Jesus and Capitalism

Documentary filmmaker Michael Moore has been a lightning rod for controversy over the past several years. His latest film, Capitalism: A Love Story continues the trend. In the film he wonders if Jesus would have supported the current system of capitalism and concludes that He wouldn’t have. Jesus’ teachings to help the poor and give away your money, to Moore, seem incompatible with the greed for money that drives much of the market today.

This interesting article provides a number of viewpoints. Clement Mehlman, a Lutheran chaplain at Dalhousie University, agrees with Moore:

“Jesus says to follow Him, you have to give everything you own to the poor. How many Christians do you see doing that? It’s a text that should be thrown at the wealthy fat cats.”

Others feel that the problems lie not in capitalism, itself, but in the way it is used. Rev. Gary Thorne, an Anglican minister and chaplain with Dalhousie and the Canadian Forces Reserves, talks about the “intent of the heart” in looking at free markets. He cites the history of the church and points out the Martin Luther and John Calvin were all in favor of capitalism as a way to motivate people to work hard, support their families and please God. Thorne also says that the most important thing about acquiring wealth, for a Christian, should be a willingness to share it.

“Any Christian who says that we pay too much in taxes is just bonkers.”

The article goes on to talk about a middle ground and I encourage you to dive in.

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