OK to steal if you’re poor

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According to a British priest, it’s ok to steal if you’re poor enough. Along with that condition, he goes on to add…

“I would ask that they do not steal from small, family businesses, but from large national businesses, knowing that the costs are ultimately passed on to the rest of us in the form of higher prices.
“I would ask them not to take any more than they need, for any longer than they need.”

Now how exactly does this jive with “thou shalt not steal”? Well I can’t see how, but that hardly matters for the faithful, now does it? How many times do we see the Christian bible invoked when it asserts what they want, like oppressing gays, yet ignored when it comes to everything from the mundane (wearing polyester or any blended fabrics, eating or handling pork or shellfish, allowing men who lost a testicle or two into church) to the serious (like killing your unruly child). The justifications for ignoring those rules can range from creative to thoughtless. For instance, things in Leviticus were meant only for Levites, however bring that up whenever someone invokes Leviticus to justify discriminating against gays and then you’ll hear some excuse as to why that’s different.

My intent isn’t to spar back and forth over which scripture trumps others. Instead, I’d like to point to engaging in that practice as evidence against the alleged moral absolute of the Christian bible and that it is the source of morality. The latter is truly ridiculous and hardly worthy of attention since it’s quite easy to point to historical examples of humanity behaving in what we’d consider morally good ways either before the Christian bible or where it had never reached. In fact, even within the book there’s an example of not just a non-believer acting good but believers acting bad in the story of the good Samaritan. No it’s the former which deserves attention here, for how do people decide what trumps what in their bible and more importantly, how do they know they’re correct when they disregard it altogether? Now a believer can offer ideas such as being personally driven by their god, but I think it’s far more likely what’s driving them is instead social morals.

Now where do social morals come from? Excellent question, but difficult to answer. There could be genetics involved, as this study shows markers for empathy. Whatever ideas were implanted into you when young, via family and so forth, could play a part. Government policies, activist groups, and of course basic observations and assessments of ideas in action could shape society opinions. Social morality then may appear to be a ship riding atop murky, turbulent waters, but it could also be one that we’re all in various ways helping to steer. Maybe instead, when you look closer, it’s a collection of tiny ships and occasionally a few or even one charts a course in a direction that others see is worth following. I don’t know, but believing there’s an absolute morality to adhere to is like believing you’re anchored when it’s obvious you and others are moving, and perhaps even rowing here and there as well.

So is the priest justified in what he’s preaching regarding when and how it’s ok to steal? Well that’s open to debate, but it doesn’t appear he arrived at his opinion by being anchored to a book.
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7 Responses to “OK to steal if you’re poor”

  1. … it doesn’t appear he arrived at his opinion by being anchored to a book.
    Well, maybe he was. The book just wasn't the bible. Perhaps he recently read The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood.

  2. Hey, don't knock The Merry Adventures. The morality of most of those tales beats the morality of many Bible tales hands down. :D

  3. Some parts of the Bible say that it is okay to steal:

    Ezekiel 39:10
    They shall spoil those that spoiled them, and rob those that robben them, saith the Lord God.

    Nahum 2:9
    Take ye the spoil of silver, take the spoil of gold: for there is none end of the store and glory out of all the pleasant furniture.

  4. Ha Ha! I guess it's true – one can support any position with a quote or two from the Good Book.

  5. That's what makes it such a good book. :)

  6. Elderly neighbour cold-called 02/11/2012 by Susan Watts of TRINITY, Apartado de Correos 11001, 07010 Mallorca, ofrfeing a35,000 for her 1 week timeshare in Spain, and asking for a3907.50 advance payment by international transfer to an account in Palma for administration fees . Letter was received from Trinity with details of account to which advance payment is to be transferred (IBAN: ES67 0061 0180 6101 0605 0119, SWIFT: BMARES2M), but no description of service to be supplied or Terms and Conditions. Neighbour has been target of multiple Timeshare scams in the past, including one by KPK Marketing, Kensington High Street, London. Interesting to note the UK contact number for Trinity is identical to the one used by KPK Marketing: 0845 303 2794. Trinity is obviously operating a Timeshare resale scam specifically designed and targeted at the elderly. Makes me feel sick!

  7. Some parts of the Bible say that it is okay to steal:

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