Another layer of irony is added when you consider that Christ spoke out, in no uncertain terms, against what is considered today to be the core of capitalist doctrine. It took an act of staggering cognitive dissonance — helped along by the fact that, due to the influence of Marxism, anti-capitalist politics in the 20th century had become firmly associated with atheism — for Jesus to be portrayed as a long-haired version of Ronald Reagan.
(quoting Gary North)
The next time you hear someone say that the Bible teaches anything but free market capitalism, ask him or her which Bible commentary demonstrates this. You will get a blank stare followed by a lot of verbal tap-dancing about “the ultimate ethic of the Bible” or “the upholding of the poor in the Bible.” You will be given a lot of blah, blah, blah.
Blah, blah, blah is not a valid substitute for biblical exposition.
My two cents
I like finding quotes that counter the rhetoric of RationalWiki. While I don’t know if capitalism and Christianity are a 100% exact, cut-and-dried fit, I understood that feudalism was the dominant economic system in Christian countries for centuries, and the maturation of capitalism came later on. Perhaps the better illustration is capitalism as a cycling helmet; if you fasten it with the chin strap of Biblical economics, then it fits better and won’t fall off when you have an accident (that’ll need more work so I suppose it’ll have to be a starting point).
What annoys me though is when people like Barack Obama quote from the Gospels (e.g. Matthew 25:40) and twist it to support big government. When Jesus spoke, he wasn’t pleading to the (pagan) state to increase its economic reach—he was addressing individuals who performed private acts of charity, which contributed to their personal salvation.
Onto RationalWiki, I remember them saying how Christians shouldn’t critique established scientific theories (e.g. evolution or carbon dating) since they’re not qualified as scientists. If that’s valid, then RationalWiki needs to practice what it preaches and keep silent on Biblical exposition; I remember when they were naive enough to confuse Arianism with Arminianism (it got fixed a few days later). Some of their articles (especially on Christianity) are smeared with emotional hubris—but I guess that’s par for the course with a site like that.
If the cited quotes are a ten-pin bowling match, then I’d say Gary North has the lead; he’s bowled a strike or two, while RationalWiki might have bowled one spare. The match won’t be over until Gary North publishes his multivolume economic tome in the near future.
RationalWiki. (2012). Capitalism – RationalWiki. Available: http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Capitalism. Last accessed 5th Apr 2012.
North, G. (n.d.). The Bible mandates free market capitalism. It is anti-socialist.. Available: http://www.garynorth.com/public/department57.cfm. Last accessed 26th Aug 2012.