Fallacies ‘R Us — Michael Moore preaches about Jesus and economics

 

capitalism-is-evil

Michael Moore’s new movie is Capitalism: A Love Story and he wrote For Those of You on Your Way to Church This Morning …a note from Michael Moore on his blog.  He makes the same mistakes that many Christians and non-Christians do, namely taking verses out of context to match his view of the word and his version of God.  He also makes major errors in analyzing capitalism.

Friends,

I’d like to have a word with those of you who call yourselves Christians (Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, Bill Maherists, etc. can read along, too, as much of what I have to say, I’m sure, can be applied to your own spiritual/ethical values).

In my new film I speak for the first time in one of my movies about my own spiritual beliefs. I have always believed that one’s religious leanings are deeply personal and should be kept private.

Since Moore is claiming to speak for Jesus, perhaps he should tell us how the Bible teaches that we should be private about our religious beliefs.  That would make it hard to fulfill the Great Commission: Matthew 28:19-20 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

And despite his introduction, he is violating his own belief by blasting his religious views on his blog.

After all, we’ve heard enough yammerin’ in the past three decades about how one should “behave,” and I have to say I’m pretty burned out on pieties and platitudes considering we are a violent nation who invades other countries and punishes our own for having the audacity to fall on hard times.

He should know that Jesus is about saving people from their sins, not just telling them how to behave.  And he begs the question that we deliberately punish those who fall on hard times.

I’m also against any proselytizing; I certainly don’t want you to join anything I belong to. Also, as a Catholic, I have much to say about the Church as an institution, but I’ll leave that for another day (or movie).

That’s a bit hypocritical.  Moore’s profession involves changing people’s views.  

And he is profoundly unloving.  If Moore thinks his religion is the one true path to God, how can he keep that to himself?  If he doesn’t think it is the true path, why doesn’t he keep looking?

Amidst all the Wall Street bad guys and corrupt members of Congress exposed in “Capitalism: A Love Story,” I pose a simple question in the movie: “Is capitalism a sin?” I go on to ask, “Would Jesus be a capitalist?” Would he belong to a hedge fund? Would he sell short? Would he approve of a system that has allowed the richest 1% to have more financial wealth than the 95% under them combined?

Does Moore even know what capitalism is?  It is defined as an economic system in which investment in and ownership of the means of production, distribution, and exchange of wealth is made and maintained chiefly by private individuals or corporations, esp. as contrasted to cooperatively or state-owned means of wealth. 

How is that inherently sinful?  Did God speak against that in the Bible?  I’ve read the Bible a few times and noted that God endorses the concept of private property (“thou shalt not steal / covet”), the rule of law, etc. — even in the Israelite Theocracy.

The hedge fund / short selling concepts are just empty sound bites.  To propose that we dump the whole system of capitalism because of a few exotic financial instruments is absurd.

I have come to believe that there is no getting around the fact that capitalism is opposite everything that Jesus (and Moses and Mohammed and Buddha) taught.

Everything?  That’s a rather bold and broad statement.  Let’s see if he comes up with any Bible verses for that, in context.

All the great religions are clear about one thing: It is evil to take the majority of the pie and leave what’s left for everyone to fight over.

That begs the question.  He never demonstrated that as fact and just assumes it.  He ignores how the pie got so big to begin with: People working hard, taking risks with capital and generating jobs.

Jesus said that the rich man would have a very hard time getting into heaven. He told us that we had to be our brother’s and sister’s keepers and that the riches that did exist were to be divided fairly.

Yes, a rich man would have a hard time getting into Heaven — but with God all things are possible! (Luke 18:18-30)  Why do people stop reading once they find their proof text?

How will he determine how to divide things “fairly?”  I’ve noticed that Moore is one of the richest 0.5% of the people in the world.  What is stopping him from donating more of his money today?

He said that if you failed to house the homeless and feed the hungry, you’d have a hard time finding the pin code to the pearly gates.

What is Moore doing about that?  Also, he assumes that taking money from neighbor A via taxes to give to neighbor B qualifies as charity on your part.  It doesn’t. 

Moore said we would be judged by how we treat the least of these, but he did so in the error-filled way that many people do when quoting Matthew 25.  And of course, as a pro-legalized abortionist Moore’s prattling about caring for the “least of these” rings hollow.

I guess that’s bad news for us Americans. Here’s how we define “Blessed Are the Poor”: We now have the highest unemployment rate since 1983. There’s a foreclosure filing once every 7.5 seconds. 14,000 people every day lose their health insurance.

He should re-read the Sermon on the Mount.  It was about spiritual poverty, not physical.  C’mon, Michael, it was only two more words to read!  Matthew 5:3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Yes, unemployment is high now, and other economic factors are negative.  But notice his non sequitor: Things are worse than usual today, so capitalism must be done away with.  Huh?!

At the same time, Wall Street bankers (“Blessed Are the Wealthy”?) are amassing more and more loot – and they do their best to pay little or no income tax (last year Goldman Sachs’ tax rate was a mere 1%!). Would Jesus approve of this? If not, why do we let such an evil system continue? It doesn’t seem you can call yourself a Capitalist AND a Christian — because you cannot love your money AND love your neighbor when you are denying your neighbor the ability to see a doctor just so you can have a better bottom line.  That’s called “immoral” — and you are committing a sin when you benefit at the expense of others.

How preachy.  Again, how does this prove that we must eliminate capitalism?  Perhaps his movie has the perfect economic model we should move to with his bulletproof action plan to get there.  Maybe it is Communism.  That transition worked well in the 1900′s.  All you had to do is kill 100,000,000 people first and then it flourished.  Oh wait, it didn’t.  It collapsed on itself.

When you are in church this morning, please think about this. I am asking you to allow your “better angels” to come forward. And if you are among the millions of Americans who are struggling to make it from week to week, please know that I promise to do what I can to stop this evil — and I hope you’ll join me in not giving up until everyone has a seat at the table.

I’m all for giving more.  It is an embarrassment how little professing Christians give to others.  Anyone reading this is virtually certain to be one of the richest 2% of people who ever lived.  For us to give away such a paltry amount is sad.

But Michael, if you’d tell us how much of your wealth you are donating to real, live charities that would be the best example.  Otherwise, you just continue to profit from the misery you document.  That makes you part of the system you criticize. 

Once again he never demonstrates how destroying capitalism will improve the lives of those he claims to care about.

Thanks for listening. I’m off to Mass in a few hours. I’ll be sure to ask the priest if he thinks J.C. deals in derivatives or credit default swaps. I mean, after all, he must’ve been good at math. How else did he divide up two loaves of bread and five pieces of fish equally amongst 5,000 people? Either he was the first socialist or his disciples were really bad at packing lunch. Or both.

Hmmmm . . . so Jesus’ definition of charity was to have Caesar take money by threat of force or loss of freedom to redistribute to others?  Got any Bible verses for that?

28 thoughts on “Fallacies ‘R Us — Michael Moore preaches about Jesus and economics

  1. Great analysis on one of the biggest hypocrites of our time. For Moore to practice what he preaches he’d have to be donating 99% of his profits from his movies to charitable causes (specifically those that help the poor). Yet he doesn’t. Records show he is among one of the stingiest of Hollywood elites!

    Also, he fails to point out some of the thing we were discussing on another of your posts. Things like Christ saying the poor would always be with us. Yes, it is fruitless to try to eradicate poverty. That doesn’t alleviate the necessity of helping the poor, but it does mean that we have to make sure our efforts are put into the right place.

    Further, in the Old Law, crop holders were told to leave the corners of their fields for the poor to come in and be able to get food. (Leviticus 23:22) Notice God doesn’t condemn the crop grower for owning the crop, or for keeping the largest majority of his crop for his own purposes.

    Also, notice, it didn’t say to harvest the crops and give it to the poor. It said to leave it there so the poor could come in to gather food. In fact the NT goes further and says if a man doesn’t work then he shouldn’t eat! (II Thessalonians 3:10)

    Moore and his ilk never seem to point that kind of thing out when discussing this topic.

  2. Neil, you miss something about the claims that Moore and Obama both put forward: nowhere does Jesus Christ teach that we are our brother’s keeper.

    “He told us that we had to be our brother’s and sister’s keepers and that the riches that did exist were to be divided fairly.”

    Neither of these things are recorded in the Bible as teachings of Christ.

    The more important point is seen at a higher level than responding to Moore’s many individual inaccuracies and half-truths:

    Like many radicals, Moore has no problem subverting traditional institutions to advance the political agenda. In this case, he’s following in the footsteps of the original so-called “Christian Marxists” who had no respect for faith, but who sought to recruit it to their cause rather than destroy it altogether.

    (Time and again, the radicals methods have changed from destroying traditional institutions to co-opting them, but what remains constant is their utter contempt for those institutions beyond their utility to the cause. The church, the family, education, science, and the arts: the radical doesn’t care about any of these things for their own sake, but only insofar as these institutions can be made to serve their purposes.)

    Michael Moore must think Christians are idiots — ignorant of Scripture and incapable of thinking things through — if he thinks such a transparently empty argument could be persuasive.

    More importantly, Moore must not actually believe in the God of the Bible, seeing how Moore has no qualms mocking Him by twisting His teachings to serve Moore’s political ends, rather than subordinate himself to God’s eternal ends.

    Moore thinks Christ is a tool and not God Incarnate, our Lord and Savior, the Creator of all things, the Redeemer of man, and the Judge at the end of history.

    The fact is, Michael Moore is the tool.

    And though theologically conservative Christians — a term I find increasingly redundant — and political conservatives aren’t angels either, I’m grateful for the fact that few on the right are so brazen in their efforts to twist the faith to advance an agenda.

    • I agree with much of what you say here, I do disagree on the Christ’s teachings. While the words “brother’s keepers” were never used, Christ did teach the principle.

      - Do unto others as you’d have them do unto you.
      - Love thy neighbor as thyself.
      - It is more blessed to give than to receive.

      Your point overall is well taken though.

      • If someone wants to argue that Christ’s teachings require some particular conclusion — in this case, a political position — the person should limit himself to what Christ actually taught.

        I’m actually not sure that the command to love your neighbor leads to the conclusion that you are your neighbor’s keeper — I’m supposed to love God, too; am I HIS keeper? — but even if it did, Moore and Obama play fast and loose with the facts by attributing to Christ something that He didn’t actually teach.

        This seems to be a habit of the radical Left, and it’s bad enough that it’s done to the Constitution — which nowhere mentions a “wall of separation between church and state” — without it now being done to the Bible.

      • Thanks. As other, erm, less productive conversations are wrapping up, I may have more time commenting here rather than just my usual skimming. :-)

      • Again, I agree with you on your overall point. However, Christ’s teaching that we are to love our neighbor (it doesn’t stop there!) as our self IS teaching us to be our neighbor’s keeper. Unless you argue that we aren’t to be our keeper. In the case of loving God we are told to do that with every ounce of our heart, soul, and mind. That is a different kind of love.

        I think we are kind of gagging at gnats here though, as I agree with your overall point. And you make a solid point regarding the “separation of church and state”. Liberals miss the fact that the founders wanted to keep state out of church, but not necessarily church out of state.

  3. Neil, I think you need to see the movie to criticize Moore’s views on capitalism. He’s talking about corrupt capitalism, and he’s sick of companies having enough political influence to garner money from the government. The entire premise of the movie is to slam the government for giving out money to business. He’s hits the Democrats very hard in this movie.

    I know he’s radical to you, and sometimes he is to me as well, but perhaps the title is misleading. Michael Moore is a capitalist – he just doesn’t like what capitalism has turned into. It used to be about making a product of a service that people want, and selling it for profit – employing people, and building an economy. Now it’s about shuffling money around, and using the fact that you have lots of money to influence government to let you keep your money without doing much.

    • About the idea that Michael Moore, who most recently defended the socialized medicine of Cuba, is a stalwart defender of truly free markets, I’m frankly skeptical, to put it mildly.

      Moore’s problem doesn’t seem to be the collusion of big government and big business — which is best described as the corporatism of Woodrow Wilson and FDR, not capitalism — but the details of that collusion.

      If Michael Moore is a capitalist in the mold of Friedman and Hayek, I’m Donald Duck.

    • I hardly see any movies so I definitely won’t be filling Moore’s pockets further by going to this one. His blog post seemed to be a clear presentation of his views and that is what I addressed here.

      I’m against corruption, of course, and against the politicians who foster it and against the citizens who perpetrate it. I’ve seen plenty of Fortune 50 politics and executives and know that Dilbert exists for a reason.

    • Please. The rich’s pull with government goes back to monarchies. It is nothing new.

      Moore is clear: he doesn’t like that 1% have more wealth than the other 99% combined. That also is something that predates capitalism.

      Michael Moore meantime is making millions in pointing the finger at people that actually work for a living. While he does nothing but run his mouth and film it.

    • I think you speak on behalf of Mr. Moore better than he does for himself.;)

      He’s noted in several interviews during his promotion rounds that “capitalism has proven it can’t work and it’s time to move on to something better.” NOTHING he says indicates he is fine with capitalism at it’s root. He is, according to his his lips at least, very much against the system in general.

      Your post does, however, point to yet another of Mr. Moore’s hypocrisies. You are right, he IS a capitalist and has benefited greatly from much of the very systems he chooses to attack.

      And while I would personally love to redistribute the profits he makes from this “documentary” to the poor and disenfranchised that he claims to champion, I highly doubt he would agree to it (after all, charity should be regulated by our noble government). Fortunately for Michael, he needn’t worry, as our Capitalistic society allows for him to keep his profits.

  4. “Thanks for listening. I’m off to Mass in a few hours. I’ll be sure to ask the priest if he thinks J.C. deals in derivatives or credit default swaps. I mean, after all, he must’ve been good at math. How else did he divide up two loaves of bread and five pieces of fish equally amongst 5,000 people? Either he was the first socialist or his disciples were really bad at packing lunch. Or both.”

    First of all, this guy hasn’t read the Bible properly and it shows. No wonder he got his interpretations totally wrong as well. Seriously, wasn’t it five loaves of bread and two fish? And there were 5000 men. The number doesn’t include the women and children present there, and we know there were children ’cause it’s from a boy they get the 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish.

    Second, his disciples didn’t pack lunch ’cause they would had no idea how many people would come to listen to Him. And, as for themselves, they had the money. And how did they have the money? Probably they worked for it!

    Third, Jesus and socialism. Well, Jesus said a lot of parables. A lot of them included servants. Faithful servant, unfaithful servant, three servants, unforgiving servant. Hey! Even the parable of the prodigal son talks about how well fed the father’s servants were. Did Jesus condemn the masters for having people work for them in any of the parables? I don’t think so! Even when the Roman official came to Him to seek his servant’s healing, was His reaction, “What?! You have a servant??” ?. Socialism discards the concept of ownership (I am an economics novice but I am hoping to do my post-grad in Business Administration like my brothers but given my interest I know the basics.) by individuals and I see no passage or verse in NT where Jesus seems so against the concept of individual ownership. None of His parables reflect His ‘supposed’ socialism claims! As for the passage this guy points out, lets be clear. Yes, Jesus fed 5000+ people. And what did He do after He fed them? He FLED from them! Okay, He didn’t exactly flee but He left them because He knew their intentions. And their intentions were worldly. He clearly speaks about the purpose of His miracle and their intention wasn’t His intention. Socialism gradually leads to communism and the very intention of communism is to separate people from God. Heck! If you have a government which says “I will feed you” and promises other pleasures of the world, but it never addresses the spiritual needs of a person, I don’t see God approving of it. The other problem about socialism is that one person works hard and the government/organization takes/steals from him and gives it to someone who works less harder. That results in laziness! So does God approve of laziness? I think God said we will have to work harder all our lives. He didn’t say ‘Some of you will have to work harder and the rest will just have to steal from you.”.

    Yes. The passage does look like socialism in first glance. But we’ll have to read more and in context to understand how so far away Jesus was from condoning socialism. Yes. In the Acts of apostles, there was collection and re-distribution of wealth. But under who’s guidance? The apostles who were God inspired and who did things God would approve of. So there was no problem there. But can we trust the government to do what the apostles did or to do what Jesus would do? A government which approves of all things God loathes? And given the power, who is to say the government wont act as greedy as the CEOs and wall street bankers? At least with a company I have the choice to quit. With the government I will be stuck for life or at least till the next elections. If one is so bent upon making atrocious stereotypes of all rich men why don’t they look at the atrocities done by socialist states? My CEO only had the authority over my intellectual skills. The socialist government would claim authority even over my moral rights. I am sorry but that’s a bargain I am not willing to make even if it means I get to work less and someone gets to work more. (I worked 16 hours a day most days when I was working BTW. And I got a pay hike of 25 % which is the maximum in my company while who worked lesser hours got a pay hike of 3-16%. I think that was fair enough!)

  5. Pingback: Michael Moore; Worldwide Laughing Stock « VotingFemale Speaks!

  6. Moore is such a hypocrite. I rarely listen to anything he says and certainly won’t pay to see his movie.

    Couple of comments – “How else did he divide up … bread and .. fish equally amongst 5,000 people?” Someone already pointed out that Moore doesn’t know the real details of the story. But my question is, what version of the Bible says that Jesus divided them equally? Maybe I’m wrong, but I thought it said everyone got what they wanted. Moore would have gotten a lot more than most of us.

    His anti-American comments really rile me. I want to say that he can just leave. But a better solution is to try to change what you don’t like about America. I have to give him credit, he’s doing that. I disagree with him, but I agree he has the right to try.

    This last movie and his current antics make me think that this may be his last hurrah. He’s pulled out the stops on so many people (some who deserve it) that he’s going to create a big mess.

  7. Pingback: Does the Bible teach communism like Michael Moore seems to think? « Wintery Knight

  8. I saw Moore’s interview with Sean Hannity last night. Sean tried to put up somegood arguments and rebuttals to Michael’s skewed theology. Sean succeeded at times. But you, Neil, have done an excellent job of exposing Moore’s hypocrisy and his deliberate heresy and misrepresentation of Scripture. You should send a copy of this blogpost to Hannity! Maybe he will share it on his radio and/or T.V. show!

  9. Forgot to mention that the only reason why I think Moore appeared on Hannity’s show was because he thought he could appeal to Christians to go and see his stupid movie! Apparently, the ticket sales have been abysmal – just like Moore’s attempt at Christian theology!

    • Now that Bush is out of office the lefty intelligentsia needs Moore to shut up and praise Obama. Notice that the once heralded director can’t seem to score awards for his film anymore?

      • Very astute! Of course I am sure if we actually saw this movie (which I never will) there is a good amount of GOP and Bush/Cheney bashing. They can’t help themselves.

  10. Im sure Moore is donating all proceeds to his movie to the less fortunate right? That would definitely help boost his socialism is right ideology.

    The truth is these hypocrites exploit and benefit from the very thing they rail against.

  11. Back in high school, some nitwit thought that community service should be made mandatory – you know, mandatory volunteerism to encourage high school kids to give back.

    Like all teenagers, I had a hypocrisy metre that simply went into Code Red at that. My thought: if volunteering is so freakin important, then do it yourselves and lead by example; forcing us to do it isn’t going to make us feel all warm and fuzzy; besides, it wouldn’t be volunteering anyway, since it wouldn’t be voluntary.

    This business of forced charity is the same thing, just with adults forcing good things upon each other. The biggest irony is that the liberals want to cut the charitable giving deduction in order to raise money. If our side did that, there would be hell to pay, but I don’t see Michael Moore railing about how taxing people on the money that they give away is a stupid idea.

    Finally, Neil, I’m surprised that you didn’t mention the verse that says that God likes a willing/joyful giver. That seems, IMHO, to be far more on-point to the “forced charity” debate more than anything else does and should carry the day: forced charity via taxation is actually anti-Christian, since it deprives people of the ability to give freely and joyfully, from their hearts.

    • Great points, Theobromophile.

      Liberals want to cut charitable deductions so the poor will have to depend on gov’t, of course. And yes, forced charity / volunteering isn’t charity or volunteering at all.

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