Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Was Christ A Socialist?

Click on the title for a link to an article by Daniel Burnstein (a U.S. social welfare history teacher at Seattle University) entitled, Morality, Politics and Liberalism.

Now first of all, I am not an overly religious man (spiritual, but not religious), but let's take a look at why I disagree with Mr. Burnstein's arguments:

.......progressives could help rally support by using religious quotations, from Biblical figures to Erasmus to today’s Jim Wallis, that indirectly offer eloquent support for progressive socio-economic programs. Progressives could ask Americans to consider today’s social problems in light of the golden rule and the admonition that “There but for the grace of God go I,” and to consider that Jesus, Hillel, and other foundational religious and spiritual figures, if alive today, would be appalled at the administration’s proposed cuts to social programs.

Nowhere in the Holy Bible do I find anywhere that Christ was a social advocate for government social programs. He preached the need for VOLUNTARY charity, through private means.

When the rich man came to Christ (note that the man came to him, not the other way around) and asked him what he needed to do to be in Christ's kingdom, He told him to love God with all of his heart and to keep the commandments. The man then told Christ that he had done these things from his youth up. He then told the rich man to go and sell all of his riches, give the money to the poor, follow Him, and have riches with him in Heaven. The man then went away sad, because he had many riches and evidently did not want to part with them. (I paraphrased it, but you can find it in Matthew 19:16-22)

Christ didn't follow him around and hound him to give his wealth away. In fact, we hear nothing else of the man after that. That was not Christ's message at all. He was not sent to convert the Romans or King Herod to social programs through social programs. He wanted His followers to give to the people that needed it, by CHOICE. (The man CHOSE not to, he went away, and as I said before, Christ never asked him again).

Christ also stressed self-suffiency. All of His Apostles (to include Paul) had trades and supported themselves. They asked for no money for themselves and made a clean and decent living, until they were killed. Those in the church that had exceptional means were asked to give to the church for church matters, with some going to the poor. Never did any of the Apostles teach the need for government social programs of any kind. Maybe it was because they recognized that the government would keep part of it for themselves, thus, cutting down the amount that actually would get to those that truly needed it. Private charity did it better then and it does it better now.

The bottom line is that the religious spin in this article by Mr. Burnstein, is extremely flawed and severely weakens his claim. Liberals of this day (socialists) love to invoke the Jesus card, when it suits their agenda. But most of the time, they aren't very accomodating to those that claim the Christian faith, often taking positions that give the impression that they are against Christianity.

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