News+and+politics religion philosophy the cynic librarian: Reaping Religion's Riches

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Reaping Religion's Riches

Two articles on religion and the profit factor have appeared in The Economist. It seems like the guys over at the QA Department are weighing the profit/loss matrix on religion. While anyone who's visited a religion store can tell you, Xtianity is big business in America. There I can buy Jesuslovesu teddy bears, mugs, keychains, posters, CDs and my special favorite, Jesus Comix.

Okay, I'm getting snide here. People need stuff to make them feel all fuzzy and warm about their God. I mean, what would you rather have me do, buy Jesus or be out there shilling pence for secular junk that makes me feel fuzzy and warm about my god? For some folks, that's not the false dichotomy it seems to be to amoral brainiacs...

The two articles are Jesus, CEO (great title, give the editor a big hug for that synapse-candy) and Wealth from Worship. One quote that leapt of the screen right away was

Finally, religious faith itself might be the channel through which churchgoers become richer. Perhaps, Mr Gruber muses, the faithful may be “less stressed out” about life's daily travails and thus better equipped for success. This may make religion more appealing to some of those who turn up only once a year. But given that Jesus warned his followers against storing up treasures on earth, you might think that this wasn't the motivation for going to church that he had in mind.
The irony in the fact that an economist with a rather jaded eye for the purely material aspects of life can pinpoint the jarring disconnect between what the purported founder of the faith said and what the followers are doing is takes your breath away doesn't it? It does me.

I'm reminded of something Kierkegaard says somewhere at the beginning of his attack on Christendom; something to the effect of: Why is it that the atheists seem to understand the what the religion is about better than the believers? I don't even need to read poor old Job's words to figure that one out, though I always take solace as much as I in listening to Job's railing against God and injustice as often as I can.

No comments: