Today’s guest post is by writer/commentator Paul LaScola.
Tall buildings — symbols of the free market — tower above the steeples of Christian churches throughout the world. The church spire was meant to symbolize the raising of our spirits towards God via the church’s teaching. While the church’s doctrine may have done well in advancing individual salvation and spiritual formation, the implementation of the second great commandment of Jesus, to do unto others as you would have them do unto you (dramatically illustrated in the market by the presence of skyscrapers), has been given little due within the church.
Skyscrapers generally stand not as spiritual symbols, but rather because of economic practicality pertaining to maximizing the utility of limited lot space. These impressive structures are developed with a practical understanding of the natural laws of the physical world and, though less apparent, from the natural law principle of social interaction expressed by Jesus as the ‘Golden Rule.’ In the conduct of social interactions, the love of one’s neighbors is honored by refraining from doing them any harm in general, but also by satisfying the desires of the participants in particular through voluntary market exchanges. Skyscrapers stand as a testimony to the rightness of both these concepts from natural law.
Concerning the second great commandment, which focuses on our interpersonal relationships, it would appear that over the centuries the free market has outperformed the church in the practical application of this poignant teaching of Jesus. The church must learn to embrace the free market in order to love our neighbors well.