Originally Posted by ElizaJane
Originally Posted by cafe
Originally Posted by Lark
That's the irony I noted when I used to hear Christians say that Communism ignores "man's sin". Their capitalistic ideology also seems to think man is inherently good, though needing a moral push, (from the preachers themselves, of course). Hence, they blame liberal Christians, and liberal society in general, for marginalizing the influence of religion (removing public prayer, etc) and claim if they had the control, then we wouldn't have all this "godless materialism", and then capitalism would work the way it's supposed to, morally. You had leaders such as D James Kennedy, who took this as far as to say socialism was the cause of all our (America's) problems! And conservative Christians I debate with seem to still believe this. In the bank and auto bailouts, they blame Obama, rather than corporate greed! The coprorate powers can do no wrong in themselves; if they're greedy, they were just helplessly deceived by godless society.
Originally Posted by Lateralus
So this ignores that man will still do evil, even if you preach at him. He will nod to it (just like they did in the past, when society was supposeldy more "Christian", but there was still a lot of unChristian behavior going on out of the spotlight), and then find whatever loophole he can to benefit himself and pass the expense to everyone else. This is just as much human nature as the factors that cause communism/socialism not to work as ideally conceived.
Yeah; they always threw that "Tower of Babel" charge at the communists, but you think the capitalists aren't trying to attain the same thing?
Another gross irony is how Christians blasted communism as "Darwinistic", when their capitalistic ideology is just as Darwinistic. Only, for them, it was Darwin's theory on the orgins of species that was evil. They would also lump the socioeconomic evils in with it, but this is precisely what they defended in practice.
I just look at the deterioration of all cities over the last century. Especially, Detroit, where they want to level much of the city and turn it back into farmland! All of this is generally blamed on the minorities, and the capitalists moving all the industry are are justified. There is no sense that the people depending on the industry should be considered, and not just thrown out in the cold. Conservatives complain so much about a whole group of people supposedly "not working", yet when work was taken away from them, that was completely OK.
They then adopt this purely Darwinistic ideology, that the owners have the "right" to do whatever profits them, and it is the people's own fault for not pulling themselves up higher likewise. So it's for all good purposes "survival of the fittest". It is just so amazing hearing decades of conservative preachers rail on and on about the evils of Darwinism (even blaming it for moral and political decline), yet in the same book or sermon, often preach rank Darwinism in economics, as it it were commanded in the Bible.
You find with these types a colossal fundamental attribution error system, where the same behaviors they condemn on the other side are explained away when their side does it.
One Christian, Michael Horton, in Beyond Culture Wars excellently treated this issue. While making sure to point out his belief that this system is better in practical matters, he puts both in perspective:
Originally Posted by Lark
Both Marxism and capitalism are cut from he same cloth of Enlightenment modernity...neither seeks the spiritual good of society. Both systems have much in common philosophically; they both believe that human beings are basically good, and that if things go terribly wrong, it is because of the social structures that have failed to adequately "nurture" them or unleash their possibilities. Both are offspring of the secular experiment, and by confusing capitalism with with Christianity, we are not only historically naive (ignoring its roots in the Renaissance and Enlightenment), but are incapable then of really assessing the spiritual damage either secular experiment has caused to the human spirit. Furthermore, both are idolatrous: Capitalism replaces God and His prominence with the "Invisible Hand of the Market" whereas Marxism makes an idol of the state. One looks to the state as the liberator, the other to the market, but both are essentially materialistic and hostile to spiritual realities. That is why a Solzhenitsyn can come to America and find the same disillusionment, despair, and nihilism he knew so well under a Marxist state. When Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn came to America for refuge, evangelicals found immense pleasure in his attacks on Marxism and his calls for moral repentance and spiritual awakening. And yet, many seemed to miss his attacks on the West— not only for its sexual immorality (which seems to be about the only form of immorality some conservatives worry about), but for its greed and exploitation. What Solzhenitsyn favored was not an American-style democracy over a Soviet-style dictatorship, but rather the end of ideological regimes altogether. In other words, the "ideological war" itself was the problem, regardless of the particular side one took. Both presuppose rationalism, human goodness, and autonomy, and at the same time reduce man to a merely economic animal whose whole existence is nothing more than factors of production and consumption. It's just that one explicitly rejects heaven and the other simply elects to ignore it. (P.55-57)Of course, one big difference is the fact that western capitalism allowed organized religion to thrive, so was therefore seen as being "friendly" to God, while the other system was atheist. But still, Horton notes:
While attacking Marxism as godless statism, evangelicals have failed to realize that Marxism and free market capitalism are twin sisters of modernity, and...godless capitalism is just as great a threat to the soul, if not the pocket book. By reducing human beings to consumers, making nearly all social relationship depend on competition, and shrinking human life down to purely economic determinism, modern capitalism is just as dangerous to the soul— in part because of its marriage to religion, where apathy reigns in the face of every enemy except the threat to the "American Way of Life". (p.74) Note the statement in the first quote that both believe man is good and only affected by bad environments. This is a frequent charge leveled at the Left, but the Right is equally guilty.
Socialism not necessarily anti-God. The way it turned out, the communists aligned themselves with atheism, and capitalism used theistic sentiment to bolster itself; at least for awhile. That does not mean that one is necessarily for God, and the other against God. The fact that capitalism has turned away from God (as conservative Christians complain) is the proof of that, though they insist on blaming someone else for it.
Originally Posted by Lateralus
Man in his fallen state basically reverts back to animal instincts. And the main instinct is survival. Hence both socialism and capitalism are man's attempts to survive by controlling others and gaining the most profit to themselves.
there are different interpretations of Calvinism, and in a real way, te whole class and race system, as well as the ideology of those who defend it (Whether Calvinist or Arminian in soteriology) are shaped by the Calvinism of the Puritans and Pilgrims. God had "elected" them, just like he "elected" the Israelites, and granted them the land and resources of the "reprobate" heathens He ordered them to drive out of the land. So this was simply repeated in the founding of America. Material prosperity was then seen as proof of divine election. Hence, "chosen" to enjoy the best of both worlds (while telling others they had no rights).
There's no way at all that I believe Christianity can be reconciled to capitalism. The calvinist and other prejudices which provided the cultural mainstays of pre-capitalist societies permitting the accumulation of wealth necessary to industrialism, mass production etc. are anathema to consumerism which is the mainstay of contemporary society and economy.
Of course, this turns the whole "good news" of the Christian message on its ear, and they simply chuck it off to "God's sovereignty". Yet many will still argue that America was founded by "divine providence", and that these "liberals" are ruining it all, and to many, the minorities (symbolized by such analogies as "lazy grasshoppers") are still blamed for taking all the money (through taxes), even though it is the conservatives' rich corporate heroes who are the ones still getting richer.