loviel philosophy that no eternal values
an- to be tolerated.
the primary complaint is not that
oinnnnii.-ni destroys private property
ml free enterprise eunl the profit motive,
he Christian will have to confess that,
'ven in a collective' order, whatever its
dangers, its undesirubilities, ils unpredictabilities, be may still be able to
tfniuinluin an existence as a believer. But
e disruption of the sacred, the re-
'lion of the lordship of Christ, the
nial that the economic sphere involves
in obligation to moral ami spiritual
ultimalcs thai is the rock-bottom ob-
Iection to communism. This enthrone-
pent of the economic zone as the de-
isive value-level of human existence
' iv- us the mold for paganism in ils
Communist form. . . .
SPIRITUAL FAITH INDISPENSABLE
Christianity has its objections nol
i- the' workingynly to sucb a naturalistic basis for eco-
hat Christian Ifcomics. but to the particular develop-
■usable guuranHnents which rest on that naturalistic
an. in the ecO*use.
as every othe'- Christianity will not recognize a mere
yrthy interprejearrangement of properly holdings as
c crisis if you *he guarantee of economic justice. To
merits of ecofcurtail economic disorder and to achieve
nt assumption Economic order it knows a way superior
rginal rclcvan'o the mere obliteration of property dis-
ral ultimate* Jnrlioiis. Property distribution will leave
'"' problem of sin in the economic
Id. and even in a collectivistic order
iicnsion i- 'I'1 '"
il all the ee-*'
Igetl capitalis**'''' will need Cod. as rich and poor
nunism alike, •dike have found spiritual faith indis-
I question I" ™'''*-uhle in the pre-CommunisI world,
he professed a' Christianity vvill not recognize a mil-
m. before the bnnial Utopia as a potentiality latent in
luatcd. is wiieW'i'iul human nature, and it knows ee
,■ economic dij-'tler means of securing social regene-
• recognition *alion than bv ei regard for the movi
, .cln,..,,. ..r 1 ■ .
priority of sf*«'t.n<
" ' * *S*n violence and revolution.
justice und tne"1'ms of history as a mere reflex of
v of sp*''onomic determinism and by a reliance
..«flt**ll viral.,.,..,, 1 1...'
I'be basic quel
lignily and in"' '.'"' "'''a thal social Utopia mav be
eality of ch***f r,,-ed simply through the redistribu-
the will of G**."" "f w<*allh is naive from the Biblical
an ambiguomP'wpoint. It disregards the spiritual
has u right t<*Jr<'<ll,'ament °r man which requires
or of Christian*101'** ,tlan a mere' rearrangemenl of cx-
■ernal factors for ils solution. Man's
ITY AND THf '"*"' l>roll'em is one of internal dclilc-
iict /-iDTinlsl "''"" 1,v si"' ""' merely one of external
IIST OPTIUPt .nssessions. Man is a sinner, and the
impious a schAyolilem of a collectivistic order will rebuilt on the rejnain one involving collectivistic sinners
God and divi'"'n"l('ad of capitalistic sinners.
the rcj''1'" '""' as eommunism igno
■ ..ftml ..lnf..l ..:J e ■
e'f ml -inful side
ei spiritual tn"u -""'ill side ol human
al obligation* o»ores man'- created dignity and
lores the tragic
of human life, -e, it
u oniigaiu". - j. ..calcd dignity
■pudiales si.eh J",,s him an inferior status. Since' it
Whoever unn'tY "*''s r,0(l a,K' l'11' supernatural, from
intends cvcrvl,*ll,lm lhe writers of the Bible derive
ii with Ihe hff!"' ''"'I't-pls of man's dignity, freedom
and irulb "'"'/"* ,ri?hts. communism suspends all of
lents of com'*?ans economic dignity and rights upon
libit- will, Ch"*1-; tolerance of the slate.
of "what valufl 'he nineteenth and twentieth centur-
rescrve" is an J8 ar(' not '''" only centuries in which
h'"W "'"'^TsFoRrMNrws. January, 1956
Nkws, Jant« .
economic criticism lias been appropriate
and necessary. One can find an abundance of such criticism in the Bible,
whether one turns to Moses or Isaiah
and the great prophets, or to Jesus and
James in the New Testament. Thr only
reason many of these Biblical passages
have a Socialisl ring in our day is that
the collectivists so long held a monopol)
in the field of economic criticism. Yel
modern criticism was shallow, alongside
thai of the S: riptures. I he Bibh: al < nti
que "I the economic order proceeds
from the standpoint of the living God
and His holy commandments. The concern for economic justice did not have
its birth in the Communist party, and
if it is to be effective il cannot be separated from the larger problem of the
reality of objective justice and supernatural values. Neither Marx, Lenin, nor
Stalin wrote passages of greater moral
indignation and concern for economic
justice than the Biblical writers, who set
the pursuit of righteousness in the world
of labor in ultimate dimensions....
The depersonalization of man, lhe deterioration of human dignity, and the
curtailment of human rights is lo he
lamented and resisted wherever il occurs, hut no confident basis exists for
a rectification of such tendencies in a
relativistic and materialistic society.
Those who look for a half-way house
between communism and capitalism do
not know thai which they ask.
The depersonalization of the modern
laborer is not to be attributed exclusively to assembly-line production. Even
if it were, collectivistic economics have
no basis for self-glory. Heavy industry
in a technical age. which the Soviet
sphere more and more prizes, has ils
assembly-line production also. And il
adds to this grievance the terror of the
slave labor camps and of brutal state
compulsion over the masses. In fact
everv collectivistic system, since il exalts
the system, and subordinates all else to
the larger social whole, is built on the
devaluation of the individual person.
HUMAN WORTH NOT DEPENDENT
Free enterprise does not set out with
this liability. But, if it allows more
scope Eor the worth and dignity of man.
it does not guarantee it, and may even
The worth and dignity of human personality is not something which mav be
adequately distilled from everv expression of capitalism. Human worth rests
upon the prior foundation of man's
spiritual dignity, hence on the fact of
his unique creation in the image of God
ami of his possibility of redemption
from sin. The depersonalization of the
economic man. while it docs nol follow
necessarily in a capitalistic order, inevitably results in anv order which loses
its hold on the great spiritual verities.
Onlv the limiliink of the Christian
West with the tri-personal God accounts
for the fact that the personality of man
has emerged as a central consideration.
The loss of fellowship with the Creator-
Redeemer of the Hebrew-Christian revelation will mean the loss of the Hebrew-
Christian evaluation of man. Am economic outlook, neglectful of this spiritual heritage, capitalism included, will
discount the personal worth and spiritual dignity of man.
CHRISTIANITY, NOT CAPITALISM,
Free enterprise is often championed
today as the guardian of the value of
the individual and of human rights, or
(hose features w hich collet ti\ ism imperils. But Christian social ethics knows
full well that the dignity and value of
the human person duo not exist in a
spiritual and moral vacuum. To defend
the dignity and worth and liberty ol
the economic man in abstraction from
the whole anthropological and spiritual
question is a well-nigh impossible task.
Christian revelation pictures the whole
man standing at everv level, economic
as well as every other, in responsibility
to God and his fellow-man. lt comprehends man as a creature balanced at
once between economic duties and economic privileges.
Onlv ihis spiritual and moral orientation of human dignity and rights
can guard the economic life from
gravitating either to proud arrogance or
to irresponsible privilege. The doctrine
of man's dignity and liberty is as capable of a demonic form which would
remove man from a responsibility under
God as i- the denial of thai doctrine,
ll is not capitalism, therefore, which is
the guardian of Christianity, but Christianity which alone can safeguard free
enterprise from perversion.
This emphasis on man's duties or obligations underlies the Christian discussion of economic theory as a whole.
It hears not only the Christian defense
of human worth and dignity and rights,
over againsl the collectivistic threat, but
equally on the way in which Christianity
vindicates private property and the
profit motive. No Capitalist can invoke
the support of Hebrew-Christian religion
lor these cherished privileges without
at the same time placing himself under
indebtedness to a concept of man as a
creature with changeless moral obligations, economic as well as Others, to God
and his fellow-men alike.
Consider the question of private property. Assuredly it is implied hy lhe
Mosaic Law. presupposed and defended
in thc Old Testament, not repudiated
but rather assumed hy Jesus Christ. Nowhere in the New Testament is there a
hint that property distinctions are sin-
ful. and lhat a Christian believer i^ one
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