Capitalism Couldn’t Exist Without Religion
No religion, no capitalism. That’s the focus of this week’s must-listen episode.
I’ve never been afraid to talk about controversial subjects like religion, politics, or money. Change and growth come from doing the difficult stuff rather than going along with the crowd or playing it safe.
To me, crowds are dangerous. Whenever there’s a big group heading in one direction, I move the opposite way. Lemmings plunge off cliffs. Never jump into a boxcar without asking a lot of questions first. Know what I mean?
This week on the show, Dan and I are tackling a subject that in today’s crybaby climate and outrage culture can be very challenging to talk about, BUT it’s a subject we’re both endlessly fascinated by: Without religion, capitalism couldn’t exist.
A little background on Dan and me: we were both raised as Catholics. Dan considers himself a “godly” person, not a religious person. Ever since he was a kid, he felt that he had a one-on-one connection with God. It isn’t about a “belief” in God, but rather an experience.
I went through 12 years of parochial education. The messaging and delivery mechanism, combined with the authoritarianism, never resonated with me. I felt institutionalized, and I didn't like it. From my perspective, life didn’t begin until I was eighteen and free from being forced to go to school and church. I didn’t need a building or someone else’s rules to define my relationship with God.
There's something that's very necessary for capitalism to exist. Extraordinarily talented people are given an enormous amount of encouragement, not only for their skills and achievements, but for their rewards too. We admire people who use their skills and talents to create something really big, and we honor them for it. Capitalism is the only system in the history of the world that has done this, and Christianity was the first step in making it happen.
If you spend a bit of time going deep into why war and crime occur, you’ll find that two primary causes are envy and jealousy. Keep reading …
Christianity conquered society’s most inhibiting emotion … envy. There’s a difference between envy and jealousy that is often misunderstood. For example, when someone has a set of skills that you don’t possess, you’re jealous of that skill but can’t have it until you’ve gone through the necessary training and commitment to acquire that capability. Jealousy can actually be a positive thing in this way. Envy NEVER is. Envy is when you see that someone else has something you want and you want them to lose it.
Envious people do BAD THINGS. They steal. They hurt. They do criminal acts. That isn’t good for society. It isn’t good for business.
Christianity created a path beyond envy through “HEAVEN.” It said life on this planet is basically good luck and bad luck, depending on a roll of the dice. You can be born an emperor or a slave and you should be okay with it. When they die, both the slave and the emperor are equal before God on Judgment Day. In heaven, the emperor may be a second-class citizen, depending on how he lived his life, and the slave may be a first-class citizen.
It wasn't until you had the promise of an afterlife that you would put up with inequality and people doing much better than you in this lifetime. You could enjoy someone else's success because it gave you ideas about what YOU could do. This meant that great talent and achievements could blossom. We started seeing progress and an upswing in society because of this promise of a reckoning … Judgment Day. Paradise. Everlasting life … Heaven.
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