Socialism shares many of the defining characteristics of marxism and communism:
Hostility towards Christianity
Karl Marx the founder of marxism and communism wrote “Religion is the opium of the people". In one of his earlier writings Marx said: “We have already destroyed the outer priest. Now we must destroy the inner priest". (4) Socialist leaders are also hostile to Christianity but prefer to gradually tear down Christian teachings through legislation, and to hamper the Church’s ability to teach and preach, instead of the more violent tactics of communism.
Atheism is advanced as the state's official or unofficial ideology. In the communist Soviet empire this was proclaimed explicitly. Churches were ransacked and clergy killed or imprisoned in gulags. Likewise, past socialist governments such as Hitler's Nazi Party and the Mexican government of President Calles who's reign of terror lasted from 1924 to 1935 have also attacked church authority and belief in the Judeo-Christian God. Today's modern socialists prefer the term "secular", "separation of church & state" or they appeal to the principle of "being more inclusive" in order to disguise their atheist ideals as they advance law and public policy which abolishes all references to God.
Contempt for those who hold to objective moral standards, especially in areas of sexuality. Socialism, like communism, embraces moral relativism, a world-view which denies the existence of moral absolutes. After gaining power in 1917, communists in Russia began to dismantle the institutions of traditional marriage and the family, to promote divorce, free sex and abortion. Churches were shut down, priests and Bishops were executed or sentenced to forced labour. The resulting societal breakdown was so bad by the 1930's, that the communists had no choice but to reverse some of their anti-family policies, or risk seeing their empire implode.(5)
Holocaust researcher and writer, William Doino explains that the church in Germany was systematically undermined and its voice effectively silenced by secular forces beginning in 1901 and over the next three decades, paving the way for Hitler's rise to power in 1933.(6) Clergy were portrayed through propaganda campaigns as corrupt and oppressive to human liberty and the majority of Germans no longer listened to the church. Meanwhile Berlin, the cultural centre, had become a vast cabaret of sex, drugs, open homosexuality and boy/youth prostitution. It is well-documented that top levels of the NAZI party incorporated sexual practices into their secret rituals.(7)
Writing in his book Mein Kampf (My Struggle), Adolf Hitler relates his disdain for Judeo-Christian morality. The introduction to Mein Kampf, written by Konrad Heiden, reconfirms Hitler's hatred for Christianity, as he viewed the "belief in human equality" to be a Jewish plot, made popular due to "Christian churches". (8)
Against private property ownership; desire to "nationalize" land and businesses so all property is owned by the government. This is a well-known tenet of communism. In 1920, Germany's Nazi (National Socialist) Party had a "Twenty-Five Point Programme" which demanded "the nationalization of all businesses which have been formed into corporations".(9) Since Venezuala's socialist president Hugo Chavez came to power in 1998, his party quickly began to abolish private ownership of many lands, homes and industries, making his government the owner.
Redistribution of wealth / Collectivism... a welfare state that punishes achievers by taking their wealth, and spreading it around equally to the "collective" i.e. in theory the "collective" is all members of society. This theory is unworkable, against the natural law and can only lead to corruption, gigantic government bureaucracy and inefficiency. Both socialism and marxism have collectivism as a foundational principle.
Class Warfare Proponents of socialism/communism try to stir-up class conflict sentiments within society, a revolutionary principle boldly espoused by Karl Marx, in order to create an appetite for their socialist redistribution philosophy. It goes like this: "You're poor, or suffering hard times because those people over there are greedy and taking unfair profits. Aren't you entitled to a fair share? Give us power so we can take from them and give to you". This was the motivation for the bloody Bolshevik revolution against property owners which birthed Soviet communism. In Hitler's socialist Germany, Jews and immigrants were blamed for the nation's economic woes. Hitler fingered Jews as hording prosperity unto themselves and keeping native Germans poor. Today in Hugo Chavez' socialist Venezuala, the rich and corporations are portrayed as "enemies" of the common man.
Coercive police powers are used to enforce the "party line", to suppress free speech and prohibit freedom of thought. In the communist soviet union it was various secret police agencies (Cheka, GPU, KGB) who intimidated and terrorized the party's political and religious opponents. In socialist germany, it was the NAZI gestapo - secret police who had vast powers to harass and arrest without judicial oversight.