Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels wrote The Communist Manifesto in 1848, relating it to what they called “scientific socialism.” The 20th century and beyond are fraught with examples of the embarrassing failures of both communism and socialism (i.e., The former Soviet Union, Venezuela, North Korea, Cuba, Soviet-era Eastern Germany, to name a few).
Despite this dubious history, we currently have high-profile political leaders, like congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez promoting a form of Marxism called “democratic socialism.”
The following are ten reasons why socialism is antithetical to the tenets of biblical Christianity.
1. Socialism is against the biblical view of the nuclear family
Marxists argue that “the nuclear family performs ideological functions for Capitalism — the family acts as a unit of consumption and teaches passive acceptance of hierarchy. It is also the institution through which the wealthy pass down their private property to their children, thus reproducing class inequality.”
Hence, socialism is against the biblical principle of parental rights related to their children and the prominence of the nuclear family (Genesis 1:28-29, Proverbs 22:6, Ephesians 5:22-6:4).
2. Socialists claim education belongs solely to the state
Marxist education aims at producing faithful citizens. Therefore, it is primarily an ideological tool to program children to be loyal to the state. In communist and socialist nations, education and the curriculum are controlled by the state and are not considered the responsibility of the parents. Models like homeschooling children would be illegal. This contradicts the biblical framework regarding parents being responsible for educating their children the way they choose (Proverbs 22:6; Deuteronomy 6:6-9).
3. Socialists claim the state deserves the highest allegiance
In many communist nations like the former Soviet Union and modern-day countries like North Korea and China, Bibles are confiscated, church buildings are burned, and evangelism is illegal. This is because they see Christianity as a rival religion to the authority of the humanistic secular state. This goes against the biblical command to put first God’s Kingdom and worship and serve Jesus as the only true Lord (Matthew 6:33; 1 Timothy 6:15).
4. Socialists believe in the abolition of private property in land and the application of all rents of land to public purposes
This is antithetical to the biblical premise of the individual right to own private property and the command for believers to create wealth to promote God’s covenant (Exodus 20:15; Deuteronomy 8:18; 1 Kings 20:6, Isaiah 65:21-22; Mark 10:39-21).
5. Socialism advocates a progressive income tax
In a socialist system, people are taxed based on their income. This is called a progressive tax structure. As an example of the influence of socialism in the United States, “The top 1% (taxpayers with AGI of $546,434 and above) earned 20.1% of total AGI in 2019 and paid 38.8% of all federal income taxes. In 2019, the top 1% of taxpayers accounted for more income taxes paid than the bottom 90% combined.” This goes against the biblical principle that all people, irrespective of their income, should pay the same percentage which is a “flat tax.” (This is similar to the Biblical principle of the tithe which is 10% of a person's income (Leviticus 27:30; Proverbs 3:8-10; Matthew 23:23).)
6. Socialism opposes the rights of a family inheritance
In a contemporary Marxist and socialist framework, either leaving an inheritance to children is not allowed, or the state confiscates much of the family inheritance through double taxation. This goes against the biblical principle of leaving an inheritance to children (Proverbs 13:22).
7. In socialism, the state attempts to control all communication
“In socialistic countries, centralization of the means of communication and transport is in the hands of the State.” In communist nations, people are not allowed to have freedom of speech. Violations can be severely punished (I.e., “Meta-owned Facebook and Twitter have been blocked in China since 2009”). Since God owns the world, nobody has the right to restrict free speech, especially the proclamation of the Gospel (Psalm 24; Acts 1:8-9).
8. In socialism, a utopia comes from a revolutionary change from the outside in
“Marx’s utopianism lay in the aim of abolishing the distinction between state and civil society, and in the harmony he assumed would emerge.” This goes against the biblical principle that systemic change doesn’t start from the outside. Instead, it starts from the inside when people are born again in their hearts from above (John 3:3-8).
9. Socialism categorizes people as either the oppressed or the oppressors
The Marxist revolutions were started by inciting the so-called proletariat to overthrow the social systems of the so-called bourgeoisie, thus pitting poor and rich citizens against each other. This violates the biblical principles of justice and impartiality in which God commands us not to show favoritism to either the rich or the poor (Leviticus 19:15).
Also, a popular form of contemporary socialism called “critical theory” violates biblical principles by categorizing people based upon their sexual identity, economic status, skin color, ethnicity, or gender. Biblically, there is only one human race made in the image of God. In Christ, all the walls that divide humanity have been broken down (Genesis 1:27; Galatians 3:28, Ephesians 2:14-22).
10. Socialists believe the Government is responsible for all social care
In socialist and communist countries, the state is responsible for caring for the poor and providing all goods and services necessary for citizens. They would conceptually view families, churches, and nonprofits as competition to the state if they attempted to do the same. Contrariwise, scripture admonishes Christians, churches, and ministries to serve as benefactors to their larger secular community as witnesses to the Gospel (Luke 10:25-37; Galatians 6:10; Titus 2:14; Titus 3:8).
Dr. Joseph Mattera is an internationally-known author, consultant, and theologian whose mission is to influence leaders who influence culture. He is the founding pastor of Resurrection Church, and leads several organizations, including The U.S. Coalition of Apostolic Leaders and Christ Covenant Coalition