A Path to Simplicity – Day #7

Buy Now Pay Later CS Lewis

#7. Look with a healthy skepticism at “by now, pay later schemes.”

Debt is a rampant issue in our society. Both the New and Old Testament condemn usury. Usury in the biblical context does not speak of large amounts of interest but rather it refers to any interest at all.

I want to include an insert from C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity. This passage draws no concrete conclusions and it does not tell you how to live your life, rather it sheds some light onto the issue and encourages you to draw your own conclusions…

Now another point. There is one bit of advice given to us by the ancient Greeks, and by the Jews in the Old Testament, and by the great Christian teachers of the Middle Ages, which the modern economic system has completely disobeyed. All these people told us not to lend money at interest; and lending money at interest – what we call investment – is the basis of our whole system. Now it may not absolutely follow that we are wrong. Some people say that when Moses and Aristotle and the Christians agreed in forbidding interest (or ‘usury’ as they called it), they could not foresee the joint stock company, and were only thinking of the private money lender, and that, therefore, we need not bother about what they said. That is a question I cannot decide on. I am not an economist and I simply do not know whether the investment system is responsible for the state we are in or not. This is where we want the Christian economist. But I should not have been honest if I had not told you that three great civilizations had agreed (or so it seems at first sight) in condemning the very thing which we have based our whole life.

Concerning Luke 6:35 which states: “lend, expecting nothing in return” Foster says:

“These words of scripture should not be elevated into some kind of universal law obligatory upon all cultures at all times. But neither should they be thought of as totally irrelevant to modern society. […] Prudence, as well as simplicity, demands that we use extreme caution before incurring debt.”

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About jordangtm

Listener, reader, writer.
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