Our Real Religion

You often hear that Americans are a religious people. That notion is often based on polls in which people say that they believe in God. But I don’t think it’s true. My sense is that, in a gathering of Americans, if someone were to say that he was an atheist, the response would be, at most, an earnest attempt by a handful of people to convince the guy that God does exist. If, on the other hand, the guy were to say that he was against capitalism, then he would encounter real hostility.

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11 Responses to “Our Real Religion”

  1. Suzy Says:

    Americans don’t believe in God. They believe in “believing in God”. These words are from a wise old UMC pastor. Soon have he said this the UMC kicked him out for being “too liberal”.

  2. Sarah Bachand Says:

    100% true. David Loy, Zen Buddhist, scholar, etc. writes about capitalism as a religion. It’s just so hard to see–we’re swimming in it.

  3. Sarah Says:

    I think the corporate media, the growing socio-economic pressures experienced by many people in the U.S., and our schools are among the many forces that help to shape prevailing societal attitudes toward religion and socio-economic systems. For example, I did not have a teacher who had endorsed one form of religion over another, but I had a high school teacher who had told my fellow students and myself that “communism doesn’t work and capitalism isn’t perfect, but it’s the best [ socio-economic system ] in the world.” I did not have a teacher who had claimed the opposite was true. Likewise, you can probably think of many examples of how the media and shrinking paychecks affect societal attitudes regarding these and other issues.

    Money is a (if not the) means of physical survival and comfort and religion and spirituality are not.

  4. Sarah Bachand Says:

    Disclaimer: I didn’t write the last comment in the thread although I agree with it. Not sure why my name posted next to it. Another Sarah perhaps?

    Anyway, I agree and think that it’s not just that money is the means of physical comfort and survival but also that it’s the only way we now have (on a cultural level) of framing “success” or “the good life.” World religions continue to offer alternative narratives of a life well lived but the religious pluralism of our society (which is not a bad thing) coupled with the hegemony of the religion of the market make it all but impossible to construct meaning in a new (or old) way. Hence, the rampant neuroses and addictions of our age. Not to say it was all rosy in another time and place, but failure to see capitalism as state religion makes us all captives to it.

  5. Linda Says:

    I have always heard that capitalism is the best system in the world, I supose that it could be considered so, but a system is only as good as those running it. When greed takes over, none of them work. So it is with capitalism, when everybody was working for a fair wage, when the corporations weren’t able to screw people out of everything they make and there were regulations in place to keep them from doing it, things were okay, but now, without regulaton, without having to keep jobs here and with so many ways of taking advantage of their workers it seems that maybe it was only the regulations, and their enforcement that made it a good system.

  6. Diane Says:

    Money is not the means for physical comfort and survival. It is an intermediary between those things and you. Money separates you from the source of your physical comfort and survival, which is the earth. It takes the things of the world that can directly provide you with comfort and survival and instead turns everything in the world into money. Rocks are money. Trees are money. Cattle are money. Rain forests chopped down are money. Melted glaciers are money. Layers of shale broken up with toxic chemicals that pollute the ground water are money. We can destroy that which gives us life and then convince ourselves that the things we have created through that destruction are providing us with comfort, security and safety and that the source of our life is dangerous, unsafe, cold, wet and miserable. I know this because I have spent time outside our culture of money worship and have seen the truth with my own eyes.

  7. JB Says:

    I highly recommend the Bill Maher’s film Religulous. It delves into some of the perplexing expressions of religion in America (and elsewhere).

    I think that when one declares opposition to capitalism they confront something more tangible than religion.

  8. Amanda Jovel Says:

    this one made me laugh! because it’s so true! in my opinion capitalism is the root of all evil 🙂

  9. David Says:

    I totally agree. Funny thing is, Christ said you can’t serve God and money. But how many Christian churches/organizations direct the majority of their efforts towards finances? I’m not trying to say ALL Christian churches are like this. I believe there are sincere followers out there.

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