I neglected this thread for a while because I was bored with it, but now that Ronnie's active again I thought I'd revitalize it.
Now, if Jesus wished any true social reform, how do you consider the foremost authority on scripture, Paul, saying the below in his letter to the Romans. Chapter and verse, its Romans 13:1-7 but I'm only going to post an excerpt.
'Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves.'
I think it's important to mind the fact that St. Paul was not an extension of Christ himself. Personally I put little trust in Paul, because his work was extremely culturally subjective, and linguistic experts have concluded several times over that many excerpts of his epistles were added by later authors. This passage is utter shite though. You know what all this ass-kissing served for Paul? He got off with a decapitation, unlike the crucified Peter. Back to Jesus, threatening to destroy the Temple and rebuild it in three days about as blatant as the Son of God could come to demanding social reform. Jesus came here to change things around. He was mostly concerned with spirituality, but given the old Hebrew culture sociality was implicitly involved. Consider the OT punishment for adultery... capital punishment, an appendage of the state. If Jesus wanted to reform the spirit, he had to eventually reform society. Simple as that. The culmination of a world taught to refuse the self and follow in the footsteps of Christ could only logically involve social reform in which the lucky provided for the unfortunate.
Christ repeats the same themes in many of His sayings.
Yeah, but the Widow's Mite story was unique in its message, and related concepts worked into the story don't defile the fact that the story makes clear allusions to the concept of progressive taxing. I'm not saying that it's completely without merit to note that the rich were giving alms in a more public fashion, but the greatest point of the story was to respect the heart in which a gift is made, and that much is expected from those to whom much has been given. It's all in there. You call the elephant hairy and I'll call it grey.
Romans 14:23 "Whatever is not of faith, is sin."
I wonder where the literalists stand on this one.
Jesus made a call for his followers to renounce materialism and to devote their lives to the betterment of the less fortunate, "for what you do to the least of my people, you do unto Me." The Old Testament was big on elitism, from concepts like the Jews being God's Chosen People, to the exclusivity of the priestly castes, to the banishment of the leppars and handicapped. On the contrary, Jesus ushered in a new idea of religious community. The rich man goes to Hell while Lazareth dines in paradise. The wolf will be guest of the lamb. All the vineyard workers are rewarded the same pay for different work. He wanted to resolve the petty rivalries between the tribes. For Christ to think of society as being inconsequential to his mission would water down the gospel to a preachy revision of the Old Testament. Christ didn't want to fix the old community of God, he wanted to tear it down and build an altogether better one. THE RECONFIGURATION OF SOCIETY WAS INTEGRAL TO HIS MISSION. What kind of society, though? One in which the rich give freely to the poor, a society in which time, talent, and treasure is expected to be used frugally and generously. The parallels this has to socialism, in my sight, are obvious.