Thursday, June 19, 2014

Is efficiency a Christian value?

Many decisions in modern life seem concerned with the goal of increasing the efficiency of processes, whether economic or engineering. This flows into the life of the church and personal decisions that Christians make. But I wonder is there a theological justification for this preoccupation? Jacques Ellul raised questions such as this in The Technological Society [which I am yet to read].

I really struggle to find passages in the Bible, and particularly teachings of Jesus, that support the priority of efficiency. There is certainly teaching about stewardship [not wasting God-given resources] but often this relates to "reckless" acts of generosity and faith, rather than "strategic" decisions that optimise personal benefit and comfort. God is certainly "economical" and "efficient" in that Jesus' death is "one sufficient sacrifice for all sin for all time". I can see that it is loving not to waste other peoples time, energy, and money. But it seems that prioritising technology and economic efficiency can do violence to relationships, community, and human dignity.

I welcome suggestions on how the Bible can be used to justify efficiency.

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