I was raised a Catholic. I went to Catholic grade school and high school. But I am not really a Catholic now. I have trouble with organized religions, believing faith can be corrupted once it is institutionalized. I have some atheists in my family and I tend toward the rational myself. I look at my faith as a personal thing that I don’t care to discuss. But I do not put down believers or their churches. I accept that everyone is free to make that choice and believe what he or she wants.
Where I take issue is when a religion proclaims itself to be the only true one, with its followers somehow better than everyone else on earth. When your religious beliefs make you think you are superior and the only people worthy of salvation, when you are extreme or fundamentalist in your beliefs, then I have a problem with you and your faith.
It’s the fundamentalists in any religion that cause the problems and disturb the peace of the modern world. It is fundamentalists that make the world a dangerous place.
I recently read a thread on Facebook about Bill Maher and his blanket disapproval of Muslims, with most people saying that it is unfair to condemn an entire religion based on its extreme followers.
As an aside, one commentator mentioned fundamentalist capitalism.* A light bulb went on over my head. I had never come across this phrase before. It explains so much of what is wrong with the world and why we have moral lapses in the finance industry.
I am not a Bible quoter usually, but the Good Book does say, “For the love of money is the root of all evil” and it has been pointed out to me that the quote does not indict money, per se, but the love of it. The extreme love of money is fundamentalist capitalism.
When all your decisions are driven solely by money. When you hoard money. When your morals and ethics are compromised because of money. When you think of money above all else. When money is the god you serve. This is fundamentalist capitalism.
On this Father’s Day I think of my father who had a sixth-grade education and worked for most of his adult life in the mailroom of a pharmaceutical factory. He was able to raise a family. He was a valued employee. He was able to retire.
Sure, those were different times. Was fundamentalist capitalism as rampant then? There have always been money-worshippers, but I think fundamentalist capitalism is one source of our problems today.
It’s why there’s Wall Street corruption. It’s why the pay disparity between CEOs and workers is so massive. This in turn has led to many people feeling disenfranchised and angry.
I am not certain of many things, but of this I am sure: the dollar is a false god.
Peace, love, and solace
*Thanks to Helmut Heiligenmann for introducing me to the phrase “fundamentalist capitalism”