Christian Cyclopedia

About the Cyclopedia





Socialism.

Form of soc. organization in which propperty is controlled for common good. It has appeared in several forms.

1. Socialization of resources in an originally capitalistic state, to prevent exploitation for private gain of natural or economic resources.

2. Soc. security for capitalistic purposes, as when the purpose of soc. security, med. and unemployment insurance, etc. is to thwart the rise of workers against capitalistic control.

3. Fascism (from It. for “bundle; pol. group”), assoc. with the dictatorship of Benito Mussolini (1883–1945) in It., and Nazism (Ger. fascism; see also Germany, C 4; Kirchenkampf) opposed socialism. In It., the organized socialist movement was destroyed when Fascism (see also Pareto, Vilfredo) came into power 1922. In Ger., socialism existed under Nazism only as an underground movement; many of its followers were imprisoned, some were executed, some fled the country. Fascism conflicts with socialism in that it operates with totalitarianism and concomitant exploitation and oppression; the socialist movement was outlawed in Fascist Sp. when Francisco Franco (b. 1892) came to power 1939.

4. Communism, a revolutionary movement, is also to be distinguished from socialism, which tries, in democratic and constitutional ways, gradually to nationalize only essential means of production and to distribute justly to all acc. to amount and quality of work; operates with the maxim “from each acc. to his capacity, to each acc. to his need.” In Marxist theory, socialism is transitional bet. capitalism and communism; in areas under communist control socialist parties have been liquidated or become only nominally socialist.

To the extent that the individual is subordinated to social considerations, individual freedom is drawn into tension, including freedom of religion. Socialism and communism were promoted largely by agnostic and antiecclesiastical thinkers; as a result, chs. took an opposing stand (see, e.g., Encyclicals). But many aims of the Social* Gospel found parallels in socialism; hence, though motives differed, some criticism of socialism was blunted. The search continues for solution to problems involved without violence to Christian faith. RRC

See also Christian Socialism; Engels, Friedrich; Marx, Karl Heinrich.

K. H. Marx and F. Engels, Manifest der Kommunistischen Partei (London, 1848), tr., ed., and annotated F. Engels, Manifesto of the Communist Party (Chicago, 1945); V. I. Lenin, The State and Revolution (London, 1919); N. A. Berdyaev, The Origin of Russian Communism, tr. from the Russ. by R. M. French, new ed. (London, 1948); W. Temple, Christianity and Social Order, 3d ed. (London, 1950); E. Heimann, Communism, Fascism, or Democracy? (New York, 1938); Encyclicals of Leo XIII (cf., e.g., Social Wellsprings, selected, arranged, and annotated by J. Husslein, I [Milwaukee, 1940]); R. Niebuhr, An Interpretation of Christian Ethics (New York, 1935); H. E. Brunner, Justice and the Social Order, tr. M. Hottinger (New York, 1945); J. C. Bennett, Christianity and Communism Today (New York, 1960); M. Harrington, Socialism (New York, 1972).


Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
©Concordia Publishing House, 2000, All rights Reserved. Reproduced with Permission

Internet Version Produced by
The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod


Original Editions ©Copyright 1954, 1975, 2000
Concordia Publishing House
All rights reserved.

Content Reproduced with Permission

Stay Connected! Join the LCMS Network:

Contact Us Online
800-248-1930
(Staff Switchboard)
888-843-5267
(Church Info Center)
1333 S Kirkwood Rd
Saint Louis, MO 63122-7226 | Directions

 

Featured Publication

The Lutheran Witness

LCMS Communications

Interpreting the contemporary world from a Lutheran Christian perspective.
Visit TLW Online