The Straw Man
Originally posted by frailty
I personally think that materialism will run its course in due time.
But what do we mean by materialism? Do we mean this
1. Belief that only physical things truly exist. Materialists claim (or promise) to explain every apparent instance of a mental phenomenon as a
feature of some physical object.
This is the classic and most accurate definition of materialism. Materialism is a school of philosophy. I am a materialist.
Or do we mean something like these
2. Preoccupation with or emphasis on material objects, comforts, and considerations, with a disinterest in or rejection of spiritual, intellectual,
or cultural values [my bolding]. - Dictionary.com
3. The theory or attitude that physical well-being and worldly possessions constitute the greatest good and highest value in life. - American
4. A great or excessive regard for worldly concerns. - American Heritage Dictionary
Materialism is a philosophical position held by very few ordinary men and women. They might behave
as if there were no more to life than goods
and chattels, getting and spending; but if you asked them about it, most would tell you that they valued a great many things in life above material
goods and pleasures. Among these 'higher things', they might mention God (or gods), love, karma
, freedom, hope, spirituality, kindness to
fellow creatures, truth, beauty... lots of things, actually. The list goes on and on.
You can't call people who believe in such things materialists, no matter how they act. You can
accuse them of acting at variance with their
So materialism itself is a straw man. It may be a symptom
of what is wrong with us or with society. But if you're looking to find the
of all the trouble and wickedness in the world, you'd better look elsewhere.
Now the OP would put the blame on a group of rich, powerful conspirators who manipulate humanity to their own ends. This is, of course, a conspiracy
theory -- a fantasy. A moment's reflection will show us that it cannot possibly be true.
I, on the other hand, put the blame on our human nature. If there is a solution to the troubles of the world, I believe that it will come from
recognizing this, taking the blame (if there is any blame to be taken) for ourselves and our actions, and moving forward from there.
Unfortunately, we can't do this until we rid ourselves of one of the greatest handicaps we suffer as a species. That handicap is religion. Sadly, it
will not go quietly.
Look: how do we get from the first definition (which is a purely technical one) to the second set of definitions? We get there -- or rather, we are
hijacked and taken there -- by that ole debil religion
(Materialism) is incompatible with Islam, Hinduism, some schools of Buddhism and almost all forms of Christianity.
It is the religious who claim that materialism is hostile to morality. Theirs is a mindset that views atheists as wicked, amoral creatures and which
insists there can be no morality without religion. The truth is very different, as anyone whose vision has not been fogged by faith can easily see.
Religion is a priori
immoral, since it is based on two lies: that the thing being worshipped protects its followers and that it answers
prayers. Given this foundation in falsehood, it is hardly surprising that religion has done far more damage to humanity than anything else --
certainly materialism -- ever has.
'Faith users' (I think that's a fairly nonpejorative term, don't you?) who wish to take issue with any of the above statements concerning religion
are welcome to do so -- but not in this thread
. Start another thread and u2u me, or direct me to an existing thread the same way, and we'll
talk there. This thread is about something else; let's keep it like that.