Jesus in Russian hat with communist symbol
Was Jesus a communist? One prominent communist leader believes so.

Was Jesus a communist? That’s what the head of Russia’s Communist Party thinks. Drawing numerous links between communism and Christ’s teachings, Gennady Zyuganov argued in a recent interview that Jesus was actually the very first communist.

“Put Jesus' Sermon on the Mount and the Moral Code of the Builder of Communism next to each other, and you will just gasp,” Zyuganov said. “We need to study the Bible.”

This link between Jesus' teachings and communism is more popular than some think. ‘Christian Communism’ is a theological viewpoint that holds that the first Christians, including the apostles, practiced their own form of communism, and that Jesus himself espoused communistic principles.

Of course, some strongly push back against the idea that Jesus would seize the means of production, and argue he was actually a staunch capitalist.

So... was Jesus the first communist? Let's examine the evidence.

Comrade Christ?

Christian communists would emphatically say yes, and they’ve got the scripture to back their claims up. They frequently cite Acts 2:44-45 and Acts 4:32-35 as proof that early Christians practiced an early form of communism, living communally, sharing possessions, and redistributing wealth: 

"All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had... For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need."

They also point to numerous seemingly anti-wealth passages in the Bible as proof that Jesus was anti-capitalist. 

“You cannot serve both God and money,” “it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God,” “the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.” The list goes on.

It’s hard to argue with that. Or is it?

Jesus the Capitalist?

Well… there’s one very, very famous Christian leader who might disagree.

“Can a Christian be a communist? I answer that question with an emphatic 'no.' These two philosophies are diametrically opposed,” said Martin Luther King Jr. in a 1962 sermon. “The basic philosophy of Christianity is unalterably opposed to the basic philosophy of communism.”

King also stated that because there are no “fixed, immutable principles,” things like “force, violence, murder, and lying” are acceptable means to an end for communists - actions King obviously personally opposed. King also preached against what he viewed as the materialism and godlessness of communistic societies. 

Still, he praised the post-class ideals of communism as well as their concerns for social justice and eliminating racism.

Many modern Christians argue that communism (and socialism) endorse theft, saying that although the Bible encourages charity, it does not enforce it. Instead, they say that the Bible is explicitly pro-capitalism.

They might point to Genesis 1:28, which says that we are to subdue the earth and have dominion over it. Or they might point to 2 Corinthians 9:7, which states that “each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion.”

As is often the case in disagreements like this, both sides think God is on their side.

What do you think? Was Jesus a communist, capitalist, or something in-between?

66 comments

  1. David Arthur Lewis's Avatar David Arthur Lewis

    OK folks, please. 1950s-style Stalinism is NOT the only form of communal living. Religious communes have been popular for thousands of years. That's what real monasteries and convents (not the online kind) actually are: communist institutions practicing voluntary peonage for religious worship. And Jesus was not the first. His cousin John the Baptist was before him. Not to mention the Buddha. And then there came St. Columba, St. Bernard, St. Francis, the Knights Templar, the Harmonites, and the Shakers, all Christian communists. For "Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me." Matthew 19:21. That sure does sound like an invitation to join a hippie commune.

    1. Rev Mark D's Avatar Rev Mark D

      True enough. But I think "communalism" and "commune" are probably the terms to apply, as opposed to "communism." Same as "Islam" vs. "Islamism."

  1. Gerardo Salazar's Avatar Gerardo Salazar

    Communism goal is class struggle, elimination of public property and thoughts not aligned with the Party’s official line while Jesus teaches that as brothers we must love everybody as He loves us. Communism is the philosophy of fear, misery, pain and dead whereas Christ offers hope, love and forgiveness.

    1. William Diaz's Avatar William Diaz

      "Christ offers" empty promises.

      William

      1. Rev Mark D's Avatar Rev Mark D

        Well, you have to make it here on Earth, and then after you're dead you'll find out if his promises are any good. So why not anyway, it's not like you're coming back to report.

        1. William Diaz's Avatar William Diaz

          That's inaccurate. John 14:12-14 “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.

          He is addressing the here and now. I know of no one who has achieved this.

          William

      2. Gerardo Salazar's Avatar Gerardo Salazar

        Since His promises deal with eternal life after physical death how can you be sure it’s empty promises? Have you died and talked with the souls, if any, on the other side? Faith is an intangible yet extremely powerful force and either you have it or not.

        1. William Diaz's Avatar William Diaz

          That's inaccurate. John 14:12-14 “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.

          I know of no one who has achieved this.

          William

      3. Lauren Irene Milian-Combs's Avatar Lauren Irene Milian-Combs

        Comment removed by user.

    2. Lionheart's Avatar Lionheart

      Yep, Jesus said we must love everybody, even though his dad didn’t.

      He lives us unconditionally…..with a few conditions, or we go to Hell.🤷🏼

      🦁❤️

      1. Pink Clover's Avatar Pink Clover

        Interesting post, Lionheart.

    3. Rev Mark D's Avatar Rev Mark D

      Very good. More mass genocide by Communists through history, than even that by Christians, Hindus, and Muslims, no mean feat.

      1. Amber Fry's Avatar Amber Fry

        History check... the crusades were not exactly a walk in the park. Neither were witch trials. Both were led by Christians. Most of the genocides in the world were at the hands of religious folks.

        1. Amber Fry's Avatar Amber Fry

          Also check Fascism. Lotta genocide over the years there as well.

        2. Krystina S.'s Avatar Krystina S.

          How about the genocides and subjugation of Aboriginal/ First Nations/ Native peoples by so-called Christians who murdered millions, forced millions into servitude, and forced millions to convert to their religion? Much less the crusades, various purges such as witch trials. Interestingly, those of other religions also perform genocides and subjugate others. So, from this, it would appear that religion has been one of the greatest evils of humankind...

  1. Douglas Robert Spindler's Avatar Douglas Robert Spindler

    God was recently arrested by Putin in Russia. That's the end of God.

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/sep/22/cult-leader-vissarion-reincarnation-jesus-arrested-siberia-russia

  1. William Dusenberry's Avatar William Dusenberry

    We “Secular Humanist Pantheists” (what I am, as a ULC Bishop, with a DD degree) have the only provable God, and our God never had a son, nor a Holy Ghost.

    And as a SHP’er, besides having a provable God, we have the best possible way to differentiate “right” from “wrong.”

    Why can I make such a presumptive claim?

    Because everything we SHPers like to do is good: and what we don’t like is bad.

    And all of us can prove the SHP God, because it’s the same as nature — which every normal person knows actually exists.

    1. Lionheart's Avatar Lionheart

      So what I’d like to know is how you can demonstrably prove your deity is real. Yes we have nature, but where is your evidence to prove nature is a god?

      🦁❤️

    2. David Arthur Lewis's Avatar David Arthur Lewis

      OK William, I'll take the bait. Please present your scientific evidence that "nature" is a "god". Begin by defining your terms. I'll wait. And no, I'm not a Christian.

    3. Rev Mark D's Avatar Rev Mark D

      "...And all of us can prove the SHP God, because it’s the same as nature — which every normal person knows actually exists."

      Indeed. Quite true. Very good.

  1. James Bullard's Avatar James Bullard

    All religion is intended to guide your personal behavior, not to force your belief on others, thus all attempts to turn your religion into government are wrong.

    1. Rev Mark D's Avatar Rev Mark D

      Boy have you been smoking your socks!

  1. Mark-Shawn Warren Moore's Avatar Mark-Shawn Warren Moore

    Unfortunately, as seems to be the case with folks who do not have a background in economics, Communism get conflated with totalitarianism. Totalitarianism also exists in capitalist economies as well. We call that fascism, or corporatism, as Mussolini called it. Jesus was against totalitarianism, but his guidance on economics was quite explicitly "communal" and based on fairness... fair day's wage, giving unto Caesar what it Caesar's (pay your taxes to the nation you live in), and to give to God what is God's (tithe). He repeatedly condemn the greedy rich and honored the generous poor (as in the parable of the rich man/poor widow in church tithes), and in storing up riches in Heaven, versus in the world. Capitalism is centered on profiting off people WITHOUT any mechanism BESIDES taxation to put a check on greed and abuse of economic power. Add to that the corporate capitalism model of amassing enormous accumulations of concentrated wealth and using THAT to influence political control over society, and you have the system of Mammon that prophesy warned about, in which, all decision making, from personal to public is based on the money, cost or profit, generated from those decisions. Clearly, this is NOT the model Jesus condoned, but he definitely preached and warned against it, even in his condemnation of the brood of vipers who were corrupted by money and political power. This model of Mammon has been consistent over millennia but because of technological advancements in everything from the war machine to the use of economic instruments to high speed communication and digital transaction capabilities, it is coming to its ultimate global fruition as the model requiring the "mark of the beast" to buy, sell, or trade... These are the weeds growing next to the wheat coming to fruition side by side. The paradigm of war alongside the paradigm of peace.

    1. Krystina S.'s Avatar Krystina S.

      Here, you make a compelling case against totalitarianism, including fascism. And for communalism, however that is described. And yes, the paradigm of war is Mammon, the paradigm of peace is the Jesus way. We in the US and in the world have lost our collective minds.

  1. Gerardo Salazar's Avatar Gerardo Salazar

    To complete my thoughts shown above I would like to ask if there’s any Christian country in which a wall has been erected to prevent people from running away or where special prisons are provided for those who dare to speak against the official party line? Christ is the Way, the Truth and the Life. Communism is misery, pain and death.

    1. Lionheart's Avatar Lionheart

      Ermmm! 🤔 There’s a big wall around the Vatican. Is that to keep people in, or to keep people out?

      Yes, there were prisons provided for people who went against the Christian party line. The one big classic example is Galileo who was incarcerated for the rest of his life because he spoke against the official party line of their belief of geocentricism (The earth being the center of the universe, and everything revolving around it).

      Clearly, your Jesus isn’t the way, the truth, and the light. There are a lot of messed up people and nations because of him.

      🦁❤️

      1. Rev Mark D's Avatar Rev Mark D

        That's not on Jesus, Lion, that's in spite of him...people are sinners and screw up everything.

        1. Lionheart's Avatar Lionheart

          Ohhh that's ok then. I was beginning to think he was also the god of the Old Testament that condoned slavery and stoning people to death. That god really messed up people didn't he, and still is.

          Jesus wouldn't happen to also be the son of that deist guy would he? Just asking for a friend.

          🦁♥️

          1. Rev Mark D's Avatar Rev Mark D

            No. YOU said "messed up BECAUSE of him. You just here said it, I read what YOU wrote, and responded to what you yourself just wrote. Still smoking your socks.

            1. Lionheart's Avatar Lionheart

              Yes of course he messed people up Mark, and you are obviously the perfect example of that, don’t you see it yet. There are billions also likewise affected. Fortunately, people are starting to wake up to the mythology of it all. I do hold out hope for you though….seriously. Many of us have been where you are. 🤗

              🦁❤️

    2. Ilmenheru Terikson's Avatar Ilmenheru Terikson

      Communism is literally the only form of government to remotely align with the actual traditions of the first christians. What you are espousing is cold war era red menace nonsense and shows a clear lck of history and what actual form of government you call one with a single supreme leader. Much like Hitler called the Nazi party Socialist, calling it something does not make it so.

      Until you come to understand these facts, you are not a human because to be human at the table of reasoned discussion and debate requires you to not espouse things that are understood by actual society to be untrue.

      The act of denigration of a system like communism while pushing insular rhetoric about your idea of god, makes you actual evil just an FYI. Also a traitor to the secular ideals of the U.S. if you a citizen of this nation.

      1. Krystina S.'s Avatar Krystina S.

        Ilmenheru, you make much sense. I believe that Capitalism is the antithesis of the Christianity that is being discussed here. I think that Communism and Socialism are terms that are widely misunderstood and misused. Following the Jesus Way commands us to love others, give to others, and look to the needs of others before/as well as our own. And yes, the early followers lived communally and gave for the greater good. Those who were able provided for those who were needy. And yes, religious orders of Christian (and other) religions are often based on the concepts of communalism. In the US today, the term democratic socialist seems to describe the political way possible within our limitations that best follows the Jesus Way. What do you think??

    3. Lauren Irene Milian-Combs's Avatar Lauren Irene Milian-Combs

      You are so correct.

  1. Jeff McClain's Avatar Jeff McClain

    Well at least they acknowledge that Jesus is real and if they study the Bible as they state they will who knows what they learn!!!!!! Could be the end of Communism as we know it?!!!!!!

    1. Rev Mark D's Avatar Rev Mark D

      "Could be the end of Communism as we know it?!!!!!!"

      Never. As long as it is a path to power.

  1. Lionheart's Avatar Lionheart

    Who knows what Jesus truly was, if he ever existed. All we have are stories written, presumably by men who never met Jesus, decades after any said event. How do we know any of the stories are real? If he was real, did he have socialist leanings? Was he trans? Was he gay? Was he gender fluid? Was he racist like his mythical dad? Who knows? 🤷🏼

    🦁❤️

  1. Gerardo Salazar's Avatar Gerardo Salazar

    Based upon a dialectical-materialist understanding of humanity's place in nature Marxist–Leninist atheism proposes that religion is the opium of the people thus, Marxism–Leninism advocates atheism rather than religious belief, completely opposed to Jesus teachings. The Cold War was a direct consequence of Communist predatory advances in Eastern Europe after WW2.

  1. Dan Anderson's Avatar Dan Anderson

    Personally, if what is said about Jesus in the Bible is true, he was more a Socialist, given his propensity to take care of the infirmed, the poor, and society in general.

  1. Shawn Conan Scott's Avatar Shawn Conan Scott

    There is, indeed, a vast difference in the ideals espoused by God through his Son, the Messiah, and the ideals espoused by Russian or Chinese "Communists." They claimed to follow the principals Karl Marx preached, but they eventually turned into Orwellian oligarchies bent on keeping power and prestige for themselves, using force and violence to keep it. These practices were perpetuated by their successors.

    The Messiah and his apostles took what they needed from the alms that they gathered and gave the rest away to the needy. They didn't force or coerce others to give - food and goods were given to them freely. He was only violent towards those he felt corrupted the Temple - the House of God.

    I readily see the case being made for Jesus and his Apostles being a commune - a community sharing all of its resources for the good of the whole, and aiding others where needed.

  1. Lord Morgan's Avatar Lord Morgan

    Love the Hat, Looks Nice.

    Valhalla loves you Jesus, where ever you are, we had a problem with an English King, not you guys, Rollo Lothbrok has his heraldry back in place and our Lord is taking care of business.

    The COVID-19 Solution requested over at Mud University is in the distribution chain

  1. Dr Asha Sharma's Avatar Dr Asha Sharma

    What are we humans coming to with this type of balsamic comments of our holy people. Have we forgotten our duties to God? We should return to prayer and praying that GOD give us wisdom and knowledge to become good and not judge others and listen to ungodly things

    1. Rev Mark D's Avatar Rev Mark D

      What is the purpose of these blogs anyway? I cannot perceive one.

  1. Nicholas J Page's Avatar Nicholas J Page

    Leave God alone do not label him all he wants was for his son Jesus to preach and pray to his flock and to his father peace, love and happiness to all.

    1. Lionheart's Avatar Lionheart

      Yes….do as I say, or else.

      Oh, isn’t that communism?

      🦁❤️

      1. Donald Richard Starns's Avatar Donald Richard Starns

        You’re thinking of authoritarianism. It’ can be based on almost anything——an economic system, religion, a Noisy “leader”, vegetarianism. Authoritarianism is where the problem lies.

      2. Donald Richard Starns's Avatar Donald Richard Starns

        Comment removed by user.

    2. Rev Mark D's Avatar Rev Mark D

      The New York Times already definitively pronounced that God is dead at more than a century ago. That might be worth a discussion.

  1. Keith Allen Steele Eash's Avatar Keith Allen Steele Eash

    Picture totally blasphemous. Secondly, why do you even bring up such stupid topics. Be alittle more Christian when you bring topics up. Jesus was no damn communist when cmunism rejects religion. It is an atheistic political philosophy that places man at the front.

    1. Dan Anderson's Avatar Dan Anderson

      Keith - Stupid topics? These are topics brought up by other people, some with very valid points.

      Why should this page be "a little more Christian"? Is it not for ALL people to belong on this page as long as they follow the rules?

      Regarding Communism rejecting religion, do you mean the Russian form of Communism? I ask because China is classified as a Communist country, yet it allows many religions there, including Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism.

      I look forward to your response.

  1. Rev Mark D's Avatar Rev Mark D

    Well it seems around her stupid article because it blatantly and sloppily confuses and commingles, God, the Bible, and Jesus, as if all were the same thing.

    Next, pretty much to consider Jesus one must stick to what Jesus actually purportedly said, and did. Again, the article does not do this.

    Perhaps this Calfornians' pot-besotted way of jumping the shark, something that occurs about a thousand times every microsecond as it is.

  1. Jeff McClain's Avatar Jeff McClain

    Well at least they acknowledge that Jesus is real and if they study the Bible as they state they will who knows what they learn!!!!!! Could be the end of Communism as we know it?!!!!!!

    1. Rev Mark D's Avatar Rev Mark D

      As long as killing and psychopathy/sociopathy is one of the two most successful evolutionary strategies (meaning in our DNA) for survival, no, it won't be the end of communism. Not today and not any time soon (as in not in the next 50,000 years, if the world lasts that long).

  1. Daniel Gray's Avatar Daniel Gray

    Communists will say anything stupid. Just like this. I mean how can anyone believe someone from this party when they stated that God was a myth and that Religion was a drug for the masses?

  1. John P Maher's Avatar John P Maher

    THE GOOD DIE YOUNG THE BAD LIVE ON, SEEING is BELIEVING, ALL GODs are GREAT and GOVERNMENT SUCKs BIG TIME !

  1. Woodrow's Avatar Woodrow

    Jesus is Lord whether you like it or not.

    1. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

      He isn't my Lord, Woodrow. That's for damn sure!

      1. Woodrow's Avatar Woodrow

        Did you mean damned for sure?

    2. Lionheart's Avatar Lionheart

      I have officially just been made a Lord by recently purchasing some land in Scotland, and with it comes the title of Lord. I have the title and documents to prove it. So, Lord Jesus, Lord Krishna, and I, have a lot in common, I can prove my reality though. Just sayin’

      Lord Lionheart

      🦁❤️

    3. AnnaMarie Ingrassia's Avatar AnnaMarie Ingrassia

      Woodrow, if Jesus is your lord, that is fine. This is the UNIVERSAL Life Church. Not the Joel Olsteen Money market. Everyone here should not only coexist but we should do it with tolerance. AND...be aware that Jesus was not White skinned OR a Christian...he was born, lived & died a Jew.

      1. Woodrow's Avatar Woodrow

        This is the UNIVERSAL Life Church. Not the Joel Olsteen Money market. Everyone here should not only coexist but we should do it with tolerance. AND...be aware that Jesus was not White skinned OR a Christian...he was born, lived & died a Jew.

        You seem to be prejudiced, by choosing what you brought up.

  1. Amy Varela's Avatar Amy Varela

    I'd like to see some evidence for a god. Nobody has any. Faith is not evidence. Holy texts are not evidence. Your personal feelings are not evidence. Where is the evidence for a god? If there is a god, it will know exactly how to provide evidence, and there will be no doubt in anyone's mind that it exists.

    And just so we can all be on the same page, according to the bible at least, god is an immature, immoral, insecure, genocidal, misogynistic, racist monster. It's almost comforting to realize that the bible was most likely written by men who were intimidated by the goddesses of other religions, so they decided to invent a male-dominant monotheistic religion, and then murder people who didn't convert. I'm going to guess the qur'an has a similar beginning, written by a guy with OCD who wanted to have sex with a child.

    Enjoy your day. /|\

    1. Dan Anderson's Avatar Dan Anderson

      Amy - While I agree with you about the faith vs. evidence issue, your claim about Muhammad wanting to have sex with a child (or are you talking about God having sex with Mary?), you may want to learn the historicity of the Hadith. Some of those were written by those who had quite a disdain for Muhammad, possibly jealous of his popularity, so they wrote some nasty nonsense about him.

  1. AnnaMarie Ingrassia's Avatar AnnaMarie Ingrassia

    Russia...your JC is TOO WHITE. He was a man born in a semite desert...he was dark skinned, NOT the milky pasty white most depict him as being. He was BORN & DIED a man of the Jewish faith. We are all one people. We are all of one planet. If we put as much energy into taking care of us & it, there'd be no time for greed, war, hate, discrimination or poverty.

  1. P. Keith Benefiel's Avatar P. Keith Benefiel

    Santa Clause had a red suit. He's a communist. Had a beard and long hair. Must be a pacifist. What's in that pipe he's smoking?

  1. Reverend Gary's Avatar Reverend Gary

    "As is often the case in disagreements like this, both sides think God is on their side."

    When you all remember who your are and where your are from You will realize we are all God of the same Universe and these sorts of things mean nothing.

  1. Lauren Irene Milian-Combs's Avatar Lauren Irene Milian-Combs

    I hate to be all of you when you all face Jesus.

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