Was Jesus Christ a Socialist? A Classical Liberal Critique of the Christian Left

It’s been a month since the end of Holy Week, and even now, I clearly remember how a Leftist UP professor posted articles in his Facebook page claiming that “Christianity would encourage Socialism”. Well, I don’t think it’s true.

Although Communism and Socialism are generally secular and atheistic ideologies that are based more on dialectical materialism than religious theology, there are some “Christian Leftists” who attempt to mix Leftist political thought with Christian doctrines in order to make their ideology more palatable for Christians. They call their teachings “Liberation Theology”.

They would quote Bible verses about helping the poor, such as:

“If one of your brethren becomes poor and falls into poverty among you, then you shall help him, like a stranger or a sojourner, that he may live with you.” (Leviticus 25:35)

After quoting such verses, the Christian Leftist would then claim that “Jesus was a Socialist” and that “Jesus would want to establish Socialism” in order to “promote Charity” and “help the poor”.

First of all, what is Socialism? In case you don’t know, Socialism is a political idea that gives the government tremendous amounts of power in controlling the economy in order to make sure that “everyone is equal” and that “wealth is distributed equally”.

In other words, Socialists are simply intending to use government power to “redistribute wealth” by coercing people who earn more to give their wealth to those who earn less. Basically, Socialists simply want to make charity mandatory, by using government power to force the “rich” to give to the “poor”.

But the problem is that “Mandatory Charity” is an OXYMORON.

Charity, by definition, is ALWAYS a VOLUNTARY act. It is NEVER a result of coercion.

So when you are coercing people to give to the poor, just like what the Socialists are doing, you are not doing an act of charity. You are doing an act of “political Robin Hoodism” (using government force to steal wealth from the “rich” and give the stolen wealth to the “poor”).

The Bible itself says that:

“Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Corinthians 9:7)

So clearly, that verse teaches that Charity is never a result of compulsion or coercion. I have read many writings by Christian Socialists, and I have observed that they have NEVER quoted that verse from the Bible.

So in conclusion, I would say that the Bible does NOT promote Socialism. In fact, the Bible is against Socialism. The Bible is against coercion. The Bible promotes VOLUNTARY charity, but not compulsory Charity (which is, again, an oxymoron).

Voluntary charity can only happen in a free market Capitalist society, where the government does not dictate to the people how they would spend their money.

In a truly liberal and free society, the government’s powers and responsibilities are small and limited, and the individual’s responsibilities are bigger. Since the government’s powers and responsibilities are small, taxation is very low, too. That means that it is the people who will decide what to do with most of their earned money, not the government. The people are freer to make a choice regarding what to do with their income. They can spend it, save it, invest it, or donate it to charity.

A liberal and free Capitalist society would also encourage people to become more self-reliant and less dependent upon the government. People would become more responsible for their actions and decisions, too.

Personally, I always appreciate anything that is given to me voluntarily. Charity is meaningless without a cheerful and willing heart. It’s better to not give me anything at all than to give me something reluctantly.

Before I end this article, I would like to let the reader know that I am NOT a theologian. In fact, I am an atheist. But coming from a very religious family, I do read the Bible a lot. This analysis is simply based on my own personal understanding of the Bible.

 

-Thomas Adrian, submitted May 28, 2017 at 11:27 am

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