Thesis: I should not have a pet

Love EXPANDS the more we give it away.

My love for my sheep doesn’t take away my love for God or anyone else. I think I can love better.

I think this misses the point. Love expands the more we give it away, but money and time do not. Though we don’t have to choose who or what to love, we do have to choose who or what will recieve these resources. If your pets are like Waanju’s cats, and are mostly self-sufficient, I see no problem with them as the relationship is mutually beneficial. (RESOURCES, as well as love, pass in both directions). However, I think that when resources pass in only one direction, it may become a problem, as those resources could be given to needy people.

What about money spent on entertainment? Computers? TV? Video games? Music? That’s all money that could be spent on the poor, too.

I hope you never go out to eat. You could be using the extra money you’re spending on food to help your fellow man.

This reminds me of the Peter Singer argument that basically led to the conclusion that we should all be one step above poor beggars or else we’re murderers, or something close.

Perhaps this is the case. Jesus and the appostles lived as one step above poor beggers, and certain quotes in the Bible seem to indicate that all of us are called to lead similar lives.

Did St. Francis not follow Christ in this regard? He had numerous PET lambs. They brought him joy and kept him closer to God. :slight_smile:

He even bought lambs that were being sent to slaughter, on impulse.

Pax et bonum!

Well then if you really believe that, then I guess this discussion is over. I hope you’re currently making plans to sell all of your extraneous belongings-including this computer. I expect to read your good-bye post soon, right? :shrug:

Myself, I think we can live good Christian lives without becoming poor beggars ourselves. :thumbsup:

EDIT: Not to mention even if we do become mendicants we still have a duty to be stewards to God’s creatures-like, as somebody else pointed out, St. Francis.

Perhaps not. I don’t mean to say that He sinned by keeping pet lambs, but that his resources could probably have been better spent caring for people.

They brought him joy and kept him closer to God. :slight_smile:

I imagine that caring for people could have brought him even closer to God.

Caring for animals is good. Caring for people is better.

:thumbsup:

I care for two of my “granddogs,” two “grandcats,” a horse, and a pig. And I love every minute of it! The cats, dogs, and horse go to the vet once a year, and the pig goes twice a year. True that vet bills, food, heartworm prevention, boarding fees, farrier, etc. do add up. That’s why I live in a modest house and drive an old vehicle, and didn’t even have cable TV until last month (when it was on special for $1/month more that what I already pay for Internet).

They’re good company, better company that a lot of people. Absolutely without a doubt MUCH better company than anyone who thinks pets are a waste of time and money. :wink:

Jala

A good question. Logically, yes, it is true, any money we spend on ‘unnecessaries’ while people starve would seem to be problematic.

Intuitively, though, it would seem to become sinful only when it reached a particular level of extravagance (e.g. spending thousands on vet care, or grooming). But I cannot think of a good philosophical justification for such a position. And I don’t think it is sufficient just to assert an intuitive position. Maybe someone else can.

An important point, perhaps is proximity of need. Christ commands us to give to those who ask. If a hungry person asked you, personally, for money or food, there is a moral imperative to give, in preference to any other expenditure. But when the person is not actually in contact (i.e. on the other side of the world or the city), perhaps the imperative is not so binding.

Now, to justify such a position philosophically- love is an inter-personal act. It therefore relies on immediacy. To refuse a needy person face to face is a failure of love. To refuse a campaign to ‘Feed the Africans’ is perhaps not a failure of love in the same way, since ‘the Africans’ could remain an abstraction to the person asked. The purposes of acts of charity is not so much to ‘solve problems of need’, but to cause love ot prevail. This relies on a philosophical position that the material world (hunger, need, etc.) is not the ultimate reality, but rather virtue itself is of more importance than its outcomes.

I’m speaking of Mrs. Poodle the dog, not Mrs. Poodle the dog owner. :smiley: Regardless, there is a thing called “overdoing it.” As I said - moderation.

Can anyone imagine what earth would be like if we cared completely about ourselves or completely about animals? Neither scenario would end up very nice…

It’s more or less a cliche - there’s always some old lady in a book or movie with a pampered dog named “Mrs. (frou-frou name here).”

nope! does that mean I’m a hypocrite? Maybe, but all who teach god’s commandments accurately, with the exception of Jesus himself, are hypocrites, since all people sin. The holiest saints were probably hypocrites, since they teach God’s ways and yet, as flawed human beings, continue to sin.

Besides, I’m simply speculating here. I’m unsure whether or not God actually wants each of us sell all our belongings and donate the money to the poor. That’s a big step, one that would be difficult to take back if necessary. I’m going to wait until I can reach an informed decision about it.

If we* all* gave away all of our extra belongings (apparently both of you consider modern technology “extra”) to the poor, all of humanity would be poor (and Communist).

Perhaps this is true of human beings. We certainly have an increased emotional drive to help someone in our more immediate vacinity. Thus, to refuse a needy person face to face in spite of both our increased natural disire to help him and our moral obligation to help him, it would probably be a bigger sin then refusing a “feed the Africans” campaign. However, I doubt that agape love, the highest form of love, distiguishes between those in our immediate vacinity and those overseas, and if we aspire to that kind of love, we should not make the distinction either.

perhaps true, but I doubt it. It seems to me that at least everyone would be able to meet their needs, which is more than many people have.

(and Communist).

There is a big difference between charity and communism. Charity entails* freely *giving your resources in order to help others. In communism, the government forces the spread of wealth.

If we were to give away all of our unnecessary possessions and spread them evenly among the world’s poor, everyone would probably just be in a slightly-less-uncomfortable form of poverty - as a whole. That being said, it would still be a downgrade from America’s version of poor. Said poor people would also have extra stuff which would be entirely useless to them. (Kind of hard to use a computer when you don’t have an outlet, nonetheless electricity.)

Percentage Population Living on Less Than $2 per Day: 2009, Wikipedia.
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/7/71/Percentage_population_living_on_less_than_%242_per_day_2009.png/800px-Percentage_population_living_on_less_than_%242_per_day_2009.png

World Population Demographic: 2008, Wikipedia.

Not that I’m saying it’s impossible to aid poor persons - but there’s no use to it if EVERYONE becomes poor in the process. God didn’t say we all had to don sackcloth and give everything away - but we at least have to be willing to when we have to. As a nation, we could help thousands of people* just by refraining from wasting food* and giving the excess to those who need it.

I think people - as far as the majority of the population is concerned - should learn how to be more efficient before they consider giving all of their possessions away. Of course if one wants to give everything away, that’s great as a personal prerogative, but it’s not a necessity.

Half-true. Communism is supposed to include a dictator only until it has attained it’s goal of empowering the proletariat to the greatest extent possible - at which point the government is supposed to let itself back into the general population and let the proletariat rule themselves. Essentially, if every person on earth gave everything away and threw it in a pile for everyone else to use, it would be Communism without the dictator.

If we were to give away all of our unnecessary possessions and spread them evenly among the world’s poor, everyone would probably just be in a slightly-less-uncomfortable form of poverty - as a whole.

Not that I’m saying it’s impossible to aid poor persons - but there’s no use to it if EVERYONE becomes poor in the process.

It seems to me that there would be quite a lot of use if we could prevent all deaths by starvation. Studies have shown that money does not buy happiness, once basic needs are met. The graphs you show seem to indicate that we would all have just enough to meet our needs, or “one step above a beggar” as Marc Anthony (and perhaps Peter Singer? I don’t know if that was a direct quote) put it. Maybe a lack of luxurious goods is good for us spiritually, and makes us less attatched to the things of this world.

God didn’t say we all had to don sackcloth and give everything away - but we at least have to be willing to when we have to.

I’m not so sure about that. Didn’t Jesus tell people to sell their posessions and follow him? I know that somewhere in the bible an exception is made for parents, who have the responsibility to care for their children, but otherwise, it seems like we’re supposed to give up our luxurious posessions.

Half-true. Communism is supposed to include a dictator only until it has attained it’s goal of empowering the proletariat to the greatest extent possible - at which point the government is supposed to let itself back into the general population and let the proletariat rule themselves. Essentially, if every person on earth gave everything away and threw it in a pile for everyone else to use, it would be Communism without the dictator.

In the real world, of course, the dictator never gives up power, but since we’re considering a world where everyone freely gives up their possesions, we might as well immagine a world where the second stage of communism is actually plausible. It does’t seem to me like communism without the dictator would be a problem, at least not in this idealized world.

Hi everybody.
A lot of answers, but none has a significant punch against my thesis.
Since my thesis is derived from the choice of buying a pet, it also is important to distinguish it from situations that are incomparable. Example, a farmer needs a dog to deal with sheep, or a blind man needs a dog to lead him in his life. These are just a few examples where the “pet” is actually required, as opposed to a conditioning free choice.
A normal person that does not require a “pet”, but opts to buy it requires a compelling reason for it.
That is how most of us make the choice of having a pet. Often these reasons (as demonstrated by you) are emotional driven, but this is a fallacy.
One “should not own a pet” unless one has good reason for it, not emotions, right?
Or else we could discount every moment of our lives where we didn’t love “because I didn’t feel like it”.
I do not wish to open the argument to the extreme of giving everything to the poor.
Jesus demonstrated clearly that some people handle money better than others.
And this would open the discussion to a complete new thesis.
I would like to find a compelling reason for a person that does not require an animal for their day to day life to have a pet.
If you do have such a reason, please propose it.

Thank you and God bless,
D

Sorry, but too late. This is the logical conclusion we draw from your theory: That if we are not giving everything to the poor then we aren’t acting like real questions. This really isn’t true; we know of several men in the New Testament who became Christians but didn’t become mendicants. The Roman centurion and his household, for example.

I do not see how this logically follows.
Also, who said that emotions are not a good reason? What about visiting those in prison? Comforting those who mourn? Do these commands not indicate the human beings have emotional NEEDS? If a pet fills some of those needs without requiring so much input that it outweighs the benefit (which most pets do not), then how is that not a good?

What emotional need does a pet fill that a human being can not fill?

right. That issue definately has an impact on whether or not it is moral to keep a pet.

This really isn’t true; we know of several men in the New Testament who became Christians but didn’t become mendicants. The Roman centurion and his household, for example.

so what? Jesus and the appostles never commended the ceturian for keeping his wealth, at least not as far as. Just because it’s in the bible doesn’t mean it’s morraly commendable.

In a nutshell, this a large part of the reason I abandoned Catholic faith.

Other animals ::are:: our brethren, if you take evolutionary biology seriously, as the Catholic church claims to do. Having dogs or cats or other animals as companions provides a great foil to the human potential for arrogance and self-absorbtion.

Besides, if it’s wrong to spend money on pets because you’re not spending it on the basic welfare of other humans, then it’s wrong to spend money on anything before spending it on basic human welfare, so any failure to donate to charity, or government spending on public works or sport or anything that isn’t saving lives is sinful, surely…

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