Thursday, June 14, 2007

One Reason I Don't Support Socialism

There are people who wrongly try to use Christianity to support socialism. After all, if taking care of the poor isn't Christian, then what is?

I'm hard pressed to find the Bible verses that direct governments to take care of the poor. In fact, the New Testament is a call to individuals, not to governments. Individuals commit sin, not governments. Christ died so that individuals can have their sins forgiven and enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. The New Testament is rather silent on what social programs governments should provide to their citizens.

But it's not silent at all on what individuals should do. Christians are commanded to help the poor, who will always be among us, and the meek, who shall inherit the earth. There's no grace in having a government forcibly take your money and spend it on the poor; voluntarily giving to the poor, however, earns God's favor.

Such religious belief, now 2000 years old, makes sense even today. We've seen what's happened with the Great Society and the War on Poverty. We've seen generational poverty. We know that people value that which they work for more than that which they're given. This is why welfare-to-work is a good idea--a hand up, not a handout, so to speak. Teaching a person to fish instead of giving a person a fish. Socialism isn't supported by Christianity.

It turns out our brains may be hard-wired in ways that support that 2000 year old religious belief.

CHICAGO, Illinois (Reuters) -- Knowing your money is going to a good cause can activate some of the same pleasure centers in your brain as food and sex, U.S. researchers said Thursday.

People who participated in a study got a charge knowing that their money went to a charity -- even when the contribution was mandatory, like a tax. They felt even better when they voluntarily made a donation, researchers found... (emphasis mine--Darren)

He and colleagues were hoping to find out whether there was something in the act of giving itself -- and not just the social and egotistical reward of being a philanthropist -- that offers satisfaction.

"The fact that we find pleasurable activity in those mandatory tax-like situations strongly suggests the existence of pure altruism," he said.

Of course, simulating a tax is quite different from paying taxes to a government with policies you may or may not support, he noted.

Be generous. It's good for the poor, it's good for you--in more ways than one.


allen said...

You're making the classic, conservative mistake in assuming that the attraction to lefties lies of compulsory generosity lies in the "generosity". You're wrong. It's the "compulsory" that recommends the "generosity" and any other lefty policy you can think of.

That's the common thread: command. There's always some promise or bribe attached but once you look past that you see a reduction in individual sovereignty. Always.

Darren said...

No mistake on my part. I'm providing a conservative rebuttal to the liberal *claim* that socialism is Christian (read the first sentence again). You and I both know that libs don't really believe that claim, and that they make it in order to sway people of good conscience. To counter their claim, I didn't think it enough to tell people of good conscience that "they just want to tell you what to do", because that still doesn't address the Christian component of the argument (which could have some allure).

I attacked their argument, you explained why they make the argument in the first place.

Mike said...

Indeed. Socialism (communism light, communists being socialists in a hurry) is always and first and foremost about who gets to tell others what to do, for their own good, of course. The rest of us are just too dumb to understand that we don't know what's good for us and that only socialists do.

Fascinating, isn't it, that the most generous nation in history, both governmentally and individually, is the USA. And while nattering nitwits around the globe blame us for everything, including the weather, who is always first on the scene of a disaster on the other side of the world (within hours), saving lives and doing the real work of charity while UN bureaucrats spend weeks securing the best hotel accomodations? The US military. Rather un-socialistic, no? And thank God for it.

allen said...

Darren, right you are. That'll teach to type first and read (carefully) later.

Mike, socialism is simply the modern extension of monarchical government in that in socialism, like a monarchy, might makes right. Just keep in mind that in the U.S. you find the true classless society and among socialists you find a very real caste system.

That's why they hate the U.S. so much. It puts the lie to their presumptions. If the U.S. doesn't need benevolent dictators then maybe nobody does. You can't let a dangerous idea like that propagate if you can help.

Robert said...

One quibble: You said "voluntarily giving to the poor, however, earns God's favor." From a Biblical Christian perspective, *nothing* earns God's favor. That favor, which Christians call "grace", is given by God irrespective of what a person does or says. We don't convince God to give us salvation; He offers it freely and we either accept it or don't. Christians give to the poor (among other things) not because we hope to earn anything but because it shows others what God is like and we know that it pleases Him. (Which is a little different than "earning favor".)

Of course, your main point still works and is spot on.

Darren said...

Robert, your "quibble" is what's spot on. Good call.

rightwingprof said...

See here.

Darren said...

RightWingProf, I guess great minds think alike. You used the Old Testament, I used the New.