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Let's pretend Jesus is real
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HairOfTheDog Offline
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Post: #15
RE: Let's pretend Jesus is real

What's fucking crazy to me is the fact that religious organizations don't pay a dime in taxes.

The government allows them to maintain tax-free status even though the larger religious organizations rake in tons of money from their followers; it's big business.

Plus, religious organizations are exempt from sales taxes on their purchases. They're exempt from property taxes. They're exempt from capital gains tax when they sell off assets.

Priests, ministers, rabbis and the like get "parsonage exemptions" in the U.S. too. That means that they're able to deduct mortgage payments, rent and other living expenses when they're doing their income taxes. They also are the only group allowed to opt out of Social Security taxes.

So, they take in billions of dollars a year and aren't required to contribute a piece of it to provide for the whole of society like other businesses and individuals.

I've always believed religious businesses should be subject to the same taxes as other businesses. But, some politicians and administrations benefit immensely from religions that help control people's thoughts and behavior. Religious organizations also deliver large voter blocks to those politicians and administrations who court them. So, unfortunately, I don't think U.S. religions will lose their tax-exempt status anytime soon, if ever.





03-10-2018 05:55 PM
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HairOfTheDog Offline
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Post: #16
RE: Let's pretend Jesus is real

We're not talking small potatoes in terms of waived tax revenue either. The low end estimate is a whopping $71 billion per year.

[Image: subsidies_table.png]

If Trump taxed the business of religion in this country...........in just one year, he'd have enough funding to build that great big beautiful wall he promised Mexico would pay for.

Plus, he'd likely have some money left over to hire a team of stable geniuses to brainstorm means by which to keep Muslims out, keep needy refugees from coming here, and keep people from 'shithole' countries from entering the U.S. to pursue a better life.

Sure, those isolationist/supremacist actions would fly in the face of Jesus's message of 'serving the needy' and 'helping the less fortunate' .....but that sort of self-serving hypocrisy by people who claim to 'love the bible/God more than anyone on the planet!' and their fully indoctrinated devotees would be nothing new.





03-10-2018 05:56 PM
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Donovan Offline
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Post: #17
RE: Let's pretend Jesus is real

The "divine right" of the ruling classes rankled the man Jeshua was, and it shows in all his acts and teachings, especially those that weren't doctored by later authors to add the "son of god" stuff. Jeshua did not consider himself anything but a champion of his oppressed Jewish people. The Hebrews had turned religion into something of a cash cow, where money lenders would sit in the vestibule of temple and offer cleansing of sin, for a price. Therefore, the rich and well-off could be absolved of all manner of transgression, while the poor were made to suffer some of the more draconian punishments of the day. This was important, because often the punishments involved death, disfigurement, enslavement or other harsh penalty. Church leaders could also simply proclaim someone as dead, regardless of their physical state, and in doing so order all the people to ignore and shun that person as if they were in fact dead
http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herem_(censure)
No one dared ignore this order, and it often led to actual death for the person being shunned. If no one is allowed to feed, shelter, or otherwise interact with one declared dead, then in a harsh society like those times it literally was a death sentence.
(There is a school of thought that this may have been the condition of Lazarus, Jeshua's friend who he supposedly raised from death by telling him to get up and go home. This would have been a serious breach by Jeshua against the ruling class, something he reveled in).
Jeshua was a political activist, champion for the poor, and reserved a special hate for rich and powerful rulers. He espoused helping the weak and needy, feeding the sick, and all the things we pretend we do in his name today: but he also vilified the rich and greedy in sermon after sermon, he physically attacked the moneychangers, and swore that it was nearly impossible for rich people to get into heaven. In fact, so harsh was his anti-wealthy rhetoric that the later church had to alter some of the sermons when they became quite wealthy, softening his preaching by saying rich folk could be "poor in spirit" and still be headed for Heaven. Considering that "blessed" actually meant "wealthy" to the ancient Jews, Jeshua's assertion that the Poor and meek were the ones blessed means something entirely new. Add to that his comments about it being easier for a rich man to ride a camel through the eye of a needle than to get into heaven an, and you see where Jeshua was coming from.
He was a communist. A peasant and dangerous who sought to shake up the status quo by saying, If every man is equal under go we do not need these ruling class "go-betweens".
Something that also did not sit well with the Hebrew leaders and Rome. Again, control of the populace is incredibly important when you rule by force and they outnumber you. The slightest insurrection by the smallest sect, (Jeshua's movement was maybe 120 or so people at the time of his death) was squashed decisively. Before it could grow.






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03-10-2018 06:19 PM
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Donovan Offline
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Post: #18
RE: Let's pretend Jesus is real

Ps none of these posts are copypasta. For an agnostic with atheistic leanings and very little structural religion in my formative years, I have fucked around and done tremendous research on theological history over the years. The subject of religious evolution fascinates me.

So....not opinions. Theories and strong probabilities supported by data.






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03-10-2018 06:24 PM
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sally Away
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Post: #19
RE: Let's pretend Jesus is real

It fascinates me too and pisses me off at the same time that people can be so incredibly fucking stupid. I mostly keep it to myself, but I feel ok saying it here.





03-10-2018 07:25 PM
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Duchess Away
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Post: #20
RE: Let's pretend Jesus is real



I've never become annoyed with anyone over their faith. I've never cared if people believed or not. I wish I could carry that over to other things, things that annoy me and make me have snarky thoughts & a smart mouth. Everyone should be able to have their beliefs without encountering push back from those who don't agree. I include myself in that.






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03-10-2018 08:00 PM
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HairOfTheDog Offline
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Post: #21
RE: Let's pretend Jesus is real

(03-10-2018 08:00 PM)Duchess Wrote:  

I've never become annoyed with anyone over their faith. I've never cared if people believed or not. I wish I could carry that over to other things, things that annoy me and make me have snarky thoughts & a smart mouth. Everyone should be able to have their beliefs without encountering push back from those who don't agree. I include myself in that.

People's beliefs or lack of beliefs don't annoy me either.

What sometimes annoys me is people who profess religious beliefs (which they often equate to selfless and moral) when their own words and actions contradict the very religious doctrine they laud over others.

The history and theories are interesting to me. I know you won't shun or banish me because you don't profess to be a true believer who feels the need to silence others Donovan.

But, go ahead and slap me if you think I'm taking the thread off track. It's just my natural inclination to consider and apply the history presented to what I observe in the here and now.

I don't know if Jesus was a real figure or not. I tend to agree with sally; he was probably a mere mortal whose story and nature were distorted over time (sometimes intentionally for self-serving reasons and sometimes just because distortion occurs every time an account is retold over the course of time).





03-10-2018 08:18 PM
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Love Child Offline
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Post: #22
RE: Let's pretend Jesus is real

(03-10-2018 05:55 PM)HairOfTheDog Wrote:  What's fucking crazy to me is the fact that religious organizations don't pay a dime in taxes.

The government allows them to maintain tax-free status even though the larger religious organizations rake in tons of money from their followers; it's big business.

Plus, religious organizations are exempt from sales taxes on their purchases. They're exempt from property taxes. They're exempt from capital gains tax when they sell off assets.

Priests, ministers, rabbis and the like get "parsonage exemptions" in the U.S. too. That means that they're able to deduct mortgage payments, rent and other living expenses when they're doing their income taxes. They also are the only group allowed to opt out of Social Security taxes.

So, they take in billions of dollars a year and aren't required to contribute a piece of it to provide for the whole of society like other businesses and individuals.

I've always believed religious businesses should be subject to the same taxes as other businesses. But, some politicians and administrations benefit immensely from religions that help control people's thoughts and behavior. Religious organizations also deliver large voter blocks to those politicians and administrations who court them. So, unfortunately, I don't think U.S. religions will lose their tax-exempt status anytime soon, if ever.

Most Pastors I know live in a house next to the church. One in town which I house sit for is a pretty humble house, in fact it needs much repair.
The church itself gives quite a bit to other organizations which help people. They are opening for counseling, they help with the food bank, homeless, drug addicts, old people.
They also have a community nurse who gives of her time to visit those that are home bound.

I know this isn't the case everywhere, but the people I have been surrounded with in the last couple of years are very giving people and often focus on building community and acceptance of those that others have discarded.





03-10-2018 08:21 PM
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Duchess Away
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Post: #23
RE: Let's pretend Jesus is real

(03-10-2018 08:21 PM)Love Child Wrote:  acceptance of those that others have discarded.


This is often what I think of when I think of what it means to be a good Christian. Acceptance.







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03-10-2018 08:24 PM
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Love Child Offline
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Post: #24
RE: Let's pretend Jesus is real

(03-10-2018 08:00 PM)Duchess Wrote:  

I've never become annoyed with anyone over their faith.

That is the word I was going to bring up is faith. Most don't need proof of the existence of God or Jesus or the events in the Bible.

If religion is created to control people-I wonder who is controlling the people that I know. The pastors-the members of the churches, the congregation.
I am pretty sure most pastors felt called to the ministry and not coerced into believing that it was just a good idea.

Am I on the wrong track?





03-10-2018 08:26 PM
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Love Child Offline
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Post: #25
RE: Let's pretend Jesus is real

(03-10-2018 08:24 PM)Duchess Wrote:  
(03-10-2018 08:21 PM)Love Child Wrote:  acceptance of those that others have discarded.


This is often what I think of when I think of what it means to be a good Christian. Acceptance.


Yeah, I totally agree. The crazy thing I learned in the last 2 years is the different sects of Lutheranism. I had no idea! I just thought everyone believed in God and the bible and that was it. But apparently there is a conservitive group of Lutherans, and a liberal group.
I was not raised in the church, but was brought to church by a friend during Highschool years. I am convinced it kept me out of a lot of trouble-with the problems I had in my family. I am thankful for that and for her.
So to now learn that some lutheran churches accept women and gay pastors and the other half doesn't was mind blowing to me.





03-10-2018 08:31 PM
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HairOfTheDog Offline
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Post: #26
RE: Let's pretend Jesus is real

I see a lot of churches and pastors doing good too Love Child. I'm not suggesting that everyone associated with religion is a money-grubbing control freak. I don't believe that at all.

What I know to be true is that religious organizations rake in billions of dollars a year and the registered religious organizations are incredible revenue-generating businesses. However, they are completely exempt from the taxes other businesses are required to pay into the public pool.

Churches should be doing outreach and helping others, and many of them do. However, many individuals, non-religious community groups, and tax-paying businesses/corporations also offer a lot of the same outreach services (by choice).

Helping those in need is not exclusive to religion, nor is morality. Instead, they're matters of human decency and compassion which are practiced by the religious and non-religious alike, in my observation and opinion.





03-10-2018 08:34 PM
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sally Away
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Post: #27
RE: Let's pretend Jesus is real

That would be the case with my grandfather who was a Methodist pastor. Him and my grandma always lived in a modest parsonage and truly believed they were serving the lord and doing right by the people.

And so do all the other churches on every corner USA. Some humble and some profiting large. Either way it's a business and it should be taxed like any other business.

I wouldn't have a problem with anyone's faith if it wasn't constantly pushed on people. How can you indoctrinate children that can't even grasp it anyway? That's fucking disgusting.

You can show your children the path to being a good person without forcing them to believe in some divine spirit in the sky and mind fucking them. "Pray to God little ones because God is an egotistical prick and needs to hear your praise before every meal you eat".





03-10-2018 08:38 PM
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HairOfTheDog Offline
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Post: #28
RE: Let's pretend Jesus is real

(03-10-2018 08:26 PM)Love Child Wrote:  If religion is created to control people-I wonder who is controlling the people that I know. The pastors-the members of the churches, the congregation.
I am pretty sure most pastors felt called to the ministry and not coerced into believing that it was just a good idea.

Am I on the wrong track?

My feeling is that the control factor is primarily imbedded in the religious stories and teachings themselves (the indoctrination). Then, it's exploited and changed by some governments, religious organizations, and cult leaders in order to maintain their customer bases (believers), make money, and control behavior and thoughts.

For example, many religions dictate that sex before marriage is a sin. So, depending on the sect....you're either going to hell, dirty for life, or need to offer penance to be worthy again if you've engaged in pre-marital sex. That's an example of controlling human behavior.

And, if you're sexually attracted to people of the same sex, well.......you're pretty much fucked in the eyes of most major religions (though that's slowly changing as western religions continue to struggle to keep their diminishing congregations).

Among many sects, homosexuals are still forced to deny their natural attraction and live a lie, or undergo ridiculous and ineffective 'conversion therapy' if they're outed....lest be shunned.

Catholics and many other Christian sects profess that homosexuality is an abomination against God. Since those religions don't support or acknowledge marriage between two people of the same sex, waiting to have sex with the one you love until after the wedding isn't an option for staying 'pure and blessed' as it is for heterosexuals. That's an example of religious control + discrimination + focus on baby-making potential to keep the membership/business growing.

Then there are all the ways that various religions have dictated a woman's place as subservient to men. Donovan mentioned he was going to touch on that history. It's extremely rampant in religious history and still persists in a lot of religions to this day.

Anyway, pastors who believe some/all of those religious control principles because they've been indoctrinated can still feel a real calling to serve others.......without being forced or controlled into serving. And, they're not necessarily bad people. Some are very bad people, we know that from history and the news. But most, I suspect, are decent and truly compelled to do what they believe is good.





03-10-2018 09:23 PM
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