A while ago I wrote that I do not believe Christians should lend at interest (here’s the original post where I said it, it’s called ‘Jesus’ Economics’). I based this simply on Jesus’ command that,
to him who is asking of thee be giving, and him who is willing to borrow from thee thou mayest not turn away.’
and that if you may charge interest on this, you make his word worthless. And of course, Jewish law did not allow lending at interest either.
I applied this in my day to day life, to the extent I was given the opportunity to. However, I left a small amount of money in the bank (mainly because it’s awkward to get it out), gathering interest.
I can no longer keep my money there. It was being part of the system of greed and extortion, while I could have been giving/lending in love.
Plus, in removing my money from the bank, they have that little bit less power to take from those least able to pay, and to get a living off of the work of others. Yes, my money is probably negligible to the bank, but what if all the anarchists, or socialists, or Christians did likewise? What if just a fraction? The entire economy would be transformed. Even if just me, I will use my money to produce a micro-transformation in my micro-economy, even at a personal loss.
If many people did this with me, what would happen? Banks might collapse with people withdrawing money the banks don’t have. People would be there to help.
When people lend freely, (theoretically) there will be inflation. People won’t value money as highly. Perhaps people will stop valuing anything they have as their own, and share possessions as happily as they lend money.
Poverty will be profoundly affected. I should note here, that Jesus also said
‘But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again, and your reward will be great, and ye shall be sons of the Highest, because He is kind unto the ungracious and evil’
So this wouldn’t result in harsher punishments for those who fail to repay their debts. We would forgive our debtors, as God forgives us our debts.
I would even venture to say, that if we used our money in such a way, it would not only touch the fabric of society; it may also begin the withering away of the state, as people rely more on human kindness, and so less on state thievery.
There is a remarkable idea among economists, that all working for themselves is for the best of all, and any helping others is harmful to all. I don’t buy it. We are the most naturally sociable of all creatures, and must function best with and for one another.
I’ll pop to the bank for this tomorrow.
God bless you.
P.S. I’ve now done it. However, I did leave 92p in my account, because when I asked to withdraw it all, it was given in pounds, and I didn’t want to bother with the trouble of asking for such a tiny amount. I also don’t know if accounts can be kept without any money in.
I understand that I will need a bank account, because few employers are willing to pay cash. I plan to withdraw money as it goes in.
I’m writing this because I don’t want to seem like something I’m not. Perhaps also so that my actions may be tested against my own standard.
God bless you
[19th of September 2014: I do currently keep my money in the bank. I have been considering lending my savings via a microfinance organisation (such as Zidisha), but I’m not sure if I’ll need it sooner than that will allow. This post was kind of silly, because it seems to propose just having cash, which is obviously foolish.
I don’t really like having money in the bank still, but it is the prudent thing to do, and I’m intent on being a good steward. I’m also still intent on living the virtue of poverty, but I’m not yet sure how…]