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Biblical Christianity is not socialist ...

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posted on Aug, 27 2019 @ 05:47 PM
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This is my latest reply to a discussion that I've had a few times with an acquaintance of mine who goes back years. He practices some strain of Christianity, but I'm not sure where he stands on a lot of issues. He lauds socialism and claims Karl Marx as a source of useful truth. I have a hard time with the idea that at Christianity's core is a socialist proposal. I don't think that it is capitalist, either, but that is explained at the end of the quote.

I'm not interested in arguing the validity of faith or religion. I know that there are people on this forum who think that religion is foolish and the root of all bad, but somehow have a grasp on some transcendent moral code that defines bad, and who believe in the power of nothingness to create reality out of nothing (a belief that requires a greater step of blind faith than anything that I as a Christian, believe). Those are topics for another thread. I'm interested in bouncing these ideas off of people who are interested in the idea of the Christian orthodoxy on economics.

Well, here goes ...

So, my friend, let’s see … You own your own business. You employ people. You charge what you see as a fair rate in a free market and your clients also consider it a fair rate so are willing to pay your fee. They have a choice as to whether to use your services so can choose elsewhere if your service is not to their liking or if they consider it overpriced. You distribute some part of your profits to your employees as you see fit, realizing that employees who share in the success of your business have a greater interest in making that business successful. You also by your own choice invest some of your profits into altruistic endeavors that do not directly benefit you.

Hmmmm… That sounds to me more like morally centered altruistic capitalism than socialism. See, nobody is obligating you to do any of that. As a capitalist (and you, Richard, are a capitalist, like it or not!), you are free to offer the service that you want to offer, charge what you want to charge, and do as you see fit with your earnings. This is NOT socialism. If you follow wise - and especially biblically based - practices and ethics in your free-enterprise, capitalist oriented business, you will likely enjoy some degree of success.

The argument that the Bible supports a socialist agenda is erroneous. People often turn to the events surrounding Ananias and Sapphira’s deception in the fifth chapter of Acts as support for that argument, but a complete reading of the passage debunks that error. You see, it’s clear that the punishment that those two suffered was NOT because they withheld part of the money. On the contrary, in verses 3 & 4, Peter told Ananias, ““Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back for yourself part of the proceeds of the land? While it remained unsold, *did it not remain your own*? And after it was sold, *was it not at your disposal*? Why is it that you have contrived this deed in your heart? *You have not lied to man but to God*.”

The offense and resulting punishment clearly had nothing to do with their having held back part of the money. Peter said that it “remained [their] own” and that it was “at [their] disposal.” Their sin was in lying to the church as the body of Christ and God’s kingdom on earth and, by extrapolation, lying to God. They were abusing the church and their relationship with it to prideful and selfish ends. This was their sin and the cause of their punishment, not their breaching of some imagined ecclesiastically enforced socialist program.

Look, also, at something that Jesus is quoted as saying in the twenty-sixth chapter of Matthew: “Why do you trouble the woman? For she has done a beautiful thing to me. For you always have the poor with you, but you will not always have me.” This is not to say that we should not have mercy on those in need, but it is an acknowledgement that we live in a world where injustice is predominant and where there will always be inequality in the allocation of resources. This is a sad truth of a fallen world and will not be set entirely right until Jesus is on the throne. Man will not be able to fix this on his own, because any man who claims to do so is a sinner and corrupt in his own heart. Just look at every leader of every socilist revolution throughout history: Stalin (over 20,000,000 deaths), Hitler (21,000,000 deaths), Mao (40,000,000 to 80,000,000 deaths), Pol Pot (nearly 2,500,000 deaths) … The list goes on. (These were all, by the way, proponents and enforcers of the economic and statist philosophy promulgated by Karl Marx.)

Furthermore, the scriptures say some important things about the whole idea of giving.
The Bible - and hence God, if you believe that the Bible is God’s word for mankind - tells us that the responsibility to care for the needy and see that legitimate needs are met in the world falls on the shoulders of the individual, NOT on the shoulders of the state or even of the ecclesiastical government. 2 Corinthians 9:6&7 says: “The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, *not reluctantly or under compulsion*, for God loves a cheerful giver.” Any giving done under compulsion or with a reluctant heart is clearly not pleasing to God. (It is worth noting that this chapter does not address giving to multi-million dollar church building projects or buying the apostle a late model state-of-the-art coach to travel from church to church, but it deals with an offering for the relief of needy saints in Jerusalem.)

2 Corinthians 8:11-14 goes on to further address this idea of willingness, saying that “... if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what one does not have.” The passage addresses the responsibility of the saints have to help those who do not have, but there is never any obligation placed on anyone, neither is coercion by state or by church is ever endorsed in any way. If we are told that the gift is acceptable to God "if the willingness is there," then it is clear that a gift that is given unwillingly is not acceptable to God. Such a gift may be acceptable to the state, but not to God.

Ah, but the OId Testament, you will say. Well, let’s look at Exodus 5, where Moses was instructed by God to raise the materials for the construction of the tabernacle from the people. Verses 4&5 say, “Moses said to all the congregation of the people of Israel, “This is the thing that the Lord has commanded. Take from among you a contribution to the Lord. Whoever is of a generous heart, let him bring the Lord's contribution…” Verse 29 goes on to say, “ All the men and women, the people of Israel, whose heart moved them to bring anything for the work that the Lord had commanded by Moses to be done brought it as a freewill offering to the Lord.”

(continued next post ...)
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edit on 2019 8 27 by incoserv because: I could.




posted on Aug, 27 2019 @ 05:47 PM
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(... continued)

We’re told, furthermore, that God does not want sacrifice, but obedience and attentiveness (I Samuel 15:22), and that he desires mercy more than sacrifice (Hosea 6:6, Matthew 9:13). Redistribution of wealth by coercion is clearly not what God wants for his kingdom. God wants a people who are taught and who learn to rightly administer mercy, love and the knowledge of the Most High. The state is not capable of enforcing this. Even the ecclesiastical government is not capable of enforcing this. This is the work of the Holy Spirit, though it should be supported, encouraged, informed and instructed by the church. When we fail in this, the answer is not to get the state to make us do what is right, but to build a church that does what is right - through prayer, through self-sacrifice, through the right teaching of biblical orthodoxy and merciful, loving and godly orthopraxy. Without those two pillars (orthodoxy and orthopraxy), the house is nothing more than a house of wood, hay and straw. We are lazy, so having some institution enforce those things seems like an easy way out, but it is not pleasing to God.

Matthew 6:2-4 says, “Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” This clearly intimates the personal and private aspects of divinely acceptable acts of mercy and generosity. Jesus does not expect it to be an act required and administered by the state, but an act of obedience and mercy done secretly before the Father as an expression and extension of the grace that has been freely given to His children.

Let us not forget that simply giving away our money is never enough for God. Speaking to a wealthy young man in Matthew 19:21,, “Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” Now, if you take socialism as a biblically prescribed normative economic system, and you claim to believe that Jesus is God’s son and that we should obey everything that he says, then you must take this verse as normative. If you have not sold all you have and given it to the poor - if you still have enough money to live in a nice house while others have no roof, and you can take vacations while others go hungry and never can afford to enjoy a holiday - then you are in disobedience to what you claim to be the biblical mandate.

Lastly, let’s not forget the apostle Paul’s comment in 2 Thessalonians 310, “For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat,” and in I Timothy 5:9, “But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” Clearly, we are told that everyone should work to the best of his ability to care for his own needs and those of his family. The one who cannot for reasons beyond his own control (physical limitations, economic hardship like that suffered by the saints in Jerusalem, etc.) should be objects of the mercy and grace of those who in a given moment have something to share. Those who do not should, the scriptures clearly teach, go hungry.

So, do I think that the Bible supports capitalism? My answer is a resounding NO! The bible is not a treatise on economics. Anybody who tries to twist it into such misses the whole point.

Do I think that capitalism is an inherently flawed system? YES! Winston Churchill once said, ‘Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.…’

This can - indeed should - be said of the economic system of capitalsim. While we yet live in “this world of sin and woe,” we will “always have the poor with [us]” This does not mean that we should make peace with the status quo. But it does mean that the hope of breaking the back of poverty and injustice does not sit on the shoulders of the state or of any enforced economic system. It lies on the shoulders of the body of Christ and of those who will act in faith, obedience, love and mercy according to the knowledge of the Most High to establish outposts of the Father’s Kingdom in this occupied world by the power of the Spirit and not the state, by the authority of the Word and not the authority of any economic system or policy.



posted on Aug, 27 2019 @ 05:54 PM
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Marx said he got the idea from sharing with the needy in Scripture.......

Turns to murder when one is the tyrant



posted on Aug, 27 2019 @ 06:00 PM
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This is what I think too as it turns out.

There is a portion of C.S.Lewis's Mere Christianity where he talks about it, and he says that a perfectly Christian world might look similar to what socialists think the world would be, but it wouldn't be socialist.

The reason for that is that everyone would be sewing, growing, prospering on their own in their own fields, so to speak, but at the same time, no one would stint at generously helping their neighbors in times of need with the extra they had to give. And since no one would think to take advantage of that aid which would always be there from their neighbors, everyone would be constantly striving to work back into their own prosperity so that when the time came, they'd be able to help in their turn as needed.

But now we have people who want to take from others, people who want only to accumulate and keep, and people who think it their business to police everyone else in the giving and taking by force if necessary.



posted on Aug, 27 2019 @ 06:11 PM
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a reply to: incoserv



I'm not interested in arguing the validity of faith or religion. I know that there are people on this forum who think that religion is foolish and the root of all bad, but somehow have a grasp on some transcendent moral code that defines bad, and who believe in the power of nothingness to create reality out of nothing (a belief that requires a greater step of blind faith than anything that I as a Christian, believe. Those are topics for another thread. I'm interested in bouncing these ideas off of people who are interested in the idea of the Christian orthodoxy on economics.


Then why do you start to debate it?

Do you pay taxes? then you are a socialist...

All the death by socialist you mention, dont you forget to mention that capitalist countries like the USA has killed millions of people, in the name of capitalism...? Or how about all the people killed in the name of God?

I agree that none of the forms of goverment ever tried, is worth trying again.



posted on Aug, 27 2019 @ 06:13 PM
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originally posted by: GBP/JPY
Marx said he got the idea from sharing with the needy in Scripture.......

Turns to murder when one is the tyrant


Hearkening back to my comment's about the fallen nature of man and the fact that people are sinners.



posted on Aug, 27 2019 @ 06:17 PM
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a reply to: incoserv

Great job on the subject matter and the way it was written!

S&F



posted on Aug, 27 2019 @ 06:17 PM
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originally posted by: NoFearsEqualsFreeMan
a reply to: incoserv



I'm not interested in arguing the validity of faith or religion. I know that there are people on this forum who think that religion is foolish and the root of all bad, but somehow have a grasp on some transcendent moral code that defines bad, and who believe in the power of nothingness to create reality out of nothing (a belief that requires a greater step of blind faith than anything that I as a Christian, believe. Those are topics for another thread. I'm interested in bouncing these ideas off of people who are interested in the idea of the Christian orthodoxy on economics.


Then why do you start to debate it?

Do you pay taxes? then you are a socialist...

All the death by socialist you mention, dont you forget to mention that capitalist countries like the USA has killed millions of people, in the name of capitalism...? Or how about all the people killed in the name of God?

I agree that none of the forms of goverment ever tried, is worth trying again.


Didn't say I was not interested in debating it, just not here. Heading off what is known as thread drift. If you want to start a thread on those topics, I'll chime in and I promise not to bring anything regarding the ramifications of Christian ethics and morality on economic policy into your thread.

Howzat?

And you comment about how capitalist countries like the US have, likewise, been implicit in much death and destruction goes to bolster my argument: No system is perfect, but capitalism is the one that allows most liberty to the individual.

The message of the biblical narrative, as I see it, is one of liberty. Every man is free to do as he sees fit, even when it harms others. The reality, though, is that in the end, there will be a comeuppance. Justice will be served and it will not be escapable. This is what pisses people off when one speaks of sin and judgment. It is a harsh reality and nobody wants to face it.

As to the idea of paying taxes making one a socialist, I guess that depends on how you pay your taxes. If you pa y them happily and willingly, then perhaps you are a socialist. If you pay them begrudgingly, then you are simply a victim of an institutionalized, state mandated protection racket. Just as a person who pays protection money to the mob is not a mobster, they are a victim.
edit on 2019 8 27 by incoserv because: to clarify a point.



posted on Aug, 27 2019 @ 06:17 PM
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originally posted by: Deetermined
a reply to: incoserv

Great job on the subject matter and the way it was written!

S&F


Thank you...



posted on Aug, 27 2019 @ 06:29 PM
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a reply to: incoserv




Didn't say I was not interested in debating it, just not here. Heading off what is known as thread drift. If you want to start a thread on those topics, I'll chime in and I promise not to bring anything regarding the ramifications of Christian ethics and morality on economic policy into your thread. Howzat?


just mentioning it, because you put arguments supporting your view, in your disclaimer asking people not to discuss this. Some people will debate you on that, and i think that is fair. Lets get back to topic.



And you comment about how capitalist countries like the US have, likewise, been implicit in much death and destruction goes to bolster my argument: No system is perfect, but capitalism is the one that allows most liberty to the individual.


Like i said, i agree that no current systems are perfect. But i dissagree that capitalism is the best we got. Any system build to capitalize on the weak, is a bad system if you ask me. We do need some kind of free market though, just one that is fair for everybody.



The message of the biblical narrative, as I see it, is one of liberty. Every man is free to do as he sees fit, even when it harms others. The reality, though, is that in the end, there will be a comeuppance. Justice will be served and it will not be escapable. This is what pisses people off when one speaks of sin and judgment. It is a harsh reality and nobody wants to face it.


I dont know about that. So we are "free" to do whatever we want, but if dont do exactly what we are told, we gonna burn in eternity in hell? Doesnt sound like "free will" to me.



posted on Aug, 27 2019 @ 06:29 PM
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Socialism is Satanism.

It is a worship of government, instead of God

This is why Antifa behaves Satanic. They are



posted on Aug, 27 2019 @ 06:30 PM
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a reply to: NoFearsEqualsFreeMan

Yes, taxes are a form of theft.



posted on Aug, 27 2019 @ 06:30 PM
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originally posted by: visitedbythem
Socialism is Satanism.

It is a worship of government, instead of God

This is why Antifa behaves Satanic. They are


So is capitalism...



posted on Aug, 27 2019 @ 06:32 PM
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a reply to: NoFearsEqualsFreeMan

Define "fair" to everybody.

The thing about a free market is that people have to be free to interact with it, and in a world with men of fallen nature, that means some will use it to evil ends. The main difference between a capitalistic free market and socialism/communism is that one leaves people free to interact with one another or not while the other traps everyone into the system on pain of punishment for failure to comply.
edit on 27-8-2019 by ketsuko because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 27 2019 @ 06:32 PM
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originally posted by: ketsuko
a reply to: NoFearsEqualsFreeMan

Yes, taxes are a form of theft.


Agreed!



posted on Aug, 27 2019 @ 06:36 PM
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originally posted by: ketsuko
a reply to: NoFearsEqualsFreeMan

Define "fair" to everybody.

The thing about a free market is that people have to be free to interact with it, and in a world with men of fallen nature, that means some will use it to evil ends.


Well, it would be a lot more fair if all nations had the same currency for starters.
It is not a fair market, when people can be paid 1 dollar an hour in china, for something an american person gets paid 20 dollars an hour to do.

But it is not easy to make a fair system, when the whole world seems to hate each other..
edit on 27 8 2019 by NoFearsEqualsFreeMan because: (no reason given)





The main difference between a capitalistic free market and socialism/communism is that one leaves people free to interact with one another or not while the other traps everyone into the system on pain of punishment for failure to comply.


I dont agree, capitalism traps everyone in the system too, just in another way. How much would you love capitalism if you lived in africa or another place where you dont have the same opportunities as in the states?
edit on 27 8 2019 by NoFearsEqualsFreeMan because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 27 2019 @ 06:58 PM
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originally posted by: visitedbythem
Socialism is Satanism.

It is a worship of government, instead of God

This is why Antifa behaves Satanic. They are


I don’t think we can call socialism satanism, that’s a bit unfair.
Socialism is not worshipping government, it’s a system based on common wealth and sharing

Socialism in and of itself is not evil, the problem with any system is malevolence.
Put a human in charge of the perfect system and they will corrupt it

Christianity is a faith made to adapt to any society, within and also without, showing compassion and charity to those with less. Obviously not exposing oneself to destitution

I don’t think Christianity is a political ideology, don’t think Jesus ever expected to change the world, think He wanted to change individual hearts. We start with ourselves and love others

But as for the OPs comments, I agree, the bible is not a socialist manifesto



posted on Aug, 27 2019 @ 06:59 PM
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originally posted by: ketsuko
a reply to: NoFearsEqualsFreeMan

Yes, taxes are a form of theft.


Or enforced charity, perspectives?



posted on Aug, 27 2019 @ 07:11 PM
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originally posted by: Raggedyman

originally posted by: ketsuko
a reply to: NoFearsEqualsFreeMan

Yes, taxes are a form of theft.


Or enforced charity, perspectives?


Well, Jesus, when asked about paying taxes into the corrupt Roman system, gave what I've always considered a somewhat elusive answer:



Matthew 22:21 Jesus said "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's; and to God the things that are God's."


Paul kind of went there as well, in Romans 13:1:



"Let every person be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God and those which exist are established by God."


I'd say that there is an uneasy alliance between biblical Christianity and the state. The bible acknowledges the need for some system of government to stave off anarchy, but it also acknowledges the fallen nature of mankind and the fact that we cannot do it right.

The American Revolution was oft referred to by the English powers as "The Presbyterian War" because Presbyterian Christians (in the interest of disclosure, I am Presbyterian, BTW) because the Presbyterians were a driving force behind it. There was a biblical perspective that drove the colonists to rebellion against their government. Is that a contradiction? Is it ever right for a Christian to refuse to pay taxes? All topics for another thread (with apologies to NoFearsEqualsFreeMan), but ideas that this line of thought bring up.



posted on Aug, 27 2019 @ 07:13 PM
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Given today's political climate, Biblical Christianity is socialist. Loving immigrants like your neighbor, empathy and concern for your fellow man. Putting the well being of people over material objects like money.

Which of those are right wing values? I don't remember "Screw you I got mine" being in the bible.



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