to say about how we extend that out to how others deal with money. I'm honestly uncertain myself.
     
  13. ~Anastasia~

    ~Anastasia~ † Servant of God † Supporter CF Senior Ambassador

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    I'm not too sure on the tax matter. I'm more asking than saying for sure.

    I guess that's a benefit of not having much money. I don't have to worry about my larger impact, because I don't have much of any.
     
  14. gzt

    gzt The age of the Earth is 4.54 ± 0.07 billion years

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    Caesar's taxes were used to fund the repression of the very people he was taxing! And yet we're to give it up and then pray for Caesar as well.
     
  15. hengesthorsa

    hengesthorsa Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Hm.

    I confess I've never been certain how to take the "render what is Caesar's unto Caesar" remark, and don't know what an Orthodox understanding would be.

    The world is the same in that there are still civil authorities as there were. But many things that those in civil authority do have become unrecognizable. None of Jesus's contemporaries could have imagined that paying coins to Caesar and the imperial government could mean that soldiers, utterly without risk to themselves, could cause flying devices to rain death and dismemberment down on people half a world away. Or that the coins would be used to maintain an arsenal of unimaginably powerful weapons that seemed to violate the very nature of matter as humans experience it. I'm not saying these things are beyond God's ken, but it just doesn't seem reasonable to understand them as "included".

    About Putin, I think he's the worst "person" to happen to the Russian OC since the Soviets. Building churches when most of the existing churches are practically empty and only a tiny percentage of the population ever goes to services is no service to the church and mocks God. Further, Putin's use of church services is calculated to make him into a god in the eyes of the poorly catechized populace. His apparent pro-OC campaign confuses what is Caesar's and what is God's, which seems to me not only not consistent with the Gospel, but antithetical to it.

    Edit: plus he encourages phyletism, which is a heresy...
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2017
  16. hengesthorsa

    hengesthorsa Well-Known Member Supporter

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    double post.
     
  17. gurneyhalleck1

    gurneyhalleck1 auto-correct iPhone survivor

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    This is mostly speculation. I’ve talked to both Russians and non-Russians alike who’ve travelled there and were heartened and edifies as well as shocked to see massive numbers of Russians packing the churches in tight on Sundays. I hear frequently their attendance is outstanding!! And as for Putin’s motivation, you don’t really know that. Not everyone uses the Church as a tool for power-mongering despotism and brainwashing.

    Nationalism and pride of heritage, patriotism and a strong religious passion renewed in the heart of a nation still recovering from toxic atheism is not tantamount to phyletism.

    I like Putin. I also like Trump.....and I’m tired of leftist globalism and the anti-borders one world order secular humanist crowd. Both of these gentlemen strike terror in the house of cards that is NWO/globalism!!

     
  18. hengesthorsa

    hengesthorsa Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I didn't say everyone did, I said that Putin did (in my opinion). Further, I don't imagine that I can read Putin's heart. I guess at his motivation by his public actions, the same way anyone evaluates anyone's behavior.

    By promoting nationalism and promoting a "state church" and the notion that it's not only not for the country but a specific ethnicity, he is in fact promoting phyletism.

    The Russian patriot Dmitri Likhachev said that patriotism is love for one's country and nationalism is hatred of all others. In my opinion, Putin pushes a toxic brew of nationalism / phyletism, not patriotism (love of one's country).

    But of course this is not supposed to be a political thread...but as much as my opinion of this apparent promotion of the Russian OC is relevant to the thread...I hear on here all the time about people who are trying to "change the Gospel" or "change the Church." Well, my understanding of Putin's apparent promotion of the ROC is that he's promoting heresy instead of the faith of the apostles, using the visible apparatus of the Church to do it.
     
  19. gurneyhalleck1

    gurneyhalleck1 auto-correct iPhone survivor

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    I see no heresy promoted, just church-building, financial support, encouraging traditional morality, and repairing what the commie atheists tore apart. Putin is a convenient boogeyman in a world much more complicated than all that. The patriarch and most bishops seem extremely appreciative and supportive of President Putin.

    With regard to patriotism, he seems to have it and support it in spades.

    I think until one lives in Russia like Rusmeister or travels there frequently, Western CNN-like fake news filters and media bias make caricatures and sound bites.

     
  20. prodromos

    prodromos Senior Veteran Supporter

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    Who was that monk who cried out to God, asking how He could permit them to be ruled by such a tyrant? God replied to him, "Because I could find no one worse". We need to understand that God permits us to be ruled by the unjust in order for us to have opportunity to be made perfect.
     
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