A new Barna Group Poll asked Americans whether capitalism or socialism align better with the teachings of Jesus.
A little more than 24% say Jesus aligns more with socialism, while 14% say He doesn't---the rest responded with "neither" or "not sure."
When asked which presidential candidate's policies was most closely aligned with Jesus' teaching, a majority said "Bernie."
The religious Left have been casting Jesus as closely aligned with the Left and their social justice for some time, but was Jesus really a socialist?
When the Barna Poll was released recently, the press, from the Huffington Post to the Hollywood Reporter, jumped in on the notion that Jesus was a socialist. That fits nicely with the far Left ideology.
It's affirming, as they say----and Hollywood just happens to be releasing the DVD their newest film incantation about Jesus when He was a little boy---"The Young Messiah," which I don' recommend.
The Hollywood Reporter says, "Jesus was apparently a socialist who would support Bernie Sanders for president."
They and other news sources also report, "When asked which presidential candidate's policies aligned most closely with those of Jesus,"---as mentioned, Sanders was on top with 24%, "compared to 9% for Hillary Clinton and 6% for Donald Trump."
Ted Cruz, who has dropped out of the race, was seen by 11% to have policies most aligned with Jesus.
The religious Left was pushing the notion of Sanders last year when Bernie spoke at Liberty University---publishing this headline: "Bernie Sanders Outrages Evangelical Republicans With The Idea of Jesus as a Socialist"---reporting, "We have now seen how Bernie Sanders could reach out and change the thinking of at least one Liberty University alum."
We'll take a look at what Jesus really taught in a moment, but first, let's look at what Bernie and his wife are teaching---and how it is working out for them in the real world.
Dr. Jane Sanders, Bernie's wife, has already tried out Bernie's plan, and Sander's socialism is now being blamed for closing down a college in Vermont.
Burlington College is going out of business, according to the Washington Post because of debt incurred under the leadership of its former president Dr. Jane Sanders.
The college website displays the banner, "Anything is Possible." But apparently that is not true under socialism.
The Washington Post headline says, "Vermont College that Bernie Sanders' wife once led is Closing."
The story says it is closing under the "crushing weight" of debt incurred during her presidency.
A story at the conservative Barbwire is more revealing.
Socialism doesn't work---except for a few at the top. But let's forget Bernie and look at what Jesus actually taught.
My friend Bryan Fischer with American Family Association wrote this in response to the matter of Jesus and socialism:
No, Jesus was not a socialist | Bryan Fischer
Millennials, please take note: Socialism is an approach to life that isn't right and doesn't work. And while I'm at it, Bernie Sanders' proposals do not represent the teachings of Jesus.
According to a new poll from the respected Barna Group, Americans think Jesus was a socialist who would vote for Bernie Sanders.
When asked whether capitalism or socialism best aligned with the teachings of Jesus, 24 percent said socialism and just 14 percent correctly answered capitalism. The rest answered "neither" or "not sure," the latter category giving us hope that proper education may persuade the uninformed.
The poll was commissioned by the filmmaking team that created the movie The Young Messiah, based on a novel by Anne Rice imagining Jesus as a young boy.
When these Americans were asked which presidential candidate best represented the teachings of Jesus, 21 percent identified Bernie Sanders and just 11 percent identified Ted Cruz.
Unsurprisingly, millennials whose critical thinking faculties have yet to mature and college graduates who are the product of relentless secularist brainwashing were the leaders of the Jesus-is-a-socialist pack in the poll.
But even a cursory review of the parables of Jesus reveals that he was anything but a socialist. In his parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30), for instance, the main character is an entrepreneur who recruits three employees to manage his property while he is gone on a trip. Note that the property was his own and not the state's; the story is predicated on the concept of private property.
And the entrepreneur entrusts his property to his employees based on merit, not on affirmative action, quotas, or any other such thing. He gave "to each according to his ability." Note how socialism is upended right out of the chute. Socialism piously asserts "to each according to his need," while in Jesus' worldview it's just the reverse.
The owner expected them to work hard, invest, and return a profit on what he had entrusted to them. And he held them accountable through performance reviews upon his return. The ones who proved dependable, trustworthy and capable were rewarded with praise and promotions: "You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much."
The employee who buried his talent in the backyard received no sympathy from the owner. Rather, he was rebuked as a "wicked and slothful" servant and summarily fired.
Socialism is predicated on systematic disobedience to two of God's Ten Commandments. It first of all violates the 10th commandment, which prohibits coveting of any kind. Socialism is rooted in the grasping, greedy, trembling hunger of progressives for other people's money.
And socialism violates the 8th commandment, which prohibits theft. For under socialism, the resources of some are taken from them against their will only to be transferred to the wallets of others.
Socialism is based on the involuntary transfer of wealth from some citizens to others, which is nothing but theft. Just because it is done under color of law, and done by the government rather than a guy with a gun in an alley, does not make it right.
Socialism is an approach to life that requires the intentional transgression of 20 percent of God's moral code. Such an approach to life cannot be right and cannot possibly work.
Venezuela is living proof of the abject and grotesque failure of socialism. If Sanders is right, Venezuela ought to be a paradise. Instead, Venezuelans are forced to cope with empty supermarket shelves, an astonishing absence of toilet paper, and systematic power outages. Under socialism, the poor stay poor and the powerful get rich.
Here's how Glenn Reynolds put it in USA Today:
"It is a common misconception that socialism is about helping poor people. Actually, what socialism does is create poor people, and keep them poor. And that's not by accident.
"Under capitalism, rich people become powerful. But under socialism, powerful people become rich."
The richest person in Venezuela is the daughter of the now deceased dictator, Hugo Chavez. Fidel Castro lives like a king in socialist Cuba, a country where toilet seats are a luxury for ordinary citizens, a fact to which I can personally testify based on my trip to Cuba two years ago. As Reynolds says, "Under socialism, you're either powerful, or you're poor."
This is not to say that Christianity does not teach the redistribution of wealth. Christians believe in the redistribution of wealth just as passionately as the most ardent socialists. We simply believe that the redistribution of wealth is to be voluntary, not involuntary. While liberals believe generosity is giving away other people's money, followers of Christ believe generosity is giving away our own money, motivated by compassion for the worthy poor.
The bulk of Americans obviously lack a robust and mature understanding of Christ's teaching and are similarly unlearned in basic economic theory. But fortunately for us all, ignorance is not an incurable disease.
Be Informed. Be Vigilant. Be Discerning.