“Money is the root of all evil. It says so in the Bible,” liberals often say, as if to somehow impugn the system of capitalism on Christian grounds.
“Jesus had long hair,” the ‘hippies’ used to say in order to further legitimize their shaggy, unkempt appearance.
What do these statements have in common?
They both seek to piggyback on the legitimacy of Christianity, but at the same time to undermine it because they are statements used by people who are overwhelmingly atheist and anti-Christian, and who seek to use the imprimatur of the Christian faith for their own political or cultural ends.
Obama said during his campaign that he is a Christian because “Jesus helped the poor”, which you hear over and over. But this is a simplification. Certainly genuine Christians believe this and it is reflected in Christian charity and concern for the poor. But most insistently it comes from millions of Faux Christians who are liberals who use Christian churches strictly for political ends. Many churches in America today are satellite offices of the Democrat party.
“Jesus helped the poor” is a chorus line that is intended to convince us again that Christianity and government socialism are somehow intertwined. Yet “the poor” in Jesus’ time were not scooter-riding slackers with cable TV and air conditioning and a check coming in the mail every month from the government. Or belligerent homeless who refuse to work. Or Social Security ripoff artists. They were genuinely poor and humble too, not arrogant like many of America’s subsidized poor are today. And if America’s poor were like the Biblical poor, most Americans would want to offer them more assistance. But they are not.
So what about that quote that “money is the root of all evil”? What does it really mean?
Actually that quote is incomplete. The people who use it for political ends always ignore the most important part of the quote, and its context. The actual quote from 1 Timothy 6:9-11 (King James Version) is:
9But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.
10For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
11But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.
Note the quote… “For the love of money is the root of all evil.” Liberals conveniently leave out the part that says that “the love of money” is the root of all evil, and say instead that “money is the root of all evil.”
There is a big difference.
So was the Bible anti-capitalist?
You certainly could bend it that way, but actually no. The Bible frequently mentions landowners and wealthy people without an asterisk attached to the description each time. Wealth has been accepted as part of life throughout history. But the Bible did warn in Timothy, and thematically in many places, about an obsession with money or “the love of money”, which any real Christian would warn about. By nature, genuine practicing Christians are rarely among the high-income earners in America, and often are representative of middle-income and lower-income people whether it be in the cities, the suburbs, small towns or the countryside. They put faith before finances.
More crucially, however, the Bible has as one of its central themes that money can come and go but that God is eternal, as is faith in Him. And that eternity is a long, long time.
Yet where does “the love of money” come from?
From two places:
First, you might guess that it comes out of capitalism which certainly involves a love of money. We all know capitalist businesspeople who are open about their goals – to have money and to enjoy it. But capitalism ultimately creates wealth for all, so capitalism is a good thing. Capitalist societies are always much more prosperous than socialist or communist ones. That is why the USA is the number one destination for the world’s poor. Because it is the most openly capitalist nation. And that is good. Prosperity is a good thing. The Bible always has celebrated a full table and a fruitful stable.
Look at some of the great capitalists of American history and liberals defame them as ‘robber barons’. Yet people like Andrew Carnegie and Cornelius Vanderbilt created the technologies and systems (steel, the New York Central railroad) that benefited all of America through increased ‘prosperity’ which is a phenomenon described in the The American College Dictionary as ‘prosperous, flourishing or thriving conditions; good fortune; success’
Obviously, then, ‘prosperity’ is a good thing.
But liberals love to intentionally confuse the positive concept of ‘prosperity’ with the negative trait of ‘materialism’ which is defined in the same dictionary as ‘devotion to material rather than spiritual objects, needs and considerations’.
So the Bible really seems to celebrate ‘prosperity’ and to criticize ‘materialism’. And genuine, unfettered materialism is an urban, liberal and anti-Christian phenomenon. It is the “love of money” discussed in Timothy. After all, where are the decadent, indulgent, narcissistic people in our culture, the ones in love with fashion, food, fine wine, big homes, fancy cars and all the rest?
It has traditionally been in the liberal cities… New York, Hollywood, Chicago, San Francisco etc. Just watch Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous on TV. Not many rural folks discussed there. Or read the advertisements in the bible of anti-Christianity and anti-capitalism, The New York Times, and you will find endless entreaties for expensive jewelry, plush homes, fashions, cars etc. that you would not likely find in an evangelical church bulletin in Missouri.
Yet on its editorial page, the Times is positively redistributionist and proletarian as if New York City and Times readers are just a bunch of ragged, deprived workers struggling to survive.
That is called “compensation”, where greedy people compensate for their love of money by philosophically embracing the redistribution of wealth. Somebody else’s wealth, that is.
In the hours and days after 9/11, many of the ultra-liberal and atheist citizens of New York City ran into churches to pray. Many of them had never been in church before, or prayed before, or even knew a prayer except possibly The Lord’s Prayer. Yet they suddenly became devout. What was going on there?
It is like you see in the movies all the time – people praying to God when the going gets rough, when their ship is sinking, for instance. But in good times, they only malign God or never think about God.
That’s not the way it works, folks. You cannot be partway pregnant. Either you believe or you don’t. It is not a matter of convenience. And again this faux-prayer exposed the chasm between real Christian faith, and that which is manipulated or coerced or practiced in convenience or in stealth, like those rich, urban, money-loving materialist liberals who quote the Bible about Jesus helping the poor.
It’s not that simple. But it is propounded by simple-minded and materialistic people. And that is its danger.
Please visit my website at www.nikitas3.com for more. You can print out for free my book, Right Is Right, which explains why only conservatism can maintain our freedom and prosperity.