Jesus is a Capitalist
“…and why that matters for you.”
We live in a day and time where the philosophy of Marx is ritualistically repackaged and distributed as the contemporary gospel of Jesus Christ. As a result, those of us who have been raised in a predominantly Christian culture have probably adopted some pretty dumb ideas, including some pretty devastating notions about God and His Son. Even worse, because we have these ideas — without much thinking — we are often determined to defend our views at all costs. But what if those things that we’ve been trained, taught and educated to believe — aren’t quite true?
Consider — we live in a day and time where most people think that Jesus was against individualism. Therefore, in our most noble sentiments we advocate collectivism. But, is it possible that Jesus might not have taught us to value the group over the individual? In our post-industrial age, most of us have come to believe Jesus was an altruist. Therefore, as a sign of our devotion to higher thinking —without giving up our iPhones or air-conditioned automobiles — we are actually proud to be suspicious of strong willed, driven, producers who invent, organize, and develop the social, economic and political accomplishments that make the lives we live today possible. But, is it possible that the fundamental teachings of Jesus were directly opposed to altruism?
Too often, we fail to question our day-to-day assumptions, and in this case – we (as a people) have generally come to view Jesus as the great teacher who admonished us to care for the poor. Certainly we should, and we must. But, who feeds more hungry, and clothes more naked? Charities or businessmen? In reality, it is a fake dichotomy and as a consequence, as a culture we celebrate the practice of devaluing, criticizing and sometimes even persecuting those who dare to set out on a course to deliberately prosper – particularly businessmen who create and produce the jobs that feed and clothe most citizens. Also, to frequently, we decry those who consequently think its possible to “get rich quick” while at the same time secretly envying the supposed power of the wealthy. “If they’d only be more generous,” some say. But, is it possible that God’s plan might actually be that each of us individually should live so as to cultivate our own surpluses from which we care for ourselves, our families, our needs, our wants, and in principled ways – our poor neighbors?
In summary, we live at a time when the dominant social paradigm actually undermines the philosophical revolution that enabled us to become the most free, prosperous, and generous people in modern times. Further, despite our horrible predicament today, the land of the fee still allows more religious freedom as a nation, to more people, than anywhere else on earth.
The consequence of so much uncritical acceptance of repackaged Marxism is that most common folks live their lives in a constant quandary of contradiction. Privately setting goals, choosing paths, and grappling with values and dreams – but publicly making sure not to look like we want too much success – too badly or that deep down we’re actually hoping that the American dream might still be possible “for me.” Its too easy for a segment of the population to watch television game shows, rooting for the “average Joe” to become a millionaire, but to then go about daily life glibly believing that somehow, a person who has no experience with financial success politically knows better than millionaires, businessmen, entrepreneurs, and executives, how to use their money for good. Thus, we have an entire political party in the United States dedicated to lobbying the government to do just that, saying to everyone else, “It’s only fair.”
Similarly, in a strange cult-like sense of obedience, we’ve been conditioned to regularly try and demonstrate our allegiance to the — Marxist, not Christian — concept that we are dedicated to producing everything we can while at the same time being contented with having only what we need or maybe just a little bit more or a little less. Without questioning these kinds of assumptions we go to church and sing, “O Babylon O Babylon we bid thee farewell” while during the week we quietly search out the secrets supposedly taught by the Richest Man in Babylon. We want to be good people but we desperately don’t want to be broke. “Alas, if I wasn’t such a good person,” we deceive ourselves, “I wouldn’t have any problems making more money.”
We want to care for the poor – but we look in our savings accounts and don’t see very much money – so we pass the buck and say to the government instead, “you should do it.” Practically, we advocate for free health care to help the poor and underprivileged, leaving unspoken the natural law of modern politics, namely that since we see ourselves as deserving, we’re secretly hoping to get some of that free health care for ourselves too. Is it possible that it’s not Jesus who taught the supposed virtue of “something for nothing?”
As many of you know, several years ago I started working on a book entitled “God is a Capitalist.” It has since become the permanent project on my “drawing board.” Rest assured, it will get published. But so what? Well, as I’ve worked on the book over the last several years, on occasion there have been a few people who have listened to me on Free Capitalist radio, or have read different articles here, and have taken issue with my characterization of “God” as being a “Capitalist.” Imagine.
Most recently, a fellow who I don’t think I know, named Nick Boyer, sent me a few messages in the early hours of the morning, challenging me — in a very sarcastic way I might add — to explain myself. You see his belief is that if I were correct that God and His Son are capitalists, then the whole Bible story would be different. Well, I don’t think Nick is very far from the truth.
You see, I have come to see the “whole Bible story” as much different than what was taught to me so casually in our modern culture. The question I constantly ask myself when I hear someone talking about “what would Jesus do” is ask in reply to their purported answer, “Are you sure?” It’s a healthy challenge, I think, to make sure that our ideas are indeed our own – that we’ve adopted them with purpose and through decision, rather than simply absorbing ideas – ameba like – uncritically accepting the philosophy of men or any individual man.
So why does this matter to you or anyone else?
Answer. In a nutshell, it means everything. Our individual ideas about God and what he’s like (or if he even exists at all) is an over-arching mental construct that influences—directly or indirectly—every thought we have. The significance of this is that, “ideas have consequences.” If we’ve adopted, intentionally or unintentionally, some of the dumb ideas I’ve alluded to above, we’re doomed to struggle with our own pursuit of happiness, our level of personal drive, passion and commitment, our determination to find salvation, and our own effort to live by sincere discipleship.
In short, bad ideas about such fundamental notions as God, his character and attributes, and his plan for each of us, create personal road blocks to living the best lives that we can live, right now. Is this you?
Do you ever struggle with these questions about your life, your happiness, and finding the motivation to live a passionate and committed life? Are you focused on the definite major purpose God has revealed to you about the very unique and specific reason you are here in mortality? I’m pretty sure these questions, and more like them, reflect a common condition for all of us who contemplate God and our place in this world.
Similarly, all of us have adopted ideas uncritically, and have suffered the result. The question, when we start to realize this, is what will we do about it.
In the final analysis, if we have uncritically and carelessly adopted ideas about God and his plan, ideas that form the basis of assumptions we make every day about politics, law, society, morality, neighborliness and everything else, then our own thinking is the reason we struggle excessively with feelings of negativity, fear, doubt, worry, frustration, cynicism, and a general feeling of victimhood. The remedy to this is a correction of ideas. Yes, I know that may come as a shock to some, but ideas sometimes – oftentimes – need correcting.
My purpose in advocating the notion that “God is a capitalist” is exactly related to this concept. I am intentionally challenging the assumptions of our dominant Christian culture. Because, if we view God as a socialist, then the path we are doomed to follow is unpleasant in infinite proportions. On the other hand, by advocating the idea that God is a capitalist, I’m intentionally setting out an argument that invites us to question our assumptions. Is it possible, for example, that God — not the devil — is the one who inspires great architects, engineers, and innovative businessmen and entreprenuers?
Is it possible that God wants us to be happy, for our own sake, rather than sacrificing our lives and our happiness for the supposed good of others? Serving others, by “loosing ourselves” in such service – is a common refrain. I actually subscribe to it. But, there are prerequisites. We first have to understand and obtain a basic level of faith, and faithfulness. Further, it is we who do the serving and the deciding of such service, or else we are simply pawns to tyrants who only have to couch their dictates in the language of do-gooders.
Is it possible that capitalists feed more hungry, clothe more naked, and liberate more captives than all the well intentioned government officials, bureaucrats, and non-profit charities combined?
Is it possible that Jesus might be more unhappy with us when we give up and trudge through life than when we focus and pursue, with vigor, our desired course?
Lastly, is it possible that God wants us to value individual freedom more than we value the redistribution of society’s wealth?
When I advocate that “God is a Capitalist,” I’m intentionally challenging my audience to think—something my critics seem to think is only a virtue to be ascribed to themselves. Well, call me what you will, but I prefer to do my own thinking, thanks.
Nevertheless, I hope that all of this might help you to examine your own thoughts and you own beliefs. At the very least, I hope to demonstrate that repackaged Marxism isn’t any better for the soul today that it was a hundred and fifty years ago. Remember, when it all boils down to it, it is our ideas — more than our intentions — that determine the correctness and virtue of our course.