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Monday, December 02, 2002

Three Questions from Silber-While we're on Silber's Randian-Christian dialog, I'll recreate here what I posted in the comments on this one.
1. Do you utilize your religious faith as a justification for capitalism -- or do you defend capitalism on other grounds? If so, what are the other, non-religious reasons you provide as your defense of capitalism?
Yes and yes. Capitalism works on secular grounds for it utilizes the self-centeredness of people in productive ways; that self-centeredness finds outlets in corruption and laziness rather than productive labor in socialist settings. It also works from a Christian perspective since that self-centeredness translates to that old ugly word sin. I had that viewpoint as a agnostic/generic theist youth; getting a BBA did more to strengthen that viewpoint than finding an evangelical faith.
2. If you do not consider an ethics of rational self-interest to be an underlying philosophical component of capitalism, what ethics do you think capitalism embodies? And if it's not altruism (as I defined it in my earlier posts), what is it?
My thought is that capitalism (or at least American-style free-market economics) puts our self-centered nature to best use. It’s altruistic at the aggregate level in that it creates a society where the commonweal is maximized.
3. More generally: if, as John does, you acknowledge that your belief in God arises solely from faith, how important are your religious beliefs to you in general terms? What other areas of your life do they influence? And, to put one of the related questions more bluntly: doesn't it bother you that you can't defend your belief in God on rational grounds? If not, why not?
I’d say that it isn’t just by raw faith, but by a truckload of circumstantial evidence of God’s activity over the years that can’t be easily chalked up to dumb luck. It influences my teaching, my driving, my marriage and my blogging; pretty much everything. I can back most things up rationally, but the ones that don’t have a good natural-world backup are still defendable, since the evidence I can see helps back up the stuff I can’t see.

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