Does Not Forbid
Carl has gotten himself into a tight financial situation by relying on their home mortgage to be a holding ground for all his debt. After real estate prices dropped and refinancing his mortgage was not an option anymore, debt collectors started approaching him and demanded their money back. I would like to start off by saying that as a finance major, this is a very foolish way to deal with debt.
The Bible does not forbid bankruptcy from my interpretation. Per Deuteronomy 15:1-2, “At the end of every seven years you shall grant a release…every creditor shall release what he has lent to his neighbor” (ESV). There is a crossover between the Bible and U.S. law with this concept. According to U.S. law, debtors are only able to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy every eight years, while in the Bible Moses explains that these debts are to be forgiven every seven years. In Deuteronomy 15:12-14, Biblical law also lets those in debt to have a fresh start and does not force those people to forfeit all their belongings upon declaring bankruptcy. I believe that the Bible encouraged debt forgiveness since it was woven into their society and laws (Sutherland, 1988). This indirectly supports the idea of bankruptcy by establishing a fresh start every 7 years to those in debt.
When it comes to borrowing, the Bible established clear standards as to when it is acceptable. Proverbs 22:26-27 prohibits borrowing without a definite method of payment (ESV). Without a means of payment, the debtor would be foolishly hoping on the future. Proverbs also warns of borrowing without having a collateral that fully amounts to the total of the loan. These warnings are not only reasonable but also very important to put into practice, and by upholding this teaching this could lead to a solution to society’s indebtedness.
Word Count: 306
Sutherland, J.R. (1988). The Ethics of Bankruptcy: A Biblical Perspective. Journal of Business Ethics, 7.12, 917-926. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/198015162?pq-origsite=summon&accountid=12085.
The Bible. ESV.
Carl’s situation is not an abnormal one, it has happened to many people and will continue happening to others in the future. People have different ways of trying to settle their debts or resolve a debt situation depending on their means, knowledge, believes and ethics (Ramsey, 2009). For Carl, this situation is tricky because he is a Christian who follows the bible’s teachings in every decision he makes in life. The answer to the question of whether the bible forbids bankruptcy is not easy because the bible does not expressly address this issue in terms that can easily be interpreted. The truth of the matter is that the bible forbids Christians from making promises they cannot fulfill (Ecclesiastes, 5:5,). However, this is not to say that Carl took the debt knowing that he will not pay and thus it cannot be said from this perspective that it forbids him to file bankruptcy. But seen from the point of view expressed in Romans 13:7, it would be wrong for Carl to file bankruptcy because he would be violating what the bible talks about, ‘giving people what you owe them’ (Romans,17:7).
In terms of borrowing money, the bible does not forbid Christians in any way from borrowing money. However, in Proverbs 22 versus 7 and in Deuteronomy 28 versus 43-44, the bible discourages Christians from borrowing with the argument that it creates a servant-master relationship. In Psalms 37:21, the bible gives Christians a go ahead to borrow money but gives a caution that they must a sure repayment plan Conclusively, it is worth mentioning that the bible forbids filing for bankruptcy because it is more or less a way to avoid payment of debt completely. On the other hand, the bible does not forbid borrowing for as long as the borrower knows how to repay the debt.
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