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Jesus The Capitalist?

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posted on Jun, 15 2014 @ 06:20 PM
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There seems to definitely be some correlation between Christians and political 'conservatism,' and a strong belief in free-market capitalism. This correlation seems odd, and perhaps even contradictory. First of all, it certainly couldn't be said that Jesus advocated anything like capitalism. Jesus actually basically created a legitimate communist system among his followers. They gave all of their possessions to a central figure, where it would then be given out according to their needs.

One of his primary messages was to not have concern for material things. "You cannot serve God and Mammon," mammon representing money and materialism. Jesus was all about detaching from the material, and losing greed. It seems odd that his followers so often argue that profit is the only legitimate form of motivation, and that nothing would get invented or done in general if it wasn't for the profit-motive, AKA motivated by greed.

Now let's take this a step a further. Undeniably one of Jesus' main messages was as mentioned, getting rid of materialism and greed. Yet the argument is made that greed is the only legitimate motivator. So that is to say that to actually follow Jesus is impossible. Or else that whoever would follow Jesus, would have no motivation to do anything, and a world full of Jesus-followers would get absolutely nothing done and we would revert to being primitive.

So yea...not sure how this correlation between Christianity and 'conservative' capitalism exists...seems contradictory, if anything...
edit on 15-6-2014 by TheJourney because: (no reason given)




posted on Jun, 15 2014 @ 06:43 PM
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I've always found it quite strange that despite Jesus' alleged poverty and lack of materialism, it seems he was in fact quite loaded. If you read the verses on the crucifixion it states his clothes were so fine that the Roman soldiers actually fought over them! Also he was very well educated, which took money, as is evidence throughout the Bible particularly in his dealings with the Roman authorities and the tax collectors. He was very knowledgeable about the law too and often used it to his advantage and was not afraid to use his knowledge to intimidate others. Plus no matter where he went, he was always welcomed into some of the richest households, and counted many rich and influential friends in his circle and certainly doesn't appear to have gone hungry or lived rough and simply except when necessary.



posted on Jun, 15 2014 @ 06:45 PM
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a reply to: TheJourney

You are right. There absolutely is a total contradiction. Good ol' Republican Jesus!







Now, obviously Christian republicans will counter your argument by suggesting that charitable actions should be taken by individuals and not by governments, and will probably also cherry pick the issue by pointing to separation of church and state. The question then becomes if these same individuals are actually charitable in their day to day lives, or if this is simply an excuse they use. Not for me to judge either way, but I would say there is a very clear disconnect between what Jesus taught and what the prevailing attitude of most republicans is.



posted on Jun, 15 2014 @ 11:35 PM
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a reply to: DeadSeraph

I'm afraid I can't quite agree with you. Study after study shows Republicans giving more to charity than Democrats. here's just one, If you need them, I can come up with more.

www.politico.com...

And, in case you're wondering, the religious are much more generous in their giving than Atheists. Several studies are described with linking footnotes here:

www.conservapedia.com...

I know it's tempting to describe people that you don't care for as morally deficient, but that doesn't seem to be the case here.



posted on Jun, 15 2014 @ 11:50 PM
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a reply to: TheJourney

What a fascinating subject for an ATS thread!



There seems to definitely be some correlation between Christians and political 'conservatism,' and a strong belief in free-market capitalism.

The correlation is local and temporary. It applies to the US right wing in our day and age.

In nineteenth-century England, the correlation between socialism an Christianity was strong. Great writers such as Charles Kingsley, John Ruskin and Thomas Hughes championed it. Great Evangelicals such as William Wilberforce, Hannah More and Charles Grant were in the forefront of the battle for human rights and the redistribution of wealth to the disadvantaged through education and charitable works.

Institutional charity in the Church of England, incidentally, is state charity, because in England Church and State are one.

In the 1960s, the Second Vatican Council brought left-wing activism into the Roman Catholic Church and even spawned an outlook called 'Liberation Theology' which saw Catholic religious working hand in hand with left-wing guerrilla movements, Socialist political groups, etc. The relationship continues to this day.

In Western Europe and among Christian communities in Asia and Africa, no connexion is evident between capitalist values and Christian ones — except among those who have been evangelized by born-again American Christian organizations.

Institutional charity was pretty much invented by the Roman Catholic Church in Europe during the early Middle Ages. At the time, the Church was very much part of the state apparatus in every European country. To this day, many great Catholic charitable foundations in Europe and Latin America obtain state patronage.

Even in North America, charitable organizations, including religious ones, are tax-exempt, so they receive state patronage in that way. By foregoing its tax demand, the state participates in the organizations' acts of charity.


First of all, it certainly couldn't be said that Jesus advocated anything like capitalism.

What do you make of this, then?


A man travelling into a far country... called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey. Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents. And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two. But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord’s money.

After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them. And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more. His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them. His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.

Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed: 25 and I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine. His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed: thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury. — Matt. 25, 14-27

Advising people to play the markets with the help of bankers! What could be more 'capitalistic' than that?


Jesus actually basically created a legitimate communist system among his followers. They gave all of their possessions to a central figure, where it would then be given out according to their needs.

Could you substantiate that statement with a documentary source, please? The Acts of the Apostles does say that the disciples instituted a communistic way of living after Jesus' crucifixion, but I know of no source, Biblical or otherwise, to substantiate the claim that Jesus and the disciples lived like that.



posted on Jun, 16 2014 @ 01:24 AM
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a reply to: charles1952




I know it's tempting to describe people that you don't care for as morally deficient, but that doesn't seem to be the case here.


That isn't a very fair assessment. I quite like a lot of the republicans on this site, and I'm very good friends with many right leaning people in my day to day life (up here in Canada we have the conservative party instead of republicans, and I am good pals with a few card carrying conservatives). I don't feel that republicans are "morally deficient" any more than I believe atheists are incapable of being moral people (as you sort of alluded to in your reply). I simply think that many of the republicans I've spoken to who also claim Christianity as their faith might not have thought the whole issue through.

It's pretty clear from scripture that early Christians were a very communal people that relied heavily on the pooling of their resources for survival and for charitable acts. There isn't really any other way to interpret it. This contradicts some of the ideologies espoused by modern republicans, and it could be argued that what we now call "republican" is probably a far cry from what the party originally represented.

I personally don't consider myself either right wing or left wing, as I am left on some issues and right on others, and I believe partisan politics to largely be a staged political puppet show that keeps people bickering amongst themselves. Two sides of the same coin, if you will (and I believe that political farce exists in Canada as well as the U.S with the goal of keeping people divided). But it's hard to deny the modern "republican" agenda doesn't exactly square up with the beatitudes.



posted on Jun, 16 2014 @ 01:26 AM
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I always chalked them up to having an over abundance of emphasis on Gen 1. 28. And God blessed [ Adam and Eve ], and God said unto them, "Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth."
Sounds an awful lot like go out an be a thoughtless bully to me.



posted on Jun, 16 2014 @ 03:00 AM
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originally posted by: DeadSeraph




I always think he is a socialist .....

I think most of American still too blind faith capitalism,even on ATS.
edit on 16-6-2014 by candlestick because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 16 2014 @ 07:40 AM
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a reply to: TheJourney

There is a severe difference between a free will and a free market but freedom was one of his messages as well as "If your brother has no coat and you have two then give him the one you are not using!" and "You can not serve both mammon (greed and finance) and god!" so I actually think that while he pointed out anything is possible were God is concerned a rich man would find it harder to get into heaven than a poor man and indeed it is easier for a cammel to pass through the eye of a needle.
I think the idea he was in any way for a capitalist system is wrong but then he never forbade such as he said that of the rich and the self glorifying that they have had there reward here and the good will recieve there's in heaven.
A man whom came to him was full of shame as he had men under him but because he was a just man christ forgave him and he was healed as he had shown faith - a rich man with faith is capable of astounding work's of goodness.
The lie that was communism placed the ideology of the pre nicean christians as if it had all been invented by karl marx and espoused atheism which of course created a dark and if anything inhumane and litterally soulless system but capitalism will just as quickly devour the soul of it's devotee's.
Remember the man whom stored up great wealth in his barn so that he may retire in luxury but god demanded his soul and the wealth he could have used for good works instead of storing it up in greed like so many of the ultra rich today, well who recieved his wealth then.
I see no link between christianity and capitalism but I also must point out how the bible was mangled through the ages to justify whatever king or religious leader wanted to use it and how for the bulk of that period they kept it in latin (when the language christ spoke was arimeic) to keep the masses ignorant and how they reinterpreted passages to give the gang leaders whom had annointed themselves as kings the claim of divine right which was actually a blasphemy as they have no such right in a kingdom in which christ is the only king and his father the only true god, also the persecution of the jew's was probably in part to keep the jewish influence and interpretation which was more in keeping with christs words and from whose culture christ had come into the world from being seen clearly by the masses as after all the kibbutze was the very model that was laid out in the early church in the first century.
I do however see a direct correlation between christiantiy and ethical democracy but we each must keep christ as our spiritual head.



posted on Jun, 16 2014 @ 08:26 AM
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Wolves in sheep skin.



posted on Jun, 16 2014 @ 09:08 AM
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a reply to: TheJourney

Murican Christianity is corporate friendly. Consumerism and pride are tolerated if not stimulated. The weak are encouraged to be obedient to the strong. In it's carefully crafted sermons, authoritarians find moral absolution.

Religions that are not corporate friendly will be suppressed and marginalized in Murica. Buddhism is the best example. Imagine what would happen if Buddhism was sweeping the nation? LOL. How long do you think it would be before it's labeled terrorist for rejection of materialism?

Picture Jesus showing up at any shopping mall in Murica and preaching to the Christians he finds there. Get the picture yet? Murica is the wolf not the lamb.



posted on Jun, 16 2014 @ 09:19 AM
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originally posted by: DeadSeraph












LOLOL


Awesome!!!



posted on Jun, 16 2014 @ 09:22 AM
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a reply to: LittleByLittle

Yes but be as cunning as the serpant and as harmless as the dove.



posted on Jun, 16 2014 @ 09:45 AM
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a reply to: TheJourney

...and don't forget how he expelled the moneychangers from the temple?

...if our bodies are a temple to God, we should be expelling the moneychangers from our midst?

If everyone is compelled to share equally, there is no give and take.



posted on Jun, 16 2014 @ 10:34 AM
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a reply to: Astyanax

you know that's a parable right?

Meaning theres a lesson behind the teaching.... its not something that actually happened, but a story to teach a lesson




posted on Jun, 17 2014 @ 03:12 AM
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a reply to: Akragon


you know that's a parable right?

Indeed it was. So Jesus could have chosen any metaphor he wanted to make his point. Choosing the one he did implies that he approved — at any rate, did not disapprove — of people making profits through moneylending.

Jesus also understood the value of financial planning before commencing a project:


For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? — Luke 14:28

He also understood how capitalists balance risk and reward:


"The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field. — Matt. 13:44

Jesus was fond of using financial metaphors, especially when talking about the Kingdom of Heaven. Several times in the New Testament, he encourages his followers to 'store up treasure in Heaven'. Like all capitalists, he understood that


where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. — Matt. 6:21


He was also, like all good capitalists, against wage demands by organized labour:

And the soldiers likewise demanded of him, saying, And what shall we do? And he said unto them, Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages. — Luke 3:14



posted on Jun, 17 2014 @ 04:12 AM
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a reply to: Astyanax


Indeed it was. So Jesus could have chosen any metaphor he wanted to make his point. Choosing the one he did implies that he approved


Well... no it doesn't...

he also had a parable which said "bring them here and kill them in front of me"... that's the idea of the parable, its a fantasy to relate an idea...


at any rate, did not disapprove — of people making profits through moneylending


that would be usury... and no he did not approve of that...

Its exactly what is ruining the world as it is now... why would he?


Jesus also understood the value of financial planning before commencing a project:



For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? — Luke 14:28


That passage has nothing to do with money.... or building In any physical sense for that matter...


He also understood how capitalists balance risk and reward:



"The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field. — Matt. 13:44


Keep reading....

You should really read the rest of the similes he gave about "the kingdom of heaven" in that chapter instead of focusing on one that you clearly don't understand anyways....


Jesus was fond of using financial metaphors, especially when talking about the Kingdom of Heaven.


Probably because people like money...

Him? Not so much...


Several times in the New Testament, he encourages his followers to 'store up treasure in Heaven'. Like all capitalists, he understood that


Said "treasures" have nothing to do with money...



He was also, like all good capitalists, against wage demands by organized labour:


And the soldiers likewise demanded of him, saying, And what shall we do? And he said unto them, Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages


I believe that would be called... being humble...

He also said something about not worrying about tomorrow... but trusting in God




edit on 17-6-2014 by Akragon because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 17 2014 @ 09:48 AM
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a reply to: Akragon

How much of what Jesus is reported as saying in the Bible do you think he actually said? The Gospels were all composed after his death. I'm sure some people did write down what he said and pass it on, but there were others who wrote down what he didn't say, too. Centuries were spent trying to distinguish one from the other before the Gospels assumed their present form. Only the blindly faithful believe that the effort was wholly successful.

So it shouldn't surprise us that Jesus, in the Gospels, often says contradictory things. Blessed are the peacemakers, he said, yet he also told us that he brought not peace, but a sword. He taught compassion, but he withered with a curse a tree that did not provide him with shade (or was it fruit? I can't remember now).

I don't really believe Jesus was a capitalist. The term is anachronistic anyway; capitalism evolved during the Industrial Revolution; what existed before that was mercantilism, which in one form or another goes all the way back to prehistory. But I disagree with people who say he thought nothing about money, and cared nothing for it: if we are to go by the Gospels, particularly St. Matthew, he was actually quite sophisticated in money matters. The 'Render unto Caesar' trick, for example; it shows both economic and political savvy. Jesus was telling his followers it's okay to make money, to have business interests, and therefore to pay tax; he was also telling the authorities that he was not about to start a revolt against the state based on the economic grievances of the people. Very diplomatic.

Anyway, this is all much too serious for this lighthearted thread.



posted on Jun, 17 2014 @ 03:19 PM
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a reply to: Astyanax


How much of what Jesus is reported as saying in the Bible do you think he actually said? The Gospels were all composed after his death. I'm sure some people did write down what he said and pass it on, but there were others who wrote down what he didn't say, too. Centuries were spent trying to distinguish one from the other before the Gospels assumed their present form. Only the blindly faithful believe that the effort was wholly successful.


actually I agree with you... There are things in the gospels he didn't say...

For example I personally don't believe he told people they were headed to "hell"...

its just too... Well... Christian! lol


So it shouldn't surprise us that Jesus, in the Gospels, often says contradictory things. Blessed are the peacemakers, he said, yet he also told us that he brought not peace, but a sword.


That just requires a bit of understanding really... the sword idea represents a division of sorts... not violence like some people assume...


He taught compassion, but he withered with a curse a tree that did not provide him with shade (or was it fruit? I can't remember now).


It was fruit... but still that doesn't mean he contradicted himself.... Lets face it... Its a was a plant



But I disagree with people who say he thought nothing about money, and cared nothing for it: if we are to go by the Gospels, particularly St. Matthew, he was actually quite sophisticated in money matters.


Well you're free to disagree with those people.... forgive me if I disagree with you on this matter....


The 'Render unto Caesar' trick, for example; it shows both economic and political savvy.


That wasn't a trick.... Render onto Caesar what is Caesars... and Render onto God what is Gods...

Meaning Give Caesar what he wants, and give God what he wants... Money is not what God wants... Nor was it what Jesus wanted...


it shows both economic and political savvy.


Not so much... It shows that money is not important when comes to dealing with spiritual matters...


Jesus was telling his followers it's okay to make money, to have business interests, and therefore to pay tax; he was also telling the authorities that he was not about to start a revolt against the state based on the economic grievances of the people. Very diplomatic.


Well of course its fine to make money... Not so sure about business interests though... You're just not supposed to love it

But you are half right here... He told them to pay taxes so they would be safe... Back then if you didn't give your dues im sure the roman authorities would toss you in jail... or worse...

He couldn't very well spread his message if his followers were in jail... or dead


Anyway, this is all much too serious for this lighthearted thread.


Nah... We're just chattin about the Lord...

Im glad you brought these things up though


edit on 17-6-2014 by Akragon because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 17 2014 @ 03:50 PM
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I've always found it quite strange that despite Jesus' alleged poverty and lack of materialism, it seems he was in fact quite loaded


His wife or at least girlfriend (Mary Magdalene) was. So was his great uncle (Joseph of Arimathea). Depending of course, on which texts you go for. Doesn't seem much to support him having his own wealth, but he seemed to have no end of folks willing to roll out the carpet for him. Indeed though, hospitality is a BIG deal in the Middle East, even today, so really, this isn't too surprising.

Funny how nobody ever seems to mention his brothers (James, Joses, Judas, and Simon) or his sisters (unnamed, as far as I know, as history of the time was pretty exclusive of women in general). Guess it calls into question the whole "virgin birth" bit.....even though they are mentioned even in the Church-included gospels, if one really looks for it.



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