I was skimming radio stations this weekend and stumbled across a random conservative talk-show. He (I didn't stay long enough to memorize the host's name) was attacking the platform of an atheist speaker. This is what I heard: "This guy (the speaker/author) is a socialist atheist. If you are against capitalism, you are against Christianity and religion!"
This radio talk show host was essentially equating capitalism with religious faith and implying that the two are inseparable?
I have atheist/agnostic tendencies AND I'm fervently pro-capitalism! Where does that leave me? I'm destined to wander aimlessly in "limbo" between heaven and hell because I'm not a socialist, but I'm not a christian either? Help me out here? On what planet does his comment make sense?
Then I thought to myself: "Self, isn't organized religion exactly like socialism?". Think about it: In socialism, the means of production are controlled by the people's elected representatives or controlled by the community of people directly. The "State" acts in the best interest of the people.
If we apply the idea of socialism to a church and religion, could the "people's representative" be say, a Pope or Priest?
The "State" that acts in the best interest of the people could very easily be replaced with the concept of the church hierarchy. The heavenly hierarchy prefer to be known collectively as the "Servus Servorum Dei (Servant of the Servants of God)".
Tithing is an economic parallel between socialism and church politics. Most churches/religions have some sort of dues requirement whether it is the literal 10% or not. "In recent years, tithing has been taught in Christian circles as a form of "stewardship" that God requires of Christians.
There has also been much controversy with the introduction of "membership covenants" in many evangelical churches in North America, spearheaded by many mega-churches. These covenants, such as those introduced at the Willow Creek and Saddleback mega-churches, require giving 10% to that church as a condition of membership. Prospective members must sign off on a contract and are interviewed regarding their lifestyle, including tithing.
Germany levies a church tax, on all persons declaring themselves to be Christians, of roughly 8-9% of the income tax, which is effectively (very much depending on the social and financial situation) typically between 0.2% and 1.5% of the total income. The proceeds are shared amongst Catholic, Lutheran, and other Protestant Churches. In 1933 Hitler had the entry "church tax" added to the official tax card, which meant that the tax could now be deducted by the employer like any of the other taxes." (Wikipedia)
Winston Churchill: "A socialist policy is abhorrent to the British ideas of freedom. Socialism is inseparably interwoven with totalitarianism and the object worship of the state. It will prescribe for every one where they are to work, what they are to work at, where they may go and what they may say. Socialism is an attack on the right to breathe freely. No socialist system can be established without a political police. They would have to fall back on some form of Gestapo, no doubt very humanely directed in the first instance."
Hmmm....if we replace a couple of Churchill's references to "Socialism" with "the church" does it seem so out of place?
“As with the Christian religion, the worst advertisement for Socialism is its adherents” George Orwell
In summation---conservative religion seems more in line with the socialist than the capitalist!!