The Wall o' Socialist Bible Quotes

I recently got into a minor facebook spat after a friend (who I’m sure will identify themselves here if they want to) posted a link from the Washington Post, arguing rather convincingly that if Jesus returned he’d be none to impressed at conservative Americans and pointing out the strange disconnect between denying biological evolution and embracing evolutionary economics. A rather long-winded debate ensued between myself and a couple of my friend’s more right-wing acquaintances.

Their basic argument was that Jesus was in no way a socialist, he would have approved whole heartedly of capitalism, the Liberal Left don’t know what they’re talking about, how dare you invoke the name of our pure, white, American English speaking Jesus in support of dirty socialism, taxes are evil, the government is evil, universal healthcare is evil, yada yada yada, you get the drift.

So I thought I’d do a bit of reading. Of the Bible. Ladies and gentlemen, in what is a genuine first for me, I am now going to post a giant wall of text from the Bible in support of the idea that the character of Jesus as portrayed in the New Testament was a left-wing socialist liberal, bordering on communist.


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

Acts 2: 44, 45

32 And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common.
33 And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.
34 Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold,
35 And laid them down at the apostles’ feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.
36 And Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas, (which is, being interpreted, The son of consolation,) a Levite, and of the country of Cyprus,
37 Having land, sold it, and brought the money, and laid it at the apostles’ feet.

Acts 4:32-37

31 When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory.
32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.
33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
34 Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.
35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,
36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37 Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?
38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?
39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’
41 Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.
42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink,
43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
44 They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
45 He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
46 Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

Mathew 25: 31-46

1 Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.
2 Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.
3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended.
4 For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.
5 Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.
6 This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing.
7 Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.

Romans 13:1-7

13 But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you.
14 You will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.

Luke 14:13, 14

If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven.

Matthew 19:21

24 You cannot serve both God and Money.

Matthew 6:24.

Additions and rebuttals are welcome :-)

  • TrickQuestion

    See, I often argue this same point with my hyper-right-wing coworker.
    He vehemently refuses the idea, saying i’m simply making things up.

    Then i ask him if Jesus would be a gun owner.

    • Custador

      Please feel free to copy paste and print for the win :D

    • wazza

      for I come to bring not peace, but a piece.

      • WMDKitty

        Metal or glass?

        More importantly, is the bowl loaded? ;)

        • zach

          jesus as i like to imagine him.

          *bubble* *bubble* *bubble* *hit*

          “man, you know what its like, man, its like its easier to get through the mother-fucking eye of, like, a needle than it is to be, like, rich and receive eternal life, ya know?”

          *couch* *couch*

          “dude, this son of man is coming on the mother-fucking clouds man.”

          • WMDKitty

            I always pictured Jesus as a radical hippie type, myself.

            • zach

              certainly it would make sense if he was always baked.

            • Annette B.McGregor

              yep, I always pictured Jesus as a radical hippie type as well. Really enjoyed this site. Thanks all.

        • wazza

          I was meaning piece as in firearm…

          • Michael

            Too late; the cat is now out of the bag.

  • UrsaMinor

    Custy, what you have actually done is to show that all forms (and actual instances) of government must be accepted without question as legitimate and obeyed by Christians according to Romans 13.

    • Custador

      It does demonstrate that “Big Gubmint” arguments are asinine to a True Christian (TM), though :-)

    • Hamish Milne

      Interesting. To me, Jesus was always a left-wing character! I had actually been brought up as a Quaker, inherited from my dad, and his parents. And I probably still would be, only we moved to an area where there was no meeting house, so it sort of just fizzled out. Now, you’re probably thinking of the austere, black suited Quakers found in America and (sometimes) Scotland, but English Quakers seem to be liberal-left types. There were a lot of ‘hippie’ looks around the building. My Mum fits right in with their crowd! They were generally pro-peace, pro-modesty and very much opposed to profiteering, especially in religion. They were a strictly charitable affair. Thus, whenever they talked about Jesus, it was always about feeding the poor, giving up possessions, modesty, et cetera. They ran lots of youth residential type things (Quaker Camps, we called them) but religion was very rarely involved. It was just about having fun, really!

      If anyone’s interested, the format of the meetings was like this: We’d arrive at around 11:00 I think, and we’d sit in meditative silence on the benches for around 10 minutes. Then, whichever parent volunteered to do the ‘Children’s Meeting’ would lead the kids to a back room, where we would do various activities, as programmed by the parent. And yes, my parents did their bit too! Back in the hall, the adults would continue to meditate for the whole hour. If you wanted to, you could stand up and speak about an event that had affected you recently, or anything appropriate really. Apparently this is called ‘unprogrammed worship’ and comprises only 10% of Quaker services worldwide.

      • Hamish Milne

        Whoops, I meant to post in the main thread. Sorry!

      • Michael

        The Quakers are a relatively left-wing group, though, so this isn’t at all surprising. When I was much younger, I went to a (somewhat) liberal Catholic school, and was presented with a similar depiction of Jesus.

        But in much of America, especially in the south, this is absolutely not the case, and publicly calling Jesus a liberal could probably get you death threats in certain cases.

    • FO

      It also shows that they don’t need to bear arms against the government!
      Those blasphemous NRA atheists!!

    • WesternWI

      A direct reading of the New Testament does leave you with that position. Doesn’t matter if you like it or not.

  • Jonathan M.S. Pearce

    Dammit, i used to have a link to a massive list of biblical quotes to support Jesus as a socialist. Can’t find it.

    However, as a Brit, I always find it hilarious how conservative christian america is so right-wing and free-market economy, american dream and money-orientated. Camel. eyes of needles. Seems pretty obvious to me.

  • Jonathan M.S. Pearce

    Some OT quotes:

    “Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income. This too is meaningless.” – Ecclesiastes 5:10

    “He who oppresses the poor to increase his wealth and he who gives gifts to the rich – both come to poverty.” – Proverbs 22:16

    and then:

    “He is conceited and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions, and constant friction between men of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain” – 1 Timothy 6:4-5.

    “For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is the root of all evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” 1 Timothy 6:7-10

    “If you give to only the people whom give to you, why should you receive a blessing? For even sinners give to those who also give to them.”

    “You are to love your enemies and do good to the them, to lend and expect nothing back”.

    “Let no man seek his own, but every man another’s wealth” – 1 Corinthians 10:24.

    “Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that will come upon you. Your wealth will rot, and moths will eat your clothes. For your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You who have hoarded wealth in the last days!” – James 5:1-3

    “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” – Luke 12-15.

    “And I’ll say to myself, ‘You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.’ But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God.” – Luke 12:19-21

    and there are more. check this site out:

  • John C

    Those post-resurrection and post-Pentacost (the out-pouring of the promised Spirit and with ‘fire’ meaning the refining/cleansing/purging nature of God, who scripture says…’is a consuming fire’ Heb 12:26-29 meaning He purges out of us all that is not of His kind in our nature) that you reference from the book of Acts (the early church) culminate in a beautiful state of harmony, rest and charity amongst the people where the concern for their ‘neighbor’ exceeded their own interests. Love had become their first essence/principal (1st John 4:12-16)

    Oh how far we have come from that day/light? Sadly.

    • Nzo

      I heard you like nonsense, so I put nonsense in your nonsense so you can sound crazy while you sound crazy.

      • blotonthelandscape

        Also, it’s spelt “pentecost”.

    • Hamish Milne

      Indeed, a wonderful place to live, so long as you followed their rules and were one of their ‘chosen people’. Otherwise you were killed or otherwise brutally punished. Now where have we heard that before? *cough*Hitler*cough*

      • wazza

        Oh My Godwin

    • Michael

      This is one of the rare John C posts that actually approaches a reasonable reading of the NT. (It leaves out all the nasties of course, but he is a Christian after all.)

  • vasaroti

    Acts 4 is going to confuse the snot out of everybody, because those on the Left are actually on the right (hand of God.)

    • zach

      holy shit, maybe god’s dyslexic???

  • Mike Gage

    You have to remember, also, that these people can’t divorce themselves from the idea that Jesus is still alive and keeping tabs on things. So, they probably implicitly believe that Jesus has seen that the “godly” among us are all American evangelicals. Never mind that the current politics of America make no sense in First Century Palestine. These are the same people who believe they can be rich and make it into a Heaven ruled by the person/deity who told them that was practically impossible!

  • The Quirky Christian

    I don’t think Jesus is a socialist or a capitalist. What these verses do portray is that individuals and groups are supposed to care for other people, especially the poor. It is not speaking of governments taking care of people. People should be taking care of people. They are to respect the laws of the land, including paying taxes. You can’t serve God and money, but you can still make money and serve God. Money is not the root of all evil, but the love of money is.

    It is a misconception to think that all capitalists are selfish money hogs. You can be a capitalist that still cares about people. Liberals may push for more government spending on poor/needy, but it is the conservatives who actually give more percentage of their own personal income to charities.

    If I’m going to give my money away to help the poor, I’d rather give it away myself instead of having the government give it away for me in turn spending it on something that I did not particularly agree with. Not all taxes are bad, but taxes that support simply allowing people to live while doing nothing promotes laziness in a society. Welfare makes sense as a limited “helping out during a bad time”, but there are so many people that never move past that state because you make more money on welfare, so why ever get a job? I speak as someone who grew up as a poor kid living off the government. Government didn’t offer much help getting out of that predicament because they don’t really want people to get out, they want more people in.

    • Custador

      But the government represents the people as well as leading them – Surely they have a responsibility to ensure that these moral tenets are followed?

    • TrickQuestion

      “Liberals may push for more government spending on poor/needy, but it is the conservatives who actually give more percentage of their own personal income to charities”

      I’d love to see citation on this. I’d also love to see what percentage of them don’t claim the “charity” on their taxes.

      • Custador

        Yep. I’d also love to see figures on what percentage of “charity” equals “tithes”, and how much of those tithes go on McMansions and $$$ for preachers instead of to charitable works.

        • Brian M

          On the other hand, by its very nature, government agencies spend much of their funds on administrative costs…staffing, eligibility enforcement, etc.

          On the other other hand (LOL) many private charities seem to be even more “inefficient”.

          I think too many people of the “I’d rather give my own money away” school really mean they want to avoid giving money to the “undeserving” poor.

          • Hamish Milne

            Like it or not, the ‘undeserving poor’ do exist. There is a woman in my village who gets £38,000 per year in benefits. She gets a new car every year. She claims to have a disability but is obviously completely able. She does absolutely no work. If she did start working, she would actually lose money. You’ve gotta admit, it’s not good for morale.

            • Michael

              You might want to look into what disability she is claiming. Note that “disabled” is not the same as “unable,” so a capable person collecting checks does not necessarily constitute fraud. On the other hand, there is also a chance she is defrauding the government, which still is no argument for the system being flawed.

              Also, her benefits presumably come mostly from workers comp or something similar, not the government.

              Either way, the problem with the concept of the “undeserving poor” isn’t that there aren’t some people who seem to freeload, it’s that attempting to classify people into “deserving” and “undeserving” is always going to lead to unjustified discrimination. Even worse, it promotes the idea that not everybody deserves a decent standard of living, which I (along with the liberal ideology) abhor.

            • Hamish Milne

              My guess is that she says she has ‘depression’ which is a valid disability to the government. I have had depression before, and I can tell you it’s not pleasant, but sitting around doing nothing only makes it worse. Doing something constructive is honestly the best cure.


              325,000 able adults who don’t want to work. And that’s probably a conservative estimate, the figure will have gone up since last year. If they aren’t undeserving, I don’t know who is.

            • Hamish Milne

              Which will be costing us at the minimum £338 million per year, assuming they are on the £20 per week jobseeker’s allowance. They are likely able to claim a lot more. I for one would much rather see that money go into schools or charitable causes than into the pockets of those who blatantly say they don’t want to work.

    • blotonthelandscape

      You’re conflating government spending with charity. If you do your economics, you’ll find that health-care, minimum welfare levels, universal education all have positive externalities, which means that, other things being equal, it will be under-sold. Hence social intervention is required to achieve optimal benefit for society, and government is the way our society goes about this. This is basic neo-classical economics.

      As individuals we can’t always see the optimal outcome for society; heck, even economists get it wrong in practice! Also, as admirable as your intent is, the economies of scale for implementing things like this put it beyond the reach of individuals or even groups to put in motion. Also, often, things that benefit people most are things that people are most likely to expect others to pay for, which is why mandatory, progressive taxation best spreads the load (often the people who need it most are least able to implement it).

      This is not to say charity is useless, but it’s not the same. Charity helps fulfill local, immediate needs in a pragmatic way, something I don’t think the government does well. When I was a christian, I was happiest in a church that didn’t push the “tithes and offerings” agenda, but did push the “serve your community in practical ways, with your time more than your money” agenda, which is what effective charities do.

      You’ll find that a lot of us are capitalists here, we’re just willing to acknowledge the faults in the system and sympathise with many socialist agendas. You could call me an “egalitarian-green-welfare-capitalist”, if it doesn’t make your head implode.

      I think, in a sense, you’re right with your opening sentence, inasmuch as socialism and capitalism are recent constructs, but the early christians were, essentially, anarchic communists. It wasn’t until Calvinism took hold that anything resembling christian capitalism became recognisable.

      • Whitt

        Well said. Thank you for helping me focus my understanding. You’re not a ‘blotonthelandscape.’ You’re a beacon on the mountain top.

    • Noelle

      My family was poor when I was a kid. We had WIC, free school lunch, food stamps, church hand-outs, etc. Those programs kept me alive. It certainly did not keep me in poverty. I hated being poor and latched onto the the conviction I’d get out. Public schools and federal college loans helped do that. Private donors helped too. I’m not convinced that either alone would be as effective.

      My mother and step-father were not lazy. That’s not why we were poor. Most people I know who are on some form of assistance are hard workers. The stereotype that assumes most are lazy is the stereotype that hinders so many from seeing a way out.

    • Gringa

      “Government didn’t offer much help getting out of that predicament because they don’t really want people to get out, they want more people in.”

      Really? Government wants to put more people on welfare?

    • Scott

      I agree with The Quirky Christian. I don’t feel that Christ was either a socialist or a capitalist. Labels only serve to separate by creating distinctions. IMHO socialism, capitalism and communism are complimentary concepts to one another. For every one to be a capitalist then each one has to be free from the compulsion of others so that he/she can pursue their own unique creative expression that others will find value in and this can only happen when we each have equal access to the resources supplied by the Creator through Nature. With each of us having equal access to the Earth and it’s resources we essentially hold all things in common (communism) and in this manner we forge the foundation where we truly do Love our brother/sister as ourselves which is reflected in how we socially (socialism) interact with one another. Jesus didn’t come to separate but to Unify which is the pathway to God/Unity.

  • WMDKitty

    Well… if the Rapture or End of The World or what-the-fuck-ever does happen, I think a lot of people will be quite unpleasantly surprised at their destination. (*ahem* “Not all who cry ‘Lord, Lord’…”)

  • Teleprompter

    It’s interesting that you feel there is a contradiction between denying evolutionary biology, and embracing evolutionary economics. From the fundamentalist Christian point of view, I’m not sure that there is a discrepancy. It seems fairly easy to accept that if an interventionist God controls the world intimately, then it’s OK to let people suffer through the free market because it’s God’s judgment — it’s like God directs the market, as a kind of guided evolution, if you will. I like your points about Jesus and other biblical sources saying things which are against free market fundamentalist ideology, but I don’t agree that there is a necessary contradiction between evolution-denial and economic “Darwinism”.

    • Jeffrey

      I agree that suggesting there is a contradiction between capitalism and creationism is odd.

      Capitalism works through survival of the fittest companies, together with the intelligent design of new companies to take their place. Capitalism helps you understand how natural selection works. But it doesn’t help you understand how random mutation is the source of the genetic diversity being decided among by natural selection.

  • JonJon
    • Teleprompter

      Thanks for posting those links, JonJon! They are great reading. I enjoyed the honesty of Fred Clark, and he is very good at explaining his beliefs clearly and openly. However, I do have a question: if the Bible is a roadmap, rather than an infallible authority, why should any person consult it as a higher source than any other religious or secular morality? As an atheist and secular humanist, I consult the Bible – but I also countless other sources for morality and ethics. Without infallibility, what makes the Bible the most important source for Christians, instead of just one link in a chain of moral and ethical teachings?

      • JonJon

        But it is just one link in the chain. One of Fred Clark’s favorite scriptural passages (and perhaps my all-time favorite) is “Test everything. Hold onto the good.”

        • Teleprompter

          Okay, that is fair. Thanks for answering. Since I would say the same thing, and I am not a Christian, there’s not much for me to argue. “Test everything. Hold onto the good” is an admirable moral idea that I share, as I would hope most people ultimately share. I guess what I still would ask is why it’s important to specifically be a Christian then?

  • Mike Caton

    Excellent. We can see what commies I always suspected those Christians always were. As a libertarian I always suspected these non-self-reliant types who wanted to wipe people’s morality accounts clean with big-government bailouts (read: “grace”). Amen to that! (In all seriousness, I was raised atheist and fiscal conservative and I remain basically the same today, and I’m amazed that Christians think they’re capitalists.)

    • Hamish Milne

      At last, another libertarian! Not many around, unfortunately.

      • wazza

        you’ve got an intrusive un- there

  • David

    2 Thessalonians 3
    New American Standard Bible

    6 Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from every brother who leads an unruly life and not according to the tradition which you received from us.

    7 For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example, because we did not act in an undisciplined manner among you,

    8 nor did we eat anyone’s bread without paying for it, but with labor and hardship we kept working night and day so that we would not be a burden to any of you;

    9 not because we do not have the right to this, but in order to offer ourselves as a model for you, so that you would follow our example.

    10 For even when we were with you, we used to give you this order: if anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat, either.

    11 For we hear that some among you are leading an undisciplined life, doing no work at all, but acting like busybodies.

    12 Now such persons we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ to work in quiet fashion and eat their own bread.

    13 But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary of doing good.

    • Custador

      “New American Standard Bible”?! I actually wasn’t aware that the Bible had been re-written for an American audience, but now I think about it…. Yeah, I’m really not shocked.

      • Hamish Milne

        If Christians are right, they’re not allowed to modify the bible. Copyright laws say a work is only in the public domain if the last remaining author died over 70 years ago. Christians say Jesus (at least in part) wrote the bible and is still alive, so under their law, it would be copyrighted.

        • David

          Jesus didn’t write the New Testament, His disciples did under the influence of the Holy Ghost

          • Custador

            Uh… I’m not sure if you actually mean that… But…. Well… No, they didn’t. The earliest gospel, Mark, was written around 70CE. Life expectancy in the time of Jesus was about 40 years. The actual Mark, even if he existed, would have been long dead. The last one, John, was written about 100CE – So he was really, really long dead. The disciples didn’t write the New Testament.

            • David

              I don’t take the liberal dating of the Word that you do. Besides, to deny the disciples were not the ones that were responsible for the books that their names were put to seems kind of dishonest, no? That kind of flies in the face of a group of people who gave their lives in the defense of the Truth.

              From where do you derive such a gross inconsistency?

            • Custador

              Lolwhut?! “Liberal dating”?! It’s the dating that every serious Biblical scholar agrees on. It’s the dating that the archaeological evidence agrees with. It’s the dating that doesn’t require me to completely ignore the evidence in order to fit in with a precondition such as “the Disciples wrote this because my religion says so”.

              That group of people who you believe “gave their lives in the defense [sic] of the truth”? Show me some evidence other than the Bible that they ever even existed!

              “Gross inconsistency”? What inconsistency? Explain yourself.

            • David

              Destruction of the temple in 70 A.D. , Luke and Acts

              None of the gospels mention the destruction of the Jewish temple in 70 A.D. This is significant because Jesus had prophesied concerning the temple when He said “As for these things which you are looking at, the days will come in which there will not be left one stone upon another which will not be torn down,” (Luke 21:6, see also Matt. 24:1; Mark 13:1). This prophecy was fulfilled in 70 A.D. when the Romans sacked Jerusalem and burned the temple. The gold in the temple melted down between the stone walls and the Romans took the walls apart, stone by stone, to get the gold. Such an obvious fulfillment of Jesus’ prophecy most likely would have been recorded as such by the gospel writers who were fond of mentioning fulfillment of prophecy if they had been written after 70 A.D. Also, if the gospels were fabrications of mythical events then anything to bolster the Messianic claims — such as the destruction of the temple as Jesus said — would surely have been included. But, it was not included suggesting that the gospels (at least Matthew, Mark, and Luke) were written before 70 A.D.

              Similarly, this argument is important when we consider the dating of the book of Acts which was written after the gospel of Luke, by Luke himself. Acts is a history of the Christian church right after Jesus’ ascension. Acts also fails to mention the incredibly significant events of 70 A.D. which would have been extremely relevant and prophetically important and would require inclusion into Acts had it occurred before Acts was written. Remember, Acts is a book of history concerning the Christians and the Jews. The fact that the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple is not recorded is very strong evidence that Acts was written before A.D. 70. We add to this the fact that Acts does not include the accounts of “Nero’s persecution of the Christians in A.D. 64 or the deaths of [the apostle] James (A.D. 62), Paul (A.D. 64), and Peter (A.D. 65),”1 and we have further evidence that it was written early.


            • Sunny Day

              I have a prophesy.

              People will continue to use the Bible as evidence for itself.

              Behold my power!

            • Custador

              There’s, like, this place, right, where there are little munchkin-midget people, okay, and they live next to a road, see, and it’s yellow. And made of bricks. It’s a yellow brick road. Says so right here in this book I’ve got.

            • John C

              Actually David, while I agree with your overall position regarding Custador’s comments concerning timelines, authorship, etc, those verses you reference that most assume is speaking of the temple being ‘torn down’ as it was in 70 AD is actually referring to the old mosaic law, old covenant with all its (external to us) ‘types and shadows’ of truth (Heb 8:5) which are seen in the visible realm in contrast to the new (and much better) covenant saying ‘He has made the first obsolete, whatever is becoming obsolete and growing old is READY TO DISAPPEAR’ (Heb 8:13) It will be over-turned, no stone left unturned.

              This means that now, as opposed to the old covenant which was known in the viewable/seen, external to us, temporal realm, the new covenant is known apart from the sense life, ie from the heart by faith (in the inner man, is spiritually discerned) as JC taught us saying, when asked about this mysterious kingdom He was proclaiming and said was already a present day reality, had already come, His disciples asking Him where they could find it, how come they couldn’t see it, He responds ‘the kingdom of heaven is not observable (discerned by the natural eye) for the kingdom of heaven is within you’ (is inwardly apprehended/discerned, Luke 17:21).

              It is also significant that He was speaking of the ‘temple’ which we are now (in the heavenly reality of the new and much better covenant, 1 Cor 3:16, 2 Cor 6:16, 1 Cor 6:19, Eph 2:20, Rev 21:3).

              Everything they/we used to go by, ie outer laws, ordinances, etc in the viewable (sense-life) realm, it is of these very things that He says ‘”Do you see all these great (external/viewable) buildings?” replied Jesus. “Not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.” Because of course, as you well know, Christ Himself is now our Chief Cornerstone, Eph 2:20, again).

              This is the life of faith, to transition from earthly (meaning viewable/seen/tangible) things to heavenly (unseen/invisible/immaterial) things.

              All the best.

            • Yoav

              This is significant because Jesus had prophesied concerning the temple when He said “As for these things which you are looking at, the days will come in which there will not be left one stone upon another which will not be torn down,” (Luke 21:6, see also Matt. 24:1; Mark 13:1). This prophecy was fulfilled in 70 A.D.

              When you write after the events it’s easy to have your characters predict things that happen in their future. If I wrote a book where the plot is happening in the 14th century and had one of the characters, Joe Smith, explain how in the future you will be able to download porn using you cellphone will you accept this as proof that Joe smith was a true prophet?

            • WMDKitty


              Odd. I have seven books that tell me I can catch a magic train from Platform 9 3/4 at King’s Cross…

            • Yoav

              What a coincidence (or should I say, IT’S A MIRACLE!!!!!!) There was a link to This story, about a project looking into the history of the hebrew bible on The Friendly Atheist. One of the example they mentioned is a retroactive addition of a prophesy .

              The Book of Jeremiah is now one-seventh longer than the one that appears in some of the 2,000-year-old manuscripts known as the Dead Sea Scrolls.
              Some verses, including ones containing a prophecy about the seizure and return of Temple implements by Babylonian soldiers, appear to have been added after the events happened.

              So all you need to have accurate predictions is the ability to change the time stamp on your text, no magic powers required.

            • Michael

              I don’t have time to enter this inevitably circuitous discussion, but I would like to point out to Custador that “defense” is the proper American spelling of the word.

              Also, dates for the gospels are not certain, and an earlier dating for Mark is sometimes considered (though usually not before 65 CE), especially for the version before the extended ending was added. Also, the hypothetical document or collection “Q” may even precede Mark. Since Jesus didn’t die until ca. 30 CE, it is certainly possible (though perhaps unlikely) that some or even all of Mark and Q were written by people who had seen or even known Jesus while he was alive.

              Still, the final version of Mark (whose language is consistent with a single author) almost certainly was not written by Jesus’ contemporary.

            • Custador

              Come on, you seriously think that’s prophecy?! “See that building? One day it’s not going to be there any more”. Please! That’s not prophecy, it’s a statement of the bleeding obvious!

              And now to Wikipedia:

              “Acts tells the story of the Apostolic Age of the Early Christian church, with particular emphasis on the ministry of the Twelve Apostles and of Paul of Tarsus. The early chapters, set in Jerusalem, discuss Jesus’ Resurrection and Great Commission, his Ascension with a prophecy to return, the start of the Twelve Apostles’ ministry, and the Day of Pentecost. The later chapters discuss Paul’s conversion, his ministry, and finally his arrest and imprisonment and trip to Rome.”

              Why would it then jump forwards half a century from the “history” it was describing? Sorry, but no. That’s a stretch, and not a short one.

              You state the authorship of Luke and Acts like there’s no dispute over it. However: Since Luke is supposed to have died around 80CE, he certainly wouldn’t be a primary source. At best, he wrote down things that somebody else told him – events of which he himself can’t possibly have had any direct experience – So why is he even relevant to the discussion? Sorry, but he’s just not.

            • Sunny Day

              “Acts also fails to mention…..”

              Or its further evidence of an oral history that was finally written down and preserved.

            • David

              You have a lot of studying to do. You need to take a serious look at Bible prophesy. Especially the Old Testament. There is some pretty amazing stuff. This format is a little silly but the information is based on solid research. Have a look. It only takes ten minutes


            • Custador

              No, David, I don’t. I’m very well aware of what passes as “prophecy” to apologists, including some of the ones that were shoe-horned to fit earlier passages that they clearly didn’t fit, and the ones that are obvious fictions written to fit the earlier passages. I’ve read the Bible, and I’ve read the apologetics, and I’ve read the counterpoints on all sides, and it’s lead me to the conclusion that the apologetics are full of shit and the Bible is at best a book of mythology.

              What makes the conclusion I draw from that a safer bet than the conclusions you draw from it is simple: I had no preconceptions and I’m not invested in the outcome either way. You, on the other hand, approach the entire debate with the preconceptions that God exists and the Bible is true, so you ignore anything that doesn’t fit that conclusion and embrace everything that reinforces it, no matter how absurd. In short: You have confirmation bias, and I don’t.

            • David

              Enjoy your life Custador. I hope one day God is gracious enough to you to prove what He has proven to me. I hope it doesn’t take an angelic intervention to save your life to get through to you like it did for me but if that is what it takes I hope it happens to you. For your sake. I sincerely do.

              Peace to your soul friend

            • thread_of_fire

              “I hope one day God is gracious enough to you to prove what He has proven to me.”

              this sounds brilliantly atheistic. I like to think this is what it comes down to for the reasonable among humans.

            • Sunny Day

              Nope, it sounds like the typical christian arrogance. It’s that line right there, “… to prove what He has proven to me.”,
              David is special!
              David gets it!
              Gawd likes David and has magically shown himself to him!

              David, for your sake I hope you start thinking one day, I sincerely do.

            • Custador

              Fairly standard issue Christianese “fuck you”, I thought. It’s the Christian’s internet equivalent of flouncing off in a sulk when you lose an argument. That’s okay though. I have no interest in David suddenly conceding that he’s wrong. It doesn’t work like that. Give him a few years of people pointing out the inconsistencies, the absurdities and the outright lies needed to maintain his beliefs, and one day he just might be strong enough to appraise them honestly. And there’s only one oytcome to that.

            • blotonthelandscape

              “In short: You have confirmation bias, and I don’t.”

              Yes, you do. Come now Custy, don’t get sloppy…

            • Custador

              Well, to be fair, I didn’t at the time I was having my personal decision making process on faith. I really did look at all the sides with an open mind.

            • David

              [Angry Christian Proselytizing Bullshit Redacted] – Teh Srvr Mnkys.

            • Custador

              Do feel free to fuck off, David.

      • John C

        That just means its origins stem from the KJV of 1611 as do numerous versions. Not that its written (exclusively) for ‘Americans’ Custy. Now you know bro. All the best.

        • Sunny Day

          WOW! a post that wasn’t babbling incoherence.

          Someone must have forgotten to log out of their computer.

          • wazza

            to be fair, John C’s stuff is always internally coherent, it’s just that his system is entirely self-contained, with little reference to the mainstream of theological thought.

            • Sunny Day

              except for the times where he quotes the bible and then other times tells us to ignore the bibul and listen to the light in your heart whenever it suits his purposes.

      • David

        modern American language (as opposed to the 400 year old King James language that most would not understand)

        • Custador

          What a convenient excuse to replace words like “slave” with words like “servant”, hey?

          • Michael

            This was done in the original KJV (aka Authorized Version) as I understand it. Americanization of spelling, etc. can’t be blamed for seventeenth century bowdlerization.

            Not that this is a defense of the NASV, by the way.

      • UrsaMinor

        I dunno. A truly American bible would restrict itself to words of one syllable or less. Our educational standards are painfully low these days.

        • David


          Funny! :)

          It probably would come with a coupon for McDonald’s too ;)

  • Agentsmith

    Well, that just to show you that anyone can take a few select verses out the Good Book and construct a biblical argument in favor of anything, except homosexuality and gay marriage. The Holy Bible is like an international buffet in Vegas, it has everything to satisfy either aWatkins’ dieter or a strict vegan and all the omnivores in between. Isn’t God wonderful and all knowing? It gives meaning and affirmation to anyone no matter how deranged or delusional that person is. Praise the Lord god damnit.

  • Brian

    Vorjack, do you actually think the verses you cited are appropriately understood to be lectures on which economic philosophy is biblical? Isn’t it obvious that there is a significant difference between socialism and voluntary giving?

    You need to do a better job making distinctions and/or researching. Its just sloppy work. Read a critical commentary of the passages you reference so you can at least see what scholars think of the passages…

    • Brian

      Whoops. Custador wrote this article. Apologies.

  • lauram

    Someone was on 700 club one day explaining away the acts 44, 45 stuff. They said something like “yes, that’s what the DISCIPLES did, of their own accord, not because anyone forced them to (i.e., taxes)” So according to Pat and his dingalings, we should emulate the DISCIPLES in all things; except socialism.

    • Brian

      That’s the difference though. The early church chose to do that. It was their call what they did with their money.

      When the govt steps in and takes the money via taxes and allocates it without that person ‘s consent, it becomes socialism.

      Do you see the difference between socialism and charitable donations?

      • vorjack

        That’s the difference though. The early church chose to do that. It was their call what they did with their money.

        I don’t think that’s quite right, though. You’re correct that the text doesn’t support calling for government controlled socialism, but it also doesn’t support government-free capitalism either. Neither idea existed at the time. So the question becomes: what should the Bible-believing Christian take from this?

        The apostles set up a commune. These were men who knew Jesus, studied and his feet and heard him preach. Presumably they knew what he wanted. One would think that the followers of Jesus – and that’s exactly what the word Christian means – should take that fact very seriously.

        It’s interesting the Christians have never come up with an analog of the Muslim concepts of sunnah or khabar. The idea is that, if you want to live in accordance to God’s will, you had best emulate the man that God spoke to: Muhammad. But since that’s not always helpful, you can also emulate the people that Muhammad spoke to: his community. The idea that Christians should emulate the apostles and live in a commune just doesn’t seem to have any appeal.

  • David McClellan

    As far as we can know, Jesus and his apostles were indeed socialists or communists. He was not, however a communist totalitarian. Most people use communism and totalitarianism as synonyms. There’s just no way that anyone could justly accuse Jesus of being a capitalist.

  • TJ

    The most interesting thing about this is that our society going back to FDR has always been partially socialist. In fact our best economic times have came when we had more socialism, when the wealth paid the highest percentage of their income in taxes and our government spent the most amount of money compared to our GDP, that being in the late 40′s, 50′s and going into the 60′s. During this time we saw economic growth almost double that of the 80′s to now, where we started to tax the wealthy less under the idea of supply-side economics, leaning more capitalist then socialist.

    But we have had a progressive tax code, nonetheless, with welfare programs since FDR, so undisputedly we have had socialism in our country and again the greater our socialism has been the greater our economic growth has been. I find it hard to understand how conservatives who base their ideology on their faith can justify this especially with all this scripture backing the idea of giving to those in need and with the economics backing it’s significance. How can one idea, that being abortions, trump everything else the bible says. I agree that these people justify the idea of giving to charity over paying taxes to help those in need in order to make themselves feel better about being sinful with greed, that they just want to keep more of their money or find the person/cause that in important to them, not helping all in need. I also think the idea of praying serves them as a way to make them feel like they are the solution without ever having to do anything or sacrifice their bottom line as Jesus asks us to do.

    I know so many conservative christians who also live more sinful lives then anyone else I know. They are racist, very lustful towards women, extremely greedy with money. These people I know only give and help others when those other people are “like” them. I know not all Christian’s are like this BUT none of them are hardcore conservatives.

    Those that are not hardcore conservatives, those that are just republican because their parents are for an example or those brainwashed by fox news, these people when I sit down and talk to them tend to agree with democratic ideas, socialist type ideas, they just have not looked into it enough or know enough about the issues we dealing with. They just hear talking points of the right and believe them.

    I am a financial Advisor and deal with many people everyday and this is what I have gathered though my dealings with people. I’m not your typical advisor that just talks about investments. I have deep discussion on economics and politics with my clients, as these things do obviously effect investments. When I talk to “hardcore” conservatives, those that believe in 100% capitalism, no socialism, they spill off conservative talking points but usually after a half hour to an hour into our conversation their hatred, racism, greed, and deep rooted fears come out. It disgust me. I usually fell more like giving a recommendation to psychiatric care rather then talking about investments.

  • TJ

    So, I don’t know how this word socialist has turned into such an negative term. Saying the word socialism where I live, whether your republican or democrat, is like saying Jesus worshiped the devil. It gives people this really uncomfortable feeling that stirs up either silence followed by a see you later or a really heated argument. It’s like being a teen and talking to your parents or grandparents about sex. We need to embrace this idea of socialism though. It’s obvious Jesus did!

    I personally believe that a strong mix of socialism and capitalism, what we call democratic socialism or american socialism, is economically the best answer to helping everyone, but that capitalism in it’s purist form is a very dangerous idea that puts a lot of money in the hands of few and leaves others very poor. Completely against Jesus’ teachings. This may not be something people think about daily, but when you vote for someone that is “christian” and says he is going to but the people first, they have to think about when making decisions, they don’t get to turn a blind eye to fill their own greed.

    We cannot depend on the idea that big business is going to make sure we all have health care, a decent wage for our work, a retirement plan, that they are alway going to keep us employed or that they will employee everyone that looks for work. They also do not cover all the catastrophic risk we face that could put us in hard times. Big business cares about one thing, that is the bottom line. Employees are expenses. No business hires because they have more money and want to help the economy. They hire for one reason, they need a person to help them provide a good or service to meet the demand of a consumer, thus turning them a profit.

    When we talk about socialism, we are talking about the idea of “redistribution,” redistribution from the wealthy to the poor. We have to also understand that big business is a redistribution, it’s a redistribution from the consumer to really those that are wealthy. Think about this, United health Care, the biggest insurer of health care in the united states, their CEO made 100 million dollars last year, not to mention all the other big dogs at the company making millions a year. So when you buy insurance threw them you pay a lot more then you should because the guys at the top is paying himself from your premium you pay and excessive amount. This is the same for all big business. It’s ultimately a redistribution to the top.

    What does the government do, they provide goods and services such as insurance against falling on hard times (welfare), individual protection, education, infrastructure of all the roads and bridges you drive on, a retirement plan , etc. They provide these goods and services and more to us and we pay for them in taxes. So the question becomes where does this money you pay in taxes for these goods and services “redistribute” to? Welfare: the poor and the middle-class employees who set up and administrate these programs. Protection: middle-class police officers, military officers, etc. Education: teachers and administrators. etc, etc. So what about the guy at the top, does the government have a top dog that a large portion of the taxes you pay for these goods and services go to? No, the highest paid government worker is the President of the United states, Obama makes $400 thousand a year, $99,600 thousand less then the CEO of united health care made. The second highest paid public sector job: a doctor heading a cancer research department making around $350/yr. So as you can see Government spending redistributes to not just the poor but to many (around 16 million) people in the middle class and none to anyone making over half a million dollars a year. So when we talk about socialism as this terrible thing we have to come up with another word for this redistribution to the top that big business promotes. This word should be the word everyone feels awkward saying. Knowing that a few are skimming from so many to make millions and millions of dollars, how is this so glorified in our society? Who needs 100M dollars? Who can spend that type of money, and most importantly as it pertains to this blogs conversation piece, how does this in anyway abide by what Jesus taught us?

  • Spear

    2 Thessalonians 3:10 — For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat.

    Ephesians 4:28 — Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need.

    Acts 20:35 — In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

    Matthew 20:15 — Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity?’

    • Troutbane

      I’m not sure what your angle with this was, you seemed to be posting under a “Bible is NOT socialism” point of view, however those quotes may not be what you think they are:

      2 Thessalonians is about the Thessalonian Church maintaining their faith in the face of adversity. Ironically, the passage from 2 Thessalonians you quoted was used by the Soviet Union to encourage people to work for the country and was LITERALLY in its constitution.,_neither_shall_he_eat

      Ephesians 4 is part of the Household Code which lays down general instructions on how people should behave in their personal lives. The party about the thief basically is a repeat of the commandment to not steal, and if nothing else, it is at a minimum about the thief redeeming himself and turning his life around to then give to the needy. Neighboring passages are about not lying or being angry and so forth. The rest of the books details gender roles.

      Acts 20 is Paul’s teachings to his followers as he traveled. Ironically, also, this specific quote is pure socialism as it tells his follwoers to work FOR those in need, the actual quote from KJV is
      “I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

      Matthew 20 is actually about how no matter when you accept God that you will receive Salvation. However, if you want to take a literal look at it, it is about a group of workers, all paid the same no matter how hard they work. That doesn’t sound like socialism at all…

      Many of these quotes are about working hard AND then giving to the needy.

      • thinkaboutit

        ok are people seriously trying to RATIONALIZE with the bible now? enjoy each other.

  • Cindy

    Here is how I see what Jesus was saying with ALL His quotes in mind. When He says if you don’t work, you shouldn’t eat….goes out to the individual….so it speaks to anyone that reads the passage….He also said….don’t judge….give to the poor….feed the hungry….He said to pay your taxes and respect your government. I do not believe democrats are socialists….it was an invented label to help the rich protect their assets….wow, was Jesus right in saying it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle then to get into Heaven!!….The interpretation from my pastor is…the Eye of the Needle was a hard passage to get through….but doable….so not impossible if man set his heart of God’s wishes and God’s heart.

    • Sunny Day

      Good thing you’ve got someone who can explain what jesus really meant.
      Now ask him why he doesn’t pay taxes.

  • Terry

    IF Jesus was really against personal property as many of your Bible Verses point out, then he must have no use for the 8th and 10th Commandments. I wonder what other Moses’ laws you feel Jesus would have had a problem with?

    • Custador

      Well, if one accepts the standard apologist line that Jesus’ arrival and teachings invalidated the OT (at least as far as the more inconvenient rules are concerned), then one must assume all of them, no? Is there any other passive-aggressive nonsense you wish to air, or are you done?

    • thinkaboutit

      so you’ve never heard there are contradictions in the bible. Boy have i got news for you.

  • Spiritwoman1

    Lets take the Bible literally, Money is the root of all evil. How about it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than a rich man to get to heaven. Why did Jesus in gathering the Apostles have them divest themselves of their worldly goods? Why did he not have them start up equity firms?

  • http://N/A Ralph F Stone

    Very interesting responses. I think Jesus was the first hippie I’d met. I think he would have leaned leftward as well. But none of my reply is going to get me into Heaven or keep me out. None of any of your replies will bring the same result. Are you going to Heaven or not? That’s all that matters. All of our words, ideas about Him, beliefs about Heaven. None of it matters. Are you going to Heaven or not? Is Jesus who He says He is? You need to check that out for yourselves. The cool thing about it is, you have a choice. And whatever decision you make, you have to, and will walk in it tomorrow. It’s a waste of time trying to prove any point concerning this issue. You believe or you don’t.

    • Custador

      No, I’m not. And neither are you. Because it’s a fairy tale.

      • thinkaboutit

        no its more of a mythologized history of a failed jewish rebellion against rome.

    • Yoav

      I look at it as a sort of reversed pascal’s wager, if your god is a fairy tale who cares, if the bible is a reliable description of it then I would take eternal damnation rather then worship such a monster.

    • UrsaMinor

      That argument applies equally well (or equally poorly) to any religious belief system past or present. If it’s really a valid argument, then you have to make a choice about Islam, Hinduism, Shinto, Buddhism, and about four thousand others as well. Which means you have to study each and every one of them and weigh the evidence carefully so as not to make a mistake that you will regret for eternity.

  • Nicholas Krutikov

    “1 Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.
    2 Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.
    3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended.”

    Um, since when these kind of sentiments are socialism of any kind? “Socialism” is not “everything that would send a Tea Partier into rage”, especially since right-libertarian “anti-government” stance is bullshit anyway.

  • thinkaboutit

    yeah the problem is trying to appeal rationally to people who are irrational. Its fun but ultimately an exercise in futility.