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ELL Blog

Analysis of the New Testament (For Now)

Preface

As I’m writing this, I would say I’m agnostic. I believe in God, however I left Catholicism because I did not feel like I or my mind was wanted or belonged in Church/prayer, just as how I don’t feel like I belong in many places and groups.

I’m writing this because of a rabbit hole. A rabbit hole that started because of a theory I developed some time ago (before this blog existed) known as reactionary politics. It is my belief that evil persists because of this theory of mine. It’s an optional read and I don’t believe it is very polished so no need to read it.

We have more than enough books but not enough prophets analyzing through a secular lens. I will slowly start publishing my analyses.

Table of Contents

Introduction

Jesus said to his disciples, “teach them [people] to obey everything I have commanded you” - Matthew 28:16-20

In these notes of mine, I will share and analyze what Jesus commanded his disciples in the book of Matthew. As a person who is objective, we should each make notes ourselves and only use the internet to clarify what a sentence means rather than drawing broad conclusions such as what it means to be Christian.

Note that I said Christian...

As it stands, to be Catholic means to support all leaders of the church (popes) that came after Saint Peter, including the current pope, which I do not support. That is what Catholic means. It is used currently as a synonym for Christianity, but it is totally incorrect once you understand that Catholicism isn’t just a religion, it’s a system.

I will be reading from the English Standard Version as it “combines word-for-word precision and accuracy with literary excellence, beauty, and readability” rather than substituting words. I’m choosing this over “New American Standard Bible NAS” because I want both accuracy and readability, not just accuracy. The New International Version does thought for thought translations that could’ve been mis-interpreted in the first place. Put shortly, NAS requires a lot of critical thinking, NIV skips critical thinking, ESV will be just right.

Preachings

My preachings and takes based on the words of Jesus Christ.

Matthew 23.9

This verse tells us that Christians should not call a priest a Father, but rather that they are a servant of God which is (do note that the true translation is slave of God).

Matthew 23.23

This verse tells us that the tax rate (tithe) should be 10%. In the modern day, people who follow tithe to not consider government taxes to be tithe and pay additional money to the church. This is not what Jesus preached. He clearly preached that once we live in a civilized state, we should pay tithe. He doesn’t say tithe in the context of existing taxes. The government is an extension of a church-like institution anyways, it’s just that the church, or should I say most denominations, have diverted off the true path of God and righteousness.

Universal Healthcare

Jesus gave sight to the blind (Matthew 20.29) and healed those who are sick. In the modern age this means universal healthcare for surgeries that are known to fix issues people have. People who call themselves Christian should be voting for universal healthcare.

If anyone has seen Mr. Beasts video, the technology to cure blindness does exist and yet people required Mr. Beast to give them access to this technology. How can anyone claim to be a good person while simultaneously being against increasing access to life improving healthcare for those who cannot afford it?

The Sheep and the Goats (Matthew 25.40)

Jesus says that think of someone who you think exhibits greatness and how you would treat them. Your role model, the best person on earth. Jesus says that if you don’t aid those around you as if they were your role model, you never aided a great person anyways. In other words, mankind is equal and so should be treated good in general, not just cherry pick a handful of people to aid.

Inclusion

But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous” (Luke 14:13-14).

When you hold bougie events you shouldn’t make it an elitist only event. If it’s not an event among friends and family and rather an event for people who are vaguely connected, then the poor, the losers, the disabled, should be included (invited). Jesus is teaching about inclusion. Without inclusion how can we claim to be good people. Inclusion is key in acting as a good person. A good person does not discriminate against the poor or disabled Hopefully this doesn’t need to be said, but a good person doesn’t only have these two attributes as protected.

The Neglected: Orphans and Widows

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world” (James 1:27).

This is teaching us very clearly that orphans , people without parents need to be taken care of. We cannot just condemn them to a life of hurt and suffering and pity. We meet to give them better opportunities. It also says that people who have lost their spouse need to be taken care of.

Someone who loses their spouse loses their support. I’m unsure whether this extends to single parents, however given that child support is a thing, it is an unfair burden to the ex spouse when the teachings clearly show that it is a shared responsibility of all and not a single person.

Wealth Distribution

The analyses I have made are from the view of how society should function; whether society be decentralized, centralized, community-run. There is no “right” way to run society, but what I do know is that the correct structure is able to protect its members from internal and external threats. So usually, some centralized arm is required along with localization. What’s unclear is the distribution of the 10% of taxes between the levels of government. My loose guideline is that a land value fee exists (municipalities should charge people to live on the land) plus a provincial tax rate of 5% plus a federal tax rate of 5%. Private property should not include privatization of land or natural resources. Let’s justify this stance.

A certain ruler asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments: ‘You shall not commit adultery; You shall not murder; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; Honor your father and mother.’” He replied, “I have kept all these since my youth.” When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “There is still one thing lacking. Sell all that you own and distribute the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” But when he heard this, he became sad; for he was very rich. Jesus looked at him and said, “How hard it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God! Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God” (Luke 18:18–25)

Jesus is pointing out human behaviour that it is hard to let go once we have achieved success. That is, it is extremely hard to share our success as we surpass the adequate amount. This is further exacerbated by the fact that no one even knows what is an adequate amount and when is it a moral duty to distribute wealth.

Jesus is conversing with a very rich person, let’s say someone with a net worth north of CAD$100,000,000 who wants to be a good person (I personally do not believe in heaven, so I read heaven as a metaphor for being categorized as a good person).

Jesus tells the person to sell all his properties, and distribute the money to the poor. This doesn’t mean that one ought to become poor to be good. It simply means to distribute money till you are no longer very rich. A society should be doing this automatically, such that everyone is a good person regardless of their minds or opinions. That is, society should have an inheritance tax, but one that only affects very rich individuals and only to the point that the person is no longer very rich. Let’s say that number is $100,000 per person in capital income per year. Based on my Watchlist of stocks I have compiled, we can assume a return of ~10% pre-tax. We want to target 100k per year, so therefore, at least $1M per person and a 100% buffer makes this $2M per person. That is the max amount that should not be subject to inheritance tax according to Jesus’ teachings. Let’s go through some examples to illustrate my thoughts.

Of course, no society (as to my knowledge) has such a tax scheme, so the moral thing to do in such a case, is to do the distribution yourself. Should be pretty easy as homeless shelters are everywhere and you can just go there and start distributing money. Another question may be how much to distribute per person. My take is CA$1,000 to CAD$2,000. This is what I consider to be a significant amount of money to me when I don’t actually have a use for CA$2,000, whereas a homeless person may think CA$400 is significant. According to the fishing parable, it isn’t enough to just give person cash, but that’s society’s problem to teach people how to use cash, not the wealth distributer. We don’t want to create a society where responsibility is unfairly distributed to people who are successful.

Inheritance Fee Examples
  1. Father dies, mother still alive.
    • No inheritance tax yet as people who are married (in the conceptual sense) are a single unit.
  2. Father and Mother dies, two children remain.
    • In this case, any inheritable amount above $4M should be taxed at 100%
  3. Father and Mother dies, one child remains, house market value of $1.5M, cash worth $1M.
    • In this case, the inheritance fee can be paid via the cash.
  4. Father and Mother dies, one child remains, house market value $3M, cash of $200,000.
    • A case can be made that the house is prime real estate and that it is excessive for just a single persons family. It should be rightly sold off and the fees should be paid based on net proceed. So suppose the proceeds are $2.9M, then only $1.1M needs to be paid not the estimated $1.2M
  5. Father and Mother dies, one child, cash of $2M, 100% shareholder of private company with cash flows greater than $2M.
    • Rich should not necessarily include financial assets that cannot be liquidated easily. One could argue that a DCF can be used, but alas, a DCF is estimates and not based on guaranteed outcomes. Therefore, shares of private companies should not be forced to be “sold” as it’s not a real asset.
  6. Father and Mother dies, one child, cash of $2M, publicly traded financial instruments worth $2M
    • Estimated inheritance fee is $2MM as the shares are publicly traded and a market value exists unlike only an estimated intrinsic value as was the case with shares of private companies.