Socialist: Jesus Wasn’t One
Folks, Jesus wasn’t a socialist, and anyone who implies he was doesn’t know what socialism is, or doesn’t understand the teachings of Jesus. I saw a meme today that implied that he was. How rediculous. And, before someone gets their knickers in a bunch, it is quite easy to explain why.
Let’s start with the definition of socialism (from Wikipedia):
Socialism is a political ideology and movement that seeks to improve society and social conditions. As a social and economic system, is characterised by social ownership and democratic control of the means of production, as well as a political theory and movement that aims at the establishment of such a system.
A socialist is someone who practices socialism.
Here’s where that meme falls apart…
- Jesus wasn’t part of a political ideology or movement. He was God’s son, sent to do the will of the Father. He was probably the least political person to walk the face of the earth. When someone attempted to trick him, his reply was straightforward, “Render therefore unto Caesar.”
- While be sought to improve society and conditions, he did so through the needs of the individual.
- Jesus did not encourage social ownership. In fact, he instructed some to “sell everything” and to “come follow me”.
Socialist would have you believe that government (or big business) is the best caregiver. We see socialistic implementation in our own society. Military and police being the obvious implementations and actually needed to maintain security and protection. Neither one being anything Jesus got involved with.
However, when it comes to caring for the sick, afflicted, the fatherless or the widow, Jesus didn’t demand others do it. He did it himself. He set the example of service.
Yesterday in the High Priest Group, I led a discussion about the Savior and having a Christ centered life. At no point did I ever feel that Jesus Christ was a radical socialist. It just didn’t fit the teachings of Christ.
Socialism requires a level of authoritarianism, and if that doesn’t work, it requires totalitarianism. (Case in point – Cuba.) In order for socialism to work, there have to be sanctions or penalties if people don’t conform. Nowhere do I read in the scriptures that Jesus Christ’s behavior was that of an authoritarian or totalitarian. In fact, his example was just the opposite.
When confronted by a rich man regarding what rich man needed to do to be saved, Christ told him, “One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.”
There was no penalty or sanction involved. Jesus left he decision to the man.
Joseph Smith was in Nauvoo and visited by a reporter. Impressed with the industry of the saints, Joseph Smith was asked how he did it. His reply was simple, “I teach them correct principles and they govern themselves.”
Smith’s summary of how the Savior taught says it all. Socialism is a do-it-or-else situation, where true christianity is do-what-is-right-let-the-consequence-follow.
It is best said in the hymn’s chorus:
Do what is right; let the consequence follow.
Battle for freedom in spirit and might;
And with stout hearts look ye forth till tomorrow.
God will protect you; then do what is right!
Nope, Jesus wasn’t a socialist. He definitely wasn’t a communist, nor were his actions totalitarian or authoritarian in nature. He was a servant to all who needed him.
Instead of thinking socialism is a cure-all for societies ills, imagine what the world would be like if every person were to (on their own accord) pick out 4 households (non-relatives) and visit them and see that they are cared for?
Imagine what a difference that would make in the world. Nope, that wouldn’t be socialism, but I bet it would make a bigger impact than a government-ran program ever could.