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?