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The Rejection of Materialism
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  1. #1
    bfp
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    The Rejection of Materialism

    I know this will drive some of you nuts. Discuss.....

    The rejection of materialism
    Dennis Prager

    August 23, 2005

    The primary reason Karl Marx hated religion -- specifically Judaism and Christianity -- was that he regarded it as the "opiate of the masses."

    This attitude has permeated all leftist views of religion since Marx: Religion keeps people from making revolutions to materially better their lives. This is the source of the animosity toward religion on the Left (including the "religious Left" -- leftists who change Judaism or Christianity to fit their values).

    To understand this, one must understand the essence of Marxism and its offshoots.

    The Marxist worldview is based on a materialist understanding of life. In popular jargon, "materialism" means an excessive love of material things. But philosophically, "materialism" means that the only reality is matter, that there is no reality beyond the material world.

    That is why, for example, to most leftists it is a great wrong that amid Latin American poverty, the church would build expensive cathedrals. In their view, all that gold and treasure should be spent on the poor. To a person with Judeo-Christian values, on the other hand, while feeding the hungry is a primary value, there are many other values, including the need to feed the soul. Moreover, the fact that many of the world's poor people would prefer having a cathedral to distributing whatever money selling such edifices would provide has disturbed the Left since Marx. To a materialist, the notion that poor people would place non-material concerns over material ones is absurd, if not perverse.

    The recent best seller "What's the Matter with Kansas?: How Conservatives Won the Heart of America," by liberal author Thomas Frank, perfectly illustrates this point. The theme of his book is that Americans of a lower economic status who vote Republican do so against their own (economic) interests. When I dialogued with the personable Mr. Frank on my radio show, he seemed incapable of understanding that many millions of Americans consider the Left's attempt to redefine marriage, for example, more important than the alleged economic advantages of voting Democrat.

    Because religious people have values that transcend the material, Marx called religion the opiate of the masses: It keeps the masses from making social revolution by keeping them happy with non-material concerns and non-material rewards.

    The further left one goes, the more significant social revolution becomes. It does for two reasons:

    First, devoid of religious meaning in their lives, for many on the Left, social change -- or as it is known today, "social justice," the term for left-wing social change -- has become their substitute religion and provider of meaning.

    Second, given that the only reality is material, any denial of materialism's supremacy disturbs the Left. The true leftist objects to the notion of poorer people leading happy lives. For the heirs of Marx, which is what the Left is, the "good" is not so much a moral, let alone a spiritual, category, as it is an economic one. Hence the left's preoccupation with economic inequality, taxing the rich, etc.

    Now, of course, Judeo-Christian values care about material progress. In fact, it was the Bible that gave the idea of progress to the world. It was the Jewish prophets of the Old Testament who first enunciated the divine obligation to care for the poor and the helpless. But such concerns were never the only Judeo-Christian values, and the "poor" in biblical nomenclature were truly destitute, not at all analogous to those classified as "poor" in America. Overwhelmingly, the "poor" of America live in a home with two or more rooms per person and air conditioning, and own a car, refrigerator, stove, clothes washer and dryer and microwave. They have two color televisions, cable or satellite TV reception, a VCR or DVD player and a stereo, and obtain medical care (even without health insurance). Nearly half actually own their own homes.

    The Left regards itself as morally elevated because of its preoccupation with materialism. Yet religious Americans who reject materialism are far more likely than left-leaning parents in the same socio-economic condition to sacrifice materially in order to have one parent be a full-time parent. And Judeo-Christian values explain why a religious woman is far more likely to sacrifice materially by giving birth to, rather than aborting, an unplanned child.

    Even freedom is a higher value to one who holds Judeo-Christian values. That is why the materialist leftist world so often celebrated and continues to celebrate communist regimes. Those regimes may have rendered their societies prisons, but they (at least in theory) reduced material inequality.

    That is why the founders of America, the place where Judeo-Christian values have flourished, inscribed a verse from the Torah, the primary source of Judeo-Christian values, on the Liberty Bell: "Proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof."

    Freedom, too, has no material value.


    ©2005 Creators Syndicate, Inc.

  2. #2
    Assrapey Sharkman PETA's Avatar
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    "The rejection of materialism"

    fuck that!






  3. #3
    Luxe
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    haha

    no matter how simple and minimal we make our lives

    there's no way one can totally reject materialism

    unless you live in a forest and your woman doesn't shave and you weave everything you own out of hemp

    (to summarize without all the big words)

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    And how exactly does a big ornate cathedral "feed the soul"? I really want to know why that is better than a more simple edifice. and why it is worth defending in such a manner.


    I mean, c'mon.


    your stuff is always good for a chuckle, bfp.
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  5. #5
    Assrapey Sharkman PETA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Big Andy
    And how exactly does a big ornate cathedral "feed the soul"? I really want to know why that is better than a more simple edifice. and why it is worth defending in such a manner.


    I mean, c'mon.


    your stuff is always good for a chuckle, bfp.
    I don't think the article was saying its better to build a gilded cathedral while the poor starve than it is to feed them...

    Here's what he said
    Quote Originally Posted by Prager
    That is why, for example, to most leftists it is a great wrong that amid Latin American poverty, the church would build expensive cathedrals. In their view, all that gold and treasure should be spent on the poor. To a person with Judeo-Christian values, on the other hand, while feeding the hungry is a primary value, there are many other values, including the need to feed the soul.
    he's saying, "of course we must feed the poor - but there is value in the cathedral a well"

    How do ornate buildings built to worship feed the soul? Ever been in one?
    Last edited by PETA; 08-25-05 at 12:35 PM.

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    I swear the lack of balance among both sides is ridiculous.
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  7. #7
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    ive been in a parisian cathedral

    i think it lends a sense of humility to people worshipping in it

    they do without

    but praise that which they cherish

    not that paris is lacking anything, i'm talking about latin america

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    Foolish Bastard
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    And to a Christian, they hsould get more spiritual food from their acts and deeds than they ever should from stepping foot in a building. I mean, Christ was against the Church and the corruption that comes along with it.

    The point he's trying to make is valid, but it's not Christian by ANY means.

    Quote Originally Posted by xian
    I don't think the article was saying its better to build a gilded cathedral while the poor starve than it is to feed them...

    Here's what he saidhe's saying, "of course we must feed the poor - but there is value in the cathedral a well"

    How do ornate buildings built to worship feed the soul? Ever been in one?
    True, without falsehood, certain and most true, that which is above is the same as that which is below, and that which is below is the same as that which is above, for the performance of miracles of the One Thing. And as all things are from the One, by the meditation of One, so all things have their birth from this One Thing by adaptation.

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    Hindus, Buddhists, Catholics, Zorastrians, and a slew of other religious school reject materialism on a daily basis. For some sects of Hinduism, it's a mandate of the school that materialism be rejected, it's a mandate for any Buddhist monk, and is a basis of the Buddha's teaching. ANYONE can totally reject materialism, to say that it's not possible is foolish.

    Quote Originally Posted by Luxe
    haha

    no matter how simple and minimal we make our lives

    there's no way one can totally reject materialism

    unless you live in a forest and your woman doesn't shave and you weave everything you own out of hemp

    (to summarize without all the big words)
    True, without falsehood, certain and most true, that which is above is the same as that which is below, and that which is below is the same as that which is above, for the performance of miracles of the One Thing. And as all things are from the One, by the meditation of One, so all things have their birth from this One Thing by adaptation.

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    This article is so stupid it makes my head hurt, it's nothing by a blind assertive attack on the left in order to make the right feel better about their stance.

    Here's why.

    The article is called, or at least the post calls it, the rejectin of materialism. But there is little explanation of matieralism, and no argument against it at all, it's just assertion that leftists ARE materialists and don't understand.

    Next the word materialist is not even a good word to describe the philosophy the article is trying to explain, because it so easily confused with its popular meaning. The more proper word for the philosophy described is "empiricism", or a rejection of anything not percievable by the empirical senses.

    The article tries to point the finger at the left, assuming that leftists are empiricists, or rather, the auther prefers matericalists because of its popular derogatory connotation which makes the term more attacking. Most leftists, most people are not empiricists, in fact, outright religiousness and even agnosticism are more common than atheism, both of which are incompatible with 'materialism'.


    Because religious people have values that transcend the material, Marx called religion the opiate of the masses
    If the author disagreed with Marx, that would be fine, but this proves that the auther doesn't even understand Marx. This sentace is totally wrong and not Marx's argument. Religion is an opiate of the masses when it encourages people to accept their proplems rather than trying to change them, instead holding onto the belief that there is another better life waiting for them, so they live their lives in misery waiting for something which, according to a non-Christian, may not even exist!
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  11. #11
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    In the past, when a Cathedral was built, it was important for the community because it provided jobs during the construction whihc usually took several decades. It allowed individuals to dedicate their lives to their religous goals, and in turn provided them with spiritual food.

    Why do Shintos, Buddhists, and Taoists build their elaborate shrines? Why are elaborate mosques built? These structures serve a purpose, and unfortunately that purpose has been forgotten by the Western world.

    It's worth defending because it provides a number of people with a shelter, a place to worship, a place to be unto themselves and in touch with a higher source. Communion with the higher or Absolute is important, and having a structure that is dedicated to that pursuit is worth defending.

    Quote Originally Posted by Big Andy
    And how exactly does a big ornate cathedral "feed the soul"? I really want to know why that is better than a more simple edifice. and why it is worth defending in such a manner.


    I mean, c'mon.


    your stuff is always good for a chuckle, bfp.
    True, without falsehood, certain and most true, that which is above is the same as that which is below, and that which is below is the same as that which is above, for the performance of miracles of the One Thing. And as all things are from the One, by the meditation of One, so all things have their birth from this One Thing by adaptation.

  12. #12
    Assrapey Sharkman PETA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by question
    And to a Christian, they hsould get more spiritual food from their acts and deeds than they ever should from stepping foot in a building. I mean, Christ was against the Church and the corruption that comes along with it.

    The point he's trying to make is valid, but it's not Christian by ANY means.
    The "Church" is not a building its a community.

    And I'd agree that he opposed a bureaucracy of the preisthood - but that doesn't mean he thought a place of worship was stupid and that we shouldn't have them.

    Prager is Jewish.

  13. #13
    Assrapey Sharkman PETA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by question
    Hindus, Buddhists, Catholics, Zorastrians, and a slew of other religious school reject materialism on a daily basis. For some sects of Hinduism, it's a mandate of the school that materialism be rejected, it's a mandate for any Buddhist monk, and is a basis of the Buddha's teaching. ANYONE can totally reject materialism, to say that it's not possible is foolish.
    if everyone rejected "materialism" as some of those monks do we'd all starve -

  14. #14
    Assrapey Sharkman PETA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by question
    In the past, when a Cathedral was built, it was important for the community because it provided jobs during the construction whihc usually took several decades. It allowed individuals to dedicate their lives to their religous goals, and in turn provided them with spiritual food.
    good point

    Quote Originally Posted by question
    Why do Shintos, Buddhists, and Taoists build their elaborate shrines? Why are elaborate mosques built? These structures serve a purpose, and unfortunately that purpose has been forgotten by the Western world.
    I disagree - its not lost - but it has suffered. Prager blames Marxist thought for this injury.

    Quote Originally Posted by question
    It's worth defending because it provides a number of people with a shelter, a place to worship, a place to be unto themselves and in touch with a higher source. Communion with the higher or Absolute is important, and having a structure that is dedicated to that pursuit is worth defending.
    good point

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by question
    Hindus, Buddhists, Catholics, Zorastrians, and a slew of other religious school reject materialism on a daily basis. For some sects of Hinduism, it's a mandate of the school that materialism be rejected, it's a mandate for any Buddhist monk, and is a basis of the Buddha's teaching. ANYONE can totally reject materialism, to say that it's not possible is foolish.
    i was talking from a personally realistic point of view as a capitalist american in denton tx

    what you said is obvious and i didn't feel the need to point that out

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