So often we hear about “social justice” or even “economic justice” by many on the Left of the political spectrum. They blame many people of the Christian faith of being hypocritical on this subject. So we ask a provocative question: Is the (Christian) God an Egalitarian?
For the purposes of this article, perhaps we need to define egalitarianism. Egalitarianism is generally characterized by the idea that all human persons are equal in fundamental worth. For many, this definition sounds reasonable, but the devil is in the detail. Some go further and argue that egalitarianism is where people should be treated as equals and have the same political, economic, social, and civil rights and advocating the removal of economic inequalities among people. Whoa, “removal of economic inequalities?” Is that economic opportunity or economic outcomes? Is God a socialist or a capitalist?
When we ask, “Is God an Egalitarian?” no matter what your God says, almost all religions have to grapple with their view on egalitarianism. Even if you are unaffiliated with a religion or even an Athiest, you may live in a culture that may have shaped your cultural biases accordingly. Inevitably, the people around you will ask their governments to make policies based on those beliefs. So it is a relevant topic to all.
Since many of our readers are from the Western world, and the Christian religion is the largest religious group, it may be useful to take a little dive into what Biblical references says about egalitarianism. In the Old Testament, God seemed to favor one race/ethnicity over others – the Hebrew people. Some claim God even gave slavery a pass. But this presumes you know well the plan of God and its purpose.
But in the New Testament, God must have got “woke.” In Galatians 3:28, it says, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” But does this mean God now believes in egalitarianism? It depends on how you interpret this statement. One can be “one” in a family but not necessarily equal in position and power. Reading egalitarianism into this statement may be a misunderstanding.
Christian socialism believes capitalism to be idolatrous and rooted in greed, which some Christian denominations consider a sin. Christian socialists identify the cause of inequality to be the greed that they associate with capitalism. Lev 19:13-18 states, “You shall not oppress your neighbor…” Some of the Psalms include many references to helping the poor. And Matthew 19:24 states, “… it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” But Christian socialism assumes capitalism is oppressive and not charitable.
Over the past 200 years, the world has done very well under capitalism. With socialists, the world would have fared far worse. So just who is more oppressive and can help poor people? The “Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard” makes an interesting discussion about economic transactions. In the parable, the landowner was cutting deals with each individual on a one-off basis. The deals were not fair (payment for hours worked – they were unequal), but suited the landowner’s objectives. He rejected the envy of those that complained. It would seem that God supports free trade and individualism, not collective transactions. Can you imagine if God faced unionized workers? LoL …
Other statements seem to contradict the concept of socialism. Biblically it states in 2 Thessalonians 3:10, “… if any would not work, neither should he eat” – so much for socialism and the welfare state. Of course, this wouldn’t prevent charity given to the poor, so long it was not coerced by force by some arbitrary third party – the government.
Capitalism is based on self-actualization. Not necessarily greed, as greed suggests ill-gotten gains. It is the search and actualization of this betterment of individuals, thereby resulting in an overall strong fabric of a society that can not be toppled at the head easily.
Socialism is based on envy – being victimized by someone that has more than you. Is socialism based on evil? Well, Satan was in search of equality too, and despised governance hierarchy. Isaiah 14:13-14: “I [Satan] will make myself like the Most High.” So he didn’t want to be lower than God. He was envious. Other translations suggest he wanted to “be” God. In other words, the search for equality never ends until you get on top. It sounds a lot like Identity Politics.
Whether the Bible is real or metaphoric, people use it often for their cultural, moral guidance. Bringing this all back to some modern-day relevance, One can ask, what does this mean for religion and their ideologies? Given that the Western world is mostly Christian (or culturally Christian), given that Europe is already heavily leaning socialist, and America is turning more and more socialist, religion may accelerate in its decline. Why?
In a recent Pew study, Christians, when asked about their religion, it has shown to be down 12 percentage points over the past decade. We see this trend continuing and even accelerating. The religious Christians tend to be conservative (capitalists). Atheists tend to be left-wing (socialist). The left-wing and their drive for egalitarian policies are opposing to many Christian beliefs, though they try to infiltrate Christianity to change it – as they know many want to adhere to their Christian beliefs.
Most believe this downward acceleration of religion is due to a stronger belief in Atheism. Instead, it may be that it is socialism that is driving Atheism, though hardcore Atheists would disagree. Perhaps it is both. Whether all this phenomenon is good or bad, we will let you decide these religious and philosophical issues – just do so with an understanding of both sides of the argument. Place your comments and rebuttals in the comment section of this article.