Capitalism is the stage in the deployment of Christianity. Or not?
Timur Schukin continues the controversy with the cycle of Vladimir Shallar "Christianity and phallocracy." Here is his new remark on the thesis of Shallar "capitalism is the stage of the development of Christianity":
In my opinion, this is a gross historiosophical mistake – to mix the socio-economic process and the development of religious doctrine, the task of which does not include any economic goals. There is a process of designing (often just decorative, sometimes important) socio-economic reality by ideology, for example, Christian. There is a process of adapting religious teachings, such as Christianity, to a socio-economic formation. But economics and religion are not necessary, do not mix. Otherwise, we will follow the Marxist path, removing any spiritual superstructure from the basis. Or take the position of vulgar idealism. The reality is that the world, including society, is developing according to its own laws and sooner or later will come to disintegration. Spiritual life, resisting decay, moves in the opposite direction. These are different processes, and one cannot be an expression of the other. Mankind has survived several socio-economic revolutions without any Christianity. Is it possible to “spiritually” explain the invention of fire, the domestication of animals, the Neolithic revolution, the overexploitation of captives? Probably possible, but in general all this is simply the result of social development. Similarly, the desire to produce a product whose value is higher than the total cost of labor and means of production has nothing to do with a particular religious teaching. Perhaps it has to "the human spirit in general", but not to its specific institutional forms. Yes, and, of course, capitalism is not an exclusively European phenomenon. Without any Christianity, similar processes unfolded in China, Japan, India in the Middle Ages. And even now, does capitalism not function in countries that have never been Christian?
I kept waiting for the author to say that the destruction of the phallocracy, the establishment of inter-gender equality, the elimination of hierarchy and exploitation will bring us closer to the onset of a new economic formation – communism. And why not, if a society built on exploitation is in a worldview and any other crisis? Maybe it is, only in this case – Christianity has nothing to do with it. Communism is being built in China, which has never been Christian.
Here is Shallar’s response to this cue:
"In my opinion, this is a gross historiosophical mistake to mix the socio-economic process and the development of religious doctrine, the task of which does not include any economic goals."
Does Christianity not include any economic goals? – in this case, it is completely incomprehensible why the Old Testament devotes so much space to socio-economic issues, it is not clear why the Old Testament denies private property, for example (“land cannot be sold forever, because My land, and you are strangers and settlers from me” – Leo 25:23). In general, is the Old Testament for the lion's share not composed of legislation, is it not a political history? Isn't Israel an attempt to build God's society? Does the New Testament, on the other hand, not pay much attention to socio-economic issues? Does the primitive Christian community implicitly introduce socialism (community of property), doesn’t the apostle Paul cancel national, gender, class differences? Are not early Christian communities the exact opposite of the Empire? Is not all scripture reduced to the opposition of this world and the kingdom of God?
In a different way: if “a gross historiosophical mistake is to mix the socio-economic process and the development of religious doctrine,” then where does this doctrine actually develop? Nowhere The socio-economic process is where people live, and if religious teaching has nothing to do with it, then religious teaching has nothing to do with life. This is true?
“But economics and religion are not necessary, do not mix.”
Maybe this is so, but, as I wrote, the Holy Scripture just mixes them in the most direct way. Scripture speaks extremely much about justice, usury, prophets fight with kings, "get into politics", etc., etc.
“Otherwise, we will follow the Marxist path, removing any spiritual superstructure from the basis. Or take the position of vulgar idealism. ”
This is a false contrast. I wrote about the problem of a base add-in. When the monks take a vow of poverty, do they reduce their prayer to a basis or derive their poverty from prayer? Or do we still recognize the simple fact that living in a Christian way, keeping the commandments means taking a very definite position in the socio-economic process? Is giving alms an add-on or a basis? This, in any case, is a kind of “spiritual” operation with money. When the early Christians laid down their property at the feet of the apostles, what is a superstructure here, and what is a basis? When the Bible and the Holy Fathers struggle with usury – is it a superstructure or a basis? The bottom line is that you have a Christian “superstructure” and it involves a certain basis, and if it doesn’t, it simply doesn’t have Christianity, it hangs in the air and has nothing to do with reality. Jesus, however, was crucified in reality, by real authorities, and all this has a direct bearing on the socio-economic process.
"The reality is that the world, including society, is developing according to its own laws."
Perfectly. For what? By materialistic? In this case, religion is a mistake. According to the laws given by the Lord? – in this case, my approach is correct. History is a God-controlled process, the Holy Scriptures tell about the struggle against the Pharaoh, about the history of Israel, etc., etc. Theologize over history, politics, economics is a normative biblical position, about which I wrote a lot. When Zlatoust called for what he called for, did he not understand that “the reality is that the world, including society, is developing according to its own laws”? Or did he nevertheless understand perfectly well that there is a Christian ethic and that it should be introduced into society, and Chrysostom was persecuted for this? The main thing here is not to replace one reality with another. It is necessary to build the immanent logic of social development in such a way that it "coincides" with the logic of the Sacred History. This is exactly what I was trying to do. This is the whole problem. Yes – created reality exists according to “its own laws,” but in such a way that created reality is controlled by God: you must keep both of these levels, and the phrase “capitalism is the stage of the development of Christianity” is trying to do this.
"The world (…) will sooner or later come to decay."
Or to a new heaven and a new earth after all? Christianity (like the Bible as a whole) is a religion about the coming of the Kingdom of God into the world, about victory over the world of sim. The apocalypse is the joyful invocation of the destruction of Babylon, the joyful invocation of the advance of the Kingdom. The fact that Christians began to fear Eschaton only means that they solidify with Babylon, and not with the New Jerusalem. The eschaton is the end of this world, this age – that is, the era of the rulers of the darkness of this world and the onset of the Kingdom of God. Seeing at the end of history is the end of the world in general, degradation is pagan vision. Seeing the end of history as the victory of God, the onset of the kingdom is a Christian position.
“Spiritual life, resisting decay, moves in the opposite direction. These are different processes and one cannot be an expression of the other. Mankind has survived several socio-economic revolutions without any Christianity. ”
This is similar to the typical atheistic: "good people are without Christianity, Christianity is not necessary." If “humanity has survived several socio-economic revolutions without any Christianity,” then has Christianity ever done anything? If not, then maybe Christianity is one word? “Spiritual life, resisting decay, is moving in the opposite direction” – it often seems to me that when they say “spiritual”, they mean “fake”. “Spiritual life”, in no way connected with the socio-economic process, is that? A pious pimp with a rich spiritual life, but “socially and economically” earning what he earns — is such a pimp possible? – it is quite possible if “spirituality” and “economy” are “different processes”. The authors of Deuteronomy and the prophets, the early Christians and the monks who arrange their socio-economic life in the way they arranged — did they link or did not link “different processes”? I think that there is only one process (which can be taken in the “spiritual” aspect, or it can be taken in the economic one), because if you live “spiritually”, then you are somehow spiritually related to money, the poor, the requirements of the authorities (do not worship to the emperor as a god, and you go for it into the mouth of the lions, for example). How can two unrelated processes exist in God's united world? Did Christians not influence history at all? But it seems funny to me that this logic of two multidirectional processes rhymes with mine: it turns out that the more the world degrades, the more “spiritual life” progresses. And I say so: the more traditional societies degrade, the more Christianity progresses: in fact, this is one and the same process. Only for me this degradation itself is progress. Has the world really degraded so much since the time of the Roman Empire? The abolition of slavery, gender equality, social progress is the realization of the words of the apostle Paul "there is neither Greek nor Judean, nor circumcision, nor uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free, but Christ is in everything." Western prisons, medicine, the welfare state are the realization of the parable about the Last Judgment, which, by the way, says nothing about "spiritual life", but much is said about the sick, the hungry, the prisoners. Our eternal fate will be decided in relation to them, and, obviously, the West wins here. “Spiritual life” is a life of love, that is, a kind of connection between people, that is, a kind of social connection, that is, something that has a direct impact on the socio-economic process. Sinners simply build one economy, and the righteous another because of the difference in their “spiritual lives”.
“Is it possible to“ spiritually ”explain the invention of fire, the domestication of animals, the Neolithic revolution, the overexploitation of captives? Probably possible, but in general it’s all just the result of social development. ”
Well, the Book of Genesis fully explains to itself. Is it a criticism of my opus or is it already Scripture? Rene Girard also explains such things quite spiritually. Of course, it is possible: the world in general and humanity in particular were created by God, therefore, it is not only possible, but from a theological point of view, it is necessary to interpret everything from a “spiritual” point of view. Everything is “spiritual”, for it was created by God and has a relation to Him (and if not, materialism is right). The Bible, describing "everything" from Creation to the Apocalypse, does just that. What surprises me with the approach “all this is simply the result of social development” is that Christianity simply does not have a place. Christians who approach life “spiritually,” that is, excluding all available life from “spirit,” are simply spontaneous materialists, for in this approach everything simply moves “according to its own laws”. But where did God go, and where did the freedom of people go? “Social development” is the activity of people, that is, free spiritual god-like creatures who either do the will of God or not. This is what it comes down to.
“In the same way, the desire to produce a product whose value is higher than the total cost of labor and means of production, has nothing to do with a particular religious teaching. Perhaps it has to "the human spirit in general", but not to its specific institutional forms. "
This is most directly related to Christianity – see the wonderful text by Alexei Losev. Here Losev just perfectly shows how you can feel Christian about socio-economic processes. By the way, “capitalism is the stage of the development of Christianity” is not my thesis, but my retelling of Losev’s thoughts.
“Yes, and, of course, capitalism is not an exclusively European phenomenon. Without any Christianity, similar processes unfolded in China, Japan, India in the Middle Ages. And even now, doesn’t capitalism function in countries that have never been Christian? ”
This conversation is no longer theological, but I will say the following. Firstly, it seems to me that non-Western countries did not give rise to capitalism: China, Japan, India — were they capitalist before meeting the Europeans? They were not, and just as they had been sitting in their swamp for thousands of years, they would have continued on if the Europeans had not intervened in their history. We can talk about "Buddhist monastic capitalism", etc. But this is cunning: it is clear that Asia did not carry out the industrial revolution, there was no capitalism in the "our" sense. In any case, the East did not give rise to all that the West (post) Christian societies gave rise to), and this seems obvious to me. And now, capitalism, of course, functions "in countries that have never been Christian," but, firstly, let's take into account the phenomenon of "capitalism with Asian values," and secondly, in any case, the modern development of these countries is determined by Westernization, then there is something that goes back to Christianity. Without Christianity, nothing would have happened.
“Christianity has nothing to do with it. Communism is being built in China, which has never been Christian. ”
Again, this is not a theological issue, but in China, of course, they are not building communism, they are building – and have already built – a nationalistic corporatist state, wildly capitalistic, with monstrous exploitation. China is the most important link in the capitalist world system. This is generally characteristic: China is called "communist," which means we will consider it communist. Some processes are not called Christian, which means we will not consider them Christian. One must still look at reality, not at the name. Jesus won "cast out demons by the power of Beelzebub." You never know what they call. And I will add again: China can no longer be considered non-Christian, because its history is defined by Christianity. Marxism, for example, is by no means a Chinese teaching, but a teaching born in the Christian world, and it played some role in the history of modern China.
“I kept waiting for the author to say that the destruction of the phallocracy regime, the establishment of inter-gender equality, the elimination of hierarchy and exploitation will bring us closer to the onset of a new economic formation – communism. And why not, if a society built on exploitation is in a worldview and every other crisis? ”
I have already done this.
On the whole, Timur’s answer surprises me with this characteristic persistent desire to remove Christianity from reality. Reality moves according to its immanent laws, and Christianity has nothing to do with it. I repeat, this is materialism. Obviously, Timur, referring to the "spiritual life", means something like "saving the soul." Without discussing this concept (although it is typically capitalistic, by the way, in its individualism), let us say the following. Here I am saving my soul. Probably, this salvation includes, for example, the fact that I don’t do something (I don’t sell prostitutes, I don’t kill people, I don’t steal, I don’t worship the emperor as a god) and I do something (I give alms, “I do the works of truth "). Probably, I, along with brothers and sisters who lead the same life, will create a certain social environment that will probably come into conflict with a large society. We, for example, will be killed for this. Here is a beautiful quote from The First Paul by Borg and Crossan:
“As the main fruit of a life filled with the Spirit, this love is something more than our relationship with individuals. For Paul, this had (for lack of a better word) and social significance. Paul's social form of love was justice and non-violence, bread and peace. Paul’s vision of life “in Christ,” life in the “new creation” did not mean “accepting the royal way of life with its oppression and violence, but practicing love in your personal relationships.”
Let’s say the same thing differently: people like Jesus and Paul were not executed because they said: "love one another." They were killed because their understanding of love meant more than compassion for people, although it included it. It also meant confronting the systems of domination that ruled their world, and collaborating with the spirit to create a new way of life contrary to the normal wisdom of this world. Love and justice go together. Justice without love can be cruel, and love without justice can be trivial. Love is the heart of justice, and justice is the social form of love. ”
Carrying such love, Christians will change history, create a society that will in many ways be definitely such love. Christian love and socio-economic processes do not just intersect: the second is the field of application of the first. In my opinion, this is obvious. The world lies in evil, and Christians live in God's way: this is the formula of history, this is the contradiction that defines history. Есть христиане, они живут по-христиански, и понимая или не понимая того, как-то влияют на общество, и влияют, наверное, «хорошо», раз они христиане? Христиане же вообще когда-нибудь, что-нибудь делают? Если вдруг делают, то, наверное, и как-то влияют на жизнь. Вот цитата из Фиделя Кастро:
«Я не предлагал епископам именно организовать государство, но сказал им, что если бы они создали его в соответствии с христианскими заповедями, они создали бы государство наподобие нашего. Потому что я говорил им: вот вы наверняка не разрешили бы азартные игры и не допускали бы их всеми средствами в государстве, построенном на христианских принципах; мы искоренили игру. Вы не допустили бы существование на улицах нищих и побирушек; наше государство — единственное в Латинской Америке, где нет нищих и побирушек. Вы не допустили бы, чтобы дети голодали; в нашей стране нет ни одного голодного ребенка. Вы не позволили бы, чтобы старик остался без помощи, без присмотра. Вы не согласились бы, чтобы в стране было полно безработных; в нашей стране нет безработных. Вы не допустили бы наркотики; в нашей стране наркотики искоренены. Вы не допустили бы проституции, этого страшного института, когда женщина вынуждена жить продажей своего тела; в нашей стране проституция была искоренена путём уничтожения дискриминации, создания возможностей работы для женщин, человеческих условий, ее социального продвижения. Было покончено с коррупцией, с воровством, с растратами. И вот, все эти явления, против которых мы боролись, все эти проблемы, которые мы разрешили, были бы теми же, какие старалась бы разрешить церковь, если бы она создала гражданское государство в соответствии с заповедями христианства…»
Независимо от бредовости моих опусов, меня интересует вот этот вопрос: почему общество, созданное христианами за две тысячи лет, вот такое: с капитализмом, с равноправием и пр. и пр.? Современность — хотя бы отчасти есть плод действий христиан, и следует объяснить ее христианский характер. Более подробно я об этом писал в преамбуле к этому тексту; почему христианский богослов обязан толковать историю и современность, я писал здесь; почему для этого потребен марксизм — здесь.
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