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Are Christianity and Freedom Compatible?

There is an old joke that says there are only two types of people in the world: those who divide the world into two types of people, and those who don’t. In college, I was always that student who argued there really aren’t just twotypes of people in the world. But the sake of this discussion, there are two types free-marketers—religious and non-religious. Earlier this week we discussed religious people who “operate under a pseudo-gnostic idea that economic systems are amoral.” This blog is about conversing with non-religious people—those who don’t believe there exists religious arguments for free-market capitalism. We are all familiar with the idealistic Randian whose worldview has led him or her to reject religious authority as much as governmental authority as an equivalent—or an even more vile form—of coercion. To this person, religion anywhere in a society is a hindrance to liberty. And these people have a point that Christian free-market advocates should consider. When someone like Jim Wallis is called “the most influential and visionary religious leader of our time” while preaching statism adorned in deracinated scripture, our entire community is stained with “progressive” bleached-out theology. For our conversation to be productive, we must not only engage with liberal Christians, but also non-religious people regarding the truth that liberty is compatible with Christianity. It was for liberty that Christ has set us free (Galatians 5:1). When Tim Keller wrote about poverty in his powerful book, “Generous Justice,” he described his efforts to speak openly with both religious and non-religious people:
Recently there has been a rise in books and blogs charging that religion, to quote Christopher Hitchens, “poisons everything.” In their view religion, and especially the Christian church, is a primary force promoting injustice and violence on our planet… I want the orthodox to see how central to the Scripture’s messages is justice for the poor and the marginalized. I also want to challenge those who do not believe in Christianity to see the Bible not as a repressive text, but as the basis for the modern understanding of human rights.
Even if agnostic or atheist free-marketers make no room for God in their fundamental worldview, they can make room for the religious in the freedom camp. As Keller and many others have described, Christianity provides the strongest of foundations for human rights and liberties. Tomorrow, February 16, 2013, our friend Dr. Anne Bradley from the Institute for Faith, Work, & Economics will be addressing the International Students for Liberty Conference on the topic of “5 Reasons Why Christianity is Compatible with Economic Freedom:”
Dr. Bradley will be speaking on five reasons why economic freedom is compatible with Christianity, which is definitely not your conventional ISFLC break out session. A lot of libertarians see faith and religion as separate from their political convictions, or antithetical even, so this is a very relevant topic for young libertarians who have a Christian background but don’t know how to reconcile their faith with political liberty.
I’m looking forward to hearing from Dr. Bradley, but I’d also like to hear what reasons you might think Scripture supports freedom and free markets. I’d also love to hear from non-religious readers. What concerns do have with the compatibility of Christianity and freedom?