Has anybody else glimpsed the irony? Black Friday everybody gets up early and goes to pay homage to the great American idol– Mammon. Yet we call it ‘Black Friday’. Do we call it Black Friday because all the businesses go for a few days into the black rather than running on credit? I dunno and don’t much care. The irony is that people go running out to buy their gadgets and trinkets (and they go in great crowds) which they think will make them happy and it’s called Black Friday.
So welcome to the great Christian country America–where on Black Friday the Christians–like everybody else–spend hundreds of dollars for goodies while they give Jesus–Good Friday.
Its easy enough to see the consumerism of Black Friday and say this is materialism but the behaviors are a symptom, not the disease.
The disease is the philosophy of materialism which put simply is “What you see is what you get.” The philosophy that lies beneath American consumerism: the conviction that you material goodies will make you happy, fulfill your dreams and satisfy you.
The materialist thinks the physical world is all there is. There is no spiritual realm, no invisible reality. There are no demons, no angels, no heaven and no hell. What you see is what you get and when you die that’s the end. Flat line. Zero. Zilch. Nada. Nothing.
Materialism is therefore implicitly atheistic, and it is the philosophy of materialism which is the default setting for a huge number of Americans. They don’t SAY they’re atheist, but they behave as if they are atheists because they put all their trust in the Almighty Dollar. They believe their material goodies will make them happy and they serve the Almighty Dollar with all their heart, soul, mind and body.
How does one counter Materialism? I think the most practical way to counter materialism is to tithe. What I mean is “give large amounts of your money away.” Don’t get all huffy and think I am asking you to give me your money. I’m not.
I’m suggesting that you tithe 10% of your income. Give to your parish, give to your church, give to the poor, give to the charity of your choice–just give, because by giving you are killing the great god Mammon. You are showing the Almighty Dollar who’s boss. You’re in charge and by giving you are breaking your dependence on material stuff for your security.
Tithing leads you closer to God.
Materialism is one of the sixteen masks of atheism I expose in my book Beheading Hydra If you haven’t read it yet, why not make it your Advent reading? Go here to get a copy.