Neil Simpson has a wonderful post up analyzing whether Michael Moore is correct to think that Jesus’ teachings in the Bible are opposed to capitalism. My opinion is that Michael Moore is no more a Christian than Barack Obama or Richard Dawkins. In order to be a Christian, you need to accept the teachings of Jesus, and Moore doesn’t. And Neil explains why by referring to Moore’s own blog post.
Neil does a good job of analyzing Moore’s errors, and his incredible hypocrisy, so check it out. But I wanted to highlight a comment from Shalini from the comments to that post.
Socialism discards the concept of ownership… by individuals and I see no passage or verse in NT where Jesus seems so against the concept of individual ownership.
Socialism gradually leads to communism and the very intention of communism is to separate people from God. Heck! If you have a government which says “I will feed you” and promises other pleasures of the world, but it never addresses the spiritual needs of a person, I don’t see God approving of it. The other problem about socialism is that one person works hard and the government/organization takes/steals from him and gives it to someone who works less harder. That results in laziness! So does God approve of laziness? I think God said we will have to work harder all our lives. He didn’t say ‘Some of you will have to work harder and the rest will just have to steal from you.”.
I think the passage she is thinking of might be 2 Thessalonians 3:6-12.
6In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers, to keep away from every brother who is idle and does not live according to the teaching you received from us. 7For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example. We were not idle when we were with you, 8nor did we eat anyone’s food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you. 9We did this, not because we do not have the right to such help, but in order to make ourselves a model for you to follow. 10For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “If a man will not work, he shall not eat.” 11We hear that some among you are idle. They are not busy; they are busybodies. 12Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the bread they eat.
About 50% of Americans do not pay any income tax, whereas a tiny minority of the most productive people pay the vast majority of all income taxes collected. And yet still the poor clamor for more and more of their neighbors’ wealth! What they should be clamoring for is knowledge of how their neighbor acts in order to be productive and frugal. Or even better, they should be clamoring for a relationship with God through Christ, and not being so focused on acquiring worldly goods at all!
Moore and others on the left think that all religion is about making people happy in this life. So naturally, they are not going to read the Bible to incorporate it as an authority over their decisions – they are functional atheists. They will only use the Bible to trick people into adopting government-controlled wealth redistribution. They just want to feel good about themselves in this life by redistributing other people’s money.
Thomas Sowell calls this “the vision of the anointed”. The elites think they are smarter than you are – that they should decide how much money you earn and how you spend it, so that they can prove how morally superior they are to you by “helping” the “poor” with what they take from you.
In the Acts of apostles, there was collection and re-distribution of wealth. But under who’s guidance? The apostles who were God inspired and who did things God would approve of. So there was no problem there. But can we trust the government to do what the apostles did or to do what Jesus would do? A government which approves of all things God loathes? And given the power, who is to say the government wont act as greedy as the CEOs and wall street bankers? At least with a company I have the choice to quit. With the government I will be stuck for life or at least till the next elections. If one is so bent upon making atrocious stereotypes of all rich men why don’t they look at the atrocities done by socialist states? My CEO only had the authority over my intellectual skills. The socialist government would claim authority even over my moral rights.
What Christianity supports is the concept of private individual charity. What Moore supports is government-managed redistribution of wealth from those who produce to those who don’t produce. History has shown in places like Cuba, North Korea, Zimbabwe and Venezuela that this results of trying the communism that Moore seems to advocate results in more poverty, not less. A rising tide lifts all boats – and that is why the poor in capitalist America are richer than the rich in any communist nation.
To learn more about the relationship between Christianity and capitalism, check out this post (the second half is on capitalism).
To understand what capitalism is, you can watch this lecture entitled “Money, Greed and God: Why Capitalism is the Solution and Not the Problem” by Jay W. Richards, delivered at the Heritage Foundation think tank, and televised by C-SPAN2.
[…]If you can’t see the Richards video, here is an audio lecture by Jay Richards on the “Myths Christians Believe about Wealth and Poverty“. Also, why not check out this series of 4 sermons by Wayne Grudem on the relationship between Christianity and economics? (a PDF outline is here)
And don’t forget about the course on economics from a Christian perspective taught by Dr. Ron Nash, or Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse’s lecture on basic economics that I wrote about before.