Does the Bible line up with Marxism? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
So there’s this collection of memes going around the internet where you’re supposed to play a game and decide if the quote comes from Marx or the Bible. Naturally, there’s no citation given. I can understand that during the “game”, but one would hope that at the end, all the references would be given.
Alas, such is not the case.
So let’s go through these quotes which all turn out to be from the Bible.
No reference of course, but yes. Don’t rob the poor. That’s not only Christian, that’s capitalist. Capitalism is the free exchange of goods without force, theft, or fraud. If any system robs the poor, it’s Marxism. Economic controls make it harder for the poor to earn and have income in the long term and taxation doesn’t hurt the rich nearly as much as it does the poor.
This is Proverbs 22:16 and again, what’s the problem? Proverbs give general principles and this is one of them. God has a special heart for the poor in Scripture and so mistreatment of the poor is not allowed. Giving to the rich would be a way of trying to buy the favor of a rich man and get his honor. Now if you had a friend who was rich, this doesn’t mean you can’t buy him a gift of some sort, but it would mean you should be giving to the poor too.
By the way, conservatives typically do give more to charity, as is shown in Arthur Brooks’s The Conservative Heart. There’s less emphasis to give to the poor if you just think the government will do it for you.
This is from Proverbs 29:7. The righteous care for the poor. The wicked doesn’t. It would be a mistake to read the Constitution into this as it was not written with an American Republic in mind, but again, what’s the problem here? We should care about the poor. Most capitalists would agree. We’d even say that’s why we’re capitalists. The best way to help the poor is to enable them to rise up out of poverty. Thomas Sowell has repeatedly stated that few people stay in the same income bracket their whole lives. Those at one point in the bottom 20% will not always be there.
This is found in James and is a way of warning against trying to buy the favor of the rich. Big shock. Rich people can be evil. For that matter, so can poor people, but rich people often have greater means to do evil.
This is why it’s important to realize that before Adam Smith ever wrote a book on capitalism, he wrote one on ethics. Capitalism is not meant to be done apart from ethics.
This is a general principle and yes, the rich do tend to have power over the poor and if you borrow money from someone, you are their servant to an extent.
How this is supposed to be something Marxist is not explained.
I am quite sure the person who shared this has not sold their computer and given it to the needy yet. At any rate, this was said to one person in particular, the rich young ruler, since money was his idol. After all, if everyone did this, eventually, we would have new needy and new rich people. It would just be a reversal.
This is also true. If you desire to be rich above all else, that is a path of destruction. There is nothing wrong with wanting to have money in itself and wanting to be financially secure, but if you blur ethical lines to do that, you have a problem. Rich people with good hearts can do a whole lot of good. Rich people with wicked hearts can do a whole lot of bad, such as someone like, I don’t know, Engels, regularly giving of his wealth that he had to finance someone named Marx. His philosophy has been one of the most destructive of all.
It is. It is not the root of all evil, but much evil is done because of the love of money. This can even include if you’re the government and think you need to take away money from other people and give it to others. If I empty out your bank account in theft and give all the money to the poor, I have used the money for something good, but I have done an evil because it was not my money to use in that way. Somehow though, if the government does that, it’s okay.
This is Hebrews 13:5 which also says to be content with what you have. Again, what is the situation here? As a capitalist, I agree with this.
This is from Luke’s version of the Sermon on the Mount, which is giving a reversal. In the day of Jesus, it would have been thought that the rich had the blessings of God, since, well, they were rich. Jesus says it is otherwise.
Ultimately, the problem with all of these is the assumption that if you are someone who cares for the poor and doesn’t glamourize wealth, you should be a Marxist. It doesn’t work that way. Too many leftists think that if you don’t agree with them on the ways to help the poor, then you don’t care about helping the poor. If I care about treating your hiccups and my suggestion is to get an axe and cut off your head, it would be silly to say if you disagree that you don’t care about solving the problem. You just don’t think that’s the most efficient way. (Although to be fair, if I did do that, you certainly would no longer have hiccups!)
Capitalists are in favor of helping the poor. We just don’t think the government is the way to do it. That doesn’t mean we oppose all government safety nets, but we much more support private individuals giving freely of themselves to help those in need. If all Marxism meant was caring for the poor, no one would really object. It is how they think we should care for the poor that is a real issue here.
I really think most people should just read at least Henry Hazlitt’s Economics in one Lesson.
(And I affirm the virgin birth)