Saturday, March 17, 2007

Five Reasons Christianity Conflicts with Socialim (#3)

In previous posts I have written that Christianity conflicts with socialism regarding the role of the family and individual initiative. In this post I will attempt to communicate how Christianity conflicts with socialism with regards to the proper role of the government. It is not that God is against government (a sort of anarchist), but that he has prescribed a limited function for the governments of the earth. He desires theocracy (in the heart of mankind and with the nation of Israel), but (as with Israel and our hearts) He will not rule this present earth without allowing free will. Therefore, with complete knowledge of the nature of man, He established certain guidelines for the government.
The first significant guideline that God set up was that man should punish violence done to another individual. God established capital punishment to protect human life (Gen. 9:6). God later gave the Law to the Israelites, which included the definition of right and wrong and some special customs the Israelites were to keep. God expected the Israelites to obey every part, but the Gentiles were expected to obey just the moral commandments that were written on their conscience (ie. not to keep circumcision, but to not steal) (Rom. 2:14-16). These moral commandments provide the basis for what God expects governments to punish and reward. Romans 13: 1-7 states that God wants to use government to punish evil (ie. murder and theft) and to praise good (ie. kindness). The Bible never indicates that God wants the government to be good, to be compassionate, or to be godly. No, the government is there to encourage good by punishing evil. Why did God not just have the government fulfill the command to "love your neighbor"? It is because the government is not an indiviual soul which can choose good or to be compassionate. It is an impersonal entity that must rely on force and not free will. Free will is for each individual. Socialism attempts to create a corporate conscience. It attempts to create a compassionate state through force. It attempts to yoke the righteous with the unrighteous (2 Cor. 6:14) in fulfilling "love your neighbor." But, this was not God's call to the state, but to the individual (Matt. 25:45-46, etc.)
So socialism attempts to provide for the general welfare through the labor of the productive. So the lazy (who we already stated in a previous post, God condemns) will perhaps recieve subsidaries for their lifstyle while the productive are taxed. This contradicts God's desire for freedom of choice and the coresponding consequences. It means that force takes the place of free will. It condones stealing, which is evil in God's eyes, and attempts to make the righteous and unrighteous "compassionate" through external means instead of changing the heart (which is God's will) (1 Sam. 16:7). God would rather that government promote the general welfare by giving people the freedom to provide for their own family and give discerningly. As stated in a previous post, people will then naturally do what is necessary to provide for those they care for, and will have the extra funds (that now weren't taken through welfare state taxation) to benefit those around them. This does not mean benefit others just through giving. It also means through investing in providing better services to those around them in exchange for the services other provide. So that when the craftsman provides a better product and the standard of living improves for all. Is it not true that the most free people have historically been the most prosperous? Following God's plan for the government frees people to do good, while punishing the obvious evils, and leaving everyone to choose for his or herself which path to take (Mt. 7:13-14).