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Materialism in society

The impact of materialism in society is a complex subject.

Materialism can be defined as a dominating sense of desire to pursue wealth and other
tangible things that can provide physical comforts that ignores the importance of spiritual values.

An example of materialism is explaining love in terms of material things. An example of
materialism is valuing a new car over friendships.

Effects Of Materialism
To evaluate the effects of materialism, let's first examine what materialism promotes. In the most
austere sense, materialism states that all that exists is physical matter -- negating thought, feeling,
human will, and faith. In a more subtle course, materialism promotes the idolatry of possessions
or material wealth. Possessions are believed to fill all human need and characterize quality of
life. For a godless society, the philosophy of materialism may seem plausible.

However, if societies have any spiritual belief, whether it is in Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism,
Christianity, Wakantanka (Native American for Great Spirit), or Allah, materialism does not
stand. Or does it? Perhaps this will sound familiar.

Materialism's goals and their end results:1

 Acquisition of material goods (lust, envy, false comfort, idolatry)

 Self interests, (selfishness, no compassion, greed, denies eternal soul and the Creator)
 Accumulation, equivalent to success (no morals, no sense of right or wrong,
preoccupation to money, jealousy, thievery)
 Voiding all faith and spiritual deity (hopelessness, unrepentant sin, despair, eternal death)

The opposite of theism (belief in God) is atheism, stating there is no god. Therefore, we can look
at materialism as atheistic or antichrist in nature -- materialism operated rampantly throughout
the world, regardless of religious foundations. Increasingly, societies have become secular and
humanistic in nature. Humanism denies any spiritual nature of mankind. Man has set himself and
his material desires (his idols) above all else, including God.

The effects of materialism are similar to brainwashing. They have undermined any personal
responsibility by claiming that thought is dictated biologically and by environment. A
materialistic society can be especially effective if it is a governmental tenet as well. For instance,
some of the oppressed countries under the strictest rule of Communism (spawned from
materialism) mandated its citizens to disband all formal and public forms of Spiritual worship.
Although Russia allowed certain church traditions, worship was highly discouraged. China went
so far as to say that teaching children of God and Spirituality was child abuse. Materialism and
Spirituality are at complete opposite ends of the spectrum, like good and evil.

Materialism is sin and its effects are sin! The Bible tells us that God has created man with free
will. Mankind is allowed to make his own choices; this includes whether or not to accept God
and His righteousness. Romans 3:22-24 states, "This righteousness from God comes through
faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe...for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus." And
in Romans 6:23 it says, "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ
Jesus our Lord."

What Causes Our Materialistic Society

There is something perverse about having ‘more than enough’. When we have it, insatiability
cultivates a desire for even more. This game consumes its players; for something forever remains
out of reach. The more we obtain; the more obscure ‘enough’ becomes. Materialism leads to a
repulsive life, where egotism has free reign and stuff becomes the basis for our existence.What
begins this vicious, downward cycle? Some of the causes are simple and obvious. However, it is
my belief that materialism is rooted in the need to satisfy the deepest longings of our soul; in
other words, to fill our emptiness. We naturally assume that the new, shiny, red car will bring
eternal bliss. So we buy it and sadly, as many of us know, the excitement fades – maybe the
engine even breaks down, and leaves us stranded on the highway – but ever still we resume our
empty search for fulfillment. One would think that millions of similar occurrences stretched out
over a lifetime would convey to us mere humans that the red car does not fill the internal
chasm. But no, next we think it must be ten cars! Why do we constantly crave more?Perhaps,
because before we even have to internalize this question, the media comes to our rescue with the
latest product, complete with guaranteed satisfaction. We observe commercials and are somehow
convinced that inside that very expensive bottle of shampoo, is liquid happiness. Of course, this
also leaves us wanting and we need more; more lustrous shine, more volume; more, more,
more. Thus, greed becomes our next attempt at resolve. Defined as the selfish or excessive desire
for more of something than is needed, it further deceives players. The game continues – we pass
go; we collect $200 – but this is no longer enough. Now, we must possess the entire board. The
media relentlessly feeds this urge. For arguments sake, let’s say we wake up in the morning and
watch the news. There we are, sipping a nice cup of coffee and before we have even left the
house, we are bombarded with all the stuff we now need: a new party dress, shoes to match, and
Oh! …Don’t forget to pick up a seven-blade razor! (As if three blades cannot do the
job!) Furthermore, there is the effortless swipe of our plastic card that seems to make all of our
dreams come true. Doing so falsely promises security and happiness. Many Americans have
bought into this lie. However, we did not know that in reality; credit cards are out to steal our
victory. Now the trap is set: quantity no longer brings contentment, but regardless we avoid
searching for anything different. We spend our energy seeking theAmerican dream. We
desire the big house, (with a white picket fence) a great job, and the perfect family. As a society
we are obsessed with this daydream, and in-turn neglect higher standards for life. Florence King
states, "People are so busy dreaming the American Dream, fantasizing about what they could be
or have a right to be, that they're all asleep at the switch.Consequently we are living in the age of
human error." I strongly concur with King’s proclamation. Our ‘human error’ is buying into the
lie. Rather than employing all that we are to impact the world, we give away our very life to
acquire a fleeting status. Yet again, material possessions get the green light, and it continues to
decay humanity.Another cause of our material society lies within: our insecurities. Stuff speaks
to us; calms our fears, and makes us feel important, but only for a season. We become addicted
to name brands and expensive things because in some distorted sense; that’s what defines us. The
worst kind of tragedy takes place the moment we begin believing this outrageous
insinuation. Stuff cannot characterize us. It cannot fill any void. Why did we start believing that
shampoo can do anything more than clean our hair? 1 Peter 3:4 says, “What matters is not your
outer appearance – the styling of your hair, the jewelry you wear, the cut of your clothes – but
your inner disposition.” Nonetheless, as soon as the new dress stops making us feel beautiful, we
are on to the next diversion. When will this sham run out of gas? When will it stop? Stuff was
never meant to take the place of love, compassion, or God. But sadly, when we can’t find those
we settle for less. We give up fighting for what truly matters; the substance of a life filled with
meaning and purpose. Instead we endlessly play this child’s game. When will we accept
ourselves and others for who they are, instead of what they have? Will we ever?