Posted by: euzoia | December 19, 2008

liberalism

Religion – Economy – Wealth in liberal and christian dotrines

Liberalism in this study is assumed to be a philosophical and economical doctrine for followers of free market ideology.
Liberalism assumes that besides of freedom man desires and strives for richness. Professor of Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Ferdynand Zweig (1896-1988) has defined liberalism as a system “where economical aim, that is unlimited growing in rich, comes to foreground. Freedom and private property serve for goals of material utiliarism, i.e. growing in ritch of entities in the most intense extent.” Further he points out that the aim of growing in rich of individual is maximizing of his own income. The thing is not in providing consumers with sought-after goods, but it is all about maximizing profit of a holder [“Liberalism of Polish economical thought”]

We shall find utterly different attitude to this matter in christianity. God’s intention for man is to be well of: (Deut. 14:26) ” You may spend the money for whatever your heart desires: for oxen, or sheep, or wine, or strong drink, or whatever your heart desires; and there you shall eat in the presence of the LORD your God and rejoice, you and your household.”. Somewhere else (Deut. 6:10-11) Then it shall come about when the LORD your God brings you into the land which He swore to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give you, great and splendid cities which you did not build, and houses full of all good things which you did not fill, and hewn cisterns which you did not dig, vineyards and olive trees which you did not plant, and you eat and are satisfied”. One cannot identify with evil possessing wealth or aiming to it. Richness, if achieved by own work, is regarded to be manifestation of God’s grace and blessing (Deut. 2:7). Because it is a God who created the hole material and spiritual world (Gen.1:1-30). It is Him with his kindness and generosity who have offered all human kind countless wealth which is our planet Earth and its natural resources.
This source of richness implies it cannot be gained in unjust, immoral way. Even though bad practicies have been established and legalized for a long time they won’t find justification in God’s eyes. It applies to misuse of own proffesional position, concealing vital information (Levi 19:14), exploitation, oppression (Levi 19:13) and any other forms of harm. We shall read in Scriptures: (Levi 25:14) If you make a sale, moreover, to your friend or buy from your friend’s hand, you shall not wrong one another. This verse does not only say about physical abuse, robbery, fraud on price, balance (Prov 20:10), but also about this: (Levi 19:13) “You shall not oppress your neighbor, nor rob* him /*other translations show here “exploit”/ and (Levi 19:14): ” You shall not curse a deaf man, nor place a stumbling block before the blind”. The last verse is interpreted as ban for giving advises or selling goods or services, that could harm the buyer in material and moral level, This prohibition extends also to employment conditions what is discussed in another text. Both Christianity and Judaism rejects priciple that buyer should to be one’s guard against thief. They impose on seller full publicness and transparency.

Richness and aiming to it should not rival God. Because it is written: (Luk 16:13): ” No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth. There is other verse saying it much more expresively ( (Matt 19:16-24), conluding this way (Matt 19:23-24): ” And Jesus said to His disciples – Truly I say to you, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”

Even though wealth is not bad, it may not be just God’s grace and blessing nor effect of own work. God, being the Justice, greatly disapproves any unethical means of getting rich (Ha 2:9) Woe to him who gets evil gain for his house to put his nest on high, to be delivered from the hand of calamity!”. Simultaniously He warns, that “he who trusts in his riches will fall” (Prov 11:28). God’s message is not limited to bans: (1 Tim 6:17-18) “Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy. Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share.”

We can now see that Christian material wealth is blended into wider context, which is fair behaviour.

As a conclusions one can write that liberalism treats getting rich as one of the main life aims. Meanwhile Christianity finds it as God’s grace, reward for moral life and sound work. It also points that it is neceserry to share it with the poors. Gaining wealth in christianity is regulated by numerous rules in contrast to liberals who are only obliged to obey primary directive “do not violate other’s freedom” and secondary one: “do not rob”. Liberal pursuiting for rich is not bound to justice in Christian sense. Because Christianity says to share own wealth with fellowmen, whereas liberalism neglects any social obligations and duties. Liberalism says that any forms of duties, especially legal one, violate individual freedom to administer his own acquisition.

Source:
New American Standard Bible
father Stanislaw Kowalczyk, Liberalism and its philosophy, Unia Publishing, Katowice 1995
Polish website of neoliberals “Strona prokapitalistyczna” – http://republika.pl/kapitalizm

First edition: 29th October 2004
Translation into English: 15th May 2007


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