Sunday, March 22, 2009

Bible study – Jesus was a SOCIALIST! (I think)J

No, don’t let the success theologians, or the fundamentalists and others who are willfully wedded at the hip to the GOP, tell you Jesus is a capitalist.

Beyond the fact that capitalism as we know it today didn’t exist 2,000 years ago, the bible clearly shows us Jesus is a socialist. Or even a communist, for doorknob’s sake!

Matthew 20:1-16 clearly shows that:
1"For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire men to work in his vineyard. 2He agreed to pay them a denarius for the day and sent them into his vineyard.

3"About the third hour he went out and saw others standing in the marketplace doing nothing. 4He told them, 'You also go and work in my vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.' 5So they went.

"He went out again about the sixth hour and the ninth hour and did the same thing. 6About the eleventh hour he went out and found still others standing around. He asked them, 'Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?'

7" 'Because no one has hired us,' they answered.
"He said to them, 'You also go and work in my vineyard.'

8"When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, 'Call the workers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last ones hired and going on to the first.'

9"The workers who were hired about the eleventh hour came and each received a denarius. 10So when those came who were hired first, they expected to receive more. But each one of them also received a denarius. 11When they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner. 12'These men who were hired last worked only one hour,' they said, 'and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.'

13"But he answered one of them, 'Friend, I am not being unfair to you. Didn't you agree to work for a denarius? 14Take your pay and go. I want to give the man who was hired last the same as I gave you. 15Don't I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?'

16"So the last will be first, and the first will be last."

While Jesus doesn’t use Marx’s phrase, it’s arguable that Jesus had some version of “each according to his needs” in mind.

On the other hand, it’s arguable that he was an unregulated Gilded Age capitalist. If he says he has the right to pay whatever he wants, he obviously doesn’t believe in a minimum wage. By rebuking one of the early workers, he clearly doesn’t believe in unionism.

By hiring day laborers in the marketplace, he probably does believe in exploiting labor. Would probably have been OK with unrestricted illegal immigration by the Nabatean Arabs into Roman Palestine.

It’s certainly NOT arguable, though, in reference to the success theologians, that trying to make modern economic arguments and justifications from the bible is almost as inane as trying to do that by ID/creationism.

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