As anyone with the remotest understanding of the foundations of Christianity knows, the Bible has plenty of allusions to the benefits of Socialism.
So next time you find yourself in a battle of wits with a Bible-thumping fan of Sarah Palin and Rush Limbaugh, carry a few of these quotations in your pocket...and consider responding to some of their holier-than-thou perspectives with a question, such as, "well, then, what does the Bible mean when it says, 'defend the rights of the poor and needy'?"
From the Old Testament: (Author's italics)
Deuteronomy 14:28-29 ESV (English Standard Version)
"At the end of every three years you shall bring out all the tithe of your produce in the same year and lay it up within your towns. And the Levite, because he has no portion or inheritance with you, and the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow, who are within your towns, shall come and eat and be filled, that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands that you do.
Jeremiah 29:7 ESV
But seek the welfare (well-being) of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.
Proverbs 31:9 ESV
Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.- Advertisement -
Proverbs 20:23 ESV
Unequal weights are an abomination to the Lord, and false scales are evil.
Amos 8:4-7 ESV
Hear this, you who trample on the needy and bring the poor of the land to an end, saying, "When will the new moon be over, that we may sell grain? And the Sabbath, that we may offer wheat for sale, that we may make the ephah small and the shekel great and deal deceitfully with false balances, that we may buy the poor for silver and the needy for a pair of sandals and sell the chaff of the wheat?" The Lord has sworn by the pride of Jacob: "Surely I will never forget any of their deeds."
From the New Testament: (Author's italics)
I am personally not much of a fan of Paul and his misogynist ways, but even Paul promotes a socialistic point of view:
Paul's Second Epistle to the Corinthians 8:13-15 ESV
For I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened, but that as a matter of fairness your abundance at the present time should supply their need, so that their abundance may supply your need, that there may be fairness. As it is written, "Whoever gathered much had nothing left over, and whoever gathered little had no lack."
The Epistle of Paul to the Philippians 2:1-4 ESV
So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
Paul's Epistle to the Galatians 6:1-2 ESV
Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
1 John 3:17 ESV
But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him?
James 5:1-4 ESV
Come now, you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you. Your riches have rotted and your garments are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver have corroded, and their corrosion will be evidence against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up treasure in the last days. Behold, the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, are crying out against you, and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts.
Words ascribed to Jesus: (Author's italics)
Matthew 6:2-4 ESV
"Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
Matthew 19:21 ESV
Jesus said to him, "If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me."
Jews and Muslims both practice obligatory charity to the poor.
The Jews have a tradition of performing tzedakah, loosely translated as charity and justice, which usually constitutes material support of those in need. It is preferably done in secret, and Jesus certainly alludes to it in Matthew 6:2-4 .
Zakat, one of the five pillars of Islam, is the obligatory giving of alms to the poor.
Thanks to my friend Francis Sporer for calling my attention to these verses.