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Author Topic:   Money Isn't a False God
purpledawn
Member (Idle past 2391 days)
Posts: 4453
From: Indiana
Joined: 04-25-2004


Message 61 of 150 (615310)
05-12-2011 7:25 AM
Reply to: Message 59 by Caleb
05-11-2011 10:28 PM


Re: Worship or Worship
quote:
Sorry, PurpleDawn, but I think I may have misinterpreted your question. Did you mean what physical activities do you do when you worship money? If so here is my response. When one worships money they hold it to a higher standard, as I posted earlier. Therefore, people rely on it for protection, safety, happiness, ect. just like you would for a god. Instead of looking to the actual God they look towards money for the things you would expect out of God. For this kind of worship you wouldn't offer sacrifices or anything like that because they do not have to please money in order to get its benefits. They just have to obtain lots of it and keep it safely hidden. So, they end up serving money like it is an actual God.
I hope all of this made sense!
I don't feel that people actually do that in reality. They aren't replacing God with money.

So with your scenario a wealthy moral person who prays to God for protection, safety, and happiness is not worshiping a false god, but a wealthy moral person who does not pray to any god is actually worshiping a false god.

What outward indications are there that someone is actually looking to money for protection, safety, happiness, etc. instead of God?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 59 by Caleb, posted 05-11-2011 10:28 PM Caleb has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 76 by Caleb, posted 05-13-2011 5:48 PM purpledawn has responded

  
Straggler
Member
Posts: 10331
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 62 of 150 (615314)
05-12-2011 8:05 AM
Reply to: Message 53 by purpledawn
05-11-2011 8:14 PM


Re: Worship or Worship
PD writes:

They say money, among other things, is a false god. IOW, people are choosing money, power, etc. in place of God. I disagree.

Obviously they aren't treating money as a false god in the absolute and literal sense of it being a rival supernatural being vying with Yahew for their exclusive religious devotion. Nobody is claiming that money can be described as a false god in exactly the same sense that that Baal (for example) could be.

PD writes:

If money is a false god, then there should be similarities between the two for that metaphor.

The similarity and basis for comparison is the devotion, adoration, reverence and worship accorded to wealth and power and the pursuit of wealth and power.

PD writes:

We've already established there is no physical religious worship of money.

Did anyone ever suggest that the two were directly comparable in terms of physical ritualistic acts of religious worship?

PD writes:

The other idea left is that a person is choosing money in place of God as the Hebrews did when they went after other gods. I don't feel that people actually make that choice concerning money or power.

No money is not directly comparable to supernatural gods such as Baal. But has anyone actually made that direct comparison or is that just you making a very literal interpretation of the phrase 'false god'....?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 53 by purpledawn, posted 05-11-2011 8:14 PM purpledawn has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 63 by purpledawn, posted 05-12-2011 9:00 AM Straggler has responded

  
purpledawn
Member (Idle past 2391 days)
Posts: 4453
From: Indiana
Joined: 04-25-2004


Message 63 of 150 (615322)
05-12-2011 9:00 AM
Reply to: Message 62 by Straggler
05-12-2011 8:05 AM


The Metaphor
Money is a false god is a metaphor not a simile. To be a metaphor there needs to be a reason for the comparison.

A figure of speech in which a word or phrase that ordinarily designates one thing is used to designate another, thus making an implicit comparison, as in "a sea of troubles" or "All the world's a stage" (Shakespeare).

The phrase is used to suggest that people replace god with money as the Hebrews replaced their god with foreign gods.

There are teachings in the Bible against avarice, but they don't present money as a false god.

I don't see that people actually replace God with money or power.

Worshiping money or love of money is a different issue, which is what I was trying to point out. (apparently ineffectively)


This message is a reply to:
 Message 62 by Straggler, posted 05-12-2011 8:05 AM Straggler has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 64 by Straggler, posted 05-12-2011 10:08 AM purpledawn has responded

  
Straggler
Member
Posts: 10331
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 64 of 150 (615332)
05-12-2011 10:08 AM
Reply to: Message 63 by purpledawn
05-12-2011 9:00 AM


Re: The Metaphor
PD writes:

To be a metaphor there needs to be a reason for the comparison.

The basis for comparison is the devotion, adoration, reverence and worship accorded to wealth and power and the pursuit of material gain. No?

PD writes:

The phrase is used to suggest that people replace god with money as the Hebrews replaced their god with foreign gods.

I don't think anyone is seriously suggesting that money is a false god in an absolutely comparable sense to Baal being a false god.

PD writes:

I don't see that people actually replace God with money or power.

When people say that money or the pursuit of material wealth is a false god they are talking about it being the focus of devotion at the expense of more spiritual or meaningful pursuits.

PD writes:

Worshiping money or love of money is a different issue, which is what I was trying to point out. (apparently ineffectively)

Well obviously when we talk about worshiping money as a false god we are not talking about an absolute and direct comparison with religious worship of supernatural beings. It is different, but remains meaningfully comparable nevertheless.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 63 by purpledawn, posted 05-12-2011 9:00 AM purpledawn has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 65 by purpledawn, posted 05-12-2011 11:46 AM Straggler has responded

  
purpledawn
Member (Idle past 2391 days)
Posts: 4453
From: Indiana
Joined: 04-25-2004


Message 65 of 150 (615349)
05-12-2011 11:46 AM
Reply to: Message 64 by Straggler
05-12-2011 10:08 AM


Re: The Metaphor
quote:
Well obviously when we talk about worshiping money as a false god we are not talking about an absolute and direct comparison with religious worship of supernatural beings. It is different, but remains meaningfully comparable nevertheless.
The phrase isn't: worshiping money as a false god. The phrase is: money is a false god or modern false gods are money, power, sex, etc.

quote:
The basis for comparison is the devotion, adoration, reverence and worship accorded to wealth and power and the pursuit of material gain. No?
I don't see that. How does that manifest itself in reality? These feelings may be towards wealthy people or powerful people, but I don't see it towards money itself.

quote:
I don't think anyone is seriously suggesting that money is a false god in an absolutely comparable sense to Baal being a false god.
Supposedly it is a substitute for God just as Baal was.

From Message 51

Exodus 20:3-5
Evaluation: Paganism has virtually disappeared from Western culture today. So, does this Commandment mean anything to us? What are we tempted to substitute for God in our lives? Do we put our trust in wealth more than in God? Do we seek power over others instead of seeking God? Do we look for fulfillment in pleasure instead of in God? Many people believe these things are the idols and false gods of today's world.

IMO, people don't substitute those things for God in their lives. The Hebrews very obviously did. Their god seemed to have abandoned them in their opinion so they found another god. There were plenty to choose from. Your car fails, you buy another car. Jobs, hobbies, children, illness, and life in general may keep us busy and unable to give as much time or money to the church as the church wants, but I don't feel people are substituting money for God.

Elijah vs the Prophets of Baal
This story may seem irrelevant to people in our community as we are not tempted to burn bulls in offering to gods of stone! In his Large Catechism, though, Martin Luther wrote, “That to which your heart clings and entrusts itself is, I say, really your God.” With that definition, one could say that we are tempted to turn to gods of the world around us such as money, power, fame, etc. In the long run, though, these things are as helpless and hopeless as the idols of Baal and Asherah.

Whatever your heart clings or entrusts itself to.. IOW, they changed the meaning of a god to make it work.

quote:
When people say that money or the pursuit of material wealth is a false god they are talking about it being the focus of devotion at the expense of more spiritual or meaningful pursuits.
That's one comparison that's the same between money and ancient gods. Whether one is deemed a false god or not depends which side of the fence you're on.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 64 by Straggler, posted 05-12-2011 10:08 AM Straggler has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 66 by Straggler, posted 05-12-2011 12:13 PM purpledawn has responded

  
Straggler
Member
Posts: 10331
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 66 of 150 (615358)
05-12-2011 12:13 PM
Reply to: Message 65 by purpledawn
05-12-2011 11:46 AM


Re: The Metaphor
If your position in this thread is to point out that money isn't a god in the specific way that supernatural beings like Yahweh, Thor, Zeus, Baal etc. etc. are gods then you have an inarguable case. Money is obviously no more conceptually equivalent to a god in this sense than is my left shoe. In this incredibly literal sense money is not a god at all. False or otherwise.

PD writes:

Supposedly it is a substitute for God just as Baal was.

Well if anyone was genuinely claiming a like for like comparison between money and a supernatural entity such as Baal then they are an idiot.

But I still think you are taking the whole thing far too literally. Has anyone at all genuinely suggested that money is a god in the sense of being a supernatural entity directly comparable to, or in competitiopn with, Yahweh?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 65 by purpledawn, posted 05-12-2011 11:46 AM purpledawn has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 67 by purpledawn, posted 05-12-2011 1:31 PM Straggler has responded

  
purpledawn
Member (Idle past 2391 days)
Posts: 4453
From: Indiana
Joined: 04-25-2004


Message 67 of 150 (615368)
05-12-2011 1:31 PM
Reply to: Message 66 by Straggler
05-12-2011 12:13 PM


Re: The Metaphor
quote:
But I still think you are taking the whole thing far too literally. Has anyone at all genuinely suggested that money is a god in the sense of being a supernatural entity directly comparable to, or in competitiopn with, Yahweh?
Not a deity, no. As I showed, they changed the definition of god to make it work.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 66 by Straggler, posted 05-12-2011 12:13 PM Straggler has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 71 by Straggler, posted 05-13-2011 4:23 AM purpledawn has responded
 Message 77 by Bailey, posted 05-13-2011 6:01 PM purpledawn has responded

  
Admin
Director
Posts: 12719
From: EvC Forum
Joined: 06-14-2002


Message 68 of 150 (615381)
05-12-2011 2:41 PM


Clarification Requested
I need to better understand this discussion in order to better moderate, so a little clarification would be helpful.

I understood Crash to be arguing that the worship of money made money into a divine entity like any other god, such as Jehovah, Allah, Thor or Zeus.

And I understood PD to be arguing that the worship of money was metaphorical and not an indication that anyone actually assigned any divinity to money.

But Straggler is arguing that no one argued that worshiping money made it into a divine entity, and PD isn't arguing that Crash did, so I must not be following this very well. Can someone explain?

--Percy


Replies to this message:
 Message 69 by purpledawn, posted 05-12-2011 8:17 PM Admin has acknowledged this reply
 Message 72 by Straggler, posted 05-13-2011 6:36 AM Admin has acknowledged this reply
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purpledawn
Member (Idle past 2391 days)
Posts: 4453
From: Indiana
Joined: 04-25-2004


Message 69 of 150 (615415)
05-12-2011 8:17 PM
Reply to: Message 68 by Admin
05-12-2011 2:41 PM


Money Is or Isn't A False God
I'm looking at the phrase "Money is a false god".

My point is that a deity is a very specific being, not just anything one desires. Even when the word god is used creatively it is still describing a being.

When the Hebrews thought they had been abandoned by God, they turned to the gods (deities) of other nations.

So far in this discussion, I've discovered that Christianity has changed the meaning of god to include things that capture your heart or "where your heart is".

Whatever your heart clings to and relies upon, that is really your God.
-- Martin Luther, Large Catechism (1529)

In Biblical terms, money is not a false god; but when we change the meaning of god, pretty much anything can be a false god.

Edited by purpledawn, : No reason given.


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 Message 68 by Admin, posted 05-12-2011 2:41 PM Admin has acknowledged this reply

  
Modulous
Member (Idle past 1038 days)
Posts: 7789
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005


Message 70 of 150 (615418)
05-12-2011 9:37 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by purpledawn
05-01-2011 10:16 AM


I disagree that money or power are worshiped.

Worshipped can mean several things. There is the the religious idea of worshipping a deity, but it can also mean devotion to any object of esteem. Money can be such an object. The Bible warns that devotion to money distracts from appropriate devotion to god, implying that there is a conflict of interest between being worthy of heaven and of being wealthy - that wealth may bring stronger temptations than poverty.

But worship can also be something we do to a deity.

Thus, as a metaphor, one can describe money as a 'false god'. One worships it, yet it is not a deity. Since being an object of worship is a characteristic of being a real god, it is an appropriate metaphor. One's mind conjures up people bowing down before a pile of gold coins or something colourful which itself suggests a deeper meaning - just as any good metaphor.

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?

Christianity has beaten up on the wealthy since its early days. But I don't feel that a metaphor that basically suggests that money is 'venerated in vain' in a fashion that is religiously counterproductive somehow 'waters down' the meaning of the words anymore than I think a ship ploughing through the waves undermines the meaning of vitally important agricultural developments.

Edited by Modulous, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
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Straggler
Member
Posts: 10331
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 71 of 150 (615446)
05-13-2011 4:23 AM
Reply to: Message 67 by purpledawn
05-12-2011 1:31 PM


Re: The Metaphor
Can we agree that if I say "money is a false god"...

1) I am not making an absolute and like for like comparison of money with Thor, Zeus, Baal etc. etc.

2) That I am referring to a devotion towards money and the pursuit of material wealth at the expense of more meaningful endeavours

3) That this second less literal usage of the phrase is perectly legitimate and meaningful.

PD writes:

Not a deity, no. As I showed, they changed the definition of god to make it work.

OK so we both agree that nobody is referring to money or wealth as a divine being directly comparable to supernatural gods.

Is your complaint here that some theists intentionally conflate the literal and more metaphorical usage of the phrase "money is a false god"...?

Is that what you are getting at?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 67 by purpledawn, posted 05-12-2011 1:31 PM purpledawn has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 73 by purpledawn, posted 05-13-2011 7:51 AM Straggler has responded

  
Straggler
Member
Posts: 10331
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 72 of 150 (615451)
05-13-2011 6:36 AM
Reply to: Message 68 by Admin
05-12-2011 2:41 PM


Re: Clarification Requested
Admin writes:

I understood Crash to be arguing that the worship of money made money into a divine entity like any other god, such as Jehovah, Allah, Thor or Zeus.

At the risk of confusing things - I don't think Crash is saying that. I think he also is talking about a more metaphorical usage.

Crash writes:

Nobody actually worships Mammon - there's no Mammon cult, there are no temples to Mammon*, there's no traditional Mammon scriptures - the "god" Mammon has only ever existed as a negative example, as a metaphor.

"Worshipping Mammon" as a term doesn't refer to anything but letting the pursuit of wealth get in the way of spiritual concerns. "Mammon" is precisely how money can be a "false god."

Boldening mine.

But I am honestly not sure exactly what point PD is trying to make.


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 Message 68 by Admin, posted 05-12-2011 2:41 PM Admin has acknowledged this reply

  
purpledawn
Member (Idle past 2391 days)
Posts: 4453
From: Indiana
Joined: 04-25-2004


Message 73 of 150 (615456)
05-13-2011 7:51 AM
Reply to: Message 71 by Straggler
05-13-2011 4:23 AM


Re: The Metaphor
quote:
Can we agree that if I say "money is a false god"...

1) I am not making an absolute and like for like comparison of money with Thor, Zeus, Baal etc. etc.


I have no idea what you are doing. It usually depends on how you use it in a sentence or lesson. The point is about what Christianity is doing and I feel they are. Of course, as I've just noticed, today Christians don't feel that the ancient gods were deities at all. IOW, they didn't exist unlike their own god. So it was just worshiping an idol (inanimate object). Since they only considered them idols, they are comparing money to those false gods. That's probably why I have a problem with the statement. I consider false gods to have been someone else's god.

quote:
2) That I am referring to a devotion towards money and the pursuit of material wealth at the expense of more meaningful endeavours
Again, I don't know what you are referring to since you aren't using it in a sentence or lesson. Christianity isn't necessarily talking about obsession.

Does America Worship False Gods?
Many people are also following the false god of money and materialism. It is called CHASING THE ALMIGHTY DOLLAR. People who try to find satisfaction in material things will be sadly disappointed. Jesus said, "A man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions." (Luke 12:15). He also said: "For what is a man profited, if he gains the whole world (the material world), and loses his own soul?" (Matt.16:26). Material things will never be able to provide true satisfaction in life.

Someone who is addicted to gambling is obviously caught in the snare of the Almighty Dollar. However, some people (including some gamblers) give little or no outward indication that they are serving the god of money. Someone can look "good" in the eyes of our materialistic society, but still have an attitude and lifestyle that is devoted to the idol of money.

The word worship can refer to an obsession, but I don't feel that the majority of people are obsessed.

Who Gives and Who Doesn't (2006)
Three quarters of American families donate to charity, giving $1,800 each, on average.

quote:
3) That this second less literal usage of the phrase is perectly legitimate and meaningful.
Depends on how you use it. When people call money a modern false god, I disagree. I don't see the behavior to go along with it.

I understand the metaphor, I'm saying I disagree with it. I wanted Christians to explain how this manifests itself in reality. Creatively we can say what we want, but like most things in Christianity, the reality doesn't fit.

Looking at the way Christians responded here, the phrase is more of a way to lay guilt trip on people.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 71 by Straggler, posted 05-13-2011 4:23 AM Straggler has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 74 by Straggler, posted 05-13-2011 9:04 AM purpledawn has acknowledged this reply

  
Straggler
Member
Posts: 10331
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 74 of 150 (615459)
05-13-2011 9:04 AM
Reply to: Message 73 by purpledawn
05-13-2011 7:51 AM


Re: The Metaphor
PD writes:

I understand the metaphor, I'm saying I disagree with it.

OK. But I am still not sure why you disagree exactly?

PD writes:

I wanted Christians to explain how this manifests itself in reality.

The problem is that the phrase in question isn't exclusively used by Christians.

PD writes:

Looking at the way Christians responded here, the phrase is more of a way to lay guilt trip on people.

Whether used by Christians or others it certainly implies dissapproval at an unhealthy fixation with material gain at the expense of more meaningful pursuits.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 73 by purpledawn, posted 05-13-2011 7:51 AM purpledawn has acknowledged this reply

  
crashfrog
Member (Idle past 401 days)
Posts: 19762
From: Silver Spring, MD
Joined: 03-20-2003


Message 75 of 150 (615509)
05-13-2011 5:02 PM
Reply to: Message 68 by Admin
05-12-2011 2:41 PM


Re: Clarification Requested
I understood Crash to be arguing that the worship of money made money into a divine entity like any other god, such as Jehovah, Allah, Thor or Zeus.

And I understood PD to be arguing that the worship of money was metaphorical and not an indication that anyone actually assigned any divinity to money.

No, this is exactly opposite. I argue that people don't actually mean the worship of Mammon when they say "worship Mammon", they mean "putting material concerns and money ahead of spiritual ones", that the prohibition against "false gods" is not properly interpreted only as referring to competing religions, but to anything that competes with spiritual growth. The invention of the "deity" Mammon is a metaphor for the behavior prohibited by the scripture referred to as it specifically pertains to money, and that the result of all this is that an obsession with money is "worshiping a false god" - Mammon, in this case - precisely as described by the passage in question.

Nobody assigns divinity to money, but they do place it ahead of more enduring spiritual concerns. This is "worshiping a false god" under the terms of the scriptures in question. Mammon is a false god, invented specifically to be false - nobody has ever been under the impression that a god called "Mammon" actually existed, or was the subject of any actual worship. Since everybody knows there's no such thing as "Mammon", the phrase "worship Mammon" exists so that placing money ahead of spiritual concerns can be prohibited under the terms of the scriptural clause against worshiping false gods. If "worshiping Mammon" means putting money ahead of spiritual concerns, it perforce must be prohibited, because Mammon is false, and therefore worshiping Mammon means worshiping a false God.

Everybody knows this, so I don't see what the deal is. PD agreed with pretty much all of this right up to the point where it was going to contradict her whole thread and then this "misrepresentation" story started. At least, that's how I see it.


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 Message 68 by Admin, posted 05-12-2011 2:41 PM Admin has responded

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