Thursday, April 2, 2015

God's Gold: Beneath Shifting Sands

The book traces the historical shift in Christian attitudes toward profit-seeking and wealth. Through the centuries, the dominant position shifted from anti-wealth to pro-wealth, meaning that the coupling of greed to profiting and accumulating wealth was at first thought to be very tight, but then loosened--eventually to the extent that a camel could get through the eye of the needle. With both anti-wealth Luther and pro-wealth Calvin living in the same economic context, the commercialization of Europe cannot fully explain the shift. As one possibility, a bias in a core theological doctrine may have been subtly tilting the ground in the pro-wealth direction. If so, the implications for Christianity, and for religion more generally as a phenomenon, would be nothing short of earth-shaking.