Tuesday, July 04, 2006

5 Reasons Christianity Conflicts with Socialism (#2)

Aside from taking the role that God designed for the individual, family and church, socialism retards personal initiative, creativity, productivity and prosperity for all classes.
Capitalism is often criticized for relying on individual desires to fuel the economy. The problem is that critics fail to distinguish between proper desires and improper desires. The Bible agrees with critics that greed (Luke 12:15) and the desire to get rich(1 Timothy 6:10), especially at the expense of the poor (Proverbs 22:22), are bad motivations for gaining money. However, the Bible affirms certain reasons to work for gain such as feeding one's self and family and being able to give to the poor in need (Ephesians 4:28).
The key verse in my mind is "The laborer's appetite works for him; his hunger drives him on." (Proverbs 16:26) God designed our desires to be used for good ends. Our desire for sexual intimacy is properly fulfilled in marriage, which brings us into a loving relationship and produces offspring to give God glory on the earth. Our desire for food and desire to care for our families is properly fulfilled through work, which allows us to provides for our needs. The Creator gave humankind free will (Genesis 2:17) to see what was in their hearts. Sin caused a break in man's relationship with God and passed on a sin nature to future generations (just like we have a physical nature passed on to us by our parents). However, man's original drives remain as neutral motivators that can be harnessed for good or evil purposes.
Unfortunately, socialism, while sincerely (I think) seeking to remedy the ills caused by evil, actually only superficially corrects them and ultimately ends up detroying the good foundations. Socialism's weakness is that it can not change the heart. Greed will still be present. Greed is greed whether it is in the upper or lower classes. It is easier to see in others' lives than our own. Capitalism can not change the heart either, but it allows humans to individually choose what their fate will be. Christ offers a person the freedom to leave greed behind and work for the right reasons (John 8:36). Even the unregenerate can work for the right reasons. The foundation that needs to be maintained is that people should have consequences to their actions. The proverbs say the lazy will go hungry (20:4) and God wants to use that catalyst to drive the lazy to work. Subsidizing the lazy only encourages more laziness. Unemployment payments only delay a person from feeling the need to find a new job. Public health care only discourages savings and encourages other spending. I believe it was Aristotle who said, "that which is public is least taken care of." Pooling the means and results of production only retards the individual will to work and thus retards the economy.
I am able to think of many examples in my own life of these principles. In addition, I have observed and heard of others who have experienced these truths.
For example, welfare programs are awarded based on income and savings, etc. When researching these programs it was apparent to me that they would fail to discern those really in need and thus hurt everyone by wasting public money. Someone may be making little but saving a lot by living frugally. This person may be denied assistance. Thus saving is discouraged.
I know a man who saved for retirement. That meant he recieved less social security money. Is it fair to penalize him for saving while others who may have had more money than him were less responsible with their own money? Is it right to tax a person extra to pay for the lazy or to subsidize the foolish and wasteful?
Another example is minimum wage. Minimum wage superfically raises the wages of the least desireable employees and thereby lowers the wages of better employees. Why should I work harder then my peer when we will be in the same collective barginning contract anyway? Why seek to excel when those not seeking to excel will still be rewarded?
The graduated income tax is a major component of the socialist system. Why work harder to earn more just to have a higher percentage of tax taken out? Why not just be a taker instead of a giver? If a politician takes from Peter and gives to Paul, Paul will always give the politician his vote. Thus corruption, inefficiency, and ultimately poverty for all classes will result from the socialist system.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Quick post about the USA

check out www.freedomtofascism.com
It is about an upcoming film that exposes (as if it is not obvious) the USA's shift from freedom to fascism. Fascism, like socialist, includes: state control of the economy, censorship, and blind loyalty.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

5 Reasons Christianity Conflicts with Socialism (#1)

As I mentioned in my first post, socialism violates various principles that can be gleaned from the Bible. Christians need to seriously evaluate the implications of any political program before they accept it. As I will attempt to display in my next five posts, Christianity naturally clashes with socialism on a fundamental level, before even getting to the debate over which system actually helps the poor. The following principles will form some of the reasons for Christians to reject socialism, aside from its practical failure.

The first reason is that socialism usurps the responsibilities of family and church. The general responsibility for raising up children in the Old and New Testaments is placed upon the family. God ordained marriage in Genesis 2:24 and emphasizes the family in the cases of Noah, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The Israelites were then grouped by tribe and clan, but the lowest common denominator was the family. Deuteronomy 6:7-25 shows that God expected parents to educate their children. The ten commandments include honor for mother and father, but not for government or teacher. Family is the basic unit of society; this is shown throughout the OT and affirmed in Proverbs (17:6; 19:18; 23:25-26; etc.). The NT concurs with the OT as illustrated by Ephesians 6:1-4. In addition, God places the financial responsibility for a person in need directly on the extended family (1 Timothy 5:3-8). Only if there is no family available is the need to be transferred to the church (5:16). Jesus does assume Christians will give to the needy individually (Matthew 6:2). Jesus placed emphasis the family by having John look after his mother for him (John 19:26-27). Glaringly, Jesus never called on the government to take care of a person's health, education, or social concerns. In fact, that violates the role of government (that will be in a later post) and would naturally transgress the role of the family that God already set up.

All that being typed, some will protest that this arrangement, although ideal, is impractical and unreliable. In other words, "we can not trust that people will care for their families or that the church will provide for the poor." Of course, we can not trust people to do good, but we do know that people will often do good, whether motivated by conscience, necessity, or the love of Christ. The problem is that a government that usurps the family's role will encourage the family not to prepare to provide. Instead the tendency of people is to maximize their benefit from the government since that aid is "free" (not really) or since "I pay taxes too." Instead of encouraging responsibility, these government programs encourage irresponsibility and sin. Yes, it is a sin to not provide for one's family (1 Timothy 5:8). Do we want a government that encourages waste, laziness, and stealing or one that encourages responsibility, planning, and caring? If each family was "forced" (encouraged by not providing government welfare) to care for its own, many families would stop movie rentals and vacations and begin planning. Most families would be able to take care of the basics. Perfect equality is not a reasonable goal (as I will explain later). The few that are left behind could be cared for by the church or other charitable folks. This is the only solution that affirms the biblical role for the family, government, and church.

"Can we expect unbelievers to live in line with biblical principles though?" No, not in every way, certainly. Many do obey biblical principles though simply because those principles are universally right and wrong, and people can understand that with their consciences. This model does not force Christianity on these people, it merely affirms a Christian view of right and wrong. All laws are based upon higher principles, so Christians should naturally hope that the laws reflect the principles they believe to be right. If socialism, which the preceding attempts to demonstrate, does not promote good values, why accept it over another system that affirms them?

Friday, May 05, 2006

Why should I make this blog?

This blog is the result of a realization that socialism, despite it poor track record, seems to be growing in popularity worldwide. Even though the Nazis (National Socialist Workers Party) were defeated in WWII and the USSR (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) desinegrated in the Cold War largely due to U.S. efforts, the U.S.A. continues to embrace socialism. Ironically, socialism continues to attract people with it lofty goals and fools people into believing that more government control will not be used to exploit them, but to help them.

If socialism did not: enslave people under a command economy, destroy the right to own private property, limit rights such as freedom of speech and conscience, usurp the right of parents to educate their children, attempt to control the social decisions of people, ruin work ethic by discouraging initiative, waste monies that could be spent more wisely to help humans worldwide, and create a false trust that the government, and not God, is sovereign, among other vices, I would not have created this blog. However, socialism does all of that and more and I think I am responsible to speak up for my fellow human beings.

Furthermore, I think that Christians need to actively oppose evil and love our fellow humans by sticking up for them. Sharing the gospel is primary; but without deeds to support faith, will the world really see much of a difference? "Is this not the kind of fast I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke. Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter...? Then your light will break forth like the dawn..." (Isaiah 58:6-8) Socialism, as I will attempt to record on this blog, actually causes poverty and oppression despite its claims to alleviate them. By God's grace, Christians need to love neighbors enough to help them physically and spiritually. By doing good and challenging evil God can work through us to better the world.

So here it goes....