Is Christianity Inherently Socialist?

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RDRDRD1
 
Reply Mon 19 Oct, 2009 03:32 pm
Religious fundamentalism of all stripes appears to be spreading around the globe and the United States is no exception. In America, the issue of separation of church and state has become more than contentious, particularly among the right.

There are many who argue loudly that America is a Christian nation, something that raises eyebrows among secularists and those of other faiths.

There appears to be a contradition in those who would most directly embrace Christianity as the foundation of the United States while recoiling at the very mention of socialism. Yet aren't the teachings of Christ, recorded in the Bible, inherently socialist?

This paradox has obviously gnawed at the fundamentalist right. It seems to trouble them so much that they're advocating editing the Bible to excise parts they consider leftist. The group, organized by Conservapedia, seems to want Jesus rewritten as a conservative:

In an effort to rid the Good Book of "liberal bias," the group has set up the Conservative Bible Project, which aims to rewrite the Bible from a modern, conservative perspective.

"Liberal bias has become the single biggest distortion in modern Bible translations," the
project's Web site asserts.

...The "forgive them father" quote "is a favorite of liberals but should not appear in a conservative Bible," Conservapedia states.

And evidently many of Jesus' other teachings -- from the "turn the other cheek" lesson, to his disdain for profiteering -- will also no longer be acceptable in the conservative Bible.

"Socialistic terminology permeates English translations of the Bible, without justification," the Web site states -- a strange assertion, given that English versions of the Bible date back at least to the 16th century, while socialism as a concept was formed in the 18th century.

..."The insane hubris of this really staggers the mind," writes Rod Dreher at Beliefnet. "These right-wing ideologues know better than the early church councils that canonized Scripture? They really think it's wise to force the word of God to conform to a 21st-century American idea of what constitutes conservatism? These jokers don't worship God. They worship ideology."

But what if these people are right? What if the teachings of Jesus are inherently socialist? Would that not make a nation that rejects those teachings anti-Christian? Has the United States actually rejected what Jesus stood for, what he taught, what he meant?

Is it not heresy to edit the Bible to make Christ's image conform to that of the editors?
 
Arjuna
 
Reply Mon 19 Oct, 2009 05:34 pm
@RDRDRD1,
"If Jesus were to preach here, what he preached in Galilee.. they would lay Jesus Christ in his grave." Woody Guthrie song

My opinion:
1) Fundamentalism isn't all bad

2) The US never had and never will have a Christian government.

3) Christianity, both Protestent and Catholic, has been tied to American socialism (which doesn't go by that name for obvious reasons)
 
prothero
 
Reply Mon 19 Oct, 2009 08:41 pm
@RDRDRD1,
Jesus on How the Rich Get to Heaven (Mark 10:17-25)

And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life? 18 And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God.19 Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother. 20 And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth. 21 Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.22 And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions.23 And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! 24 And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God! 25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.

Not one they emphasize much, eh? More properity gospel these days?
 
patriarch
 
Reply Mon 19 Oct, 2009 11:29 pm
@RDRDRD1,
Fundamentalism is a global problem for Christianity, even in Hong Kong, a society consist of mainly Chinese residents. The worst fundamentalism is formed when a western style of fundamentalism meets the conservative Chinese culture; it becomes much more conservative and fundamentalised. The argument of the article avoiding sexual violence of family is a good example. While talking about the homosexual couples living together, the fundamentalist claim that they should not be protected by this article from sexual violence just because cohabiting is not a family even if it is a heterosexual relation. So no law would protect them from the sexual violenece. Such a radical utterance results in the more radical criticism from the secular society and a serious arguement among church.

By the way, I think the main point is that we should clarify what is really our "fundamental" belief. I really cast doubt on the name of "fundamentalism"-- is it really related to our fundamental belief as a Christian??

Is the artificial morality our fundamental belief instead of the words of the Lord?
Is the interception of Bible is our fundamental belief instead of the orginal meaning of each word in the Scripture?

I'm not a liberalist. However, if these are the fundamental belief of fundamentalism, absolutely I am not a fundamentalist. I would say I am only a Christ follower, a Christian.

---------- Post added 10-20-2009 at 01:36 PM ----------

By the way I don't really think Jesus Christ hiself has got any fixed artificial ideology, as he is said to be not a normal human being. God is not a socialist, a liberalist, a conservative, a fundamentalist, a fascist... but from our viewpoint we may really found that some of his image matched the ideology of us. Jesus cares about the poor and critise the rich, but it doesn't make him to be a socialist. This only means that some viewpoint of socialism may be right as it seems that Jesus had provided some evidence. By the way this is just our hypothesis and our interception, not the necessary truth.
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Tue 20 Oct, 2009 07:45 am
@RDRDRD1,
Jesus, being the messiah, was expected to be a political leader. Jesus refuse this role in favor of being nothing more than a spiritual leader. Jesus was not interested in politics, or in giving political lesson's; his teachings were personal teachings. "Love thy neighbor" was never meant to be the basis of a legal code, but instead the basis for a personal moral code. Like many great moral teachers, Jesus understood that individual moral uprightness is far more important than existing laws - moral uprightness will self correct everything else.

What these idiots are attempting to do is immoral and intellectual dangerous. It's blasphemy. But remember, to superimpose any political doctrine onto the teachings of Jesus is to commit the same mistake these fools commit, regardless of the ideology one chooses.
 
xris
 
Reply Tue 20 Oct, 2009 12:32 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
I thought he was slightly left of Marx in many of his proclaimed views. His views dont make him political but defines his moral stand point. I think you will find most fundamentalist, in the christian church, revert to quoting the old testament when a right wing view is required. The man Jesus, I admire for his non dogmatic and refreshingly new view on the human condition. He appreciated our weaknesses and encouraged rather than demanded, he wanted us to consider our fellow man when he needed our help. The good Samaritan is the most significant view expressed, it emphasizes the social responsibility we all have, for each other.
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Wed 21 Oct, 2009 05:49 am
@xris,
But that's the thing, Xris - Jesus was not a political leader. He rejected that role, thus he cannot be right or left of anyone. To interpret his message as political, as advice on government, is to misunderstand the man's teachings. It's the very same mistake these conservatives are making.
 
xris
 
Reply Wed 21 Oct, 2009 05:58 am
@Didymos Thomas,
Didymos Thomas;98958 wrote:
But that's the thing, Xris - Jesus was not a political leader. He rejected that role, thus he cannot be right or left of anyone. To interpret his message as political, as advice on government, is to misunderstand the man's teachings. It's the very same mistake these conservatives are making.
I did try to avoid making that mistake, but if you see a figure you admire, you naturally hang your coat on his hook. I could not see him opposing a national health system that treated everyone equally. If you could take him as your example of a caring and rebellious figure, then ide love to know how conservatives can ever claim him as their own. I would not dare say he is a socialist but if i can share his values and still call myself a socialist , would that be correct.
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Wed 21 Oct, 2009 06:10 am
@xris,
You can appreciate his moral teachings and be a socialist. But Jesus is pretty clear that his message, his mission, is not political, but spiritual. It's about personal spiritual transformation, not governmental reform.

Matt 22:21 "Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's, and unto God the things that are God's"

For Jesus and moral teachers like him, giving political guidance was unnecessary. As I said, correct the individual's morals and the government will finally follow accordingly. We cannot speculate about what Jesus would say about a national healthcare system because he never said anything relating to something like that system - there was nothing remotely like it in his day. It's baseless.

What we might be able to say, however, is that Jesus would have approved of people who act politically for the sake of their fellow human beings - but that's about as far as we can go. And the trouble here is obvious: the socialist believes himself to be helping fellow human beings just as the crazies on conservapedia believe they do the same.
 
Lithe Oleander
 
Reply Fri 11 Dec, 2009 08:07 pm
@RDRDRD1,
You have to understand the difference between charity and socialism. Charity means you want to give, socialism means you are force to give. Jesus does not want us to be socialists, he wants us to be charitable.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Fri 11 Dec, 2009 11:33 pm
@RDRDRD1,
Shaw tried to present Jesus as a socialist but I don't think it's as simple as that. Of course you can make of Jesus what you will.... But isn't "thou shalt not steal" already an assertion of property rights? Of course socialization is on the other hand arguably a system based on more on love. And capitalism does have something Satanic about it. I mean this is the mythical sense of Satan, who denied the authority of God. Capitalism and democracy both elevate the individual and his property rights above all other rights, generally speaking...
 
xris
 
Reply Sat 12 Dec, 2009 05:44 am
@Lithe Oleander,
Lithe Oleander;110412 wrote:
You have to understand the difference between charity and socialism. Charity means you want to give, socialism means you are force to give. Jesus does not want us to be socialists, he wants us to be charitable.
Charity is the need to recompense, socialism is the reality that we need to share our fortune. Christ never requested charity, but he made demands that you treat each other equally. If you love the least among us you love Christ. As a socialist, I despise charity, it is the sign of a sick society.

Those wonderful charity balls where the rich dine on fine fare and kid themselves they are wonderful charitable souls.
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Sat 12 Dec, 2009 06:28 am
@RDRDRD1,
I think there has always been a proto-socialist side to Christianity which has surfaced in various types of Christian practise such as the Quakers and the Amish - communal ownership, common property, equality and so on. But I don't think it would have been possible to have been truly socialist in a post-Marxist sense because of the absence of the specific historical consciousness of which it was a manifestation.
 
William
 
Reply Sat 12 Dec, 2009 12:58 pm
@Lithe Oleander,
Lithe Oleander;110412 wrote:
You have to understand the difference between charity and socialism. Charity means you want to give, socialism means you are force to give. Jesus does not want us to be socialists, he wants us to be charitable.


Hello, Lithe and welcome to the forum. Socialism has it pinching points as we have numerous ways of defining it. Socialism, my definition is people caring for one another and that just about sums it up. Does that mean we have to be charitable. No. If we really care there would be no reason for charity to exist. The sharing of knowledge would be intermingled with talents, resources and there would be a balance among people that would be understood. Not all are the same and it is one's gifts that they offer for others determines what others bestow on the one. It is not due to what one wants for there is a load of wealth in the giving in and of itself that most just do not realize. (Take away the tax advantages, and watch what happens to "giving" and those charities attached) Most who have more who do give, do so privately so others will not be so asking. The world it seems is full of those who have less and we rationalize those as being "undeserving" for a variety of stupid reasons.

When one gives freely, it is, likewise, returned freely. What I mean by that is hard to understand when it is related to the costs "imposed" today. We have no idea of what "free" means for everything has costs attached.

Didymos Thomas;98964 wrote:
You can appreciate his moral teachings and be a socialist. But Jesus is pretty clear that his message, his mission, is not political, but spiritual. It's about personal spiritual transformation, not governmental reform.

Matt 22:21 "Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's, and unto God the things that are God's"

For Jesus and moral teachers like him, giving political guidance was unnecessary. As I said, correct the individual's morals and the government will finally follow accordingly.


In other words what you are saying, and correct me if I am wrong, is government and those "individuals" involved in it, should care little about morals and it is up to the people to establish morality? Please offer how that can be done, in your opinion without major consequences ensuing or revolution or uprising?

How can a government rule without a moral base? Our forefathers had one, and look what we did to that? It seems anytime the word "morality" appears it is referred to religion and the church, and we know we are trying to separate church and state. Does that mean morality and state? We have laws that prevent morality and we call them civil liberties in which it means, for the most part, anyone can do anything they want to or desire to. We know that is wrong but we effort so little in speaking of it for being branded hateful or a bigot or a zealot or a homophobe.

Christ was preaching to the choir for the most part, his words were for those who govern and they killed him for it. (Or so it is written) It put their rule in jeopardy or that is how it seems anyway. The rulers of the day said it was god's decision that he die. What a crock. Great escape clause though, don't you think. What a diversion! And so the story goes on and on......!

That is not different than it is today and what it is you are saying that is highlighted above. Most are powerless to offer anything that will be defined as moral in today's reality if there is such a thing anymore and the "rich are getting richer". Ha! WWJD today? Do you think he would ride into town on an ass? I think God would indeed do things a little different than what is understood the bible brings forth. History is written by those who hung heroes and it is rift with it.

The whole idea that is expressed offers the futility of being good and what that means and instead instills fear if one would dare go against any governing body. "Find your peace in the after life". Ha, LOL!!! Yeah, right. If that were the case then what is the use for living in the first place for anyone. What good is it to rule if there is no one to rule over. Set your throne in a graveyard. Best they keep their mouth shut and just suffer until they die, huh?

They will get used to it. That's just the way it is now, isn't it? Forced governing laws over man will never work and never have. As long as he does not have the entitlements he deserves in that this is his planet too he will resort to anything to ensure those needs are met, Some are not so meek and the bible states. Equity and balance is the answer and nothing else will suffice as it relates to all the Earth has to offer and we all are a part of that. It is the oneness and the equillibrium objective rarity will never furnish yet that is were we determine what has value. Now that's a word for you, isn't it?

As Christ was said to have said "The meek shall inherit the Earth." What Earth. The one most Christians think god is going to destroy? What a prize that is? The bible is filled with conundrums such as this but it is so worded so none would dare question it and it is working and has worked for about 6oo years now; since it was published. You know what that Guttenberg fellow did with the "Book" and all. It seem that book was the first book or so it is written anyway.

It has been my experience most do not wear their faith on their sleeve and for the most part it is private. It it is right, they show it in many ways. Yes, also in my experience, those who do seem to voice their faith the loudest is the Christian, yet even many Christians do not do that. I have had many conversations with such Christians with good results for I know their heart is in the right place, they just don't realize the damage they are doing by forcing how they believe on others who they effort to preach to. I guess it helps them resolve their own shortcomings somehow.

Didymos Thomas;98964 wrote:
We cannot speculate about what Jesus would say about a national healthcare system because he never said anything relating to something like that system - there was nothing remotely like it in his day. It's baseless.


DT, very little if anything was past forward relating to such. We have no idea, other than the plagues and famines that were mentioned and many of those could have been metaphors as to the health of anyone or for that matter how long the average person lived. It is all speculation. Trusting written history is indeed a tenuous task to say the lease. Even today we effort to revise what was said so it fits today's reality.

Didymos Thomas;98964 wrote:
What we might be able to say, however, is that Jesus would have approved of people who act politically for the sake of their fellow human beings - but that's about as far as we can go. And the trouble here is obvious: the socialist believes himself to be helping fellow human beings just as the crazies on conservapedia believe they do the same.


There are crazies behind all labels, groups and bunches. Take Mother Teresa for instance. A Saint. There are some who would think her crazy for giving up any life she might have had for being so selfless and devoting all her time to caring for others.

On another forum one even called her selfish for she had an agenda and was doing it for her own benefit. How so very callous that was. It just goes to show how we effort to prove there are no selfless acts that defend the ego and the selfishness in ourselves. There are indeed rewards, it's just few can imagine what those are. The are not empirical; the are of mind and mind alone.

One would be surprised how very little is needed when the mind is content. Most have no idea of what that means and why so many minds are trouble as they are. As I have said so very, very many times, eliminate cost as we know it and devise another way and the inequity that is so rampant in the world will just go away along with all the iniquity that goes along with it. (See list).

William
 
Lithe Oleander
 
Reply Sat 12 Dec, 2009 02:54 pm
@William,
William;110589 wrote:
Hello, Lithe and welcome to the forum. Socialism has it pinching points as we have numerous ways of defining it. Socialism, my definition is people caring for one another and that just about sums it up. Does that mean we have to be charitable. No. If we really care there would be no reason for charity to exist. The sharing of knowledge would be intermingled with talents, resources and there would be a balance among people that would be understood. Not all are the same and it is one's gifts that they offer for others determines what others bestow on the one. It is not due to what one wants for there is a load of wealth in the giving in and of itself that most just do not realize. (Take away the tax advantages, and watch what happens to "giving" and those charities attached) Most who have more who do give, do so privately so others will not be so asking. The world it seems is full of those who have less and we rationalize those as being "undeserving" for a variety of stupid reasons.

When one gives freely, it is, likewise, returned freely. What I mean by that is hard to understand when it is related to the costs "imposed" today. We have no idea of what "free" means for everything has costs attached.


Now I am confused. The definition of charity in my head has been warped. Any individual can call themselves a socialist because they believe in the ideologies it represents. But for socialism to work, it requires a whole society. The ideal socialist utopia requires that everyone has to be a socialist. But of course, this is never the case. People are still going to be forced into something they do not want, which would of course destroy free will.

Charity on the other hand, is a choice. (And no, giving donations just for the tax advantages is not charity.) Charity is not forced on anyone. It requires kindness of the heart. This is what I thought charity meant, but correct me if I'm wrong. :perplexed:
 
xris
 
Reply Sat 12 Dec, 2009 03:56 pm
@Lithe Oleander,
If you were kind, the idea that someone was forcing you to help your fellow man would be alien concept. As a socialist in capitalist country should i oppose capitalism just because not everyone agrees with it? My taxes may go to a encourage corporate greed , so capitalism is not relevant. Charity serves the donor more than the recipient, it makes you feel good, smug, self satisfying. I know because I donate.
 
Lithe Oleander
 
Reply Sat 12 Dec, 2009 04:02 pm
@xris,
xris;110664 wrote:
If you were kind, the idea that someone was forcing you to help your fellow man would be alien concept. As a socialist in capitalist country should i oppose capitalism just because not everyone agrees with it? My taxes may go to a encourage corporate greed , so capitalism is not relevant. Charity serves the donor more than the recipient, it makes you feel good, smug, self satisfying. I know because I donate.


Just because it makes you feel good, smug, self satisfying, doesn't mean this is true for all people. In todays world, where vanity, greed, and jealousy rules most, if not all, then sure, that could be the case for most, or if not, all.
 
xris
 
Reply Sat 12 Dec, 2009 04:13 pm
@Lithe Oleander,
Lithe Oleander;110666 wrote:
Just because it makes you feel good, smug, self satisfying, doesn't mean this is true for all people. In todays world, where vanity, greed, and jealousy rules most, if not all, then sure, that could be the case for most, or if not, all.
So why should we give when the necessity for charity is an obnoxious reality.

Why should you oppose the need to give without requesting.

Why should those who need be at the mercy of the vagaries of public opinion? dont tell me you dont have a certain self satisfying feeling when you put your bucks in the bucket.
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Sat 12 Dec, 2009 06:30 pm
@prothero,
prothero;98681 wrote:
It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the [/I]kingdom of God.

Not one they emphasize much, eh? More properity gospel these days?


Beautiful sayng and a long time since I read it. I understand it better now, I think. My attitude is, living in the world, obviously possessions are required. But you need to have the attitude that you could turn around and walk away from them a moment's notice. Don't be attached to them. There will come a time when you loose everything. Get used to it.

Incidentally, I heard a biblical scholar say that 'the eye of the needle' referred to a very narrow gate in to the Old City of Jerusalem, and the camel in question, if you can picture it, was heavily laden with goods (camels being the main way to transport goods in that day and age). Hence 'camel through the eye of the needle' is not quite as bizarre an allegory as you might think.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Sat 12 Dec, 2009 06:56 pm
@RDRDRD1,
A heart full of a love is better than anything else I can think of. I agree, jeeprs. Possesions are necessary, but are not the goal. Just as for dancing, feet are necessary. But feet are not the point. I think man's more material self is the stem. His spiritual-poetic-emotional self is the flower.


Well, feet aren't actually necessary....you know what I mean...
 
 

 
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