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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

05/28/1996

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That Old-Time Religion

Was Jesus Christ the first communist? Gennady Zyuganov has often said so. Another top party member, retired general Valentin Varennikov, has said the Bible ought to be as dear to a good communist as the Communist Manifesto. It's a provocative claim, all the more so given the Soviet Communist Party's history of executing priests and believers and tearing down churches. Yet there are, of course, similarities between communism and Christianity. Jesus told his followers that none of them, himself included, should be called Lord or master, but brother. Communists are all ""comrades."" The Bible speaks of it being virtually impossible for a rich man to enter heaven, while Jesus called on his followers to give away their possessions and to help the poor. None of which, however, sways Richard Pipes, a Harvard University professor of Russian history. ""Christianity said to give away your own wealth, while socialism called on taking it away from others.

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