Christianity Is Anti-Capitalist?
James Schipper: Still, theologically, Christianity is not a capitalism-friendly religion. There is nothing in the NT which encourages wealth accumulation or expresses admiration for the rich. In earlier times, there were very rich monasteries but also monastic orders which are committed to poverty, such as the Franciscans. These monasteries were rich for the same reason that Harvard and Yale are very rich. They became rich through donations and bequests.
Sure, theologically it may be so, but in practice, capitalism, extreme inequality, and class hatred have been accommodated in Christian countries quite easily.
You can say that Christianity is against capitalism all you want, but it hasn’t worked out that way in the West.
Social democracy was an easy sell in Europe, but the US is worse classwise than any European country. In the US we almost have a celebration of inequality and that’s somehow been accommodated with the Christianity, which seems weird. The Gospel of Wealth the Evangelicals practice here strikes me as downright heretical though. If Jesus was around, he’d reject it.
Feudalism lasted a long time in Europe, and early capitalism in England was horrible from the 1300’s-1800’s. England is terribly classist even today, but there’s a huge backlash. Thatcher was burned in effigy all over the UK when she died. Can you imagine that happening with Reagan in the US? The class hatred in the UK is pretty raw.
Classism in France was awful, but they killed their rich, and now it’s socialist.
Germany never had a vicious capitalist class. The Kaiser put in the first social democracy in the late 1800’s. It went over easily.
Italy’s never been all that classist, nor has Greece. After World War 2 in Italy, Communists were set to win local elections all over Italy but the US CIA got involved and there was massive election fraud that cheated them out of a victory. But Eurocommunists have been running states in Italy for decades, especially in the North. They’ve had a heavy emphasis on small business at the expense of big business and it’s worked great. I had a commenter on here who owned a small factory in a northern state and he loved the local Communist government. And he was a capitalist! In Greece, the Communists almost won a revolution.
I don’t think Eastern Europe has been classist. Communism went over easily there.
Communism went over easily in Yugoslavia too, though it was a modified form. It was also very popular. I know people who lived there, and they loved it. They almost won in Turkey too.
The Baltics are not classist and neither is Scandinavia. That area is all based on egalitarianism.
Spain and Portugal were classist, but there was a civil war in Spain, and it’s a pretty socialist country right now.
There was a Leftist Carnation Revolution in 1974 that overthrew Salazar’s fascism and a Leftist regime was nearly installed. It was very popular.