Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Is conservatism incompatible with Christianity? - Biblical reflections on faith, life, and culture: Conservatism's Reliance on Ayn Rand

That is the claim made by my friend Josh Gelatt. Josh and I both read a CNN piece today about conservative/libertarian icon Ayn Rand and the favor shown her by a great many Christians. Josh sez:
What is shocking, however, is how very few Christians seem to see the inherent conflict of political conservativism with biblical Christianity. Not that I am advocating socialism or communism, but are so we blind to the teachings of Jesus that we cannot discern that profit-motivated capitalism is self-serving and therefore evil? Rand at least has the intellectual honesty to admit that Christianity and Capitalism are inherently incompatible.
What do you think of that? I was going to write a post on this at some point but I am curious to see what your responses are. Read Josh's whole post (he rightly points out that political liberalism is no more compatible with Christianity than conservatism) and comment here or there (or both!).


Unknown said...

Oh well, I'll jump in. He says, "...are so we blind to the teachings of Jesus that we cannot discern that profit-motivated capitalism is self-serving and therefore evil?"

Now is all self interest inherently evil? If it is, then he is correct. But I think it is not. The bible tells us to look out not only for our own interest, but the interests of others (Phil. 2.4). The assumption is that looking out for our own interests is not inherently evil.

Now, might any particular thing (food, drink, economic systems) be improperly used, i.e used selfishly? Surely. Because man is a sinner, even Christians still, things that are not in and of themselves evil will be abused for evil and in an evil manner. People over drink, overeat, over work (which is declared good and necessary by God), over sex, etc.

Now as to whether political conservatism is compatible with Christianity, I'd say what is the definition of political definition? And might the same inherently evil test apply?

Ur Man CD said...

errr ... Just off the cuff, but as I read it the Kingdom of God is by nature inherently incompatible with every man-made ideology - because it is not going to be God-centred however much it might reflect some selective biblical truths. That's the reason why on the full manifestation of the Kingdom on earth all other kindoms and underpinning ideologies get rolled away.

That's just off the cuff.

Les said...

Arthur, Matt is me...Les. I have no idea how the name Matt got there.

Travis said...

The governing authority who most closely follows Rand's political ideologies is least likely to force anti-Christian sentiments on us via "law".

Mainly, I lean libertarian because those ideals create an environment where we show people the love of Christ because His love compels us to... not because we get a tax break from doing so.

Arthur Sido said...

Les, that is weird. I wondered who Matt was. Are you using a shared computer?

Travis, I would largely agree with you. I don't see a "Christian" political philosophy but I think that more rather than less liberty is ultimately better for the greatest number of people.