Below is just one chapter from the book that details just one reason why Christians should be opposed to the Stock Market. This chapter deals specifically with the Nuclear Family Decay that the Stock Market helps produce in our society. If you like what you read and want to help us complete the book and get it published, then please consider making a financial gift to C3 by clicking the button below. Your gifts help us keep our content free so we can share what True Christian investing actually looks like with more and more people. God Bless & Christus Rex!
CHAPTER 3: FAMILY DECAY & RETIREMENT
The stock market and much of modern-day finance have led to the decay of the family. Once upon a time, people would go to their parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and siblings if they need to buy a home for their family, now they go to the bank. People use to rely on family to take care of them in their old age and now we rely on BlackRock and Vanguard. This shift in financial reliance comes under the guise of financial independence, but really, we are always dependent on others financially. We have just made the choice to shift that dependence from the family to the corporation.
Since we no longer need our families to buy homes, go to college, or care for us when we are old and incapable of caring for ourselves, we have no real secular need for the family at all past childhood. This means that kids can move across the country or across the world with no financial consequences and adults have been lifted from the burden of caring for their elderly relatives thanks to retirement accounts managed by the most powerful corporations in the world.
I for one want Grandma to be taken care of and think it is great if people can find the means to purchase their own home. However, the growing distance between family members is a tragedy and nothing less. I mean the only real secular reasons to have kids come from selfish places like living through them, or saving a bad marriage, or having someone to take care of you when you’re incapable of caring for yourself. But with the financial dependence shift away from families that last reason is even out the window.
Perhaps we rely too much on societal institutions to keep us on the right track toward sainthood, and we should be remaining close to families and having lots of kids despite what financial investment opportunities exist. I would absolutely agree with this thought, but it is obvious that the secondary market has played a role in secularizing our society to the point where the family is a distant afterthought behind perceived financial independence. Yes, I know many other things have played a role in the downfall of the nuclear family and all the blame cannot be heaped upon the stock market or even the corrupt financial industry as a whole. Yet, you cannot deny that the stock market plays a key role in the demise of the family by popularizing retirement accounts and offering false promises of financial independence.
The family is the key mechanism that can produce Saints and bring Glory to God. If we continue to embrace things like the stock market that disconnect families then we are ignoring our mission here on earth. No matter how difficult it may be, we must go against the grain and fight against things that tear the family apart.
Retirement is an idea that I believe has been a plague on the family and society. The idea that able-bodied people should want to live an easy life and stop working for their fellow man is something that runs very counter to the Christian ideal of loving thy neighbor. If we are able, we should always keep working to help promote the common good. Not too long ago we had pension plans which were for the most part an employer saying to an employee that if you work for us, we will take care of you when you are no longer able to work. This is a good concept but one that was lost pretty quickly. Now employers fork over the responsibility of caring for the employer on the ever-growing system of speculation called the stock market. The goal the stock market gives us by promoting retirement accounts is the live an easy life as soon as you can by investing in something that facilitates inflation, hinders the common good, and divorces compensation from labor. Those that may dare to go against this idea, they are immediately fear-mongered into thinking that if they do not invest in the market then who will take care of them in their old age? The last few sections of this book are dedicated to answering these fears by offering stock market alternatives that are not really alternatives at all but a complete shift in our thinking and goals.
Chapter 3: Objections & Answers
OBJECTION 1: If this idea of the stock market being immoral was broadly accepted then many well-intentioned Christians would be out of work. Is the market that bad to where people should upend their lives? This would certainly ruin some families.
Answer: This exact question is why the first chapter of this book includes the section about being gentle and charitable to those in a difficult situation. The beginnings of chapters 2-8 go into detail about how bad the stock market actually is. Hopefully, I have made my case well and rooted it in truth and you find it compelling. I won’t rehash the entire book here for this one objection, but yes the stock market is that bad.
However, if someone finds themselves convinced of these arguments while working a job revolving around the stock market they should not act impulsively or irrationally. The stock market has become so ingrained in our society that many participate in it while thinking they were doing good. This means that detaching yourself from the market should probably be done slowly and prudently all while engaging in prayer with our Lord. If you are someone who uses the stock market to support yourself and others, then prayer should be your first step in discerning what to do. Each situation is unique and each relationship with Jesus is unique. For some, like myself, the ability to divest and start anew was possible. For others, a slower and more prudent method may need to be the route taken. Yet, there is even another group that may not even have the ability to divest because of extreme circumstances, after all, we are talking about something that is utterly entrenched into our daily life.
Another pressing question/objection that runs parallel to this objection, is what about the financial collapse that would ensue if these ideas are put into practice. If only a small percentage of the supposed 200 million Christians in the US read this book and decided to divest from the market it could cause a major economic collapse. A real recession and possibly even a depression would be well underway.
If that many people read this book and are compelled to take action because of it, then I missed my calling as a writer. However, given that my writing and sphere of influence both leave a lot to be desired, I don’t think this concern has any basis in reality. Yet, let’s pretend this book does have the potential to influence millions to divest. Then, yes, a market collapse of some kind would happen. That would be concerning on some levels given that financial loss is one of the leading causes of suicide and many people who decide to stay in the market would suffer financial loss because of those who choose to get out.
Suicide, inability to provide for one’s family, and loss of savings are all tragic and I wouldn’t want any of these things to happen to anyone. Nevertheless, when sin becomes pervasive and needs to be rooted out, certain difficulties will arise. Most pro-lifers do not give any credence to the argument that if you ban abortion then more mothers will die in shady dark rooms. The reasons this argument is not taken seriously are that one, it can be proven wrong via statistics, and two, it is never okay to permit a direct evil just to avoid an indirect evil, no matter how tragic. Bad things that indirectly result from truly good actions are not sins that rest on the souls of those committing the good act. Suicide committed because of financial loss in an illicit market is not the sin of those who decided to abandon the illicit market. To continue the abortion comparison, it is not the fault of those wishing to save the lives of babies that a mother tragically died in a dark room somewhere trying to kill her baby. Though there is culpability in the pro-lifer and the market liquidator if they do not share the love of Christ with those on the opposing side when given the chance
OBJECTION 2: How has the stock market decayed the family unit? Hasn’t it done the opposite by giving the family more financial independence via things like 401k’s an =d other retirement accounts?
ANSWER: Modern-day finance has shifted the dependence of the individual away from the family and towards the financial industry and the Stock Market is the key tool that was used to do this. This is why we have more things than we ever have but also more debt, this is why we have children living farther away from their parents in greater numbers, and this is why fewer people are getting married and having children. As we become more reliant on major companies and financial institutions, we see less value in having families and become blinded by gaining more and more things to increase our levels of comfort which we mistakenly think will bring us a content heart.
This is where I could point out the increased rates of suicide and depression in our modern culture and where I could point out that more people are deciding not to have kids because they would rather pursue careers and material gain, but all this is talked about so extensively that it has become hard to be ignorant of the facts. I am rather going to assume that the reader is aware of all the cultural ills plaguing our society at the time this book is written. I only want to point out that the stock market has played a significant role in this decay of the family and therefore hurt the whole of Christianity, for the two are undeniably linked. Now our Lord is the victor in eternity but at the present, we are losing souls to the enemy because we have eagerly adopted modern-day financial practices with no regard for what truly matters, namely God and our neighbor. Of course, there have been numerous other factors that have led to this decay of the family, but it is without question that dependence has shifted from families to financial markets and this cannot be a good thing. Financial institutions are notoriously corrupt and are designed to chase dollars whereas even the majority of non-Christian families will do almost anything to protect their own. Of course, some families are terrible and almost all fall short of the ideal but we can at least acknowledge that there is an ideal to be had whereas the ideal of the financial institution is making profits. Making profits is not a problem in itself, a business is designed at least in part for commerce and that is all well and good. The problem is in the reliance we now have on the market and the indifference to the family that has resulted. The question that is asked a lot in Christian and conservative circles but is rarely given much thought by the common person is “why is it that we live in a time of great economic abundance, but we are becoming more anxious, more depressed, and more suicidal?” The answer is we have done away with God, family, and neighbor and embraced self and materialism.
We used to rely on pension plans that were managed by the places in which we worked, but now we rely on 401(k)s managed by monopolistic financial institutions. We used to rely on family to help purchase a home, but now we rely on loans from predatory lenders. We used to rely on younger generations to take care of older generations, but now we rely on retirement plans and nursing homes even if we have the means to provide and care for our elderly. All of these shifts have played a role in the decay of the family unit. If we do not engage with community and family then of course it will decay.
The human person is never completely independent. We have only shifted our independence from families to institutions and globalist systems like the market. This shift may have made our life easier in some ways, but just because life is easier does not mean it is better. Good and easy are not synonyms. All too often they are in opposition.
If you accept this line of reasoning, then you may be tempted to take on a scrupulous critique of other modern-day inventions that have played a role in family decay, like the internet itself. Certainly, the overwhelming porn and toxic social media-driven invention has played its role in all the previously mentioned societal ills, but it is different in kind than the Stock Market. The internet at its core is just a means of communication, it may be a means of communication that is dominated by spiritually damaging actors, but it remains just a means of communication. The stock market on the other hand at its core is designed to do something immoral in helping people reap where they have not sown and push individuals towards reliance on globalist financial institutions. The internet may need to be radically changed and combatted or even done away with completely, but remember that something being used for evil purposes is different from something inherently evil. A hammer can be used for building a table or committing murder, but certain things and systems like drug cartels and Ouija boards are explicitly designed for nefarious things.
One more point needs to be made on retirement accounts, the main product of the stock market in some ways. Retirement accounts are primarily concerned with laying up treasures here on Earth. It is difficult to not think about our Lord’s words, “Do not lay up treasure for yourselves on earth… lay up treasure for yourself in heaven” (Matt. 6:19). I am not completely against preparing for the future, but I do believe the eternal future needs to be more pressing on our minds and I also believe that we should not engage in things that are illicit to prepare for our finite worldly futures. We need to stop being so focused on ourselves and how we will go on nice vacations when we are older and start focusing more on building up saints in our families, and communities and doing so through true labor. The former is not a recipe for promoting the common good and if it does not promote the common good we should not pursue it or spend our time on it.
OBJECTION 3: Many people invest in the market via retirement accounts and if they accepted this idea of the market being immoral, they would have to pay huge penalties to the government, another immoral institution, to get their money out. Shouldn’t they just leave their money where it is?
ANSWER: This objection is really getting at the heart of the matter. If someone accepts the premise of this book and feels called to take action they are most likely going to be faced with some difficult choices. Upending their life savings, paying huge fees to the government, and changing their entire thinking in terms of finance are all tough pills to swallow. Yet, they may be necessary if you are going to stick to your moral convictions and promote the common good.
Divesting your retirement account before you are of age can result in major financial penalties where you end up losing 30% of your savings or more. This 30%+ goes directly to local and federal governments which many people think are just as nefarious as the market itself. All this gives rise to the thought that you might as well just leave your money in the retirement account and accept the moral loss. However, the case could be made that Uncle Sam is not all bad due to some redeeming qualities like producing highways, certain welfare programs, and reasonable defense measures, but the market is inherently immoral given its design and purpose. Therefore, choosing to give the local and federal authorities money rather than leaving it in the market to do more and more damage over time would be choosing the lesser of two evils. An additional point could be made that even if the two are equally illicit, taking money out of the stock market, which causes continuous societal bleeding over long time periods, and making a one-time payment to a historically inefficient government would be again choosing the lesser of two evils.
The real problem in this objection is that a person may lose a good portion of the money that they gained via immoral means, and that is emotionally tough to handle given our obsession with money and admirable desire to provide for our families. Though, just because it is emotionally difficult to part with money that was gained nefariously, does not mean that it ought not to be done.
Now, with all that said, I must stress that each situation is completely unique. I personally took the hit of about 30% overall when I divested my retirement account from the NBA, but this may not be the right move for everyone. I had an opportunity, time, and profound moral conviction on my side (plus a very impulsive nature). Others may be older, have the ability to transfer amounts to cash holdings, or could be legally stuck to no fault of their own. No matter the situation, if you agree that the stock market is immoral and want to combat it, stop and take time to talk with friends and family and spend time in prayer with our Lord Jesus Christ before making any major financial decisions. I and others may steer you wrong, but as I have said before, Our Lord never will.