Money, Greed and God


#1

Money, Greed and God
By Chuck Colson | Christian Post Guest Columnist
12/18/10

… Well-known pastors have asked can capitalism possibly fit into a Christian worldview?

Addressing these questions is my friend Dr. Jay Richards of the Discovery Institute. Jay’s newest book is Money Greed, and God: Why Capitalism is the Solution and Not the Problem.

In the book, Richards begins with the question of economics and worldview. All truth is God’s truth, he writes. And “Being a Christian doesn’t mean you can disregard economic facts.” In other words, economic truths are God’s truth, as well.

But Richards is quick to point out that wealth-creating capitalism requires more than just competition and trading. Beneficial capitalism is founded, he says, on the “rule of law and virtues like cooperation, stable families, self-sacrifice, a commitment to delayed gratification, and a willingness to risk based on future hope. These all,” he adds, “fit nicely with a Christian worldview.”

I don’t want to think about how long I’ve put off posting this column. The Bible doesn’t support capitalism as such, but Scriptural commands regarding private property, fraud & agreements and justice being for poor and rich alike are compatible with capitalism and incompatible with socialism and screw-the-rich populism.


#2

In C.S. Lewis’s “Mere Christianity,” he touches on this, but he seems to equate “capitalism” with “usury.” He goes on to say that perhaps the rules about usury would not apply to modern financial institutions. Were he still around, I would point out that the laws and advice against usury were pretty much applied within “closed” groups. In the OT, the Israelites were not to charge usury against other Israelites, but they were permitted to charge it against “strangers.” Much the same was supported in the NT church. It was more like a family issue. The Israelites were all “brothers,” and Christians are also “brothers (and sisters).” And furthermore, going beyond the limitation of equating capitalism to usury, the getting of profit by one’s own diligence is approved in both OT & NT. Even in James, where the people are condemned for saying, “We will go to such and such a place and buy and sell and get gain,” what was condemned was not the “getting gain,” but leaving God out of the equation.


#3

“If a man will not work, let him not eat” seems like a condemnation of the welfare state being accessible to healthy people. Communism is just a gigantic welfare state for all.

“Thou shall not steal” seems like a recognition of the moral status of property ownership. If all property was “public property” then stealing would not be possible.

“Thou shall not covet” seems like a clear condemnation of class warfare and legislated equality of outcome.

Dozens of Proverbs address the beneficial outcome of “building wealth slowly” and the superiority of planning ahead as a means to economic security. Dozens of Proverbs also condemn the foolishness of those who don’t bother themselves with these considerations.

I see Capitalism all through the Bible, I also see multiple condemnations of sloth and ignorance in individuals who fail to consider the long term as they lead their lives.

Capitalism is being free to pursue whatever means of earning money that you are qualified for (If legal) and the legal ability to enjoy whatever fruits that your labor and wisdom create.