Location: Indianapolis, Indiana, United States

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Christianity and Capitalism

To many, these two concepts are incompatible. In fact, they are completely compatible (I’d argue that long-term capitalism cannot exist without Christianity); together they form what Rich Devos, co-founder of Amway, calls Compassionate Capitalism.

Ayn Rand was a proponent of capitalism, but not a proponent of Christianity. From what I have read, she disliked Christianity, not in toto, but because its altruism does not jive with making money. By definition, altruism does not equate with making money, so I agree with her on that point. But I disagree with the thought that altruism/charity do not belong, that Christianity and Capitalism cannot co-exist.

I like Rand’s concise definition of capitalism – you can make whatever you want, and nobody has to buy it. This brings up the point where morality/ethics/religion comes into the picture. On the surface, it’s a good definition. But she wrote, “whatever you want.” With no Christian basis, this opens the door to producing pornography, smut, and whatever else a non-moral mind can bring up. You can see our American society going more that way, though we still have several boundaries.

The reason that Christianity and capitalism can, and must, co-exist for the long-term benefit is because 1) capitalism provides the freedom to make and earn money, thereby providing a consistent incentive to produce in society, and 2) Christianity, and to extend that – the Bible, provides the best basis for a free people, and for laws to be enacted that keep people honest in their dealings in business. This worldview also provides stability in every other area – civil government, family, military, etc. A biblical worldview is holistic.

This country was not founded to make money – it was established to provide a haven for people seeking liberty. Liberty is no license. License is freedom without responsibility. Liberty is freedom with responsibility and accountability.

There are ample quotes to show that America’s Founders were either Christian or subscribed to and promoted Christian principles. Many don’t like that, but that’s the way it is. This is not to say, and the Founders did not say, that all people in America must be Christian, or be Christian to benefit from the liberty we have here. But Christian principles are the best basis upon which to found a society, because they are logical, mature, considerate of the best of society, considerate of individual rights (stated most succinctly in the Ten Commandments) and provide direction and instruction for one’s own soul, one’s family, one’s work, one’s life.


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