What Did Jesus Say?
- Some may wonder what is appropriate in submitting to the Steiner list a perspective on the US's disasterous current financial catastrophe. I feel this particular posting is an excellent example of what Steiner so often warned us to watch for regarding the ever increasing attacks from those Ahriman beings, with Lucifer and his crowd also present, and secondarily a deeply Christian simile bringing Light as might be applied to such an event.
On Michaelmas Day, Monday 29 Sept 3:23pm the Paulson bailout bill was rejected by the House of Representatives by a margin of 23 votes (they would unfortunately submit to fraudulent psycho-terrorism and pass it the following Friday) by a margin of 49 votes.Take a look at the text of the Gospel of Matthew chapter 18 and then look at the following piece by Michael Hudson. Of course one can say that Jesus is here talking about 'trespasses' in a much wider sense than monetary debts, but it is nevertheless of 'interest' that the example of monetary debt was chosen to illustrate the lesson. Hudson shows how this can be very specifically related to the Paulson Bailout Bill disaster.
What Did Jesus Say?
A Christian Perspective on the Paulson Bank Bailout
By MICHAEL HUDSON (economist)18:21 Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?
18:22 Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.
18:23 Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants.
18:24 And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents.
18:25 But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made.
18:26 The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.
18:27 Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt.
18:28 But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest.
18:29 And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.
18:30 And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt.
18:31 So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done.
18:32 Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me:
18:33 Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee?
18:34 And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.
18:35 So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.
What Did Jesus Say?
A Christian Perspective on the Paulson Bank Bailout
By MICHAEL HUDSON
An unprecedented popular protest led Congress to reject the Treasury’s initial bailout plan on Monday, September 29. Most commentators have noted how ironic and seemingly out-of-character it was that the bailout was defeated mainly by Republicans, and indeed by the party’s right-wing Bible Belt Conservatives. But would it be too much to hope that these Congressmen bore in mind the Christian ethic embodied in the Gospel according to Matthew, chapter 18 – almost literally a Biblical condemnation of the bailout’s terms?
This wonderful passage describes how Peter came to Jesus and asked about forgiveness – mainly the forgiveness of debts. In ancient languages the words for “sin” and “debt” were the same, in an epoch when sinners typically atoned for their offenses and “trespasses” by making a compensation payment.
Jesus told a parable of a king calling in one of his officials, who owed him 10 thousand talents – not unlike today’s government seeking to collect monies due from Citibank, JPMorgan Chase and other Wall Street financial firms. When the royal servant was unable to come up with the money, the king consigned him and his family to debt bondage. But the official “fell down and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.” The analogy here is with Mr. Paulson’s allies on Wall Street promising that, somehow, the Treasury may end up being repaid and may even make a profit by buying $700 billion in junk mortgages.
“Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt.” This is what the compassionate Mr. Paulson is proposing to do. The Treasury will buy “trash for cash,” taking junk mortgages and other bad loans at whatever price the financial speculators paid, without obliging them to take a loss.
In the Matthew 18 parable the royal official “went out and found one of his fellow servants, who owed him a hundred pence; and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, ‘Pay me what you owe.’” The debtor begged the creditor for forgiveness just as the creditor himself had begged the king. But the creditor was not moved, and “went out and cast the debtor into prison, till he should pay the debt.”
Other debtors saw what was happening and worried that the same fate was in store for them, so they went to the king and told him what had happened. The king got angry and called in the creditor and said, ‘Oh, thou wicked servant. I forgave thee all that debt … shouldn’t you also have had compassion on thy fellow servant, even as I had pity on thee?’ The king then threw him “to his tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.”
This is where Congress has dropped the ball. It is telling the banks – and the administrators whom the Treasury is hiring to recover “taxpayer money” – to act in a hard-hearted way and lead the economy even further down the road to debt peonage. Consumers, homeowners and other debtors defaulting on their student loans, car loans and medical debts are not to get relief from the shrinking economy, rising consumer prices and falling asset prices. But Wall Street is to be able to avoid any loss at all. It is supposed to repay in five years – that is, two presidential terms from now.
So the Christian parallel is broken. The moral in the above parable, Jesus explained (Matthew 18:35), was that “So likewise shall my heavenly Father do unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses,” that is, their debts. But Wall Street and Congress must be atheists, because the way that matters are working out today, only the wealthy are being forgiven their debts, not the poor. The big sinners are going free, their victims are being stripped of their assets.
This is what happened historically in the Roman Empire on its way to debt bondage and serfdom. That is the secular road on which Congress set the economy last week.
Michael Hudson is Distinguished Research Professor at University of Missouri, Kansas City (UMKC), he is the author of many books, including Super Imperialism: The Economic Strategy of American Empire (new ed., Pluto Press, 2002), as well as books on economics and debt in the ancient world. He can be reached via his website, mh@...
- Robert's choice of lecture to be viewed for his 'Sleep on it' post points to important 'keys' concerning today's wordly woes. (surprised?) Though at the time Steiner discussed central Europe's particular and immediate dilemna, through reviewing it, we can pick up clues to the source of a still lingering problem, much more developed in our day, and not so easily resolved, evidently. c.
RS: "...We look to the West and find a civilization that strives to become completely materialistic, though it has, at least, a certain inner surety of instinct and on this account cannot completely drown in materialism. We look to the East and find a cultural life that despises the West and us too, for the Eastern culture still clings to an ancient spirituality and is renewing it in a certain way. We stand between these and are called to find the right path between Western materialism, and Eastern spirituality (which is not suitable for us). We in Central Europe should become conscious of our great responsibility and conscious, too, how much our sense of responsibility for this position has been lost in the last decades. What has our spiritual life become? An appendage to the political life and to the economic life. The state as trustee of the spiritual [cultural] life, especially of education, has destroyed the spiritual life. The economic life on which we depend for our daily bread has further destroyed us. We require a free spiritual life, for only into such can we introduce that which the spiritual world would reveal to mankind. This stream of spiritual life must descend! But it will never reveal itself to the servant of the state, the state professor; and it will never reveal itself to one who, in the spiritual life, is the coolie of the economic life. It will only reveal itself to him who has daily to struggle with the spiritual life and stands within the free life of the spirit. Our age requires the life of the spirit to be set free from the shackles of the state and of economics....
...Versailles is senseless because of the men taking part. The will not to see events as they are is still a witness to the fact that men's souls are asleep; otherwise they would have said long ago: The delegates to Versailles whom we have sent are as unfitted as possible to understand the present moment of world history. One will only judge these things correctly when one becomes conscious of responsibility towards the spirit when one recognises that we are living in a very important moment of the world's history and that it is our duty to take things very seriously. In certain fields there is much talk about this, that and the other, and it is more comfortable to say: those who hold the responsible positions will manage somehow. But nothing good can come if those who hold responsible positions to-day still harbour the old thoughts. Whether they be old-fashioned aristocrats, or decadent aristocrats, or Marxian Socialists who know nothing about the world but, at most, have absorbed something of Marx' "Kapital" whoever they be nothing good can come if they do not develop the will to turn their souls from the old to new thoughts. The revolution of the 9th [of] November, 1918, was no revolution, for what has changed is only the external stucco. But what is trying to change can be seen most clearly in those who now wear the outward stucco instead of those who wore it previously. It is necessary to see what lies at the base of all this. But thoughts are necessary, and for these one must have the will; and this will can only come when trained through active intercourse with the spiritual world. On this account active intercourse with the spiritual world is the sole real balsam that humanity needs.."
SOME CHARACTERISTICS OF TO-DAY