Christianity vs. Materialism

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A Study in Materialism and it's antidote…


Often people attempt to live their lives backwards; they try to have more things, or more money, in order to do more of what they want, so they will be happier. The way it actually works is the reverse. ~Margaret Young


Jon Winslow


Just two weeks ago I was in Radio Shack looking at a pair of head phones I wanted. Though merely forty dollars, I couldn't at first bring myself to buy them. Why? Because that was money I could give to God, and allow for Him to use it for His glory. I didn't buy them. But a mere week later I did. What was this battle that was going on inside me? It was the battle between materialism, and my faith. Reasoning sent me back and forth, changing my mind dozens of times. "Should I return God's money directly to Him and allow Him to bless others with it, or should I bless myself?" "Do I really need head phones?" "Or do I want them?" "What is the Biblical standard on issues like this?" "Is there a right or wrong decision to make here?" "I will use the headphones to bring me closer to God, so that makes it ok." The battle continued to be waged on. Materialism's heart can be summed up by the bumper sticker, "he who dies with the most toys wins." Using this as a guideline we will be measuring both Materialism and Christianity to see which one serves us most. We will examine the three most basic and common measurements we use everyday to answer the question; will buying the head phones, or giving the money to God serve me better? These proverbial yardsticks are, how we do feel about it, what are the time considerations, and the most important, how much will it cost me?

Intro Materialism

Materialism is much more than we often perceive it to be. "Put bluntly, the view is just this: Everything that actually exists is material, or physical.[i]" What does this practically mean? Materialists do not believe in a god, a spiritual realm, or the supernatural. They believe that the incorporeal world is dependent on the corporal world. For example if the body did not exist, the mind, spirit, or soul, wouldn't either. This further leads to a world where if mental awareness did not exist, then ideals such as love, or hate, or thoughts, or any other non-physical entity simply would not exist due to a lack of perception. "Esse est percipi," George Berkeley's famous dictum, "to be is to be perceived" befits materialism quite well. Materialism takes empiricism to its extreme, where it leads one to live in world where no moral absolutes exist, due to a lack of anything that would be immutable. Materialism lacks a foundation from which to build moral absolutes. As such, the natural alternative would be to go off whatever mankind, a society, or even independent individuals are currently supporting. This type of society, seeing no moral absolutes, simply invests in itself. Why? Because there is no motivation, no higher power, no real reason to help out anyone but you. Also since there is no eternal soul, there is no afterlife, since once the body is dead, the mind and soul die, there is no reason to live for anything but the here and now. As such you would pursue that which would give you the most temporal pleasure. In a Materialistic would you would work your hardest so that you could earn the most "toys."


Materialism takes a definite stance in choosing between giving to God or keeping it all for ourselves. Why give the money away, when you could entertain yourself, honor God by listening to good CD's and tapes. All these arguments are not focused on whether I need them or not; instead it hammers upon the question, "do I want them." Materialism then goes on to offer all the good reasons why I should invest my forty dollars in the headphones. On the other hand consider giving the money over to God. To a materialist, that is crazy because God doesn't exist. The only reason you would give money to anyone, is if it would return to you...
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