jesus wants a selfish society

Over at Apologetics and Agape, there’s a fantastic video about how socialism teaches people to be selfish. The video suggests that if humans are given health, educational or financial support beyond the age of 21 (by either parents or society at large) we will selfishly believe we are entitled to support, and won’t work for ourselves.

To accept the narrative in the video you have to believe the worst about your fellow humans. You have to believe that people don’t have a natural desire to work, to be productive or to contribute to society. You have to believe that people on welfare are there because they are too selfish, lazy or stupid to do anything about their situation. You have to happily ignore the role of factors like poor education and discrimination in keeping people on the bottom rung of the ladder, in poverty, and patronisingly tell them it’s the meagre support they get from their government that is their only barrier to joining mainstream working society.

You have to ignore the evidence that turns the whole premise on its head, in that the countries with the most generous welfare systems have populations who want to work:

Europeans are more likely to want to work when their country’s welfare benefits system is more generous, according to a study.

The survey, which canvassed opinion from 19,000 people across 18 European countries, found a correlation between generous benefits and willingness to work even if the money wasn’t needed, and casts doubt on the notion that big welfare states are associated with widespread cultures of dependency and lack of incentive to work. (Newsweek)

But the thing that interests me most about this video is that it’s distributed by a Christian. Why would that be of any interest? Because Christians in the USA campaign without the slightest sense of irony for support for the poorest members of their own society to ripped away by their government. They campaign for Christians to earn as much money as they can in a capitalist society and then by individual deeds care for poorer members of society, but not allow a co-operative society to plan for provision of things like equal and free access to healthcare or equal and free access to education.

Where do we see these capitalist Christians living according to the words ascribed to their god, the character Jesus?

Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. (Mark 10:21)

In this passage, Jesus is telling his followers to be selfish, to look to the bigger win. Because who would give money to the poor without hope of a reward? Who wants to pay tax dollars to a large system that can aim to equally distribute wealth and support to the poorest members of society, when you can pick and choose your favourite poor people to support?

Where do we see these capitalist Christians living according to the example of the earliest Christian communities, those who followed the example of the character Jesus most closely?

All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need. (Acts 4:32-35)

In these passages, we see the ultimate selfishness of the early Christians. By giving away all their possessions as Jesus commanded, they were creating a culture of dependency among the poor people of their communities. These poor people weren’t grateful for what they were given, but with the mind of every selfish welfare-dependent human in existence, they thought they were entitled to support and lost all drive to earn money for themselves.

Shame on selfish Jesus and shame on those selfish apostles!