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Was Jesus a Socialist?

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By Robert Bows (about the author)

And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,

Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

--William Butler Yeats, The Second Coming, 1920

One of the techniques of successful propaganda is to repeat a statement over and over again until people believe it to be true, as any encounter with the media and the pulpit amply demonstrates. So, to transform the world into a sustainable and progressive place, we must deconstruct the underlying lies promulgated by the mouthpieces of plutocratic propaganda, by which they justify the current state of affairs.

Given the increasing gap between rich and poor, the sharp spike in religious fundamentalism, and the impunity with which corporate-controlled states seize resources to which they have no legitimate claim, one of our first priorities must be to disable the use of religious dogma to justify greed and war.

Since surveys indicate that three-quarters of Americans consider themselves to be Christians, let's begin there. [1]

It has become a tenet of faith for many Christians that they can simultaneously practice their religion and conduct economic affairs in their own self interest. Indeed, ever since the Protestant Reformation arose from the pressures of the Industrial Revolution, the pulpits of Christianity have been used to turn wealth (economic success) into an indication of favor from God.

Let's go back to the source of Christianity and see if such thinking holds up.

The statements attributed to Jesus on the subject of wealth are almost unanimously clear on this, for example:

"You cannot serve God and Mammon." [2] (Matthew 6:19-24)

The one pre-eminent exception to this is:

"Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's." (Matthew 22:21; Mark 12:17; Luke 20:25.)

As Michael Baigent so astutely documents in The Jesus Papers: Exposing the Greatest Cover-Up in History, [3] Jesus' remarks were carefully couched to respond to this trick question on the part of the Pharisees. Cognizant of the slaughter the Romans had inflicted on Jews that refused to pay taxes to the state, Jesus was seeking to avoid a confrontation over this particular issue. Orthodox fundamentalists may have thought they were tricking Jesus into choosing between supporting Rome (and therefore its taxation) and supporting the indigenous uprising of Judea, but Jesus' response was a trick as well. Showing consistency with his earlier remarks that "You cannot serve God and Mammon," he tells the Pharisees to take the coin with Caesar's image and give it back to Caesar. In such a remark, Jesus shows his contempt for the empire, while avoiding incarceration and torture over this point. He had bigger fish to fry before the climax of his mission.

In support of the notion of Jesus as a political as well as spiritual figure, Baigent perceptively points out that Jesus was crucified, a Roman punishment for sedition, not stoned, as he would have been if it were the Jews who had him executed for religious crimes. From this key distortion, cemented into the so-called New Testament under Constantine in 325 AD, comes the source of Anti-Semitism in Christianity that leads directly to Mohammed's purges, the Inquisition, the pogroms, and the Holocaust.

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Television producer/writer/director, political economist, learning consultant, metaphysician, yogi, theatre reviewer, boardmember of the Public Banking Institute, and pseudonymous author of and "Solomon's Proof: A (more...)
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Our governments are controlled by persons who are ... by R A Bows on Friday, Dec 24, 2010 at 12:25:16 AM
A good gift to readers at this season.... by Kevin Tully on Friday, Dec 24, 2010 at 8:38:11 AM
Except for a few errors, I agree completely. In fa... by John Reed on Friday, Dec 24, 2010 at 9:12:07 AM
I agree with you that the early church was radical... by R A Bows on Friday, Dec 24, 2010 at 12:58:35 PM
You demonstrate a profound insight into the issues... by John Reed on Friday, Dec 24, 2010 at 9:09:45 PM
Thanks, John. I read an excellent review of this a... by R A Bows on Saturday, Dec 25, 2010 at 11:57:02 PM
What a great step in debunking the misinformation ... by Michael Bonanno on Friday, Dec 24, 2010 at 9:28:11 PM
Thank you, Michael. I agree that governance is nec... by R A Bows on Friday, Dec 24, 2010 at 9:53:20 PM
"So, it is no coincidence that the Roman Catholic ... by Dar Gary on Saturday, Dec 25, 2010 at 12:30:23 AM
1. Yes, some of the most fervent opponents of Nazi... by R A Bows on Sunday, Dec 26, 2010 at 12:06:43 AM
1-You can't write "of thebhighest level" then use ... by Dar Gary on Sunday, Dec 26, 2010 at 7:04:06 AM
You wrote: "I shouold also add that in addition to... by R A Bows on Sunday, Dec 26, 2010 at 8:46:45 PM
Well, I was obviosuly wrong when I claimed you onl... by Dar Gary on Monday, Dec 27, 2010 at 8:54:31 PM
The debate ends when one party begins to criticize... by R A Bows on Tuesday, Dec 28, 2010 at 10:05:34 AM
Yes! But only for the Hebrews/Jews!... by Michael Hayes on Saturday, Dec 25, 2010 at 9:10:32 AM
From Genesis 13 to Genesis 17, in numerous instanc... by John Reed on Saturday, Dec 25, 2010 at 4:12:11 PM
If Jesus actually existed as a single man, not a c... by Steven G. Erickson on Sunday, Dec 26, 2010 at 5:17:11 PM
dahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh,Jesus was a communist and that i... by Alan Orlowsky on Monday, Dec 27, 2010 at 8:02:17 PM