MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
How did Jesus go from being a socialist in the New Testament to a selfish Ayn Rand anarcho-capitalist in modern-day America? After all, one of the most well-known bible verses is from Mark 10:25: "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."
Sociologist Gregory Paul stated the paradox clearly in an August 12 Washington Post op-ed:
Many conservative Christians, mostly Protestant but also a number of Catholics, have come to believe and proudly proclaim that the creator of the universe favors free wheeling, deregulated, union busting, minimal taxes especially for wealthy investors, plutocrat-boosting capitalism as the ideal earthly scheme for his human creations. And many of these Christian capitalists are ardent followers of Ayn Rand, who was one of - and many of whose followers are - the most hard-line anti-Christian atheists you can get. Meanwhile many Christians who support the capitalist policies associated with social Darwinistic strenuously denounce Darwin's evolutionary science because it supposedly leads to, well, social Darwinism!
But Paul points out that the New Testament primarily promotes what would nowadays be called socialism:
But to understand just how non-capitalistic Christianity is supposed to be we turn to the first chapter after the gospels, Acts, which describes the events of the early church. Chapters 2 and 4 state that all "the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need ... No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had.... There were no needy persons among them. From time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles' feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need."
Now folks, that's outright socialism of the type described millennia later by Marx - who likely got the general idea from the gospels.
Paul further notes that "we have Christian creationists like Jay Richards writing books titled 'Money, Greed, and God: Why Capitalism Is the Solution and Not the Problem.' Can a stranger amalgam of opposing opinions be devised?"
In essence, the modern prosperity theologians who dominate the right wing of the Republican Party are essentially heretics. They've grafted on a post-industrial-age emphasis on the acquisition of capital and material goods to the alleged son of God, Jesus, who was himself essentially the father of socialism (as recounted in the bible).
At the next Republican debate, we would like to see a test of faith. All the candidates should be required to thread a camel through the eye of a needle.
If they can't do it, they have to shut up about Jesus, Christianity and the bible.
Now that would be refreshing.
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