Is Christianity socialist? Watch

Davij038
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Was having a long discussion with my corbynite) best friend when we came onto Christianity, Jesus and politics as we often do after too many pints...

A lot of the left seem to misunderstand Christianity and it's message of 'helping the poor'. My friend and others seem to be under the impression that if Jesus were alive today he'd support Corbyn because Corbyn cares about helping the poor.


Christianity does indeed teach that we should help the poor and needy. It doesn't say necessarily that we should do so by setting up a state run welfare wealth redistribution program- clearly as no such thing existed in those times.

But what did exist then and still exists today is private charity, people freely giving up their own money (and time and effort) and distributing to the 'deserving' poor.

I fail to see how it is Christian or virtuous to take forcibly take from people and then give it to all regardless of merit. I'd willingly give a lot of my money to people who I knew to be struggling and were decent, honest people. To people who I knew who were struggling and didn't care for I certainly wouldn't give money to (because they'd probably abuse it) but possibly food and shelter- or direct them to somewhere that did e.g. Churches , Samaritans

Simply giving people money either just by giving a fiver to s homeless person voluntarily or by paying g tax to a welfare state doesn't mean your necessarily helping people, in fact you could very well be harming people continue an unhealthy and wretched lifestyle.
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ChaoticButterfly
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It definitely can be and I'd argue the whole Jesus stuff is proto-socialism. The teaching's of Jesus really do not align well with a capitalist philosophy. But religion often gets co-opted to reinforce power structures so nothing new there. I don't know how you can follow the teaching of a guys who made a big point of kicking out money lenders from a church and not be some kind of socialist. As a socialist I see this as an almost kind of backward way of thinking however. There was lots of reaction to the development of the bourgeoisie which was quite reactionary and about worshipping suffering. Christianity worships suffering to much, the Christian version of socialism is too much about wanting to go back to a simpler time and is a bit feudal imo. The socialism I prefer is about harnessing revolutionary potential of technology and pointing it towards more social ends. I don't mind money lenders in temples if it meant field workers don't have to work as much.

It is also said that unlike in the rest of Europe UK socialism has its routes in Christianity rather than Marx.

The current pope is also saying liberation theology type things. He even gave a talk to some unions saying unions of the future will have to argue for less working hours! We have a post capitalist pope! Listen up Mogg.


https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/...f_Christianity
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liberation_theology
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Ladymusiclover
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I can see your point, I have thought about this as well. The only thing is that Jesus and the Bible is very clear on paying taxes to the government for example. Would that go against the beliefs of socialism? (Generally intrigued).
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Guru Jason
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(Original post by ChaoticButterfly)
It definitely can be and I'd argue the whole Jesus stuff is proto-socialism. The teaching's of Jesus really do not align well with a capitalist philosophy. But religion often gets co-opted to reinforce power structures so nothing new there. I don't know how you can follow the teaching of a guys who made a big point of kicking out money lenders from a church and not be some kind of socialist. As a socialist I see this as an almost kind of backward way of thinking however. There was lots of reaction to the development of the bourgeoisie which was quite reactionary and about worshipping suffering. Christianity worships suffering to much, the Christian version of socialism is too much about wanting to go back to a simpler time and is a bit feudal imo. The socialism I prefer is about harnessing revolutionary potential of technology and pointing it towards more social ends. I don't mind money lenders in temples if it meant field workers don't have to work as much.

It is also said that unlike in the rest of Europe UK socialism has its routes in Christianity rather than Marx.

The current pope is also saying liberation theology type things. He even gave a talk to some unions saying unions of the future will have to argue for less working hours! We have a post capitalist pope! Listen up Mogg.


https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/...f_Christianity
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liberation_theology
IIRC Jesus kicked out the money lender because they were short changing/cheating the people and pocketing the money themselves instead of being fair. Not just the fact they were money lenders (though they were exchanges, not lenders as we know it.)
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Davij038
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Just as some socialists don't think that everything should be state run or policed not all conservatives think that everything should be driven by capitalism IE the Tory party voting against Sunday tradeing during Thatchers reign.

Thus there's a difference clearly between conservatism and objectivism and socialism and Marxism- neither of these extremes could be seen as Christian.

The Labour Party has Social liberalism as its moral basis rather than anything Christian. Likewise to the Tories but to a slightly lesser degree.
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Davij038
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(Original post by Ladymusiclover)
I can see your point, I have thought about this as well. The only thing is that Jesus and the Bible is very clear on paying taxes to the government for example. Would that go against the beliefs of socialism? (Generally intrigued).
The message is give the government what they 'deserve'. Is the state entitled to take all or most of your money? I don't think so, and I doubt Jesus would either.
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username2997138
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(Original post by Davij038)
Just as some socialists don't think that everything should be state run or policed not all conservatives think that everything should be driven by capitalism IE the Tory party voting against Sunday tradeing during Thatchers reign.

Thus there's a difference clearly between conservatism and objectivism and socialism and Marxism- neither of these extremes could be seen as Christian.

The Labour Party has Social liberalism as its moral basis rather than anything Christian. Likewise to the Tories but to a slightly lesser degree.
honestly i don't see how socialism could be interpreted as an extreme when it's basically just the belief/practice of treating people equally which is literally what jesus taught.

also even by using the marxist definition, socialism is "a transitional social state between the overthrow of capitalism and the realization of Communism", so saying that socialism and communism are both extremes is stupid lol
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Davij038
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(Original post by babsxox)
honestly i don't see how socialism could be interpreted as an extreme when it's basically just the belief/practice of treating people equally which is literally what jesus taught.
Another misconception. It's not about treating people equally but about treating people fairly.

There's a difference.

also even by using the marxist definition, socialism is "a transitional social state between the overthrow of capitalism and the realization of Communism", so saying that socialism and communism are both extremes is stupid lol
If you're using the Marxist definition, which I'm not. Attlees government was socialist but anti communist
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mojojojo101
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(Original post by Guru Jason)
I
IIRC Jesus kicked out the money lender because they were short changing/cheating the people and pocketing the money themselves instead of being fair. Not just the fact they were money lenders (though they were exchanges, not lenders as we know it.)
Depending on your opinions on Labour theory of value, Marx's conception of surplus value and the capitalist profit motive you could argue that Jesus would have similarly opposed the capitalist boss as they act to steal the value of their workers labour to line their own pockeys and reinforce their privelidged position.

However to be clear, I don't think Christianity could ever truly be called a force of emancipation for the working classes.
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username2997138
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"Love one another with brotherly affection; Outdo one another in showing honor" (romans 12:10)
"You shall love your neighbor as yourself" (mark 12:31)
"Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you"(ephesians 4:32)
"And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them" (luke 6:31)

these are just the most relevant ones but if you could find some verses that suggest otherwise that'd be great

anyway, are you suggesting that Christianity is capitalist? like... really dude?
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TheDuo
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who cares? just go to church and then get to heaven.
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Davij038
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(Original post by TheDuo)
who cares? just go to church and then get to heaven.
Going to heaven would require more than just going to church
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username878267
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(Original post by Davij038)
Another misconception. It's not about treating people equally but about treating people fairly.

There's a difference.



If you're using the Marxist definition, which I'm not. Attlees government was socialist but anti communist
What's your definition of socialism?

I find the biggest issue when discussing 'is x socialist' is determining what the term means. Some on the right pretty much describe anything left of Thatcher socialist, whereas some on the left describe anything right of Lenin as not socialist.

Corbyn is socialist, but his manifesto could easily be described as more akin to social democracy.

I often find it more useful to view socialism and capitalism as end points on a scale, rather than absolutes.
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Captain Haddock
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Jesus was neither capitalist or socialist. He was a prophet. As far as I know what he advocated was devotional asceticism, rejection of material excess, and love for one's neighbours. He was a pretty cool guy, really. But trying to fit him into modern ideological categories seems pretty stupid.
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PilgrimOfTruth
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(Original post by Davij038)
Simply giving people money either just by giving a fiver to s homeless person voluntarily or by paying g tax to a welfare state doesn't mean your necessarily helping people, in fact you could very well be harming people continue an unhealthy and wretched lifestyle.
The former is certainly true. Never give cash to a street beggar. 99.9% of them are NOT homeless at all, they have accommodation, even if it is temporary accommodation. The few that don't who are living rough on the streets are doing so out of choice because they want any benefits they are entitled to, to go to drink and drugs rather than for paying rent.

When you give street beggars cash, you are simply paying for drink and drugs. Don't be a part of the problem. These people need to engage with the many support centres and go through the rehab processes to get their lives back on track.

Giving cash exacerbates the problem for them and for wider society. Buy them a meal and a hot drink maybe but in all honesty they get so much of that anyway. These people get free hot meals constantly from the various support centres. They get breakfasts, lunches, evening meals. In fact they probably eat as well, if not better than many people who are working and skip meals. If they are not at a support centre for a meal they are using the time to beg for money which, for them, is effectively their job.

These people need our support, but it must come in the form of signposting to the appropriate support services.
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ChaoticButterfly
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(Original post by PilgrimOfTruth)
When you give street beggars cash, you are simply paying for drink and drugs. Don't be a part of the problem. These people need to engage with the many support centres and go through the rehab processes to get their lives back on track.
Even if that is true. I don't care. They can use my change to buy a sandwich or buy some cigs.

If I was homeless my alcohol intake would go up if I had the funds.


(Original post by Davij038)
Going to heaven would require more than just going to church
I thought you could repent on your death bed and all is well with the Lord.
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ChaoticButterfly
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(Original post by Davij038)
Another misconception. It's not about treating people equally but about treating people fairly.

There's a difference.


Socialism got that covered.

http://culturalorganizing.org/wp-con...lityEquity.jpg
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Davij038
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(Original post by ChaoticButterfly)
Socialism got that covered.

http://culturalorganizing.org/wp-con...lityEquity.jpg
Who put the boxes there?
Who made them?
Are they the best people to be doing that?
Isn't there a better way of watching sport?
That doesn't look comfy, why don't they have seats?
Are they paying for this?
If not how can the athletes be able to play competitively?
Who gets to be an athlete?

That guys a **** dad, why doesn't he stand next to the toddler who might fall to down?


Etc etc
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anarchism101
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(Original post by Davij038)
Christianity does indeed teach that we should help the poor and needy. It doesn't say necessarily that we should do so by setting up a state run welfare wealth redistribution program- clearly as no such thing existed in those times.

But what did exist then and still exists today is private charity, people freely giving up their own money (and time and effort) and distributing to the 'deserving' poor.

I fail to see how it is Christian or virtuous to take forcibly take from people and then give it to all regardless of merit. I'd willingly give a lot of my money to people who I knew to be struggling and were decent, honest people. To people who I knew who were struggling and didn't care for I certainly wouldn't give money to (because they'd probably abuse it) but possibly food and shelter- or direct them to somewhere that did e.g. Churches , Samaritans
I think the Christian socialist argument is a bit of a stretch (it's usually people who are already both Christian and socialist deliberately trying to find an interpretation of the forming supporting the latter), but at the same time, I think we need to be careful about not projecting our modern ideas about a clear distinction between state, individual, and civil society back into the distant past.

Throughout much of history, people often didn't see a difference between "X is wrong" and "X should be illegal". It's often unclear from Biblical passages against wealth whether it's saying "Keeping lots of wealth and not giving it away in charity is bad, but that's your free choice", or "Keeping lots of wealth and not giving it away is bad, so it's legitimate for those without to take it from you".

The only Gospel passage I can think of that clearly leans towards the latter interpretation is the Cleansing of the Temple, where Jesus refers to the wealthy merchants there as "thieves". This is rather more than just saying being wealthy and non-philanthropic is wrong - it's saying that their acquisition of that wealth is in itself illegitimate.

That said, I'm not hugely bothered by this, given I'm an anarchist, which for me kind of necessitates being anti-theistic.
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ChaoticButterfly
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(Original post by Davij038)
Who put the boxes there?
Who made them?
Are they the best people to be doing that?
Isn't there a better way of watching sport?
That doesn't look comfy, why don't they have seats?
Are they paying for this?
If not how can the athletes be able to play competitively?
Who gets to be an athlete?

That guys a **** dad, why doesn't he stand next to the toddler who might fall to down?


Etc etc



Boxes for all.
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