Primitive Christianity Revived, Again
Sirach 12 – Bad advice here, at least from a Christian perspective: “The Most High himself detests sinners, and will repay the wicked with a vengeance. Give to the good man, and do not go to the help of a sinner” (12:6-7). Jesus broke this “wisdom” rule a time or two. But this, after all, is human wisdom. If you lend aid to someone who is bad, you are making him stronger in his wickedness.
Sirach 13 – Beware of rich and influential men. They will take advantage of you and leave you humiliated.
“When the rich man stumbles he is supported by friends; when the poor man falls, his friends push him away. When the rich man slips, there are many hands to catch him, if he talks nonsense, he is congratulated. The poor man slips, and is blamed for it, he may talk good sense but no room is made for him. The rich man speaks and everyone stops talking, and then they praise his discourse to the skies. The poor man speaks and people say, ‘Who is this?’ and if he staggers they push him down” (13:21-23).
We are very tribal: “Every living thing loves its own sort, and every man his neighbor. Every creature mixes with its kind, and man sticks to his own sort” (13:26-27). He extends this especially to class-tribes, but democracy has bred political tribes as well. Jonathan Haidt’s book The Righteous Mind is great on describing the moral psychology of these tribes.
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