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Study: Less religious states give less to charity; Utah is most generous state

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  • Mountanman Hayden, ID
    Aug. 20, 2012 7:56 a.m.

    Very interesting article! There is a thesis here that if you don’t believe in a spiritual Deity, you substitute that with a belief in a powerful government and demand that people give to your substitute God- government! How else can you explain the differences of giving to charity between liberals and conservatives? It comes down to whom do you render; Caesar or God?

  • no fit in SG St.George, Utah
    Aug. 20, 2012 8:56 a.m.

    DN...there you go again.
    Yes, everyone is already, most certainly aware that Utah is/has the very best of the best in every category.
    Always appreciate the reminder, tho.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 20, 2012 8:56 a.m.

    @Mountanman
    Uh... why would atheists (the subject of this article) pay tithing when they don't belong to a church? That's the primary reason for the difference between the one set of states and the other. This study keeps in church tithing which largely goes to maintaining church infrastructure, utilities, and pastor's pay based on this finance report for the pat year I got from the Catholic church I visit. My offerings are mostly the equivalent of "club membership" with a fraction of it going to charitable causes. Same goes for your tithing since the LDS church has made clear that its' fast offerings and the humanitarian aid fund that are the principle charitable arms of the church whereas tithing is mostly just for keeping the church running.

  • jasonp SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Aug. 20, 2012 8:56 a.m.

    I wonder what the numbers look like if churches are not counted as charities. All charities have overhead, but churches have particularly high overhead. When money is given to a church, only a very small percentage of that money makes it to the poor, or to programs that benefit the poor. If the goal is to help the church, then give to the church. But if the goal is to help the poor, there are better options.

  • FatherOfFour WEST VALLEY CITY, UT
    Aug. 20, 2012 9:21 a.m.

    I think it depends on what you consider "charity." If one person gives 10% of their money to the LDS church, the church uses that money to run a campaign in Maine to prevent gays from adopting children, or to prevent one person in California from being able to visit their injured loved one in the hospital. Another person gives 5% of their pay to feed hungry children in Haiti - Which person gave more to "charity?"

  • hymn to the silent Holladay, UT
    Aug. 20, 2012 9:22 a.m.

    If you take out the donations to religiously affiliated organizations, conservatives still give a higher percentage of their income than liberals. A 20 year study by Alfred Brooks (Who Really Gives?) bears this out. And the idea that non religious people pay taxes with an altruistic attitude is not really true. They pay them as begrudgingly as any of us do. But they do make career choices based on altruistic idealism (teachers, social workers, etc.) at a higher percentage than conservatives.

  • non believer PARK CITY, UT
    Aug. 20, 2012 9:36 a.m.

    To Mountanman
    Your thesis is completely off base and is only your own personal opinion. There is nothing in this article that supports your conclusion. The use of the word demand is also completely off base and not suported by this article. There are thousands of ways to explain the differences and each individule has his or her own reasons. Substitute God is laughable and just plain ignorant.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 20, 2012 9:37 a.m.

    @hymn of the silent
    Sure nobody likes paying taxes but in the end Vermont citizens still voted for politicians who would have enough taxes to pay for single payer healthcare which will go into effect in a couple years and citizens in Sweden, Norway, and France pay higher taxes for things like cheap college, healthcare, and a very strong safety net. If they didn't care about programs helping the poor and elderly and instead just wanted more tax cuts for themselves... well, they'd vote for Romney/Ryan.

  • killpack Sandy, UT
    Aug. 20, 2012 9:57 a.m.

    "'People in less religious states are giving in a different way by being more willing to pay higher taxes so the government can equitably distribute superior benefits,' Wolfe said." ROFL! No way! Thank goodness for people like this because there just wouldn't be any flavor in this world without them! What a day brightener! I've been waiting my whole life for someone from the other side of the great class warfare divide between know it all, do gooder intellectuals and us poor, unsophisticated, uneducated, neanderthals who could never give away charity on our own without the government forcing us on pain of imprisonment to do it. Yes! What a day! Why am I shouting?!?!?! Because this is just too sweet!!!! This is going on my Facebook!

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Aug. 20, 2012 10:18 a.m.

    The main fallacy of the study and this article is the equating a tax deduction with charitable giving. The tax deduction represents the lobbying of private groups to induce people to give up their money and have the government further subsidize the groups.

    Charity is the giving with out reward. The tax deduction alone takes the tax definition of charity out of the character of true charity.

    Money given to a church is not charity. It is to purchase the product that the church is selling. The fact that the product is mostly imaginary does not mean that it is the product that the church dispenses.

    Commercial charities are simply business operations. They are operated for the profit of their owner/managers. They seldom if ever make any real difference in the world of the people they are supposed to be helping. The history of the world seems to be people help the poor but don’t do anything about their being poor.

    If you want to see what the true charity of Americans is, stop the tax deduction and allow charity to be it’s own product.

  • Say No to BO Mapleton, UT
    Aug. 20, 2012 10:32 a.m.

    Professor Wolfe's rationalization that some people think their taxes are symbols of altruism is humorous on its face. You gotta love the ivory tower.

  • Tolstoy salt lake, UT
    Aug. 20, 2012 10:55 a.m.

    @mountain, hymn and killpack
    You should actually read the article before commenting. “Churches are among the organizations counted as charities by the study, and some states in the Northeast rank in the top 10 when religious giving is not counted.” In Mormon teachings, for instance, Latter Day Saints are required to pay a 10 percent tithe to remain church members in good standing, which helps explain the high giving rate in heavily-Mormon Utah. When only secular gifts are counted, New York climbs from No. 18 to No. 2 in giving, and Pennsylvania rises from No. 40 to No. 4. Utah gives 10.6%, If LDS Utahan's are paying10% towards something other then “staying in good standing” with their church how much are they really giving to charity out of kindness versus compulsion and how much chest thumbing should you really be doing?

  • spring street SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Aug. 20, 2012 11:17 a.m.

    Some interesting facts from the actual study left out of the article. The rich aren’t the most generous. Middle-class Americans give a far bigger share of their discretionary income to charities than the rich. Households that earn $50,000 to $75,000 give an average of 7.6 percent of their discretionary income to charity, compared with an average of 4.2 percent for people who make $100,000 or more. Rich people who live in neighborhoods with many other wealthy people give a share of their income to charity than rich people who live in more economically diverse communities. The Northeast region ranks the highest when religious giving is not factored in.

  • spring street SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Aug. 20, 2012 11:21 a.m.

    From the study sited in the article, "because taxpayers are allowed to claim deductions only if they itemize on their tax forms, so no precise data exist to determine how much those who don’t itemize give."

    So who do you think this mostly likely applies to and how does it effect the conclusions you can draw about who really gives the largest percentage of their income to charity?

  • cjb Bountiful, UT
    Aug. 20, 2012 11:49 a.m.

    LDS fast offerings are inde

  • The Rock Federal Way, WA
    Aug. 20, 2012 11:56 a.m.

    @jasonp

    With no paid clergy the LDS church as particularly low over head. There is not better way to help the poor than donating to the LDS Church's Fast Offering fund.

    @FatherOfFour

    LDS Tithing funds are not used for political purposes ever. Not in California's Prop 8, and not in Maine and not anywhere else. Members are encouraged to get involved in politics and to donate but they are never told what political parties to donate to. The church only got involved with Prop 8 because it was a moral issue.

  • Rifleman Salt Lake City, Utah
    Aug. 20, 2012 12:18 p.m.

    Re: FatherOfFour WEST VALLEY CITY, UT

    As "The Rock" pointed out not one single dollar of LDS tithing money was spent on Prop 8, in Maine, or anywhere else. To do so would have threatened their tax exempt status.

    Re: Tolstoy salt lake, UT

    You are confused about tithing (10%) and charitable donations (fast offerings) made by LDS members. Whether Mormons give $1 or $500 in fast offerings is totally up to them. They don't thump their chests when they donate to charity because that information is not made public. Perhaps we should worry a little less about how much others give to charity and a little more about how much we give.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 20, 2012 12:19 p.m.

    @The Rock
    "With no paid clergy the LDS church as particularly low over head. There is not better way to help the poor than donating to the LDS Church's Fast Offering fund."

    The church itself says that tithing money (which is the majority of their donations) is primarily for building churches, maintaining the buildings (utilities etc) and for supplies/activities for church use. The charitable arms of the church (humanitarian aid and fast offering funds) have low overhead, however, so I agree with the second statement.

    Of course, both of us are speculating to some extent since the LDS wards don't hand out annual budget reports.

    "The church only got involved with Prop 8 because it was a moral issue."

    The church doesn't seem to really be involved in Washington, Maryland, Minnesota, and Maine's ballot question matters so it seems like the church isn't fond of getting involved in that kind of thing anymore.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    Aug. 20, 2012 12:30 p.m.

    Have not seen it mentioned, but my understanding is that money donated to the general missionary fund is tax deductible while money given specifically to a specific persons mission is not.

    So, are much of the missionary expenses across the globe considered tax deductible in the US?

  • Abeille West Haven, Utah
    Aug. 20, 2012 12:58 p.m.

    Killpack -

    I agree with you. When I read it, I was ROFL also! Then I wondered if he had a point, so I spent my lunch hour researching the issue. I indexed the tax burden by state and compared it with the generosity indicated in this article. I averaged them (Most Generous = 1, Highest tax burden = 1), then compared them with the Religiousity index. What I found was startling! All 10 of the most religious states have higher than average tax burdens, too! In fact, of all 50 states and D.C., Alan Wolfe can point to only two outliers for the accuracy of his statement (D.C., which was #12 in Tax Burden and #2 in Giving, but 42nd in Religiousity and New York, which was #2 in Tax Burden and #18 in giving, but 41st in Religiousity). For those interested, Utah ranked 28th in tax burden and 1st in giving, and was 2nd in Religiousity (behind Mississippi).

    We both had good reason to laugh...big time! And Tolstoy - percentages of Mormons would only affect two, possibly three States - Utah, Idaho, and possibly California.

  • Abeille West Haven, Utah
    Aug. 20, 2012 1:02 p.m.

    JoeBlow -

    It didn't used to be, but now it currently is tax deductible. Parents of missionaries can now donate funds through the church for their offspring's mission. That was not always the case. When I went on a mission, my parents supplements to the money I had earned to go on a mission were not tax deductible.

  • Mountanman Hayden, ID
    Aug. 20, 2012 1:53 p.m.

    @ alt. Donations to your church are voluntary! Taxes are not! That’s the difference!

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    Aug. 20, 2012 2:35 p.m.

    Abeille,

    Thanks for that clarification.

    I do not feel that missionary programs should qualify as a charitable endeavor. I see that kind of activity very different from helping to feed and clothe the needy.

    Just my personal opinion. Although I do see how some could feel that tending to someones spiritual needs is more important than their physical needs.

    Actually, I think that we should do away with all the various deductions. That would include dependent deductions, charitable, etc.

  • Abeille West Haven, Utah
    Aug. 20, 2012 3:06 p.m.

    JoeBlow -

    I understand and respect your opinion. But just to note - not all Missions in the LDS Church are proselytizing. Many spend their resources to bring clean drinking water to Africa, to provide medical care where none exist, etc. In addition, all deductions are not charitable. For example, you can deduct the interest paid on your house, which isn't a charitable donation. Same with educational expenses, medical expenses over a certain percentage, etc. Most other faiths donate funds to pay for clergy. The LDS faith has no paid clergy. It seems equitable that, since other paid clergy receive funds which are tax deductible, so should LDS Missionary donations be tax deductible.

    I do agree that all giving is not charitable. It appears this study tried to address that by calculating discretionary income and comparing that with charitable giving based on itemized deductions on a person's 1040 form.

    Thanks for your opinion.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    Aug. 20, 2012 3:30 p.m.

    Thanks Abeille,

    Point noted about not all missions are proselytizing.

    I have less of a problem with those. But I am sure that some of that goes on on any mission.

    It is so hard to separate what should or shouldn't be a deduction.

    People can make very valid arguments for or against the fairness of virtually any deduction or what does or does not count as charity.

    Hence, my position. Lose all the deductions. What is fairer than that?

    I appreciate the thoughtful and civil dialogue.

    And

  • no fit in SG St.George, Utah
    Aug. 20, 2012 3:45 p.m.

    This is sounding like a conversation Mitt and Ann might want to chime in on!

  • lost in DC West Jordan, UT
    Aug. 20, 2012 3:48 p.m.

    atl134,
    Where did you get the idea the article was about atheists? And where do you get the idea LDS tithing goes to pay the local pastor? And I guess you are confused about The Rock’s comments concerning fast offerings, which are different from tithing. Your comment seemed to confuse the two.

    JasonP,
    The LDS church’s charitable arms do not have high overhead, if any.

    Non-believer,
    Nothing in the article to support Mountainman’s claim? I guess you missed this: "'People in less religious states are giving in a different way by being more willing to pay higher taxes so the government can equitably distribute superior benefits,' Wolfe said."

    The rock,
    Don’t disabuse FatherOfFour of his misunderstandings, it turns his world upside down.

  • killpack Sandy, UT
    Aug. 20, 2012 3:57 p.m.

    Tolstoy,

    I read the article. And here is my conclusion. People who don't fear God instead put their faith and trust in men and their corrupt, immoral and ungodly institutions, such as the US Government. Non-religious places, like Massachusetts where Professor Wolfe calls home, also put their faith in the corrupt church of the Massachusetts State House (remember Billy Bulger and his wonderful cronies?) Under the guise of morality, they force people to pay into a welfare system, on pain of imprisonment, and they themselves get rich as administrators of the scam. Paying into a welfare system, on pain of imprisonment, is hardly what I consider to be moral or charitable. I simply pay taxes to avoid prison time. And so does everyone else. I'm not aware of anyone, enlightened do-gooder or otherwise, who willingly pays more than is required of him by the IRS, to the federal government. While donating one's means, WILLINGLY, to the less fortunate is very noble, depriving another his or her freedom and forcing them to pay into a corrupt welfare system is wrong, despicable and immoral.

  • Joe Moe Logan, UT
    Aug. 20, 2012 4:21 p.m.

    "... I think people here believe that when they pay their taxes, they're being altruistic."

    So, they choose government as their preferred charity (no doubt because of the stellar record and efficiency thereof), and they are content when they've paid to it. Meanwhile, the rest of us are obliged, under pain of imprisonment, to also donate to this charity, but then also feel to voluntarily contribute to a charity of our choosing, to help our fellow man.

    I think the problem is becoming clearer.

  • A1994 Centerville, UT
    Aug. 20, 2012 4:22 p.m.

    @JoeBlow

    "So, are much of the missionary expenses across the globe considered tax deductible in the US?"

    Good question. Not sure how the IRS views that. However, I would say that the majority of a missionary's time is spent directly doing service. In fact, the church has put more of an emphasis on missionaries taking part in service projects than on proselyting all day.

    Having lived in the Northeast, I'd say the charity has more to do with culture than anything else. Except in Utah's case. The Church is clearly driving that stat. And that's a good thing. It is a well organized, effective, and reputable organization and that lends itself to more donations because people know the money is going to be well spent.

  • Joe Moe Logan, UT
    Aug. 20, 2012 4:25 p.m.

    In the end, tracking who donates how much in what way, is impossible. There's no use pointing fingers or patting anyone on the back.

    As individuals, we just keep doing the best we can, and help when we can.

    Liberal government is trying hard to train people to use them (government) as the charity, the rescuer, the rock on which to stand. And they are succeeding brilliantly.

    May we not forget the neighbor close by, and not just wait for government to help him. Because such a government will eventually fail; it is unsustainable.

  • Instereo Eureka, UT
    Aug. 20, 2012 4:34 p.m.

    Some will read this article and pat themselves on the back and say all is well here in Utah because we are so great in giving to charities. But since churches are included as charities it's hard to really define what giving to a charity really means. It's also hard to figure out what secular giving really means as well. Is giving to an art museum secular giving? Even the part in the article about some feeling that taxing themselves for purposes like giving welfare or health care to the poor as an altruistic defense of taxes just adds confusion to the issue.

    To me, when we have one government with many different churches that using government can be a more effective way of showing our "Christian Values" to help all then each giving to their church which may only help some.

    Finally I don't see this article as a way to get us to act charitably but as a way to divide us and to cloud the issue. The poor will always be with us, charities, churches, and governments need to deal with it.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 20, 2012 4:59 p.m.

    @lost in DC
    "Where did you get the idea the article was about atheists? "

    Less religious states have more atheists by definition.

    "And where do you get the idea LDS tithing goes to pay the local pastor? "

    I didn't, I was referring to Christian churches in general when I made that statement. My LDS specific comments were directed to other posts, though I can see the confusion and I'm sorry I didn't make that more clear.

    "And I guess you are confused about The Rock’s comments concerning fast offerings, which are different from tithing. Your comment seemed to confuse the two."

    I don't think I did. Tithing is the required (for temple admittance etc) offering that is 10% pre-tax and is primarily used to sustain the church, as a result the % of tithing going to charitable causes is understandably fairly low. Fast offerings are less required but still expected, and humanitarian aid contributions are optional (for brevity I'll skip the other tithing slip categories). Those are primarily charitable with low overhead. The overall percentage of LDS church income going to charitable causes seems comparable or slightly higher than the average Christian church.

  • Truthseeker SLO, CA
    Aug. 20, 2012 5:06 p.m.

    re:TheRock
    If Church-owned recording studios and facilities are used to make Prop 8 commercials (as they were) and tithing funds go to maintain those studios etc. then one could say that tithing funds were used on the Prop 8 campaign.

    We really can't say to what level any church in the U.S. funds are used for charitable purposes since they aren't required to and don't publicly disclose their financial statements.

    General Authorities do receive a "stipend" which would classify as being paid.

    The oft repeated themes in Deseret News are:
    Romney for President
    War on religion
    Utah is great
    Mormons are great

  • THE MTN MAN Taylorsville, UT
    Aug. 20, 2012 5:07 p.m.

    To those who argue that donating to a church shouldn't count: you are missing the point. This article is stating that religious people give their money willingly to a cause THEY believe in. It doesn't matter what YOU think is a good cause. I might argue that giving a donation to save the whales is a waste of money, but that doesn't mean the people who give to that cause are not being charitable. If someone gives money to their local church, who are you to judge that as "acceptable charity" or not?

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Aug. 20, 2012 5:08 p.m.

    It's a combination of guilt that religion imposes, expectation and conspicuity. If the jones' are making their quota, we must be seen to be so also. My experience in utah is that whatever benevolence may come from giving is less of a motivating factor.

  • killpack Sandy, UT
    Aug. 20, 2012 5:15 p.m.

    Instereo,

    Yes, how to properly define 'charity' is a challenge, much too complex to leave in the filthy hands of the government. Rather, what constitutes charity to each individual should be a private matter, between the individual and God or whatever deity of choice that person decides to worship. If that person believes in the government, by all means, donate to the government. Just don't force others to do the same. I don't force anyone to donate to my God, why do people insist on requiring me to give money to a corrupt welfare system, by the threat of physical force. I don't pat myself on the back for willingly donating my money. I give money to charity. Big deal. However, I will pat myself on the back for standing up for individual liberties, when so many would take it away. I oppose and defy the immoral federal government for forcibly seizing the hard earned money of so many who are struggling in this terrible economy and giving it away to special interests keeping them in power, all in the name of moral obligation, yes. And I take great pride and satisfaction in such defiance.

  • Rifleman Salt Lake City, Utah
    Aug. 20, 2012 8:33 p.m.

    Re: Red Corvette SACRAMENTO, CA
    "Don't pay your tithing or fast offering and no temple for you."

    Why would anyone who didn't want to live the law of tithing even want to go to the temple? Those who believe in God and have a desire to pay their tithes and offerings don't even think in those terms.

    And by-the-way, how much a LDS member desires to contribute in offerings to help the poor and needy is a personal decision between themselves and God. That, after all is the true spirit of charity because it comes from the heart.

  • A1994 Centerville, UT
    Aug. 20, 2012 9:40 p.m.

    @Hutterite

    Amazing that you can judge and interpret the hearts of millions of members of the church here in Utah.

  • Tekakaromatagi Dammam, Saudi Arabia
    Aug. 20, 2012 10:22 p.m.

    The dogmatic liberals here are a little peeved that people in Utah may be a lot more liberal in their personal lives than their dogma has taught them. I talked to an Indian communist who felt that communism was the political extension of one's personal charity. He felt that it was absolutely essential that one practiced charity in their personal life while they pursued it by political means. I regularly contribute to a fund that makes micro loans to third world young adults to pursue trade school education. This program is funded heavily by Mormons. The Mormon church relief society was going into 3rd world countries and teaching women to read. I think that a lot of people in Utah are closet communists without even knowing it. Certainly by the standards of my Indian communist friend.

  • My2Cents Taylorsville, UT
    Aug. 21, 2012 4:55 a.m.

    So if charity is a socialized religious entitlement then why is government becoming a charity? Is this article referring to religious charity or government charity or personal charity, beggars and scavengers going door to door, on the street, or all of them?

    If this article is referring to all forms then it just reinforces how Socialist the people and government in Utah is and how easy it is to scam any one being here. The charity this article implies is not a very complementarity to citizens and our government and civil inalienable rights. To have a state that spends more than 50% of its budget on charity to business, foreign nationals, education, health care, welfare, etc, based on trumped up fake entitlement is a sure sign we are living in the ravages of Socialism that is not a sustainable government or economy. Too many "non citizens" in Utah think charity is a permanent government/religious entitlement.

    Utah and the taxpayers are living on borrowed time as selfish Socialism is expanding its Hammer and Sickle oppression by our government to keep funding Religious charity and Social charity by taxation is destroying the lives and dreams of freedom and pursuit of happiness.

  • sharrona layton, UT
    Aug. 21, 2012 8:24 a.m.

    RE; A1994 ,Amazing that you can judge and interpret the hearts of millions of members of the church here in Utah.
    Ye shall know them by fruits can be(Mormon doctrines, legalism ),Don't pay your tithing or fast offering and no temple for you.

    If one hopes to obtain the celestial kingdom in the next life, he must practice what is known as "celestial law." In the words of third LDS President John Taylor, "We are told that if we cannot abide the law of the celestial kingdom we cannot inherit a celestial glory".

    Brigham Young, if a person hopes to obtain the celestial kingdom," it requires a strict obedience to every point of law and doctrine and to every ordinance which the Lord reveals: in short, it requires a strict observance of every requirement of Heaven, to fully prepare a people for the possession and enjoyment of the celestial kingdom" .

  • JWB Kaysville, UT
    Aug. 21, 2012 8:50 a.m.

    In this political season and discussions about people who are running for office and charitable giving is probably not appropriate in the light of campaigning. People give their lives, financial means and abilities to other people to have a better life. Candidates and others usually don't sit there and say, I am going to give because it is a tax deduction and will benefit me. If people can get a tax deduction, which has been granted by the United States Congress and signed by the President through his executive office, by people that are of a variety of religions and beliefs over the past 100 years, it is a right and privilege all in this country can take advantage of. However, people of good hearts and intentions live all around the world and Salt Lake City has people that have lived in or relatives that live in those countries all over the globe. Utah has always been a State that has given of their time, energy and means to help further the good causes in the world to benefit others and not themselves. They are an unselfish group of people of all faiths and practices and give universally throughout.

  • Stay the Course Salt Lake City, utah
    Aug. 22, 2012 12:39 a.m.

    sharrona
    and your point is ????

  • sharrona layton, UT
    Aug. 22, 2012 11:02 a.m.

    RE: Stay the Course sharrona,and your point is ???? Tithing by Coercion,versus the heart.

    “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people robbers, evildoers, adulterers or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” Luke 18:10-14 (NIV).

    Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace. Galatians 5:4
    ,

  • Arm of Orion Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Aug. 24, 2012 11:02 a.m.

    Sharrona I am pretty sure you missed the point of the Luke set of verses. For the tax collector was humble and the pharisee was not. According to the gospel the humble who admit to sin and pray for forgiveness and help in God's name the same are those that are saved from the punishment of sin, which is separation from God, and also given a greater ability to overcome the sin. The pharisee represents nothing more than a man who while he performs what he needs to do he has not true heart in it. Whereas the tax collector, who we do not know does not perform all that the pharisee does in fact it is safer to assume he does pay tithing and pray and so on, prays for forgiveness of his own sins.

    So far as Galatians goes consider that Paul was speaking of the Law of Moses, which is a lesser law, not the Law of the Gospel of Christ, which is the higher law. Both require obedience. If one confesses to love Jesus yet continues to murder are they saved?

  • Oatmeal Woods Cross, UT
    Aug. 24, 2012 12:25 p.m.

    I don't like this article or the above comments. We are comparing apples with oranges and then using the data to reinforce our various political views.

  • sharrona layton, UT
    Aug. 24, 2012 3:01 p.m.

    RE: Arm of Orion. The Pharisee was not accepted. He was full of himself and his own goodness. Let us beware of proud devotions(tithing by coercion) to the Lord.
    The publican was full of humility and of repentance for sin. God be merciful to me a sinner. He owned himself a sinner by Nature. He had no dependence but upon the mercy of God; upon that alone he relied. And God's glory is to resist the proud, and give grace to the humble. The self-condemned, not the self-righteous, are justified before God.

    @Separation from God …therefore his final doom is to endure a never-ending torment (Moisah 2:39) fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. (Mt 10:28)

    RE: Law of the Gospel=(good news) of Christ. Gaining God’s favor by observing the law and receiving it by grace are mutually exclusive.
    “So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith”(Gal 3:24 NIV)

  • Arm of Orion Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Aug. 24, 2012 4:07 p.m.

    Answer my question Sharrona. If a person "accepted Jesus into their heart" and in a moment of rage or passion or weakness committed murder are they guilty or are they saved by grace?

    Also you probably misunderstood me concerning Luke. I did not say that the pharisee was accepted. Rather I believe that he was rejected because his actions did not come from the heart. Like that of the tax collector. The tax collector was humble and knew he was a sinner and needed God but still he prayed and followed the law to the best of his ability. That much can be inferred by his actions by praying at the temple. I think we can find agreement in the fact that God accepts the humble over the arrogant yes?

    Now then the verse you quoted in Galatians is referring to the Law of Moses leading to the gospel of Christ.

  • sharrona layton, UT
    Aug. 24, 2012 7:49 p.m.

    RE: Arm of Orion,If a person "accepted Jesus into their heart" and in a moment of rage or passion or weakness committed murder are they guilty or are they saved by grace?

    Both,in Hebrews Chapter 11,the Heroes hall of fame. The O.T. Saints were saved by faith looking forward to the Messiah. See, Hebrews 11:39,40.

    Moses killed an Egyptian (Ex 2:14). David commits murder and adultery yet in Psalm 51:1 He asks for mercy(grace) not justice,David pays for his sins. Are they saved?

    Let no man therefore judge you in food, or in drink(wine)…Col 2:16. The Colossian heresy.
    Wine was used by Noah, Gen 9:20,21 . Melchizedek, Gen 14:18. Isaac Gen 27:25. Jesus 2:1-11, He turns water into wine not wine into water And Mt 11:19.. Timothy,1Tim 5:23. No TR for them.

    he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit( Titus 3:5 NIV). 4th post.

  • Arm of Orion Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Aug. 27, 2012 9:21 a.m.

    So, if all things are saved according to the grace and mercy of Christ should a person committing genocide be saved? Because apparently all sins are saved no matter what if one simply prays for forgiveness. What about serial killing? If I kill repent and kill and repent, or pray for mercy and grace. Then according to what you say I am saved.

    I ask is the above fair? Is it right. So why should I not live my life say the words and accept Jesus into my heart. Why should it not be possible to do so on my death bed? What is the point of church or the bible just so long as I accept Jesus. Why should I read the bible? Why really should I attempt to do anything that is good and honest so long as I have accepted Jesus I am saved. Is that the case Sharrona?