THE SECULAR CIRCLE OF LIFE

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Religion helps people get a grasp on the big picture: ethics, morals, the meaning of life, and leading a purposeful life. Without the help of a faith tradition, with only secular society to guide you, it can be very difficult (through I don’t think impossible) to discern these things. In America I think this is extremely difficult due to the prevalence of capitalism in our secular society. In fact, the term capitalism may do more to describe American society than the term secularism.

For example, consider this commercial for Rocket Mortgage. It illustrates the cycle of life that many if not most of Americans lead. The cycle of selling, buying, working, earning and so on. The gist of this commercial is get a mortgage to buy a home which you will then need to fill with stuff, you will then buy stuff and boost the economy by creating work for people so that they can in turn buy homes which also need to be filled with stuff. The commercial concludes that propagating this cycle of ownership and consumption is the power of America. And so the wheel turns. For many this is the circle of life and it continues round and round. This is the life promoted by purely secular sources.

I find Americans’ understanding of value disturbing and quite sad. Making money means more than making relationships. Things become more valuable than time, and consumption become the center of their life (See my article “Equating Value to Money: Effects on Religious and Spiritual Involvement” for more on this). According to the ad, consumption is a primary source of power for Americans. Perhaps the reason religion is so heavily segregated and devalued in America is that people’s lives would begin to revolve around things that can’t be bought. Secularism is in the best interests of capitalists, whose success and riches largely depends on people trying to fulfill themselves with goods and consumption. If religion and spirituality were more mainstream, and more people looked within themselves for contentment rather than looking around at their belongings and in their bank accounts, the status quo of corporate greed would be threatened.

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