Materialism, Calvinism and The Greed of The West
Well the Season of Greed and Avarice is upon us.
Why has the celebration of the birth of Christ been adulterated to such an extent that we act as if we are deserving of so much more on His Birthday than he had?
Christ “so loved poverty that He chose for His mother not a rich and powerful queen, but a poor and humble Virgin. He willed to be born, not in a palace, but in a bleak stable, the manger of which, covered with a little straw, was His only couch.” – The Sinner’s Guide, Venerable Louis of Granada.
Where did it all go wrong? The West’s wealth and love of money is unprecedented historically. We are told that capitalism is the best economic system but what happens when capitalism is devoid of morality and a sense of responsibility to our children and our future?
Personal greed and corporate greed have transformed capitalism. Corporate America panders to our base nature. It seeks out the latest, coolest, hippest and ultimately the lowest elements of our culture, repackages them, and seduces our senses, our children, and our pocketbooks.
The “hipsters” behind the scenes of what’s cool push the envelope on every front. They turn their decadent, sex-obsessed minds on our children and assume them to be of like ilk. They assume the average male is a vulgar, adolescent, frat-boy, who delights in toilet-humor, sex jokes and freaky stunts. They imagine the average female to be a shop-a-holic, vain, sex-kitten, who longs to throw off the confining chains of parents, husband and or children. The imagined male and female become reality when they are fed constant rebellion, entertainment, and not only sex, but “taboo” sex.
We exalt in arising at 4:30 a.m. on the biggest shopping day of the year to acquire, accumulate and acquiesce to this culture. The corporations that exploit Christmas also exploit our thirst for human respect. After all, if we opt out of the spending and gift-giving mania, we are uncharitable scrooges and our friends and family may think we have become religious fanatics. When we could use the season to counter the culture’s notion of Christ, we instead capitulate.
Why this obsession with the temporal? Where has our sense of the holy and eternal gone? Hillaire Belloc said of John Calvin and Calvinism, “In denying the efficacy of good deeds and of the human will, and abnegations, in leaving on one side as useless all the doctrine and tradition of Holy Poverty, Calvin opened the door to the domination of the mind by money. St Thomas had said it centuries before–that if men abandoned the idea of God as the supreme good they would tend to replace Him…[with]…material wealth” as the supreme good.” -Hillaire Belloc, The Crisis of Civilization.
If Calvin was right and our good deeds have no effect on our salvation, and, furthermore that we are predestined by the Divine Will to such an extent that man’s free will is nullified, then one can see how man could easily be consumed by temporal matters, and conversely ignore matters of the eternal. Why be so foolish as to forego the world’s glitter and glamour if there is no eternal consequence to partaking in it?
“Man cannot freely rise to God and the contemplation of His beauty while he is breathless in pursuit of riches. A heart filled with material and earthly pleasures can never know spiritual and divine joys. No it is impossible to unite what is false with what is true; what is spiritual with what is carnal; what is temporal with what is eternal; they can never dwell together in one heart.” -The Sinner’s Guide, Venerable Louis of Granada.
Likewise man cannot truly appreciate the gravity of Christ’s birth when we engage in the world’s notion of Christmas which amounts to idolatry and worship of the golden calf. God requires good deeds of His people and our actions will have consequences. We must not partake in the corruption of Christ’s birthday.
“Riches are acquired only at the expense of pain and labor; they are preserved only by care and anxiety; and they are never lost without bitter vexation and grief. But worse than this, they are rarely accumulated without offence against God…”. -The Sinner’s Guide, Venerable Louis of Granada.