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Author Topic:   Was Christ a communist?
CTD
Member (Idle past 2334 days)
Posts: 253
Joined: 03-11-2007


Message 106 of 128 (391041)
03-23-2007 9:20 AM
Reply to: Message 105 by Phat
03-23-2007 7:03 AM


Re: Where'd I go wrong?
Are you kidding? The concept of self is part of being an individual. Unless you want to be part of a "hive mind" or Borg collective, you're stuck with it. Even then, if there was another "hive mind", those who belonged to it would be "others".

Or would you twist "self" into "selfishness"? Greed isn't what God's about, and I think we all know that.


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truthlover
Member (Idle past 524 days)
Posts: 1548
From: Selmer, TN
Joined: 02-12-2003


Message 107 of 128 (391342)
03-24-2007 4:39 PM
Reply to: Message 106 by CTD
03-23-2007 9:20 AM


Re: Where'd I go wrong?
Are you kidding? The concept of self is part of being an individual. Unless you want to be part of a "hive mind" or Borg collective, you're stuck with it.

The concept of self may be part of being an individual, but you're applying it in a way that is not accurate concerning individuals. In a tribal setting, there is a definite "we" mentality. You can call it a Borg collective if you want, because it wouldn't be totally inaccurate.

It affects us even in big, individualistic countries like this one. There's still an "us vs. them" mentality that is part of our makeup. Our culture strongly influences our sense of right and wrong. It's unavoidable, because we're made that way.

Thus, despite the concept of self, individuals in tribal settings would definitely be prone to at least some sort of communism, because group ownership and individual ownership get very mixed in that setting, even in each individual's brain.

And when I say tribal, even small towns can be like that.


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zombie ringo
Member
Posts: 9686
From: frozen wasteland
Joined: 03-23-2005
Member Rating: 2.0


Message 108 of 128 (391351)
03-24-2007 5:28 PM
Reply to: Message 104 by CTD
03-23-2007 6:52 AM


Re: Where'd I go wrong?
CTD writes:

I always thought it was self-evident that God invented private property.

Actually, I think it was the Americans who invented the modern concept of "private property".

For most of human history, the rich have owned all the private property and the poor have owned nothing. That's the situation that Jesus was trying to alleviate and that Marx was trying to overthrow.

It wasn't until the American Dream was dreamt that the concept of everybody having private property became widespread. In a sense, the American ideal of every-man-a-capitalist is more communist than "Communism".


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This message is a reply to:
 Message 104 by CTD, posted 03-23-2007 6:52 AM CTD has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 109 by truthlover, posted 03-24-2007 7:27 PM zombie ringo has responded

  
truthlover
Member (Idle past 524 days)
Posts: 1548
From: Selmer, TN
Joined: 02-12-2003


Message 109 of 128 (391365)
03-24-2007 7:27 PM
Reply to: Message 108 by zombie ringo
03-24-2007 5:28 PM


In a sense, the American ideal of every-man-a-capitalist is more communist than "Communism".

I probably won't be able to check this board until Monday, but I have to ask why you think this. I must be missing something, because I didn't get this from your post. Can you explain this thought?


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 Message 108 by zombie ringo, posted 03-24-2007 5:28 PM zombie ringo has responded

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zombie ringo
Member
Posts: 9686
From: frozen wasteland
Joined: 03-23-2005
Member Rating: 2.0


Message 110 of 128 (391382)
03-24-2007 8:15 PM
Reply to: Message 109 by truthlover
03-24-2007 7:27 PM


I just meant that the American Dream has a levelling quality to it - "from each according to his abilities to each according to his need" in terms of oppurtunity if not outcome. Everybody has the oppurtunity to achieve, regardless of his starting place.

(To paraphrase Homer Simpson: If you're going to pick up on every stupid thing I say, I guess I'll just have to stop saying stupid things." :D )


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CTD
Member (Idle past 2334 days)
Posts: 253
Joined: 03-11-2007


Message 111 of 128 (391454)
03-25-2007 1:54 AM


Anyone care to wander into a bear's cave and ask for an opinion on communism? I expect the bear'd be fairly opinionated, and I have a hunch there have never been too many Marxist bears, even in Russia.

I'm not aware of any languages that lack words for 'my', her', 'your', and so on, so these don't seem to be very new concepts. Maybe "modern" implies something special, and I'm just not seeing it.

Looks like I'm stirring up some people who seem to agree with my ultimate answer. I'll attribute this to my use of the term 'self-evident' for now.

Anyhow, my answer's still a confident 'no'.

And truthlover, you're confusing me. Do families have trouble keeping track of which dress belongs to the mother? Have they ever? Best I know, people have always had private property, if only the clothes on their backs.

Nobody's ever come close to the "communist ideal", and I think if Jesus had such a thing in mind He wouldn't've been shy about it.


Replies to this message:
 Message 112 by truthlover, posted 03-27-2007 11:10 AM CTD has responded

    
truthlover
Member (Idle past 524 days)
Posts: 1548
From: Selmer, TN
Joined: 02-12-2003


Message 112 of 128 (391773)
03-27-2007 11:10 AM
Reply to: Message 111 by CTD
03-25-2007 1:54 AM


Nobody's ever come close to the "communist ideal"

I guess that depends on your definition of the communist ideal, and on what size a group you're talking about. I'm picturing tribal living, for example, where food varies in its sharing, but the land belongs to the tribe.

I expect the bear'd be fairly opinionated

Bears don't survive by living in groups, but a lot of other species, including homo sapiens, since that's the species at question. You might try referencing wolves rather than bears as a much better example.

Looks like I'm stirring up some people who seem to agree with my ultimate answer.

I must have missed your ultimate answer, because I don't know what that is. I didn't read the whole thread, so maybe you said something earlier I didn't see. What's your ultimate answer?

I think if Jesus had such a thing in mind He wouldn't've been shy about it.

I think the discussion is about whether he was shy about it and to what extent he was recommending communism. He did tell people to sell all they have and give to the poor, and he did tell them not to worry about what they would wear or eat. That's hardly the American dream. In fact, in his story about the man who was achieving the American dream, becoming rich enough to retire at a young age, he called that man a fool.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 111 by CTD, posted 03-25-2007 1:54 AM CTD has responded

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CTD
Member (Idle past 2334 days)
Posts: 253
Joined: 03-11-2007


Message 113 of 128 (392070)
03-29-2007 2:43 AM
Reply to: Message 112 by truthlover
03-27-2007 11:10 AM


I guess that depends on your definition of the communist ideal, and on what size a group you're talking about. I'm picturing tribal living, for example, where food varies in its sharing, but the land belongs to the tribe.

Communism generally seeks to eliminate private property. I think it would require a fairly watered-down version of communism if most tribal communities are to qualify.

...What's your ultimate answer?

No, Christ is not a communist, and He never has been.

But I've arrived a tad late, and the discussion looks nearly over.


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Phat
Member
Posts: 7392
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 1.0


Message 114 of 128 (618524)
06-03-2011 6:08 PM
Reply to: Message 6 by zombie ringo
03-13-2007 11:43 AM


Real Life...real issues
quote:
There's a long history of Christian communism, going back way before the modern secular and often atheistic or anti-theistic communism with which the word is usually associated today. Many have argued that the various forms of Marxism were born out of the Christian ethos.

Here are two obvious examples of the kind of Biblical extracts used by Christian communists to make their point:

Acts 2: 42, 44, and 45:

42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and in fellowship ... 44 And all that believed were together, and had all things in common; 45 And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.

Matthew 19:16-24

16 And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? 17 And he said unto him, Why do you ask me about what is good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. 18 He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, 19 Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 20 The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet? 21 Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me. 22 But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions. 23 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. 24 And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.

(both King James Version)

You can see the similarity between the first and the basic principle of all communists: "From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs".

I think that Christian communists/socialists can draw very strong arguments from the teachings of Christ.

So the topic for discussion is what the title says:
Was Christ a communist? And I'd like to hear the opinions of both Christians and others on the subject. The implications are that if he was, then all Christians should, of course, be communists.


American Christians (at least the CCoI ones) are quite anti communist. Personally, I am all for global equality, as long as I can still enjoy the standard of living I now have and as long as I am not actually in poverty.


This message is a reply to:
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Jon
Member
Posts: 4118
From: Minnesota, U.S.A.
Joined: 12-29-2005
Member Rating: 1.2


Message 115 of 128 (618530)
06-03-2011 6:52 PM
Reply to: Message 114 by Phat
06-03-2011 6:08 PM


Re: Real Life...real issues
You must remember the setting for what Jesus was saying. His advice is meant to be religious; he is not laying out new social rules. The end of the world as we know it is coming, says Jesus, and you better be on the side of the good when it gets here!

Jesus' advice is wonderful as a means of running a fair society; but that is not the intention he put behind it. Doing good, for Jesus, is not about making the world a better place; it is about buying your ticket to salvation when the judgement comes.

Jon


Love your enemies!
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Phat
Member
Posts: 7392
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 1.0


Message 116 of 128 (618586)
06-04-2011 5:20 AM
Reply to: Message 10 by zombie ringo
03-13-2007 12:35 PM


Redistribution Of Wealth
ringo writes:

Jesus lived in poverty and advocated an austere lifestyle. I agree that that doesn't necessarily make Him a communist.

I think the real question is: Was Jesus' message, "Sell what you have and give to the poor," meant to be universal? If everybody sells what they have, who do they sell it to?

It seems to me that He wasn't saying, "Don't be rich." He was saying, "Don't be too rich."
He was advocating redistribution of wealth, not equality of wealth.

The redistribution of wealth is or will be destined to become a controversial topic among Christians, both globally and domestically. I see nowhere that Jesus advocates that we become venture capitalists, so that we can give to the kingdom and write it off on our taxes. That being said, I dont think that I should have to pay higher taxes and give more to the poor if I myself feel myself becoming poor also. Jesus and I should have a little talk...I feel that I am not a worthy Christian.


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Jon
Member
Posts: 4118
From: Minnesota, U.S.A.
Joined: 12-29-2005
Member Rating: 1.2


Message 117 of 128 (618617)
06-04-2011 10:41 AM
Reply to: Message 116 by Phat
06-04-2011 5:20 AM


Re: Redistribution Of Wealth
That being said, I dont think that I should have to pay higher taxes and give more to the poor if I myself feel myself becoming poor also.

Everyone who has to pay out money feels like they are becoming poor. If that were an excuse to avoid paying a fair share, well...

Jon


Love your enemies!
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Modulous
Member
Posts: 6440
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005
Member Rating: 1.3


(1)
Message 118 of 128 (618625)
06-04-2011 11:56 AM
Reply to: Message 116 by Phat
06-04-2011 5:20 AM


Re: Redistribution Of Wealth
That being said, I dont think that I should have to pay higher taxes and give more to the poor if I myself feel myself becoming poor also. Jesus and I should have a little talk...I feel that I am not a worthy Christian.

It all depends on whether you have faith in God. The real test of faith is not how much you profess belief, vain professions of faith are worthless. If you had faith that Christ was/is God you would not care about your personal wealth since you would have faith God would make sure you were sufficiently provided for. As a Biblical reference see Matthew 6.

I wouldn't worry about it too much though, many people profess to have a deep faith in God who actually don't trust him at all.


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Jon
Member
Posts: 4118
From: Minnesota, U.S.A.
Joined: 12-29-2005
Member Rating: 1.2


Message 119 of 128 (618632)
06-04-2011 12:57 PM
Reply to: Message 118 by Modulous
06-04-2011 11:56 AM


Re: Redistribution Of Wealth
I wouldn't worry about it too much though, many people profess to have a deep faith in God who actually don't trust him at all.

Well, I believe in GOD, but I would never rely on GOD to provide me with what I wanted/needed for survival even though I believe that GOD is the only one who can provide those things.

But I think that seems reasonable. There is nothing wrong with letting reality trump belief.

The real test of faith is not how much you profess belief, vain professions of faith are worthless. If you had faith that Christ was/is God you would not care about your personal wealth since you would have faith God would make sure you were sufficiently provided for. As a Biblical reference see Matthew 6.

Does this speak to Christ being a communist, though? Communism is a societal/political ideology which seeks, in part, to make life better and sustainable to everyone with a fairly equal standard of living for individualsinstead of the averagely high standard of living provided by capitalism.

I do not think that Jesus was a communist; his teachings are purely religious and have nothing to do with politics or society. I would dare say that his teachings are actually rather selfish. From the chapter you referenced:

quote:
Matthew 6:1415 (NRSV):

For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; but if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.


Jesus doesn't advocate a fair and equal society so much as he does a way into the Kingdom. In fact, in Matthew, I think that message is extremely clear (cf. 25:3146). Selling all your possessions and giving the money to the poor may be a good way to please God (19:122), but it is not meant to instruct folk wishing to create the ideal society.

Jon


Love your enemies!
This message is a reply to:
 Message 118 by Modulous, posted 06-04-2011 11:56 AM Modulous has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 120 by Modulous, posted 06-04-2011 1:16 PM Jon has responded

  
Modulous
Member
Posts: 6440
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005
Member Rating: 1.3


Message 120 of 128 (618636)
06-04-2011 1:16 PM
Reply to: Message 119 by Jon
06-04-2011 12:57 PM


Re: Redistribution Of Wealth
Well, I believe in GOD, but I would never rely on GOD to provide me with what I wanted/needed for survival even though I believe that GOD is the only one who can provide those things.

Then you believe God exists, but you don't believe in God (ie., you don't have faith in god, only his existence).

But I think that seems reasonable. There is nothing wrong with letting reality trump belief.

But if you believe God exists in reality, and you trust that he will look after you in reality - you wouldn't need to rationalise this way. It is evidence of your lack of faith.

Does this speak to Christ being a communist, though? Communism is a societal/political ideology which seeks, in part, to make life better and sustainable to everyone with a fairly equal standard of living for individualsinstead of the averagely high standard of living provided by capitalism.

Jesus didn't speak of workers controlling the means of production or anything that's for sure. As far as society goes he did seem to be 'give what you can, take only what you need' which is similar to the communist idea, but isn't communism itself, no.


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 Message 119 by Jon, posted 06-04-2011 12:57 PM Jon has responded

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