In 2017, the Huffington Post published an article asserting Jesus was a Socialist. In my latest Economics Explored podcast episode on economics and religion, I asked returning guest Darren Brady Nelson, Chief Economist of LibertyWorks and a policy advisor to the Heartland Institute, whether Jesus was indeed a socialist (and also whether the question even makes sense given Jesus lived 1700-1800 years before the industrial revolution). Among other points, Darren noted:
The weight of biblical evidence certainly suggests that he wasn’t a socialist, not that he was a capitalist, but there’s certainly more overlap. And one of the key points would be socialism is involuntary…so any redistribution…it’s by government fiat, by government force. That’s at great odds with the Bible and what Jesus taught…Jesus expected people to follow him voluntarily. He expected them to be generous voluntarily. And, obviously, the free market is all about things being voluntary.
Darren and I had a wide-ranging discussion considering, among other issues, the impacts of religion on economic growth and whether the rich can get into heaven, given you cannot serve both God and Mammon.
Darren’s articles on religion and economics include:
Please check out our conversation and let us know what you think via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.