1. socialism -- depends on how it's done. I call myself a socialist, but I don't favor the same kind of socialism as Hitler claimed to promote, or Stalin.
Biblical / spiritual basis for socialism - several. They include strong NT / OT focus on justice, mercy, care for the poor and oppressed.
There even is a kind of "communism" supported by the Book of Acts, Chapter 6, based on what the early Christian church practiced in Jersulem, and some Christians throughout history -- eg Sir Thomas More, author of "Utopia" -- have leaned towards communistic economics for that reason.
But the OT seems to favor a more individual arrangement to ensure social and economic justice -- "And every man beneath his vine and fig tree, shall live in peace, and unafraid." -- That's the Prophet Isaiah, I think.
Another concept supported by the OT - the idea of land reform / land redistribution every 49-50 years, during the Year of Jubliee.
2. Outsourcing -- well, I think a Christian employer would consider his/ her employees to be brothers and sisters in Christ, and wouldn't eliminate their jobs in hopes of getting cheaper labor from outside of the company.
3. affirmative action / equal opportunity -- "There is neither male nor female, neither Jew nor Greek, neither slave nor free, but all are one in Christ Jesus." I think NT Christianity strongly supports the goal of racial justice and equal opportunity.
1 or 2 caveats, though: Christianity would not support discrimination against white people any more than it supports discrimination against non-whites.
Also, a big problem with affirmative action and equal opportunity is that they often both operate in a "competive" & capitalist atmosphere cursed with a scarcity of too few decent jobs, too few university opportunities.
I think NT Christianity with its emphasis on justice, compassion & love of neighbor would try to work for good opportunities for all.
4. Welfare -- the OT contains a prescription for a primitive welfare system - laws that say a rich person shouldn't harvest grain to the very corners & borders of his fields, but should leave a fringe unharvested for the poor to use to feed themselves. However, the OT also permitted the temporary enslavement of individuals for debt -- although the practice was roundly criticized by the Prophet Amos.
I think the general thrust of the OT and the NT would be that society should show compassion towards the poor, and should provide a welfare system if this is the best way of showing compassion towards the poor. Many Christians and Jews, however, would agree that providing people with paying employment is better than just supporting people on the public dole. Better for society, also better for the spirit / minds of the poor.
5. Universal healthcare - this isn't specifically mentioned anywhere in the Bible that I know of. But again, there is a strong emphasis in both NT and OT on social justice, on loving your neighbor as yourself, and on compassion and assistance for the poor, the weak, the widowed and the oppressed.
In our society, with its soaring medical costs, I think a Judeao - Christian social ethic leads in the direction of supporting some system of universal health care.
Religious Jews & Christians might well disagree on the details of how that system should work, of course.
But it's impossible to imagine Jesus or Moses or the Jewish prophets approving of a society in which the poor are forced to die early, and to suffer from bad health while alive, because they can't afford the expensive medical care that the wealthy have available.
Alternate spiritual / philosophical basis for supporting social justice, love for neighbor, compassion for the poor etc. -- general patheistic philosophy of Spinoza, and/or the mystical approach favored by Christian heretics, Buddhist and Hindu holy men, some Sufis, the philospher G.W.F. Hegel, and the Beatles song "Yellow Submarine."
The notion that we all are one, all parts of a universal Godhead or universal substance, and that we all partake in one another's joys and sorrows. If you believe that oneness with other people & the universe, or just feel that it's right, you intuitively want other people to experience more joy than sorrows.
-- agnostic / former member of evangelical Christian prayer group and Bible study group
Answered By: Andy F - 7/26/2010