Christianity + Reason = Freedom & Capitalism

Why was it that when Enlightenment Europe stopped long enough to notice, they found out that no one else possessed the technical innovations that they did? Because while all other world religions embraced mysticism and the unknowableness of God, Christianity (to a greater or lesser degree) developed the idea that reason and logic can help us to come to a better understanding of God, science, and everything else.


The ingredients of capitalism existed in nearly every society, but in only one region of the globe did it actually take root. Christian Europe, which was admittedly influenced by Greek philosophy, was its breeding ground, and that not by chance. Western successes, including in the realm of science, cannot be explained any way other than by their being influenced by reason and individual freedoms inculcated by Christianity.

Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels actually express some approbation over Capitalism in The Communist Manifesto. They just felt like Capitalism could be improved upon (and it can indeed be--just not with the means they prescribed.)

Freedom was also an essential ingredient in the formation of capitalism. Interestingly, Christianity was at the forefront of the drive to rid the world of the most debauched of institutions--human slavery. Christianity stressed the importance of individual accountability and choice, which encouraged people to think, to dream, to reason, to innovate, and to create.

Capitalism has raised the standard of living for countless millions around the globe. When we think of capitalists, our first reaction should not be to criticize them because they are richer than us, but it should rather be a feeling of gratitude that their entrepreneurial insight made life much more enjoyable for us than it otherwise might have been.

Equally important to remember is that without Christianity, we most likely would not have had capitalism.

These ideas are based on the book The Victory of Reason, by Rodney Stark.

Comments

  1. The thing that I find most interesting Frank, is that the people that complain and whine about "rich people" are the ones that take advantage of them the most, although they may not do it knowingly. The biggest benefit of being a capitalist is that they help build the economy by giving people jobs. Usually people that complain are working for these capitalists, yet, if it weren't for them, they would be unemployed. And if they don't work for them, they have used their products. I know this only covers a small paragraph of your post, but I think it is important that people understand that there are many choices in life to make. Being an entrepreneur is one, just as being an employee of an entrepreneur is another. I try to talk to a lot of entrepreneurs, I personally am striving to be one myself. In learning to do so, I try to talk to as many as I can, and learn from them. Not once have I heard of them complaining about the 'average joe' or regular employee the way that some average joes and employees complain about them.

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  2. You said it excellently. I am unable to add anything to it!

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  3. "Please, sir, may I have some more?"

    I think in this day and age, Charles Dickens is worth re-reading.

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  4. Dickens is a great author. I think I know what you're getting at, but would you care to elaborate?

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