Sunday, April 24, 2011

Jesus was a Socialist?

I don't actually believe that, because I don't think Jesus cared much about political philosophy. He was, after all, the Son of God and not of this world. Or he wasn't. That point is largely irrelevant to the point I'm trying to make. A large swath of the American public do believe Jesus was the Son of God and yet are diametrically opposed to his teachings. 

It's an extreme example of cognitive dissonance to believe that a man who taught that we should sell all we have and give it to the poor would not support a system of government that also provided for the poor. I've yet to hear a rational argument proving that this is the case apart from a whole lot of hand waving about personal responsibility, individual freedom, and government inefficiency. 

Jesus' teachings boil down to just two things: 

You shall love the Lord your god with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and will all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself. - Luke 10:27

So love God with all your heart/soul/strength/mind. And love your neighbor as much as you love yourself. 

Why then would Christians advocate for government that does not provide for basic needs of their neighbors (fellow citizens)? There is little in the new testament that could remotely be construed as Christian support for capitalism and individual rights over socialism and collective rights, and yet much of the religious right has chosen the former. 

On this Easter, the holiest of Christian holidays, I'd encourage you to reflect on Christ's teachings and what that means for your beliefs about how to treat your fellow man. That treatment can be just as easily individual treatment as much as it can be societal treatment. Social programs which protect the vulnerable, the poor, the sick, the needy, the old, and the young are not something to revile, but something to embrace and work toward improving so that the inefficiencies can be minimized while the benefits are maximized. There is certainly room for improvement, but the alternative, no protections for those people, is not an option in a just and righteous modern society. 


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