Capitalism, the Free Market, and Other Things that are not God

dollar_signIt’s our human nature to make idols; some common ones are power, money, sex, and status. As we do, we begin to see the world, and its various economic and political systems, through our own particular lenses. Ideologies, political parties, people, processes and systems that serve our personal idols start to look good and the ones that don’t appear bad. The more we’re given over to our idols, the more we glorify these worldly matters by imputing them with divine status. Even then, we are often hypocritical, maintaining whatever internal inconsistencies best suit getting our own needs met.

In the healthcare field, providers of all types (including hospitals, physicians and drug/device manufacturers) claim the “Free Market” right to charge whatever they want, while at the same time using all available means, including the levers government, to limit competition. The politicians who insist that the government can solve everything choose to opt out of their own “solutions.” Patients are similarly conflicted, as we saw with the campaign to “keep the government’s hands off my Medicare” a few years ago. We are all “the problem” in healthcare today, and there is no one divinely ordained solution for our dysfunctional system.

Of course, healthcare is just one example that I think about a lot because of my profession. This same tendency of ours to glorify what serves us personally operates across all of human society. I’m sure you’ve seen this in your own industry, company, town, family or even church. Humanity is thoroughly corrupted by sin. It’s a fact. People (me included) tend to worship capitalism, the free market or other false gods. But we Christians should remind ourselves – Capitalism is not God. The Free Market is not God.

Here are some other things, which are also not God:

Equality, Fairness, and Tolerance are not God
America is not God.
Liberty and Freedom are not God.
The Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the President, the Congress, and the Supreme Court are not God.
Freedom of Speech is not God. Freedom of Religion is not God.
Social Justice is not God.
Science is not God.
Football is not God.
I am not God. You are not God. Oprah, Dr. Oz, Eckhart Tolle, Deepak Chopra, Joel Osteen are not God. Your Church Pastor is not God.
Bill Gates, Tim Cook, Warren Buffet, Lloyd Blankfein and the CEOs of Fortune 500 Companies are not God.
Socialism, Communism, Communalism, Egalitarianism, Collectivism, Humanism, Empiricism, and Liberalism are not God. No “ism” is God

I could keep going, but we have better things to do. Identifying idols can be important, but it’s more important to keep our focus on God himself. When we do that, we can put all worldly matters, including the “isms” into their proper place – potentially useful, but subject to God’s will for us, personally and collectively.

Yes, we should be addressing our problems. We are called to work in this world, and we are called to make it better. I will go to work on Monday trying to make my little part of the American healthcare system better. You will be doing something similar in another industry or field. Let’s keep our perspective. Let’s remember that Jesus is the divinely appointed solution to our human problem of sin and that the Holy Spirit has been given to us as a guide in this life. Under God’s grace, let’s acknowledge the false idols, the hypocrisy, and the desire to protect our own interests. If we start with God, and let him work through us, we will do better.

Comments

  1. Grace H Y Schmaus says:

    Dr. Welss I do appreciated your greater point. Money in the bank, the bank used the money to generate more income as profits. Every employer and employee put money in the 401 k,403 b and pension plans. These are managed by money managers . Even goverment social security funds , all managed by money managers. In the old testment, there was a law, In the New testment, there is a Spirit. Whenever the Spirit is , there is a freedom. Numbers 23:21He has not beheld iniquity in Jacob, Nor has He seen trouble in Israel; Jehovah their God is with them, And the shout of king is among them. May the Lord bless you

  2. wow is there anything you do love? Oh I know – your own blind trust in religion that is made of God.
    Seems like your own ego needs a check.

    • Peter Weiss says:

      Hi Joey,
      I love a lot of things, including many on that list. I love my family, my church, my pastor, America, freedom, working to help people be well, and more. But I also know is that none of things are worthy of worship, and yet I can and do make idols of them. I repent of that. God alone is worthy of worship.
      Pete

      • Sure – keep drinking your own Koolaid there man. Keep drinking it. Soon you won’t even begin to know what life is about. You are almost at that point. Go repent some more. Great thing of you Christians that like to do whatever you feel like, repent and then do it all again.