Tag Archives: Sin

Bill Lockwood: Socialism as a Religion

by Bill Lockwood

Marxists profess to reject religion in favor of science, but they cherish a belief that the external universe is evolving with reliable, if not divine, necessity in exactly the direction in which they want it to go. They do not conceive themselves as struggling to build the communist society in a world which is of its own nature indifferent to them. They conceive themselves as traveling toward that society in a world which is like a moving-stairway, but walking in the wrong direction. This is not a scientific, but in the most technical sense, a religious conception of the world. (Max Eastman, Marxism—Is It Science?)

Max Eastman (1883-1969) was a prominent editor, political activist and “prominent radical” who, like many in Woodrow Wilson’s “progressive” America, became infatuated with Marxism. Eastman traveled to the Soviet Union to learn firsthand how to be a good socialist and became friends with Leon Trotsky. Years later, when Eastman became convinced that socialism is void of validity, he reflected upon his time as a Marxist. “I sadly regret the precious twenty years I spent muddling and messing around with this idea, which with enough mental clarity and moral force I might have seen through when I went to Russia in 1922” (Reflections on the Failure of Socialism).

Eastman knew whereof he spoke.

Socialism is not normally classified as a religion, but when its doctrines are examined, it more closely resembles a religious concept than anything else. The only difference between socialism and Christianity is that the latter is grounded upon historical fact while socialistic faith is founded upon unproven assumptions. Communism particularly is a philosophy of faith in the dialectic—the zig-zagging of history onward and upward to a more perfect society.

Nikita Khrushchev was appealing to this “dialectic” when he said that history was on their side and they (Soviet Union) would bury us (J.D. Bales, Communism, Its Faith and Fallacies, p. 102). “Communists represent the antithesis which the dialectic has decreed with destroy us, the thesis. It is this faith which helps keep the rank and file members at their tasks when the going is difficult.” This is also, we might add, why myriads of collegiate students, trained by their Marxist professors, continue to march fanatically to the drumbeat of socialism.

Norman Thomas

Because of the religious nature of socialism, it was a simple matter for Norman Thomas (1884-1968), to trade his ministerial garbs and Presbyterian beliefs for a heaven-on-earth utopia strategy of socialism. He became known as “Mr. Socialist” in America.

Thomas, in turn, was heavily influenced by the 19th-century Social Gospel “theology” developed by Walter Rauschenbusch. Rauschenbusch was himself a Baptist preacher of the 19th century who mixed a version of modernistic “Christianity” together with Marxism to craft what became known as the “social gospel.”

The key to Rauschenbusch’s theology was his concept of the Kingdom of God. To him, this Kingdom was not located in another place called heaven or in a future millennium, but could best be described in modern terms as a level of consciousness in which one recognized the immanence of God in human life and the interconnected, interacting, interdependent nature of the entire human species.

So writes Dr. Elizabeth Balanoff, professor of history at Roosevelt University in Chicago in her paper, “Norman Thomas: Socialism and the Social Gospel.” “Walter Rauschenbusch was convinced that this was the original Christian vision which had been distorted and lost with time, and that it was possible to regain it.”

Because of the religious nature of socialism, H.G. Wells stated: “Socialism is to me a very great thing indeed, the form and substance of my ideal life and all the religion I possess.” Mr. Edmund Optiz, writing in Foundation for Economic Education (1969) observed that “As a religion, Socialism promised a terrestrial paradise, a heaven on earth.” This is why Optiz called Socialism “A Fanatic Faith.”

Max Eastman, in his 1962 book, Reflections on the Failure of Socialism, related that Norman Thomas, “in his rather pathetic Democratic Socialism, A New Appraisal (1953), throws overboard everything that gave distinct meaning to the word socialism, but continues to drive along in the old bandwagon with the name printed on it in large letters.”

For example, Eastman points out, Thomas’ words were “Socialism will do this, …” “Socialism will do that …” But Eastman asks, “how does that differ from what he preached as a Christian minister before his conversion to socialism?” In other words, socialism and Marxism are nothing less than a “religious-type” of conviction that has jettisoned biblical promises of heaven for a “garden of Eden” on earth. As stated succinctly by Mr. Socialism himself, his socialistic philosophy was an “implicit religion.”

Spargo & Arner

Because socialism is in reality an implicit religion, Spargo & Arner, who virtually wrote the textbook on Socialism, called Elements of Socialism (1912), tell us that not only is a “future life” such as heaven an “invention of man” but that God Himself is a “construct of the human mind.” They present socialism as an “alternative to Christianity” which infuses a passion for perfection “without God” and “without heaven.” Further, it is based upon the general theory of evolution (p. 63, 75, 111, 206, 222), which itself is a theory designed to replace belief in God.

As does everything that seeks to replace biblical Christianity, socialism presents a misdiagnosis of what ails mankind. Dishonesty is not “in property ownership” (Spargo & Arner, 23); poverty itself is not an evil (p. 39); world peace is not the ultimate goal (p. 202); and “social injustice” is not the devil incarnate (p. 46). This is why Mr. Edmund Optiz describes socialism as a modern, “this-worldly” religion.

The real problem with man lies within his/her heart—it is called sin. “Above all else, guard your heart, fro everything you do flows from it” (Proverbs 4:23). Sin is a violation or transgression of God’s Almighty Law (1 John 3:4). All men have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory (Romans 6:23). There will be no improvement of society until humanity faces the stark reality of sin imbedded in the heart. Only when the corruption in the world is given its proper diagnosis can people turn to the only real healing—forgiveness in Jesus Christ (Romans 3:21-23).

Bill Lockwood: Why Should Christians be Interested in Opposing Socialism?

by Bill Lockwood

Modern America has been trained to compartmentalize their lives by placing “religion” and worshipping in the church-house or privacy of the home as separate and distinct from “politics.” “Politics” is thought to be what one does when going to the ballot box. Never should these two ideas meet. So is the conventional wisdom.

It is further supposed that ideas such as socialism, communism, statism, collectivism or their variants are merely “political theories” that have no bearing on religious teaching, or more than that—that biblical teaching does not touch such ideas.

This is all very shallow and without any serious thought into what the biblical view of the world includes. Let’s begin with the Bible. Christian truth is one organism. It has a unity and coherence the parts of which cannot be arbitrarily removed without doing violence to the whole. In the words of the great Christian writer James Orr,

“He who with his whole heart believes in Jesus as the Son of God is thereby committed to much else besides. He is committed to a view of God, to a view of man, to a view of sin, to a view of Redemption, to a view of the purpose of God in creation and history, found only in Christianity. This forms a Weltanschauung, or “Christian view of the world” which stands in marked contrast with theories wrought out from purely philosophical or scientific viewpoint.” 1

This is why there is deep antagonism between Bible believers and scientific theories of the origin of the world and mankind. The schism cannot be papered over by simply saying, “I believe in God and the general theory of evolution.” The naturalistic view of the world begins with this sign: “NO MIRACLES ALLOWED.” The Christian view of the world begins with this: “In the beginning GOD CREATED the heavens and the earth.” There is no middle ground.

Socialism

The same is true regarding socialism. Oscar Jaszi was a noted Hungarian social scientist, historian, and politician of the 19th century. Jaszi found himself in the middle of socialist revolutions in Europe during the formative years of communism/socialism, labor parties, and liberal democratic movements. Later, teaching at Oberlin College in Ohio, he authored works published by the University of Chicago Press. He wrote the entry under Socialism in 1934 for the Encyclopedia of Social Sciences, a multi-volume scholarly work. In his lengthy article on “Socialism” for the Encyclopedia, Jaszi summarizes six points which are characteristic of all collectivist movements. They are as follows:

  1. A condemnation of the existing political and social order as unjust
  2. An advocacy of a new order consistent with moral values
  3. A belief that this ideal is realizable
  4. A conviction that the immorality of the established order is traceable not to a fixed world order or to the unchanging nature of man but to corrupt institutions
  5. A program of action leading to the ideal through fundamental remolding of human nature or of institutions or both
  6. A revolutionary will to carry out this program.

Jaszi then issues this warning. “The fact can scarcely be overemphasized that no true socialist is satisfied with merely economic reforms but advocates also a distinct educational, ethical, and aesthetic policy.”

At the heart of all socialistic ideas, including communism, Nazism, statism, and fascism, is an atheistic view of man. That is, mankind is solely determined by physical, social, and/or economic factors. This is directly at variance with the biblical view of man, which teaches that the problem with mankind is sin, a rebellion against God (Rom. 3:10-12).

To teach that God Exists sets one at war with atheism which says there is no God. To teach that there is One God (Deut. 6:4) is to oppose polytheism which says there are many gods. It is also to oppose the pagan worldview which believes that deity is somehow embodied in the earth. And to teach that God created man in his own image—a freewill being whose problem is SIN, is to be at variance with the socialistic creed that preaches the problems of mankind arise from the environment and that by reforming social institutions problems will be solved.

It is simple. Belief in the biblical view of God opposes atheism and the biblical view of man opposes socialism. Further, since politics is defined as the principles by which society should be governed, should not Christians be engaged in combatting socialistic ideas that engraft themselves into a culture—even if they are in the political arena?

1 The Christian View of God and the World, p. 4.

Bill Lockwood: Nasty on the Streets of San Francisco

by Bill Lockwood

Adam Andrzejewski founded a website called OpenTheBooks.com. In it he and his team track wasteful spending of tax dollars by all levels of government. But there is another “waste” problem which Andrzejewski has documented. It is human waste on the Streets of San Francisco.

“Since 2011 there have been at least 118,352 reported cases of human fecal matter on city streets.” The number of these cases grows year by year. “Last year, the number of reports spiked to an all-time high at 28,084. In the first quarter 2019, the pace continued with 6,676 instances of human waste in the public way.”

The new mayor, London Breed, won election by “promising to clean things up. However, conditions are the same or worse.” “The city has taken steps to crack down on the crisis. Over the last year, the Department of Public Works instituted what the San Francisco Chronicle called a ‘Poop Patrol.’ Consisting of five teammates, the Chronicle estimated each employee earned a hefty $184,000 in pay, perquisites and pension benefits.”

What is the Cause?

What is the underlying cause or causes of this problem? First, the city is in trouble because it hosts an estimated homeless population of 7,500 people. That is quite remarkable for a city whose population is 884,000. “Affluent sections of the city have become dangerous with open-air drug use, tens of thousands of discarded needles, and sadly, human feces.”

Second, and more importantly, San Francisco boasts a godless culture. Hub of the aggressive homosexual agenda, the City by the Bay mimics Sodom & Gomorrah. The Old Testament prophet Isaiah observes regarding wickedness, “For wickedness burns like a fire; it devours thorns and thorn-bushes, it kindles the thickets of the forest and billows up in a mighty cloud … no man spares his brother” (9:18-19).

When restraints are removed, which is the definition of godlessness, and “self” becomes all important, not only is God disrespected, so is man. Sin becomes a raging fire devouring everything, caring not for God nor man. Such is the very nature of sin.

Or, as Old Testament commentator, John Oswalt, observed: Sin is not a little misguided playfulness as it is so often depicted. It is a rebellion against God’s order for life. As such, it can only be destructive, like a grass fire which works its way through the brush at the edge of the forest deceptively slowly but then increases speed until it bursts into the woods with a roar and an upward rush of smoke. Because sin seeks gratification in denial of the created order, it can find such gratification only in increasingly flagrant denials. The sinful acts themselves cannot satisfy. Soon rebellion for its own sake, a raging fire, is all that is left.

Such it is in the once “Golden City” of San Francisco. Andrzejewski put it lightly, “lately there has been a brownout in the Bay Area.”

Bible Basics, Social Justice and War on Poverty

Bible Basics, Social Justice and War on Poverty

by Bill Lockwood

The Heritage Foundation wrote, “In his January 1964 State of the Union address, Johnson proclaimed, ‘This administration today, here and now, declares unconditional war on poverty in America.’  Since that time, U.S. taxpayers have spent over $22 trillion on anti-poverty programs (in constant 2012 dollars). Adjusted for inflation, this spending (which does not include Social Security or Medicare) is three times the cost of all military wars in U.S. history since the American Revolution. Despite this mountain of spending, progress against poverty, at least as measured by the government, has been minimal.”

The Washington Times reported similarly that the poverty rate has only decreased in America by 2% since Johnson’s War on Poverty began in 1965. “Although the president often rails against income inequality in America, his policies have had little impact overall on poverty. A record 47 million Americans receive food stamps, about 13 million more than when he [Obama] took office. “The poverty rate has stood at 15 percent for three consecutive years, the first time that has happened since the mid-1960s. The poverty rate in 1965 was 17.3 percent; it was 12.5 percent in 2007, before the Great Recession.

“About 50 million Americans live below the poverty line, which the federal government defined in 2012 as an annual income of $23,492 for a family of four.” Obama’s Socialism or Social Justice will never effectively reduce the poverty rate. Forcing businesses to raise the minimum wage will not do it either. No amount of government FORCE—the only thing Obama knows—will solve the poverty problem.

Why Will Socialism Not Work?

The reason is because the entire structure of socialism is built upon a grand lie, a false world-view about the nature of man and life itself. Instead, social justice sears the conscience of America as to what is real justice while hardening the once-freedom-loving Americans into allowing the government to experiment on us socially.
To understand why this is the case, we need go back to real basics of life—Bible basics of freedom.

First, Life. Life is a gift of God (Gen. 1:27; 2:7). A worldview that begins with “In the beginning God…” is the only viable option that truly recognizes the dignity of man. Since God created man, it stands to reason that what is required to preserve life is also a part of God’s created purpose. Life cannot sustain itself alone. Thus, Jehovah gave us marvelous faculties with which to extract the resources He placed in or on the earth that sustains our lives.

These faculties include my liberty of action. I am free to choose to labor. Hunger assists me in making that choice. Additionally, if I have not freedom to sustain my own life, then what benefit is life? And, if I cannot by my own labor provide and even accumulate goods (that would be my “property”) that are necessary to sustain my life or provide for my future, again, what good is life? There is no benefit to having life from God if I am not able to sustain it.

Second, Law. What is law? Law is the “rule of action” that recognizes that I have not only the right to provide, but to protect my person, liberty or property. Since life is sacred, I have the right to use force to protect it as well as the property that I have accumulated. The Mosaic code of the Old Testament makes this emphatically clear. It is also the basic concept of Natural Law.

It also follows that if I have a right to defend myself and my property, then groups of persons may do the same. This organization to defend ourselves from THEFT is what is known as LAW.  Man-made secular law is nothing more (or should be) than the organization of the natural right by groups of persons to defend what God gave them (Romans 13:4,5).

This is why James Wilson, a Founding Father that signed both the Declaration of Independence as well as the Constitution, reflected on the law of man and the law of God: “Far from being rivals or enemies, religion and law are twin sisters, friends, and mutual assistants. Indeed these two sciences run into each other… All [laws], however, may be arranged in two different classes. 1) Divine. 2) Human… But it should always be remembered that this law, natural or revealed, made for men or for nations, flows from the same Divine source: it is the law of God… Human law must rest its authority ultimately upon the authority of that law which is Divine.” Man’s laws need to reflect God’s.

Third, The Nature of Man. Man is a mixture of “sunshine and shadow,” as one Founding Father put it. This was but a reflection of the biblical exposition of man. By “sunshine” is meant the propensity to do well and be a blessing to others.  It is a great quality that we need to encourage in ourselves and others.  On the other hand, there is also a “shadowy” portion of man. It is a desire to do wrong, which, when acted upon, is what the Bible calls SIN.  Sin is a violation of God’s law (1 John 3:4).

Reflecting this part of man, history is littered with examples of men who wished to live at the expense of others. They do this by overt robbery or, they take the God-given concept of law (protecting ourselves and our goods) and convert it to enrich themselves. Instead of robbing us at gunpoint, they pervert the purpose of LAW that they might steal your possessions. Politicians do this on a regular basis. Promising more goodies to various classes of people ensures their longevity in office and positions of power. But the end—confiscation and redistribution—or socialism, is exactly the same as a gunpoint robbery. Force is used and LAW becomes the source of evil and wickedness.

That the above occurs in America, not only with frequency, but as a part “our system,” is a source of sadness and shame. Law no longer serves its God-given purpose to protect the rights, goods, and persons of individuals in society but it has become the instrument of PLUNDER of many by the few. Obama’s social justice is exactly this. The overturning of what men innately know to be right. That churches, which should be standing for principles of justice, favor it simply shows to what immoral depths we have now descended in America. But these atrocities God will not overlook forever. Poverty will continue to plague us in astronomical proportions and working people will chafe more and more under a yoke of bondage. Perhaps that is what Obama wants all along.

Back to Homepage