Internet Goosing the Antithesis

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Material goods, pointless?

It seems like every time I see a Christian sermon on the telly, I observe a recurring theme. There is this idea that material goods are only temporary pleasures and ultimately pointless (the standard examples is the "fast sports car," which apparently is never fast enough), compared to "spiritual goods." That the search for better things is endless and never leads to satisfaction.

Here are some reasons why this line of "reasoning" is nonsense:

1. Everything is a material good. Spirituality is a material process and concept in the human brain. Love is a material good. So is communion. Religion also depends on material goods, such as churches, in order to attract people.

2. Religious belief is certainly not permanent and does not seem to always lead to satisfaction. Many people convert to other religions, or deconvert altogether. Why would they do this if Christianity was fully satisfactory?

3. There are plenty of material goods that deliver lasting satisfaction. I have had this one pair of leather boots for about ten years now, and they do not fail to satisfy me after such a long time. Some computer games I have owned have satisfied me for years and years, that is, until my new computer wasn't able to play them any more. Other things which have sentimental value deliver satisfaction for your whole life. Pills and other remedies are material, and yet they bring lasting relief from pain and suffering.

4. We trade in material goods generally because they are no longer useful. We don't change cars, computers or homes because they bore us or fail to satisfy us. We change them because we need to do so in order to continue doing what we are doing with them.

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