Is Capitalism evil? If you listen to many in our society you might get the impression that capitalism is an inherently evil system that is corrupting us. A closer look at this system and how it has shaped western society, however, reveals quite a different picture.
In his new missive entitled Money, Greed and God, Dr. Jay Richards provides a defense for capitalism and demonstrates how it has been a force for good. The book was recently published by Harper One. Here is the publishers description:
Does capitalism promote greed? Can a person follow Jesus’s call to love others and also support capitalism? Was our recent economic crisis caused by flaws inherent to our free market system? Jay Richards presents a new approach to capitalism, revealing how it’s fully consistent with Jesus’s teachings and the Christian tradition, while also showing why this system is our best bet for renewed economic vigor.
The church is bombarded with two competing messages about money and capitalism:
wealth is bad and causes much of the world’s suffering
wealth is good and God wants you to prosper and be rich
Richards exposes these myths, and other common misconceptions about capitalism, and reveals the surprising ways that capitalism is, in fact, the best system to respond to the biblical mandates of alleviating poverty and protecting the environment. Money, Greed, and God equips readers to take practical steps in their own lives to conduct business, worship God, and serve others without falling into the “prosperity gospel” trap.
I have not read the book yet, but I plan to put it on my short list. I hope that you will do the same. Its about time that capitalism be let out of the penalty box. Capitalism may be wounded but it is not dead and it is most certainly not evil.
“Because power corrupts, society’s demands for moral authority and character increase as the importance of the position increases.”
- John Adams
President Adams was right on the money when he made the previous statement. Power does corrupt and the only safeguard against such corruption is moral authority. There is one aspect of his statement, however, that sadly doesn’t apply to us today. I am convinced that many in our society don’t demand moral authority in their leaders because they neither have it nor do they even know what it is.
The best way to define moral authority is by illustration. In 1994 then President Bill Clinton invited Mother Teresa to speak at the annual National Prayer Breakfast. She, in her calm demeanor, stood in the face of a host of left-leaning and outright liberal political types and delivered an address that called into question the worldview and practice of many in the room. Here is a short excerpt of her address:
But I feel that the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because it is a war against the child – a direct killing of the innocent child – murder by the mother herself. And if we accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another? How do we persuade a woman not to have an abortion? As always, we must persuade her with love, and we remind ourselves that love means to be willing to give until it hurts. Jesus gave even his life to love us. So the mother who is thinking of abortion, should be helped to love – that is, to give until it hurts her plans, or her free time, to respect the life of her child. The father of that child, whoever he is, must also give until it hurts. By abortion, the mother does not learn to love, but kills even her own child to solve her problems. And by abortion, the father is told that he does not have to take any responsibility at all for the child he has brought into the world. That father is likely to put other women into the same trouble. So abortion just leads to more abortion. Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching the people to love, but to use any violence to get what they want. That is why the greatest destroyer of love and peace is abortion.
No one stood and jeered her. No one booed her or tried to shout her down. In fact, some observers recall that the room was so quiet you could hear a pin drop. How could a poor, old woman like this silence the mouths of America’s liberal elite? The answer is that she had moral authority. Her life of service, love and devotion to the poor, and dying of Calcutta had earned her the right to be heard.
As authentic Christians we are called to be salt and light. We are to preserve from and prevent evil while pointing the way to Christ. We can only do this when we have harnessed the power of moral authority just like Mother Teresa. This means loving God with all our soul, mind, heart and strength and loving our neighbors as ourselves.
How well are you doing? Does your talk line up with your walk? Do you even bother to speak out against wrong and injustice? Do involve yourself in things that will allow you to make a difference? I hope your answer to these questions is yes, but most of all I hope that you begin to harness the power of moral authority.
“I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”
- Evelyn Beatrice Hall
There used to be honor in respectfully agreeing to disagree. Those days are long gone. Many in our society claim to champion free speech as long as it is in the first person (i.e. my free speech).
No story illustrates this more poignantly than the comments of Carrie Prejean at the Miss USA pageant. I have written about this in a previous post, but I believe that this issue deserves further discussion. It touches an issue that is fundamental to the future stability of this country. Have a look at the following video interview between Miss Prejean’s Pastor and Fox News host Bill O’Reilly:
Is all speech created equal? If you looked at our founding documents the answer is very clear. What muddies the water, however, is when you look at the mindset and actions of many in our society. It seems that you can talk all day about how Christianity is repressive and tyrannical. You can talk about how people of faith are ignorant and illiterate. You can even use graphic expletives about people of faith, put them to music, and get applauded, become wealthy, or be given a PhD. The minute you share an opinion about the value of traditional marriage or life beginning at conception, however, you become narrow-minded, hateful, and deserve to be shouted down.
Now more than ever, it is time for authentic Christians to boldly proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is the only thing that can stave off a wave of “political correctness” that will leave our basic freedoms demolished in its wake. We have to see that as much as we honor our government, it is ultimately God who is the author and protector of our rights and it is to Him that we should apply for protection.
Is all speech created equal? Should I even have to ask this question? The fact that I even have to ask should tell you a lot about how far we have come.
“Political language. . . is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.”
- George Orwell
It is a shame that politicians are famous for saying one thing and doing another. How many times have we seen elected officials boldly proclaim their fidelity to a certain issue and then “change their mind” once they get elected? What has happened to our society that we as a people can be so easily duped by the politics of rhetoric?
One perfect example of this concerns the issue of abortion. This issue above many others has become a rhetorical playground for many would be elected officials. During the last presidential election cycle, then candidate Obama stated the following:
So examining the rhetoric here, then candidate Obama stated that he wished to reduce abortions. Has he done anything in his first 100 days to reduce abortions? Lets compare his rhetoric with his actions:
This is why we as Americans have lost faith in our government and in our elected officials. This is why we are cynical about politics. It is high time that we as authentic Christians set the example for all to see that we are people of integrity and that when we say yes it is yes and when we say no it is no. When we become people of character then we will be more likely to elect people of character. Allowing this kind of political “shell game” to continue is too costly. If you doubt that, then meditate on the number 40 million and picture those beautiful babies not alive today because we tolerated the politics of rhetoric.