Why Globalization is Anti-Christian
Dr Bhagwati, in this week’s reading, argues that Globalization helps reduce poverty. “Why? We have a two step argument here. Globalization increases income. Income expansion in turn reduces poverty.” There is a continuum between poverty and riches, and it’s possible to slide along the scale between the two. In fact, it’s possible to bounce against poverty, slide up the scale into riches, and bounce back down into poverty again. Whenever you have increased trade and specialization, you are able to become wealthy (or at least less poor) by capitalizing on the gains in wealth that trade provides.
There is a floor on this continuum of wealth and poverty. If you don’t have enough to eat, you live in poverty. If you don’t have clothing or shelter and risk dying of exposure, you live in poverty. It’s pretty hard to deny that. If you have enough to eat and have clothing are you no longer in poverty? That question is a little more difficult to answer. (I’m going to grant the premise that Christianity is ‘true’ for the rest of the blog post.) The creator of the universe tell us in the book of 1 Timothy 6:7-10 (New International Version) “7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 8 But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 9 Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” Having clothing and food is the pinnacle of Christian material achievement. Anything more than that can be questionable.
It seems that accumulation of wealth, beyond subsistence, presents everlasting dangers to the global community. We live in a world where globalization and trade has allowed millions of Indians and Chinese (among others) to “pierce themselves with many griefs.” To the extent which globalization has allowed these simple people to slide along the continuum from poverty to riches, it has also put their everlasting souls in danger. Consider the implications Matthew 19:23-24 - ”23 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” One thing I love about most modern liberal Christians is their amazing mental plasticity. There may be a universe where camels can gallop through the eye of a needle, but unfortunately it isn’t the one I inhabit. Accumulation of wealth makes it impossible to enter into the kingdom of God. Globalization’s legacy is one of wealth. (Even if you think globalization hurts the developing world, by your own arguments it still allows those in the developed world to become wealthy, to their everlasting detriment.)
Another legacy of globalization is that it makes slavery economically untenable. Countries that are economically interconnected usually have very low rates of slavery. (I’m leaving aside sexual slavery for now, although a closer reading of the Old Testament shows us that sexual slavery doesn’t make God as angry as it usually makes us. Deuteronomy 22:28-29.) Sadly, slavery is a respected institution as far as Christianity is concerned. It was only abolished in modern times. The New Testament is littered with passages concerning slavery, the duty of slaves to their Christian masters, and the importance of runaway slaves returning to their masters for the glory of Christ. Let me go back to 1 Timothy 6:1-2 “1 All who are under the yoke of slavery should consider their masters worthy of full respect, so that God’s name and our teaching may not be slandered. 2 Those who have believing masters should not show them disrespect just because they are fellow believers. Instead, they should serve them even better because their masters are dear to them as fellow believers and are devoted to the welfare[a] of their slaves.” To the extent that Christians have had a hand in modern times abolishing slavery, we should thank the values of the enlightenment and humanists, as opposed to those explicitly stated by the Creator of the Universe in his best-selling self help book, the bible.
Dr. Bhagwati also lists Women’s Equality as one of the benefits of globalization, specifically in the areas of pay equality, and women’s rights (specifically in Japan). One of the negative externalities of globalization is the idea that women and men are equal. Christianity, as informed by the most high, has a specific gender hierarchy. It goes like this: Jesus > Men > Women. To the extent that globalization undermines this natural order of things it is anti Christian. 1 Corinthians 11:2-3 “2 I praise you for remembering me in everything and for holding to the traditions just as I passed them on to you. 3 But I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man,[a] and the head of Christ is God.” It’s possible that women reading this previous passage may be upset at it’s demeaning tone toward them. I must encourage you to be quiet about however in accordance with the following passage, 1 Corinthians 14:34-35, “34 Women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the law says. 35 If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church.” I’m anticipating your objections to the previous verse. We are not “in church” you might say. Matthew 18:19-20 preempts your feeble objections by pointing out that wherever two or three Christians are gathered together Jesus is with them (Just like he is in Church.) Anyway, unless you are married to me, the scripture encourages you to take your questions to your husbands in the privacy of your own home. I’m going to help you ‘avoid disgrace’ by not responding to your female objections to Jesus’ heavenly arrangement.
I’m already anticipating objections to the fact that Globalization is Anti-Christian. You might be tempted to give me any number of excuses for why ‘real Christians’ don’t believe in the specific interpretations if listed to support my argument. I don’t care: That’s a no true Scotsman fallacy, you can fight about that on Wikipedia. You also might accuse me of cherry picking scripture and deliberately ignoring the pro-globalization quotes that are there to be mined out of the Holy Scriptures. I don’t care: It hard to argue that the creator of the universe couldn’t author a publication that was unambiguous in its tone and intent. If what we got was the best he could do as far as conflicting interpretations is concerned then perhaps Jesus spoke too soon when he said “… with God, all things are possible.” Honestly, I’m ashamed with myself for even trying to preempt the love and pity I’m about to receive from Christians who care about my eternal salvation. If eternal salvation is your concern, perhaps restricting globalization, or at least limiting its effects to “providing sustenance and covering only” should be your secondary motivation after _____________(insert Christian imperative here).