The Credit Crunch and the Bible

John Redwood MP wrote yesterday in reply to comments made by various Christians on the current crisis. The simple tale about greedy bankers lending too much is very much one-sided. There is also immorality in the borrowers as well. Whilst agreeing that some of the church leaders have rather shallow and misguided opinions of the current crisis, I believe there are much stronger analogies that can be drawn between the Bible and the current situation.

  1. In Matthew 22, after Jesus says that the Greatest commandment is love of God and the second is love of neighbour as oneself, he then says “In these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets”.  For the financial system, what is most important is the general objectives of regulation, with the detail following from that.
  2. In Jesus’s conflict with authority was because he put love of neighbour before upholding the laws and cultures of the time (such as healing. In other words, where the detailed rules conflict with the major objectives, it is the regulations that must be amended. When it is a choice between maintaining a boom with low interest rates, or suffering a mild recession to avoid a bubble, then it is the mild recession that must be endured.
  3. Jesus had strong words for the Scribes and the Pharisees (Matthew 23), the religious leaders of the time, who dogmatically upheld the complex laws and customs. Like the modern day financial regulators, they made sure that everyone ticked all the boxes, but lost sight of the purpose of the exercise. The spin doctors ensured that in was only others perceptions that were important and not substance.
  4. In the Old Testament, the importance is stressed of avoiding risk and stewardship of ones property. The authorities lost sight of this –  whether Government’s going on a spending spree or Central Banks in keeping interest rates too low.
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