Was Jesus a communist?

El_Machinae

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Christians ended up being rather communal, in the early days, because tight and self-sacrificing communities is its own ideal. That's after they started having to deal with actual practicalities. In the times that Christ himself taught, we have to remember that he was a messiah to a conquered people and that the message was working within the laws and institutions that the believer couldn't seriously influence.

The idea in that passage, and in many others, is that it's better to give your wealth away rather than use it for your own gratification. The exemption proving the rule being Matthew 26:6–13, where Jesus allowed himself to be treated as a sacred being rather than as a man. Self-denial is not a social system, it's a personal responsibility.

But then we look at the story of the gleaning on the Sabbath, which was definitely about using people's excess wealth to create a hand-up rather than a hand-out.
 

Ajidica

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He certainly wasn't on the side of the landlords and tax collectors.
Matthew 19:24 KJV said:
And again I say to you, 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.”
 

Ferocitus

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No. He did nothing for the emancipation of slaves. Except "promise" them a chance at entry to some magical dream world. He might as well have thrown in "Or triple your money back!"
 

El_Machinae

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The deeper message is that Christ's message was able to work regardless of the social system. Someone can behave Christian in a communist system. They can behave Christian in Libertopia. The one arena that Christianity really struggles with, ironically, is democracy. It wasn't designed to be in charge. A Christian can have individual power over people, applying the Golden Rule in that situation is doable. But that's when you're forcing someone else to work for you, not when we're forcing other people to work for the benefit of society.
 

Ferocitus

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The deeper message is that Christ's message was able to work regardless of the social system. Someone can behave Christian in a communist system. They can behave Christian in Libertopia. The one arena that Christianity really struggles with, ironically, is democracy. It wasn't designed to be in charge. A Christian can have individual power over people, applying the Golden Rule in that situation is doable. But that's when you're forcing someone else to work for you, not when we're forcing other people to work for the benefit of society.
OTOH, they can be in charge in the military in a US-style democracy. And Reagan started stuffing the ranks with the "right type" of Christians during his terms as President.

"Evangelicals looked at the military and said, 'This is a mission field,’” explains Captain MeLinda Morton,
a Lutheran pastor and former missile-launch commander who until 2005 was a staff chaplain at the Air Force
Academy and has since studied and written about the chaplaincy. "They wanted to send their missionaries to
the military, and for the military itself to become missionaries to the world."


Jeff Sharlet, Jesus Killed Mohammed - The Crusade for a Christian Military, 2009.
https://harpers.org/archive/2009/05/jesus-killed-mohammed/
 

Angst

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Jesus wasn't a communist, but in some ways what he thought as human virtues in common behavior overlaps more with anarchocommunists than conservatives today. It's just that communism predisposes a certain relation to materialism that's a far cry from his hermit spirituality. You can be against unequal distribution of wealth (and wealth in general) without being a communist, and you can fight for the rights of the poor without being a communist. However, for example, the modern American rendition of Christianity is a far cry from the pacifist, patient, forgiving, nonviolently disobedient, anti-wealth and anti-establishment claims attributed to Jesus in the Bible. It's easy to mentally conjoin two different oppositions to establishments of a wealthy elite, especially when the appeals against this elite claims the power of the elite is based on falsity, fundamental vice or dysfunction.
 

Chicken Pizza

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He certainly wasn't on the side of the landlords and tax collectors.

He wasn't on anybodys side but his own. It doesn't matter how much good you do, you're still a sinner.

He turned the poor against the rich and family members against each other. He didn't come with peace, but with a sword.

Divide and conquer.

Although I can understand the underdog message, I would rather have read about some of his disciples (professional fishermen) teach him how to fish, rather than him telling them to throw the net on the other side.

Or about his father Joseph impregnating his wife and doing some serious carpeting after. Is carpeting what the world needs? Maybe not, but walking on water isn't that useful either.

I see the bible as an extremely demanding fairy tale with no supporting characters, that doesn't make you feel better about yourself.

The best answer to a christian I've read on a forum, is probably "the difference is that I want you to live, and you want me to die".

Inshallah.
 

Ajidica

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He wasn't on anybodys side but his own. It doesn't matter how much good you do, you're still a sinner.

He turned the poor against the rich and family members against each other. He didn't come with peace, but with a sword.

Divide and conquer.

Although I can understand the underdog message, I would rather have read about some of his disciples (professional fishermen) teach him how to fish, rather than him telling them to throw the net on the other side.

Or about his father Joseph impregnating his wife and doing some serious carpeting after. Is carpeting what the world needs? Maybe not, but walking on water isn't that useful either.

I see the bible as an extremely demanding fairy tale with no supporting characters, that doesn't make you feel better about yourself.

The best answer to a christian I've read on a forum, is probably "the difference is that I want you to live, and you want me to die".

Inshallah.
I have no idea what you are trying to get at.
 

JohannaK

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I don't know, what did he think of Marx's 18th Brumaire?
 

Hrothbern

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A distinction I see is between the viewpoint. Communism focuses on the right of every person to a good living, which makes sharing the wealth a necessity. Whereas Christian teaching usually takes the viewpoint of the person sharing her or his own wealth or what little you own. It's an individual level, rather than a societal one.

Yes
In a society with many Jewish religious prescriptions... with Romans owning in a utilitarian way your life and fruits of your life for the good of The State....
Jesus granting each individual its own eternal soul... each and every soul respected by God... to engage with God as individual without middlemen like priests or God-Kings... and the inspiration to take your own individual responsibility to do good.
 
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Lohrenswald

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Even beyond all the things about 2000 years ago being preindustrial and pre-capitalism, I think Jesus' deal about like tolerating the oppressive power and promising relief after the end of the world is very uncommunistic
Like, he's giving opium to the masses
 

gay_Aleks

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You're taking that quote somewhat out of context. Marx's quote is somewhat glowingly speaking of Christianity, at least for its moment: that it is ultimately a spiritual representation of a material struggle, and therefore, as such, is a salve to the unbearable pain that living can be. That is its role and how it arose in Rome; but it has quickly outgrown it, while, at the same time, becoming increasingly obsolete, and indeed, a fetter on further development. This is why the bourgeois class had to separate it from its stately matters, while still using it in the ideological sphere. Conversely, you had (indeed, still have) people who have used Christianity as a tool of liberation - the English Diggers/Levellers are one example - but that is limited, as shown time and time by history. So, Christ isn't a communist in the Marxist sense, although that doesn't prevent Marxists from being Christians.
 

Chukchi Husky

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I've been told many times a quote that is supposed to be from Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, "Christianity and Communism are diametrically opposed."
 

JohannaK

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You're taking that quote somewhat out of context. Marx's quote is somewhat glowingly speaking of Christianity, at least for its moment: that it is ultimately a spiritual representation of a material struggle, and therefore, as such, is a salve to the unbearable pain that living can be. That is its role and how it arose in Rome; but it has quickly outgrown it, while, at the same time, becoming increasingly obsolete, and indeed, a fetter on further development. This is why the bourgeois class had to separate it from its stately matters, while still using it in the ideological sphere. Conversely, you had (indeed, still have) people who have used Christianity as a tool of liberation - the English Diggers/Levellers are one example - but that is limited, as shown time and time by history. So, Christ isn't a communist in the Marxist sense, although that doesn't prevent Marxists from being Christians.
This is what in English we call a killjoy.
 

Ferocitus

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Even beyond all the things about 2000 years ago being preindustrial and pre-capitalism, I think Jesus' deal about like tolerating the oppressive power and promising relief after the end of the world is very uncommunistic
Like, he's giving opium to the masses
His praxis was suspect too, and that weak attempt to destabilise the financial system was definitely unsound.
Throwing a Karen in front of a couple of bank clerks was never going to affect bankers, Capitalism's big cheeses. :cringe:
 
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