Jesus for Sale: The Church and Capitalism

I know it’s an unpopular idea and somehow it’s a surprise to most Christians today but the early Christian church was an organization with Communism at it’s core.

The book of Acts is replete with references to communal life, there is no question that the Book of Acts describes a decidedly communist church with verses like this one:

All that believed were together, and had all things in common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. (Acts 2:44-45)

When I was a Christian this verse along with many others that support the idea of a Communist church led my political ideals which eventually led me to become a member of the Socialist Party USA.  It was at this point that I recognized the disparity between what I see as a clear mandate from the Bible and what the modern Christian church actually puts into practice.

In reality the majority of Christians have embraced a very anti-socialist stance, completely ignoring  a Christ that overturned the moneychangers tables in the temple to do the very thing that he allegedly protested against: using their faith to drive commerce or capitalizing on the faith of others. We can thank the TEA party for the newest resurgence of anti-socialist propaganda (coming from people that don’t even know what the word means mind you) – which is made up largely of evangelical Christians that want free market capitalism in it’s purest form.

The Power Balance Bracelet (for heathens)

I had a closet full of Christian themed T shirts, many of them quite cheesy in fact. I also still have a library full of Christian books that I gathered and read while still in the faith. All of my CD collection was made up entirely of Christian music that I generally payed a premium for. I went into the Christian book store the other day and I noticed they even had a new product – a Christian themed knockoff of the “Power Balance Bracelet”, the pseudo-scientific bracelet that uses a homeopathic hologram to cure you of your bad energy (yes, seriously.).

Christianity has become the thing that the alleged Christ, in the book that believers are supposed to be reading was most angered by: Opportunistic Profiteering.

I suspect that most believers aren’t willing to take their faith seriously enough to put these sorts of ventures out of business, regardless these are just the observations of a Christian turned atheist, still trying to get the church to do as it’s told.

Dear Church,

Read your Bible.  Yes, the atheist is telling you to read the Bible. Do it, if other atheists read this I implore you to ask your Christian acquaintances to do the same. If you don’t read it you’ll never fully understand the basis of your faith, if you don’t understand your faith you’ll never leave it.  Someone is banking on that.

Your Godless friend,

Matt

 

PS:  Question Everything

 

  • This post, and the last one I have liked a lot. These two posts are the way to get your message across to the current incarnation of the New Testament Church, as opposed to the arbitrary bitterness you have displayed in the past.

    My family and I have renounced Mammon to the best of our ability, and we are quite happy! We are "pisspoor", but the things we have are soooo much more valuable then money. And we have found that by doing so, that the things that ¢hri$tian$ hate on, are no big deal at all to us. We see God in a wonderful light. We embrace the sinner, and stand by the sinner as a fellow sinner, and because of that, our fellow sinners love us greatly…

    Our closest friends are homosexuals, atheists, women who have had abortions, heretics, and every other sort of human being. Sadly enough, those that are ¢hri$tian$ are not, and they do not want to be.

    I keep telling folks that it is strange that Jesus spent a lot of "quality time" with the "Publicans & Sinners", yet His "Fan Club" can't lower themselves to do the same? If a woman had an abortion, would Jesus comfort her through her time, or would He stand in front of an abortion clinic, and scream "FUCKING BABY KILLERS!" ? If 2 men got married in Vermont, would He scream and spit in their face, telling them, "God Hates FAGS!", or would He say, "I understand you, and I Love you…"? If someone was obsessed with wealth, would He explain to them that they are placing value in something other than Him and the Father, or would he suggest that folks go running out and spend their money on whatever preacher's newest book has hit the market, instead of buying a lunch for that poor homeless man that is sitting on the street-corner with tears in his eyes because he is hungry..? Would He suggest that a Christian family get that new Jet-Ski for vacations on the lake next summer, or take that money and buy a couple of dozen gift cards for walmart, and then drop them off at the nearest shelter for abused women and their children?

    Being a child of God is the hardest thing a human being can do. It requires 24/7/365 giving, and zero receiving from ones fellow man. What is given, is given by God, and not by a human peer. We struggle every month, but for some reason, every month goes by fulfilled. Where does the money come from? From God. He provides ONLY what we need, and what we need is good enough for us. We do not have what we want, but we do indeed want what we have. One of my daughters needed shoes one day, and I had 19 hours to get them before school started the next day. Did I have the money in my checking account? No. But for some strange reason, I found a $20 bill on the ground out on the sidewalk while taking the girls out to play. Why was that $20 bill there? Because Jehovah-Jireh was doing His job as sustainer. It was not a $50 bill, a 50 was not NEEDED, but a 20 was! The shoes were $14 at Walmart, and we picked up a gallon of milk, and a loaf of bread from Shaws Supermarket on the way home.

    The Lord WILL provide, we just have to turn over the job of Jehovah-Jireh to the only person qualified to do it…

    Elohim… "He with whom one who is afraid takes refuge" What is there to fear or worry about? Nothing. There is always a cleft in the rock that God will hide us in, cover us with His hand, and keep us from harm. Is it really such a bad thing to choose God over Mammon? We don't have much of a choice in the matter because we are only allowed to choose Him or Mammon. Why would someone choose silver & gold over Him? If folks actually read the Bible they are so quick to quote, the choice would be simple.

    I guess folks aren't reading it huh? 😉

    • Oh.. BTW… I am a horrible sinner, who sins multiple times daily. Sometimes I repent, but many times I don't. So I guess I am far from being an example of "Holy". 🙂

  • Folks reading (and in Judy's case, not reading) and yet no comment pro or con? Is God Money so Omnipotent, Omnipresent, & Omniscient that folks will not even speak his name aloud? LOL

  • Mike aka MonolithTMA

    Good post, Matt. I have often wondered what Bible some Christians were reading when they made their political choices.

    • I should have included a picture of Republican Jesus at the bottom of this post.

  • I wish the tea baggers would get this into their demented heads. Then again that would require them to be able to read…

  • I totally thought you were going to talk about tithing. This is good though.

    I really don't like what is done with tithe money. I get investing in the church building (electricity, water, maintenance) and to an extent even taking care of some of the preacher's expenses. I do not see why most of the positions in churches aren't voluntary. It bothers me that people get a statement from their church to file with their taxes so they can count it as a deduction. I guess that's a totally different topic though.

  • lilcoppertop

    Hmm…this is a slightly different direction than I thought you would take when I read your twitter post. I shall admit Christian bookstores used to be my absolute favourite stores…and now I can't stand them. Everything feels so…fake. Knock-offs of the original….that is, whatever was christianized in order to be sell-able to the church. I've never thought about this in comparison to the moneychangers at the temple, but that comparison makes sense. I think maybe this is all a part of the church's (North American church, at least. Not sure about the church in other continents) tendency to separate themselves from the world. From all those who are not "christian" enough. Can't have just any water bottle like the guy down the street…gotta be a "Jesus Saves" water bottle.

    I suppose, though, that this same "Jesus Saves" water bottle COULD be considered part of a sharing or communist mindset…."Someone saw my water bottle today, so they saw the gospel message. I shared the gospel by drinking water in public."

    • I seriously had a house full of this crap. All of my T-shirts were the cheesy Jesus Saves stuff, all my CD's were cheesy Christian metal, most of my books were religious in some way…when I recognized just how consumer driven the Christian junk industry was I started to really doubt the direction that the American church was headed….a little study later and I found myself joining the Socialist Party….hmm.