How is Materialism Destroying Society?

When tough economic times hit, there is always the question as to whether greed is the cause of our economic problems. However, this isn’t necessarily the root of the problem. It is a bit more complex than that. Railing against the greed in capitalism doesn’t take into consideration the other factors that are equally present. Greed can also be for power. Power comes with money, but it isn’t always the money people are after. This is why big government is as dangerous as corporate monopolies. The people who have consolidated significant power tend to be corrupted by it. As human beings, we all tend to lean toward materialism in our actions, and find our personal significance and value in things we control and own.

There is a spiritual aspect to the problem of materialism. It is a worldview that fuels greed. Our society has been increasingly embracing the worldview of naturalism, of which materialism is a part. Naturalism holds that knowledge is limited to what we can see and that everything must be thought of in physical terms. Naturalism ignores the spiritual aspects of life, considering them more like superstitions. So we tend to move toward seeking our personal value in the things we possess and the things we control. To make matters worse, we also discount objective truth. The end result is there are no standard set of values we all hold common, and that means there is no foundation for society to build on.

So in America, we have come to equate financial wealth with a higher level of happiness. This is partly what is wrong with the caste system in India. The belief behind it is materialistic. This worldview is illustrated well in the movie Slumdog Millionaire. However, what we really need is a purpose for our life. But we can’t find purpose in physical things. Since we have decided that objective truth can only be found in scientific conclusions, we have dismissed the existence of truth beyond what we can see, hear, feel, taste, or touch. Yet there is a non-physical reality where we find our sense of purpose and meaning in life. We are ignoring half of the knowledge we could be gaining by ignoring the knowledge from the non-physical realm. In Hosea 4:6 in the Old Testament, it tells us what happens when we lack knowledge. There are moral shortcomings that lead to a downfall. The ways of the people are characterized by self gratification and greed.

So the real solution to our economic and financial problems doesn’t lie in putting our trust in an economic theory about what will restore our economy, but rather it lies in recognizing the thinking that has led us astray. As a nation we are turning away from the Bible as a source of moral authority, which was certainly in the minds of the founders of our country. It is found throughout the federal and state constitutions, as well as our Bill of Rights. It even says on our money “In God We Trust”. It was this moral compass that has guided legislation in the early years of our country. But, as we have strayed from those original moral principles, we have caused the problems we have today. We have led our citizens to strange ideas about how the world works, and they have adopted them. We have let the marginalization of faith and the emphases on a materialistic worldview dominate, governed by a postmodern philosophy that denies any objective truth. It confuses our laws and destroys the core of what made this country strong.

Each individual can rise above this problem by returning to the Bible as a moral guide for their own lives and no matter what happens to us as a nation, they will find the strength through their faith in God to do what is good and right. They will find a sense of purpose that will give them the power to overcome adversity and will be the last ones standing in the end. These will be the people who were able to recognize their faith in God and the truth of the Bible heeding the wisdom of Proverbs 3:5 where it tells us to trust the Lord and not lean on our own understanding. We know what God teaches us in the Bible is reliable, and if we place our trust in that most reliable source, we’ve gone a long way to rising above the problems we have today.