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Author Topic:   Money Isn't a False God
purpledawn
Member (Idle past 2390 days)
Posts: 4453
From: Indiana
Joined: 04-25-2004


Message 35 of 150 (614764)
05-06-2011 12:40 PM
Reply to: Message 34 by kbertsche
05-06-2011 10:21 AM


Re: Trust and Reliance
quote:
So what's wrong with us referring to money as a "false god" in a metaphorical sense? Isn't that essentially what Jesus and Paul are doing?
They weren't comparing money to a false god. We don't have the multitude of gods today that they had back then, so the reference is really weak. Our behavior concerning money or wealth is the issue, not the money or wealth.

It isn't a good metaphor and is misleading. It would work better as a simile and not a metaphor. Compare someone's behavior towards money to those who worshiped false gods.

Like I said earlier, when we water down the meaning of a false god to anything that gets in the way of doing God's will or we supposedly love more than our god, then that waters down the meaning of a god or worship, IMO. It also leaves the believer open to being used.

Money isn't really similar to a false god.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 34 by kbertsche, posted 05-06-2011 10:21 AM kbertsche has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 36 by Bailey, posted 05-06-2011 7:28 PM purpledawn has responded

  
purpledawn
Member (Idle past 2390 days)
Posts: 4453
From: Indiana
Joined: 04-25-2004


Message 37 of 150 (614824)
05-07-2011 8:38 AM
Reply to: Message 36 by Bailey
05-06-2011 7:28 PM


Love of Money
That's why I said it would work better as a simile than a metaphor. It's the individual's behavior that is the issue, not the money itself.

There are differences in our word worship.

Worship
1. reverent honor and homage paid to god or a sacred personage, or to any object regarded as sacred.
2.
formal or ceremonious rendering of such honor and homage: They attended worship this morning.
3.
adoring reverence or regard: excessive worship of business success.

Meaning #1 was the norm for gods. Meaning #3 is more in line with love of money.

While we use one word for these behaviors, the Bible uses different one. As you noted the Greek word for "love of money" deals with avarice and covetousness, which is closer to meaning #3. The Greek words for "worship" are more in line with meaning #1.

So while we can say that a person worships money and people worshiped gods, it isn't the same behavior.

The Judeo/Christian God does not require love in the 10 commandments, but does command that followers not bow down to other gods.

In Deuteronomy 6:5, God requires love also.

I don't feel that worshiping false gods is a good comparison to loving money.


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 Message 36 by Bailey, posted 05-06-2011 7:28 PM Bailey has responded

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purpledawn
Member (Idle past 2390 days)
Posts: 4453
From: Indiana
Joined: 04-25-2004


Message 40 of 150 (614928)
05-09-2011 7:25 AM
Reply to: Message 39 by crashfrog
05-08-2011 11:03 PM


Re: Mammon
I've given you notice that you have misconstrued my response. I will make this second effort to help you understand your mistake. If you still don't understand, I won't continue to address your misunderstanding.

quote:
So, I said that clearly "worshiping a false god" didn't have to mean prostrate worship, it had a more modern definition of simply "not letting material concerns... supersede more important spiritual concerns." You replied that it was appropriate to construe the admonition in that sense.

So, yes, you did agree that "worshiping a false god" doesn't mean the actual practice of worship, it just means a misallocation of priorities. Since you'll ask (just to be difficult, as usual), Message 27 is where you did that.


You are incorrect in your understanding.
Your Message 26 quoted my Message 25.

crashfrog writes:

purpledawn writes:

One's god of choice does not want his followers to put their trust and reliance in another god for support. That is what they are talking about in Jeremiah.

Obviously it was intended as a non-compete clause for religions at the time.

But don't you think that's a pretty narrow way to construe it these days? There's not a lot of competition for Christianity anymore, at least not among polytheistic religions. That's the reason that the passage in Jeremiah is interpreted, in modern theology, to refer to not letting shallow material concerns, like wealth, power, prestige, or influence, supersede more important spiritual concerns.

In that sense money - personified in Christian mythology as "Mammon" - very much is a false god. I just don't see how that can be denied except for very narrow interpretations of "god". And you wouldn't be trying to define or limit God from your narrow human perspective, now would you?

Notice the difference between what I quoted in Message 27

purpledawn writes:

crashfrog writes:

But don't you think that's a pretty narrow way to construe it these days? There's not a lot of competition for Christianity anymore, at least not among polytheistic religions. That's the reason that the passage in Jeremiah is interpreted, in modern theology, to refer to not letting shallow material concerns, like wealth, power, prestige, or influence, supersede more important spiritual concerns.


I think it is an appropriate way to construe it.

and what you quoted to defend your mistake

crash writes:

There's not a lot of competition for Christianity anymore, at least not among polytheistic religions. That's the reason that the passage in Jeremiah is interpreted, in modern theology, to refer to not letting shallow material concerns, like wealth, power, prestige, or influence, supersede more important spiritual concerns.

dawn writes:

I think it is an appropriate way to construe it.

Yours is missing the question you asked and I was responding to.

crashfrog writes:

But don't you think that's a pretty narrow way to construe it these days?

I took that question to be referring to my comment from Message 25 that you quoted:

purpledawn writes:

One's god of choice does not want his followers to put their trust and reliance in another god for support. That is what they are talking about in Jeremiah.

My answer to your question was that it is an appropriate way to construe it.

My next statement addressed the rest of your paragraph.

purpledawn writes:

There are plenty of teachings concerning spiritual concerns without turning money into a false god.

Do you see the difference?
Do you understand my answer to your question?
Do you understand your mistake?

quote:
Because Artemis is the hunt, worshiping the hunt is worshiping the goddess. That's what it means to be the "god" of something.
They don't worship the hunt. They worship the goddess.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 39 by crashfrog, posted 05-08-2011 11:03 PM crashfrog has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 41 by crashfrog, posted 05-09-2011 5:42 PM purpledawn has acknowledged this reply

  
purpledawn
Member (Idle past 2390 days)
Posts: 4453
From: Indiana
Joined: 04-25-2004


Message 46 of 150 (615077)
05-10-2011 3:06 AM
Reply to: Message 44 by Bailey
05-09-2011 10:45 PM


Misunderstanding
quote:
The 'that' in your question ('But don't you think that's a pretty narrow way to construe it these days?') referred to PD's contention false gods were gods of surrounding nations, while the 'it' referred to the legitimate definition of "false gods".

This forms the question, "Do you not think (that supposing false gods were the gods of surrounding nations is) a pretty narrow way to construe (the legitimate definition of false gods) these days?".

And so - with this understanding, the first 'it' in PD's statement ('I think it is an appropriate way to construe it') refers to her plain understanding of Yirmyahu's use of the concept of "false gods" and the second 'it' refers a legitimate concept of false gods. Again, as I said in our first exchange, I may have misunderstood one of you, or the other or both.


You understood me correctly. Thank you.

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purpledawn
Member (Idle past 2390 days)
Posts: 4453
From: Indiana
Joined: 04-25-2004


Message 47 of 150 (615129)
05-10-2011 2:16 PM


Worship or Worship
Worshiping Mammon and Worshiping False Gods

IMO, these are not the same.

As I pointed out in Message 37 the our English word worship has two meanings.

One deals with paying homage, sacrifice, ceremonies, etc. and the other deals with adoring reverence or love. In very simple terms, one is primarily physical application and the other is primarily emotional.

Worshiping a god involved the physical practices of paying homage, sacrifice, ceremonies, etc.
Worshiping Mammon (Wealth) deals with an emotional obsession.

An obsession with money or wealth is not the same as the rituals done for gods.

For "money is a false god" to be a metaphor, there needs to be some likeness between money and false gods.


Replies to this message:
 Message 48 by Straggler, posted 05-11-2011 1:40 PM purpledawn has responded

  
purpledawn
Member (Idle past 2390 days)
Posts: 4453
From: Indiana
Joined: 04-25-2004


Message 49 of 150 (615221)
05-11-2011 2:26 PM
Reply to: Message 48 by Straggler
05-11-2011 1:40 PM


Re: Worship or Worship
quote:
Beyond both inspiring an "adoring reverence or regard" (to use your own definitions of "worship") I don't think there is anything else on which to base the comparison.
How does currency inspire adoration?

quote:
But is a comparison beyond that being made when people say that money is worshiped as a false god? I might well describe someone as 'worshiping money' or as treating 'money as their god'. But I wouldn't mean anything more than the comparison stated above.
How does one treat currency like a deity?

This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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purpledawn
Member (Idle past 2390 days)
Posts: 4453
From: Indiana
Joined: 04-25-2004


Message 51 of 150 (615247)
05-11-2011 6:22 PM
Reply to: Message 50 by Straggler
05-11-2011 5:10 PM


Re: Worship or Worship
quote:
I don't think that "currency"does inspire adoration as such. But people can be said to adore money and wealth in the sense of making the acquisition of it an end in itself and loving the acquisition and possession of it to the exclusion or detriment of other things. In that sense money can be adored, revered, worshiped etc. etc.
You're basically talking about an obsession. Worshiping false gods wasn't necessarily an obsession, but a religious practice. A very different mental process, IMO. In many cases paying homage to the god of the town you're passing through was no more important than paying a toll. Those preaching money as a false god aren't usually speaking of obsessions.

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.

By this standard, chocolate could be a false god if one seeks comfort from chocolate instead of seeking comfort from god.

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.

quote:
We quite legitimately and meaningfully use words like "worship" or "idolise" and even "god" to mean things beyond their strict religiously related definition.
I understand that, but when used within the religion one would go with the religious meaning, especially when they are using the Bible to support the point.

quote:
For example David Beckham is (or at least was) referred to as a football god. He is arguably idolised and worshiped in a genuine sense of the word that has everything to do with a devout following and nothing to do with being a supernatural entity that needs to be appeased. The use of these terms in such a context is kinda metaphorical and kinda literal in a non-religious sense of the terms being used.
I understand that. It's an exaggeration. I'm not talking about secular use of religious terms.

This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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purpledawn
Member (Idle past 2390 days)
Posts: 4453
From: Indiana
Joined: 04-25-2004


Message 53 of 150 (615263)
05-11-2011 8:14 PM
Reply to: Message 52 by Straggler
05-11-2011 6:48 PM


Re: Worship or Worship
quote:
But in the same sense that I know what someone means when they say that something or someone is worshiped or idolised in a more general sense I also know exactly what they mean when they describe money being worshiped as a false god. In this sense the phrase is entirely meaningful.
They don't describe money as being worshiped as a false god. They say money, among other things, is a false god. IOW, people are choosing money, power, etc. in place of God. I disagree.

quote:
In the overtly religious sense you seem intent on pursuing money is not worshiped and, on this entirely literal religious basis, cannot be described as a false god. But I am unconvinced that anybody other than you is claiming that such a position exists?
Not sure I understand what you're trying to say.

If money is a false god, then there should be similarities between the two for that metaphor. We've already established there is no physical religious worship of money. 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.


This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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purpledawn
Member (Idle past 2390 days)
Posts: 4453
From: Indiana
Joined: 04-25-2004


Message 57 of 150 (615273)
05-11-2011 8:53 PM
Reply to: Message 56 by Caleb
05-11-2011 8:35 PM


Re: Worship or Worship
quote:
I think at least a couple of these apply to money. A person can pay honor to money and they can hold money with high regards which if I interpreted these definitions right means that you can worship money. If you worship something other than the true God it gets in the way of God. Therefore, it can be a false god.
Worship how? What does the worship entail?

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 Message 56 by Caleb, posted 05-11-2011 8:35 PM Caleb has responded

Replies to this message:
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purpledawn
Member (Idle past 2390 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?


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purpledawn
Member (Idle past 2390 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:
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Replies to this message:
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purpledawn
Member (Idle past 2390 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

  
purpledawn
Member (Idle past 2390 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

  
purpledawn
Member (Idle past 2390 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

  
purpledawn
Member (Idle past 2390 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:
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