Acts 5:1

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But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession, (ASV)

Contents

Pro

In this verse up to verse 11, we learn that Ananias and Sapphira had tried to keep some of their property for themselves rather than giving it all to the apostles. And that they quickly dropped dead when accused of lying to the Holy spirit (seems kinda hard to be accused of lying to an omniscient being). So it seems that God was not only a Communist here, but also a Stalinist, zapping pesky kulaks who refused to collectivize their property.

As with many other places where a book in the Bible describes God as immoral, the defense that "God, being the giver of life, is authorized to take it away", is itself morally depraved. The act of creation or state of ownership do not remove the rights of a sentient being. For example, when Andrea Yates killed her own children, no one was silly enough to suggest that she had the right to drown them because she had made them. Similary, it's immoral to torture a dog, a slave, or whatever whether you own that being or not. The very fact that this argument is advanced by Christians shows adherence to a neolithic moral system that continues to cause harm today.

Con

If the Christians had agreed to hold property in common, and Ananias and Sapphira knew about this when they joined, then it was immoral of them to withhold part of the proceeds from the sale and lie about it.


==Con 2== (different author):

1. Is God advocating communism and punishing non-conformity to it? This is affirmed by Pro (above), but there are reasons to be skeptical of this. While one might describe the above as a form of "primitive communism," it was most certainly not communism in the classical sense which pertains quite specifically to state ownership of the means of production. The primitive Jerusalem Christians evidently did not fare very well in their arrangement as the NT records the need for collections to relieve their poverty were soon being sought from churches elsewhere. Acts does not specifically record their communal arrangement was approved by God, rather only that this actually was the communal arrangement made by the primitive community in Jerusalem at that time.

2. The text does not say (as Pro affirms above) withholding money was the cause of punishment, but lying to the Holy Spirit (cf. possible relation to "blasphemy of the HS").

3. It is at least questionable to assume that it would be immoral for God, the giver of life, to take it at what he considers the proper season. According to most Christian theologians murder is immoral whereas killing is not necessarily so. If the classical distinction between murder and killing has any validity at all (with the latter prohibited in scripture but the former not) it would be technically impossible for God to commit murder. It is necessary to demonstrate rather than merely assert God's immorality here, or resign the resolution of this discussion to subjective feelings about the narrative rather than facts. -sirhemlock@yahoo.com

Neutral

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