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Life Arts    H1'ed 2/19/15

How the Bible Supports Socialism

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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'?"

Jeremiah Lamenting the Destruction of Jerusalem (detail)  by Rembrandt
Jeremiah Lamenting the Destruction of Jerusalem (detail) by Rembrandt
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Jeremiah Lamenting the Destruction of Jerusalem (detail)  by Rembrandt
Jeremiah Lamenting the Destruction of Jerusalem (detail) by Rembrandt
(Image by (Not Known) Public domain via wiki, Author: Author Not Given)
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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.

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.

I got this poster in Greenwich Village in 1968 and it hung in my room throughout my teen years.
I got this poster in Greenwich Village in 1968 and it hung in my room throughout my teen years.
(Image by (From Wikimedia) Art Young  (1866–1943)    / Investigation of Communist Activities in the New York Area, Author: See Source)
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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.

For more quotations, see 54 Bible Verses about Socialism.

Thanks to my friend Francis Sporer for calling my attention to these verses.

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Meryl Ann Butler is an artist, author, educator and OpedNews Managing Editor who has been actively engaged in utilizing the arts as stepping-stones toward joy-filled wellbeing since she was a hippie. She began writing for OpEdNews in Feb, 2004. She became a Senior Editor in August 2012 and Managing Editor in January, (more...)

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