Tuesday, August 21, 2012

From Jesus’ socialism to capitalistic Christianity

Gregory Paul's latest opinion piece demonstrates the glaring contradiction between the Christian doctrines and Libertarian "free market" principals upon which the core values of the Tea Party are based.

Source: Washington Post

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!

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).

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. Chapters 2 and 4 state that all “<b>the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods,they gave to anyone as he had need… No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own,but they shared everything they had…. There were no needy persons among them. From time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them,brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need.</b>”

Now folks,that’s outright socialism of the type described millennia later by Marx - who likely got the general idea from the gospels.

The pro-capitalist Christians who are aware of these passages wave them away even though it is the only explicit description of Christian economics in the Bible.

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