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Is early Christianity communism?

Chevalier

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This thread is based in a debate Technocratic Utilitarian started in another thread and to keep that thread pure I am starting that topic here. If you would like to see the origin of this discussion, we were in "Who Killed Jesus?" at about post #241. So I will begin if possible with where we left off and feel free to join in.

”That could probably be the issue at hand--a semantic one. The only reason I referred to it as "communism," is due to my texts. They stipulated a difference between marxist Communism and communism. I don't feel there is any connotation to the term communism that is intrinsically bad. I don't think Christianity is "Communism." I usually differentiate communalism/"communism" from Communism via a Capitalized C.”

The issue as I understand from textual studies is somewhat semantic, but also heavily historical. From that I did understand your differentiation. It is a matter of academic interpretation as well. See, whereas democracy has a definition in Greece, and ancient world presence, Athens, and can effectively be studied in ebb and flow from that time to the present; there is no corresponding historical definition of or reference to communism. That does not mean we cannot go back to early Christianity and see parallels. It means instead that “communism” as a concept per se had not been articulated yet, though as I said previously, there are clear contacts of thought. While those contacts exist, they are also lines of disconnect. This should get us started without being too long.
 

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There are many new terms of which I am not "hip" to. Communalism, Communitarianism etc. They all seem very interrelated. I simply do not get communitarianism whatsoever.

Communitarianism as a philosophy began in the late 20th century, opposing aspects of liberalism and capitalism while advocating phenomena such as civil society. Not necessarily hostile to liberalism in the contemporary American sense of the word, communitarianism rather has a different emphasis, shifting the focus of interest toward communities and societies and away from the individual. Communitarians believe that the value of community is not sufficiently recognized in liberal theories of justice. The question of priority (individual or community) often has the largest impact in the most pressing ethical questions: health care, abortion, multiculturalism, hate speech, and so on. The term is primarily used in two senses:

1) Philosophical Communitarianism considers classical liberalism to be ontologically and epistemologically incoherent, and opposes it on those grounds. Unlike classical liberalism, which construes communities as originating from the voluntary acts of pre-community individuals, it emphasizes the role of the community in defining and shaping individuals.

2) Ideological Communitarianism is an ideology that emphasises the rights of the majority to make decisions affecting the minority. Generally marked by leftism on economic issues and conservatism on social issues, it is the direct opposite of libertarianism.

A possible third use is the term Responsive Communitarianism as practiced by Amitai Etzioni of the Israeli kibbutz movement, which sometimes positions itself as the radical middle between traditional Right and Left by simultaneously affirming communal rights and individual responsibilities.

Though the term communitarianism is of 20th-century origin, many communitarians trace their philosophy to earlier thinkers, with some claiming roots as far back as Aristotle.

http://encyclopedia.laborlawtalk.com/Communitarianism

It was interesting that communalism was defined on the same website in a nearly completely secular sense. I see why you said it is confusing. These definitions are unsatisfactory for explaining what Christian community, no doubt hindered in part by the legal and encyclopedic nature of the site.

The distinction I would make about Christian religious communalism, or Christian community, is that ownership is collective with the understanding it is ultimately God's, or in terms of the monastic movements, the representative of God: the church.
 

Chevalier

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Though the term communitarianism is of 20th-century origin, many communitarians trace their philosophy to earlier thinkers, with some claiming roots as far back as Aristotle.
http://encyclopedia.laborlawtalk.com/Communitarianism

This gets at the point I was making earlier. Communism (little "c") has genitive roots in Christian community and clearly the words have the same root. But "the root is not the flower" figuratively speaking. The etymology of "commune" dates back to the 13th century:

commune (v.)
1297, from O.Fr. comuner "to make common, share," from comun (see common).
commune (n.)
1792, from Fr., "small territorial divisions set up after the Revolution," from M.Fr. commune "free city, group of citizens," from M.L. communia, orig. neut. pl. of L. communis, lit. "that which is common," from communis (see common). The Commune of Paris usurped the government during the Reign of Terror. The word was later applied to a government on communalistic principles set up in Paris in 1871. Adherents of the 1871 government were Communards.

http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=commune

communism
1843, from Fr. communisme (c.1840) from commun (O.Fr. comun, see common) + -isme. Originally a theory of society; as name of a political system, 1850, a translation of Ger. Kommunismus, in Marx and Engels' "Manifesto of the German Communist Party." The first use of communist (n.) is by Goodwyn Barmby, who founded the London Communist Propaganda Society in 1841. Shortened form Commie attested from 1940.

This to say you are not wrong, nor are scholars wrong to suggest an obvious connection, but there is a progression of thought left out when we read back into an earlier time period with an hermeneutic of modernity. However, this is where some scholars debate in philosophy. What I am sying is this: Communism and communism developed out of a social context linked to a progression of thought, in large part drawn from religious life and reflection in progression through time. To attribute similar characteristics to the earlier time period is fair, to equate the two is not. To declare one as being genitive is fair as long as we qualify where that influence is also not found, because there is not a one-for-one progression.

What would be the proper term for monastic communes then, as opposed to secular communes? The only difference I ever learnt was in the faith. Religious communes are held together via faith--which ironically, is far more successful than non-religious communes (although not always).

I would call monastic communes "monasteries," "societies," "convents" or perhaps "abbeys" depending on the societal structure. Herein lies another difference between religious and secular communes: historically, there is a clear hierarchical structure within the religious commune where the leader, if faithful to the calling, asserted leadership not ontologically (as part of his being, "eminent right of rulers," so-to-speak), but based in the "oikonomia" (the Greek word from which we derive economy) or as an action contributing to the activity/function of the community.

This can be confusing because in our society we are often linguistically defined by what we do. But who we are is not what we do. In other words, I was not born a pastor, I was born a whiny baby. My name is not Pastor Scott, my name is Scott. In Christian community when it is functioning as it should, if I have a leading part in the function of the church, it is only a role, an office, it is not connected to who I am.

Secular communes tend to have culturally conditioned names as well. In Israel, whose communes are secular societies even though often populated with primarily religious people, they are Kibbutzes. In Europe they are often called communes or communities. In the US, at least in the Midwest, they are called Co-ops, or cooperatives. That's enough for this post. More in the next one.
 

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I see where you are coming from, but the one problem I have is that you say communism is the centralization of the means of production in the hands of the government, right? But, according to Marx (who was wrong anyway), communism would have no central government. All the people would control the means of production, hypothetically (even if that cannot be possible). That seems awefully similar to the early communes established by Bradford, etc described in "Of Plymouth Plantation." He described a society in which everyone lived in communal housing, worked communal farms, and stored everything in a communal store. Each person was rationed off as much according to his need. But yes, I probably see them as the same "root." They are probably just later branchoffs.

Here I was imprecise, which is not surprising this week. In Communism, during the dictatorship of the proletariate, the economic side of the equation would be controlled by the state as an entity (as essentially a replacement of religious/monarchial hierarchy if you really reflect on it). Marx suggested this "dictatorship of the proletariate" could take 50 generations. Now some view this as a gloss and others as hyperbole, but I am not so sure this is not based in understanding a lesson of the Bible about human nature. If it's a gloss, it's just making a statement to close out the point and get to the next one. If it's an hyperbole, he was saying our equivalent of it'll take a thousand years. But I think here Marx took a lesson of human nature from the Bible. (I am not asking you to believe the Bible here, but to see the potential truth Marx found in it). Look how many generations it took God to get a tiny people ready for the messiah, and they still didn't receive him well. I think Marx took one lesson from the religions of the world - human nature takes a long time to change. All this to say I am not sure Marx ever comprehended a day without some leadership, but even if he did, it is certain Lenin, Stalin, and the others did not, except maybe Trotsky.

The simple truth is we have never seen ideal communism or the ideal monastic movement, in fact the Bradford experiment is as close as we have come to the ideal of Christian Community with some monasteries close following as well.

It is. It is a complicated issue. It is interesting, however. I think you might like an article I found; perhaps it is following the same older school of thought I was adhering to, because it seems to refer to the early Christians as temporarily communistic (very, very early).

A good article yes. I would not call your school an older school of thought. I think the debate still goes on, though I do think it is historically and sociologically dangerous to read 19-21st century paradigms into 1st century activity. But if you keep digging you will find the answers for yourself.
 

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Chevalier said:
This thread is based in a debate Technocratic Utilitarian started in another thread and to keep that thread pure I am starting that topic here. If you would like to see the origin of this discussion, we were in "Who Killed Jesus?" at about post #241. So I will begin if possible with where we left off and feel free to join in.

”That could probably be the issue at hand--a semantic one. The only reason I referred to it as "communism," is due to my texts. They stipulated a difference between marxist Communism and communism. I don't feel there is any connotation to the term communism that is intrinsically bad. I don't think Christianity is "Communism." I usually differentiate communalism/"communism" from Communism via a Capitalized C.”

The issue as I understand from textual studies is somewhat semantic, but also heavily historical. From that I did understand your differentiation. It is a matter of academic interpretation as well. See, whereas democracy has a definition in Greece, and ancient world presence, Athens, and can effectively be studied in ebb and flow from that time to the present; there is no corresponding historical definition of or reference to communism. That does not mean we cannot go back to early Christianity and see parallels. It means instead that “communism” as a concept per se had not been articulated yet, though as I said previously, there are clear contacts of thought. While those contacts exist, they are also lines of disconnect. This should get us started without being too long.


I think you're trying to give to much credit to x-ianity when none is due. Saying that early christianity is Communism is like saying horse crap is 'what's for breakfast'.

BUT -- I do wish that *i* could be acredited with the murder of Jesus.
 

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its no surprise that they seem the same
 

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Both comunism's, Cristianity's beginings ,goals are the same ,to control the people.both achieve it much the same way ,except comunism is plagued by corruption more so , thus isnt as deceptive a device.But with the passing of time ,even religion has produced enough unHuman behavior. enough that subscription is down and floundering.
 
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Lucidthots

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No- communists are obsessed with acquiring material "things."

Christianity is a rejection of the material, for the supernatural!
 
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There's never been a communist government by definition. There have been totalitarian governments. In terms of Christianity...that depends on how early you consider early. Certainly Christiantiy has had it's dark moments...800 years of them.
 

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Lucidthots said:
No- communists are obsessed with acquiring material "things."

Christianity is a rejection of the material, for the supernatural!
thats true but the preceps are the same , while not to control, but gather in numbers, would have been more appropriate on my part.

Christians drive big cadilacs with the best of 'em
if you look to the strict term christianty ,belief in christ.

how ever it wouldn't be my term , for christian ,your going to have to walk a country mile, to see real christians.
 

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sissy-boy said:

I think you're trying to give to much credit to x-ianity when none is due. Saying that early christianity is Communism is like saying horse crap is 'what's for breakfast'.

BUT -- I do wish that *i* could be acredited with the murder of Jesus.
And why would that be any source of pride for you, my friend? I see you are caught up in the self-aggrandizing culture around us. Maybe you can take pleasure in this: you and I and all others are responsible for Jesus' death. He died for you and I and the world. Like it or not Jesus paid a ransom for you as well, but you prefer to spit in his face. I pray for you my friend.
 

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Napoleon's Nightingale said:
There's never been a communist government by definition. There have been totalitarian governments. In terms of Christianity...that depends on how early you consider early. Certainly Christiantiy has had it's dark moments...800 years of them.

Those "dark moments" had nothing to do with "Christianity."

Christianity is a Philosophy......if not applied, you dont have Christianity.

What you suggest is like blaming Buddhism for Pol Pot........clearly Pol had forgotten the teachings of Lord Buddha and instead applied those of Mr. Khan.
 

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Chevalier said:
And why would that be any source of pride for you, my friend? I see you are caught up in the self-aggrandizing culture around us. Maybe you can take pleasure in this: you and I and all others are responsible for Jesus' death. He died for you and I and the world. Like it or not Jesus paid a ransom for you as well, but you prefer to spit in his face. I pray for you my friend.
While you are all responsable for the Natl gaurd deaths in IRAQ.And the Atrocities they comit.
Jesus isnt My doing.The Jews chose him ,and saved another Jesus Barabas,in his place.
 

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Canuck said:
Both comunism's, Cristianity's beginings ,goals are the same ,to control the people.both achieve it much the same way ,except comunism is plagued by corruption more so , thus isnt as deceptive a device.But with the passing of time ,even religion has produced enough unHuman behavior. enough that subscription is down and floundering.
Ah, I see you too do not know much about Christianity. You must not understand the faith's origins or its mission of redemption for a fallen, warring, and polluted world. Since there is no deception in the faith, only in its application, I must assume you mean the church has erred, which is true on the human side, but the divine side has been ever constant. Stay warm up there my friend.
 

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Chevalier said:
Ah, I see you too do not know much about Christianity. You must not understand the faith's origins or its mission of redemption for a fallen, warring, and polluted world. Since there is no deception in the faith, only in its application, I must assume you mean the church has erred, which is true on the human side, but the divine side has been ever constant. Stay warm up there my friend.
How'S THAT ?
OH KNOW !
Please can you tell us,how jews sent him to his father according to your dogma and your interpretation of that dogma using the book that is missing complete books please the new testament I dont even want to here the
SCOFIELDS or the RApture new religions or the souther baptists for that matter

how does it go tell us in your words how it was not the jews(hebrew)
 

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Canuck said:
thats true but the preceps are the same , while not to control, but gather in numbers, would have been more appropriate on my part.

Christians drive big cadilacs with the best of 'em
if you look to the strict term christianty ,belief in christ.

how ever it wouldn't be my term , for christian ,your going to have to walk a country mile, to see real christians.
I dare say not many Christians I know drive caddys. For myself, I drive a chevy prism nearly 40 mpg and that let's me give 20% of my salary to hunger relief and reconstruction in the South while still tithing. Why would I do that? Because Christ did more, much more for me, I respond in gratitude.

You must live out in the country if you have to walk a mile to find a Christian. I see Christians, you know those folk who acknowledge they are sinners in need of God's redemptive help in the person of Christ, 6-7 days a week.
 

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Napoleon's Nightingale said:
There's never been a communist government by definition. There have been totalitarian governments. In terms of Christianity...that depends on how early you consider early. Certainly Christiantiy has had it's dark moments...800 years of them.
Amen! On all counts!
 

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Chevalier said:
I dare say not many Christians I know drive caddys. For myself, I drive a chevy prism nearly 40 mpg and that let's me give 20% of my salary to hunger relief and reconstruction in the South while still tithing. Why would I do that? Because Christ did more, much more for me, I respond in gratitude.

You must live out in the country if you have to walk a mile to find a Christian. I see Christians, you know those folk who acknowledge they are sinners in need of God's redemptive help in the person of Christ, 6-7 days a week.
blah blah you avoid the question at hand
country mile is a term look it up
I don't question you being christian
answer the question
 

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Canuck said:
How'S THAT ?
OH KNOW !
Please can you tell us,how jews sent him to his father according to your dogma and your interpretation of that dogma using the book that is missing complete books please the new testament I dont even want to here the
SCOFIELDS or the RApture new religions or the souther baptists for that matter

how does it go tell us in your words how it was not the jews(hebrew)
Wow, my friend, I must have struck a nerve. My apologies, but this is incredibly hard to follow. Please translate your meaning. I will try to answer, but if I answer in confusion, it's because I am not following you.

Let's begin by saying you are off topic, but I assume you know that. Then having cleared that up, I am not Southern Baptist, never had a Scofield Bible and believe the Rapture is a mis-translation of the Latin "il rapiemur." I am United Methodist, believe the Romans killed Jesus, you know of course crucifixion is a Roman death penalty not Jewish and that all humanity is culpable for Jesus' death morally, communally and personally. Now if I missed anything, please ask again and I will answer but please return to the thread topic as soon as possible please.
 

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Canuck said:
blah blah you avoid the question at hand
country mile is a term look it up
I don't question you being christian
answer the question
Been there done that, it's why I posted the thread. TU and I were having a good conversation about Christianity and communism and you have already read that answer if you read what I wrote. If you have questions ask and I will answer.
 

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Canuck said:
While you are all responsable for the Natl gaurd deaths in IRAQ.And the Atrocities they comit.
Jesus isnt My doing.The Jews chose him ,and saved another Jesus Barabas,in his place.
My friend, you are wrong on all counts. You need to let go of the hurt you are hugging. Jesus' death is all humanity's doing, read Romans 3:23. It's who we are, but you can find healing as all can. Find peace in your heart my friend, in Christ you are forgiven.
 
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Lucidthots said:
Those "dark moments" had nothing to do with "Christianity."
Yes they did. Apparently you've never heard of the Dark Ages.

Lucidthots said:
Christianity is a Philosophy......if not applied, you dont have Christianity.
Like all things, a philosophy's value is determined by how it is applied. There are more passages in the bible encouraging violence, murder, and genocide than in any other religious text.

Lucidthots said:
What you suggest is like blaming Buddhism for Pol Pot........clearly Pol had forgotten the teachings of Lord Buddha and instead applied those of Mr. Khan.
Every religion has it's dark teachings. Again, it's a matter of how those teachings are put into practice. Christianity has more blood on it's metaphorical hands than any other religion in history to date.
 

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Napoleon's Nightingale said:
Yes they did. Apparently you've never heard of the Dark Ages.



Like all things, a philosophy's value is determined by how it is applied. There are more passages in the bible encouraging violence, murder, and genocide than in any other religious text.



Every religion has it's dark teachings. Again, it's a matter of how those teachings are put into practice. Christianity has more blood on it's metaphorical hands than any other religion in history to date.
No "every religion" does not have its "dark teachings."

You satated that the "Bible" is full of violence......YOU MEAN THE OLD TESTAMENT!

JESUS' TEACHINGS ARE NOT IN THE "OLD TESTAMENT."

As far as I am concerened their is NO RELATION between Christianity and the Old Testament.

The Prophets Christ refers to in the Old Book is one thing......you do not see Christ revering "Joshua" however do you? NO YOU DO NOT!

As far as "Christianity" having blood on its hands.....that is not possible........like I said Pol Pot was not a Buddhist........the Inquisition etc had NOTHING to do with the teachings of Jesus Christ.
 
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we all have our convictions
I did not say we do not all share in the guilt as we all belong to the human race it is not the same as saying we did not do it
I said it was the jews that did the deed ,and this can not be discounted ,as the new religions tell us it should .
all the rapture nuts that quicken the pace want us to believe alot of rediculous things.
In reality they are new religions with new ideas and new dogmas
with it's "if its good enough for gand pappy its good enough for me attitutdes"
Scofields bibles and twisted off shoots of the same dogma doesnt even show
up on my radar
to me they are cults with mass persuasions
religion needs us we dont need religion
 
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Lucidthots said:
No "every religion" does not have its "dark teachings."
Every religion does have it's dark teachings. Name any religion and I'll point one out.

Lucidthots said:
As far as "Christianity" having blood on its hands.....that is not possible........like I said Pol Pot was not a Buddhist........the Inquisition etc had NOTHING to do with the teachings of Jesus Christ.
Acctually it did and Christianity isn't exclusive to the teachings of Christ because Christ said to obey all of God's commandments including the ones in the OT.
 
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