Father George Rutler, a pastor of St. Michael’s The Archangel Church in New York City, has written over 30 books, including coincidentally, a book that offered reflection from the DaVinci Code and Roswell to E Pluribus Unum and the pyramid on the back of every dollar bill. So it’s not unexpected that Rutler would have, as many people do, opinions about how religion affects the economy.
One of the ways in which religion affects the economy is setting standards for behavior that supports economic growth. Many writers and thinkers believe that Calvinism as well as the beliefs of the early Puritans set the stage for Capitalism.
Capitalism, it is noted, doesn’t guarantee from the government, that every person’s individual needs will be taken care of equally. Rather the idea was that through hard work, God rewards. In fact, as far back as the Second Epistle to the Thessalonians 3:10, Paul the Apostle
wrote: “If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat.”
Capt John Smith, the governor of the Puritan Colony of Virginia, proudly repeated the
same St. Paul aphorism, and said “For the labors of thirty or forty honest and industrious men shall not be consumed to maintain a hundred and fifty idle loiterers.” Many argue that reformed Calvinism was responsible for the spreading of wealth as Calvinism helped destroy the predominantly Catholic views on usury.
As Calvinism, in particular, criticized the view that all loans with interest of any kind were sinful, gradually more and more capital was spread through loans, thus building up thousands and thousands of industries. It may be asserted that the earlier developers of the US Constitution. although tending to be devout men themselves, developed the constitution not only to shed themselves from the King and Great Britain but envisioned an economy in which many could prosper free from a great deal of government interference.
As a consequence, the age of the individual was developed, which went a long way towards making our country what it is and what it represents. And like it or not, the founders, afraid of authoritarianism of any kind, welcomed the freedom of an individual to become whatever his talents led him, held great sway over the economy.
As a result of the constitution, the US became the first country in the world not to be majorly influenced and controlled by religion. While evangelicals, of which almost 35 percent of American’s Christians identify with have had a long influence over American politics, which in turn affects the economy, there has been a great revival of Wealth Prosperity, beginning with Oral Roberts in around 1947.
Roberts, who taught that financial blessings were a pact with God, advocated people to seed him tithings, which he promised would return sevenfold. Roberts was followed by any number of evangelicals, including Jim Baker, Reverend Ike, Robert Tilton, Benny Hinn, and Jeel Osteen.
Father George Rutler believes that as long as people believe that financial blessings are a part of God’s plan, they will definitely work harder to sustain the economy, so regardless of one’s personal beliefs, it does have a definite effect on the economy.