Tuesday, 7 September 2010

What materialism is good materialism?

According to Philip Johnson, through school, college or university many in the West have been given “maps of understanding” where God has been “left off” the map. There is no place for the spiritual in academia (and little in the media). This is what Os Guinness found, who said his education “gave no place to the faith that was vital to him”. So today many, like Os Guinness, may be unsatisfied with us, really searching for meaning which is not found in their place of study/work or in their culture.

For Christians the danger is that we too easily fit in to our society and leave God off the map. We are tempted to do things without investing their true, and highest, meaning in them – studying, working, politics, economics, technology, writing, reading, having fun – it all ought to be done in worship, as we know an inner joy in God through Christ, and seek to live in God’s world God’s way, in response to the gift of Jesus Christ.

In short, here’s the challenge: Godless materialism can not have its way. Its goals and its various manifestations must not become our idols. Only God-worshipping materialism is right – a celebration of the true physical blessings God has given us, turning these blessings into worship. Yes, worship: whether this means sharing physical things, putting them to use for God, not simply for man, or finding satisfaction in using or enjoying them, knowing God is the giver of all good things, and will provide even more satisfying and joyful physical things in heaven.

If you sympathise with this point of view (or do not) it would be useful to hear your thoughts, and perhaps how you have rallied your body to worship of God in your work/play/social life/family life/etc.

Quotes from The Right Questions: Truth, Meaning & Public Debate by Phillip E Johnson, which I don't always agree with, but is usefully thought-provoking.

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