Thursday, February 01, 2007

Jesus was a Socialist

Not that any so-called Christian today will admit this! But it's there, inconveniently enough, plain as day, in the Bible! Jesus is almost a Communist... I do not label him such because he advocated working within the government of his day... that whole "render unto Caesar" thing, you know.

But it's there in black and white in the Bible. Redistribution of wealth, over and over again.

Matthew 19: 16 - 22

...someone came to him and said, "Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?" 17 And he said to him, "Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments." 18 He said to him, "Which ones?" And Jesus said, "You shall not murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; 19 Honor your father and mother; also, You shall love your neighbor as yourself." 20 The young man said to him, "I have kept all these; what do I still lack?" 21 Jesus said to him, "If you wish to be perfect, go, sell your possessions, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me." 22 When the young man heard this word, he went away grieving, for he had many possessions.

Mark 10: 21 - 23

21 Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said, "You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money F90 to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me." 22 When he heard this, he was shocked and went away grieving, for he had many possessions. 23 Then Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, "How hard it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!"

Jesus told them what their society, their "kingdom of god" should look like, and they tried to live it out, at first:

Acts 4: 32 - 37

32 Now the whole group of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one claimed private ownership of any possessions, but everything they owned was held in common. 33 With great power the apostles gave their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. 34 There was not a needy person among them, for as many as owned lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold. 35 They laid it at the apostles' feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need. 36 There was a Levite, a native of Cyprus, Joseph, to whom the apostles gave the name Barnabas (which means "son of encouragement"). 37 He sold a field that belonged to him, then brought the money, and laid it at the apostles' feet.

In case you don't take the idea seriously, "Luke" next tells a cautionary tale:

1 But a man named Ananias, with the consent of his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property; 2 with his wife's knowledge, he kept back some of the proceeds, and brought only a part and laid it at the apostles' feet. 3 "Ananias," Peter asked, "why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back part of the proceeds of the land? 4 While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, were not the proceeds at your disposal? How is it that you have contrived this deed in your heart? You did not lie to us but to God!" 5 Now when Ananias heard these words, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard of it. 6 The young men came and wrapped up his body, then carried him out and buried him. 7 After an interval of about three hours his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. 8 Peter said to her, "Tell me whether you and your husband sold the land for such and such a price." And she said, "Yes, that was the price." 9 Then Peter said to her, "How is it that you have agreed together to put the Spirit of the Lord to the test? Look, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out." 10 Immediately she fell down at his feet and died. When the young men came in they found her dead, so they carried her out and buried her beside her husband. 11 And great fear seized the whole church and all who heard of these things.

Yikes! God brings down the death penalty for not sharing! All things were held in common. What else do you call it but socialism... or communism?

What was that again, Jesus?

Matthew 6: 19 - 24

19 "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust F51 consume and where thieves break in and steal; 20 but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust F52 consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. 22 "The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light; 23 but if your eye is unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! 24 "No one can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.

And then there's the Our Father! Forgive us our debts, as we forgive those who owe us... "trespasses" makes it sound like property violations. The word is debt, and it means money. The Jewish idea of jubilee was still prevalent in Jesus' day: in the jubilee year all debts are forgiven, and all men are once again equal. Radical concept, huh? Jesus extended it to every day: you had to forgive those who owed you money. He was taking the old Jewish ethic of no usury and extending it to beyond its logical conclusion. Not only must yopu not charge interest, you must forgive the debt, entirely!! One of the ideas that got him killed. That and the whole "Love your enemies" deal...

Do you know of any so-called church teaching this? It's too bad this guy Jesus doesn't have anyone actually following his teaching these days... he's got some great ideas.