Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas, Charity, and the Revolutionary Jesus

If you realise that Socialism owes more to Jesus Christ and the Gospel than it does to Karl Marx and 19th and 20th Century Economists and Political Theorists, then you will have a vastly different attitude toward this holiday.

The message or theme of charity permeates the certainly of what Christianity is supposed to stand for. We're told this is not a religious country, but on the whole we're told this is a Christian country.
The message of love, the message of Jesus, is one of giving and loving, forgiving; however, is missing from the nature of the US as a Christian Nation.

Here is what is peculiar. Many conservative Christians, mostly Protestant but also a number of Catholics, have come to believe and proudly proclaim that the creator of the universe favors free wheeling, deregulated, union busting, minimal taxes especially for wealthy investors, plutocrat-boosting capitalism as the ideal earthly scheme for his human creations. And many of these Christian capitalists are ardent followers of Ayn Rand, who was one of – and many of whose followers are — the most hard-line anti-Christian atheist/s you can get. Meanwhile many Christians who support the capitalist policies associated with social Darwinistic strenuously denounce Darwin’s evolutionary science because it supposedly leads to, well, social Darwinism!

Meanwhile atheists, secularists and evolutionist are denounced as inventing the egalitarian evils of anti-socially Darwinistic socialism and communism. It’s such a weird stew of incongruities that it sets one’s head spinning. Social researchers like myself ask, how did these internal conflict come about? And why are not liberals and progressives doing the logical thing and taking full advantage of the inconsistencies of right wing libertarianism by loudly exposing the contradictions?

To understand why the pro-capitalist stance of many modern religious conservatives is at odds with Christian doctrine we need to start with the Gospels.

Jesus is no free marketeer. Improving one’s earthly financial circumstances is not nearly as critical as preparing for the end times that will arrive at any minute. He does offer substantial encouragement for the poor, and warns the wealthy that they are in grave danger of blowing their prospects of reaching paradise, as per the metaphor of a rich person entering heaven being as difficult as a camel passing through the eye of the needle (a narrow passageway designed to hinder intruders). This caution makes sense: sociological research is confirming that the more securely prosperous individuals and societies are, the more likely they are to lose the faith. A basic point of core Christian doctrine is that the wealthy have no more access to heaven than anyone else (and in fact may have less), offering hope to the impoverished rejected by cults that court the elites.

This is especially true in Catholicism, where being poor does not constitute evidence of a personal deficiency, and church authorities decry the excesses of unrestrained capital at the expense of social justice.  the new Pope is coming into criticism for his opinions advocating a gospel of social justice.

But to understand just how non-capitalistic Christianity is supposed to be we turn to the first chapter after the gospels, Acts, which describes the events of the early church.

Acts 2, verses 44 and 45:
"All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need."
Acts 4, verse 32:
"All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions were his own, but they shared everything they had."
and Acts 4, verses 34 and 35:
"There were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from their sales and put it at the apostles' feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need."

Now, that’s the socialism of the type attributed to Marx, but the general idea comes directly from the gospels. That is something a certain Clown and university dropout should ponder, but I don't call them the "reality challenged right" without reason.

Think about that this Christmas.


  1. It is apparent you don't understand the difference between voluntary and coerced.


  2. Man, you really don't get it. Socialism is not the same as charity. Charity by definition is voluntary- a choice. Libertarianism is not anti-charity- in fact quite the opposite. The idea is that in a small government system, helping the poor is not the role of government, but rather private charity (one reason is because they can do a much better job at it). Minimizing taxes empowers charities by leaving more disposable income with the people, and allows for a more robust economy where fewer people need help in the first place. You want to make it seem like it's about greed, but it's about choice. Yeah, that's right, "pro-choice" again. I'm sure you disagree that such a system will work, but you're showing that you don't even understand the system. But it's easy for you to make your opponents out to be Scrooge McDuck or The Grinch and argue against them.

  3. "Now, that’s the socialism of the type attributed to Marx, but the general idea comes directly from the gospels."

    The only problem is that Socialism in the gospels is completely dependent on the individual as to when, where, how much, and even if. The same protections aren't there when the government is running it.
    Then its someone taking your money at the point of a gun, and spending it as they see fit. Sort of takes the philanthropic intent out of it.

  4. How nice for me, then, that having no religious affiliation, I can celebrate the joys of a free market economy, while disdaining the degeneracy of collectivism, without fear of any spiritual dissonance.

    Merry Freedom to Buy Whatever You Can Afford.