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Saturday, June 06, 2009
From Money, Greed, and God:
The Nirvana Myth is not simply the belief that good will triumph in the end or the belief that the kingdom of God is already present in history. It's the delusion that we can build utopia if we try hard enough, and that every real society is intolerably wicked because it doesn't measure up to utopia.

We learned in the twentieth century that acting on this myth can be disastrous. Never has there been a greater gap between ideals and outcomes than in communism. In fact, so many people would not have been led astray if communism had advertised baser goals. No, communist brutalities needed the cover of some grand moral vision. Communism appealed to, even if it inverted, man's moral impulse. This is the worst outcome of the Nirvana Myth.

But the myth can have subtle effects even if we reject utopian schemes. To avoid its dangers, we have to resist the temptation to compare our live options with an ideal that we can never realize... It doesn't do anyone any good to tear down a society that is "unjust" compared with the kingdom of God if that society is more just than any of the ones that will replace it.

Compared with Nirvana, no real society looks good. Compared with utopia, Stalinist Russia and America at its best will both get bad reviews. The differences between them may seem trivial compared to utopia. That's one of the grave dangers of utopian thinking: it blinds us to the important differences among the various ways of ordering society... The free exchange of wages for work in the market place starts to look like slavery. Tough competition for market share between companies is confused with theft and survival of the fittest. Banking is confused with usury and exploitation. This shouldn't surprise us. Of course a modern capitalist society like the United States looks terrible compared with the kingdom of God. But that's bad moral reasoning. The question isn't whether capitalism measures up to the kingdom of God. The question is whether there's a better alternative in this life. (p. 31-32)


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Darius' book montage

The Cross Centered Life: Keeping the Gospel The Main Thing
Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God
Overcoming Sin and Temptation
According to Plan: The Unfolding Revelation of God in the Bible
Disciplines of a Godly Man
Money, Greed, and God: Why Capitalism Is the Solution and Not the Problem
When Helping Hurts: Alleviating Poverty Without Hurting the Poor. . .and Ourselves
The Prodigal God: Recovering the Heart of the Christian Faith
Respectable Sins
The Kite Runner
Life Laid Bare: The Survivors in Rwanda Speak
Machete Season: The Killers in Rwanda Speak
A Generous Orthodoxy: Why I am a missional, evangelical, post/protestant, liberal/conservative, mystical/poetic, biblical, charismatic/contemplative, fundamentalist/calvinist, ... anabaptist/anglican, metho
Show Them No Mercy
The Lord of the Rings
Life at the Bottom: The Worldview That Makes the Underclass
The Truth War: Fighting for Certainty in an Age of Deception
Cool It: The Skeptical Environmentalist's Guide to Global Warming
The Chronicles of Narnia
Les Misérables

Darius Teichroew's favorite books »