Virtue and Goodness


We apportion blame much too readily. If I cannot find the car keys, my cleaner must have moved them. If someone bangs into my car, self-evidently it was not I who was driving erratically. The pointing fingerof blame has never been so enthusiastically applied as in recent times over the financial mess the world seems to have gotten itself into. The banks must be at fault, for lending too liberally. Mortgage lenders have allowed people to take on 125% mortgages which any sane individual might be able to reason might just not be a great idea if interest rates rise. Hedge fund traders out to make a fast buck have gambled spectacularly and lost other people’s money. I wonder what an appropriately God-fearing response might be to the current financial crisis, apart from to hang one’s own head a little because of the size of one’s own credit card bill or carbon footprint.

For every denomination there’s a policy, which might not be a sound way of looking at things, Policymaking is a peculiarly subjective art, thus it becomes very difficult to identify a definitively Christian position on almost any issue of detailed economic or social policy.

Stanley Hauerwas argues that “the most important social task of Christians is to be nothing less than a community capable of forming people with virtues sufficient to witness to God’s truth in the world” In other words, the Church’s primary task is not to tell the world how to run itself, nor to prescribe particular policies or strategies, but to be a community capable of developing people of virtue and goodness, who are more likely to make good, considerate, wise choices, rather than bad, harmful or selfish ones. 

In God we trust. All others pay cash.
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