Re: Debate [RE: Anniversary motto]

Gregory Alan Bolcer (
Thu, 07 May 1998 10:31:41 -0700

> > Also let's not forget the Price/Costco Vs Sam's Club debate.
> Let's not fool around. We want a debate? Let's pick a topic with some legs:
> Is one saved by faith and deeds, or by faith alone?
> Recommended reading:
> 1. <>
> 2. <>

I am going to quote one of my favorite texts which I won't
name here as I have been accused of going on about it too

Downsizing the Church - John Dale Davidson, Lord William Rees-Mogg

By the end of the fifteenth centurey, the Church was not only as accrupt
as the nation-state today; it was also a major drag on economic growth.
the Chruch engrossed large amounts of capital in unproductive ways,
imposing burdens that limited the output of society and suppressed
commerce. These burdens, like those imposed the by nation-state today,
were numerous. We know what happened to organized religion in the wkae
of the Gunpowder Revolution: it created strong incentives to downsize
religious institutions and lower their costs. When the traditional
Church declined to do this, Protestant sects seized the opportunity to
compete. In so doing they employed almost every device imaginable to
reduce the cost of living a pious life: [faith over deeds -gab]

o They built spare new churches and sometiems stripped the
altars of older ones to free capital for other uses.
o They revices Christian doctrine in ways that lowered
costs, emphasizing faith over good deeds as a key to
o They developed a new, terse liturgy, pared or eliminated
feast days [holidays where one couldn't work but had
to not only lose income, but spend it on deeds to demonstrate
their piety -gab], and abolished numerous sacraments.
o They closed monasteries and nunneries, and stopped giving
alms to mendicant orders. Poverty went from being an
apolistic virtue to an unwelcome and often blameworthy
social problem.

[Downsizing of the church liberated productivity; summarized below - gab]

1) direct costs such as tithes, taxes, and fees fed the overgrown
ecclesiastical bureacracy. The end of the monopoly of the "Holy
Mother Church" led to declining marginal tax rates in regions with the
most highly developed commerce. [Anyone see the parallel to
out most highly developed commerce region of cyberspace, E-Commerce
and the Internet Tax Freedom Act? -gab]

2) Religious doctrines made saving difficult. The arch-villian of
medieval Church was the "miser, the person who saved his gold at the
risk of his soul. The requirement for the faithful to fund "good deeds"
entailed costly contributions to the church. [Anyone see the
big-government advocates such as the liberals in this country are against
a flat tax, for escalated rate taxes, and for passing inheritance caps
for the dollar amounts that can be passed onto children. - gab]

3) The ideology of the medieval Church also encouraged diversion of
capital into acquisition of relics as a return on capital investment.
[Hell, the stock market's doing just fine, never mind those numbers
behind the curtain. Anyone own any Tokyo real estate? -gab]

4) The Protestant revolution abolished many of the rites and rituals of
the medieval Church that burdened the time of the faithful. [Let's see,
Mother's day, Father's day, Grandmother's day, President's day, MLK day,
etc.; Also, has anyone noticed the more and more elaborate government
regulations and requirements for just trying to be a 'faithful' (law-
abiding) member of society? Doesn't this shrink the time available
for productive tasks? -gab]

I'd say it's about time for another 500 year cycle, another great
reformation perhaps; not religion, politics.