Capitalism or Socialism?

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GeoFee

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And capitalism is not a spiritual discipline. It is the best known to man system to feed and clothe and prosper the greatest amount of people.
Can we agree that the Biblical narratives point us towards a prosperous human being?

A primary story is that of a people liberated from the exploitive oppression of an Egyptian ruler. These people were hungry as they travelled. In response God provided daily bread. All gathered that bread and it was distributed to the whole population. It is written that none had too much and none had too little

Another story is told about the apostolic community. Jesus has ascended and his Spirit led the people forward. We are told that no member of that community considered themselves the owner of material resources. Those resources were held in common and deployed to serve those person left out of the exploitive economies of religion and government.

This suggests, to me, that Socialism is to be preferred over Capitalism.

All the believers were of one heart and mind, and no one said that any of his possessions was his own, but instead they held everything in common. And the apostles were giving testimony with great power to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was on all of them. For there was not a needy person among them, because all those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the proceeds of the things that were sold, and laid them at the apostles’ feet. This was then distributed for each person’s basic needs." (Acts 4:32-35)
 
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Lots of stories George.

Joseph interprets pharaoh’s dreams. Collects grain for seven years, feeds people for seven years and in so doing gobbles up all the wealth of the surrounding nations. Makes pharaoh super rich, everybody else super poor, but alive. He is rewarded with the best land and riches for his family.

Kind of like the parable of the talents. Was Joseph a bad guy? He had inside information and shrewdly acquired the world for his master.
 
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Can we agree that the Biblical narratives point us towards a prosperous human being?

A primary story is that of a people liberated from the exploitive oppression of an Egyptian ruler. These people were hungry as they travelled. In response God provided daily bread. All gathered that bread and it was distributed to the whole population. It is written that none had too much and none had too little
So this is about God teaching them to rely on him to supply their needs. The manna goes bad day 2 and you can only eat so much. And they got tired of that!
 

unsafe

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this is interesting GeoFee ----I am sure you won't agree but this is how this lady sees it

5 Reasons Socialism Is Not Christian​

By Julie Roys, CP Op-Ed Contributor

Jesus confronted the money-changers and challenged believers to give to the needy. But, would he support socialism?

Increasingly, Americans think he would. In fact, a recent Barna poll found that more Americans think Jesus would prefer socialism (24%) than those who believe he would prefer capitalism (14%). The other 62% responded neither or not sure, but the poll still reveals a disturbing trend.

Last Saturday, Micah Conkling, a Christian writer and podcaster, argued on my radio program that socialism is the political and economic system that best fulfills the Golden Rule. Not surprisingly, Conkling is a Millennial, the most pro-socialist generation America has ever known. According to a recent Reason-Rupe survey, 53% of Americans under 30 view socialism favorably, compared to less than a third of Americans over 30. Similarly, Gallup found that 69% of those under 30 said they would be willing to vote for a socialist presidential candidate.

I understand why Millennials are wary of the current system. They've witnessed a consistently declining economy; one of the most partisan eras in American history; the fall of the twin towers; and a war predicated on weapons of mass destruction that were never found. I agree with them that our political system desperately needs reform. But, socialism is not the answer. Though it may sound compassionate and Christian, it's actually antithetical to everything Christianity teaches.

Here's why:

1. Socialism is Based on a Materialistic Worldview

According to socialists like Bernie Sanders, the greatest problem in the world is the unequal distribution of wealth.

His website declares: "The issue of wealth and income inequality is the great moral issue of our time, it is the great economic issue of our time, and it is the great political issue of our time."

This betrays a fundamentally materialistic worldview, which is the basis of socialism.
To socialists, all that really exists is the material world. In fact, Karl Marx, the father of socialism/communism, invented the notion of dialectical materialism — the belief that matter contains a creative power within itself. This enabled Marx to eliminate the need for a creator, essentially erasing the existence of anything non-material.

To socialists, suffering is caused by the unequal distribution of stuff — and salvation is achieved by the re-distribution of stuff. There's no acknowledgment of spiritual issues. There's just an assumption that if everyone is given equal stuff, all the problems in society will somehow dissolve.


This worldview contradicts Christianity, which affirms the existence of both a material and a non-material world — and teaches that mankind's greatest problems are spiritual. The Bible says the cause of suffering is sin and salvation is found in the cross of Christ, which liberates us from sin. Because of sin, though, there will always be inequalities in wealth. As the parable of the talents shows, those with good character tend to accumulate more; those with bad character may lose everything they have. Yet, even if we are unable to accumulate wealth, Christianity teaches that we can still have an abundant life. That's because our quality of life is not determined by how much stuff we have, but by our relationship to Christ.

2. Socialism Punishes Virtue

Socialists want to distribute wealth to individuals according to their need, regardless of virtue.

As Karl Marx, famously said, "From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs."

However, whenever any institution provides aid, it runs the risk of removing God-designed rewards and consequences. It can punish those who are industrious by making them pay for those who are not. And, it can reward those who aren't industrious by giving them the fruits of another man's labor. This is precisely what socialism does.

Interestingly, Marx mooched off others his whole life, and failed to provide for his wife and children.

As Aristotle once noted, "Men start revolutionary changes for reasons connected with their private lives."

The Bible teaches that aid should be tied to responsibility. First, anyone who refuses to work should be refused aid.

As 2 Thessalonians 3:10 says, "The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat."


Next, no one should be given aid whose family can provide for him. In fact, the Apostle Paul said that a man who fails to provide for his family is "worse than an unbeliever." (1 Tim. 5:8) The church also required widows receiving aid to have "a reputation of good works." (1 Tim. 5:10) So, even in dispensing aid, the church rewarded virtue and discouraged vice. Unfortunately, socialism does just the opposite.

3. Socialism Endorses Stealing

Barack Obama once defended his socialist policies to a little girl by saying, "We've got to make sure that people who have more money help the people who have less money. If you had a whole pizza, and your friend had no pizza, would you give him a slice?"

That sounds pretty Christian, right? What Christian wouldn't endorse sharing your abundance with someone who has nothing? However, Obama wasn't endorsing people voluntarily sharing their wealth with others; he was endorsing the government forcibly taking a piece of the pie from one person and giving it to someone else. Put another way, that's saying that if you have three cars and your neighbor has none, the government has a right to take your car and give it to your neighbor. That's not Christian; that's stealing!

But, socialists don't believe in private property. And, some Christian socialists actually assert that the Bible doesn't either. That's preposterous.

Both the Old Testament and New Testament unequivocally affirm private property. We can't even obey the eighth commandment to not steal, unless we accept the notion of private ownership. Nor, can we steward our money as the Bible commands if the state owns our money, not us. So, for an economic and political system to be Christian, it must protect private ownership and allow individuals freedom to allocate their resources according to their conscience.

4. Socialism Encourages Envy and Class Warfare

Socialists demonize the rich, blaming all of society's problems on them.

Bernie Sanders once posted to his Facebook Page: "Let us wage a moral and political war against the billionaires and corporate leaders on Wall Street and elsewhere, whose policies and greed are destroying the middle class of America."

Here, Sanders is mimicking Karl Marx, who viewed history as a series of class struggles between the rich and the poor — and advocated overthrowing the ruling class.

Scripture strongly warns the rich and powerful not to oppress the poor.

In fact, Proverbs 14:31 says, "Whoever oppresses the poor shows contempt for his maker . . ."

But, Sanders — and other Leftists, including Hillary Clinton — go far beyond decrying specific acts of injustice. They basically condemn an entire class of people simply for possessing wealth. And, they encourage those who are poor to overthrow them. In fact, Clinton once said the U.S. economy required a "toppling" of the wealthiest 1%.

The rich are not causing all the problems in American society. People like Bill Gates are not acquiring wealth by stealing from the masses. They're creating great products, which produce wealth, and actually provide jobs for many people. But, even if they were exploiting the poor, nowhere does Scripture support the have-nots demanding money from the haves. Instead, it teaches that we should not covet (Exodus 20:17) and should be content in all circumstances (Phil. 4:11-13).

5. Socialism Seeks to Destroy Marriage & Family


A little known fact about socialism is that, from its beginning, it has sought to destroy marriage and family. Grove City Professor Paul Kengor explains this in detail in his book, Takedown: From Communists to Progressives, How the Left Has Sabotaged Marriage and Family. Essentially, what socialism seeks is for the state to replace the family. That way, it can indoctrinate children in its Leftist way of thinking, and remove from them any notions of God and religion.

Friedrich Engels, co-author with Marx of the "The Communist Manifesto," once wrote that the society he envisioned would be one where "the single family ceases to be the economic unit of society. Private housekeeping is transformed into a social industry. The care and education of the children becomes a public affair."

Similarly today, Bernie Sanders calls for a "revolution" in childcare and for the government to provide early childhood education beginning with children as young as six-weeks-old. And, he's a proud supporter of gay marriage — what Kengor calls "communism's Trojan Horse" to secure the final takedown of traditional marriage.

To socialists, what Bernie describes is a utopia. But, to Christians, it's a dystopia. That's because there's nothing Christian about socialism — and there's absolutely no way Jesus would ever support it.


And here is another read ----I just posted the last paragraph ---you can read all ----

How should a Christian view socialism?​


Socialism, for all its popularity in some circles, is not a biblical model for society. In opposition to socialism, the Bible promotes the idea of private property and issues commands to respect it: commands such as “You shall not steal” (Deuteronomy 5:19) are meaningless without private property. Unlike what we see in failed experiments in socialism, the Bible honors work and teaches that individuals are responsible to support themselves: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat” (2 Thessalonians 3:10). The redistribution of wealth foundational to socialism destroys accountability and the biblical work ethic. Jesus’ parable in Matthew 25:14–30 clearly teaches our responsibility to serve God with our (private) resources.
 

Mendalla

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It is something of a mistake to think of ancient societies in terms of modern economic theory, especially since that theory was often developed by studying those systems. Capitalism of a sort existed. Shopkeepers sold goods for money and made profits. But the power base was generally land, not money, and that land was often granted or inherited, not bought and sold. So the power in Rome was the landowners, aka the Senate, not the merchants though under the Empire the "capitalists" gained in power as the emperors often trusted them more than they did the Senate.

Same story with socialism. You had societies where the community shared resources but these were generally small, e.g. religious cults like early Christianity.
 

BetteTheRed

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Hmmm...agree to disagree here.

We have emergent capitalism. We have interest charges, we have coin instead of barter. We have those who excessively profit from the system, the "tax collector".

We have emergent socialism. We have rich patrons, often women, heavily subsidizing the social justice work of the early church.

It seems to me that in this particular period, "land" is more important as capital than "labour". But I'm not sure how to translate these conversations to our times.

And "ownership" is an important concept. Indigenous wisdom often doesn't recognize ownership of "the earth"
 

Mendalla

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Hmmm...agree to disagree here.

We have emergent capitalism. We have interest charges, we have coin instead of barter. We have those who excessively profit from the system, the "tax collector".

We have emergent socialism. We have rich patrons, often women, heavily subsidizing the social justice work of the early church.

It seems to me that in this particular period, "land" is more important as capital than "labour". But I'm not sure how to translate these conversations to our times.

And "ownership" is an important concept. Indigenous wisdom often doesn't recognize ownership of "the earth"
Even Marx recognized that pre-industrial societies with landed aristocracies were another economic model apart from capitalism and socialism. He did not see economics as a binary. In fact, he theorized that societies progressed from landed aristocracies to capitalism and then socialism. That's the problem with the Soviet Union as a Marxist state. It skipped industrialisation and went straight from a landed aristocracy to socialism without ever being a capitalist society. You can have capitalism in a society but if that is not the power base or dominant economic model, then it isn't a capitalist society. Neither Republican nor Imperial Rome were capitalist societies because the accumulation of capital was not the basis of power. The basis of power was being born into the right family or being elevated to that level by a census (or by the emperor in the empire since the emperor always took the power of censor for himself).

So the Christians practiced a form of socialism to be sure, but the society they lived in was neither socialist nor capitalist in modern terms.

(Also Marxism is largely rejected as an oversimplified understanding of economic history by pretty much everyone other than Marxists. There's some truth there, but it is not a dominant hypothesis in most historical studies today.)
 

Ritafee

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No social system is practicable until people are convinced of its merits.

State Socialism gets a thumbs down from me.

On the other hand, Socialism that leads with ...

The abolition of the monopoly system of land holding, and substituting therefore a title of occupancy and use only.

... gets a thumbs up.
 

Luce NDs

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On the one hand capitalism on the other socialism ... and in the medium of Egypt (domain of imagination) a pyramid plan was adopted as a hard plan ... stoned in place conspiracy!

Then some wanderer plotted on a 6 pointed star ... the beginnings of Lamda and dah "V" entangled with boundaries! Beyond that ... the outside observer ... those that backed off to see from afar ... wanderers? These may form a nebulous drift in time ...

Did I leave you a bit clouded on such topicalization? Neigh*Bull*US ... cowed personality attributes ... needing therapy, CPT? Mental attribute ... damn well red-lined ...
 

GordW

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Joseph interprets pharaoh’s dreams. Collects grain for seven years, feeds people for seven years and in so doing gobbles up all the wealth of the surrounding nations. Makes pharaoh super rich, everybody else super poor, but alive. He is rewarded with the best land and riches for his family.

Kind of like the parable of the talents. Was Joseph a bad guy? He had inside information and shrewdly acquired the world for his master.
Depends on your perspective. If your family is one of the ones driven into poverty and then into slavery by Joseph's system yes he is a "bad guy". If you are Pharaoh he is a wonderful steward.
Someone living by what Scripture later reveals as God's hope for the world (both in Torah and in the Gospels) would not have used that inside information to enrich one at such a deep cost to everybody else.
 
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Another story is told about the apostolic community. Jesus has ascended and his Spirit led the people forward. We are told that no member of that community considered themselves the owner of material resources. Those resources were held in common and deployed to serve those person left out of the exploitive economies of religion and government.

This suggests, to me, that Socialism is to be preferred over Capitalism.

All the believers were of one heart and mind, and no one said that any of his possessions was his own, but instead they held everything in common. And the apostles were giving testimony with great power to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was on all of them. For there was not a needy person among them, because all those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the proceeds of the things that were sold, and laid them at the apostles’ feet. This was then distributed for each person’s basic needs." (Acts 4:32-35)

on to the church in acts:

Those resources were held in common and deployed to serve those person left out of the exploitive economies of religion and government.

So this is your religion. Nothing about that in the text. A hate on for something that has nothing to do with the gospel.

Here is the key line expounded upon throughout the bible.

And the apostles were giving testimony with great power to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was on all of them.

No one was being exploited. They sold their belongings of their own free will, to do the work of Jesus. Spread the gospel. The gospel has nothing to do with government or economies or religion. It’s about the good news of Jesus death and resurrection and the promise of redemption for all who believe.

They would be persecuted for sharing that belief. But again, it was not a belief in socialism, it was belief in Jesus.
 

GeoFee

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Thanks for you insightful responses Pontifex. Dialogue is the heart of community. Sharing our distinct points of view allows others to question their perspectives. This method is rooted in rabbinic Judaism.

The gospel has nothing to do with government or economies or religion. It’s about the good news of Jesus death and resurrection and the promise of redemption for all who believe.
What does the word redemption say to you? For me it means deliverance from one way of being in the world and entrance to another way of being in the world. Making this change brings the resistance of the world powers. Jesus was persecuted by the religious and political powers of his day. This persecution was also inflicted on the community gathered in Jesus' name. Quite a contrast to those evangelical communities which exercise their religion in support of political power. Such persons have been seduced by the temptations which Jesus refused. The temptation of bread provided by the world system. The temptation of pride provided by the world system. And, the temptation of material power provided by the world system.
 
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Depends on your perspective. If your family is one of the ones driven into poverty and then into slavery by Joseph's system yes he is a "bad guy". If you are Pharaoh he is a wonderful steward.
Someone living by what Scripture later reveals as God's hope for the world (both in Torah and in the Gospels) would not have used that inside information to enrich one at such a deep cost to everybody else.
I agree it depends on your perspective. Living as a Christian is living your life with an eye to God’s perspective.

the your ways are not my ways perspective.

Jesus’ take this cup from me, nevertheless your will not mine perspective.

So your second perspective could be you placing your God, who would act the way you expect in the place of the God, who set the whole Joseph thing up. Who is the same yesterday, today and forever.
 
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Thanks for you insightful responses Pontifex. Dialogue is the heart of community. Sharing our distinct points of view allows others to question their perspectives. This method is rooted in rabbinic Judaism.


What does the word redemption say to you? For me it means deliverance from one way of being in the world and entrance to another way of being in the world. Making this change brings the resistance of the world powers. Jesus was persecuted by the religious and political powers of his day. This persecution was also inflicted on the community gathered in Jesus' name. Quite a contrast to those evangelical communities which exercise their religion in support of political power. Such persons have been seduced by the temptations which Jesus refused. The temptation of bread provided by the world system. The temptation of pride provided by the world system. And, the temptation of material power provided by the world system.
That’s your thing George, I’ve beat it like a dead horse and you cannot hear me. You add too much to scripture, and equally reject whatever doesn’t suit your agenda.

you reject the most important thing and dwell on material things.

you say you don’t like right and wrong, I wonder why.

jesus was very clear on what was right and wrong. No record of Jesus praising Buddha. He was focussed on relationship with the Father. And teaching us to be in that relationship.

back to work. Loving that I live in capitalist society, where I can trade my skills for very appreciative clients and build relationships with them and when they pay me, they feel that they received exceptional value.

Win win.

bye for now
 
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I agree it depends on your perspective. Living as a Christian is living your life with an eye to God’s perspective.

the your ways are not my ways perspective.

Jesus’ take this cup from me, nevertheless your will not mine perspective.

So your second perspective could be you placing your God, who would act the way you expect in the place of the God, who set the whole Joseph thing up. Who is the same yesterday, today and forever.
You really think you live more according to God's ways than most of the rest of us here? And you're sure about that?
 
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