Saturday, 13 September 2014

Capitalism Corrupts the Inherent Value of Labour

Unlike what many Christians think, capitalism does not "teach" people to work. Rather, capitalism, by providing a material earthly incentive to people to work, not only teaches people to work, only for money, corrupting the inherent God-given value of labour. Work, something that is good as a ends in itself, is now turned into a means to a selfish end - to earn money for oneself or one's own family. Work, in the capitalistic framework, is a painful means to an end that is only valued because of the pleasure and material gain for it, not because one should serve others. 

2 Thessalonians 3:10 which says "for even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat" has been twisted to justify capitalism. What the verse meant is that no one should not expect entitlements from others where one has not even sought to serve others. This rule was given specifically to the church Apostle Paul was addressing in Thessalonia as a warning against idleness. The Greek word for idleness is oknērós which means unwilling to participate, slothful and lazy, as opposed to being hardworking and diligent. 

To argue that 2 Thessalonians 3:10 justifies capitalism is to make two very anti-Christian implications. Firstly, it is to argue that capitalism, which goal is to accumulate wealth for oneself or whoever one cares for, is required to teach people to work hard. Secondly, it is to argue that people who cannot are unable to find a job and a poor, should not be served. 

There is no doubt that if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel (1 Timothy 5:8). However, the spirit of this verse has been twisted by many professing Christians to mean that if a person does not work for money, he is denying the faith in Jesus and worse than an unsaved person, thereby, justifying capitalism. This verse does not say that if a person does not provide for his own family with monetary earnings he is worse than an unsaved person. 

The spirit of this verse is to say that if a person does not care for the needs of his family, whether they be emotional, spiritual or physical needs, he is worse than an unsaved person. Therefore, to fail to teach one's family the importance of the Gospel of Jesus and to walk in the ways of God is to fail to provide spiritually for one's family. Interestingly enough, this objection against 1 Timothy 5:8 is rarely raised, if raised at all. 

To argue that 1 Timothy 5:8 justifies capitalism is to impute a materialistic, individualistic and humanistic interpretation into the Word of God. It is to corrupt the Bible with the doctrine of demons! Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God  (Matthew 4:4), was what Jesus told satan who tempted to to serve only his material needs.

In addition to this, many professing Christians use a very self-centred interpretation of 1 Timothy 5:8, implying that only helping their families matter, while he or she need not help anyone else. Shame on 21st century Christendom! While one does have an obligation to care for one's family, it is not in any way an excuse to serve mammon for one's own family. Many professing Christians today can be said to serve mammon for the "good" of one's own family, focusing only on the material needs, and being smug behind their wealth and prosperity. Many in the modern church use the needs of their family as an excuse to be smug behind their wealth and prosperity. Thus, the modern church needs to heed this from Jesus who warned: If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple (Luke 14:26). 

Being under the spirit of mammon, many professing Christians only interpret the Bible is terms how God gives them their needs, rather than how they can serve God by helping others, including one's enemies. This has given rise to the twisted interpretations of 2 Thessalonians 3:10 and 1 Timothy 5:8. It is no wonder many unsaved people, especially people of works-based religions, think that Christians are hypocritical. One cannot blame them because how can one expect those the unsaved who only see the natural and material realm to understand? 

Proverbs 14: 31 tells us that "Whoever oppresses a poor man insults his Maker, but he who is generous to the needy honors him." This is to say that anyone who oppresses, ridicules or is indifferent to the needs to the poor is mocking God. He or she is expressing contempt and hatred for God by being indifferent to the needs to the poor, caring for only one's needs, and only the needs of those who one loves. Isaiah 58:10 says that "If you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday." This means that if you sacrifice your hunger for those who are hungry, and your desires for the suffering, you shall be shining as the light of the world.  Whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? (1 John 3:17). 

Work, from the Biblical perspective, is action taken to serve others, not action taken to serve oneself. Work, from the capitalistic worldview, is action taken to serve oneself and those who one loves, but not those who one does not love. Labour as God intended it to be is an obligation to serve God. One can only serve either God or oneself. One will hate God and love oneself, or hate oneself and love God. 

Mammon works through capitalism by rendering the purpose of work to be one that is to serve one's material needs for oneself or those whom one loves, and not to serve God and others.  As such, far from being that which respects the God-given value of work, it corrupts the God-given value of work, and twists it to be one which traps people to serve mammon.