There is a close relationship between religion and economics. Both encourage people to work toward the betterment of humankind and the respect for God’s creation. The good values of religion closely resemble economic reality. We truly are our brother’s keepers, economically and according to credible religious beliefs.
The divide between religion and economics lies in the way blame is ascribed to good and evil. Religion saddles individuals with their sins. People are somewhat sanctified for siding with God in the war against evil, and dehumanized for being perceived as unholy. Economics doesn’t care. Kindly competently serving mankind and respecting the human habitat is the mission whether you are the pope or a felon.
Pursuing the economic mission is the path forward for humankind. Economics is a natural phenomenon, like gravity. God will not keep people from falling, if they are pushed off a cliff, and God will not protect those who are economically disenfranchised, if they are not nurtured and protected. Nor will the rest of us be canonized for failing to protect them. We are one human body with an economic choice. Recognize our human potential, or sacrifice our fellow humans to become pathetic antinomic groupings struggling for a reason to exist.
For centuries religions have fought to be favorite children of God. They have, in doing so, ignored economic reality. An example lies in witchcraft. Women perceived to be witches were ‘burned at the stake.’ Religious people perceived evil and killed women. Killing was justified because the women were perceived to have relinquished their rights to humanity.
Through the centuries religions have viewed themselves as being in charge of the economic domain. They appointed themselves on the strength of being God’s favorites, but God didn’t appoint them keepers of economics any more than he appointed them keepers of gravity.
Governments and business models were given permissive credence by religions. With godlike figures at their heads, people under the umbrella of these institutions were lorded over by people who diminished them. Like the witches, these people were treated inhumanely with no religious outrage, because these people were deemed evil or insignificant.
This inhumanity is still being doled out by religious organizations. Women are degraded by most. Many religions degrade people by dissimilar religious beliefs, skin color, sexual orientation and a host of other discriminatory criteria designed to disenfranchise them in the eyes of God and man. Their subhuman status makes them fodder for governmental and business exploitation.
As a Christian, I don’t believe that economics is a substitute for religion, but economics is the way we love our neighbors as ourselves. It is the way to give thanks for this miraculous opportunity called life. Relegate economic witchcraft to past history. We humans are higher in the chain of life than stink bugs. We should act like it.