I am writing this in response to two commentaries in the Eagle: “Peace on Earth Requires More Good Will,” and “Walk with Jesus.” I would like to respond to both of these commentaries.
The title of the first one, as well as one sentence in the piece, sums up well what is important: “The three kings brought gifts to the infant Jesus but somehow today the giving of lavish gifts while others starve, lack shelter and struggle to heat their homes doesn’t seem to be exactly what Christmas is all about.” He then recommends giving to needy children at Christmas as well. I agree.
In the second commentary “Walk with Jesus,” the author mentions the importance of charity also, in our Christian walk, but then goes into things which I disagree. He said, “some Democrats are intent on giving us a socialist/communist system,” and he stated he had lived under a communist system and it was “tragic.” I can understand how cruel communism can be, and under the Soviet Union, the satellite countries suffered greatly, and religion was basically abolished.
There are big differences between socialism and communism. The main difference is that socialism is compatible with democracy and liberty, whereas Communism involves creating an ‘equal society’ through an authoritarian state, which denies basic liberties such as religion. Democratic socialism in the west involves participating in democracy to seek an incremental reduction in inequality. China has allowed for some capitalism within the country but is still authoritarian and does not grant basic human freedoms such as free speech and religion.
If you look at the Bible, the early Christians could certainly be called socialists and they were certainly religious. In Acts 4 32 here is a description of the first Christian community after Christ’s death. “ 32Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common. 33And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. 34There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold35 and laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need.” If this is not a description of socialism, then I don’t know what is. This part of the bible is not too popular, and doesn’t get quoted too much, especially in wealthy areas.
I am a Democrat and the big reason for this is because the democrats want to create programs that help the poor people in our nation and sometimes in the world and I feel that as a Christian I want my nation to actually act on Christian values, the most essential one is to care the of the neediest among us. Social Security is a socialist program that was started by the Democrats, and now is very popular. If we want to be a Christian nation, then we need to help take care of the needy in our mist. In the parable of the “Sheep and the Goats,” Jesus invited the people who feed him when he was hungry and took care of his other basic needs, were invited into his kingdom. “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”
I have always liked James 2 Faith and Works:
“14What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? 15Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16If one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
“18But someone will say, ‘You have faith; I have deeds.’
“Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. 19You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.”
In my opinion, it is not what we say we are, or think we are, it is what we do that actually makes us a follower of Jesus.