Capitalism and Christianity

Until the Reformation Christianity was the Roman Catholic Church. The church held against usury–the collecting of interest on money loaned–a hypocritical position due to the widespread abuse of usury at the time. The church further held that poverty was good (except in the case of the church). Jesus’s position regarding money is quite clear–money is something that the rich have, and will lose. Remember he was the person overturning the tables of the moneychangers in the temple. Saint Francis of Assisi went so far as to declare himself poor and denouncing the money of the church.

The current view of fundamentalist Christians is quite complementary with modern day capitalism. This is a very radical view for a Christian to hold. It is almost as if the new testament has been sanitized and made a tool of capitalism. Prior to the Reformation business was picking up in Europe. The church however was a major impediment to growth of private business. At least 10% of all the money was funneled toward Rome. There was many religious holidays each requiring a closure of businesses for the day in question. The church was quite corrupt as seen from the history of Borgia’s. Overall the time was ripe for a reform of business and the church provided a suitable cover for this. In Germany, Switzerland, and England the path was paved to diminish the power of the Catholic Church; the business men of these countries (and others) welcomed the reformation with open hands. Today it would be unspeakable to think about Capitalism and Protestant Christianity as not connected.

Are fundamentalist Christians ignorant? Why do they hold the positions they hold? It seems at some point that these groups will be forced to read all of the passages about Christ’s acts, not just the ones that are convenient for them. In a since they have the same ideas about science taking whats useful and ignoring the conflicting portions. Eventually the world will see a radical set of Christians that will want to overturn the status quo of the business world. In a sense the business community is living with a scorpion in the house, right now its cage is large enough but that could change. History has not supported the long term concentration of wealth we see today.

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