Saturday, April 16, 2011

Why Socialism is Un-Christian

I've said this before, but the snip below from this post encapsulates my views perfectly:
The reason that the ”cosmic justice” mentality is un-Christian is that it relieves individuals of the duty to act justly in their own lives, by transferring responsibility to that vast amorphous entity, “society.” And instead of people acting personally to help those in need — showing kindness, mercy, charity and hospitality to others — the “cosmic justice” mentality tells people that it is more virtuous to express morality through politics, including such political sermonizing as the idiotic “Dear Woman” video.



mazenko said...


If, as conservative politicians are forever arguing, that the United States is a Christian country and Christian ideals are the foundation of our government, and should be displayed and taught in our schools and public buildings, then it is hypocritical to argue that Christ's most basic message to "feed my sheep" and "sell all your belongings and give the money to the poor" and "if you have two jackets, give one away" is not integral to the acts of that government.

The most ridiculous of double standards.

Darren said...

You are absolutely wrong. Christ told us how to act as individuals, saying nothing about how we govern ourselves here on earth except to "render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's". There's no charity in having your money taken from you under threat of violence and having it given to the needy (or the politically favored).

mazenko said...

Exactly. Christ said pay your taxes. And he said be charitable above all else. He said you are your brother's keeper.

The idea that God helps those who helps themselves is from Benjamin Franklin. It's not biblical, and it surely didn't come from the words of Christ.

I know what I hear in the Gospel on Sundays - and it's not what you're saying.

Darren said...

You're adding all sorts of things that I didn't say.

I'm not saying it's un-Christian to pay taxes. I'm saying you're not being charitable and helping the poor the way God wants us to if you merely pay higher taxes (under threat of penalty) to take care of the poor. Pick the most socialist country on the planet, the one with the best social safety net, and tell me that all the people in that country are being good Christians solely by paying their taxes.

Darren said...

I'm curious, Mazenko--what part of the quote I posted do you disagree with? Specifically, what part?

W.R. Chandler said...

Sorry Mazenko, but you are dead wrong on this one.

"So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do. ... 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. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you" (Matthew 6:2-4).

When Jesus said this, he was not talking about giving in secret by letting the government confiscate your money and do it for you!

You contradicted yourself when you said that our Christian-based government should be in the business of giving alms to the poor. A Christian-based government knows that charity begins at home.

mazenko said...

The "cosmic justice" term is juvenile, as is the notion that social programs "relieve" individuals of the duty to act justly. The idea that it "transfers" responsibility to "society," which is no different that a "community" of worshippers is ridiculous. When I tithe to the church, I am no more transferring responsibility than when I pay taxes. I am "extending" my responsibility and enabling my economic power to extend further than it could on its own. Simply paying taxes to support programs of social uplift and institutions of societal support - such as public education - does not in any way imply that I am suddenly done with my individual responsibilities. If someone does abdicate their role as a member of a society, that is an individual act - but it is not the idea behind a strong central government.

Arguably, the position you're quoting is the same one that argues the government should have no social role because it should be done by individuals, churches, and other charitable organizations - ie. we shouldn't have food stamps because the churches and other charities should be doing it. That's naive, and to quote Bill O'Reilly, "OK, what if they don't?" He argues this to rappers and drug legalization advocates who claim they have no responsibility to promote a healthier lifestyle because parents should raise their kids better. It's the same as saying, "I'm not going to worry about what happens to the kids because the parents should be raising them properly." Well, we know that's a non-starter. Some parents don't. And if they don't, and a teacher can step in and be a role model and mentor, that is an effective use of government.

That said, you know I am not a proponent of "socialism" in the strict definition. But I do not oppose a Burkean or Hamiltonian definition of strong, conservative government. And while I regret how much liberals have screwed up public housing and aid to dependent children, I support social programs like public education, social security/Medicare, and free/reduced lunches.

Carl Marcs said...

In addition to Mazenko's examples here are a few to ponder.

Jesus and the money changers (a free marketer? Not)

And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves,

And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.

Class envy?

Better to be poor than be a fat man in the eye of a needle.

Life without striving:

Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

Anonymous said...


Darren said...

Anonymous is a bit un-Christian, too.

mazenko said...

WR - I'm a big fan of Matthew 6:2-4, but I mainly focus on it whenever Rick Santorum or Newt "the adulterer" are rambling on about the Christian foundation of the Constitution and American society.

Your comments on taxes as "giving in secret" make no sense in this discussion. It's about whether socialism is un-Christian, which it is not. Nor are social programs of secular republics.

Taxes are not "confiscation" - they are the foundation for funding a well-functioning central government, and that is why they were written into the Constitution - after it replaced the weaker tax-less Articles of Confederation.

I never said a Christian based government "should" do anything. I simply pointed out that if Santorum and Company want the federal government to be guided by Christian principles - as they are often fond of saying - then charity and promoting "the general welfare" should be at the top of the agenda.

Charity does, of course, begin at home. And when the home life is a shambles, society including churches and the government, are there to pick up the pieces. That ensures a stronger society overall.

Darren said...

I have no belief that Christ said that government here on earth should take care of the poor and the helpless. He called on each of us to do that. Taxes *are* confiscated, under penalty--they are not the charity mentioned in the Bible.

mazenko said...

He called on each of us to do that .... which includes "government of the people, by the people, for the people." Republics and representative democracy are simply that.

Taxes are in the Constitution, loud and clear.

Darren said...

Mazenko, you keep changing the subject. I'm not saying that taxes are un-American, I'm saying that socialism doesn't meet the requirements of Christian charity. And no, I don't think that some of us getting together to vote to raise *everyone's* taxes to give to the poor (or politically favored) is charitable in the Christian sense. We can argue over whether or not it's a good earthly thing to do, but I don't think there's much of an argument in favor of the position that it's a Christian thing to do.

God commands each of us to act, individually and not as a group. We're going to Heaven or not individually, not as a group.