Saturday, 12 April 2014
Capitalism: The Devil’s Stronghold over the World
There are many things that motivate people to do things that they would otherwise not do. Contrary to popular opinion, money is something that influences human behaviour, but it is not the only thing that influences human behaviour. Other factors such as comfort, security, health and love are among the main factors that can influence behaviour. While not all non-monetary things are tangible, they can all become a material factor where the core motive of craving such things is a desire for serve the self. Love, for example, can become a material possession when it is given to serve the self. Rather than loving others as a moral obligation in the spiritual sense, it becomes a material goal. Indeed, we live in an extremely materialistic world where it makes no sense to the average person to be kind to others simply because it is good in itself. The world is under the spirit of Mammon.
This spirit of Mammon is characterised by a self-serving spirit that only worries about its own needs, including even its own spiritual ‘needs’. The spirit of Mammon is one of greed and dissatisfaction with the self. However, merely because a person is satisfied with the self does not render one free from the spirit of Mammon. It is manifested in needs-based economic, political, social, cultural and philosophical frameworks. Thus, the spirit of Mammon is in conflict with all that is spiritual but, merely because one seeks spirituality does not mean that one is liberated from the spirit of Mammon. Mammon, is indeed itself a spirit, but not a spirit from the Provider and Source of all Hope, God. Therefore, anyone who is not a believer in God is under the spirit of Mammon, irrespective of what religion they follow. However, many Christians are also under the spirit of Mammon which has crept into the Church. Whenever they are told that they are a slave to Mammon, not God, they claim that they can serve both God and Mammon. They appear to have deliberately forgotten Jesus’ stern warning that “no man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” (Luke 11:24) Some even go so far as to twist the Bible to justify capitalism: the devil’s stronghold over the world.
One such perversion of the Bible I have encountered from a Bible college lecturer in Australia was that of equating capitalism to the free market. When faced with my critique that capitalism utilises greed to seek economic ‘growth’, he argued that ‘if it were not for the free market, you would be back in the fields picking potatoes for six days a week’. He continued under the guise of defending the free market for its ‘common good’ that the free market ‘liberates’ people, raise’ the standard of living for ‘the masses’, and allows for real economic growth, freedom, prosperity and wellbeing worldwide than anything else. That he thinks it is provides the best sources of wellbeing, growth, freedom and prosperity than ‘anything’ else is exactly what capitalism is – rejecting God as Provider of all things with a worldly idol of wellbeing, growth, freedom and prosperity that capitalism treats as the ultimate goal of all human good.
This person even impliedly attacked me for being a “supporter” of Communism and that I was confusing the issues of using money and loving money.
The core idea of capitalism is that all individuals have a right to ownership and possession of one’s material goods, and thus individuals have a corresponding right to use it in the way one chooses to. This is in absolute contradiction to the Sovereignty of God which confers God’s ownership of all things seen and unseen:
Thine, O LORD, [is] the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all [that is] in the heaven and in the earth [is thine]; thine [is] the kingdom, O LORD, and thou art exalted as head above all.
Both riches and honour [come] of thee, and thou reignest over all; and in thine hand [is] power and might; and in thine hand [it is] to make great, and to give strength unto all.
(1 Chronicles 29:11-12)
Capitalism ‘liberates’ people from poverty in the worldly materials sense because it utilises human greed. That is why capitalism prevails even when it fails – because as long as one can gain something from it, one will see it as valuable and work for what one can gain. This is the core of the evil human heart. It explains why in no matter what era, country, culture or circumstances, the poor are always a class that is bullied, marginalised, neglected and oppressed. The quest for riches and wealth is always universally equated with glory and a sparklingly seductive goodness. Since humans become jealous about those who are wealthier than them, they envy and take pleasure in seeing the fall of the rich, not out of love for the poor, but pure jealousy. Hence, the buzzword “rich white men” used by liberalists who pretend and deceive themselves that they support the poor as a justification for envying others as well as the instigation of class warfare and anti-intellectualism. Having said that, it is not that I endorse the rich for being rich, but rather, I am pointing out that humans ridicule the poor and envy the rich because the human heart that is ever so inclined to serve Mammon. As Jesus taught, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.” (Matthew 19:24)
It is not that wealth itself is bad, but that more often than not, people who are given great wealth almost always become infected with pride and materialism. Hence, God chooses the poor to shame the powerful and rich. Thus, anyone who insults the poor is insulting God, and will face the wrath of God.
When Jesus was asked by the rich young man, how to gain eternal life, He replied: “Go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.” (Mark 10:21) In other words, the only way one can truly serve God is to give up all of one’s possessions, rights, needs and wants. That is, to give up one's attachment to ALL EARTHLY things and see them as rubbish as the Apostle Paul did.
Capitalism may appear to ‘liberate’ people from poverty. However, it has produces slaves to money. Such is slavery because people are in the need to serve the idol of freedom, prosperity, wellbeing and material growth – they are dominated by the spirit of Mammon manifested in capitalism. Religion cannot liberate one from capitalism’s domination. Good works cannot liberate one from capitalism’s domination. Only God’s power can liberate the slaves of capitalism.