I left the following comment over on awretchlikeme, "someone explain to me..."
This will be a long comment to counter Nate and Greg. I hope it will be all right with you.
There is communism and then there is Communism. There is the voluntary giving-and-sharing all religion that is Christianity (as Jesus lived it, as you said correctly). Then there is the one-party, totalitarian, police-state, coercive, dictatorship of the proletariat (industrial workers) whose dictatorship invariably turned into cults of personality for instance as in the cases of Stalin and Mao.
Jesus is a communist (is; he's alive). He is not a Marxist though. He is opposed to all coercion.
Down through the ages, the monied interests have always sought to keep the common people from having and retaining their Commons. The Commons was community property. It was the shared inheritance of all. Greedy souls stole it by violent means. They are the "might makes right" crowd (very hardhearted).
Now, whenever anyone advocates the communism Jesus and his disciples lived, all sorts of capitalist hirelings come out of the woodwork and echo all the lines they have perfected in their laissez-faire think tanks paid for by the billionaires who definitely don't want the common people getting any ideas that they could live as Jesus and his disciples did (warts and all to start but which warts would fade). Why is that? Well, if the people turn to giving and sharing all, the billionaires won't be lording it over them anymore. The billionaires won't be controlling. They won't be in a position to have excessively.
Anyway, Marx's followers (namely Lenin) who advocated violent revolution (something Jesus denounced) and who didn't follow Marx's later writings, carried out their violent plans and threw out the capitalists. It meant war until the USSR fell. However, Russia certainly still has its eye on reconstituting Empire. It is also not a laissez-faire capitalist economy. It is moving to state-capitalism again.
Anyway, your heart seems to be headed here in the right direction. Don't let the false Christians throw you off. Real Christians aren't going to force anyone to be communist.
Your post suggests that you are simply searching for the best and most meaningful philosophy of life or religion.
The other comments above don't call anyone to rise. They advocate being resigned to the fallen condition. Well, surely Jesus spoke the truth and people rejected him. However, he was gathering his own. The other commentators are discussing that which has no part in Jesus and in which he has no part.
Furthermore, we pray the Lord's Prayer that calls for God's will to be done on Earth. We pray for God's Kingdom, his government, his political economy, to come to the Earth. How can we hold with the views of the other two commentators and be consistent when we pray for that right now for the here and now? It's hypocrisy.
What does all the death associated with the fight between Godless capitalism and Godless false-Communism have to do with Jesus? The answer is nothing. Those two systems are dead of the Holy Spirit.
In addition, you will notice that there is no mention of all the death directly attributable to capitalism. Also, the figures cited about Communism are estimates that many people believe are severely inflated by capitalists.
Capitalism has been responsible for over a million deaths of Iraqis now alone since the last invasion. Add to that the estimated 500,000 children who starved under the economic sanctions put on Iraq by the Clinton administration. Let's not forget all the Afghanis who have died even though the Taliban had said they would negotiate turning over Osama bin Laden. The greedy oil executives who planned much of the affair with Dick Cheney didn't want bin Laden. They want the Iraqi oil and the pipelines that are to run through Afghanistan. Look at Somalia, where oil has been discovered. The U.S. has caused a war and a refugee crisis. And if anyone thinks the threats to bomb Iran are about nuclear weapons rather than taking over the Iranian oil fields again, he or she just isn't thinking.
The list of military actions by capitalism is very, very long. The numbers killed is huge. Let us not forget the capitalist Empire often uses proxies to do its dirty work. It has installed and propped up numerous ruthless dictators. Is still does that.
Nate wrote, "I wouldn't go so far as to call Jesus, the disciples and the early church living a 'communistic' lifestyle. Instead, I would describe it as Christian, holy, communal living amongst believers." Well, the truth is obvious. The believers were living a communistic lifestyle without doubt. Communal living is communism. Why play word games about it other than to obfuscate for the sake of selfishness that is the basis of capitalism?
The point for Christians is that they are to evangelize the teaching of Jesus. They are to call people to Christlikeness. How can we do that but not call them to share all as Jesus called? No, those who don't want Heaven to come to Earth are those who propagandize for capitalism. They don't have it within them to give and share all as Jesus instructed, so they try in vain to reinterpret what Jesus clearly meant.
Nate is talking apples and oranges. He saying Christianity won't work because atheists couldn't make forced giving and sharing work. Well, of course they couldn't make it work. That's why we aren't to be proselytizing for Marxism-Leninism but rather for Christianity. Nate and Greg though are proselytizing for mammon. They can't eat the real food, and they won't suffer anyone else to go in to eat. That's unChristian. It's antichrist.
Nate is calling people not to overcome jealousy. That's not Jesus talking through him. That's Satan talking. Nate is worried about his material possessions, and then he turns around at the end and says we aren't to be that way. He flips and flops right in one posted comment.
This isn't something he's doing unwittingly. He knows exactly what he's doing. He knows exactly who he is working for. He knows full well that what he's putting forth is no where near Christianity. One prays he turns all the way.
He's deliberately misleading people into believing that if they share, they'll have nothing. He's a minion for the plutocrats. However, there are many sharing communities right now. I often refer to the Hutterites, since one can look them up on the Internet to see they are successful. Their children are not unhappy. They aren't deprived. I don't subscribe to all of the Hutterites' tenets, but they certainly are a living example of community property working out.
There are numerous communes in the world. People in them have computers, iPods, cars, books, beds, etc. Not that those things are all necessary or even desirable. Jesus owned none of them. Yet, everywhere he went once his ministry caught on, he was welcomed. To those who loved his teaching, their possessions were his. Their homes were his. It's why he said we would have "an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life." Mark 10:30. That's not what Nate and Greg are selling though.
Nate is a Libertarian Capitalist. That's his ideology. He's hung up on private property. Sharing all with the brethren is the last thing he's interested in doing. He's also pushing the "incentive" point. What incentive did Jesus have or the disciples? Was it for money and material possessions?
Nate is arguing against Jesus's teaching by pointing to what is wrong with something else that has nothing to do with Jesus. He's arguing against Jesus by saying how wrong Marx was. It's pointless. It's deceptive. It's confused.
Christianity isn't going to take (abscond with) anyone's money, because in the real communist economy of Christ, there is no money to take. There are no taxes to pay either. Everyone serves everyone. It's pure love, and that's what we are to be spreading, not this materialism and crediting mammon for provisioning or creating wealth or bringing forth bounty. It's God who created the world were food used to grows for free. It's capitalism that is raping the planet and constantly creating artificial scarcity. It's the capitalist who have lied to take the nation to war for oil (covetousness).
Nate and Greg appeal directly to selfishness. That's what they're promoting here. It's temptation that one must overcome. Don't fall to it. Unselfishness is what Jesus preached. When did Jesus complain about someone not working while he, Jesus, was washing his disciples' feet? If Nate and Greg are going to be Christians, then let them be as Jesus was and stop thinking about how others are going to take advantage of them. That's a self-defeating attitude before even putting forth any Spirit.
If Nate and Greg don't want to give and share, then they can stay out. No one's forcing them. However, they are working overtime to convince others not to follow Jesus. Why? Who are they? What spirit are they of, doing that? Sheep's clothing is what I see here.
Jesus's incentive is unselfish. What incentive of the type Nate puts forth did Jesus have in going to the cross? Do you hear any Christianity in what Nate and Greg have written? I don't. I hear the opposite. I hear half-truths. Christianity isn't half-truths.
In order to have God's government come to the Earth, Jesus is not going to rule by fear and intimidation and force and death. Jesus advocates love of one another. If we do that, it will work. The real problem is with those who would rather murder Jesus than allow people to continue hearing the truth of how it could and will be.
The philosophy Nate is quoting comes from non-Christians. The greatest enemies of Christ are the usurers (the bankers, the moneychangers). They are the ones who shouted the loudest for Jesus to be crucified.
I don't know which Heaven or level of Heaven Nate is going, but I don't want to go where he's going. He's not going where all serve as the least and is therefore the first. He doesn't see it. In my Heaven, it's the feeding of the five thousand eternally.
Greg wrote that giving all for the sake of the poor was not the same thing as giving to Jesus's ministry. That's wrong. It was Jesus's ministry. Jesus called souls to return to the fold where there is giving and sharing all and each serves all the others unselfishly, to be incentivized by that righteousness. What did Jesus ask anyone to do that wasn't his ministry?
These two, Nate and Greg, didn't also ask you to find out about the people who hate living under capitalism. Oh, Nate and Greg will say that without the sweatshops those people would be starving. Well, they weren't all starving before that. Many places were just fine before capitalism horned in and ruined the system the people had lived for thousands of years (family).
These two don't believe that the problems of the world stem directly from the evil selfishness in people's hearts. I do. The hardness in people's hearts, their unwillingness to share all as one family of humanity is why everything goes wrong goes wrong. It's why the environment is souring on humanity. It's why the Earth is going to go into upheaval if humanity doesn't turn.
Selfishness is the curse. Nate's self-interest is apart from God. The real self is one, one with God and one with the spiritual family that is the real Church.
May God bless you, Gary. May God bless Nate and Greg with the whole truth to stop spewing the laissez-faire mammon worshipping.
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That said, we make the following absolutely clear here:
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- We consider the IRS code on this matter as deliberate economic duress (a form of coercion) and a direct attempt by the federal government to censor dissenting, free political and religious speech.
- It's not freedom of religion if they tax it.
And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute? He saith, Yes. And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented him, saying, What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers? Peter saith unto him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free. (Matthew 17:24-26)