“The Christian Left”: A Blast from the Past

Once again, I have been running into claims that to be “Christian” one has to be “Left” (politically, as the Left exists in America).  So, once again, here’s the rebuttal to that nonsense.

I keep running into this idea that Jesus was a socialist.  There was a meme going around during Christmas with various “Christmas Heroes”.  There’s a quote misattributed to former President Jimmy Carter about how you can’t say you want a Christian nation if you object to your tax dollars being used to help the poor.  All over the place people on the left arguing “Jesus was a socialist.”

Utter rot.

Now, full disclaimer.  I am not a Christian.  I grew up in a sort-of Christian religion (many dispute that characterization because of differences in the nature of what more conventional religions call the trinity and in the belief of ongoing revelation and prophecy, but I go with a more basic definition, summed up in Simon Peter’s declaration “Thou art the Christ, the son of the living God”) but I long since found I could not believe it any more and once I separated from that one, none of the other Christian sects appealed to me any more.

However, I understand Christianity far better than these “Christian Left” people.

Christ taught giving.  Giving means taking ones own property and passing it on to someone in need.  Nowhere did he advocate taking from others by force and “redistributing” it.  He certainly did not advocate taking from others, using what’s taken to fund a huge government bureaucracy, and pass out a pittance of the remainder to the poor (have to justify that bureaucracy somehow).

Nowhere in the Bible is there a passage similar to this:


When people advocate socialism enforced by government, they are advocating using force to take from some to give to others.  Nowhere in his teachings did Christ advocate that.  Nowhere.

This is where some people say “but Christ said Render unto Caesar.” Yes.  He did.  In response to a question intended to trap him.  Context matters.  Christ had rising popularity among the masses which concerned the Jewish leadership greatly.  So they planted the question of whether they should give tribute to Caesar.  If Christ had simply said “yes” he would have lost his popular audience and his ministry would have died right there.  If he had said “no”, he would likely have been arrested (“we caught him forbidding tribute to Caesar” was one of the charges the Sanhedrin laid against him when handing him over to the Romans for execution).  And his ministry would have died right there.  Instead, he asked for an example of the tribute money, asked whose picture was on it, and gave his famous answer.  And if people followed him in that, the Roman reprisal, destruction of Jerusalem, and diaspora would have occurred before much of Christ’s mission was fairly begun.  If you accept his divinity, you have to accept that he knew this and gave the answer that allowed him to complete his mission.

But did “render unto Caesar” mean an endorsement of everything that tax funds were used for?  Did he endorse gladiatorial games?  Wars of conquest?  The capture and importation of slaves?  The use of government troops to put down slave revolts?  Let’s not be absurd.  Just because the Roman government did something with tax monies, or modern governments do something with it, “Render unto Caesar” is not an endorsement of that use.

Government is force, pure and simple.  That’s essentially a definition of government:  the legitimizing of the use of force.  Socialism imposed by government has nothing to do with Christian charity.  It is, in fact, very nearly the exact opposite, wearing a mask to confuse the unwary.

Beware of Socialists who come to you in Sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.

Woe to you agents of government and socialists.  Hypocrites!  For you are like unto whited sepulchers, which outwardly appear beautiful but within are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanliness.

8 thoughts on ““The Christian Left”: A Blast from the Past”

  1. Socialism also wasn’t the teaching of the early Church.

    The example often wrongly used is that of Acts 2:44, where “All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need.” Thing is, the people who use the verse don’t look at the context.
    At that point in time, you had a few thousand people from all over the Roman world who thought they were just making a short pilgrimage. But, following Peter’s sermon during Pentecost, they decided to adopt this new teaching.
    So, you have a few thousand people who don’t have jobs, or bank accounts, or houses- and don’t have much of the details about this new sect they just joined. On the other side, you have a couple of hundred people who want to teach these newbies as much as they can before persecution inevitably breaks out. And time is short.
    This also explains a bit of the Apostle’s line in Acts 6, where they note that they don’t have time to wait on tables. Not that they were to proud to, but that was valuable time that could be used in teaching.

    Even then, giving to the Church was NOT compulsory. The sin of Ananias and Sapphira was not in holding money back, but lying about the amount they gave in order to virtue signal. Peter’s response is interesting: “Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing?”

    And Paul penned those famous words “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.” A verse often neglected by the supposed Christian Socialist.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I’ve got a teenage friend who went to college and… well, yeah, is constantly posting things that make me want to slam my face into my desk. (I think the most recent was “Who’d have thought a Jew that went across the land offering free health care and warning about the dangers of excessive wealth would be so poorly regarded by followers of Christ?” Liiiike… um, there’s a *minor* difference between healing the sick and establishing a regulatory scheme that defines how much a doctor can charge whom for services rendered. And between thinking someone is not using his wealth the way he ought and insisting that you ought to be able to spend it on The Right Things for them instead.)

    Mind, I’ve been a Christian for about three months, and haven’t made it very far in the Bible yet. I could be wrong on this. But… I do still get the impression that comparing political figures to Christ is a little gauche at minimum. x_x

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Remember that the charity Christianity has traditionally supported involves personal sacrifice, personal effort, and is a personal thing.
      The thing these people want is lazy and impersonal. They want to vote for someone else to take money from someone else to pay someone else to take care of people. And then they get the smug feels that they are now morally superior because they “care”.
      James 1:27 says “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I have made this exact argument several times in the past, but you expressed it much better than me. (It’s almost like you are a professional writer, or something 😉). But it never works. People don’t hear what they don’t want to hear.


    1. The thing to remember is that argument, particularly Internet Argument, is a spectator sport. The True Believer you’re arguing with is not the target. The folk in the peanut gallery, who haven’t become locked into one position or another, are the ones to benefit. The True Believer is just creating an opportunity to lay out your logic and evidence for those others to decide who made the better case.

      Secondary benefit (maybe even primary) is showing folk on “your side” that they are not alone. This was particularly important back when the “traditional” media had a lock on widespread information dissemination. The reason the late Walter Cronkite could be called “The most trusted man in America” was simply that he could, and did, lie through his teeth and nobody could call him on it.

      Liked by 1 person

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