In a past thread on RV Dreams, the topic came up of health insurance and its costs. While the post ran to 34 comments, I only want to address one question that was asked. I won’t name the author of the question as this is not meant as a direct response to his question. His question was a good one in that it brought up something that is ironic.
His question was: “Doesn't the bible have something to say about profiting off the suffering of others? Health care should be a right, not a privilege of the rich. The 'for profit' healthcare system in this country is a shame.”
In the thread, there were exceptional answers to the last question and the last comment about “for profit” healthcare. I mostly want to address the first question about the bible having something to say about profiting off the suffering of others.
Interestingly, there is one topic that immediately came to mind when I read the question. But, since we try to keep politics and religion off of RV Dream’s forums, I mentioned that I would address it in my blog at a later date.
I think that one of the most horrendous institutions in this world is the institution of slavery. Our own country fought a civil war over the issue with many a white man dying for a cause on both sides of the issue. The idea of a man as property is a terrible thing to all of us.
From the foundation of this country, men attempted to rid the country of slavery, or at least to minimize it as much as possible. Even the issue of the 3/5ths of a man applied to a slave was an important thing to the founders and something that is misunderstood by many today, some of whom are lawyers.
At the time of the drafting of the constitution, those representatives of the North did not want to count slaves at all and the representatives of the South wanted every slave to be counted. It was not because of the issue of a slave being less valuable as an individual; it was over whether slaves should be counted in full for the purpose of apportionment for representation in the House of Representatives of the new government.
All the representatives knew that a higher population in the South (by counting each slave as “1”) would increase representation of the South in the House of Representatives. A higher number of representatives for the South would have given more advantage to those states insisting on slavery as an industry. So, a compromise was made (again, for the purpose of representation only) that a slave would be counted as 3/5 of an individual.
But, what does the Bible say? Is it different than what our founders believed? Surprisingly, yes it is different. In the Old Testament times, slavery was even called for by God when he told the wandering nation of Israel to make slaves of those they conquered. In a past posting, I spoke of how it was that the teachings of the Quran became more violent over time with those interpreting the Quran as stating that “later” writings would overrule “earlier” writings. I also mentioned that the Bible was just the opposite. Today, Christians live more by the New Testament than the Old Testament and that the New Testament has less in the form of “an eye for an eye” and more of “turn the other cheek.”
In the New Testament, no one spoke out against slavery. In fact, even Jesus spoke of servants being obligated to their owners. While I feel certain that Jesus did not really approve of slavery, it was a part of the culture at the time and He came to fulfill prophesies of the Old Testament, not to end its tenets. He lived under the Old Testament, even following the old law while He lived. It was only after His crucifixion that the New Testament came about.
Even later, the Apostles as the authors of the Bible as we know it, dealt with slaves. If I remember correctly, one slave was even a sort of an assistant to one of the Apostles, although not a slave of the Apostle, during that Apostle’s travels and teaching.
So, the question about the Bible saying something against “profiting off of the suffering of others” would certainly be relevant today, but remember that the teachings of Jesus and of the Apostles were that individuals were to willingly contribute to help others.
Some today would like to use the actions of some of the early Christians, who sold their property and gave to the “church” for the benefit of others, as an argument for wealth distribution by the government in today’s age. Of course, that goes entirely against the idea of voluntary contributions.
While somewhat on the topic, health care as a “right”, as granted by government, means that the government is going to “take” money from others to give away. To me, that kind of action is an institution of slavery to both the “giver” and the “receiver.”
The giver is forced against his will to contribute the gain of his own efforts to allow another to receive it. But, the receiver then becomes a slave to the government, totally dependent upon them for health care, which government has shown to want to ration as it so desires.
Such an institution of “universal health care” would do nothing to assist those in need. Even President Obama at one time during the campaign up to the 2008 elections spoke of perhaps the elderly “needing to take the pain pill” as opposed to receiving beneficial surgeries.
I prefer not to live in that type of system. I firmly believe that government only worsens peoples lives, not helping them.