– The Jungle By Upton Sinclair Essay, Research Paper
The Jungle Is Jesus a Socialist?
There are many interpretations that different individuals can develop on one event, material, or thing, and on such example is the Bible. In The Jungle, Upton Sinclair, an advocate of Socialism, uses a character to tie Socialism with Jesus. The character is an ex-preacher, called Lucas, who portrays Jesus as a Socialist by using his actions and words to conform with Socialist ideas. Although one cannot say interpretations are right or wrong, Sinclair blasphemously uses the Bible for his own ideas.
In the beginning of Lucas s speech on Jesus he says that Jesus was a man whose whole being was one flame of hatred for wealth, and all that wealth stands (Sinclair 334). There are examples in the Bible that might lead one to infer that Jesus was a hater of wealth, but he didn t. In fact, he dined at many wealthy individuals houses, i.e. Jesus at a Pharisee s House (Luke 14:1-24). If he hated the rich and well to do he would not even associate with them. Jesus only disliked the many lavish things that rich people did with their wealth, which blocked their relationship with God. For example, in Luke 16:19-31 there is a story about a rich man and Lazarus, a beggar covered with boils. The rich man did not help Lazarus one bit, even though Lazarus s condition was so bad, being covered in sores, that even the dogs came and licked his sores (Luke 16:21). The rich man daily was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day (Luke 16:19), but would not spare some food for Lazarus who [longed] to eat what fell from the rich man s table (Luke 16:21). Eventually both Lazarus and the rich man died, Lazarus was received into Heaven, and Lazarus fell into hell. The rich man suffering in hell saw Abraham with Lazarus far away, and called out, Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire (Luke 16:24). But Father Abraham replied, Son remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony (Luke 16:24). Jesus showed others that the rich man ignored God s will by indulging himself in his wealth, and failed to receive eternal life by ignoring the simplistic need of Lazarus.
Jesus wanted the rich to focus their lives on God, and give to the poor and needy. The following quote from Jesus exemplifies how good works can benefit a soul: And you will be blessed. Although they [poor, crippled, lame, blind] cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous [Judgement Day] (Luke 14:14). In the story of The Rich Ruler, a man of great wealth accosts Jesus and asks him, Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life? (Luke 18:18). Jesus replied, You know the commandments: Do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother (Luke 18:20). The man said that he kept those things since he was a boy. The Jesus said, You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me (Luke 18:22). After these words the man became very sad because he could not part with his wealth. Jesus did not hate this rich guy, but rejected this man because of his dedication to the accumulation of worldly possessions, which blocked his dedication to God s will. Jesus despised all the desires that comes with wealth not the wealthy themselves, he accepts all.
Although Jesus was, one might say, an agitator, he had no political aspirations. He went against traditions kept by priests (Sadducees) and Pharisees. For example, in the temple in Jerusalem he chased out all the moneychangers which added to the profits of the temple during Passover. Jesus went into the outer precincts of temple, otherwise known as the Court of Gentiles, and was angered by the usury and the exploitation of the temple [money changers, vendors] to earn money: It is written My house will be called a house of prayer , but you are making it a den of robbers (Matthew 21: 13). By doing this he angered the Sadducees, who were of holy lineage which took positions as high priests. He offended the Pharisees by a number of actions the most notable being working [picking food and healing] on Sabbath days. He tried to show the Pharisees that man should keep the law of God in their hearts not physical bearing, and that the Sabbath was made for man, not the man for the Sabbath, which means that the Sabbath is flexible not just a day of rest (Mark 2:27). Jesus tried to show people, not only Jews, the way of God, not a new school politics.
Jesus, the Son of Man, did not try to appeal to any particular class, but tried to make it known to people that God can accept them. Many times over he feasted with the rich, and even helped save some from their sins. Although it was the working class that associated with him most, many personages of wealth and reputation came to him for help. Jesus freed everyone from their sins, and brought God s interpretations and ways to life on earth. In essence, Sinclair distorts Jesus into a political figure; Jesus was not a socialist.