I grew up in the south under a deeply traditional Christian family, and now combat religious propaganda through writing. Also PoliSci.
There are a multitude of articles floating around the internet - especially on this site - which seem to offer wisdom regarding the incompatibility of Christianity and Socialism. Badly misquoting Marx and insisting that the rich have a biblical right to exploit the poor, these partisan authors provide no empirical evidence of their claims against equality. This publication intends to present a factual review of these claims, dissect and reveal their root of dishonesty, and provide Biblical evidence against inherently capitalist propaganda.
God is a Capitalist
The eighth commandment of God is that we shouldn't steal - so God must be a capitalist if they believe in private property.
This claim is commonly made in arguments supporting Christian capitalism. The notion that stealing is wrong implies that God must believe in private property, therefore rendering them capitalist. There is no issue with individuals owning personal property under socialism - there is an issue, however, with the regional electric company enjoying bloated profit margins by exploiting a basic human necessity. As the Bible states in Proverbs 22:22 - "Rob not the poor, because he is poor: neither oppress the afflicted in the gate: For the Lord will plead their cause, and spoil the soul of those that spoiled them." The line here is clearly being drawn at the exploitation of the poor, which is the inherent nature of capitalism. The fact that the minimum wage has remained stagnant for over a decade while the cost of living has nearly doubled is a direct example of poor workers being exploited. If this conclusion cannot be drawn by the Christian reader after being so blatantly spelled out, it's apparent that the reader has no interest in understanding to begin with.
Charity is a fundamental Christian value, so the needy must exist!
If we have to be charitable as Christians, poor people must exist so we can help them. If we give handouts, everyone will become lazy!
First of all - if you believe this, you should seek counseling or other forms of self-healing. Believing that other human beings need to suffer in order to prove that you're a good Christian is beyond sadistic. The argument that socialism is a "handout" is rooted in capitalist propaganda aimed at instilling values of self-worthlessness and labor exhaustion to promote blindness to government functions and operations. If Jesus intended for his followers to spend the majority of their time worshipping and preparing for Heaven, why does the capitalist system demand a majority of the common worker's time?
If receiving a handout makes you lazy, why haven't all of the current millionaires and billionaires quit their jobs and given up? I didn't find Zachary Garris's critique of corporate bailouts, major tax cuts for disproportionately rich billionaires, or wealthy televangelists locking the homeless out of their mega-church during a deadly flood. That's Joel Osteen I'm referring to, just to be clear. When constructing an argument based on religious values, it's a good idea to actually know what those religious values are - not just pull them out of thin air. It says a lot about Zach Garris's "integrity" that he chose to expend energy writing an article about the minority of needy citizens who receive government assistance instead of the brutal oligarchs who receive free handouts as a contract fee to continue exploiting the poor!
"For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked." - Revelation 3:17
The Bible says no big government!
The Bible doesn't promote any type of government, therefore we should rely on a free market.
Even though Jeff Shirley's logic defeats the argument of Christian capitalism by itself, it's best to go into detail as to why. The concept of government was very limited in the Bible. Even if someone chooses to point out that socialism didn't exist in the Bible, neither did our version of capitalism. Anyone believing that we participate in a free market must have missed the $1.5 trillion dollar package that Uncle Sam injected into the stock market to avoid a major disaster when COVID kicked off. I can't imagine that "free market" was meant to describe major government intervention, but of course, socialism is only debatable when being applied to the poor. Wealthy elites weren't complaining about socialism when Barack Obama and Congress bailed out Wall Street in '08 using taxpayer money while leaving families homeless and desolate. I'm sure God smiled upon that.
Jeff is right - there will always be some form of dictatorial government that arises from greed and pride - and by his logic, we should combat that by embracing the most greedy, prideful, exploitative economic system in modern history. Not only should we do that, but we should also use the sanctity of our religion as a shield against factual criticisms that might lead to any meaningful change to benefit the poor! The absurd insistence that capitalism - an economic model birthed in labor abuse and wage slavery - serves to protect the otherwise trampled, is insultingly false! Our capitalist system boasts a higher child poverty rate than any other comparable country, fails to provide universal healthcare as similar countries do, and promotes rampant corruption.
I'm not here to debate the authenticity of Christianity or any religion for that matter. It is simply incomprehensible for someone to parade their religious identity as a means of oppressing the poor. It's a fact that being a Christian requires at least some belief in socialist policies as evidenced by the words of Jesus. Money being the root of all evil, giving up your possessions to enter Heaven, and helping the needy are incompatible with capitalism. If you have the time to complain about the poor receiving welfare, but not about the massive inequality in favor of the rich that exists in front of your face - your opposition to socialism has nothing to do with Christianity. Propaganda is disguised in many ways; if you find yourself opposing help for the poor on the basis of Christianity - it's time to break out that old, dusty bible - and actually read it.
"Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you.
Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are motheaten.
Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days.
Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth.
Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton; ye have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter.
Ye have condemned and killed the just; and he doth not resist you."
-Book of James, Chapter 5
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
Albert Hoffman (author) from Hell, USA on January 18, 2021:
Thanks for the kind words! My grandfather’s side of the family were FDR Dems as well from West Virginia. I agree with you that we should have more ethical choices when we vote. Thanks for reading Mel.
Mel Carriere from Snowbound and down in Northern Colorado on January 18, 2021:
The title of your article immediately caught my attention. I have long recognized that Corporations and their powerful political friends have co-opted Christianity. I believe the trend started in the 80s, with Reagan, and I am sure it was deliberate. Before then, hard-line, old school evangelical Christians were still FDR Democrats who believed in equitable distribution of wealth. My own grandparents fell into this camp. Not to say I support the Dems, because I think the two major parties are just two sides of the same dirty coin, out to screw the working man. But the insidious changeover is now complete. The Republicans have taken one smoke-screen issue, that being abortion, and have hidden their true agenda behind it.
As you say, Christians should buckle down and really read their Bibles, and not let others do the reading for them. Great message.