Is God an Egalitarian? For the purposes of this article, perhaps we need to define egalitarianism. Egalitarian is generally characterized by the idea that all human persons are equal in fundamental worth.
For many, this definition sounds reasonable, but the devil is in the detail. Some go further and argue that egalitarianism is where people should be treated as equals and have the same political, economic, social, and civil rights and advocating the removal of economic inequalities among people.
Whoa, “removal of economic inequalities?” Is that economic opportunity or economic outcomes? Having the “same political ideologies?” This sounds a bit totalitarian. Then there is the issue of ethnic, race, and gender civil rights. Society has been grappling with civil rights for a long-time – reparations, for example.
When we ask, “Is God an Egalitarian?” no matter what your god says, almost all religions have to grapple with their view on egalitarianism. Even if you are unaffiliated with religion, you may live in a culture that may have shaped your biases accordingly – but for sure, the people around you will ask their governments to make policies on those beliefs. So it is relevant even to the unaffiliated.
Since many of our readers are from the developed world and the Christian religion is the largest group (see inset group), News Forecasters take a little dive into what Biblical references says about egalitarianism.
Certainly, in the Old Testament, God seemed to favor one race/ethnicity over others – Hebrew/Israel. Even gave slavery a pass. But in the New Testament, God must have got woke. In Galatians 3:28, it says, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” But does this mean God now believes in egalitarianism?
One can be “one” in a family but not necessarily equal in position and power. Reading egalitarianism into the Bible is a dubious exercise. The patriarchy is another big issue. Most religions support this ideology – though some try to disagree. Egalitarianism in gender family relations has been divided into two ideals, egalitarianism/complementarianism, and egalitarianism/feminism.
Egalitarianism/complementarianism is a patriarchal view of the family, with the father as the head, though they must love their wives. Where egalitarianism/feminism spouses are equally responsible for the family. Here are some arguments on both sides, but when looking at the countless examples of the patriarchal view in the Bible, the egalitarianism/feminism view is the weaker argument.
Christian socialism believes capitalism to be idolatrous and rooted in greed, which some Christian denominations consider a sin. Christian socialists identify the cause of inequality to be the greed that they associate with capitalism. Lev 19:13-18 states, “You shall not oppress your neighbor…” Some of the Psalms include many references to helping the poor. And Matthew 19:24 states, “… it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”
But Christian socialism assumes capitalism is oppressive and not charitable, though for sure if it goes to extremes, it can be problematic. Over the past 200 years, countries that have been socialist have done far worse than those who have engaged in capitalism. So just who is more oppressive and can help poor people? The “Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard” would seem that God supports free trade and individualism, not collective transactions. Besides, as it states in 2 Thessalonians 3:10, “… if any would not work, neither should he eat” – so much for socialism.
At the extremes, capitalism is based on greed, and socialism is based on envy. Satan was in search of equality too, and despised governance hierarchy. Isaiah 14:13-14: “I [Satan] will make myself like the Most High.” So he didn’t want to be lower than God, he wanted to be “like” God … i.e., Satan was envious and searching for equality, which never ends until you get on top. Perhaps the answer lies in a reasonable balance.
Whether the Bible is real or metaphoric, people use it for their moral guidance. Bringing this all back to some modern-day relevance, News Forecasters asks what does this mean for religion and their ideologies? Given that the developed world is mostly Christian (or cultural Christian), given that Europe is already heavily leaning socialist, and America is turning more and more socialist, religion will accelerate in its decline.
In a recent Pew study, Christians, when asked about their religion, have been down 12 percentage points over the past decade (see inset chart). News Forecasters see this trend continuing and even accelerating.
The religious Christians tend to be right-wing (capitalists). Atheists tend to be left-wing (socialist). The left-wing and their drive for egalitarian policies are opposing to many Christian beliefs, though they try to infiltrate Christianity to change it – as they know many want to adhere to their Christian beliefs. Most believe this downward acceleration of religion is due to a stronger belief in Atheism, but instead, it may be the socialism that is driving Atheism and hence the downward spiral of Christianity – for sure hardcore Atheists may disagree.
Whether all this phenomenon is good or bad, I will let you decide these philosophical issues, just do so with understanding.
A video presentation of this subject: