With the unconstitutional and speedy march of socialism in America during Obama’s era of soft tyranny, we have witnessed an unceasing stream of freedoms eviscerated without appropriate public outcry (property ownership, speech, religious expression, etc.). But, the Obama era was just the setting of the stage for worse to come for those who value freedom. Shockingly, in recent polling, Bernie Sanders, an avowed and unapologetic socialist, if he were the Democrat nominee for President, would actually defeat many of the Republican contenders. And, Hillary would be no less shocking. While such polls at this juncture are largely unreliable, their trend however is. We hear many politicians today from both parties pandering their views against the notion of “income inequality” or in favor of “income equality” – that is code for socialism. In another recent poll approximately 47% of people would vote for their party’s nominee if he/she were a socialist. But, I wonder what percentage of our government-educated constituents (a.k.a. likely illiterate of historical facts) actually know what socialism is? What is even more astonishing is how many “Christians” today support socialistic principles in the name of Jesus Christ. Education, especially spiritual education, is clearly lacking as more and more avowed followers of Christ apparently disconnect themselves from the principles of the God they profess to follow. Truthfully, as some advocate for socialism, God is not their ally.
Before we turn to God’s definitions, let’s examine our own. The first dictionary definition of socialism is “a theory or system of social organization that advocates the vesting of the ownership and control of the means of production and distribution, of capital, land, etc., in the community as a whole.” In simple terms, everything is owned by the people at large (the collective), not individuals. By the way, the second definition of socialism is even more jolting, “the stage following capitalism in the transition of a society to communism, characterized by the imperfect implementation of collectivist principles.” Translation: socialism is the failing step away from freedom and towards ruthless tyranny. Just from these simple definitions, any Bible-knowing Christian should immediately see insurmountable red flags (pun intended). The Bible is blatantly clear that God is pro-freedom, including economic freedom. The Bible is also blatantly clear that God is anti-tyranny. One only need look to the very governmental principles that God Himself set up in His very own Theocracy (Israel) to understand what God is for and against in how we govern ourselves (read Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy). The governing principles in God’s Theocracy were in no way aligned with what we call socialism today. For example, God personally promulgated a flat, regressive tax in Exodus 30:13-15. There is zero Biblical basis for socialism as a form of government in either the Old or New Testaments.
Let’s continue with a couple more of our own definitions. Tyranny is defined as “arbitrary or unrestrained exercise of power; despotic abuse of authority.” Socialism is tyranny (the opposite of freedom) as power rests with the State to suppress freedom and take whatever it deems necessary to accomplish its collectivist agenda. Socialism vests complete authority in the government to carry out its self-determined dictates even at the expense of law abiding citizens. In true socialism, there is no Supreme Authority above and/or bridling the collective and its all-consuming government. Therefore, throughout world history, socialism has always been characterized by tyranny and always results in the worst form of tyranny – communism, dictatorship, etc. In contrast, God clearly advocates for freedom, including economic freedom (Parable of the Talents, for example). In fact, freedom is a theme of God’s work as mentioned over 150 times throughout the Bible. And, government, like all things God ordains, should reflect the character of the One who ordained it for Christians to so advocate. Even God gives us the freedom to disagree with and disobey Him.
Socialism is also theft - God opposes theft. Theft is defined as “the wrongful taking and carrying away of the personal goods or property of another.” There is no compromise between economic freedom and socialism. You either have one or the other. In fact, while socialism is theft of possessions of law abiding citizens, it’s most rude of thefts is of freedom itself, including but not limited to economic freedom. And, if economic freedom is not held sacred, no other freedoms will be. Individual property ownership is a basic, foundational freedom. The seizing of economic freedom usually results in the context of the seizing of all freedoms. One might argue that the virtuous intentions of the collective is enough moral objective to seize personal property and freedoms. But, morality only has one foundation – God. And, God has yet to advocate for such a twisted notion of moral objective. God’s moral declarations actually make the pursuit of income equality a fool’s errand. The Bible teaches, even in Heaven, that what we possess will never be equal. Even our rewards in Heaven will be given in proportion to our service to the King, not equalized (per Jesus: Matthew 5:11-12, Matthew 6:1-6, Matthew 6:16-18, Matthew 16:27). Forced equality is a purist, ideological and dangerous pursuit that finds no root in God.
For those who ignore this to spitefully advocate for “income equality” we have some pointed questions. Who gets the authority to decide what is equal? Who gets the authority to confiscate the possessions of some to give to others? Who gets to decide who has earned someone else's property? Upon what moral grounds would such authority rest? Who gets to decide what is in the best interest of the collective? What could realistically limit such authority? How is it “greed” to want to keep the money you have earned but not greed to want to take someone else’s money? In socialism, equality and fair government is entirely elusive. That is because people are corrupt innately. Add to that corruption the unadulterated corruption of power - the product is deadly oppressive tyranny. In government, freedom is the ultimate pursuit above all others - equality is not even a distant second to freedom. Can you begin to even challenge these assertions? To do so is foolishly self-enslaving. And, there is only one system that guarantees freedom - that system is called freedom. Freedom guarantees freedom. All other systems seek to restrict freedom and aggressively advance until the lust for power subjugates the masses to a life that is certainly not free if observable history is our guide. In fact, the societies in the world that have been the most free are also those that have been the most charitable. The societies that have been more socialistic or communistic have been the least charitable (alongside dictatorships and oppressive theocracies). That is because under socialism the notion of charity is removed from individual responsibility, and then poorly carried out by corrupt government. If charity and goodwill are the intent, socialism is not the path – freedom is.
The Bible clearly declares that God intends for some to be rich and for some to be poor (1 Samuel 2:7, among others). In fact, His Son lived a life of victorious poverty, yet never demanded equality of income. Rather, he valued the free personal choice of self-emptying humility. Philippians 2:5-11 describes the mind of Christ which freely chose to let go of equality in order to model personal humility, not collectively forced humility. True humility, like charity, is only humility when it is freely chosen, not demanded at the point of a gun.
Socialism sounds well-intended. But, every arrogant sin begins by sounding well-intended. The very first sin committed by man was done so on the basis of what sounded like good intentions deceivingly voiced by the Lucifer-possessed serpent. In fact, the appeal to Adam and Eve, and their ultimate act was in pursuit of equality (Genesis 3:5). Any system that pursues equality with God by either removing Him or replacing Him is a system of rebellious sin. And, before you overreact to the notion that socialism promotes sin, look no further than God’s Ten Commandments. Socialism actually violates far too many of them:
- “You shall have no other gods before me.” Our Founding Fathers recognized that we were “endowed by our Creator with unalienable rights…life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness.” If you are a Christian, you know the Founders got this right. We are endowed by our Creator with “liberty” – a.k.a. freedom. That includes the freedom to act charitable and uncharitable. Any government that stands to unreasonably repudiate such freedom is an idol that denies the assertion of our God-given freedom. Tyranny is idolatry. The principle of collective ownership attempts to remove the truth of God’s ownership and God's delegation to individuals for stewardship. Not only does socialism steal from law abiding citizens, it attempts to steal from God Himself. We must not support such a system as being affirmed by God. It is not. Individual freedom is endowed, not collective ownership.
- “You shall not murder.” It is no mystery that socialism and communism have been the most deadly political forces of observable history. More innocent people have been brutally slaughtered under the various systems associated with socialism. And, freedom does not even nearly compete on this statistic. The trajectory away from freedom always lands upon ruthless death – murderous and voluminous death.
- “You shall not steal.” The confiscation of wealth under any means is still stealing. To take by lethal force from someone against their will what they have freely and legally earned, is wrong, no matter what the intent. The end never justifies the means. And, the promised “end” of socialism has never even been achieved – and probably can’t be achieved in a society comprised of entirely corrupt humans (another fool’s errand). Theft is never justified, even by the collective. God does not approve of any system of government that employs a means contrary to His Commandments.
- “You shall not covet your neighbor's house; … or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor's.” Socialism at its core is widespread covetousness – collective covetousness. Who is to say what someone deserves and does not deserve? If God blesses someone with wealth, who is the collective to disagree? The very notion of income equality is the corrupt product of covetousness, a beast which should not be fed by Christians. This is the exact opposite of what God inspires in how we should govern ourselves. God is not impressed by our dragging down of the wealthy so that those less wealthy could be made more equal. Again, our mind should be that of Christ’s who did not pursue equality – but raced to the low place as an individual, free choice. Philippians 2:5-8 says, “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” Jesus “did not count equality … a thing to be grasped.” Neither should you. Jesus grasped the opposite of equality – He pursued inequality. The pursuit of equality at all cost on this side of eternity is anti-Christ.
In conclusion, Christian, the Bible never advocates for socialism, but clearly opposes it. Even the communal living of the New Testament church was carried out under the overarching governing principle of individual freedom in spite of a tyrannical Roman government. Jesus is not a socialist or a communist. Jesus came to make us “free” in every sense of that word. Jesus is the ultimate freedom fighter. Those who advocate for the opposition of freedom to any reasonable degree have the most formidable Opponent.
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