Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Society of Greed and Materialism

This was last week, people running over each other to get cheap deals on foreign made items that have helped to bankrupt this nation:





One thing I notice with alarm is the growing materialism in society. Elsewhere on this blog I have talked about the treatment of the poor and the imploding economy. Reading about people speaking of their shopping sprees, and the chaos that ensued--[some stores opened even at 3am in the morning]. Some of those who live life, on more humble stratas look at a video like the above, and think that this world has gone insane. One benefit of being apart from it all, and unable to afford the piles of toys, is the freedom of being off the hamster wheel of consumerist acquisition. The modern world is caught up in a love for money and material possessions, that definitely has run out of control. By the way this is just one of the incidents, there are many others. See here,here and here too. This brings up the question, if things get even worse, how will things be when the grocery shelves are empty or there are multitudes of people going hungry?

Christians look at modern American society especially and know something has been lost, people have forgotten what is important. Societal contracts are breaking down, greed and profits come first to many corporations who send jobs overseas and care nothing for the communities that helped build them up in the first place. Values and morals set aside for keeping up with the Joneses. The fallen away churches are more busy "selling" to upper class suburban demographics, then forming true "church families" where the Body looks out for one another. On the individual level, frugality, a sense of community instead of looking out for #1, have all deteriorated.

1Ti 6:10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

I always found this verse to be interesting, the "piercing themselves through with many sorrows" aspect I find to be part of this whole money-grubbing culture. Many get in this trap, where they always want "more!", "more!", "more"!. Some of those gadgets the people will buy by next year very well will be broken and forgotten in a corner somewhere covered in dust, as they search for their next fix. The life of seeking after empty pleasures, and nothing but, is sorrowful and sad life.

Now there is nothing wrong with Christians giving presents to friends or enjoying things life has to offer including electronic technology, I am not telling people to go live in a hut and eat a cold can of beans for every meal, [though I have known people forced to live this way] but American society seems to have lost every aspect of good sense. The Bible speaks to having balance about it all:

Proverbs 30:8 Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me:

The loss of balance plays into the imploding economy, very few thought out how buying cheap foreign made goods, would impact the economy. Very few in that crowd are thinking about planning ahead for the future even knowing that the unemployment rate and failing economy would mean maybe needing to help friends or family members or being more frugal or being good stewards of whatever money they have as they trample their fellow human beings to get a "good deal". [by the way there are people who have died in these consumerist melees.]

Nowadays you meet many poor and unemployed people who speak of the stigma in American society, they lose friends, and others, as they can't find jobs or get thrown out of the whole rat race. People more and more are judged by what they own, how much money they have, what they can afford to drive and dress like. People see their lives as being fulfilled by the latest big screen televisions, DVDs and possessions. One thing happening in American society [is this happening elsewhere in the world?] is people are actually becoming addicted to THINGS, as you can see on the spiritually troubling show Hoarders. I saw a few of these shows, and one trend I noticed is many seemed very lonely replacing people with things. I feel worse about the young people, who once they get out of college, often are finding out the jobs are not there, and feeling unworthy as human beings in a culture that grades everything by money and financial success. Some of those pressures can be lifelong. The "piercing of many sorrows" can include self condemnation, envy and worse. This is why you see people falling into total despair.

Mark 4:19 "And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful."

The Bible warns about the deceitfulness of riches, and we know that Jesus warned about how it would be harder for a rich man to get into heaven. For all the money and possessions, America has become a more unhappy and socially disconnected society. One will see a lot more down to earth happiness in a small working class rural town, vs a high achieving affluent "wealthy" community. One side smiles a lot more! Guess which one? Remember the saying from the 80s, when "greed became good" and they told people "those who die with the most toys win". It seems some have taken that to heart.

Timothy 3:

1 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.

2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,

3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,

4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;

2 comments:

Paul Lommen said...

Technological society leads to increasing numbers of people who cannot adapt to the inhuman rhythm of modern life with its emphasis on specialization. A class of people is growing up who are unexploitable because they are not worth employing even for the minimum wage. Technological progress makes whole categories of people useless without making it possible to support them with the wealth produced by the progress.
Jacques Ellul

Bible Believer said...

if you specialize in the wrong thing you can end up on the scrapheap too. A lot of people have become unemployable even just from the fact they have been replaced by the technology. Good quote, thanks.