Sunday, 20 May 2012
Can Religion Save Capitalism?
Our modern system of Democracy has been established via a long history of trial and error. Religion like war has been with mankind from before anyone can even remember and for the longest time it has played an important role in the implementation and order of political governance and state power. With time and the eventual enlightenment years, man was able to break free from his dependence on a higher order to govern him and to make a long story very compartmentalized and brief...we have the modern political state...one that does not include God or the church as a fundamental foundation that governs it. Even the Queen and her monarchy are but a simple symbolic gesture in Canadian politics and are more realistically used to sell a lot of commemorative plates rather than implement policy.
The main question that crosses my mind today however is what role the church and more generally religion plays within both the market and Capitalism? I ask this most likely because of the constant mention of the market within our media today and given the impact the recession has had on many people, one cannot escape mention of the word Capitalism or the *free market* in any political conversation or other.
I cannot help but also focus on the big scams that are going on today and that have gone on since 2008. We have a very few doing what they can to gather income and influence over many and as a result of this these individuals also gain extreme power over elected officials and common citizens alike. I understand that corruption and scandal are nothing new within our system and history will show that various examples of this have gone on throughout the ages, but no matter how hard I try to stop thinking about this, I come back to this question: Can we separate church/religion and the market as easily as we can separate church/religion and the state? Further more, have we truly separated the church from the state or have we simply replaced the church with the market, thus choosing one potential evil over another?
As a society progresses forward and becomes more individual, giving the average person more freedom over their actions and beliefs, it seems only natural that church becomes less apart of our lives. Granted, I could be wrong about this, but if the statistics showing a constant decrease in church attendance is any sign, it is safe to say that people are choosing to not go to church or partake in church services as they once did.
Granted also, this information is affected by other factors such as how an individual perceives the church and their devotion to it, also given the fact that the majority of people are working longer and taking their work home with them, it can also be argued that church attendance is being replaced in an effort to finish much needed work as opposed to simple disregard for it.
Breaking down my question further, one can also argue if Capitalism is tied to Christianity as opposed to any other religion. This is a simple generalization based solely on the fact that Capitalism was born out of the west, which has primarily followed Christianity in it's devotion. This is ironic in itself as Jesus Christ appears to be everything opposite what an average Capitalist is. However, it appears that with Christianity we have a strong sense of Capitalism, or is it the other way around? The Americans print "In God We Trust" on their currency, yet their system does not reflect any of the major values associated with religion. I for one do not trust the modern church system. This is mainly because the church like a government is inherently human and as such is open to corruption and greed. Sunday offerings in church can be compared to your monthly usage fees found at your bank. How can so much irony exist within our system and yet still be accepted as ok, I mean even if God does not exist, Jesus is still a socialist revolutionary who stirred up a lot of shit in an effort to not only unite people, but instill values of peace into them and maybe make them a little less barbaric. However, looking at our modern system, you would think Jesus was not different than the tax collectors at the temple that he disliked so much.
I wonder how a CEO of a major company or the corrupt individual in charge of a hedge fund might perceive church attendance and the values that are associated with religion. If we look past the scandals present in the church and the inevitable humanity present in the imperfect church systems found around the world, we are left with a gathering place that not only promotes a sense of community, but also instills upon it's members the values to live a peace loving, God fearing life of good. Did the Bernie Madoff's and corrupt CEO's of the world attend church or some form of religion on a weekly basis like their middle class and lower income counterparts? We often see a boost in church attendance during times of trouble, as people gather a sense of hope and increased faith from their devotion, but does this resonate among those in control of the Capitalist system and the market?
It seems like today people have not only become to distracted with work and the various advances in entertainment provided by technology, but have also forgotten to remember the important values that have resonated throughout our society for millennium. As a result, we see increased focus on the self and further disregard for those around us that could use a helping hand. Today we live as good as kings did before and we have an increase in intelligence, however it seems that people will do whatever they can to penny pinch and screw over their brother or sister in order to feel as if they have come out on top in the end.
This is where I need your help, could it be that because of a disregard for the important values instilled by religion that we see more corruption and greed within society today? Or is it because the media is able to focus in and gather information about these corruptions that they become more common? Did the rich within society have more respect for their middle and lower income counterparts in times when church attendance was through the roof? It seems that as people turn their back on the church, our Capitalist society continues to disintegrate from within.
Until next time!