Social Question

Tobotron's avatar

What would Jesus say to Socialism?

Asked by Tobotron (1313 points ) April 21st, 2010

In the views of the religious readers and everyone else what do you think Jesus would say that was good/bad about say a socialist America/Europe in contrast to a capitalist one?

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168 Answers

Snarp's avatar

“Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s”.

JeffVader's avatar

“F*ck me that seems like a cunning plan…... there’s just one snag…..”

Blackberry's avatar

Jesus was a total socialist and liberal lol. He was only conservative in the view that he did not like homosexuals.

Tobotron's avatar

@Snarp “We have found this man subverting our nation. He opposes payment of taxes to Caesar and claims to be Christ/Messiah, a king.” (I did google this I don’t claim to be as quick off the mark as you haha)

Snarp's avatar

@Blackberry I don’t think Jesus view on homosexuals was anything like republicans. When he said love the sinner, he actually meant it. And I don’t think he said anything about it, other than confirming that the old testament rules still applied in general.

ucme's avatar

Good fucking God almighty. I turn my bastard back for one minute & look what those arseholes do, Jesus H Christ!!!

Snarp's avatar

@Tobotron What I posted is Jesus’ response to that. So those who opposed him said he opposed paying taxes, to which he replied “render unto Caesar…...”. So basically, Jesus said government and taxes were none of his business. In other words, Jesus wouldn’t care one way or the other.

Snarp's avatar

That is, assuming that such a person ever existed and that the gospels are remotely accurate depictions of his life, which is a stretch in and of itself.

Blackberry's avatar

@Snarp Oh I see, then he is a total socialist, liberal lol.

semblance's avatar

Although I don’t practice I was raised in a Catholic tradition and went to Catholic grade school and high school where theology was a part of the curriculum. I have also studied comparative religion after high school. So, I think I have an informed opinion.

Jesus (assuming that there was a Jesus) would support socialist programs as being part of the good works which people in this world are supposed to do. In fact, most Catholic religious orders are more than socialist and are closer to a communist system with the members taking vows of poverty. That’s not intended to smear religious orders. I am simply observing the parallel.

Although Jesus would approve of socialist programs, that does not mean he think that would form a perfect society. He was also concerned with spiritual issues which transcend economic issues.

Tobotron's avatar

@Snarp thanks for your knowledge on this…so a Jesus that wouldn’t care doesn’t sound like a ‘Jesus’ to me? could we argue that were still under the reign of the Romans? Cause were not ticking the boxes of a Jesus approved society really are we?!

syz's avatar

I am always amazed when people throw around the terms “socialism” and “communism” as if they are some sort of ultimate evil. They’re actually nice ideas, they just don’t work in reality because of human nature.

ETpro's avatar

Let’s be clear. All the right wingers running around labeling the US a socialist state are full of **it. The word means, “government ownership of the means of production and distribution of wealth.” That is, it denotes a political/economic system in which the government owns the businesses and the banks. All people are government employees and get their pay from the government. The US is so far from a socialist state that any mention of it shows how ridiculous the speaker is—how out of touch with anything fact based. The people who are on about it are living in a completely ideology based universe. Facts and reality and the outcomes of their actions have no impact on them. Only beliefs and feelings exist.

Snarp's avatar

@Tobotron Jesus made it pretty clear that he wasn’t interested in government or politics. He refused to be the revolutionary and the King of the Jews that his followers and the opposition wanted him to be. Jesus was interested in people’s souls and how individuals behaved toward one another and toward God, he was not in the least concerned with the Roman occupation or other government intrigues.

Tobotron's avatar

@ETpro Socialism is an ideology of course and its something to hope to attain, but you could only attain it by removing the greed from humanity… it doesn’t make everyone a millionaire but it does give everyone equality, and that’s got to be a good thing…

Capitalism lets the weaker and less able fall helplessly, pure capitalism is a pretty disgusting concept and continuous growth is absolutely unsustainable.

I just ask this question because I wonder what will be the face of the future 100 yrs from now and will we look back and think ‘what did we achieve through capitalist practices’ the worship of the rich and famous and the abuse of the poor and impressionable people and nations.

But could Socialism really do it any better? Thats why I asked what would Jesus say, I think of him only as a metaphor for the moral side of us…

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@Snarp
Then why did he say, “Render unto Caesar”... instead of “I don’t care”?

Tobotron's avatar

@Snarp ah I get it so he wasn’t the Lenin who had to literally force and persuade the Russian revolution but instead he left it to the people with the information he gave them to create the society based on his ideals upon their own. Guess that’s the free will part of it all…

Snarp's avatar

@Tobotron Because the Bible was written and translated to be at least somewhat poetic and entertaining, and Jesus is conveyed as someone who spoke in parables and allegories. “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s” is a poetic way of saying: “I’m not concerned about government, I’m concerned about the spirit.” It also gets him and his followers out of immediate trouble with the authorities. The gospels go to great lengths to insure that Jesus is executed for a crime against the Jews rather than against Rome.

Snarp's avatar

@Tobotron No, I’m not saying he wanted them to create a society based on his ideals on their own. He wanted them to live individually according to his ideals and stay out of forming societies and politics in general.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@Tobotron

What do you mean by “he left it to the people with the info he gave them…”?

What type of portrait are you attempting to portray of Jesus? Don’t mince words please. Just tell us what type of person that you believe that Jesus was.

Seek's avatar

Simple – Jesus took bread and fish from a guy who had more than he needed for lunch, and handed out Fillet O’ Fish sammiches to everyone.

Jesus was a socialist.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

How does feeding the hungry qualify anyone as a socialist?

cazzie's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies it was a public welfare scheme. I agree with @Seek_Kolinahr

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

How so? Was it approved by a government committee? Was it funded by the state?

Why do you call it a scheme?

cazzie's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies oh, I was being flippant. How stupid to look toward a fictional character from a book of vagaries for current political advice.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

The question presupposes that Jesus was real. Whether he was fictional or not is a different discussion.

Let’s remove Jesus from the discussion altogether. Let’s just take the character traits of the person described in the biblical accounts, be it a factual or fictional character, it doesn’t matter. Based upon those traits alone, is the personage of that biblical description a socialist or not?

CMaz's avatar

Hes would say… Love one another as I love you.

cazzie's avatar

Well…. he was pretty ‘anti-status quo’... but you can’t compare what was going on then to what was going on now. He was in an occupied territory and the Romans were quickly going downhill because problems on the borders. The character ALSO did not approve of how the temples of his god were being run and thought they were exploitive and elitist. I would think that Jesus would say that the commercial and capitalist nature of the current American society was exploitive and elitist. And he would look at the world and see how other nations live and have central governments with programs that adhere more to his teachings… like.. look after each other, help and care for the sick and elderly and praise how it’s done in a collective, organised and fair and even handed way. Norway is still rated top of the heap, last I checked. It’s not a communist country, there are thriving businesses and more freedom here than in the US, BECAUSE we collectively look after each other.

Seek's avatar

@cazzie
Oh, I’m so moving to Scandinavia.

cazzie's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr Velkommen! I could say almost the same about New Zealand as well, though. American’s don’t understand that all the weapons at everyone’s disposal there actually means LESS freedom, and the poverty, ignorance and desperation the system (or lack thereof) creates is just so needless. The place is too big. It should be carved up, but then, that’s what they said about India and look what happened there… eek.

Tobotron's avatar

@cazzie its gotta be said it does help when your sitting on a hell of a lot of oil…but you were responsible with it, and as far as I know from my Swedish girlfriend the Scandinavia’s has a history of Socialist practice.

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies my question doesn’t really assume Jesus was real it assumes you have an understanding of a point of view that’s commonly attributed to Jesus (if I worded that correctly) my presupposition is that Jesus although not a politician may side with one economic model more than another, notably the one that best reflects his documented practices (actual or otherwise) I just picked Socialist because I think the moral aspect of it best reflects what’s morally right.

cazzie's avatar

@Tobotron the US has oil too, (and a shitload of other resources) but they decided it should go in just a few pockets. Howz that workin’ out for ya? The first person the country hired with there was oil struck in it’s waters was a philosopher NOT a banker or economist.

Tobotron's avatar

@cazzie and the one that never struck oil despite spending a lot of daddy’s money trying became president :S

cazzie's avatar

@Tobotron You got that I meant Norway was the country that hired a philosopher before a banker or an economist, right?

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

Jesus always struck me as an apolitical figure.

beancrisp's avatar

When Jesus spoke of charity it was directed toward people as individuals to give of their own free will not by force of government.

BoBo1946's avatar

10 Reasons Jesus Was A Socialist:

1. Jesus owned nothing. 2. Jesus argued for the dissolution of the family and the establishment of communes. 3. Jesus loved all people regardless of ethnicity or class. 4. Jesus revolted against the imperial government, established religion and finance capitalism (usury). 5. Jesus taught that we should act as one body, one blood. 6. Jesus taught that his kingdom (ie nation state) is in the heart and not below the feet. 7. Jesus taught that we should fight for Justice and ‘turn the other cheek’ to petty morality. 8. Jesus was a laborer and a teacher. 9. Jesus practiced healing and forgiveness. 10. Jesus taught that you can’t be an imperialist and a disciple at the same time.

Unknown author!

kittybee's avatar

‘It’s gotta be better than this!’

Snarp's avatar

@BoBo1946 Not bad, but I take issue with the first part of #4, I think he expressly avoided revolt against the imperial government.

BoBo1946's avatar

@Snarp you would be correct my friend!

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@BoBo1946

I know that these claims are from an “Unknown Author”... but some certainly require a formidable conceptual leap without citing a specific scripture in context.

“Jesus revolted against the imperial government…”

I’ve seen nothing to suggest this is true.

“Jesus argued for the dissolution of the family and the establishment of communes.”

I’d really like a cite on this. Very difficult to accept this statement as anything truthful.

“Jesus taught that we should fight for Justice and ‘turn the other cheek’ to petty morality.”

Jesus fight? Physically? Or do you mean, speak out against?

“turn the other cheek” addressed expressing love towards the harm suffered by the actions of another.

He specifically spoke out against “petty morality” with stories of “who without sin shall cast the first stone” and “remove the plank from your own eye before addressing the speck in the eye of someone else”.

The only aggression Jesus ever displayed was in running the money lenders out of the temple. But there was no fight, and certainly no revolution.

And debatable, possibly nitpicking…
“Jesus owned nothing”...
Well, did he not own “his kingdom (ie nation state) is in (his) heart”?

BoBo1946's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies cool…I did not write it, author unknown!...just thought it has some noteworthy “stuff!” (cut and pasted it)

btw, if you read my comment to @Snarp, agreed with him on the revolution part.

Maybe, rebuke would be a better word than revolt…

You make good points!

WolfFang's avatar

@Snarp yeah you pretty much 1 hit KO’d the question with your answer. Answers it on point. Also @Snarp and @Captain_Fantasy I think Jesus wouldn’t really care about politics, but its hilariously ironic this question was asked because we just discussed this very issue yesterday with my professor in U.S. History

Ron_C's avatar

The Jesus described in the bible was short tempered, foolishly brave, erratic, and not very nice to his mother.

You would think that if a bunch of middle-eastern misfits were going to start a religion, they could have found a better central figure.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

So does your interpretation of Jesus qualify him as a socialist or not?

PandoraBoxx's avatar

“Whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers, that you do unto me.”

Card-carrying socialist.

evandad's avatar

How should I know?

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@evandad

I thought Kabuto Yakushi knew everything… especially now that he’s absorbed Ororchimaru’s DNA

mattbrowne's avatar

I think he was an early proponent of a social market economy. He didn’t say there should be no rich people and we should force everyone to earn the same amount of money or farmers can’t own a farm. He appealed to the rich to develop a social conscience. And Jesus knew that money alone won’t make people happy.

JeffVader's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr “Jesus took bread and fish from a guy who had more than he needed for lunch, and handed out Fillet O’ Fish sandwiches to everyone.”
..... He sounds more like Ronald McDonald.

Ron_C's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies I don’t think he qualifies much in either score. It is probably true that he favored helping the poor, but didn’t think much about the involvement of the state. I expect that if he did exist, he would have been somewhat libertarian. He mentioned that things like taxes and politics belonged to the state while morality and religion belonged and should be controlled by the individual.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@Ron_C

Agreed…

Not bad for a guy who was “short tempered, foolishly brave, erratic, and not very nice to his mother.”

cazzie's avatar

I think he would consider being called a Libertarian in the current climate an insult.

Ron_C's avatar

@cazzie you may be correct. I am surprised that the libertarians have joined with the Tea Party white power and neocon creeps.

cazzie's avatar

@Ron_C Yes, it’s interesting to see how much both groups really do have in common. Lack of governance favours them all. Anyone who really does think they’re a libertarian should reconsider, and ponder the fact that perhaps they’re only thinking it’s a better way because they just want to throw the baby out with the bathwater because proper governance is difficult.

AZByzantium's avatar

In the current capitalist system, the majority has become nothing but animals. We are alienated from society, eachother, our work, and ourselves via the labor process. We are forced to take jobs that are dull, monotonous, against our morals, or dangerous. Because our jobs becomes a mean for an artificial end (money=fake value created by government) instead of a pleasure as it naturally should be (we are creative beings), we only look forward to our after work actives of eating, superficially socializing, sleeping and reproducing. That is what ANIMALS do NOT humans. Socialism however, is about fulfilling basic human needs (food, shelter, education, and medicine), eliminating violence over necessities. This will allow us to evolve into true “species beings”, true humans, as although we may have to work in a job that is not interesting to us, we will not be FORCED to do it for basics rather to pursue our passions or hobbies (and hopefully with stronger robotics in the future our passions can become all our jobs). THUS, Christ would approve. He said feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, take care of the sick, NOT turn life into a competition where you shit on the jobless. Ultimately socialism wants to take individual labor and make it apart of humanity’s labor…..this will not happen until there is a freeing of the capitalist “ME FIRST” mindset they brain wash your kids with. Christ will not be truly followed in piety and strength either.

ETpro's avatar

@AZByzantium I don’t accept that for one minute. All you do when you move from capitalism to socialism is change who owns the businesses we work for. You would likely still have the same work, boring as ever, harmful to the environment and all. The new owner, the government, would still want to maximize profits and make ever more while paying less.

I think the problem is human desire to ignore the consequences of greed and sloth, and believe that we can each get something for nothing or more for less. That human flaw is in play in capitalistic, socialist and communist social orders.

cazzie's avatar

@ETpro NO! Socialism has private ownership, it’s not communism. Socialism happens when the people who vote in the government in a proper democracy (ie ‘the people’) decide that they will collectively set in place administrations for the well-being of the general population. Examples in the US: Postal system, Fire Departments, Civil Defence, Police Departments, Social Welfare Agencies (they have State and Federal duties), Public Schools, Public Broadcasting Service, (this is just off the top of my head, I’m sure there are more.) So, You could argue that the US has a degree of socialist programs already and if anyone has complaints about them, they should look in the mirror.

Americans talk about ‘government’ as though it’s separate from them, some evil entity that they’re not responsible for, but they’re wrong. Through ignorance and apathy, the system is how it is now. Teachers are underpaid. Government is bought by corporations (fascism), and people are dying simply because they don’t have the means for the basic human right of healthcare. American’s can look at their government and and know that they are looking at a reflection of themselves. Greed, corruption, apathy, inefficiency, waste, lies, wilful ignorance, deception….. Rome is falling. Long live Cæsar.

WolfFang's avatar

@cazzie preach it! lol GA

Ron_C's avatar

@cazzie good point. You can be a social democrat but you cannot be a social Nazi (dispite the the official name of their party).

@ETpro I may be jumping into the middle of where I don’t belong but I would say that the debate isn’t about getting something for nothing but having the ability to contribute to society while fulfilling you desire to prosper in that society. If you are sick, for instance, it is difficult or impossible to contribute because you are temporarily a dependent on society. The whole debate with health care, immigration, even finance seems to be what happens when you get sick.

One side says that society has no obligation to its members and they should be jettisoned when they cannot contribute, unless they are a financial institution, they it becomes societies responsibility to put that bank back on their feet.

Individuals are treated differently, if they don’t have the ready resources to heal themselves, or get proper legal status, they should be jettisoned. “Don’t get sick, if you do, die quickly”.

Some of us say heal them so that they can return to contributing members of society. Healing the banks, by the way, requires that they never get so big that their demise would threaten society.

cazzie's avatar

@Ron_C Well said. I saw something really interesting in NZ with back and hip patients that were not retired yet. The public hospital waiting list was long for certain types of procedures… disk surgery, hip and knee replacement….. so, these people were on a sickness benefit until they could get their surgery and get better and get back to work, so someone crunched the numbers and it made MUCH more sense to pay the private hospitals to perform the surgeries and get the people back to work and off the sickness benefit. Win Win Win…...

Oh,... and going back to the Jesus thing…. wouldn’t he be in favour of relieving suffering? Yea socialised medicine!

ETpro's avatar

@cazzie We can debate what Jesus would say about socialism, or what is good and bad about it, or whether the US is heading for it if you wish. But it is silly to debate what a word means. The dictionary is a definitive source on that. Here is what the Merriam Webster online dictionary says:
Socialismnoun
1 : any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods
2 a : a system of society or group living in which there is no private property b : a system or condition of society in which the means of production are owned and controlled by the state
3 : a stage of society in Marxist theory transitional between capitalism and communism and distinguished by unequal distribution of goods and pay according to work done

Also, the US Postal Service is in no way socialism. It is entirely self funding from fees it charges and has been for 30 years. It is not-for-profit, but the only government funds it receives are to pay it for free franking privileges used by members of Congress and governmental officers. That’s a matter of record too. No need to rely on opinions for that one either.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

And therefor Jesus could not possibly have been a Socialist, for he promoted Non-Ownership of any material item by anyone, be it the State, the Individual, or the Collective.

Jesus suggested that we are but temporary tenants who make use of the resources available to us during our time here on earth in this physical life. A person can be put in charge of those resources (what some call wealth), but that person did not own those resources.

The only thing Jesus suggested that we actually ownis our souls. And that being a non physical agent. And he consistently encouraged people to not be fooled into allowing the State or the Collective Culture, or Satan, take it away from you.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@ETpro What – the – Hell… is that thing in your avatar? I do not recognize, and it is rather spooky looking.

ETpro's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies I’m a Chambered Nautilus. And we cephalopods are rather unique creatures. My particular branch of the family, for instance, has 90 legs, four of which are specially adapted as sexual organs. Put that on your exercise bike and pedal it. :-)

@Ron_C I was taking exception with the notion that seems to have pervaded American speech recently—driven by the vast right-wing noise machine—that everything that a government does is socialism. Social programs are not socialism. The word has a meaning. When we try to make words mean whatever we want them to mean, communication with others not privy to our private dictionary becomes difficult to impossible.

I am not the least against social welfare programs so long as they are well conceived and are fully funded. I would be utterly opposed to socialism, the government takeover of the entire private sector. Just about every American on the left and the right would be opposed to that. There is no such move afoot.

cazzie's avatar

@ETpro OK.. you’re looking in your American English dictionary. Don’t you think there might be a midge of biased there? Anyway… I’m talking about socialist ideas, not full on State Socialism. It can also mean that the State regulates things NOT just owns and runs things. The US has these types of entities. They run food inspection, National Parks, FCC, NSA, FAA etc….

Just because an entity isn’t run for profit or makes a loss (because that is NOT the point of socialised programs, you’ve really missed the meaning there) doesn’t mean it’s not a socialised program. COST is a non issue, that’s the point. It’s set up and run for the collective good. SOME entities that are socialised (like airlines and power companies) even make a PROFIT for the State. Like um… gee… Norway’s nationalised oil company. Does that mean the government runs ALL business? NO! Our power is deregulated and the state phone service, Telenor, is a shell of it’s former self with new competition being added to the market in the 90’s, etc.. etc…

Socialism is a collective idea. No dictator telling them what to do here. No military overthrow. The people who run for office tell everyone what they stand for and they get elected and the put the promised policies in place, or spend more or less money on those things they talked about. We have a fully elected government here, as they do in MOST socialist leaning countries. We have a free press and they, I have to say, are excellent here. The better I understand the language, the more respect I have for what is written in the papers (the serious ones..) and the TV reporting and special news shows… smart, articulate, well produced…

Oh, and perhaps I did miss out one major point. Education here is free. All of it. You pay for your books and have to find the money yourself to eat and pay rent, but there are no tuition fees. Well educated population could have something to do with the effort everyone here makes to look after things, collectively. They share their money, but they watch things closely. You want apathy? Let the companies run your government. You want a decent standard of living for everyone and REAL freedom? Govern yourselves.

Tobotron's avatar

@cazzie last paragraph, amen to that!

AZByzantium's avatar

@ ETpro : “I think the problem is human desire to ignore the consequences of greed and sloth, and believe that we can each get something for nothing or more for less. That human flaw is in play in capitalistic, socialist and communist social orders.”

you said: promblem is human greed and sloth
I said: capitalism creates greed via artificial value in the monetary system that unnaturally allows humans to hord goods (natural goods spoil if held for to long), as well as via the capitalist mind set of “self service” “individual over community”. Furthermore I made the point that sloth is apart of our “non work life” because we are so spent by the soul sucking jobs we are forced into in this capitalist system that ll we can look forward to is tuning in and turning off (whether it be with sex, drugs, eating, sleeping) like animals.

Humans do have these qualities within them, clearly, as capitalism cannot create what was not there. But what it does is bring them to the forefront. Socialism strives to bring the better qualities of innovation, creativity, and communal care, out of us humans. There will be other flaws, but at least they wont be over basic human needs (see previous point)

ETpro's avatar

@cazzie Thanks for the update on Norway. It’s not a socialist state but is certainly much more socialized than the USA. Still, we have right wingers here constantly complaining now that our new president is turning the US into not just a socialist state, but a communist one. That is why I am concerned about being clear on the meaning of the word.

@AZByzantium What country’s government do you think delivers the best life and opportunity to all its people?

cazzie's avatar

@ETpro Yes… I’m on a mission to clarify that the Right Wingers of America are nutters and dinosaurs and I want them to see that putting policies in place that help people, like healthcare (for goodness sake!) is NOT making a communist or fascist state out of America. The two main ideas that are really keeping America in the Dark Ages and holding it back are it’s ‘Right Wing Free Markets’ idea and the death penalty. For a country that almost preaches that it is run by their Christian god, it really makes their god look heartless.

Regarding the subject of this thread: Read The Sermon on the Mount and tell me if that sounds more like a Social Democrat or a Capitalist speaking.

Tobotron's avatar

@cazzie the US acually spends more pre person on healthcare under their limited government paid systems as the UK pays per person, due to UK government fixing of prices paid for drugs unlike the US which pays what ever the manufacturer asks and UK operations ‘at cost’ as opposed to US government programs which pay the ‘going’ private rate for a medical procedure.

I think you can see the expense is just lining peoples pockets and not helping people and quite frankly I cannot see why Obama is struggling to pass his health bill!? Why such opposition?

I heard a US congressman say to improve your healthcare you should get a better job so you can afford health insurance, I’m sorry but that’s just not possible for everyone!

cazzie's avatar

@Tobotron Yeah, no kidding. Their system is very broken. Their mentality is very out of sync. There’s been report after report, study after study and they STILL can’t see how broken their system is. The money is building pretty offices for the Insurance companies and making them billions of dollars. Healthcare is NOT a for profit industry. That someone can be denied a doctor’s visit or a simple prescription because of money….. grrrr… Jesus said.. “That which you do unto the least of my brethren, you do unto me,”

HungryGuy's avatar

@Tobotron – The reason for such opposition is because, in the US, the politicians are essentially all paid servants to all the corporations.

Ron_C's avatar

@HungryGuy we have the best legislature that money can buy. It is so good that the Supreme court recently made corporations equal to humans. In fact they are better. They never die, can’t be jailed or substantially punished, they have no fear of the death penalty, they can spend as much money as they want (without asking shareholders permission) on any candidate or cause they desire. I personally, would rather be a corporation….all of that power and no responsibility except to make money.

HungryGuy's avatar

@Ron_C – Right. Not to be too critical of my American friends, but that’s the problem with their government: corporations rule by proxy.

Ron_C's avatar

@HungryGuy the U.S. government has gone only down hill since Reagan. We had a little upward tick with Clinton but reverted to a banana republic under Bush. Poor Mr. Obama has so much to fix that if he only finishes half after two terms, I (and atheist) would vote for his sainthood.

HungryGuy's avatar

@Ron_C – At least you’re joining the rest of the civilised world by getting health care in 2012…

Ron_C's avatar

@HungryGuy I wouldn’t bet on this. The opposition is against health care, not because they don’t believe in it but because they want to regain power. They think that denying any success to the progressives is the path to regain power. Americans are just dumb enough to put the regressive forces back in power. There are an incredibly large group of (mostly white) Americans that want to go back the the middle of the 19th century. That was a time when you knew you were better than any “colored person” and you could pay for doctor’s care with chickens or house painting. You didn’t have to worry about retirement because chances were that you wouldn’t live that long.

ETpro's avatar

@Ron_C That last comment is worthy of quoting. It sums up the Tea Party platform to a Tea!

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

So Jesus was a tea todeler? I knew he made wine, but…

Ron_C's avatar

@ETpro thanks. I dream of a future time when my wise comments are collected in a book to be studied during Ethics Class.

DocteurAville's avatar

I think Jesus would love democratic socialism. Is pretty much accord to his legacy.

We must make a distinction between what democratic socialism is from what you hear every day from the nut jobs that are after your American ass. That is all they want and they come up with this crap that is, changing the meaning of words, because that is what they sell: mambo jambo. Funny as it seems, many folks out there buy the crap…

Ron_C's avatar

@DocteurAville no one has ever gone broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.

DocteurAville's avatar

I am not underestimating. At all. But you know the funny stuff that goes on and on with the very objective in mind…

SuspiciousPackage's avatar

“Get behind me Satan”.

ETpro's avatar

@SuspiciousPackage Why do you think that? Do we not actually have His words as to how to resolve the conflict between church and state?

josie's avatar

He already said it. Render unto Ceasar that which is Ceasar’s etc…

Tobotron's avatar

@josie was that just a copy of the very first poster on this question?

josie's avatar

@Tobotron Looks that way. Wasn’t paying attention.

blemonge's avatar

Sorry if I miss a gist or a definition, I haven’t read the whole debate its too long! But I think Jesus would be a socialist (note little s), and I think Jesus would hate America and Britain, and much of Europe; and if Jesus came back then our society would crucify him again – his message doesn’t equal profit and power, which is what we crave no matter what church we go to – to me (and no offence, faith in itself is a beautiful thing and I dont want to take that away from anyone) anyone who is a Christian and a mainstream member of our society (work, mortgage, sales targets, car) is by default a hypocrite.

NormanL's avatar

Jesus was born and died a Jew. His intent was to change Judaism. He was not a politician. He loved all people even homosexuals and prostitutes. There was no concept of socialism back then and I doubt that He would support it.

Ron_C's avatar

I expect that most of the Jesus stories were made up and if there was a Jesus it is likely that he wouldn’t know about capitalism or socialism. He would have only know about Imperialism from the Romans and Authoritism from the Jewish hierarchy.

CaptainHarley's avatar

Just to set the record straight, the US is an economic oligarchy which tries periodally to masquerade as a socialist democracy, and tries to use religion to keep the masses in line. None of this will work as long as we can get the undue influence of money out of the electoral process.

ETpro's avatar

@CaptainHarley Amen to that.

thekoukoureport's avatar

I really don’t know of any verse that speaks to homosexuals in terms of Jesus’ teachings. Only levitcus is quoted ad nauseum. So I don’t think that he was against any sexual orientation.

Austinlad's avatar

He’d probably want to make sure he understood what Socialism is before commenting so emotionally pro or con. And then maybe he’d share the knowledge with the rest of us.

HungryGuy's avatar

Well, let’s see. When Jesus returns, he’ll install a one-world government. No dissent will be permitted; anyone who so much as harbored a dissenting THOUGHT prior to it’s founding won’t even be permitted entry. Anyone not qualified for citizenship will be subject to eternal torture forever and ever. Yup, socialist!

Joybird's avatar

Anything of a religious nature that has ever been written about Jesus was done so hundreds of years after he lived. Was Benjamin Franklin a monogamist?.. How about Thomas Jefferson? Were they communists, socialists, or did they ascribe themselves as being part of some other affiliation?
Anything you think Jesus said or did is all heresay. Now one knows who the man was for sure. But one thing I do know for sure is that you can start a few lines of a tale at one end and you end up with quite a legend by the time it funnels though a couple dozen people or so.

Ron_C's avatar

@HungryGuy I think that you have the word socialist mixed up with fascist. You can be a socialist within a democratic frame work. A fascist requires a totalitarian government with a strong hierarchy. Similar corporate structures work in industry because there are mitigating structures like laws and unions. The christian version of the second coming looks more like a fascist state or a kingdom than a socialist society. I think that is why christians gravitate toward the neo-republican and “tea party” view of government.

It is funny, they are against laws that regulate corporations (fascist organizations) but insist on controlling you in the bedroom, how you handle health care, and what drugs you use while insisting that they are against social programs. All of it seems very strange. Jesus does not sound like he would be a good administrator.

cazzie's avatar

@Joybird we actually know a great deal about Ben Franklin because he wrote a great deal HIMSELF and even wrote under a pseudonym. They say he wasn’t monogomous and fooled around a great deal when he was in France. We KNOW what their political leanings were because they wrote a whole bunch about it. We also know that those two men existed. There really isn’t any proof ‘Jesus’ ever really lived.

Smashley's avatar

“Wow, you guys have stopped arse-fucking the disadvantaged, and you’re education standards are actually coming up a bit! Neat-o! You’ve changed the ‘American Dream’ from accumulating wealth and lording it over each other, to actually achieving things for the common good! Congrats! Just… keep those guns around, since you still aren’t smart or technologically advanced enough to get rid of government…”

cazzie's avatar

@Smashley substitute ‘religion’ for ‘government’ and I’ll agree.

Smashley's avatar

@cazzie Oh yeah, I keep forgetting that some people still aren’t ready to let go of that teddy bear.

tapestryofregret's avatar

He’d say “I’m a prophet, not a sociologist”

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

Many of Jesus’ sermons would certainly by considered leftist if he were here giving them today. The Sermon on the Mount especially comes to mind. Today, if he were to stand on the Washington Mall, give these same speeches and gain a popular following, I’m quite sure he would be pilloried in the American Press and most probably crucified on FOX.

ETpro's avatar

@Espiritus_Corvus Sad to say, but the so-called Christian right would make short work of demonizing him. Here’s a charming epithet I earned from one of their members merely for correctly stating that the HR 3200 Healthcare Reform bill did not amount to switching the US to socialized medicine.

“Traitor. We will end your tyranny you union SEIU scum liar propagandist lippmann/geobbels piece of trash. enemy within, you are, and enemy of freedom, liberty god and country. we will STOP YOU WE WILL NOT BE YOUR SUBJECTS!” Here it is in its original context so you can scroll up and see what I said to trigger this tirade.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

@ETpro
Nice to see you again ET. Missed you, Ron_C, and Dr_Dred. I’ve been out sailing the Caribbean for the past few months and getting into trouble. It was nice get out for a while. I’m sitting in a little marina near Cedar Key, Fla. with on-again, off-again WiFi. So, who knows…

Keeeerist! Sodahead—such a ghetto. I commend your efforts at dialogue with those freaks and in the process antagonizing the shit out of ‘em until they reveal exactly the type of people they really are—to the whole networld. Ya think Herr mickrussom might be angry about something other than fifth-column pinkos like you? I no longer have the patience to deal with those people. I have a difficult enough time with these idiots on Fluther who keep repeating like screechng parrots “the US is a Republic, not a Democracy”—as if the two terms were mutually exclusive. Where do people get this drivel? Probably Sodahead.

BTW, for your future reference: Britain has BOTH private healthcare and taxpayer-supported universal healthcare (not quite socialized medicine—socialized medicine is what they had in the East Bloc), so the UK citizen has a choice as they do in ALL west european countries that were not Warsaw Pact. I’m not sure about the current state of healthcare in the former Warsaw Pact countries.

It is beyond me why Americans can’t learn the difference between Socialism, Social Democracy, and Capitalism. Anyone who frequently traveled between West Europe and the East Bloc as many europeans did, including myself, know that the difference between them was huge. It was like stepping out of a technicolor world into a black & white one where nothing worked, it always seemed cold, grey and stifling like you were always being watched, and the people seemed pale and wrought with a hopelessness and an underlying unhappiness —they knew that not far away people were living so much better and freer. That’s the best way to describe it. Western Europe never felt like that at all—and EVERYBODY knows that, right? I wrote a long thing about my experiences in Poland during the Perestroika years here on Fluther.

ETpro's avatar

@Espiritus_Corvus Hey, glad to see you back. I had been wondering what happened to you. I’m delighted to hear it was pleasant things like sailing the Caribbean and getting into trouble. :-)

As to definitions, not much of anything based in evidence penetrates the evidence free zone where the new Con men reside. Definitions are in dictionaries, and dictionaries are a well known commie plot run by a bunch of pinko egghead librul elites.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

Ha. Funny and sad. I have about a week before I sail south to Chockoloskee (southwest coast, in the Glades southeast of Marco Island). Will look forward to slightly warmer weather, but I’m not sure of the Wifi availability near my chosen dock. I have this AT&T USB antennae but if there are no towers nearby…

I hope to do some posting before I head south. Been following you and reading your stuff. Well done, my friend.

ETpro's avatar

@Espiritus_Corvus Thanks. Best wishes for smooth sailing and for a WiFi connection.

cazzie's avatar

Oh,.... I was just thinking about something to add to this thread. Jesus HAD to have been a socialist because he never charged anyone when he healed them. Free medical care…. hmmm.

bolwerk's avatar

First of all, why are you capitalizing “socialism”? There is more than one kind of socialism, and most forms aren’t especially compatible.

It seems to me that Jesus Christ is such an enigmatic and undocumented figure that most people can successfully project whatever they want onto him, which may account for his continued popularity as the west’s #1 icon. Clearly his message of forgiving salvation has proven appealing, but his views on economic issues (about helping the poor and stuff) are practically ignored entirely by a huge proportion of those who claim to follow his teachings.

Schroedes13's avatar

we’ll never know if Jesus was a socialist, however the actions of the early church were concrete. The first believers helped each other immensely. However, they still owned their own property and would lend it to others.

smilingheart1's avatar

Jesus was (is) a socialist in terms of sharing authentically with others. Love is the whole message of life. But he was (is) very free enterprise in terms of expression of the creativity with which we were all uniquely endowed. We will never be fulfilled unless we can each be uniquely “us.” Socialism without the love of God provides very bland gruel.

ETpro's avatar

@smilingheart1 Very true. GA!

dreamwolf's avatar

Jesus loves all. He’d probably sit down with a socialist and say, son, I know you’re looking out for the rest of humanity, keep on going, don’t give up. He’d also continue with, when the farmer ran out of rain, did he stop plowing? He was just a season away from the rain, this is a possibility he was hoping for, and man kind should do the same for each other.

saint's avatar

There is legitimate debate as to whether Jesus actually existed at all. Outside of the Bible, the only references are Tacitus, and Josephus, both suspect sources. It is possible he was not there to say anything about socialism.

ETpro's avatar

@saint GA. A little reality check.

cazzie's avatar

@saint isn’t the first one to mention that in this thread, if you read through, A few of us atheist joined the debate here. The OP and other’s decided early on that that was a different topic and for the sake of the argument, we (atheists) treated him like a fictional character. So, there, ;oP

Lightlyseared's avatar

I John 4:20–21 If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?
And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.

Jesus was a socialist.

@saint what does Jesus’s existence or otherwise have to do with this? If you look at the Pratchett’s theories on the subject you’ll see that if enough people believe in a thing then it becomes real, however fanatastical it may seem.

anam's avatar

I don’t think Jesus would support socialism at all – he urged people to take care of each other, but he never said the government should do it. He always gave people a choice and then would let them face the consequences of it. As far as I can see, he was all the way libertarian.

ETpro's avatar

@anam The fact is through all the years since Jesus died till we began to build a social safety net administered by government, we endured starvation, feudalism, poor houses, work houses, wage slavery, and terrible conditions for the poor. It’s nice in theory to leave it all to charity, but my experience suggests that most who advocate that do so because they know they have to pay taes if the government does it, but if left to charity, they would keep the money in their own pockets.

If churches were more interested in doing what they were charged by Jesus to do instead of squiring property, building cathedrals filled with crystal chandeliers, stained glass windows, gold altar service, rosewood pews, etc; collecting precious art and gold, and amassing great wealth for themselves; it might be unnecessary for government to do the job. I would personally love that. But history clearly shows that human greed makes it currently impractical.

HungryGuy's avatar

I’d also like to add that right-wingers conveniently ignore the fact that the government is the people pooling their resources together to help and protect each other.

ETpro's avatar

@HungryGuy Excellent point.

HungryGuy's avatar

@ETpro – Thanks!

And, BTW @anam, not too many Libertarians oppose gay sex and other peaceful, honest activity that occurs between consenting adults.

ETpro's avatar

@anam Isn’t it odd? Jesus seems to be on the side of every single political movement in the us, be it Democratic, Republican, Corporatist, KKK, Libertarian, Far Right, American Nazi Party—you name it. Jesus was all for their ideology, according to them.

GracieT's avatar

It is rather ironic! I think that He would have been unable to pigeonhole in any category. (I, of course, would like to say that He would have been a Democratic Socialist, like me!)

cazzie's avatar

The speech of the New Testament is so narrow. It seldom speaks of the government behind the people and when it does, I think we can infer that it’s powers and codices do not resemble what we have today. I do not think that anything could have prepared Jesus for the idea that everyone would have a vote, even the woman and the ex-slave. Even the newly settled who didn’t speak the local language growing up. The idea of governance has changed an incredible amount since the days of 1st century Rome. Citizenship in a nation defined by borders and represented by an elected number of citizens…. well… that idea would have taken some time to get used to. I think before we try to assume what Jesus would think about Socialism, first we need to put him through a history lesson made up of 2000 years of history.

Response moderated (Writing Standards)
Crashsequence2012's avatar

“Thou shalt not enable.”

ETpro's avatar

@Crashsequence2012 Where did Jesus say that? You do know, don’t you, that the early Christians had all things in common? I know it must be a terrible disappointment, but Jesus was actually not a Republican right-winger. He wouldn’t have supported corporatism or fascism. And his instructions to the 1/100th of 1% would be anathema to the right wing in American Politics today.

bolwerk's avatar

Jesus tended to address with the socialist “Ye,” not the rugged individualist “Thou” like His Dad.

Lightlyseared's avatar

On a related note I am an atheist because thats how God made me.

and now for more alcohol

Crashsequence2012's avatar

@ETpro I never said Jesus was a Republican.

He probably wouldn’t have been a Democrat either as I assume he would have taught for one to operate within one’s means.

Somewhere in the bible it says something to the effect that a borrower is a slave to the lender. So Jesus would have been unhappy with congress, period.

Don’t use terms like “right- winger if you desire credibility.

cazzie's avatar

‘operate within one’s means’? Look whos debting? http://unastronaut.files.wordpress.com/2008/04/120m4471.jpg

Crashsequence2012's avatar

I mentioned congress.

The graph relates to Presidents.

cazzie's avatar

Oh, right. and Presidents aren’t party affiliated and can spend billions all on their own…. sorry… forgot. * sarcasm.

Crashsequence2012's avatar

Never said they were not affiliated.

cazzie's avatar

Wars on mental manifestations are very expensive.

ETpro's avatar

@Crashsequence2012 I agree. I think he would have steered clear of today’s partisan politics just as he did in his day.

bolwerk's avatar

@ETpro: he didn’t steer clear of partisanship. He confronted it head-on. He resisted the rigidity of the Pharisees, the reactionaries of his day, opposed the segregation of the Samaritans (at least you can infer that from a certain famous parable), and encouraged improving the conditions of people on the margins of society, including women, who were trampled by the hierarchical viciousness of Roman and Jewish society.

Crashsequence2012's avatar

@bolwerk @ETpro I wasn’t suggesting that Jesus was necessarily bipartisan.

I was suggesting that he would be just a cross (sorry) with the Left and Right for their spending like there’s no tomorrow.

ETpro's avatar

@bolwerk Very true. I was thinking of his position on the Jewish leaders’ rants against Ceasar and the secular authority of Rome.

Nullo's avatar

The problem with the various flavors of socialism is that in most cases, the State wants to be God, and that won’t fly.

He doesn’t care so much about earthly government as long as the people follow Him; the Kingdom of Heaven is what really matters, and that’s a straightforward monarchy made complicated by intersecting but ultimately existing independent of time and space.

Nullo's avatar

@cazzie Your graph lacks the 2008–2012 presidency. Telling…

bolwerk's avatar

@Nullo: the state wanting to be God is rather indistinguishable in terms of outcome from the Church wanting everyone to do what it says God wants, and using the state to implement its policies.

ETpro's avatar

@Nullo The debt run up between 2008 and 2012 was incurred ending two unfunded wars unnecessarily launched by George W. Bush with no particular plan of how to end or pay for either one, paying for an unfunded prescription drug benefit designed to bankrupt Medicare so Republicans could finally get rid of the hated program, and repairing the wreckage Bush made of the economy.

Blaming the incoming president for that and wanting to return to the same policies that produced it all as a solution strikes me as the definition of insanity—constantly doing the same things, but anticipating a different outcome.

JenniferP's avatar

Jesus was politically neutral. He supported no world government. He said “My kingdom is no part of the world.” When the crowds tried to seize him and make him king, he fled. When Satan took him to a high mountain and showed him the kingdoms of the world and offered them to him, he turned him down. This shows that they were his to give. 1 John 5:19 says the “whole world is lying in the power of the wicked one.”

Crashsequence2012's avatar

How many millions did Stalin kill?

Jesus told me personally that he thought that was wonderful.

Lightlyseared's avatar

@Crashsequence2012 I think you’re confusing socialism with communism there. Now I’ll admit there are some similarities but there are also some very important differences.

Crashsequence2012's avatar

@Lightlyseared Viral or bacterial infection,

Choose one.

Lightlyseared's avatar

And there we have the reason peopl go to their doctors demanding antibiotics for their common colds.

Crashsequence2012's avatar

The point is that they are both undesirable.

ETpro's avatar

@Crashsequence2012 Actually, when true communism was tried, as it was among the early Christians, it worked reasonably well. What masquerades for communism in recent times is mostly self-serving, one-party rule; rationalized to make a tiny elite in party management wildly wealthy. In that, it isn’t all that different from the right-wing love child, laissez-faire Capitalism.

bolwerk's avatar

@ETpro: I’m not sure early Christians were ever “communist.” Socialist, perhaps. Communism implies a lack of class disparity that I don’t think early Christians ever even strove to achieve. There was acceptance between social classes, and a belief that lower classes deserved aid (the early Church was popular with prostitutes), but certainly never a complete lack of class distinction, at least in so-called orthodox Christianity.

ETpro's avatar

@bolwerk ” Acts 2:44 Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, :45 and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need.

Acts 4:32 Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common.”

Sure sounds like communism to me.

kitszu's avatar

@Snarp Sounds more Roman to me.

kitszu's avatar

The bible talks about Jesus living his life in the service of others.

If ‘socialism’ is between capitolism and communism (according to Marx), isn’t that some kind of balance?

There is nothing wrong with balance, what the fuck is wrong with Americans for not recocgnising what balance brings to the table?!

GracieT's avatar

Some US citizens understand that, the others don’t. Many of us do or are starting to.

ETpro's avatar

@kitszu I think the last election showed that @GracieT is right about American demographics.

Crashsequence2012's avatar

Jesus wished for people to be unburdened. Need I say more?

SecondHandStoke's avatar

“Blessed is he that gives to his neighbor.”

“Cursed is the nation that places all faith upon Caesar to force the hand of he who would provide.”

ETpro's avatar

@SecondHandStoke The 400 wealthiest Americans have more wealth than 50% of the nation combined, but I guess by your answer you feel that’s not enough. Just how much of everything to the top 0.00012% have to have before things are fair for the rich?

And for the record, I’m pretty sure Jesus wouldn’t have had any fantasies about Caesar taking from the rich to give to the poor.

cazzie's avatar

@JenniferP If Jesus had been politically neutral, they wouldn’t have needed to kill him.

Ron_C's avatar

If Jesus existed (and that’s a big IF) he didn’t know or think about economic systems. The Jesus, described in the bible just wanted people to get along. That’s why they tortured him to death. Nothing is more important to government than the gaining and holding of power. You see that in today’s U.S. government. Both houses are much more concerned with denigrating the opposition than doing what is good for the country.

What would Jesus think about the current U.S. House and Senate. I bet he’d have a nice place warmed up to receive them.

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