“No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.” – Luke 16:13.
This bible quote seems to layout and confirm the boundary between the religious and the secular. Here the secular world revolves around money. That is one way to boil down our society, one driven by money. Our culture, the goods and entertainment available, people’s motives and the tried and true common practices that result are almost exclusively dictated by money. When money is the root of society, that society cannot be trusted. For then people’s motivation is easily turned from goodness to greed.
The separation of the monetary from the spiritual is one main breech of New Age compared to most organized religions. New Age practice often involves attendance at conferences and classes to both learn and find a place amongst those also spiritual journeys, and the use of ritual items to pursue spirituality independently. While I’ll agree that some participants in New Age give it a capitalist taste, that is not the goal or emphasis of this tradition. There is good reason New Age carries some of these flavors (which is the topic of another article completely: ‘A Secular New Age or a New Age Secularism?). The emphasis is instead on an extreme integration of mundane and divine, with the individual being key in the spiritual journey. Rather than giving money to a faith organization to be pooled with others’ resources and allocated by leaders or the group at large, New Agers often act individually allocating money in ways to help others and encourage divine presence here on earth.
These methods of utilizing money are very different, but both are spiritually inclined, looking to bring the divine to earth through our mundane actions such as spending or giving. Both have potential issues in individual / group / leader dynamics when allocating funds. Individuals and leaders can be skewed or greedy, putting funds toward unjust causes or things completely self-serving. At the same time groups can be fragmented, making monetary decisions problematic. Though it is less likely, without a sound and dedicated leader groups can also be lead astray like individuals.
Due to humans’ recurring greediness, money is often thought of as evil. Lines in the Bible like this one from Luke seem to create money as the antithesis of God. Yet this passage in Luke is not urging us to live outside the realm of money. But rather to use the resources (which Christians believe come from God and are God’s already) to create God’s kingdom on earth. Like New Age philosophy, this interpretation blurs the lines between mundane and divine. Maybe one cannot serve both God and Money, but the ways we choose to earn and spend our money can serve God. Just as we are God’s hands, feet and voice on earth, our resources should be utilized with divine in mind.