Monday, June 30, 2008

Five Reasons Christianity Conflicts with Socialism (#5)

In a few brief articles, I have attempted to lay out a handful of reasons that socialism conflicts with Christianity in a philosophical and practical sense. Though not exhaustive, I hope these reasons are sufficient to help the reader realize the problems inherent in the collective worldview. The "collective soul" should never replace the God-designed individual soul, or other God ordained ideas such as: the role of the family, the role of the church, and the role of private property. At the epistomological level, socialism's most subtle and powerful claim may be about the nature of the world. This claim is that the world and humans are primarily physical in nature. In this final section I want to show how Christianity conflicts with the materialistic outlook of the socialist.

First, we know that mankind was created in the image of God (who is spirit) and that God breathed life into him (which differentiated him from the animals). When Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit they began the process of physical death, but (more importantly) they were for the first time separated from God. From this came guilt, shame, evil thoughts, etc. Man had become dead spiritually, which was to God the main problem. Man was then tried by God to see what was in his heart. Job lost all he owned when going through testing and said "Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised." (Job 1:21) Job was commended for this because he realized that his worth and faith were not based on possessions.

Second, Jesus stated that the poor will always be with us (Matthew 26:11). This is not for one nanosecond to imply that Jesus was uncompassionate or unconcerned for the poor. The Scriptures are filled with commands to care for the poor and oppressed through individual compassion. Christians are command to share with other Christians and other people as a way to demonstrate our transformed lives(Ephesians 4:28). Certainly, many unbelievers are generous, but apart from Christ we tend to be more greedy and physically focused. However, we are told to fix our eyes on that which is eternal and not that which is temporal (2 Corinthians 4:18). In addition James wrote "let the brother of low degree rejoice in that he is exalted: But the rich, in that he is made low: because as the flower of the grass he shall pass away." (1:9-10) Whether rich or poor we are to have an eternal perspective. Jesus was saying that the poor are important, but we must keep first things first. There will always be more productive people or more priviledged people (rich) so there will always be less productive or less priviledged people (poor). It is impossible to control that unless all humans are changed to robots. Here is the point: the spiritual and the physical do intersect, but the spiritual is what endures.

Socialists, like Karl Marx, tend to see the world and humans as only physical. Inequality of physical possessions is seen and class conflict is preached. In this temporal scenario, governments are necessary in order to take control and right these "wrongs" as soon as possible. Government needs to change ownership of property through redistribution and government needs to handle "important" decisions. Through force a better world will be created at the hands of the elite (or the decision makers). All this is often being done with no regard the spiritual nature of man or the cost of making him a puppet of the state. God is looking for changed hearts to move with compassion to help the needy, while the socialists are looking to big programs at taxpayer expense to help. Christianity claims this is an eternal struggle for the spiritual and physical redemption of mankind and the world. Socialism claims this is an earthly struggle to fix the physical mess we find ourselves in. One path falls short of the total truth and that makes all the difference.

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