God and Greed

May 21, 2009 | By | 4 Replies More

In “Why Do Christians Worship Greed?” Peter Laarman puts his finger on yet another ugly-Americanism:

Only in America can one find significant numbers of serious Christian theologians who will still argue that unfettered capitalism represents God’s Plan for human thriving.

Image by Erich Vieth

Image by Erich Vieth

Contemporary Republicans have worked extra hard concoct their stunted Money-God.  Laarman quotes David Brooks:

The Republicans talk more about the market than about society, more about income than quality of life. They celebrate capitalism, which is a means, and are inarticulate about the good life, which is the end. They take things like tax cuts, which are tactics that are good in some circumstances, and elevate them to holy principle, to be pursued in all circumstances.

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Category: American Culture, Economy, Religion

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

Comments (4)

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  1. At the request of a religious acquaintance of mine I went to a website that offered recordings of the sermons of his favorite preacher. "This guy will change your mind," my acquaintance assured me.

    The first sermon I clicked on was a painfully smug and excruciatingly LONG screed against those who would interpret Jesus' request that we divest ourselves of possessions to follow Him as an ACTUAL REQUEST to have less stuff. The preacher took us through a detailed re-examination of scripture, proving at each point how having more stuff was good, not bad, and in fact was what Jesus wanted us to do.

    I got sick about 15 minutes into it and clicked away.

  2. Niklaus Pfirsig says:

    How bad can they get? How about a group that claims to be Christian, and on the surface appears to be a modern youth oriented church, but on closer inspection has all the trappings of a religious cult. You can read about it here.

  3. This attitude can be traced back to the early 1800s, with the second Great Awakening, when the various churches—Methodist, Baptist, etc—realized they were losing their fight against materialism in the burgeoning new country and decided to embrace it. Their idea was the tie godliness to work in such a way that, while certainly some work would lead to unbelievable wealth, it would still "occupy" the individual so much that there would be no time to indulge in the sin that would automatically adhere to such material gain. An interesting fact, they were so successful at this that between 1800 and 1840, the suicide rate among the upwardly mobile in this country was higher than it has ever been, before or since. The chronicle of the Adams family (John, John Quincy, Charles, et al) is a catalogue of talented people feeling like failures as a result of this religio-economic pressure.

    Charles Sellers, in his excellent book "The Market Revolution" (Oxford) details this very well. We are still reeling under the success American churches met with in this program.

  4. Danny says:

    Yes, greed is a disease and sadly Christians are not exempt from contracting (or spreading) it.

    TV preachers with a consumerist slant really really bother me. They are representing the Christian life to thousands of people, when in reality it is not Christianity but greed and self-interest in sheep's clothing.

    "The Prayer of Jabez" book was another huge fail, and the list goes on…

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