Christ spoke more on money and greed than any other topic in the New Testament. The teachings on this topic by Christ are absolutely fundamental to Christianity, yet it is all but ignored by the modern church in American and European society today. Now I profess that I am a Christian and a socialist, a communist and in most every regard a Marxist. Though I am rather unorthodox in both arenas as I will be the first to admit. Contrary to what you may say I am no revisionist. I am an intellectual by nature and as such I cannot help but viciously attack the modern church for its inherently bourgeois character and reckless defense of the capitalist system. Let us look at what Christ himself has to say on the ‘virtues’ of greed and wealth as they are so often portrayed in capitalist society:
As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
“Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, you shall not defraud, honor your father and mother.’”
“Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.”
Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.
Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!”
The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said again, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”
The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, “Who then can be saved?”
Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”
Why is this verse so savagely ignored in the church today? To say that it is not would be absolutely absurd. Rockefeller for instance was said to be a devout Baptist yet the church never confronted him about this terrible sin he was committing. This sin was his parasitic lifestyle, his merciless exploitation of the poor and the working class, the amassing of an unfathomable fortune on a systemic basis that was irrevocably and undeniably incompatible with the Christian faith. Now I do not say that Rockefeller is in hell, I cannot judge him and make such an accusation. Only God can do that. But the absurd contradiction still exists and cannot be ignored. My fellow Christians hear me when I say to you that you are either with God or Mammon!
As I have previously stated, in the New Testament Jesus offers more wisdom and has more to say about money and greed than any other subject besides the “Kingdom of God.” How are alarm bells not ringing in the church today? Indeed it is true what Marx said, “The ruling ideas of each age have only ever been the ideas of its ruling class.” In other words the accepted ideas of any period are only ever those that serve the dominant economic interests. Religion, and organized religion to be more specific, is by no means exempt from this. By that I mean its teachings and interpretations of even the most basic fundamentals of a given faith are perverted by the ruling class in a given epoch. Religion, like any other idea, evolves in order to defend the prevailing economic order. Whether it is slavery, feudalism or capitalism. All of these are perversions to the Christian faith. They are to never be defended but merely tolerated by the religious body in question and only insofar as they are necessary stages of human development in a given period of time.
One of the worst perversions of the Christian faith by the bourgeoisie is the advent of the dreaded ‘prosperity gospel’ which defends the hoarding of material wealth and the idolatry of money. The irony of this it’s essential founding in Luke 4: 7 in which Satan says to Christ, “If Thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be Thine.” Indeed how can a Christian not but scoff at a ‘Christian’ theology that founds and justifies itself on the words of the devil himself? This I shall never know.
But this is absolutely fundamental, how long has our religion been perverted by the ruling class of any particular epoch in the last 2 millennia in order to exploit the poor, to keep them in chains with the promise of a better life after death? You cannot look at modern Christianity today and tell me it is not a perversion of Christ’s teachings. I am not a socialist for religious reasons. I am a socialist on a material, logical, matter of a fact basis. But regardless I must ask, how can a Christian not advocate for a society that truly reflects the values of their given faith? How can a Christian defend an economic order that represents everything that is contrary to his/ her faith? Capitalism is irrevocably incompatible with Christianity. Let me say that again, capitalism is irrevocably incompatible with Christianity! Of course when it first came about during the Calvinist reformation it was never intended to be what it is today by the religious thinkers of the time. Yet here we are in a world run solely on everything Christ preached against! Christians I urge you to read Marx if you are in good faith, cling to your faith and see that while this thinker may have been wrong on religion and other minor philosophical matters and interpretations of materialism, he is absolutely right on economic ones.
The society he envisioned and advocated (though he wrote very little on the future) is the same type of society followed by the early apostles in the book of Acts. He was a militant Atheist as everyone knows, but he never advocated the abolition of religion by force, merely that it would become unnecessary in such a society. This is a disagreement we have, but it is trivial in the grand scheme of things. I slam the early church for not having such an ideology originate from a Christian thinker. That the mechanisms of historical processes and the economic laws of capitalism were revealed by an atheist and not by a follower of God. But that guilt falls solely on the early church and it’s bourgeois nature. Don’t just read Marx, read James Connolly. Connolly was a devout catholic and a Marxist. He founded the Irish Socialist Republican Party and led the good fight for Irish independence. He argued as I do that not only can a Christian be a socialist, but that they must be! You will see his face on the right of the header of this blog as he has inspired my thinking greatly. So I write this in his name, in honor of such a great man.
2 thoughts on “A Christian Socialist’s attack on the Modern Church”
Persuasive arguments. Along these lines you would like http://www.gospelpolitics.com
Interesting website, thanks for sharing!