Money and possessions are the driving force behind all activities undertaken on the face of the earth. People work tirelessly to get incomes that in turn are supposed to help them make a living and survive. Some people are employed while others have put up their businesses all with the aim of getting an income that will enable to pull through life. It has been shown that money and possessions are multi-faceted in terms of their importance because they have been known be very helpful to those having them and have also been know to be destructive to the same. This paper seeks to look into this issue critically.
Money and possessions are healthy if they contribute to the improvement of one’s standard of living such that it makes life better for a person. If the money prompts one to be mindful of the less fortunate by being generous or having a giving heart, then it can be said to be healthy. On acquisition of money, some of the ways that people show their care for the less fortunate is by giving to charity or donation to other humanitarian organizations e.g. foundations for the terminally ill and this is one sign of money being healthy.. This in addition if the source of the money is credible or genuine, the money and possessions gotten are healthy. Credible sources are those that do not involve bribery or are inconsistent with morals of the society. Examples of such sources are genuine trade of merchandise, performing services from skills that one has acquired or are inborn like hairdressing, catering services and laundry. Profits from one’s labor in the farm are also another source if what is grown is of positive influence to life. According to Nash H. Robert,1986, we are supposed to view ourselves as only stewards of money appointed by God and he further states that it should be used to bring economic justice to all. Having the money will be healthy if it prompts us towards the direction of economic justice.
On the other hand it can be viewed as negative if first and foremost it originates from the wrong sources like theft, fraud and swindling. If what we do with money encourages vices like drunkenness, prostitution and conceitedness, then the money does not have value in our lives. Money can be said to be negative if it only drives us towards materialism which according Elmer Martens is described as the eagerness to have and hold possessions for self-advantage and zeal to have a good life without regard for much else. Sometimes money only makes a person want to amass more and more of it at whatever cost. People get to a point where they have no regard for morals and norms. They do not consider the consequences of what they get themselves into as long as they make money. Their integrity is eroded and they don’t seem to care about others but only themselves.
People become too busy and lack time to be with their families or to attend to other important duties or tasks. This then leads to many negative consequences like broken families, delinquent children and increase in crime and insecurity. They also lack time to be spiritually nourished and it is no wonder that they do not even have a guilty conscience bugging them even when they are involved in heinous activities. In the first chapter of 1Kings starting from the sixth verse we see how Adonijah attempted a coup against his father King David which led to his death. This happened because David had neglected his duty as a father. He did not have time to discipline his son because of his busy schedule. This contributed to the hard headedness of his son and eventual death. The neglect is not only by members of families but even by leaders who are entrusted with the leadership of nations, it involves chief executives of companies and heads organizations. Once the leaders embrace the negative aspects of money then many undesirable consequences follow them.
One important aspect about money is that it cannot buy everything that life has to offer. Therefore it cannot bring ultimate fulfillment because money and possessions are not all there is in life. It is said that money can buy a bed but cannot buy sleep, it can buy food but cannot buy the appetite that one would need to partake of it. In addition one can go to all the amusement parks or do so much to amuse themselves but can never buy happiness. A home cannot be bought but a house can.(Money Matters)All these serve to show that money and possessions are not tantamount to fulfillment. Money cannot also buy peace and tranquility yet without these two people cannot be joyful and happy. Many rich people have been seen to be suffering from depression and a lot of their money goes to psychologists, counselors and other therapists. Some work themselves so much that they often abuse substances which become detrimental to their health.
When we place our love and value in money many destructive things are bound to happen. Love for the money makes people do anything for the sake of getting it. This is what makes people become greedy for money and be very egocentric. The Bible in I Timothy 6:11 the love of money is said to be the root of all evil. It makes people get tempted to do all sorts of things both good and evil with the main aim of amassing wealth. Some of the bad activities one engages oneself in are for instance usury where people get their wealth from charging exorbitant interests on loans. They gain from the loss of other people. This love of money also pushes people to bribery where they give or receive money from injustices done on others. For a person to accept or give a bribe, they have become so self-centered that they only think about themselves and have no feelings for other people or what they are going through. Other activities that are done out of love of money are stealing , extortion and fraud. These activities involve deceit and violence. The perpetrators love themselves so much that they even spread their love to other people’s property and want to take it forcefully so that they have more and leave those that they have stolen from with less. Love for money makes people to turn to workaholics who will not have time for their families or for others which results in many broken families and hurt children. They do not get time to rest their tired bodies which results in health problems that cost them that money that they work so hard for. It can otherwise be viewed as a vicious cycle of problems. Money is neutral and only becomes dangerous when people love and value it more than anything else in their lives.
Materialism is affecting Americas people’s culture negatively because today many people are only interested in their own interests and therefore and are doing things without considering what harm it would have on others. Abortion has been legalized in all American states on the grounds of an individual’s right to choice. The individuals, who in this case are women, fight to satisfy their own selfish desires without having an iota of thought or consideration for the life that is growing in her womb. Moral decadence is on the rise because what such a statute does is encourage immorality or sex before marriage since in the event of pregnancy, an abortion will be sought. The law allowing for abortion makes it easy for the people in this situation because the clinics that are to undertake it are also open and available. This is an income generating project for the medical professionals who were the ones who were responsible for proposing the legalization of abortion.
There has been the tendency of people to do what they feel like doing irrespective of the society’s expectations. Another example of such a situation is homosexuality and lesbianism. This is one behavior that has hit America and seems like it has been widely accepted because these gays even pose for pictures and have themselves featured in magazines. The norm expects for people of different genders to only get involved in hetero-sexual relations. The decay has even crept into religious congregations. The Anglican Church even sought for permission to conduct gay marriages yet this is something that is condemned in the Bible, which should be their standard, and leaves so much to be desired.
In the technological field we find people who come up with ‘viruses’, otherwise known as hackers. They hack and at the same time develop the software that is supposed to provide the ‘cure for the computers. The objective of getting into such a business is to earn money from providing the solutions. These ‘hackers’ do not care about the damages that follow the whole hacking process. They do not take into consideration that some of the organizations that are affected by these viruses are hospitals, some of whom are in life threatening conditions. Losing vital records of such patients only slows down the nursing procedures because the hospital staff has to go back to the patient to record his or her details. They are very selfish and only think about how to enrich themselves at the expense of other people.
America has been cumbered with scandals of fraud where senior executives have been involved in trying to enrich themselves through deceit. The media has also contributed and also shows how widespread moral decay has spread. Soap operas are acted showing scenes that are undesirable such as those of people having extra-marital affairs, affairs involving a mother and a son in law or even affairs between closely related relatives. These are portrayed as okay and the society seems to have lost its control on such. The music videos and their lyrics are today filled with filth and yet they are shown openly even in advertisements.
Advertisers today are cashing in on using photos of people who are almost nude. Magazines that have obscene topics or subjects of discussion are the ones selling like hot cake. These advertisers do not think about what influence their magazines is like to pass on to children because all that matters to them is the money that fattens their accounts. Money and possessions have made Americans to run away from responsibilities that involve other people’s lives. The elderly are taken to homes and left under the care of other people because their relatives consider themselves very busy, yet their lack of time emanates from the search of money. Money is good if it makes us more concerned of the less fortunate or incapable. For it to be healthy we have to be ready to let go of some of it for noble courses.
The Holy Bible. New International Version.
Robert Audi, Moral knowledge and ethical character
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Ronald. H. Nash. Poverty and Wealth: Why Socialism doesn’t Work. Richardson, Texas.
Schneider, J. R. The Good of Affluence: Seeking God in a Culture of Wealth. Eerdmans Publishing Co.2002
Money Matters. Retrieved from http://www.crown.org/popup.asp?id=394 on28th may 2008