The Root of All Evil

Money may not be truly evil, but interest, especially compound interest is a leading candidate. What better, more efficient mechanism has man created to keep the rich getting richer off the poor getting poorer at an ever increasing rate. For only the rich can lend and only the poor must borrow. Here is where legal slavery grows and breeds.

Researching the concept, I learned a new word “usury.”

usury |ˈyo͞oZH(ə)rē|

noun

the illegal action or practice of lending money at unreasonably high rates of interest.

archaic interest at such rates.

ORIGIN Middle English: from Anglo-Norman French usurie, or from medieval Latin usuria, from Latin usura, from usus ‘a use’ (see use) . – New Oxford American Dictionary

Did you know that originally charging any interest was considered illegal by both Christians and Muslims? This makes sense because in both religions, charity is not only encouraged but demanded of the good Christian and the good Muslim. Islam still considers charging interest sinful today in many places. Now I understand why my Kurdish friend kept asking me where he could get a loan without having to pay more back. I told him I didn’t know of such a place and he was quite frustrated.

Many religious texts have condemned usury and a number of ancient countries outlawed loans with interest. What is really sad is that unable to work legally in other professions Jewish people often became moneylenders. The Old Testament encouraged this practice.

Thou shalt not lend upon interest to thy brother: interest of money, interest of victuals, interest of any thing that is lent upon interest.

Unto a foreigner thou mayest lend upon interest; but unto thy brother thou shalt not lend upon interest; that the LORD thy God may bless thee in all that thou puttest thy hand unto, in the land whither thou goest in to possess it.-Deuteronomy 23:19-20

Here is religious prejudice sown, and what could come of it but what did. Hatred and prejudice came back. I have read that Islam teaches that there are corruptions in the Bible. I think this must be one of them. To understand this corruption we must look at the world in which Judaism was born.

Most early religious systems in the ancient Near East, and the secular codes arising from them, did not forbid usury. These societies regarded inanimate matter as alive, like plants, animals and people, and capable of reproducing itself. Hence if you lent ‘food money’, or monetary tokens of any kind, it was legitimate to charge interest. Food money in the shape of olives, dates, seeds or animals was lent out as early as c. 5000 BC, if not earlier. …Among the Mesopotamians, Hittites, Phoenicians and Egyptians, interest was legal and often fixed by the state. -Paul Johnson, historian.

So in a world where everybody else was charging interest, Jews were taught not to charge other Jews. It was the first step in the right direction, but when other religions condemned the practice it made Jews look like the bad guys. Was this the doom of millions?

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