Sunday, September 28, 2008

What does God have to do with it?

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.

Stuff.

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."

Profit.

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.

9 comments:

cubfan1426 said...

So true. I know I'm often guilty and have been influenced by this as well. Lord help me to look only at what is really important. Just like the Gospel today help me to say yes to the Lord's will and work, and follow through and do it!

Cygnus said...

Nice thought-provoking post, Dymphna. I have mixed feelings here.

There is nothing wrong with a company's prime motive being profit; that's capitalism. Without it, there are no jobs; when's the last time anyone poor created a job? And any job the government creates comes out of our pockets.

Capitalism does have its limits and frailties, as we're currently seeing, but it allows a lot more flexibility and opportunity to the common man than do socialism, Communism, Fascism/statism, or the caste system.

I do, however, agree that consumerism as an end in itself is ruinous. If only we knew how little we need, not how much. I've been quite happy without cable TV, for example.

Dymphna (4HisChurch) said...

Cyg: You're right--businesses can't stay in business without *some* profit. But I think we've long lost our way in this country as far as how much profit and at what "price". As Judeo-Christian thought begins to fade into a distant memory, profit seems to be *the* main goal at the expense of our souls.

Cubfan: I will join you in that prayer!!!!

Angie said...

I strongly agree with this post. I can see cygnus's point about capitalism; however, our economic system is a very easy path to consumerism.

On the other hand, rampant buying of more and more "stuff" was much less widespread prior to the '50's. What happened in that decade to lead people in that direction, I wonder?

Dymphna (4HisChurch) said...

Post war prosperity, I think, Angie. Each generation since the one born in the 1950's has expected (and largely gotten) more and more "stuff" until it has become the be-all and end-all of our lives.

paramedicgirl said...

Very insightful post. Acquiring more Stuff is what makes the world go round for many people. Stuff has become their god.

Dymphna (4HisChurch) said...

Exactly. Its very, very difficult not to jump on that bandwagon, especially around the holidays. (See my new link to buynothingchristmas.org on the sidebar.)

ourladysblog said...

I don't like the song's overall message, but I do like that line in Lennon's "Imagine" that says, "Imagine no possessions; I wonder if you can."

Dymphna (4HisChurch) said...

Good point. I wonder if we can...

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"Slavery ended in medieval Europe only because the church extended its sacraments to all slaves and then managed to impose a ban on the enslavement of Christians (and of Jews). Within the context of medieval Europe, that prohibition was effectively a rule of universal abolition. "— Rodney Stark

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