II. Economics and Christian Faith

This chapter examines basic assumptions of economic theory and practice together with biblical themes related to these issues.
A comprehensive definition of economics as "the management of the resources of the household" necessitates including issues of power and values in discusions of economics.
The false ideology of all economic systems is addressed, as well as the possibilities and limits of identifiying criteria by which different economic systems can be measured.
Biblical themes which for centuries have influenced the relationship between faith and economics are reviewed, emphasizing the essential perspective that all economic systems are to be assessed from the perspective of the poor.
While the possibility of posing universally valid and applicable economic models is rejected, four "signposts" are identified as guiding principles for addressing economic systems within all cultures and contexts:

  1. the essential goodness of the created order, and the responsibility for it entrusted to humanity;
  2. the innate value and freedom of each human being and of all humanity;
  3. God's concern, and the covenant in Christ, is with all humankind, breaking through whatever barriers we build between us;
  4. the over-arching standard for interhuman relationships and behaviour is God's justice -- to be discovered through a "preferential option for the poor".

© 2001 by Ulrich Schmitthenner • Bildschirm-Version