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David Bokovoy

Social Justice in the Bible

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To arms, citizens!

Form up your battalions

Let us march, Let us march!

That their impure blood

Should water our fields

I always knew you were a dirty socialist. Your ideology is almost as filthy as my libertarianism. :P

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I am curious to know how David (and others who are supporting him, including the author book he is promoting) actually define "social justice". As somebody else pointed out, the term "social justice" does not occur in the Bible, but the term justice does. So what is the difference between "justice" (without the prefix "social" added to it), and "justice" with the prefix added to it? What is the difference between plain justice and social justice? Why confuse the issue by substituting a biblical term, which is perfectly adequate for the discussion, with a non-biblical contemporary term with obvious socialist-Marxist overtones

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The term "social" is an adjective describing issues relating to human society and communal activity. Social justice refers to the just treatment of individuals who occupy human society and who participate in communal activity.

In the context of biblical views regarding social justice and equity, these conceptions appear directly linked with taking care of the poor and needy by forgiving their debts, and making sure that they had enough food, clothing, and shelter to live comfortably. This perspective on social justice stands at the very heart of the kingdom of God as defined in both the Old and New Testaments.

The terminology used in the Bible for that concept is "justice," not "social justice". Why do you think the native biblical term for that concept is inadequate for task to which it is contextually applied, and you need to substitute it with "social justice"? Why did the biblical authors found the term "justice" adequate to describe the concept you are referring to, but you don't? People have been reading the Bible for thousands of years, and have had no difficulty understanding meaning of the word "justice" as taught in the Bible. Indeed, the concept of justice (and kindness and compassion) towards the poor and the needy seems to be central to the Savior's message and teachings (e.g. the parable of the rich man and the beggar). Nobody throughout Christian (or Jewish) history has ever had difficulty understanding the meaning of that message from the terminology already in use in the Bible. What do you think the addition of this contemporary terminology adds to the biblical message that could not already be gleaned from it with the native terminology already in use in the Bible?

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The terminology used in the Bible for that concept is "justice," not "social justice". Why do you think the native biblical term for that concept is inadequate for task to which it is contextually applied, and you need to substitute it with "social justice"? Why did the biblical authors found the term "justice" adequate to describe the concept you are referring to, but you don't? People have been reading the Bible for thousands of years, and have had no difficulty understanding meaning of the word "justice" as taught in the Bible. Indeed, the concept of justice (and kindness and compassion) towards the poor and the needy seems to be central to the Savior's message and teachings (e.g. the parable of the rich man and the beggar). Nobody throughout Christian (or Jewish) history has ever had difficulty understanding the meaning of that message from the terminology already in use in the Bible. What do you think the addition of this contemporary terminology adds to the biblical message that could not already be gleaned from it with the native terminology already in use in the Bible?

The term in this thread comes from the name of the book. As volgadon has pointed out, the term "social justice" in other countries doesn't get the knee-jerk reaction it does here in America.

I really don't understand the objection to the adjective "social." The "justice" in the Bible is often directed at the "society" of Israel.

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For those who have a Beck-like sensitivity to the term "social justice," may I offer up philosopher Edward Feser's paper "Social Justice Reconsidered: Austrian Economics and Catholic Social Teaching." Feser is a Roman Catholic, a conservative (he abandoned libertarianism for philosophical reasons), and obviously a student of Austrian economics (he is the editor of The Cambridge Companion to Hayek, Cambridge University Press, 2006).

Feser's approach is based on Thomist-Aristotelian metaphysics rather than ancient Israelite practice, but it is worth the read. I hope that it will calm our conservative friends down.

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Most of this is clearly over my head, but I do find it interesting.

So, the "social justice" you speak of, is biblical, and has to do with God's people keeping themselves clean and pure...acceptable before God?

As illustrated by the citation of Isaiah 6, the responsibility to be clean and pure according to biblical conceptions was both an individual and a communal issue. Contrary to what a few others in this thread have suggested, communal salvation and sin is an extremely important religious concept in the Bible, especially in the context of the Priestly view of impurity.

For example, Leviticus 4:3-21 deals specifically with sins that have brought guilt upon the collective community. Note that the sin offerings discussed in this section provide atonement for

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From a biblical perspective, both salvation and morality were very much a communal affair.

Until either you, or someone else here wishes to actually define the term "social justice" in other than vague, nebulous rhetoric invoking concepts like "just" and "equitable" and "compassionate," etc., this ongoing attempt to insert fashionable academic ideologies into the gospel of Jesus Christ will be able to continue wrapped in its own cocoon of lofty verbiage substantially immune from criticism through as it hides behind its sloppy use of language, which, I suspect, is the modus operandi in play here.

Communal morality? What on earth is that, and how would such a concept (assuming you can define it with any degree of philosophcial or logical clarity) be integrated with the established doctrines regarding the plan of salvation, faith, justification, sacntification, and individual free agency that are at the foundation of the entire gospel system?

Are communities moral or immoral, or are individuals? Does a community make a decision (as if it was an independent, unitary entity with its own will and motives) to sin or live righteously, or individuals within communities who make individual decisions as to how they will live within the context of a larger of social, political, and economic relations and within which a heterogeneous mix of individuals make varying decisions as to righteousness/salvation within but also independent of the community as an organized body of individuals?

Is a community an entity, with its own separate existence, motives, will, and goals independent of its members but in some sense containing the will and desires of them as some moral/psychological mean or average, or is it simply what the word implies it to be: a grouping of individuals who live together in proximity to each other and share certain physical, political, and social amenities?

If morality and salvation can truly be understood to be communal, or collective, then this explicitly implies that personal accountability for sin, as well as for decisions made as to moral/immoral conduct in any given situation, do not inhere in the individual per se but are diffused throughout the collective. This implies in turn that the sins of one are in some sense shared by the other members of the group in both a legal and metaphysical sense, and the righteousness of one can likewise by imputed to, or shared by other members of the group.

Personal, individual responsibility for behavior must evaporate in such as system, and with this must also go the whole concept that each will be judged for his own sins, thoughts, and desires of his heart while in mortality. If a collective shares in both the sins and the righteousness of its individual members, then both accountability for sin and blessings or righteousness are diffused and diluted throughout the whole and the whole becomes accountable before God, not the actual willing, thinking, choosing, behaving individual members of it.

This means that individuals don't really have to keep the commandments to a substantial degree at all to be understood to be living righteously and worthy of all the blessings of the gospel. To the degree that the collective absorbs and diffuses moral and spiritual features that otherwise inhere in individuals, he is buffered from the full effects of his life choices. Alternatively, one can rely on being a member of a certain sub-group within the community to further absorb personal sin and assure communal salvation independent of individual living of the gospel. For David, being among "the poor" fulfills this condition. The poor are a special and unique identity group within the gospel that has a special group claim to both the blessings of this world at the expense of others, as well as salvation in the world to come as a member of a unitary class called "the poor." that has, as a class, a special claim upon salvation.

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I never realized that "social justice" was a bad thing until Glenn Beck started making a big deal about it (and consequently other conservatives as well).

While it is certainly one catch phrase among many in various political crusades, I can't see anything wrong with wanting a just society.

The concept itself does not and cannot exist within the context of a free, rule of law based society grounded in the concept of equality under the law, which is precisely why it does not exist in the Consittution. The Constitution knows nothing of grouups; the entire thrust of its vairous rights, protections, and immunities inhere in individuals and only in individuals, which are the only units of a human community they can inhere in without an a return to the status based societies of the past that are inimical to both individual freedom and the unalienable rights upon which such an open, liberty/agency based social order is grounded.

What is a "just society"? Is this a society in which justice exists and in which all stand before the same law on an equal footing, or does this mean a society in which the material, economic, social, edicational, and individual conditions of all have been architecturally planned and structured such that injustice (in this sense) cannot occur because there is little or no freedom to be just or unjust outside the enforced framework within which justice/injustice are defined and enforced?

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It could have and Marx would have meant many of the same things I did. I don't imagine Karl Marx to have been some kind of hellspawn. Social justice is what I described. The sentence is only vague if you want to politically spin it. I don't.

You have described precisely nothing at all, as of yet. I'm still waiting for a conceptual and philosophical elucidation of the meaning of your terms that do not rely on vague, self referential tautologies, as wonderful and sugary as they may sound.

As to Marx, he was a theorist of totalitarian utopian collectivism, and knew very well that he was. Virtually each and every one of his core principles is unalterably opposed to the gospel of Jesus Christ. His ideas, in various forms and schools, has killed well over one hundred million human beings just in the 20th century.

It is a traditional term. It means what it means.

Which is?

It includes the basic principles of equality, recognizes the value of human rights, and the dignity of each human.

You're still not defining anything here, but throwing out ever more terms that themselves are then in need of definition.

I don't care how the 'Right' wants to spin what the 'Left' means when they say it.

Interesting indication of the effect of popular postmodern concepts and sensibilities on the processes of thought.

Words don't really mean things at all. Each "text" resides in its own isolated definitional world immune to criticism from without.

I

t is in that I enjoy each of their salvation as much as my own. I think we're quibbling minor points here that neither of us can (or should) speak definitively of unless you have had a lot more revelation on this topic then I have.

Fine, but that's not where David has been coming from for a long time. These are not quibbles in his case.

I don't believe the Left is a conspiracy nor do I think they are hiding some kind of agenda as you seem to.

The "Left" is a movement that seeks the undoing of both the classical liberal wing of the Enlightenment as well as the Judeo-Christian moral/social basis of western civilization (as well as similar conditions among other cultures). It contains conspiracies (Jacobins, Bolsheviks, the Soviet Union itself and its subversive actives throughout the Cold War through its various communist parties in various nations, the Sandinistas, the Fabians in Britain, the Alinskyite transformational socialists here, the DSA, Soros etc.) in different sense; some illegal and seeking the overthrow of existing democratic society, and hence which must thoroughly hide and lie regarding its activities, and others seeking a transformational or evolutionary movement towards socialism (such as the old Fabians, and modern transformational socialists such as Barack Obama and entities such as the DSA) who's desires and politics are partly open to view and public scrutiny, but who also prefer to keep their more radical proposals hidden due to the need to appear "moderate."

No one is talking about "conspiracy theories" in the common, popular sense here.

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I disagree and as our ideas haven't been tried (with the possible exceptions of a few ancient historical people of whom we have little record) you can't say that definitively. The philosophies of men, including conservative ideology, are as foolishness to God.

1. There is no such thing, in a very salient sense, as "conservative ideology."

2. Contemporary conservatism, as a system contains any number of gospel truths, imperfectly articulated and understood, perhaps, but truths nonetheless, as does the Constitution, which you have just all but defined as "foolish.'

I don't think you've been listening. I don't think Zion leads to a technologically regressive society.

The problem here is not what you think, Nehor, its where your ideas will invariably lead when put into practice.

I don't see how a concern for protecting the beauty of the earth leads to technological regression either.

That has nothing whatsoever to do with the contemporary environmental movement. That's the old...very old conservation movement, of which I consider myself a life long member.

Most likely, it is a false choice. I expect the final Zion of our God to be more advanced then any civilization that has ever existed.

As do I, and hence, by definition, a perfected, refined, expanded form of free market economic relations between the righteous, in which the economic problems caused by wickedness will no longer be a hindrance.

Ummm...you do realize we're still only maybe three generations removed from the most devastating war in the history of the planet. We are currently fighting several more. I don't think peace is the problem.

Our scriptures warn, Nehor, of those who cry "peace" in the last days when there is no peace. Moral clarity and realism are virtues, Nehor, and the Lord has never denied his people either, as to their relations with other nations and peoples.

I agree that sin and weakness are problems and would argue they are tied to our problems with enemies. You and I have argued the justice of our current foreign wars too though and I doubt this discussion would go anywhere new.

That would, indeed, derail the thread.

I also disagree that many of the causes you would call phantoms are phantoms.

Well, I suspected you might.

They can be a distraction I admit. Sin is our real problem. However I would put unbridled capitalism,

I have no idea what this means.

excessively unequal distribution of wealth,

No idea what this means, or why it should be a concern.

continued offensive wars to keep us 'safe',

None of our present wars, irregarless of what one might think of their propriety or management, can remotely be constured as "offensive," in my view.

the political 'war' between left and right,

Well, that's just the same old war between "the Sons of Light and the Sons of Darkness" that has been going on since the Great Council, and will continue until the end. That war is inherent in the human condition and its spiritual dynamics. Don't stay up late waiting for it to end until...the End.

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I dislike discussing salvation in those terms. It seems one-sided and interested mainly in works. I would say it is more the atonement of Christ working through/with us to cause us to repent and to change us into the desired outcome.

Nehor becomes a Born Again Christian?

Interesting shift.

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I am curious to know how David (and others who are supporting him, including the author book he is promoting) actually define "social justice". As somebody else pointed out, the term "social justice" does not occur in the Bible, but the term justice does. So what is the difference between "justice" (without the prefix "social" added to it), and "justice" with the prefix added to it? What is the difference between plain justice and social justice? Why confuse the issue by substituting a biblical term, which is perfectly adequate for the discussion, with a non-biblical contemporary term with obvious socialist-Marxist overtones

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Until either you, or someone else here wishes to actually define the term "social justice" in other than vague, nebulous rhetoric invoking concepts like "just" and "equitable" and "compassionate," etc., this ongoing attempt to insert fashionable academic ideologies into the gospel of Jesus Christ will be able to continue wrapped in its own cocoon of lofty verbiage substantially immune from criticism through as it hides behind its sloppy use of language, which, I suspect, is the modus operandi in play here.

Sloppy, verbose, nebulous language?!!! Pot meet kettle, kettle, this is pot. :P

The biblical conception of social justice has been clearly defined in this thread.

Communal morality? What on earth is that...

The community is very much a living entity capable of accumulating collective guilt from a biblical perspective. To begin to understand this biblical view, you should start with the effects of punishment versus blessing in Deuteronomy:

"I the LORD your God am a jealous God, punishing children for the iniquity of parents, to the third and fourth generation of those who reject me, but showing steadfast love to the thousandth generation of those who love me and keep my commandments" (Deuteronomy 5:9-10; NRSV).

God punishes people for sins that their parent committed up until the third and fourth generation after the act, i.e. group responsibility (this becomes the justification of the Babylonian exile according the the Deuteronomistic historian). The Lord is gracious, however, for the righteous deeds of parents extend blessings to their posterity for a thousand generations, not just three or four.

And lest one assume that these concepts are simply biblical and do not reflect precepts found in the Restoration, note the following quotes featured on the official lds website pertaining to communal salvation in the context of the family:

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Personal, individual responsibility for behavior must evaporate in such as system, and with this must also go the whole concept that each will be judged for his own sins, thoughts, and desires of his heart while in mortality. If a collective shares in both the sins and the righteousness of its individual members, then both accountability for sin and blessings or righteousness are diffused and diluted throughout the whole and the whole becomes accountable before God, not the actual willing, thinking, choosing, behaving individual members of it.

Actually personal, individual responsibility is elevated in such a system because individuals are aware of their interdependence. They know that their actions have consequences which reach farther than their own doorsteps.

The blinding lie of extreme individualism is that private morality has no social impact.

How would society be different if every individual honored his marriage vows, was completely honest in business dealings, and kept the 10 commandments? How about if every individual who was able, worked diligently to be self-sufficient? What if every individual who had surplus used it to feed those whose efforts did not satisfy their needs?

Individual behavior, righteous or wicked, has communal consequences. A man's eternal fate may rest on his own sins, but that doesn't mean consequences aren't brought upon innocents by the sins of a few or that an unrighteous society can't be saved by a few good men.

In terms of practical application, the only question worth asking in a less than ideal society like ours is "Will I let other mens' wickedness excuse my failure to live my covenants or will I be one of the few whose righteousness possibly spares the goup?"

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Does this Biblical "social" justice include rejection of the 8th commandment?

Or, is theft ok, as long as you are only stealing from someone more wealthy than yourself?

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I don't think the "social justice" of the Bible is the same "social justice" preached by today's race hustlers and wanna be government do gooders.

I quite agree with you. And in agreeing with you, wonder why you would even think to ask the following:

Does this Biblical "social" justice include rejection of the 8th commandment?

Or, is theft ok, as long as you are only stealing from someone more wealthy than yourself?

To me this implies that you are equating the modern version of forced redistribution with the creation of a responsible social climate by covenant as would have existed under Biblical law.

Do you see these two versions of "social justice" as different or not?

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Does this Biblical "social" justice include rejection of the 8th commandment?

Or, is theft ok, as long as you are only stealing from someone more wealthy than yourself?

Democracy = theft. Got it.

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I quite agree with you. And in agreeing with you, wonder why you would even think to ask the following:

Nice to hear.

To me this implies that you are equating the modern version of forced redistribution with the creation of a responsible social climate by covenant as would have existed under Biblical law.

Not at all. Perhaps I was unclear.

Do you see these two versions of "social justice" as different or not?

Just trying to emphasize the point that "social justice" in modern US has NOTHING to do with Biblical justice.

"Social justice" has come to mean theft is ok as long as you are stealing from someone (or group) that is perceived to be more wealthy than you or your group, regardless for the reason for this difference.

If theft is wrong under any circumstance, then "social justice" does not and can not be equated with Biblical justice.

Those that are using "social justice" when "justice" is more accurate are doing their argument a disservice, if their intent is to discuss Biblical justice. A good many people hear "social justice" and we automatically are turned off. "Social justice" has become code for something quite the opposite to Biblical justice. The resistance to dumping the "social" is an indication that the real intent is to include the "code" in such a way as to equate the two.

If that is not the real intent, then do everybody a favor and DUMP the "social"!

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Democracy = theft. Got it.

YUP!

Democracy is two wolves and a sheep voting on what's for dinner.

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Democracy = theft. Got it.

Yup:

Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote.

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YUP!

Democracy is two wolves and a sheep voting on what's for dinner.

Beat me by a hairlash!

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Beat me by a hairlash!

Sorry. :P I think you said it better.

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Those that are using "social justice" when "justice" is more accurate are doing their argument a disservice, if their intent is to discuss Biblical justice. A good many people hear "social justice" and we automatically are turned off. "Social justice" has become code for something quite the opposite to Biblical justice. The resistance to dumping the "social" is an indication that the real intent is to include the "code" in such a way as to equate the two.

If that is not the real intent, then DUMP the "social"!

I understand and agree that using language that has been abused and misused in the political realm can cause problems. Where I disagree is with the statement that not dumping "social" indicates a nefarious intent. It certainly doesn't in my case - not one bit!

For my part, "social" means just what it says. After all, we're talking about the individual's responsibility to and impact on his fellow men, or society. :P

edit: When I say "justice" without the modifier, I think of the kind of karmic law of the harvest that individuals experience in consequence of their actions rather than the specific impact those actions have on society.

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You have described precisely nothing at all, as of yet. I'm still waiting for a conceptual and philosophical elucidation of the meaning of your terms that do not rely on vague, self referential tautologies, as wonderful and sugary as they may sound.

They aren't specific.

As to Marx, he was a theorist of totalitarian utopian collectivism, and knew very well that he was. Virtually each and every one of his core principles is unalterably opposed to the gospel of Jesus Christ. His ideas, in various forms and schools, has killed well over one hundred million human beings just in the 20th century.

No.

Stalin and other communist leaders did. I have little doubt Marx would have been appalled to hear that Russia was going to try his theories first and would have said that Russia was not ready at all. Marx didn't want millions dead.

Which is?

Interesting indication of the effect of popular postmodern concepts and sensibilities on the processes of thought.

Words don't really mean things at all. Each "text" resides in its own isolated definitional world immune to criticism from without.

I meant I refuse to let conservative rhetoric and demonization of terms used by the left change what words mean. I despise that kind of political correctness that turns every term used by your 'enemies' into some kind of Orwellian opposite.

Fine, but that's not where David has been coming from for a long time. These are not quibbles in his case.

Okay, then I will stay out of that argument.

The "Left" is a movement that seeks the undoing of both the classical liberal wing of the Enlightenment as well as the Judeo-Christian moral/social basis of western civilization (as well as similar conditions among other cultures).

No, it isn't.

It contains conspiracies (Jacobins, Bolsheviks, the Soviet Union itself and its subversive actives throughout the Cold War through its various communist parties in various nations, the Sandinistas, the Fabians in Britain, the Alinskyite transformational socialists here, the DSA, Soros etc.) in different sense; some illegal and seeking the overthrow of existing democratic society, and hence which must thoroughly hide and lie regarding its activities, and others seeking a transformational or evolutionary movement towards socialism (such as the old Fabians, and modern transformational socialists such as Barack Obama and entities such as the DSA) who's desires and politics are partly open to view and public scrutiny, but who also prefer to keep their more radical proposals hidden due to the need to appear "moderate."

I disagree completely.

No one is talking about "conspiracy theories" in the common, popular sense here.

What would be the difference?

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The term in this thread comes from the name of the book.

It makes no difference where it comes from. It still needs to be defined, and distinguished form plain

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