I enjoy listening to the band Delirious. I cannot say I celebrate their entire catalogue, but I have enjoyed most of their music. I have been particularly encouraged by their Mission Bell album, which is an encouragement to the Church that she will accomplish her mission for Christ. Well, it was about the same time that I bought that record that I became aware of Liberation Theology and what it is — that is, Marxism cloaked in Christianity. So it was with particular interest that I listened to a single line on that record, “…and fight for the hungry who paid for our lives.” By itself, that line might not register, but after you think about it a little, that line fits into the Marxist puzzle a little too easily.
You could write it off as accidental or just one line or poor writing or whatever, and that would be fine, but yesterday I picked up Delirious’ next record, Kingdom of Comfort, and discovered this gem, “…and I’ll pay the price because my gain is someone else’s loss.” Well, there you have it folks — clear Marxism in a Delirious song. What can I do except write about it? So let us examine the matter, because every now and then we encounter this confusion between Christianity and Marxism/Communism and every now and then someone has to clear it up.
I shall keep it brief:
1. Jesus was not a Communist. First, Communism is a form of government (one might call it a religion) where the government owns the businesses. Second, Communism forcefully takes what folks have and redistributes it to others. In contrast, Jesus taught that we should care for the poor and do it joyfully, “…not grudgingly, or of necessity.” Furthermore, Jesus instructed the Church to do this herself, not to ask the Government to do it. Furthermore, we must remind ourselves here of the religious oppression that characterizes Communism as much as anything else. For violating the eighth commandment and other infractions, we conclude that Communism is evil.
2. Capitalism is not evil. The Marxist view of capitalism is that in economic transactions, one man always gets the advantage of another, or “…my gain is someone else’s loss.” A Marxist claims capitalism depends on greed. But these are specious claims. A thoughtful examination of capitalism will find that in any exchange of goods and services (we assume the players are law-abiding), there are only winners.
Said another way, if you buy a product from me, the money that I make is not money you lose. You pay me money, but get something in return and it’s something you want. You wouldn’t have paid me the money otherwise. And if I am able to sell you something for more than I paid for it, it is because I have added some value to that thing, not because I have robbed you. So in capitalism those who make profits — especially huge profits — do not do it by stepping on the backs of others, they do it by serving others. Those who get rich in capitalism do it by serving lots of people, and anyone and everyone is capable of doing so, and everyone involved benefits.
Capitalism simply means that people get to decide what to do with their own resources: money, time, effort. People can choose to take their resources and invest them, buy goods or services with them, or give them away.
So, it turns out that Christian charity is just as much a part of free market capitalism as profit, and Christian charity is not possible in Marxism/Communism. And what about the new Delirious record? Well, Kingdom of Comfort is a call to the Church to leave our lives of comfort and fulfill our calling to feed the hungry and visit those in prison and so forth. It is a good and proper call. But that one line is a pecan shell in your pecan pie.