If you have studied the Book of Amos (https://onetahayes.com/2021/09/02/amos/) with me, you probably have noticed that he was quite a social justice warrior. In other words, God is deeply concerned about justice and mercy to the poor. Chapter 8:1-3 comes down hard on the greedy who take advantage of the poor.
I think that is a charge that is swaying a lot of young people to think socialism is an improvement over capitalism. Sounds good when you only hear and know about one side which is presented at the merciful and loving way to take care of the poor.
The following is my response to the charge above. It is copied and edited from a blog, “Socialism is Not Charity,” posted in Sept. 2018.
Socialists cloak themselves with a mantle of great human kindness. Often even Christian friends seem to think socialism is a good idea because Jesus taught to love our neighbors and to help the needy. He said one cannot love God and love mammon (world, money). He gave a parable that pointed out the foolishness of storing up for oneself. Then they top it off with the actions of the church in Acts 2:44-45. **
So why am I not a Socialist?
- God’s people in the OT were under a theocracy. There were rules/laws that gave instructions about how to treat your fellow neighbors as well as how to treat strangers. To protect against generational caste systems, there were laws such as the land being returned to former owners every seven years. Even slaves were bound for only six years; in the seventh year they were offered freedom. No possibility for Socialism under a Theocracy.
- During NT times, the government was capitalistic. There is no record of that being an issue with Jesus. He taught to pay your taxes; Paul taught to submit to the authorities. There was one stipulation: Obey God before man. Until Jesus began his ministry, his work was capitalistic in nature. He was a carpenter. I’m reasonably sure he bought at the best bargain he could get and set his own prices on the work he produced. The NT is replete with people who owned their own homes, did the kind of work they were good at, and made a profit doing so – Lydia, seller of purple, Pricilla and Aquilla, tent makers (and Paul). Even the fishing industry was included.
- The NT recognizes that poor people lived in the land, but it makes no mention of taking care of them in a “taxation” kind of way; it gives no suggestions, even to the church, about how much to give to the poor. It certainly does not give any advice to the secular governing body about how or how much to take from the “haves” and give to the “have nots.”
- Under a capitalistic system, people have more profit from which to give freely to charitable causes unless, of course, the taxes become exuberant.
- MY OPINION RELATING TO GIVING. The more taxes that are taken, the less charity that is given. It might not be right but I think it is common, that taxes being taken by government and distributed to the poor assuages one’s private feeling of duty to “care for our neighbor.” I know that is my reaction. Criticize me if you like but I do think “They already have income from a dozen different government programs, why should I do more?” I do give. I tithe and I give offerings but I do it though my church whom I trust more than Washington.
**In a day or so I will post more about the issue of New Testament Christians selling their assets and joining together.