There is a tendency amongst the atheist, humanist, secularist demographic to paint the founder of the Christian Faith as a socialist. This is, in and of itself, fascinating since this demographic tends to reserve most of its vitriol specifically for religion, deeming it the disease of the world and longingly desiring a world free of it.
Many maintain, and I agree, that religion is a man made construct which is often warped and twisted to consolidate power, and exert control over the masses.
So what is this fascination with the actual figure revered by those faithful they outwardly despise? Could it be that perhaps Jesus is really, truly compelling to the atheist, secularist or humanist? Could it be that perhaps they see that the nature of God is often distorted by the hopelessly well-intentioned (or not), yet fatally flawed adherents to this religion?
Or is this simply a tactic used by the Leftist political movement to convert new disciples into their agenda? Is it a way of manipulating a largely ignorant body of faithful into worshippers for the altar of Marx?
I can't say what every motivation may be for those who, though they have very little interest in Christianity, are suddenly using the Bible and the figure of Jesus to prop up socialist theory, however, I do feel as though the claim is easily refutable and must be addressed.
Firstly, I'd like to note the irony of this position. The typical accusation leveled against the Christians, and a legitimate one at that, is that they simply mold Jesus into their culture. They lambast Republicans, gun owners, property owners among others for not examining, and living to the letter Jesus' actual teachings.
Yet herein lies the irony to claiming Jesus as a proponent of socialism. Those who do fall into exactly the same trap as those they despise. They dress the Christ up in a poncho, have him smoking a blunt, blessing LGBT weddings and talking about income inequality. All modern political issues. So this hippie, zen philosopher Jesus is really no better than the gun toting, NRA loving, Republican voting Jesus.
He is yet another product of humans who wish to justify everything they believe, because when your beliefs are given the thumbs up by God there's no reason to question their substance, or to cause inner contemplation of change.
Secondly, when atheists and the like give "evidence" to support these claims they also do exactly the thing they despise American Christians for doing: they cherrypick different biblical texts to support their agenda, while ignoring others that don't. Isn't this the height of hypocrisy? I totally get the anger at Christians for not understanding their faith, and drawing proofs out of context, but to do the very same thing and claim moral superiority over the "poor, stupid, ignorant religious people", isn't that in a way worse?
Thirdly, it's important to understand what is meant by socialism. Socialism is an intermediary form between a non-communist society, and a communist one. It is characterized by some industries being publicly owned (owned by the government) and other elements of the market owned privately. Socialism always gives way to Communism, because the nature of power is that it grows. Communism and it's near twin brother, Fascism, are both systems of governance which have brutalized, abused, exploited mankind throughout the last two centuries, moreso than any other ideology. These systems are alike, though they differ slightly; where Fascism generally demands worship of a particular leader, Communism demands worship of an icon, that is, the state. Jesus wants nothing to do with the worship of political ideology.
When individuals cherrypick sayings of Jesus and use them to justify a particular political system they severely undermine the entirety of His message and purpose, that is, to show you and I the way of God.
Some political mechanisms are derived as a way to safeguard man against his fellow man, this is due to the defect in our basic human nature, which innately desires to commit evil against our brothers and sisters. Other political mechanisms are designed to hold factions under the control of a particular group. Some political mechanisms are predicated on utopian ideologies. Marxism is a utopian ideology.
All political systems fall short of being able to contain the purpose of God.
See, if we begin to believe that Jesus was a "socialist", then socialism becomes the end to which we strive, not faith in God. Jesus, as a result, simply becomes a human contrivance which is readily available to all who wish to create their own paradise. This is completely and utterly contrary to the core of the Christian story, and the failures of this belief system are prevalent throughout the late 1800s to our present era.
The authoritarianism which big governmental systems promote demand an allegiance that is at odds with the message of Jesus, who preached the citizenship of Heaven and loyalty to the Kingdom of God.
The Christian story isn't one of humans creating a human-made utopia through our own wisdom. The arrogance of this assumption is astounding, not to mention that it goes against every lesson chronicled in our past.
The Christian story is about the brokenness of humanity. It is about rebellion and a cost that must be paid for that rebellion. It is about self-renunciation, and living submitted to a benevolent dictatorship. It is about realizing that God, not man, is the only remedy to a decaying world.
The reason that God isn't concerned about politics is that He understands that the problem which resides within humanity isn't about finding the "right" social formula.
The problem is our heart.
In our hearts we carry seeds of hate, envy, greed, jealousy, anger, lust, and every other imaginable vice. Which seeds bloom depends on our disposition, but none are immune to this defect.
No law will correct this. No human contrivance will heal this. This is an issue between our Creator and ourselves.
Today, sadly, many want Jesus to align with their ideology, this is true with the current idea of Jesus being a socialist. It's easier for people to handle if God conforms to them, rather than to stomach the realization that we were created to conform to God.
They'd rather have a "quick fix" to the problems of the world, and for many the government is as good as God when it comes to achieving this end.
They wish to keep doing the depraved things they do, free of the conviction to change, so the focus then shifts to the external factors. Because identifying yourself as the problem is far more difficult than blaming someone else. You and I see this every day in society.
Self-control is difficult when it comes to sex, so let's normalize promiscuity!
Saving money isn't easy, so let's create credit so I can get whatever I want, whenever I want and pay later!
Parenting is hard, let's make the public schools do the job parents ought to be doing.
And on and on it goes.
I believe this is the underlying reason secularists have rallied under the banner of this fabricated religious icon. With "Jesus" endorsing their ideology they can move forward living however they wish to live, free of the convicting voices who articulate a different kind of message from God.
"We are the problem."
At the end of the day, the whole text matters and the entire narrative is essential. Anything less and we've done ourselves, and those we influence, a great disservice.