Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Scapegoating Faith for the Economic Crash

Watching Larry King interview TD Jakes this morning. Whoah now. Why do I get the sense that King is bitter about something. Religion. Aside from saying that Jakes is "selling God" and "preaching prosperity." Religious cynics are usually inclined to point fingers at churches and faith-based organisations as poised to do good in the lives of others but surrepticiously out to enhance their own selves financially. In fact, a writer in Atlantic magazine posited that Christianity in America could possibly have caused the economic downturn here:

This is such an ambitious thesis. One has to ask, if you are to say that this is the sold reason then that means that the majority population in the US is devout and Christian which I beg to differ. I don't want to allude to stats either because there are plenty even here in South Africa that claim to be Christian or faith-following but barely practice what is expected of that label.

From what I've seen and understood of the crash, is that a sense of greed and want. Constant desire for things driven by the brutal yet subtle coercion of the capitalist regime played a significant role in raising up individual debt on Main Street whilst banks fooled themselves into thinking they could get away with handing out mortgages without proper thought and that this in turn would have no effect on the nation's balance sheet. They wanted their commission because they wanted that vacation to Venezuela in the summer, they wanted that yacht, they wanted that bigger home, that Chrysler, that diamond wristwatch, those designer purses. Greed. Want. Working on the impulse to show others how well they are doing even if it meant they would have to sacrifice their morals, sleep and peace. Look where it's gotten everyone. This should be a lesson not an opportunity to scapegoat.

To that, these so called prosperity messages do not appear to me a way of assuring people of financial wealth as provided by a divine power. It only encourages a less negative approach to take in looking upon a crisis. It avoids fatalism and that doomsday mood that many seen to attain at times such as these to keep people's heads up. One can even say that they are forms of motivational talk rather than a proselytizing of magical provision. It seems to reinforce this notion that religion disconnects one from reality to the point that they forget basic concepts of living such as that which implies hard world and focus, persistence and dedication are likely to bring forth prosperity rather than simply praying and hoping for a better day.

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