Materialism, would be life, and aspirations

Decline in reading the Holy Scriptures

In Unread best-seller we looked at the position of the book of books in this day and age. We noticed there are still many people buying the Bible, but not always reading it.  We noticed the growth of certain popular misconceptions, materialism, rationalistic criticism of the Bible and the common thought that the Bible contains many errors and internal contradictions which stamp it as the work of fallible men.

This view is now the ‘received wisdom’ and, sad to say, very few of each rising generation even bother to check it out for themselves, for surely the experts and majority opinion cannot both be wrong?

An age of materialism

In fact, of course, ‘majority opinion’ is notoriously dangerous to rely on; and this popular misconception about the Bible has only grown in the fertile, generally atheistic, soil of scientific materialism. First, we live in the era of the expert – and especially of the scientific expert – whose opinions are rarely questioned by the layman. And secondly, this is an age of materialism, in which man’s ability to provide himself with all the comforts of modern life has brought him to rely largely upon himself, to the exclusion of God and, ultimately, even of his fellow-men. And if God no longer matters, why bother to read what claims to be His word?

A bible from 1859.But saddest of all, perhaps, is the growing desire on the part of some, in the wake of this general desertion of Bible-based religion and morality, to make Christianity more ‘acceptable’, by removing from it all trace of the miraculous. It is hoped that this new religion of convenience will satisfy the popular scientific belief that miracles simply ‘cannot’ happen, in spite of what the Bible so clearly teaches.

People today prefer to enjoy their materialistic world and are not interested in the spiritual world. They do not think they have everything, but they know they can not miss their computer, i-pad, smartphone any more. Most of the people look out for the coolest gadgets, the trendiest clothes, bigger and better things, but research shows that possessions and purchases don’t buy us happiness. Though the majority do think they can buy themselves into the most happiest world. but they cannot leave it to compare their own little world which often create a virtual world or do not give a realistic picture of the real world and the real life.

Because they are more interested in a brick for to build their own ‘castle’ they are not interested in nature around them. Having their focus on materialistic hardware and software they not see the beauty of what nature is offering, the many flowers and variety of animals. Having their eyes closed for the natural variety they are not able to see the Hand of God in this earthly existence. As such they shall not easily find the Works of God in this universe.

Many people do not enjoy walking in the green, but prefer lingering in the mall. They are figuring it as an entertainment venue and prefer enjoying their free time in that place shot through with the ideology of materialism. Everything there is for sale. Store owners will do almost anything to get you to buy. And advertising is everywhere. If you define yourself as a “mall shopper,” pretty soon you will feel like you haven’t done your duty unless you leave the place with a bag full of stuff you don’t need. That’s when they have you! but with the ‘gained treasures’ there shall not be a place for the most treasures book.

While we are being pushed towards materialism, it’s for monetary gain by corporations, not for our own happiness. Most of the people do fall in the tricky and attractive trap. Unfortunately, it’s hard to escape the trap of materialism, and find happiness in other ways than buying stuff on-line or finding joy in the mall.

Many lose track with reality and continue to build up their own little cosy world of imagination, dreaming of better pastures.

Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism by Chögy...

Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism by Chögyam Trungpa (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Materialism is nothing new. We can find it already by the Ancient Indians around 600 BC (cfr. the works of Ajita Kesakambali, Payasi, Kanada, and the proponents of the Cārvāka school of philosophy.) The NyayaVaisesika school (600 BC – 100 BC) developed one of the earliest forms of atomism, though their proofs of God and their positing that the consciousness was not material precludes labelling them as materialists. Buddhist atomism and the Jaina school continued the atomic tradition. The materialist and atheist Ludwig Feuerbach would signal a new turn in materialism through his book, The Essence of Christianity, which provided a humanist account of religion as the outward projection of man’s inward nature. Feuerbach’s materialism would later heavily influence Karl Marx. {Wikipedia}

Quantum mechanics and chaos theory made many people doubt the existence of a Creator who put order in everything. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, materialism denies the existence of both deities and “souls.” {“Materialism“. Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 1913.} this made it impossible for many youngsters to still believe in such divine being regulating everything and standing above he human beings whom seem to have such an unstoppable imaginative creative mind. some scientist even started to believe they could create a a god would be able to make things out of nothing or the smallest things.

Limited, purely physical and mental reality

In most of Hinduism and transcendentalism, all matter is believed to be an illusion called Maya or Sgyu, deceit blinding us from knowing the truth. Maya is the limited, purely physical and mental reality in which our everyday consciousness has become entangled. Maya gets destroyed for a person when they perceive Brahman with transcendental knowledge.

Some may remember think of a  supreme science which was received through the chain of disciple succession. They say the saintly kings understood it in that way. But in course of time the succession was broken, and therefore the science as it is appears to be lost.

In the Hare Krishna movement they say:

Whenever and wherever there is a decline in religious practice, O descendant of Bharata, and a predominant rise of irreligion–at that time I descend Myself. (Bhagavad-Cita  Chapter 4, Verse 7.)

In the Bhagavatam it is stated that such principles are the laws of the Lord. Only the Lord can manufacture a system of religion.

We as Christians should know that even Christ Jesus did not know when he would come back and that it was all to his Father to decide how the world would turn round and continue to go. Everything is in the hand of the Most High God, Jehovah. Though many people created many words to go around in the world, and to be considered as sacred writings, it are only His Words which should be considered as the Most High.

The Creator God gave everything at the disposal to the human beings, but the things they had to name and govern where also the things they had to protect and foresee for next generations. It was not just material alone for them.

Lust and attachment

That Maya may be a pretending to exhibit or claiming to have a good quality that one lacks and has become a very popular attitude of the western people today. The contemporary generation has passion-lust (raga) and bewilderment-erring (moha) by being overly attached to wealth and honour, we also clearly see that such an attitude for giving priority to the material possession gives basis for a perverse life-style. Because of excessive attachment to their material gain and the respect they want to receive and often get they start not only deceiving themselves but also want to deceive others around them. They get in full adoration of the pretension (sgyu/Māyā) falling in the categories of longing desire (raga) and naivety (moha), this pretension is pretending to exhibit or claiming to have a good quality that we as humans lack.

The attachment people want to have today is not so much the emotional bond that typically forms between infant and caregiver, usually a parent, and which not only stimulates brain growth but affects personality development and lifelong ability to form stable relationships. Neuroscientists now believe that attachment is such a primal need that there are networks of neurons in the brain dedicated to it, and the process of forming lasting bonds is powered in part by the hormone oxytocin. Attachment is the element which has become the source of all suffering.

The attachment to material will not bring joy and would not give the full pleasure of eternity. There are many who believe enlarging their material gain will make them more happy. They also do want to believe it can give them a rich spiritual life.

Matter

In contrast, Joseph Smith, the founder of the Latter Day Saint Movement, claimed

“There is no such thing as immaterial matter,”. “All spirit is matter, but it is more fine or pure, and can only be discerned by purer eyes; We cannot see it; but when our bodies are purified we shall see that it is all matter.” {(D. & C. 131:7–8.) http://www.lds.org/scriptures/dc-testament/dc/131.7-8?lang=eng}

According to the Latter Day Saints adherents exaltation is gained through the new and everlasting covenant. Many believers seem to have forgotten that already with the Old Covenant the Divine Creator provided the solution for mankind to find an unbounded life to the material which would liberate them from the connection to the material that could strangle their mind.

Going through the eye

The prophet Jesus made it very clear that this connection with the material is one of those most difficult thing for a human being to get rid off. It would be easier for a camel to enter the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God.

” (24) And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into the reign of Elohim.” (Matthew 19:24 The Scriptures 1998+)

So in the Koran:

“The impious, who in his arrogance shall accuse our doctrine of falsity, shall find the gates of heaven shut; nor shall he enter till a camel shall pass through the eye of a needle.”

We also find as remark in the Christadelphian Agora of the New Testament:

“The proverbial saying.. refers to the absolutely impossible.. Attempts to weaken this hyperbole by taking ‘needle,’ not as a sewing needle, but as a small gate through which an unladen camel could just squeeze and only on his knees are misguided. This conjecture may come from some of Jerome’s allegorizing” (EBC).

An old Heb proverb: “Open a needle’s eye to God, and God will open to you a gate large enough for camels.”

“These words of Jesus covered not only the rich but the poor also. The rich man glorying in his riches is far from the Kingdom of God, but the poor man trusting in his hard-earned pittance is no nearer. Indeed the poor man may clutch his few pounds more tightly than a rich man his thousands. The emphasis in each is upon the same thing. Our trust must not be centred upon riches, great or small, or upon honour, or men, but upon God” (MP)

The world, it seems, has come today in a kind of vicious circle having centred their eyes onto the material richness for the self and not as such for the other.

Limited by time

Many do forget that all material is limited in time. Because everything around us is limited in time any attachment to it will bring us the feeling of loss and as a result will bring suffering. Loss is an inevitable consequence of the human condition. If we survive long enough we encounter many losses. The natural response to loss is grief—which looks much like depression: sadness, tears, diminished energy, changes in sleep and appetite, problems with concentration. A diminished self-esteem is more characteristic of depression, but it is also a situation one gets when the person can not get his required selfish materialistic gain. If we are grieving the loss of a loved one, we are sad, but we generally retain our sense of ourselves as worthwhile people. But many people become so much attached to the material products of the capitalist world that they lose the senses of realistic balance. Lots of people also think they cannot live properly without enough capital. They would love to be rich. They do come into the situation of the difficulty to place their spiritual life in the right proportion. You should wonder than if they would be able to  pass through a needle’s eye. (See also Mark 10:25 and Luke 18:25)

Not impossible but more difficult

The  camel is a beast of burden, and so the material gain can also become a burden. But in the mentioned bible verse it is also a “large rope. “Mark says, “them that trust in riches.” While the rich man in the time of Jesus has the feeling that it has no use to follow Jesus because it would be literally impossible that he should be a Christian.

Jesus does not speak of impossibility, but of difficulty. Nor does he condemn the rich young man but illustrates from his case how riches may grip and even suffocate the heart. The rope also may close the ‘eye’ and strangle the person. Today many are suffocating and are becoming blind for the real treasure sin the world. Those whose heart is possessed by riches often do not have an eye for the inner beauty of the heart and soul. They are the least interested in the “Old Writings” of the Holy Scriptures, the Bible. their love is by their will to have a lot of material and not by having God around them. But the right religion is the love of God, rather than the world; the love of Jesus and his cause, more than gold. Still a man may have much property, and not have this feeling. He may have great wealth, and love God more; as a poor man may have little, and love that little more than God. The difficulties in the way of salvation for a rich man are, that riches engross the affections, Men consider wealth as the chief good; and when this is obtained, think they have gained all.

Proud and envy

We also see in the world that many people do want to show off their possessions.  They want to show others that they are capable to have the most recent of the modern gadgets and the best of available products. They are proud of their wealth, and unwilling to be numbered with the poor and despised followers of Jesus.

The idea of richness produces the feeling of luxury, dissipation, and vice. Riches engross the time, and fill the mind with cares and anxieties, and leave little for God.  So where should they find time to go and read such old writings? They also can not be proud of reading the Bible, but having read the last new novel or the most recent best-seller would be much more poshy.

Rich or poor all men shall encounter difficulties in their life which always shall come to an end.  All shall pass away. (James 1:10; James 5:1)

Contribution of real value

Those loving material, do they think about the real value of that material and about what it really can contribute to their life now but also for what it can contribute for them later. They may read lots of websites, newspapers, magazines and books, but they do not get to know what they are really missing in life by not reading the Holy Scriptures of God.

For if men will not read the Bible, how can they know for themselves what it contains and
whether or not it is true? Like any book, the Bible needs to be read to be estimated at its true worth. The circle has to be broken if faith in its message, and in the God who gave it, is ever to be restored and sustained.

We should not go with this world enjoying more the possession of money and material gadgets. It would be better to keep our life free from love of money, and to be content with what we have. We better understand that the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions are just things from the world which will not make us happier in the long term. Everything we see around us in this world has its days and shall come to its end, but the Bible, Gods Word, His instructions, shall remain for ever

” (5) Let your way of life be without the love of money, and be satisfied with what you have. For He Himself has said, “I shall never leave you nor forsake you,” (Hebrews 13:5 The Scriptures 1998+)

” (15) Do not love the world nor that which is in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. {1} {Footnote: 1Jm. 4:4.} (16) Because all that is in the world – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life – is not of the Father but is of the world. (17) And the world passes away, and the lust of it, but the one doing the desire of Elohim remains forever.” (1 John 2:15-17 The Scriptures 1998+)

” (6) But reverence with contentment is great gain. (7) For we brought naught into the world, and it is impossible to take any out. (8) When we have food and covering, we shall be satisfied with these. (9) But those wishing to be rich fall into trial and a snare, and into many foolish and injurious lusts which plunge men in ruin and destruction. (10) For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some, by longing for it, have strayed from the belief, and pierced themselves through with many pains. (11) But you, O man of Elohim, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, reverence, belief, love, endurance, meekness. (12) Fight the good fight of the belief, lay hold on everlasting life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession before many witnesses.” (1 Timothy 6:6-12 The Scriptures 1998+)

Jesus warned to be careful, not to covet, for even in the height of his prosperity a man’s true Life does not depend on what he has of material possession. It is more important to have the right heart and the right connection or relation with the creator of everything. For what could a man give that is of equal value with his life?  (Mark 8:37)

” (15) And He said to them, “Mind, and beware of greed, because one’s life does not consist in the excess of his possessions.”” (Luke 12:15 The Scriptures 1998+)

” (35) “For whoever desires to save his life shall lose it, but whoever loses his life for the sake of Me and the Good News, he shall save it. (36) “For what shall it profit a man if he gains all the world, and loses his own life? (37) “Or what shall a man give in exchange for his life?”(Mark 8:35-37 The Scriptures 1998+)

In the world there are many who prefer to have the short worldly fame (although it may be very local, on television in their own region,calling themselves an important famous person) having gained their (little) “whole” world, and lose their own soul.

Lay not up for yourselves treasures on earth. It is understandable you would like to become perfect. To help you with that several human writings could be of some help, but the best help you shall be able to find in the Bible. Plus always we shall have to remember that for what is a man profited if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

The Creator of man is willing to help man to become a good creation, but man has to accept the means given by the Creator to become a good person. For this reason we should pick up the bible and read in it very often, studying the word of god as the most precious treasure, enabling us to become set-apart (holy).

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Preceding article: Unread bestseller

To be continued with: Looking to the East and the West for Truth

Dutch version / Nederlandse versie: Materialisme, ‘would be’ leven, en aspiraties

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Please do find additional reading:

  1. Why believing the Bible
  2. A fact of History or just a fancy Story
  3. The truth is very plain to see and God can be clearly seen
  4. A Voice to be heard
  5. Without God no purpose, no goal, no hope
  6. For the Will of Him who is greater than Jesus
  7. Creator and Blogger God 4 Expounding voice
  8. Mission son of God perceived as failure
  9. Experiencing God
  10. Sometimes we pray and pray and it seems like nothing happens.
  11. A Living Faith #10: Our manner of Life #2
  12. Trusting, Faith, calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #2 Calling upon the Name of God
  13. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #6 Prayer #4 Attitude
  14. Our relationship with God, Jesus and each other
  15. A time for everything
  16. Suffering
  17. Foreword to suffering
  18. Suffering – Through the Apparent Silence of God
  19. Seems no future in suffering
  20. Suffering continues
  21. God’s non answer
  22. Learning from suffering
  23. God’s promises to us in our suffering
  24. Suffering leading to joy
  25. Importuning for suffering hearts
  26. Is  God hiding His face when He is seemingly silent
  27. Looking for blessed hope
  28. God’s measure not our measure
  29. Hope for the future
  30. God’s promises
  31. God’s instruction about joy and suffering
  32. Let not sin reign in your mortal body
  33. God His reward
  34. Offer in our suffering
  35. Memories are important
  36. Choices to make in suffering
  37. Suffering continues
  38. Content with the “no” answer
  39. Miracles in our time of suffering
  40. Words from God about suffering
  41. Jesus’ answers about God’s silence
  42. Crucifixion for suffering
  43. Life with God
  44. Gods Hope and our hope
  45. God Helper and Deliverer
  46. Meaning of life
  47. Surprised by joy
  48. God is positive
  49. Disappointed with God
  50. Surprised by time in joys & sufferings
  51. Mission son of God perceived as failure
  52. Patient waiting
  53. Incomplete without the mind of God
  54. Emotional pain and emotional deadness
  55. Count your blessings
  56. Prayer has comforted us in sorrow
  57. Faith mouving mountains
  58. Intentions of an Ecclesia
  59. Church sent into the world

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  • “Pseudo-Cārvāka”… The first blog! (pseudocharvaka.wordpress.com)
    The sheer magnitude of humanity living with wild-life and greenery makes living in this country…a joy ride…!
    India is known to be a country with rich heritage, colourful culture and origin of many things the world has forgotten or chose to forget to give credit for…
    We Indians are obsessed with religion and ……of course Cricket!
    +
    As the Cārvāka phylosophy stated about 6th century BC… much has become materialistic…Life has no meanings anymore…
  • Materialism Can’t Explain Our World (str.typepad.com)
    In an article titled “The Heretic,” Andrew Ferguson tells the story of how and why atheist Thomas Nagel’s book Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature Is Almost Certainly False upset materialists who believe that most of what we experience in life is an illusion. Colors, sounds, our sense of self, free will, morals—all illusions. We’re just “molecules in motion,” “nothing but a pack of neurons.”
    +

    [Materialism] doesn’t plausibly explain the fundamental beliefs we rely on as we go about our everyday business: the truth of our subjective experience, our ability to reason, our capacity to recognize that some acts are virtuous and others aren’t. These failures, Nagel says, aren’t just temporary gaps in our knowledge, waiting to be filled in by new discoveries in science. On its own terms, materialism cannot account for brute facts. Brute facts are irreducible, and materialism, which operates by breaking things down to their physical components, stands useless before them. “There is little or no possibility,” he writes, “that these facts depend on nothing but the laws of physics.”
  • Materialism (elizabethpeacock.wordpress.com)
    At Sunday School a few weeks ago, we discussed materialism after watching a segment about the topic from the movie Beware of Christians. The movie pretty much says that having nice stuff is inherently bad. My class, however, disagreed. We decided that it depended more on why someone has what that have, because almost anything can be used to glorify God. Take an iPhone, for example. If you’re using your iPhone to post Bible verses on Instagram, or to text people to invite them to church, then isn’t it something good to have? Of course, it can easily be used in a bad way as well, as you can post inappropriate photos on Instagram, or text people discouraging things.
  • Simplistic Atheism {3}: The Bible, Miracles, & History (prodigalpaul.com)
    Every revelation of God is mediated. His revelation is always a “bottom-up” affair, rather than a top-down. Even the “voices from on high” with which he speaks in the Old testament are still using human concepts like a “voice”. God has found it fit to communicate himself through culturally-conditioned means.This being the case, the Bible never claims for itself the modernist expectation of a “holy book”. It is not a book of perfection. It is the primary means by which God meets with his people in an active sense. It’s not this perfect text where God just chills waiting for us to see him. His Presence is more of an emergent property from the within text, revealed by the Holy Spirit to the heart of faith. Is that a completely abstract idea for which there is no objective evidence? Yup. And?
    +
    God’s purpose in the miraculous is not to show off or even suspend the laws of nature. The miraculous is whenever the world as it will be breaks into the present when it otherwise “naturally” would not.
  • Hearers and Doers (joequatronejr.wordpress.com)
    Many people think their spirituality is based on how much they know about the Bible, not on how obedient they are to the commands in Scripture.
    +
    They look into the mirror of God’s Word, but they never do anything about what has been revealed to them. We must become a doer of the Word, not simply a hearer. Spirituality is not based on what we know; it’s about what we do with what we know.
    +
    If a person thinks he is spiritual just because he hears the Word of God, not because he does the Word, he is deceiving himself. It is not hearing, but doing that brings blessing and maturity in Christ.
  • Ordinary Christians and a Great Commission (challies.com)
    Christian books, books that tell us we ought to live extraordinary lives, crazy and above-and-beyond lives. Some of these authors tacitly (or even blatantly) suggest that ordinary must be synonymous with apathetic and that all these comparative and superlative terms–this-er, that-er–are synonymous with godly. But when I look to the Bible I just don’t see it.
  • Against Christian Materialism (jwwartick.com)
    I realize that many who are Christian materialists do not think that the Biblical data is conclusive. However, granting that this is their position, I would maintain that the Biblical evidence is very strong: we are more than a material body. Here, I will examine only a small collection of texts.
  • Knowing Scripture by RC Sproul (reformgrow.wordpress.com)
    If I were the devil (please, no comment), one of my first aims would be to stop folk from digging into the Bible. Knowing that it is the Word of God, teaching people to know and love and serve the God of the Word, I should do all I could to surround it with the spiritual equivalent of pits, thorn hedges and traps, to frighten people off. With smug conceit, no doubt, as if receiving a compliment, I should acknowledge that wise old Jonathan Edwards (1703- 1758) had me absolutely pegged when he wrote: The devil never would attempt to beget in persons a regard to that divine word which God has given to be the great and standing rule.. . . Would the spirit of error, in order to deceive men, beget in them a high opinion of the infallible rule, and incline them to think much of it, and be very conversant with it?

About Christadelphians

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31 Responses to Materialism, would be life, and aspirations

  1. Pingback: Increasing wealth gap of immense proportions in the Capitalist World | Marcus' s Space

  2. marcusampe says:

    Money is an object of human control, a tool expressing human will. Money is regarded as the means, human flourishing as the end. Most of people consider it holy, in the sense it will bring them the possibility to become set-apart (=holy).
    People are more interested in making money and do not see any valuable contribution in reading the Bible. While the transcendent remains shrouded in mystery, a source of power and authority that is not subject to human manipulation, money remains rather mundane.

    People prefer to have everything under control, and the Divine being which they can not see and cannot hear straight away is something which is better not to be know because otherwise it would perhaps something which could frighten them. But they do not understand that this fear of the Supreme Being is not a bad thing, and by daring to get to know Him, they will get to see that He is more valuable than any ‘dime’ of money. God His Words are more precious than Gold. Those word are not sensible for inflation and cannot be devaluated. They are of the highest possible value and will last until eternity.

    We should look froward to get to know the Word of God and use it to guide us through our life, valuing for it best, having the best bond.

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  5. Some children would give everything they have for someone who loves them and cares enough for them to set limits on their behavior and administer loving discipline when they violate those limits. That would mean more to them than all the material things in the world because it is the evidence of true love, and true love brings security and comfort. They know that someone who loves them enough to endure the unpleasantness of administering discipline will do everything in his power to take care of them, and that brings them genuine consolation. When we grasp the reality of God’s love, we will no longer seek our security in jobs, bank accounts, investments, houses, husbands, wives, friends, or health. We will rest in the Lord, free from all fear, secure in the assurance that He is going to provide all that we need and protect us from everything that will not be for our good.

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