Do economics and theology mix?

Obviously economics and theology are related.  There is no question that Jesus spoke a lot about money, a lot about resources, and a lot about how to be a good steward, and there is no doubt that economists and others have much to say about morality.  But should the two mix?  Or do they make strange bedfellows.

There are many angry economists who seem upset at theologians for doing bad math, and there are many indignant theologians who seem upset that economists simply do bad theology, but is there a way for the two to sit down at the same table and discuss this issue?  Here is, in my view, the main problem.  Theologians see economics as a means to the end of theology, while some economists see theology as a means or part of a means to understanding the market system.  For the economist, theology is just another variable or opportunity cost.  For the theologian, economics is just another theology.

And never, at least with this mode of theology, the twain shall meet.

But is there a back door?

Yes.  I think there is back door, and that is the mode of thinking that puts economics and theology side by side.  Economists begin to think theologically for theology’s sake, while theologians begin thinking of economics for economics sake.  What do I mean by this?  I mean that theologians often do not take the economy seriously enough.  They often see it as a road block on the road to God, but He can often be found in the market systems that so many theologians despise.  In the same way, those like Ayn Rand see religion as a kind of bump in the road to a more progressive and equitable society where all men work in a robust market system.  Rand has to start taking religion seriously, and the theologians have to start taking the economy seriously.


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