Thursday, December 1, 2011

Guest Article: Jesus Was Not A Socialist

by Rob (aka ArmChairGeneral)

"...and Jesus Christ forcibly took the money from all of the people gathered and gave it to the Pharisees to distribute as they felt. Thereafter the people rejoiced in the good deeds done by Jesus as they lived on socialized programs ran by benevolent governments."

No matter how hard you look for the above passage in the Holy Bible you will not find it. Not in the New International Version, New American Translation, King James, Living Word, The Message, Quest Bible, the Amplified no not even the 'hidden books' made popular by the Da Vinci Code. Why? To put it quite simply Jesus did not operate that way. In fact His message was pretty clear to the Tax Collectors and the People of the Law. I will use a bit of artistic license and paraphrase what He was saying to them - 'Stop stealing from my people.'

Jesus never advocated full governmental control nor was he suggesting that we give all of our money to the Pharisees. Instead, Jesus was trying to encourage normal people that they could make a difference by just helping with what they had by giving and not through the governmental takeover of all of their assets.

I give. I am glad to do it. We have many charities that the church sponsors such as Tiburon Haiti, Windy Hill Elementary, Costa Rica as well as the local food bank and Family Promise. The church is involved with a good deal more missions besides and I personally give to other missions.

The problem that I have with a government taking more money away from my family to give to whomever they feel deserves it is that the government has never been good at holding onto money and giving it to those that need it. For instance, every dollar the government takes from you ends up being only about 15 cents of actual money that is distributed to people who are on food stamps and into other social programs. The rest of the money goes to pay for the salaries of Congress, the bureaucracies involved in ensuring the money is properly counted (IRS), the bureaucracies involved in ensuring the money is properly distributed (Social Security) and the bureaucracies involved in ensuring that the regulations are maintained (EPA, FAA, FTC, RIAA, UDMC, etc). The rest of what is left over that is supposed be used to care for the needy and to protect the people of this country go to special interest groups and further perks for Congress. Would not it be better to give that dollar to a non-profit organization that would take the majority of the money and give it to the needy? Furthermore, if the government increases my taxes I will have less to offer.

I realize Jesus told one man to give up all of his possessions and follow him. In the Holy Bible there are many accounts where Jesus challenges people to drop what they are doing and follow Him. When another man approached and asked to follow Him, he said he needed to bury his dead father to which Jesus replied to let the dead bury their own dead. Another man wanted to follow Jesus but needed to tend to his field but Jesus told him that anyone who looks back at the field is not fit to follow. (I am paraphrasing - if you want to know more, read the Gospels.)

What Jesus says to these people has nothing to do with what he said about the government. In fact, the only time he really addresses the government is when he asks whose face is on the Denarius and then answers, "Give to Cesar what is Cesar’s and to God what is God’s." If Cesar decides he wants to increase our taxes that is up to Cesar but as a supposedly free country I believe that we have a right to decide what is fair and what is not fair.

I think it is fair for me to decide what to give charity. It is my obligation as a steward of what God provides. I think the government does us all a disservice when it begins to take more and more money and mismanages it by giving it away to delta smelt. Our money has gone to protect so-called minority interests that are really nothing more than gangs of union thugs, k-street lobbyists who petition the government for more and more control so that big business is able to destroy the competition using a thinly veiled illusion that they are putting regulations in place to ‘help the consumer’. The biggest insult has been that our money has gone to the businesses that ‘are too big to fail’ such as banks, auto companies, etc. and the government now has a majority of stock in these industries.

The last time any government was in business it borrowed from other countries similarly to what we have done with China. Instead of paying these countries back, the government decided to start a war. I will let you figure out exactly what government I am referring too but any student of history should already know.

Our government supports special interests and big business in the direct opposition to what we as a country stand for which is freedom and the opportunity to make more of ourselves. It is already difficult enough for small businesses to stay in business. Why do we need more regulation and red tape?

We the people need to take a stand against the government both the so-called conservatives and the liberals and find our voice to cry out at the injustices that the government does to people who would otherwise be helped by our donations and gifts had they not stolen more than was their share. This is what the TEA party really stands for. This is what our constitution demands and this is what we as a nation deserve.

30 comments:

Joel Farnham said...

Well put, ACG!

Also, "Give unto Caeser that which is Caeser's and give to God that which is God's." is more of a statement to curb foolish followers of Jesus. The ones who advocated the overthrow of Roman Rule.

And it is interesting that even in Roman Times complaints about taxes are as ubiquitous then as today.

Tennessee Jed said...

Rob (ACG) nicely done! I agree, of course. My problem with big government socialist entitlement programs is also on two levels:

1) government should help people to help themselves, otherwise the become pawns of the government. That creates mediocrity since it disinsents people to excel (shades of Ayne Rand, here.)

2) Because government is political, it becomes everything bad in terms of efficiency. Bureaucrats learn how to protect their layers and layers of waste.

Jesus undoubtedly understands if you force people to give instead of out of the goodness of their own heart, you have accomplished nothing.

Writer X said...

Why anyone would want to give the government one more penny of their hard-earned money is beyond my comprehension, considering how they squander and waste the trillions that they're alrealdy given. God would not be amused either.

Interesting post, Rob!

Individualist said...

Well put ACG

Were not the pharisees a government? Weere they not collecting taxes? As the self appointed Holy Men running the city did the not tell people that they were collecting these taxes for the common good?

Yet Jesus overturned their tables in the temple.......


Hmmm.....

T-Rav said...

Rob/ACG, great article. It irritates me to no end when liberal friends of mine cry out, "Didn't Jesus say you should give all your possessions to the poor? Why don't you talk about that kind of morality, huh?" Of course, that's invariably the only part of the New Testament they know anything about.

I think the difference you point out is something for all Christians to keep in mind, because failure to do so, in my opinion, is part of why the mainline Protestant denominations have been shrinking. If you start advocating "social justice" or "environmental justice" as the true goal of a Christian, then, well, involvement in politics and government becomes more important than worshipping God and going to church. It's not hard for liberal Christianity to become secular liberalism under those circumstances.

ArmChairGeneral said...

@Joel - Thank you! Yes he was telling them that because he wanted to stop their foolish ideas of Him leading them against the Romans. They wanted a fighting leader who would bring about the end of the Romans for the Jews when instead they got God. A God, I might point out, who loves everyone including the Romans. After all Saul turned Paul was a Roman and a Pharisee.

@Tennesee Jed - I agree with both of your points. The government's purpose is to help the people by keeping an existing military and allowing for the people to transform through their own acts not through forced socialism. The government is woefully inadequate to handle anything efficiently. You said it brother!

@WriterX - Thank you! Coming from you that means a great deal. I am afraid that God is already not amused since we have taken to the lie that this nation was not founded on Christian principles. Trust me, God is a great waymaker and he will make a way for another nation if ours does not shape up.

@Indy - Yep! You are dead on! He said "You turn my Father's House into a den of thieves!" Then he turns around and tells a tax collector to follow him.

@T-Rav - You are not correct. They do not understand. They couldn't understand the meaning of the words unless they were in communion with the Holy Spirit. It is without a doubt complete and total hubris not to mention hypocritical for a secular liberal to tell a Christian how they should listen to the teachings of a man they know nothing about. Some liberal churches have begun to turn over a new leaf in that they have started to see the truth behind the words of the government and see what social justice really means while others sadly follow the socialist piper while paying mere lip service to God.

AndrewPrice said...

ACG, Thanks for the article! It's an interesting topic and you've explained the issue quite nicely. I've always been troubled by people who claim Jesus was a socialist when he really had nothing to say about government. He was talking about the human relationship with God and basically said the government is irrelevant to that so long as you always maintain your obligations to God.

I think trying to twist his words into supporting socialism is garbage, but it's a standard ploy for the left.

And you're 100% right that government is very poor at handling charity and the more it takes from us, the less we have to do good things in our own lives.

tryanmax said...

ACG, very good article. I've actually seen a number of these sort of "retorts" crop up lately in response the the Socio-Jesus meme, but yours cuts to the quick better than most. Some others are more like exercises in apologetics, which is fine, but they lose a tone of authority.

The nifty thing about God's design is that it is simply what works. (And why shouldn't it? He designed it!) It only reveals the woeful ignorance and obstinacy of man that he should try forcing anything other than what works to function. It's like insisting that if one shoves enough spaghetti under the hood of a car, it will run just like an engine. And if it doesn't work, it only means that the sauce isn't quite right yet. It really is that absurd.

I am reminded of Agent Smith's monologue in the Matrix:

"Did you know that the first Matrix was designed to be a perfect human world where none suffered, where everyone would be happy? It was a disaster. No one would accept the program, entire crops were lost. Some believed that we lacked the programming language to describe your perfect world, but I believe that as a species human beings define their reality through misery and suffering. So the perfect world was a dream that your primitive cerebrum kept trying to wake up from.

How true is that! The human condition is simply that we insist on making things harder than they need be. There exists an entire party of these people who define their existence through "struggle." But God's design for us was not one of Sisyphean futility. There is a right way and there is a wrong way to go about things. And thank God for that. Really.

* * *

I wanted to offer my thoughts on those who asked to follow Jesus and were rebuked. On the same lines as man always wanting to make things harder than they need be, I think people read too far into these Gospel anecdotes.

How does one reconcile Jesus's instructions to the rich man with the splendor of Solomon? How are Christ's words to the son of the dead man compatible with Mosaic law, or His words to the field owner with Paul's order that if a man will not work, he shall not eat?

The problem comes of trying to reconcile that which needn't be reconciled. Jesus's admonishments to each of these men had nothing to do with the specific tasks they named or were given. Rather, what Jesus was rebuking was the attitude that causes man to say to God, "I will follow you, but..."

But nothing! God's ways are perfect and Jesus came to demonstrate such. No caveats can be placed on trust. There is either trust or there is not. God doesn't ask man to do anything crazy, rather he demands we do only that which makes absolute sense: trust what is trustworthy, reject all else.

* * *

I didn't mean to turn this into morning Bible study. I just got going and couldn't stop.

ArmChairGeneral said...

@Andrew - Yes it is a bad substitute for real charity work. Charity work that in my opinion should be done by non-profits.

@Tyranmax - "Rather, what Jesus was rebuking was the attitude that causes man to say to God, "I will follow you, but..."

God is good. Exactly! In these instances he was looking into what motivated them to make the decisions they made. Ananias and Sapphira were used to demonstrate this when they claimed they gave all the money that had made for the land they had sold to the church and were stuck dead. It was not that they did not give all of their money it was that they lied about what they had done.

AndrewPrice said...

ACG, It's also a bit delusional in the sense that it lets people off the hook. You see that all the time where people say "I don't need to do charity because the government does it for me." You especially hear that from liberals. But that's not charity. Charity is not about being forced to help people, it's about wanting to help people.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, I think that was a truly brilliant moment in The Matrix -- very insightful of human nature. In fact, it plays on that gray area where we can't believe things that are too good to be true because we know better, but we often become victims of fraud because we desperately want to believe things that are too good to be true.

LawHawkRFD said...

Rob: Many years ago, some conservative commentator despaired of liberals ever getting it right. What he said was "liberals love Christians, as long as they're dead." Not much has changed.

T-Rav said...

ACG, ouch. I defer to your evaluation. :-)

I decided some time ago that the next time some liberal atheist tries to rebuke me for not following Christianity as they understand it, I am going to politely explain to them that as they are not believers, I do not feel called to accept judgments from them--or something to that effect. This will probably result in one or two de-friendings on Facebook, should it ever come to that, but too bad.

DUQ said...

Excellent article Rob! I have never seen anything to tell me that Jesus was a socialist and the left's efforts to make him that are just another attempt to steal someone important to their side.

Individualist said...

tyranmax

I beleive the Bible says "it is as hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of Heaven as it is for a camel to enter go through the eye of the needle"

I saw an explanation of this in a bulletin at chruch. They put little quips on the back explaining some religious point or asking questions.

An individual was stating but that is impossible does that mean I ahve to give up all my wealth.

The article explained that in the time of Christ there was a side gate into the city of Jereseluem that was very narrow. In order to get a camel through that gate one had to push the camel through which was difficult.

The article went into the hebrwew and Greek translations and showed how pushing a camel through a gate became a reference to a surreal threading of a camel through the eye of a modern needle.

The point of the article was that Jesus was not saying it was impossible and all rich people were damned but that it was difficult.

tryanmax said...

DUQ, I say conservatives start co-opting some of liberalism's idols. Not sure where to begin with that, but surely their must be some leftie icon that we can transmogrify into a capitalist.

ArmChairGeneral said...

@Andrew - It is a fact that the majority of seculars do not give and are liberal. It is also a fact that the inverse is true.

@Law - Sadly so true. What I find really irritating is that we are supposed to accept the religious beliefs of others while ours get trampled underfoot.

@T-Rav - Oh no harm meant. I only mean that you were saying that the part in the bible that the liberals understand is that people should give but I was countering that saying that they do not understand any of the bible.

I have lost friends over the years. A nice quote is "I asked God to show me who my enemys were and I started losing friends."

@DUQ - They are trying to dishonor him by saying he's a good teacher or a good person when in fact due to his years in ministry and what he said he either was the Living God or a crazy man. I believe he was the Living God and my belief does not rely on what others believe.

@Indy - You have shared this with me before in the past. Like so many parts of the bible it was allegory but then once again without the Holy Spirit it cannot be properly interpreted.

tryanmax said...

Indie, I have come across that explanation, too. The version I found described that, in order to get the camel through the gate, sometimes the camel had to be unloaded of its burden before passing through, after which it could be reloaded. This changes the metaphor significantly, indicating that we need not abandon anything in order to follow Christ, but merely be willing to lay our load down when the time comes.

Again, it is about doing things the easy way or the hard way. A foolish person would say it is too hard to unload and reload his camel and would spend his time and energy trying to force the loaded creature where it will not go. The wise person would take the time to move the load and so be about his other affairs more quickly and easily.

BevfromNYC said...

Great article, Rob the ACG!
"God helps those who help themselves"

Isn't it interesting that this week, the European nations who only 75 years ago were fighting to defeat Germany are now begging Germany to save them as their only hope?

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, History is rich with ironies! LOL!

tryanmax said...

Bev,

How true! It's funny, I have heard entire sermons railing against that truism on the basis that that exact line is not to be found in the Bible. And yet, the truth is that God does help those who help themselves in the sense that he allows our wise labors to be fruitful.

Can you imagine how madding it would be to live in a universe without cause and effect? What if all actions were equal and chance was truly the only determinant of success or failure? Liberals love to paint a picture of life as a lottery. Hallelujah, it isn't so!

Pittsburgh Enigma said...

Good article ACG. The "camel through the eye of a needle" reference is often quoted by Michael Moore when he's trying to advocate that we all should pay higher taxes. Nevermind that MM is a hypocrite because he himself is rich who doesn't give all his wealth away, but tells the rest of us to. The point that needs to be made to every liberal who tries to bash us over the head with this quote is this: a man's amount of wealth is between him and his God (if he's religious), and it is nobody else's business. The Bible (or Jesus) never said that governments should confiscate a rich man's wealth. It is up to him alone to distribute his wealth to charity as he sees fit. This reminds me of a quote that I attribute to Walter Williams, but may have been quoted by others as well: for a man to reach into his own pocket to help a fellow human being in need is noble; for a man to reach into another man's pocket to help a fellow human being is despicable.

ArmChairGeneral said...

The problem with apologetics is that it is an attempt at trying to explain the divine to seculars. It is like trying to puncture a block of concrete with a grapefruit.

"My burden is easy, and my yoke is light."

Ed said...

Try telling this to leftists, they will freak out. They claim Jesus was a socialist and we're all hypocrites for not listening. Of course, they also claim he didn't exist, and he was married or gay, and God knows whatever else.

tryanmax said...

What's next? "Jesus was an atheist"? Oh wait.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, That's downright delusion. Thanks for the link.


Pitts, That's a great quote!

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Outstanding article Rob/ACG!

I concur wholeheartedly with you and my fellow commenters.

A friend of mine recently said this and I think it's relevant to this discussion:

"From 2 Corinthians we learn that the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. In other words, man is explicitly created with a spirit of freedom -- cf. the Declaration of Independence -- which you might say is the means to the end of our being, which is ultimately theosis, perfection, or God-realization. In short, the means: liberty. The ends: love, truth, beauty, unity (or the One)."

God wants us to have liberty (even if we use it unwisely) so of course He doesn't support anything that takes that away such as socialism and forced "charity" (which ain't charity at all, it's stealing).

Certainly men cannot give liberty.
Everytime men try it becomes a perversion of liberty.
It becomes corrupt no matter how good the intentions.

Also, a quick Benservation:
Churches that lobby our government to do more "charity" are abdicating their responsibilities, not to mention hurting liberty itself.

Charity should be done by churches, other non-profits, and individuals (including business owners if they so choose) and by it's very nature should always be freely chosen...never imposed by force.

tryanmax said...

Ben, you hit the nail on the head by pointing out that charity, by definition, cannot be coerced. If it is, it is not charity. I think part of what makes it so easy for many churches and individuals to lobby for "government charity" is that there doesn't seem to be a word to describe what it really is.

I've racked my brain trying to find one, but all I can come up with are word like "socialism" which only sound bad to the enlightened and terms like "government theft" which would be rejected as hyperbolic.

I'm not suggesting we (sh/c)ould coin a term. That would be futile. But maybe if I am wrong and there is a good term, we might sprinkle it into our conversations.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Hi Tryanmax:

How about Big Pilfer? :^)

Individualist said...

Tyrnamax and USS Ben

You have stumbled onto what I think is the problem. It is the narrative.

I worked for Mark Little when he was a Republican running against Corrine Brown in 1994. This was the year that there were numerous Black Republicans challenging the Democratic Hegemony in the newly ordained minority districts.

Corine was a nasty person to her primary challengers and they hated her so much they gave us campaign research against her even though they were Dems. She had 10 Hud housing districts that had 90 to 99 percent voter turnout and voted for her 90% (even though her opponent Alvin Brown had ties to Washigton and was well liked). The results from these 10 districts in JAcsonville carried her becasue the remainder of the district was a horshoe that went through 14 separate counties from Orlando up to the middle of North Florida (Yulee) over into Jacksonville and then down through St Augustine to Daytona.

We embarked on a polling campain in the precints to identify voters who had moved or died so that our poll watchers would have the information ready to challenge fraudulent votes.

According to Florida LAw if a fraudulent vote is cast you must witness the individual trying to fill out the forms to vote and challenge the vote then and there. You also have to have proof with you. IF you do they vote is still cast but is segrgated for review and can then be disallowed. Even if you prove after the fact the vote is fraudulent you can file charges against the perpetrator but the vote still counts in the election. Still we were perplexed as to the staggering poercentages. You can run a dead person in an election and they will get 20% of the vote.

I was a poll watcher for at a fire station in one of those precincts. It was downtown and the majority of the voters were in HUD Housing projects whom the landlords were allowed to set up when Corrine was a State Representative. Their poll watcher arrived 9 am (I had to be there at 7 when the polls arrived). The first thing she did after telling me how honest they all were was to take the voting list from the poll worker and write down the names of every individual who had not arrived to vote. She then gave this list to the HUD project landlord who was conveniently offering free rides to the polls. I will never forget what this man who was black said to her.

"I will go and make sure my N-Words get out here and vote" (for Corrine I assume).

This is what passes for government charity.

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