Christ Was A Politician

What is a politician?
1 : a person experienced in the art or science of government; especially : one actively engaged in conducting the business of a government
2    a : a person engaged in party politics as a profession
      b : a person primarily interested in political office for selfish or other narrow usually short-sighted reasons

This definition leaves a bit to be desired. History is full of stories of people thrown into political situations, not because they are professionals, but because they oppose the current system or rulers. By this wider definition we can see that protestors and street preachers are participating in the political system. This is said without concern for the degree of efficacy of their participation. What is important is that they be recognized as part of the body politic. Short of this recognition it is not possible to say that the ordinary person has a say or place in politics.

Rome made political pacts with the Jewish religious leaders. To oppose these leaders is to be political. The tacit reason for the crucifixion of the Christ was his claim to be king. Heresy. Political suicide.

There are a growing number of people who seem to reject religion but accept the teachings of the Christ of the Christian bible. That is to say that they reject how man has interpreted the bible in the form of religion. In this they seem to reject all of the ‘objectionable’ parts of the Old Testament while retaining what they consider acceptable in the New Testament. That is to say that laws such as stoning those who work on a Sabbath are bad and to be rejected.

What is this growing group of theists pushing for? Clearly it is not an organized group so any statement of what they want would necessarily be incorrect for as many of them as it is correct. The common theme is that what Jesus taught is good, the rest of religion is bad. Do you know who else said this?

Karl Marx’s religious views: He famously stated in Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right

“Religious suffering is, at one and the same time, the expression of real suffering and a protest against real suffering. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is the demand for their real happiness. To call on them to give up their illusions about their condition is to call on them to give up a condition that requires illusions. The criticism of religion is, therefore, in embryo, the criticism of that vale of tears of which religion is the halo.

Criticism has plucked the imaginary flowers on the chain not in order that man shall continue to bear that chain without fantasy or consolation, but so that he shall throw off the chain and pluck the living flower. The criticism of religion disillusions man, so that he will think, act, and fashion his reality like a man who has discarded his illusions and regained his senses, so that he will move around himself as his own true Sun. Religion is only the illusory Sun which revolves around man as long as he does not revolve around himself.

So this Christ guy taught a few things:

Give up your worldly possessions –
Mark 10:21 – Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.
Mathew 19:21 – Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.

In Luke 3 we see Jesus telling all to give up what they do not immediately need, help the needy, feed and clothe those who lack, in all transactions be fair and just, and that getting into the ‘heaven’ requires this sacrifice.

This is clearly a form of socialism. Rule of the people remains but it is said to be rule with fairness and glorify the god, not the self. That is to say that you should be fair and just and your brother’s keeper but do not take the credit, give that to the god. When there is no living god, the credit then goes to an ideal and not the individual. This is very socialist and very anti-capitalist.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopediaFrom each according to his ability, to each according to his need (or needs) is a slogan popularised by Karl Marx in his 1875 Critique of the Gotha Program.[1] In German, “Jeder nach seinen Fähigkeiten, jedem nach seinen Bedürfnissen!”. In the Marxist view, such an arrangement will be made possible by the abundance of goods and services that a developed communist society will produce; the idea is that, with the full development of scientific socialism and unfettered productive forces, there will be enough to satisfy everyone’s needs.

The complete paragraph containing Marx’s statement of the creed in the ‘Critique of the Gotha Program’ is as follows:

In a higher phase of communist society, after the enslaving subordination of the individual to the division of labor, and therewith also the antithesis between mental and physical labor, has vanished; after labor has become not only a means of life but life’s prime want; after the productive forces have also increased with the all-around development of the individual, and all the springs of co-operative wealth flow more abundantly—only then can the narrow horizon of bourgeois right be crossed in its entirety and society inscribe on its banners: From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs![1][2][3]

Some scholars trace the origin of the phrase to the New Testament.[7][8] In Acts of the Apostles the lifestyle of the community of believers in Jerusalem is described as communal (without individual possession), and uses the phrase “distribution was made unto every man according as he had need“:

Matthew 25:14-30: And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to each according to his ability. And he went abroad at once.

Acts 4:32: All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had.

It is clear that Marx had opinions on many things and his ideas have been used in many ‘philosophies’, often to ill effect. Lenin made kind of a mess of things but the problem can generally be said that the Russian experiment failed because Marxist Communism cannot be sustainable when isolated within a single country. No, it has to be spread everywhere so that the value of things and self are experienced universally. That is to say that it must be spread over all of the globe ideally for the ideals to function as they should. This post is not long enough to explore all of these in any useful way. I do want to draw another parallel here between Marxist ideals and this new Jesus philosophy religion.

What this Christ taught also cannot survive on its own in isolation, it must be spread around the globe. Christians worth their salt know of the Great Commission to evangelize and spread the religion.

The Great Commission (Mathew 28)

16 Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 17 And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. 18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in[a] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

The parallels between the teachings of this Christ and Marxian thought are, to me, a natural fit. Marx had to consider the creation of wealth and division of labor for success of the society. The Christ covered all that by creating a two class system – the class of believers and the class of non-believers. The law of rule to be established by his commandments and the necessary struggle for life between classes is that between belief and non-belief. He directly opposed the ruling class with the notion of the people taking over the ruling class and the world through dedication to the ideas of the Christ’s teachings and not themselves or wealth itself.

Was Marx copying the Christ? or is it that Marx, the Christ, and anti-theist all see the reality of religion: It is the most caustic thing to have ever been invented. Lenin could not make success of Marxist philosophy and religion has not made a success of the Christ’s philosophy. Perhaps both are doomed to fail at every attempt?
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  1. Nicely written (:

    • Thank you. It was inspired by a comment thread I was on in the past few days and the original thought was one I held long ago as a very young and devout Christian evangelical. I was taught essentially Marxian theology… well, in my view.

  2. Jesus also said his kingdom was not of this world, he didn’t come to establish an earthly kingdom but taught that loveand good deeds,attention to the needs of others and self sacrifice would be characteristics of those in the kingdom.Christ achieves this and displays this in the ultimate way at the cross.

    • The phrase ‘not of this world’ is open to interpretation. What I wrote is not about what is in the supposed afterlife, but what similarities there are between what the Christ did in this life and the ideals of Marx. Given the distinction, what happens in the afterlife, if there is one, is of no serious concern to what happened in this world and what I have written about in t his post. Here on this world he created class warfare between non-existent classes, using the establish law and rulers as the bourgeoisie and the ‘new Christians’ as the proletariat. It is class struggle, as Marx puts it, which leads to success and the individual’s worth is inextricably tied to their position within the class. The Christ taught that there is no value for a person who is not part of the Christian class, that all are valueless sinners unless they belong to his class. His was a revolution of the people’s class against the ruling class. None of that has anything to do with what might or might not be in some supposed after life.

      • “the Christ taught that there is no value for a person…” got a verse for that?

        • 1 Peter 3
          20For when you were the servants of sin, you were free from righteousness. 21What fruit had you then in those things whereof you are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death. 22But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end everlasting life. 23For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

          The idea being expressed is that only as a Christian are you of value to the god and no longer worthy of death. There are other passages which speak with such ideas, this is just one.

          • On the contrary, it is because people are valuable to God that “the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” is given freely as a gift of God’s love, kindness and unmerited favour, not based on our goodness or morality:

            1 John 4:10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

            Ephesians 2:6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.

            John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

            Romans 5:8 But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

            1 Peter 3 is helpful too: 18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God.

            It is we who do not value God.

            (btw your verses are from Romans 6)

            • Apparently you’re not seeing what I do. All that you have said here is the tropes about how wonderful god is. Despite his wondefulness he says that unless you profess belief in Jesus as savior you are of no value and will be tortured for ever. Only when the believer professes belief are they of value. Without this they will be thrown out, never to be redeemed. The idea that a loving father could toss his children into torture with no redemption for the want of belief is an idea not of worthy children but of children that mean nothing to the god, and worse are only to be used as chattel. Do as I command or die for eternity. Nothing in this says that humans are of value… no matter how many times god’s word declared how much he loves us. Actions speak louder than words… except if you’re a Christian, then only the words matter.

              • So a kind of universalism in which everyone is saved would show that God valued humans?

                • How about not creating sin, hell, and such in the first place. What’s the deal with him changing his mind and drowning every living thing? What kind of perfect god gets it that wrong so many times. He could have shown that he loves humans right there in the garden by being a loving protective parent… but no. From the very start, this story is about a god that does not care for humand, never mind love them.

                  • Then what would we blog about?! Seriously though, if God intervened every time we did something he didn’t like, wouldn’t we be complaining about how he’s always interfering? Or if we didn’t have free will we’d be more like robots or slaves, wouldn’t we? and what kind of god would that be… similar problem methinks.

                    “does not care for humand” apart from things like oxygen, water, carbohydrates.

                    • This is exactly what makes my head hurt when I listen to Christian apologists. What exactly do you think heaven is going to be? No pain or suffering, no sin, everything is rosy all the time. Creating his new play date friend in Heaven would be loving – this thing he supposedly did on Earth in the garden is nothing like caring, never mind love.

                      Lets not even get into whether there is a god that created the universe on this thread.

                    • FYI … new page to promote discussions.
                      http://defendyourpost.wordpress.com/lively-discussion-links/

  3. Well said. I was following that thread last week. This ties it up nicely.

    • Thanks. In the comment thread I know that it got a bit out of kilter… seemed like a good post to do 🙂

  4. …and thank you for doing it. I now see what you are saying. 🙂

    And although I may disagree with some of your conclusions (or not, as it may just be semantics), I do absolutely agree with the parallel you draw out here. I don’t say it very often among the church-going folk, since Christ, religion, nationalism, and capitalism are all hunkered down together, nice and gooey like. When the modern church talks about going back to being a “first-century church”, I want to snicker and say, “you mean you’re going to all become communists?” Instead, I just keep my mouth shut. 😀

    (Btw, sorry it took me so long to respond – I have insane work weeks)

    • I know exactly how those insane work weeks can go. I also know that when I was trying to say all this in the other thread it got kind of disorganized. Going back to the ‘good old days’ is always a bad idea. LOL

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