Idolatry, Consumerism, Search for Meaning, Cultivating Desires, Enjoyment in God
Consumerism has evolved into a lifestyle in which people seek to find meaning in life through shopping and acquiring material possessions. Corporations like Apple use advertising to make buyers feel like they always need to have the latest and greatest in order to be happy, while websites like Amazon have made it possible to shop endlessly without even having to leave the couch. For many, these consumeristic habits have become commonplace, but there are potential dangers to this kind of lifestyle as it relates to a relationship with God. We are trained by clever marketing and advertisements to believe that material goods are the key to happiness—if you just buy our new product, your life will have meaning. One of the biggest dangers of consumerism is that it encourages people to shop not just for pleasure, but for meaning. Now more than ever, people are searching to discover the purpose and meaning of their lives, and big businesses are more than happy to have their products become that meaning. It is true that material possessions may grant temporary happiness, but they can never provide a person with a lasting and satisfactory sense of fulfillment. Consumerism is also dangerous because it acts as a distraction from that which is truly important: loving God and caring for those in need. It is easy to spend money on new clothes or a new phone, but the more we spend money on ourselves, the more difficult it becomes to give our attention and resources to our neighbors—to people who do not have the luxury of shopping for pleasure. This is why it is important to cultivate a desire for God and a genuine desire to help others above our desire for material possessions. By training ourselves to spend money on others, generosity gradually becomes a habit over time. This is by no means an easy task, but it is an important one for anyone who claims that they love God and their neighbors.
"Divine Over Matter: The Idolatry of Consumerism,"
Say Something Theological: The Student Journal of Theological Studies: Vol. 3:
1, Article 6.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.lmu.edu/saysomethingtheological/vol3/iss1/6