Today there are an estimated 6.8 billion people inhabiting this world — a world with the technology to go to the moon and back, a world where individuals on completely different continents routinely communicate with one another via phone and internet, and a world with some serious issues yet to be solved.
Of the 6.8 billion people walking this planet, a little over 1 billion of them don’t have enough to eat.
With all of the conveniences and marvels of our modern world, large-scale preventable human misery still has not gone the way of the dinosaur.
Who is to blame? What is to be done??
Of those who care to seriously address this issue, why is it that not everyone can agree on the solution? Should people be left to their own devices and let “survival of the fittest” determine who wins and loses in this life? Should governments step in and come to the rescue of those in need? What role can or should you and I play in meeting the needs of the poor and afflicted?
In this article I will share my personal convictions regarding the care of the poor and needy. I will draw upon my own experience with being partially-disabled for 6 years in my young adulthood, and being one who would qualify as poor and needy. I will also draw upon my experiences living in Russia in the late 90’s and my extensive graduate-level research on the Soviet Union, as well as my understanding of the Bible and Christian philosophy.
Whether or not you agree with the arguments I lay out here, I hope that you will at the very least take them as coming from one who knows what it is to rely on someone else for my daily bread, and who has studied and seen some of the dangers inherent in philosophies popular in our world over the past century plus, including the prominent philosophy of Socialism.
In this article, I will specifically address my comments to people of the Christian faith living the United States of America who applaud our nation’s incremental Socialist agenda, who seek to enliven and expand government programs to care for the poor and needy.
I first must commend you for your active desire to see the downtrodden cared for. You show more dedication to the poor than many in your faith, “laissez faire” Christians who bemoan government involvement with welfare programs but who themselves do little to alleviate the suffering of anyone. These Christians are waiting to make it big before giving to the poor. They are waiting to have all their needs met before looking around them to perceive the pressing needs of others in their vicinity.
Next, I must tell you why I believe Socialism and Christianity to be two incompatible philosophies.
Many well-meaning Christians look upon a Socialist government and get warm fuzzies in their stomach thinking of all the people that are cared for.
But Socialism is wholly incompatible with the Christian principles of free will and personal responsibility to care for the widow, the orphan, the sick, and the poor.
What reward is there in heaven for the Christian who merely pays their taxes in a welfare state, but does nothing of their own initiative to succor the needy?
“We shall prove to them that they are nothing but weak, pathetic children, but that a child’s happiness is the sweetest of all. They will grow timid and cling to us in fear, like chicks to a hen.”
Christian philosophy asserts that, though fallen, man was created in the image of God and any man or woman is capable of inheriting salvation and all their fondest hopes and dreams from God through the mediation of the Savior, and through making the personal choice to submit to the conditions required for these blessings.
Socialist philosophy assumes that the masses as dumb as children, and they don’t need a god to reach their fondest dreams, but a government to hand out the goodies.
In Christian philosophy, individuals are responsible to care for the needs of the poor, the sick, the widow, and the orphan, but not compelled. Those who rise to the challenge will find themselves on the right hand of God because of their CHOICES, and those who don’t will not receive the blessings reserved for those who do.
In Socialist philosophy, all are compelled to care for the needy whether they want to or not (through taxation), and this care comes through the administration of a notoriously inefficient bureaucracy.
Christian philosophy causes men and women to rise up, work for their sustenance depending oftentimes on faith that help will come if and when it is needed. It is hard, it is risky, but the rewards of making the proper use of God-given free will are great. The consequences of poor choices can be brutal.
Socialist philosophy seeks to soften the blows of consequences to natural laws, both positive consequences – financial abundance for the thrifty, wise, hard-worker — and negative consequences – poverty to those who break the natural laws that govern abundance.
A life of high stakes — which this life is whether we want it to be or not — engenders faith in God for those with a desire to prevail. It is the very difficulties of existence in this realm that allow men and women to develop the faith in God necessary for them to walk back into his presence.
Socialism falsely informs men and women there is another way to reach their ultimate dreams besides faith in any god.
“And men rejoice at being led like cattle again, with the terrible gift of freedom that brought them so much suffering removed from them.”
Christianity allows men and women the opportunity to make great sacrifices for those in need and reap the blessings as a results, or not makes those sacrifices and miss out on certain blessings.
Socialism steals the show and takes the credit for the care of the poor and needy, ironically leaving fewer people with the means to do great good in this world, as well as with less incentive.
Christianity says there is freedom in trusting in God.
Socialism says there is freedom in trusting in the government.
Christian philosophy depicts a utopian society, a millennium of peace after the Second Coming of Jesus, in which the meek will inherit the earth and the poor in spirit will inherit the kingdom of God, in which kings and queens (the wealthy) will willingly carry the downtrodden on their shoulders and lift them higher than themselves.
Socialist philosophy depicts a utopian society which is a worker’s paradise, a dream for the common man which comes as a result of loyalty to the state and the kings and queens being forced to cough up their wealth to subsidize the poor.
“So, in the end, they will lay their freedom at our feet and say to us: ‘Enslave us, but feed us!’ And they will finally understand that freedom and the assurance of daily bread for everyone are two incompatible notions that could never coexist!”
Instead of food stamps and welfare checks given year after year to the same individuals, I would like to see the poor and needy taught to find a need in society they can fill in order to put food on their own tables.
Those who refuse to work should not eat the bread and wear the clothes of the laborer. Those who cannot work due to disability should preferably be cared for by family and friends.
Instead of people clamoring for “universal health care”, I would like to see more doctors, nurses, and healers of all persuasions donate their skills in the care of the sick who can’t afford care.
What about people who fall in between the cracks? Don’t we need a government program in place to take care of all of them?? What about Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security – don’t we need these and other programs?
I honestly don’t know about that. All I do know is that continuing our march deeper into the heart of Socialism will only lead to a weaker populace – weaker because of a dependence on government. Weaker because the most productive elements of society lose their incentive and their ability for productivity. Weaker because faith in God becomes less important as faith in a system of government, an entity that completely lacks the power to bring salvation and our fondest dreams, begins to take precedence.
Faith in any system other than the system of God is sure to ultimately bring disappointment to those who possess it. Freedom and personal accountability for how we use our freedom is risky, but there truly is no other way to salvation other than their proper use.
I believe Socialism to be the great counterfeit for God’s higher law of choosing to consecrate our means and possessions to the poor.
Socialism diminishes the incentive for excellence, is enabling to those it purports to serve, and causes people to trust in government more than they trust in God.
Look at Europe — faith in God that was such a part of European society in past times has been replaced with widespread secularism! The great cultures of Europe are dying out due to negative population growth. Some have postulated that there is a connection between Socialism and Europe’s low birth rate. I don’t know about that. But I do know that in the past as well as today, Socialism has led to Communism (indeed, Karl Marx himself saw Socialism as merely a transitional philosophy that naturally would lead to Communism). If you aren’t aware of the atrocities that Communist governments have enacted upon their own people, read here.
But some of you may be thinking — we gave the Christians their chance to feed the hungry. They had a couple thousand years to do away with hunger, and they didn’t do it!
You are completely correct. As a whole (with some notable exceptions, however), we have not done our job sufficiently! While there are some who admirably devote a great deal of effort and financial means to care for the poor, there are many more of us who sit back, pay our taxes, pay some tithing and offerings here and there, but are so wrapped up in our own lives that we do little to heed Jesus Christ’s admonition to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and visit the sick.
Fellow Christians and all other good people of the earth, let’s take action TODAY. Let’s take action now to help someone in need, even if we ourselves are struggling to make ends meet. Let’s do so much good that those who promote government programs to care for the poor will be shocked and inspired!
What can you do now? I urge you to sit down and prayerfully consider where you can give of your time and means to bless those in need.
If you can’t come up with anything that feels significant, check out this wonderful video made by some friends of mine who are mobilizing a lot of people to each do a little bit!
The degree to which taking care of the poor and the needy is instituted and administered by government is the degree to which freedom is abdicated.
When individuals, families, and privately-run organizations take it upon themselves to care for the poor, and when this care is given in the name of Jesus Christ, it leads both the giver and receiver back to heaven!
If you are Christian and have read this article, you have been called to action. Choose now to answer the call!