By Bill Byrnes
“ Friends–it’s been said–that MONEY is the root of all evil. Well, let me tell you–that is WRONG! Money itself, is not the root of all evil–it’s the LACK
of money. That IS the root of all evil.” Pastor Frederich Eikerenkoetter- a.k.a. “The Reverend Ike”; circa 1975-1978
The title sounds good–but–what is Christian Capitalism? There is no set group of principles, certainly, no dogmas here!
Christian Capitalism is NOT Socialism—in any way shape or form, and certainly, it has nothing to do with Communism!
However, it is NOT any type of endorsement for the current system of corporate greed–and–face it–when you look at income distribution over the last 40 years–how could you possibly deny the existence of greed that permeates our corporate domain?
Yes, there are several different definitions of Christian Capitalism. It all depends on who you’re talking with. Extreme Conservatives might say it’s another form of (God forbid-lol) Communism; extreme Liberals might add that it’s just another way of pushing the envelope away from inevitable forms of income sharing. My contention: Christian Capitalism is what God had in mind all along!
First, let’s look at the broad brush-strokes of this picture. After God gave Noah the 3rd Dispensation (beginning w/Genesis:8 : 20-21) , it was clear that God would allow Governments to take his place and rule mankind. To me, the question then becomes how wealth should be distributed. If God would no longer rule man, what would be the most efficient way of getting that job accomplished? If all wealth belongs to our creator, and he wanted it shared with all humans—how could that be accomplished in a fair and equitable manner? As usual—the answer lies in the Bible (where else?).
There are no verses that state, outright, that capitalism is preferred. However, there are mentions in the New Testament that definitely lead
the reader to that conclusion. Example: in Luke: 19:11-27– the Parable of the Ten Pounds; whereas Jesus was using a metaphor to explain the Kingdom of Heaven, I find his wording quite interesting.
Luke: 19:26: “For I say unto you, that every one that hath, shalm that hath not, evl be given; and from hien that he hath shall be taken away from him.”( READ the entire parable!)
I realize that this verse could easily be interpreted by Conservatives who would say that it points to wealth being controlled by those who know what to do with it, namely, people at the top of the income “pyramid”. However, (assuming that you have read the entire parable) I contend that, really, Jesus was referring to giving wealth to the other servants–people at the bottom of the income level. What you have, then, is an affirmation of a “pure” form of capitalism – where people at the “bottom” receive some measure of wealth, and use it to build more wealth.
Think about this, then review the thoughts expressed by Pope Francis (Nov.,2013) He said, “That’s what does harm: greed in any relationship with money…having more, having more, having more. It leads you to idolatry, it destroys your relationship with others. It’s not the money itself – but the attitude – what we call greed. Then the greed makes you sick because it makes you think of everything in terms of money…that destroys you…”.
And, in the end, greed is the instrument of idolatry because it goes along a path contrary to God has done for us. St. Paul tells us that Jesus Christ, who was rich, made himself poor to enrich us. That is the path of God: humility, to lower oneself in order to serve. Greed, on the other hand, takes us on a contrary path: you – a poor human – make yourself God for vanity’s sake. It is idolatry! ….And all the goods that we have, the Lord gives them to us to advance the world – to advance humanity – to help, to help others. …Take care to guard against all greed, for though one may be rich, one’s life does not consist of only possessions.”
What makes more sense from a logistical standpoint than to have men distribute God’s wealth to other men? And, when you look at the early history of Capitalism – it appears that the system was working fairly well. Then enter greed…with the sweat-shops and robber-barons and other “twists and turns” that began changing the system into one motivated by greed, and not humility – others were exploited – NOT served!
So, it appears the opening quote from Reverend Ike, though laughable at first hearing, was only a “groundbreaker” for the remarks of a Pope approximately 40 years in the future! Remember…I’m not stating that the rich should give us anything; heck, we just want to earn our pay. And, we feel that we are already earning it – so please, just pay us!!