“Chance seems to be a fundamental element in this contingent universe which God has created. In past times it was made into a goddess and named Fortuna. And, though not given a personal name, the same power rules wide swathes of contemporary thought. Chance mutations in the transmission of genes become the sovereign power governing the emergence of life. The chance workings of the free market become the “Invisible Hand” of Adam Smith which mysteriously converts private selfishness into public good. This particular example of an invisible power ruling over human affairs is particularly relevant at present, since it is one of the key arguments of the religious Right against the religious Left that one cannot speak of justice or injustice when describing the huge differences between rich and poor in our society. These, on this view, cannot be called unjust because they are not the work of conscious human agency but the result of chance. Thus in our economic life we are no longer responsible to Christ; we are not responsible at all, for economic life has been handed over to the goddess Fortuna. It is not difficult to recognize that as one of the principalities and powers of which Paul speaks.”

—Lesslie Newbigin, The Gospel in a Pluralist Society, pages 206-207


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