I can't help but think that the current economic crisis we are in is in some way related to our materialistic, relativistic, culture-of-death, live-for-the-moment, constant-search-for-pleasure lifestyles. We have been brainwashed in this country, to believe that we will get, and indeed, deserve, something for nothing.
It's what makes the world go 'round. It is not even on the radar screens of most Americans that someone wouldn't (or *gasp*--shouldn't because they can't afford to) buy something they might want.
Oh, sorry, need. We need all this stuff.
An increasing number of Americans are either actual or de facto atheists, living as if, (if not actually professing that) there is nothing beyond this short 70 or so years we each have on this earth. It is no wonder, then, that we are in our current economic fix.
We can't even imagine there would be any alternative than to keep printing money and bailing out financial institutions whose only fault is that they gave credit to people who couldn't pay back their loans.
Because we all have to have more stuff.
Most of us no longer question that the sole purpose of a business (or even a "job") is to "make money."
That is all.
Why, what else would there be?!
The idea of providing a true service to society, much less having an actual vocation or calling to do something particular for a living, is beyond the scope of many in modern society. Such attitudes lead to unfair treatment of workers, cheating one's customers, and increasing blindness to ethical business practices. Good workers lose their jobs because they are too expensive to retain. Loyalty and job performance take second place to the bottom line.
I honestly don't think most people can wrap their minds around the idea that the true purpose of commerce might just be to serve the public--prospective customers, employees and society at large. Nor does the necessity of sacrifice cross the minds of most of us when it comes to doing our jobs. (Yes, even *that* job. Even the job that you feel is debasing, demeaning, or difficult, or, God forbid, boring.)
When there is nothing beyond our own eyes and brains, our world is limited to ourselves.
The current state of our economy and our country is the result.
Like the ruins of an old grave, the Judeo Christian worldview is collapsing. We just may be witnessing the advent of a new Dark Ages, where our old ways of looking at ourselves in relation to each other and to our Creator are all but forgotten.
Pope Benedict XVI has said that he sees Christianity as being smaller but more authentic in the future. I think we are on the cusp of that future today.