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Monday, August 06, 2007

Hirsch on Consumerism

Speaking to the insecurity of the human situation, it was Jesus who said "So do not worry saying, 'What shall we eat? or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well" (Matt. 6:31-33, emphasis in original). Consumerism is thoroughly pagan. Pagans run after these things (Gk. epizeteo"seek, desire, want; search for, look for"). Seen in this light, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, Extreme Makeover, Big Brother, and other lifestyle shows are of the most pagan, and paganizing, shows on TV. Even the perennial favorites about renovating the house paganize us, because they focus on that which so easily enslaves us. In these the banality of consumerism reaches a climax as we are sold the lie that the thing that will complete us is a new kitchen or a house extension, whereas in fact these only add more stress to our mortagages and our families. These shows are far more successful promoters of unbelief than even outright intellectual atheism, because they hit us at that place where we must render our trust and loyalty. Most people are profoundly susceptible to the idolatrous allure of money and things. We do well to remember what our Lord said about serving two masters and about running after things (Matt. 6:24-33)...
...Offered "heaven now", we give up the ultimate quest in puruit of that which can be immediately consumed, be it a service, product or pseudo-religous experience. Consumerism has all the distinguishing traits of outraight paganism - we need to see it for what it really is.
From Hirsch, A. (2006) The Forgotten Ways, pp.110-111.

2 comments:

James said...

Nice.

Just goes to reinforce my belief that TV is poison.

I think "pagan" is a misleading word nowadays, though.

The Creature said...

Some TV is definitely poison - but not all.

I also wondered about the use of "pagan" in this quote but I think he is tying it into what Jesus was saying and the definition of "pagan" at that time, rather than our modern neo-pagans.

:)