Jesus, Socialism and Forgiveness

We need some real clear thinking here:

My title contains a somewhat strange combination of terms, but many will know where I am headed with this. Indeed, this is a follow-up piece to my last article which was about student loan forgiveness. As I said there, there is NO forgiveness nor cancellation of student debt being proposed by the Biden government. All they want to do is force American taxpayers to pick up the bill – a very hefty bill indeed: billmuehlenberg.com/2022/08/25/on-student-debt-forgiveness/

But such is the abysmally appalling state of Christianity when it comes to biblical understanding and theological nous, that I had to include in that earlier piece a section on Christian objections. Two of them I discussed: the Old Testament notion of debt cancellation, and the Lord’s prayer which talks about ‘forgive us our debts.’

But I realise I should have gone even further in looking at the biblical data, including discussing the biggest Christian topic we have: the forgiveness of our sins because of the finished work of Christ. I should have included it because, yep, sure enough, far too many clueless Christians have said we should happily “forgive” student debt, since Jesus offers us forgiveness of sins.

Um, talk about apples and oranges. Talk about a basic inability to think straight. Talk about biblical illiteracy. Talk about historical, political and economic ignorance. Governments forcing taxpayers to pay for the mistakes or irresponsibility of others has NOTHING to do with what Christ did on the cross – absolutely nothing.

Basic socialism

As I said before, student debt is not cancelled nor forgiven – it is simply transferred elsewhere. It is transferred to all taxpayers, the great bulk of whom never went to college, or to those who did but were responsible and hardworking, and did manage to pay off their higher education loans. And I was one of them.

Socialism is ALWAYS about state coercion. It is always about the confiscation of wealth and the redistribution of wealth. Governments never produce wealth. They are parasitic in this regard. They simply appropriate the wealth of its citizens who do work and produce, and then decide how they will spend it.

And we have to ask where this sort of thing will end. If the government will demand that all of us taxpayers subsidise student loans, what about other types of loans? What about those defaulting on or struggling with their car loans? Should the state force others to bail these people out as well?

What about home loans? Most of us struggle in paying off the mortgage. Should the government tax us even further to help some of these folks pay off their debts? And what about failing businesses – perhaps those who have made very unwise or foolish business decisions? Should taxpayers be forced to bail them out as well?

And how many normal citizens have credit card debt – often quite extensive debt? Perhaps because these folks could not control their spending habits, or were just addicted to buying, regardless of how things would get paid for, they are now in a real bad way. Should the state cancel all credit card debt in the name of some sort of socialist ‘compassion’ and ‘equity’?

One last example, a practical one – at least for me. If I decide to splurge on all sorts of very expensive sets of books costing tens or thousands of dollars, and take a loan out to do so, should I expect the state to force others to pay for my habits? After all, I can rightly say this is part of my ‘education’ and part of my trade or ministry.

There is no end to where this sort of reckless government action can go. Sure, most modern Western governments have at least a modicum of a safety net in place so that those who are really struggling just to make ends meet can get some sort of assistance.

But college students? Most of these folks have all the latest hi tech gear, the laptops, the smart phones, the designer clothes, etc. They often eat at neat restaurants, take plenty of vacations, and so on. They are hardly as a whole a class of the really needy and indigent. If anything, I WAS a poor student. But as I said previously, I worked my way through college, often doing full time work on top of full time studies. It CAN be done.

As I said in an interview on this yesterday, Scripture itself makes a clear distinction between the deserving and undeserving poor. Those who through no fault of their own are doing it really tough are one group. But many are simply lazy and irresponsible, and that is why they are poor. The Bible even tells us that those who will not work should not eat! (2 Thessalonians 3:10). But see more on this here: billmuehlenberg.com/2013/01/09/christian-social-responsibility-welfare-and-the-state-part-one/

And bear in mind one more basic fact of life. If a scheme like Biden’s goes through, guess what we will see more of? Yep, whenever the government subsidises something, we will see more of it. If future students know that one day their massive loans will just be cancelled – in part or entirely – they will be even more reckless.

Some are already thinking: ‘Hey, I can get my third degree in gender studies knowing that taxpayers will foot the bill for me one day!’ They know full well that they can just take out more loans and relax about it. Why worry about paying things back if you know you will get it for free eventually anyway? That is, at taxpayers’ expense?

And so many of these higher degrees are utterly useless anyway. As one meme making the rounds rightly says: “Nobody talks about forgiving trade school debt because they all learned a useful skill and can pay their own way.” Give me a good carpenter any day over someone with a few degrees in telling us how many genders there are. At least he knows how to plug the male end of an electrical cord into a female end.

As another meme puts it: “Congrats to everyone who did not have college debt. Now you do.” Socialist ‘equity’ is never fair nor just. It is always about forcing hardworking people to subsidise those who aren’t, or about taking away their hard-earned wealth and giving it to others who likely do not deserve it.

And since I am on a meme roll here, one final one: “They should look at forgiving medical debt for cancer patients instead of student loans. Education is a choice, cancer is not.”

Basic Christianity

But what is really appalling is to see people claiming to be Christians using the work of Christ on the cross as some sort of template for socialist policies such as debt transfer. It should be utterly obvious that whatever Jesus did at Calvary, it had absolutely NOTHING to do with government. His was a voluntary action done out of love for individuals.

The debt of sin is something NO person can ever overcome. We are dead in our trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1). The Greek word for ‘trespass’ there is the same as the word used for the ‘debt’ I spoke of in the Lord’s Prayer (see Matthew 6:12).

It is our sins’ debt that we are over our heads in – not college loans. And there is no way that we can ever get out of this crushing burden of debt. Only by Christ taking our place at Calvary, and taking the punishment that we deserved for our sin (and NOT on an innocent third party), is it possible for the sin debt to be wiped clean so that we can be reconciled to God.

Again, it was entirely voluntary on Christ’s part, and it had utterly zippo to do with the state and coercive fiscal policy. Those who come to Christ in faith and repentance can indeed find their sins forgiven. That is glorious news. But it was the voluntary action of God which we simply respond to in gratitude and thanksgiving.

There is no coercion here whatsoever. Biden’s student debt plan – like all socialist programs – is entirely based on coercion. The taxpayer WILL pick up the tab for these students whether he likes it or not. And if he has been through college himself and managed to pay all his bills, he is being slammed here twice – it is double jeopardy. He paid his own bills and now he is being forced to pay the bills of others.

Now if an individual believer has a friend or loved one who is struggling with his education expenses, guess what? If he so chooses, he can help pay for that. He can give his friend a low interest loan, or give him a financial gift. That is entirely up to him. But note that this is done completely without coercion. The Christian WANTS to help his friend and does so.

No one has any problems with individuals helping out others any way they choose. What we ARE complaining about here is coercive state confiscation of wealth, and redistributing it as they please, even though the bulk of taxpayers may well object to something like student loan cancellation.

If by now the Christian still does not get the difference between what Jesus freely did for us on the cross, and what the state coercively demands of us in various debt relief programs, then either I did a poor job of explaining things, or they are a bit too thick and biblically illiterate to be helped.

[1589 words]

10 Replies to “Jesus, Socialism and Forgiveness”

  1. Bill

    The three young protesters in the above image are holding identical signs produced by, “NAACP”.

    The mission statement for the NAACP reads:

    “Our mission is to achieve equity, political rights, and social inclusion by advancing policies and practices that expand human and civil rights, eliminate discrimination, and accelerate the well-being, education, and economic security of Black people and all persons of color.”
    https://naacp.org/about

    From their website, about as Left-leaning as you can get.

  2. Parents have worked hard at one or two jobs, saved and have gone without to put their sons and daughters through college/uni. And they now are expected to help pay off the student loans of people they don’t know – how is that ‘fair’?
    Then you have those who worked as apprentices earning LESS than the unqualified laborers who worked alongside them so they could become tradesmen, and now they too are expected to pay off the student loans of people earning MORE than them – how is that ‘fair’?
    And regards schools — in Australia you have parents working two jobs along with paying their TAXES so they can send their kids to religious/private schools, while some millionaires send their kids to public schools — yet the private schools get funded FROM TAXES at about 2/3rds of what public schools get – how is that ‘fair’?…..
    ……And some PUBLIC school parents pay for after school tuition – essentially PRIVATE EDUCATION – but the public schools they send their kids to don’t get 2/3rds of government funding like private schools, but funding at 100% – how is that ‘fair’?
    As Ted Cruz said “Education is the new civil rights this century, as just like the Democrats in the 60’s southern US states stood on the outside of school doors so that the disadvantaged could not enter to better themselves, today the Democrats stand on the inside of school doors so that the disadvantaged cannot leave to better themselves.”
    Education is full of socialists at every level Bill — and the Liberal Party today is full of the ignorant; all schools should receive identical funding and/or all parents receive identical school funding vouchers.
    God Bless Bill and thanks again.

  3. You’ve explained it all extremely clearly and simply, Bill. I don’t know what more you could say.

  4. I guess one could add that it is not only today’s taxpayers but their descendants as well who will be stung, after the magic money tree drops its fruit.

  5. True part of the problem is students getting worthless degrees is some liberal manure and finding in the REAL world there is NO demand for people with that degree. Another is thanks to Pell Grants and government backed loans college has gotten VERY expensive over the past 4-5 decades. With the government footing the bill colleges can change so much more than they otherwise would because the government will pay it. So many Ivy League schools have such HUGE Endowments that they could give full ride scholarships to EVERY student for hundreds of years. I don’t think Harvard would ever run out of money with how large their Endowment is.

    If the government does start cancelling other types of loans it could make GETTING a loan difficult as what bank would want to give you a loan knowing as least past of it will be cancelled. If they gave you $100,000 loan and you paid back $30,000 then the government cancelled the rest that’s $70,000 they are out. Too many of those a bank could go under! And with credit cards will they be more choosy in who they give to if the government starts cancelling thousands per card holder?? A government loan being cancelled they can just pass things on to the taxpayer but private loans being cancelled well unless they actually mean paid off, which would be taxpayer money, it’s the private institution on the hook for the money no longer coming in.

  6. True John! After even the YOUNGEST politicians who agree with this, or expand this, are long dead people will still be paying for their “mistakes”! I put mistakes in quotations because this is VERY much intentional.

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