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Friday, July 9, 2010

What If Jesus Had Never been Born? The Advent of Modern Accounting Practices


This is the latest edition in a series of recurring posts pertaining to Dr. D. James Kennedy and Jerry Newcombe's classic, What If Jesus Had Never Been Born? in which the authors examine the impact of Christianity upon Western Civilization. Sadly, this is often taken for granted in this age of revisionism and today's topic is how modern accounting practices came into being. In Chapter 8 of their book titled Free Enterprise and the Work Ethic we read....

"Another contribution of Christianity to economics was double-entry bookkeeping and accounting, bequeathed to the world by an Italian Franciscan monk of the Renaissance. Fra Luca Pacioli, who is recognized as the father of modern accounting, published a revolutionary book in 1494, Summa de Arithmetica, Geometria, Proportioni et Proportionalita. The book deals primarily with mathematics but contains a chapter on double-entry bookkeeping that is the basis for our modern accounting. Goethe said that this was "one of the finest discoveries of the human intellect."[1] An economist and sociologist, Werner Sombart, said "Double-entry bookkeeping is born in the same spirit as the system of Galileo and Newton".[2]

Pacioli's work was dedicated to the glory of God. His goal was to write on the science and theology of mathematics-to take it "out of the library" and see it put into practical use in the marketplace. He wrote in the Summa that people should begin all of their economic transactions "in the name of God." The methodology he devoloped changed the future of business forever and led to the development of spread sheets. His ingenious accounting equation of "Assets=Liabilities+Owner's Equity" is used worldwide today. This humble servant of Jesus Christ has provided the world a vital tool for business-to the greater glory of God."

Kennedy, D. James and Jerry Newcombe: What If Jesus Had Never Been Born? pg 111, Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Souces cited by Kennedy-Newcombe;

[1] Needles, Anderson and Caldwell; Principles of Accounting, Houghton Mifflin Co., pg 68

[2] Sombert, Werner; Der Moderne Kapitalismus, Duncher and Humbolt, pg 119, trans.


Yet another arrow for your quiver to respond to those who would have you believe that Christianity is a religion for those who are against critical thinking and innovation.

24 comments:

Froggie said...

Actually, JD, everyone in the fifteenth century rome was a "Christian" by default, in that if you were not, you would be dead.
Furthermore, there is no evidence that any particular scripture inspired Pacioli.

In fact, it was his one of his teachers, Piero della Francesca, a humanist, who inspired him.

There is no evidence that modern accounting was a direct result of Jesus having been born since basic accounting was invented long before the supposed Jesus was born.

You could also say that Galelieo was a Christian, right......

Froggie said...

"Throughout nearly all of human history, the people making the decisions how to exploit new technologies, for constructive or destructive purposes, have been people of faith. Nearly all who chose negative courses were claiming god's (or the gods') favor as they did it. With so much power in our hands today, a gift of our scientific achievements, and so many potentially desperate concerns to address, a consequence of their misuse of over centuries and our own flawed nature, it is vital that we relieve our public decision making of the yoke of religious arrogance and indefensible certainty. Faith must be placed in our own inherent capacity to reason and feel compassion for our fellow man, independent of several thousand-year-old collections of ambiguous, mean-spirited and contradictory metaphors and myths. Let religious belief remain a strictly private matter, as the framers of our Constitution wisely intended."----------- Dan O'Connell

JD Curtis said...

it was his one of his teachers, Piero della Francesca, a humanist, who inspired him (Pacioli)

And exactly what was your source for this information Froggie? There would appear to be as much misinformation out there concerning Francesca's religiuos beliefs as there is about Jefferson's authorship of the US Constitution.

Once you have straightened out the faculty of the History Dept. of JMU concerning their delusions conderning James Madison , you can then continue on by setting the record straight with this site...

Also, are you sure you are not confusing the artistic style of Humanism which was becoming prevelant at that time with something more along the lines of Secular Humanism?

Gregg said...

I have come late to the dance, so my comments are limited in both scope and value. I did not know D. James Kennedy had written this book. Quite frankly I am not sure as to why and not having read it, I don't know what his motive was.

I think as a polemical to proof Christ or the value of Christianity it is probably of little value. It doesn't seem to be an argument that I would use in sharing the truths of the gospel.

First, I am not sure there is any validity in even surmising the "what if" scenario of Christ haveing never been born. That was a foregone decree in the eternal plan of God. Arguing from a point of view of "what if" is specious at best. God slew Christ from the foundation of the earth. Christ came at the precise moment in time that God had decreed.

There is no doubt that Christianity has had a major influence in the world. Most laws, governmental constitutions, and statues are based on the Judaic-Christian principles.

As many men who have strived to do, to think, to be, or to develop in the name of Christ for the good of Christ can be matched to those who have done, thought, or destroyed in the name of Christ.

Again, not having read it I don't know if Kennedy was attempting to demonstrate the superiority of Christianity over other so called "religions or faiths" or not.

But to a dead, depraved, God-hating transgressor of God's law, who loves the darkness becasue their deeds are evil what difference does it make?

Don't get me wrong, I know those in of this world hate God, Christ, Christianity, the true church, you and me; (I John 3:13, ESV) I also know that no argument, no philosophy, no polemic, no "proof" will cause them to see the value of Christ and turn to him. (John 14:6, John 6:44, Ephesians 2:8-9.)

Even when the rich man died and was carried to hell and seeing Lazurus in Abraham's bosom, he begged for a drop of water thought of his, what was it five brothers?

What did Abraham say? No, you got what you wanted and even if someone from the dead arose and went and told them they would not believe.

You would think that if someone who died returned from the dead with a message you would believe that message, wouldn't you? Well, the answer is no. Why? Until an individual is made alive by God the Holy Spirit, they are dead, unable to respond to ANY stimuli, inlcuding a treatsie on the effects of Christianity on the world.

What do we do then? Just roll over and shut up? Of course not. We preach the gospel, we preach the word of God. The only thing Paul attempted to prove was that the Christ, Jesus of Nazareth was the sacrifice and "the prophet" that Moses had predicted would be raised up by God.

The power of God unto salvation is in the gospel. Not in treatsies, tracts, "proofs" or and debates on creation vs evolution and etc. The gospel is the power of God unto salvation. That is what will break down walls of resistance, give life to the dead, and take every thought captive to the will and glory of God.

There is one more problem that I see if I might add. I do not like to see the devil and his minions mixed in with and used to support the claims of Scripture or Christ.

If Luca Pacioli really did invent double-enry accounting why use him as an example of the effect of Christianity on western civilization? If he is true to his Catholic dogna, he is not a Christian. He is a disqualified witness.

He might be used in a book entitled "The Effect of Catholisim on Western Civilization."

Apologetics is a tremendous field. I love it and I respect it greatly. It is needed more than ever today. Lord knows the enemy has his apologists out there. We need more.

Well, since I love coming here and reading, although sometimes it is over my head, I hope that you permit me to muse.

JD Curtis said...

Two quick answers for you Gregg...

I don't know if Kennedy was attempting to demonstrate the superiority of Christianity over other so called "religions or faiths" or not.

More to the point, it's an examination of the impact of Christianity upon Western Civilization. Certain militant atheists will twist anything and everything in history to support their worldview. Unfortunately their revisionism isnt supported by the facts and Kennedy's book cites numerous examples of this.

If Luca Pacioli really did invent double-enry accounting why use him as an example of the effect of Christianity on western civilization? If he is true to his Catholic dogna, he is not a Christian. He is a disqualified witness

Other than being an ordained priest, I don't really know much about his personal beliefs.

I think there will be Catholics in Heaven. Whether they arrived at a point where they put their faith in Christ alone because of or in spite of their doctrine. I really tend to let God sort that out.

John Osteen (not Joel) was once asked about charasmatic Catholics and how can they be a part of the true Church due to their "faulty doctrine". John then said to the guy, "Their faulty doctrine? ... Well what about yours?"

I'll leave it up to God to decide and in the interim, I will take a pro-life, Trinitarian Christian monotheist over a militant atheist anyday. There may be points of disagreement but they pale in comparison to such fundamental questiona like the existance of aGod.

Froggie said...

"Most laws, governmental constitutions, and statues are based on the Judaic-Christian principles."

That is not true. The code of Hamuabbi was written 700 years before the ten commandments, and the Code contains all of the civil laws of the Hebrews.
In fact, Hamurabbi is ensconsed as one of the great lawgivers ensconced in bas relief on the wall in the main chambers of the US House of Representatives.

The Hebrews merely borrowed moral codes and civil laws that predated him.

In fact seven of the ten commandments are not laws in the US and would be unconstitutional if they were enacted.

Gregg said...

Thanks JD - I was just musing and wondering out loud, like I said I came to the dance late. You are right, most revisionists will stop at nothing to rewrite history.

Froggie, I am not well versed in politics nor do I have a research staff, that is why I took the easy way out and said most. I realize that not every single statue is based on the Judaic-Christian code. Many are and many have copied those who have copied us. I was aware however that one which predated Moses was Hamuabbi.

Lastly, Froggie, being considered or ruled as unconstitutional does not alter their validity. God does not need you, me, or 9 Justices to approve or disapprove of His Law. His law is established forever.

Thanks again guys for letting me join the party.

JD Curtis said...

That is not true. The code of Hamuabbi was written 700 years before the ten commandments, and the Code contains all of the civil laws of the Hebrews

Really?

Does the Code of Hammurabi warn against "graven images" or were idols common in Mesopotamia at that time?

Does the Code of Hammurabi encourage monotheism?

Does the Code of Hammurabi encourage keeping "the Sabbath Holy"?

Where does it stand on covetousness?

Or taking God's name in vain?

Yes there were similarities between the two, but to argue that they were the same is nonsense.

Froggie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Froggie said...

JD/ Gregg,
You are correct. The Hebrews added the parts about their particular God to differentiate themselves from the other religions du jour.

But ethics and morals were established long before the Hebrews were a tribe.
Empathy is the bedrock of ethics and morals and empathy evolved in humans as a very successful survival skill.

Check out "Mirror Neurons."

And thanks for the correct spelling of Hammurabi.
I always seem to like using two bs.

JD Curtis said...

ethics and morals were established long before the Hebrews were a tribe

The code of Hamurrabi regulated the activity of the temple prostitutes whereas the 10 Commandments forbid adultery.


Yes, there were legal codes before the 10 Commandments. I wouldnt argue about that. But were the moral?

Jquip said...

Froggie: There's a general problem with the mirror neuron theory of empathy as related to ethics. The ancient codes were quite particularly brutal and corporal; this is particularly costly given the small populations involved. If, however, this is a strictly biological function then this would not be expected to have changed significantly -- or at all -- in the short time between Hammurabi and now.

Now, if you wanted to say that the biological bedrock of human ethics and morality, and so all natural justice, is based on corporal punishment and a distinct lack of proportionality? I think you'll find Christians quite willing to agree with you.

Froggie said...

Jquip said...
"Froggie: There's a general problem with the mirror neuron theory of empathy as related to ethics. The ancient codes were quite particularly brutal and corporal......"

Mirror neuron activity is not theory. It is a measurable fact, but I do agree that empathy might seem to contradict corporal punishment, we see the use and condonement of severe punishments in the Old and New testaments. But we also see the use use of corporal ounishment drastically declining since the nineteenth century, even to the poit where most states in the USA have outlawed corporal punishment altogether as we cast off ancient cultural conditioning.
It is obvious that earlier generations justified use of corporal punishment through their holy books just as some people use the bible to this day to beat their kids, which only demonstrates their lack of parenting skills.

Froggie said...

JD,

"Yes, there were legal codes before the 10 Commandments. I wouldnt argue about that. But were the moral?"

Of course there were moral laws. HC was full of them- against lying, stealing and murder. same as the ten commandments and the punishments were mostly equal to those prescribed in the old Testament.
------------------------------------

Froggie said...

It is easy to see that morals and ethics were not handed down one day by some supernatural entity. They evolved along with humans through eons of cooperation.
Of course there are unscrupulous power hungry people that will use genocide and sever punishments to control people to this very day.
There are "God fearing Christians" on the internet everyday that recommend corporal punishment for gays and what they consider blaphemers.
There are American fundamentalist Christians that are in Uganda as we speak lobbying for the death penalty for gays and "witches."

Despots and power hungry individuals will always be with us, but the comparative ease of which they can come to power is greatly diminished, by who? By society in general.

Froggie said...

It is the Bible that has perpetuated corporal punishment, slavery and the subjugation of women until just recently. Look at the Salem Witch Trials, which were abored by most of the population, but the powers that be justified it with the bible just as Roeder used the bible to justify the killing of George Tiller.
It is sad, but true, that although the vast majority of people on the earth experience empathy, there are a small minority that do not, or cannot. You may call that evil, but it is a condition of the human psyche that we are learning how to deal with more each day.

Jquip said...

Froggie: Your reply doesn't address the problem. If mirror neurons are responsible, in large part, for empathy then there would have been no sudden change during the 19th century.

Froggie said...

I disagree, there are good people doing good things, and there are bad people that do bad things, but despots and religion can make good people do bad things.

I know there is no use to speculate but what might have happened had Jesus not been born. How would the seven hundred years of anti-science dark ages have been used?

Good ethical people can be influenced by despots.
WWII Germany is a prime example. I have relatives in Germany and they are forever horrified at how they were used. Germany has a national neurosis about the whole mess, and they are only nominally Christian.
Look at Japan since WWII. They have the lowest crime rate in the world and there is virtually no Christian identity there.

Humans are born empathizers (not born sinners)and that should be cultivated, but we know that you can mold a child into immoral purposes very easily- override his natural propensity for empathy. Fundamentalist Christians deamonize all others to their children from birth.

Maybe they even think they are doing the right thing because they too were culturally conditioned.

Froggie said...

Here is a very basic primer on the evolution of morality.

There are also very good studies and papaers on this subject on Google Scholar.

Froggie said...

The reason for the "sudden" changes in the nineteenth century in the west was the throwing off the bonds of draconion religious beliefs, yet they linger still.
Social memes take many generations to change. That is one of the reasons you see so much genocide in the bible. The leaders knew that they could control a people and assimilate them more quickely if they killed most of the older members of the opposing tribe.

Jquip said...

Froggie: "Good ethical people can be influenced by despots."

Sure, standard status issues. But that has nothing to do with a biological seat for ethics in mirror neurons.

"Here is a very basic primer on the evolution of morality."

More like a Darwinian Chick Tract. It likewise has nothing to do with the issue. Point of fact, it would do you some good to read Piaget, amongst others.

"That is one of the reasons you see so much genocide in the bible."

And still today. Apparently things did not, in fact, change suddenly in the 19th century. While that would be consistent with an evolutionary hypothesis, it would not be consistent with one that posited genetic morality in the sense that you have.

An interesting aside: Sin and the Fallen nature of man is predicated on empathy. The cycle of Sin=>Shame=>Sin requires empathy as the bridge. The Christians, of course, want to keep empathy and discard Sin. The Secularists want to discard empathy and keep Sin. It's really quite awkward.

JD Curtis said...

Thanks John Quincy Public. You brought up some points I hadnt considered. When I read Froggie's points however, this is the BS that I find...

I know there is no use to speculate but what might have happened had Jesus not been born. How would the seven hundred years of anti-science dark ages have been used?

This asumes that during the period in which the moniker "Dark Ages" was retroactively applied that there was no actual scientific develpoment.

Top 10 Reasons that the Dark Ages Werent so Dark

Look at Japan since WWII. They have the lowest crime rate in the world and there is virtually no Christian identity there

This makes the common atheist mistake of equating a low prepoderance of Christianity in someway = No Religion.

It completely ignores the cultural influence of Shintoism.

"Harmony, order, and self-development are three of the most important values that underlie Japanese social interaction. Basic ideas about self and the nature of human society are drawn from several religious and philosophical traditions. Religious practice, too, emphasizes the maintenance of harmonious relations with others (both spiritual beings and other humans) and the fulfillment of social obligations as a member of a family and a community." Link

That is one of the reasons you see so much genocide in the bible

Apart from people living in a certain area in and around Canaan, where else is said "genocide" occuring in the Bible?

Humans are born empathizers (not born sinners)and that should be cultivated, but we know that you can mold a child into immoral purposes very easily- override his natural propensity for empathy

And I think we are selfish by nature and we need guidance at an early age to teach us to share and help others.

Fundamentalist Christians deamonize all others to their children from birth

Untrue. If fundamentaism is as it is commonly defined,

1. The inerrancy of the Bible

2. The literal nature of the Biblical accounts of Christ's miracles, the Creation account in Genesis, and so on

3. The Virgin Birth of Christ

4. The bodily resurrection of Christ

5. The substitutionary atonement of Christ on the cross

If this is the problem, then I don't hear anyone "demonizing" anybody, except for a very very small, vocal minority. And nobody else unless you would like to provide some facts and figures.

Froggie said...

JD,

"This makes the common atheist mistake of equating a low prepoderance of Christianity in someway = No Religion.

It completely ignores the cultural influence of Shintoism."

Errr, no, I didn't say that. You've built a Strawman. Stop it, now.
You know full well you are arguing from the position of Christianity.

I never made the argument that no Christianity = no religion, you did, and it's absurd.
You're scraping the bottom of the barrel.

Froggie said...

JD,
I could very well infer that you consider Shintoism as good as Christianity when it comes to morality/ ethics. Good.

You should aslo recieve humanism in good light too.