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Saturday, February 15, 2014

Does God favor capitalism over socialism?

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord." Isaiah 55:8
Webster's defines capitalism as "the economic system in which all or most of the means of production and distribution...are privately owned and operated for profit, originally under fully competitive conditions: it has been generally characterized by a tendency toward concentration of wealth, and in its later phase, by the growth of great corporations, increased governmental control, etc." Adam Smith also talked about the "invisible hand" of the marketplace - the premise that when individuals pursue self-interest that this will eventually accrue to the benefit of society as a whole.
Christ said: "Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof." Matthew 6:31-34 He went on to say: "Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets." Matthew 7:12 Hence, we can see from these Scriptures that the philosophical basis for capitalism stands in stark contrast to the teachings of Jesus Christ.
We also read in Scripture that God does not approve of societies that are built on the backs of the poor and exalt greed and profit as the principal motivators of economic activity. Amos 4:1, 8:4-8 Likewise, God insists that workers are to be paid a fair wage by their employers. Leviticus 19:13, Jeremiah 22:13, Malachi 3:5 The Old Testament also appears to be hostile to the principle of charging interest. Exodus 22:5, Leviticus 25:35-36, Deuteronomy 23:19, Proverbs 28:8, Ezekiel 22:12 What does that imply for modern capitalist banking practices?
Webster's defines socialism as "the theory or system of the ownership and operation of the means of production and distribution by society or the community rather than by private individuals, with all members of society or the community sharing in the work and the products." This system has often been associated with the principle "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need."
We are told in Scripture that Cain once asked God, "Am I my brother's keeper?" Genesis 4:9 From a Scriptural perspective, the answer to that question appears to be yes. Deuteronomy 15:7-11, I John 4:7-21 God instructed the farmers of ancient Israel to leave part of their harvest in the field for the benefit of the poor. Leviticus 19:9-10, 23:22 God also instructed the people to use their tithes every three years for the benefit of the disadvantaged in their society. Deuteronomy 26:12 Christ told the rich man to go and sell everything that he had and follow him. Matthew 19:21 Likewise, we read that early Christians "had all things common; and sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need." Acts 2:44-45 Nevertheless, it is also clear that laziness was not tolerated by the leadership of the church. II Thessalonians 3:10
Therefore, as we look at these two systems developed by men, we must conclude that declaring either one of them to be God's system would not be consistent with what the Scriptures reveal about God's priorities and principles. Capitalism is not the good and Godly system that some have portrayed it to be, and Socialism is not the evil and Godless system that some have portrayed it to be. From God's perspective, both systems have good and bad features.

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