John Calvin, Moses and the Recession

Even for those of us who are not theologians – and I’m raising my hand, too – an opinion piece in Monday’s USA Today shed some interesting light on one of history’s most well-known religious thinkers.

Pastor Henry Brinton of Fairfax (Va.) Presbyterian Church discusses the philosophies of John Calvin in his piece and illustrates a number of ways his 16th century views could be applied to the economic freefall.

The most poignant quote in Brinton’s column references a statement by Calvin: “Every one of us, even from his mother’s womb, is a master craftsman of idols.”

Brinton points out that over-reliance in the financial marketplace and the failure to rein in the intricate shell games of credit default swaps and derivatives would have made complete sense to Calvin.

The lack of surprise could also stretch back as far as Moses who saw the weakness of people’s recognitions of God’s gifts in the worship of the golden calf. (Exodus 32-33:6)

The lesson from both places is clear: Be mindful of more than your own success and wealth.

 

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