Originally posted by rwingett
The bible tells us over and over and over that Jesus is on the side of the poor and the oppressed and against the rich. Apart from the Pauline mythology, it is the single biggest topic in the bible. Most Christians in this country are trained to overlook passages like Acts 4:32-35, but they're there whether you like it or not. Face it, Jesus was not a capit now inhabit. Well let me assure you, the Kingdom will not be anything like capitalist America.
Society would collapse. No loans, no business, no money no investment. It would become a dog eat dog society. Unimaginative? Not quite. I imagine a society wracked with stagnation, unmotivated, uncreative. Copying what capitalist societies do. That's what forced the demise of the USSR. The broader reality is that commerce has existed far longer than any other system. Usury indeed is evil and the Bible outlines it thus. Yet usury is invoked as evil under the circumstances of predatory lending. Jesus was apolitical. To pigeonhole him as a socialist is incorrect. Nor was he a capitalist.
Here's some Biblical passages:
The New Testament parable of the ten gold pieces refers to the concept of "usury" or "interest": a nobleman says to his servants:
"Wherefore then gavest not thou my money into the bank, that at my coming I might have required mine own with usury?" -Luke 19:23
"Finally the master said to him "Why then didn't you put my money on deposit, so that when I came back, I could have collected it with interest?'" -Luke 19:23
"Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury" - Matthew 25:27
On the other hand Luke 6:35 says "But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great". Many interpret this as condemning usury, while others see it as a call to personal altruism and not a general prohibition on usury, which they see as a wise business practice that is not referenced in this verse.
Those who seek to condemn lending or any other type of lending as usury need to be careful about how they use this word. For instance, when supporting the ban on lending, some like you have said that usury was "one of the oldest of sins." Unless you are prepared to condemn all interest, there is no Biblical basis upon which to stand. And, in fact, it also seems that, to be consistent with the Biblical prohibitions, they must also condemn a variety of other things. For instance, one of the verses in Leviticus which condemns usury also condemns the selling of food for a profit. Is it time to start picketing Kroger's?