Misguided Christians and Liberals
By: J.J. Jackson
Some individual Christians, within Evangelicalism and within Catholicism, believe that society should be channeled into “correct” behavioral patterns by political edict.
Pope Benedict confronted this materialistic doctrine in his recent journey to Brazil. Variously known as liberation theology or the social gospel, the belief that the political state has the capacity, as well as the duty, to compel its citizens to follow certain ways of thinking and behavior, is not Christianity, but socialism.
Father Robert A. Sirico deals with the Pope’s endeavor in his May 18th article in the Wall Street Journal titled “Liberating Christianity.”
The Apostle Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 2:4-5, “My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power.”
The political state is men’s wisdom. Christianity is God’s love for mankind, of which every individual Christian must strive to be a witness to others. It is through the living examples of kindness, respect for others, courtesy, honesty, and moral rectitude, by Christians individually and as members of God’s kingdom on earth, that people are most effectively to be led into decent behavior.
Compulsory behavior standards imposed by political statute, whether in a Christian state or under Islamic sharia, do not engender acts of free will. Without following Jesus in free will, we cannot truly reflect God’s love.
Thus, both a Calvinistic political state and a materialistic, socialistic state stand at odds with true Christianity.
The liberation theology that plagues Latin America has for two centuries been the dominant secular religion of Western Europe. Whether we are religious Jews, Protestants, Orthodox Christians, or Roman Catholics, we can all thank God for the Pope’s willingness to ignore popular opinion and combat secular atheism head-on.
At the inception of articulated socialistic doctrine, its philosophers envisioned the political state, via materialistic actions, as the source of earthly salvation for the human race. In the late 19th and early 20th century period, that paradigm became widely accepted in intellectual circles, here and in Great Britain.
Henri de Saint-Simon, the earliest codifier of modern socialism, wrote in “The New Christianity” (1825) that the spiritual content of Christianity should be replaced by the regulatory edicts of the intellectual and professional councils that governed the atheistic and materialistic political state.
The job of those councils was to redistribute wealth, manage all economic activity, and to control the educational system so that only the doctrine of socialism might be taught in the schools. That remains the fundamental program of today’s liberal-Progressive-socialists.
Their conception, however, rests upon a fictional vision of the world.
First, the assumption is that, both in Rousseau’s imaginings about the original State of Nature, and in the modern world, there is more than enough material wealth to provide every person with a comfortable standard of living, if the political state takes “unjust” wealth from the rich and redistributes it equally among the people.
This, of course, ignores the history of the world, unequal geographic conditions, limited natural resources, and unequal human intelligence and abilities that have always been reflected in shortages of food, shelter, and other resources. The study of economics came into being precisely because human desires always exceed available resources.
The Protestant ethic, leading to capitalism, proved to be the greatest force in world history for raising living standards. (For more details regarding the Protestant ethic, see Liberals vs Evangelicals.
Some people, of course, became better off than others, but the living standards of even the poorest were exponentially improved. People classified today as living in poverty enjoy a standard of living available in the 19th century only to the top ranks of society.
The second fundamental assumption of socialism is that government regulatory councils are smarter and more efficient than private entrepreneurs.
After the political state has redistributed private wealth and placed management of economic activity under the control of its intellectual leaders and bureaucrats, the productivity and efficiency of businesses will increase far beyond the capacities of privately managed businesses. This added productivity will lead to conditions of plenty for everyone, producing a fundamental alteration of human nature. Human needs having thus been satisfied, aggression, crime, and warfare will disappear. In
Lenin’s thesis, at that point government itself will wither away.
Third, when the movement to socialism has been fully implemented in major countries, the intellectuals are to spread it to the entire world. National states will disappear, replaced by a world government that will bring earthly salvation to mankind. Hence liberals’ faith in the UN and their judicial advocacy of international law as ipso facto amending our Constitution.
These assumptions can be seen clearly as the political, doctrinal foundation of American liberal Republicans and Democrats.
American religious leaders, along with Christian and religious Jewish political leaders, need to follow the Pope’s example.
Thomas E. Brewton is a staff writer for the New Media Alliance, Inc. The New Media Alliance is a non-profit (501c3) national coalition of writers, journalists and grass-roots media outlets. His weblog is THE VIEW FROM 1776
J.J. Jackson is a libertarian conservative author from Pittsburgh, PA who has been writing and promoting individual liberty since 1993 and is President of Land of the Free Studios, Inc. He is the Pittsburgh Conservative Examiner for Examiner.com. He is also the owner of The Right Things - Conservative T-shirts & Gifts The Right Things. His weekly commentary along with exclusives not available anywhere else can be found at Liberty Reborn.