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Author Topic:   Money Isn't a False God
purpledawn
Member (Idle past 2388 days)
Posts: 4453
From: Indiana
Joined: 04-25-2004


Message 1 of 150 (614229)
05-01-2011 10:16 AM


What is a false god?

This isn't about which gods are false, but what constitutes a false god. I have noticed many times Christians have made the comment that money and power are false gods. I assume it stems from the verses in Matthew 6:24 and Luke 16:13 that state one cannot serve two masters. One can't serve God and money.

I disagree that money or power are on the level with a deity.
I disagree that money or power are worshiped.

A false god is, in Abrahamic doctrines, a deity or object of worship that is either illegitimate or non-functioning in its professed authority or capability. The term is often used throughout the Bible to compare YHWH, interpreted as the one true God, infinite, body-less and transcendent as compared to anthropomorphic deities of competing religions.

The teaching means we shouldn't be stingy with material wealth.

Loving money or power isn't the same as worshiping them.
Love doesn't equal worship, just as serving doesn't equal love.

I feel that claiming that modern false gods are money and power waters down the meaning of deity and worship.

Has Christianity run out of competing gods and need to invent new false gods or is it just politically incorrect to bash other gods so a more universal villain is needed?

Either way, I don't feel money is a false god.

(Bible Study or Faith and Belief)


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Adminnemooseus
Director
Posts: 3934
Joined: 09-26-2002


Message 2 of 150 (614231)
05-02-2011 10:15 PM


Promoted, with reservations
Thread copied here from the Money Isn't a False God thread in the Proposed New Topics forum.

Normally, the admin staff tends to defer to AdminPD in regards to such topics.

I'm not enthused about the quality of this topic, but it does have the implied approval of AdminPD. Either that, or PurpleDawn is testing us to see if we'll promote any PNT she posts.

So, if nothing else, call it forum administrative courtesy - Topic promoted.

Or something like that.

Adminnemooseus

Edited by Adminnemooseus, : Change subtitle and add message.


Please be familiar with the various topics and other links in the "Essential Links", found in the top of the page menu. Amongst other things, this is where to find where to report various forum problems.

  
nwr
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Posts: 5722
From: Geneva, Illinois
Joined: 08-08-2005
Member Rating: 4.7


Message 3 of 150 (614238)
05-03-2011 12:14 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by purpledawn
05-01-2011 10:16 AM


Strange topic
This is a somewhat strange topic, so I'm not sure what direction you expect the discussion to take.

Personally, I don't take money to be any kind of god.

I assume it stems from the verses in Matthew 6:24 and Luke 16:13 ...

I assume that, at least in part, it comes from the observation that some people seem to make money the thing that has greatest influence over the way that they lead their lives.

A false god is, in Abrahamic doctrines, a deity or object of worship that is either illegitimate or non-functioning in its professed authority or capability.

But surely that only means that the religious authorities deem it illegitimate. They are attempting to delegitimize it in the eyes of the people.

Has Christianity run out of competing gods and need to invent new false gods or is it just politically incorrect to bash other gods so a more universal villain is needed?

But that has always been a practice, as far as I know. It's a sort of primitive tribalism, an attempt to depict those not in the tribe (those who are not adherents of the religion) as having some sort of defect. So those outside the tribe are depicted as being part of an inferior religion. We see it a lot in the evc debates, with secularism, Darwinism, science (described as "scientism") all treated as false religions.


Fundamentalism - the anti-American, anti-Christian branch of American Christianity

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purpledawn
Member (Idle past 2388 days)
Posts: 4453
From: Indiana
Joined: 04-25-2004


Message 4 of 150 (614255)
05-03-2011 7:34 AM
Reply to: Message 3 by nwr
05-03-2011 12:14 AM


Money Isn't a Deity
quote:
This is a somewhat strange topic, so I'm not sure what direction you expect the discussion to take.
It is strange and I feel it is a strange comment to make, but it has been made here at EvC.

GDR writes:

For example I contend that when the Israelites claim to be told by God to slaughter every man woman and child amongst their enemies we are to understand that we are to learn not to let other gods, (in modern terms I suggest that the other gods are money and power), become part of our lives as they had done. Message 14


iano writes:

Give up your false god: the love of money, comfort and luxury and influence - Message 67


riVeRrat writes:

My Pastor had a sermon on false Gods, and what they are these days. Some of the things were, sports, material things, RELIGION, your children, and a few more. I couldn't agree more. Too often people put church before God, and want to build up the church, instead of building up the kingdom. - Message 2

We can find several articles presenting money, among other things, as a false god. The False Gods of This World

Money has always been a false god that people chase after. Power and fame are also false gods of this post-modern era. There are now more CEOs, executives, and celebrities than there were at any time in history combined. Another false god of this information-age is materialism.

I expect those who consider money to be a false god will explain how they feel money can be presented as a deity, false or otherwise. How is money worshiped? Wanting something doesn't mean it is viewed as a deity or is a deity.

I realize that one religion is going to say that a competing religion's god is false, but people don't actually worship money. Money is necessary for survival in most places. Oddly enough, even churches require money to survive.

Everything that competes with the Christian God for our attention isn't automatically a false deity.

To be a false deity, wouldn't it need to be considered a deity by someone and actually worshiped?


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fearandloathing
Member (Idle past 3076 days)
Posts: 990
From: Burlington, NC, USA
Joined: 02-24-2011


Message 5 of 150 (614265)
05-03-2011 10:00 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by purpledawn
05-01-2011 10:16 AM


The church loves money
I think people often mis-quote 1st timothy 6:10 http://bible.cc/1_timothy/6-10.htm , it gets shortened to "money is the root of all evil".

I think most churches love money, the have no qualms about passing a plate around. I dont know if its common or not, but my fathers preacher makes over $100,000 a year.

Funny how many will preach against money and power, yet that is exactly what the church wants.


"I hate to advocate the use of drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity to anyone, but they always worked for me." - Hunter S. Thompson

Ad astra per aspera


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Phat
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Posts: 15442
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 1.1


Message 6 of 150 (614275)
05-03-2011 10:47 AM
Reply to: Message 4 by purpledawn
05-03-2011 7:34 AM


Re: Money Isn't a Deity
PD writes:

I expect those who consider money to be a false god will explain how they feel money can be presented as a deity, false or otherwise. How is money worshiped? Wanting something doesn't mean it is viewed as a deity or is a deity.

I realize that one religion is going to say that a competing religion's god is false, but people don't actually worship money. Money is necessary for survival in most places. Oddly enough, even churches require money to survive.

Everything that competes with the Christian God for our attention isn't automatically a false deity.

To be a false deity, wouldn't it need to be considered a deity by someone and actually worshiped?

In some respects, the phrase, "a false god" is a figure of speech. It would be similar to a man saying that his "woman" was his boat. I have had problems with placing things on a pedestal, money included. Money can make life really comfortable for awhile...what the heck is God gonna do for you that money cannot buy? (perhaps heal you..I suppose) The meaning of the phrase "thou shalt have no other gods before me" depends on who is uttering it. If God Herself was saying such a command, it is a bit laughable, since by definition no other god can even compete anyway. Will the real source of reality please stand up? PD, since you don't feel that money is a god, I can say that for you, it isn't. Some people even warn us not to let our intellects get in the way of our belief....which jar will find silly, but which means that God (by belief of personal definition) transcends our very ability and responsibility to question and define the existence thereof.....(does that make any sense?)

How is money worshiped?
Have you ever had a rich Uncle? Funny how we always seem to be more concerned with how wealthier relatives and friends feel about us than we do the poorer ones. Its the same way with God. We want what God has and can do more than wanting God for who He is.

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Coyote
Member (Idle past 1037 days)
Posts: 6117
Joined: 01-12-2008


Message 7 of 150 (614279)
05-03-2011 10:55 AM


Francisco's 'Money' Speech from Atlas Shrugged
Too long to include here, but some food for thought:

http://www.working-minds.com/money.htm


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kbertsche
Member (Idle past 1063 days)
Posts: 1427
From: San Jose, CA, USA
Joined: 05-10-2007


Message 8 of 150 (614283)
05-03-2011 11:10 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by purpledawn
05-01-2011 10:16 AM


purpledawn writes:

What is a false god?
...
I disagree that money or power are on the level with a deity.
I disagree that money or power are worshiped.
...
I feel that claiming that modern false gods are money and power waters down the meaning of deity and worship.


I believe the term "false gods" is used in different ways. Strictly it would refer to an object of worship, as you say. I agree that there are few who would literally worship money or power in the sense of bowing down, making sacrifices, etc.

But I think the more common use of the term "false gods" is in the sense of trust or reliance.. God is the one who is ultimately to be trusted and relied upon for our spiritual and physical well-being. Anything that takes His place in this has become a "false god."

quote:
Ps 20:7 Some trust in chariots and others in horses, but we depend on the LORD our God.

In this sense, chariots, horses, money, power, etc. can all become "false gods."

Edited by kbertsche, : No reason given.


"Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind." – Albert Einstein

“I am very astonished that the scientific picture of the real world around me is very deficient. It gives us a lot of factual information, puts all of our experience in a magnificently consistent order, but it is ghastly silent about all and sundry that is really near to our heart, that really matters to us. It cannot tell us a word about red and blue, bitter and sweet, physical pain and physical delight; it knows nothing of beautiful and ugly, good or bad, God and eternity. Science sometimes pretends to answer questions in these domains, but the answers are very often so silly that we are not inclined to take them seriously.” – Erwin Schroedinger


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ringo
Member
Posts: 19125
From: frozen wasteland
Joined: 03-23-2005
Member Rating: 2.6


Message 9 of 150 (614286)
05-03-2011 11:47 AM
Reply to: Message 4 by purpledawn
05-03-2011 7:34 AM


Re: Money Isn't a Deity
purpledawn writes:

Money is necessary for survival in most places.


I think that's why some people equate gods with money. Both can magically get us what we want. False gods can get us what we think we want but "the real God" can get us what we really, really want.


If you have nothing to say, you could have done so much more concisely. -- Dr Adequate

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purpledawn
Member (Idle past 2388 days)
Posts: 4453
From: Indiana
Joined: 04-25-2004


Message 10 of 150 (614301)
05-03-2011 12:58 PM
Reply to: Message 7 by Coyote
05-03-2011 10:55 AM


Re: Francisco's 'Money' Speech from Atlas Shrugged
I like this line from Francisco's 'Money' Speech:

Run for your life from any man who tells you that money is evil. That sentence is the leper's bell of an approaching looter.

Don't blame the inanimate objects for our own poor choices.

Very nice article. Wonderful food for thought. I like it.


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purpledawn
Member (Idle past 2388 days)
Posts: 4453
From: Indiana
Joined: 04-25-2004


Message 11 of 150 (614310)
05-03-2011 1:35 PM
Reply to: Message 8 by kbertsche
05-03-2011 11:10 AM


Trust and Reliance
quote:
But I think the more common use of the term "false gods" is in the sense of trust or reliance. God is the one who is ultimately to be trusted and relied upon for our spiritual and physical well-being. Anything that takes His place in this has become a "false god."
But how does money take God's place in reality?

In the United States, we need money to buy food, clothing, housing, and utilities. These are all the basic things we need to survive. How does God provide for our physical well being without money?

The song in Psalm 20 you quoted doesn't portray the horses and chariots as gods or false gods though. Two teams playing basketball. One team relies on their skill and training to win the game. The other team relies only on God to win the game. Does that mean the team relying on God doesn't practice, learn the rules, work out, etc.? IMO, they will work just as hard as the other team to get in shape and prepare for the game, just as the armies in Psalm 20 did.

I don't see that people rely anymore on money than they do on food for their physical well being.


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purpledawn
Member (Idle past 2388 days)
Posts: 4453
From: Indiana
Joined: 04-25-2004


Message 12 of 150 (614314)
05-03-2011 1:50 PM
Reply to: Message 6 by Phat
05-03-2011 10:47 AM


Re: Money Isn't a Deity
quote:
In some respects, the phrase, "a false god" is a figure of speech. It would be similar to a man saying that his "woman" was his boat.
Except that it should make sense. If money is to be likened to a false god, then that means it is useless. Money isn't useless. It is necessary for survival.

It sounds like more of a ploy.

quote:
Have you ever had a rich Uncle? Funny how we always seem to be more concerned with how wealthier relatives and friends feel about us than we do the poorer ones.
You consider sucking up to be worship? That's what people do in church each Sunday???

In your scenario, the Uncle would be the object of worship, not the money; just as God is the object of worship, not whatever prize one feels he holds for them later.


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GDR
Member (Idle past 282 days)
Posts: 5409
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005


Message 13 of 150 (614356)
05-03-2011 6:54 PM
Reply to: Message 4 by purpledawn
05-03-2011 7:34 AM


Re: Money Isn't a Deity
GDR writes:

For example I contend that when the Israelites claim to be told by God to slaughter every man woman and child amongst their enemies we are to understand that we are to learn not to let other gods, (in modern terms I suggest that the other gods are money and power), become part of our lives as they had done

purpledawn writes:

I expect those who consider money to be a false god will explain how they feel money can be presented as a deity, false or otherwise. How is money worshiped? Wanting something doesn't mean it is viewed as a deity or is a deity.

I'll try and explain what I meant in the quote you used.

My contention is that the early Hebrews were still heavily influenced by the pagan gods of their neighbours, and as a result they transferred some of the pagan beliefs into their own theology. When they did that they were in effect worshipping false gods in their attempt to gain favour with whatever god would give them power and influence, even though they still claimed that it was Yahweh that they worshipped. It was Yahweh in name only. I think that is often still the case today, and that is the lesson to be learned from the scriptures.

CS Lewis writes in Mere Christianity that the "great sin" or the all encompassing sin is pride or self conceit. It seems to me that one of the major ways that pride shows itself in our lives is in a lust for power. One major ways of achieving power is to acquire wealth.

If we make the attainment of wealth and power one of the central features of our lives, I maintain that we are worshipping false gods in a less blood thirsty, but still similar way to the various cultures in the ancient world.

There is also the obvious difference between serving a god and serving God.


Everybody is entitled to my opinion. :)

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purpledawn
Member (Idle past 2388 days)
Posts: 4453
From: Indiana
Joined: 04-25-2004


Message 14 of 150 (614371)
05-03-2011 8:04 PM
Reply to: Message 13 by GDR
05-03-2011 6:54 PM


Re: Money Isn't a Deity
quote:
If we make the attainment of wealth and power one of the central features of our lives, I maintain that we are worshipping false gods in a less blood thirsty, but still similar way to the various cultures in the ancient world.
I disagree. Worshiping another god to attain wealth and power is worshiping a false god. Ignoring the Christian God and attaining wealth and power isn't worshiping a false god.

Money and power are not false gods. I don't see that it's similar.


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GDR
Member (Idle past 282 days)
Posts: 5409
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005


Message 15 of 150 (614377)
05-03-2011 8:35 PM
Reply to: Message 14 by purpledawn
05-03-2011 8:04 PM


Re: Money Isn't a Deity
purpledawn writes:

Ignoring the Christian God and attaining wealth and power isn't worshiping a false god.

I wasn't making this about the god of any particular religion. I'm just talking about where our heart is. If it's all wrapped in money and power then I still maintain that we are serving false gods. In this case the money is the road to the power.

If you want to bring Christianity into it then Jesus says that the road to power is through loving and serving others, which makes power look very different than we normally imagine.

Edited by GDR, : written in haste and later corrected


Everybody is entitled to my opinion. :)

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