September 3, 2009

“As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his folly.” (Proverbs 26:11)
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Just read a fantastic piece in the New York Times on money, faith, and the economic crisis by the British philosopher Simon Critchley. He writes:
It is an understandable misunderstanding of capitalism to declare that it is a materialism that consists of a voracious desire for things. I would argue that we love the money that enables us to buy those things for it reaffirms our faith and restores the only theological basis we have for our trust in the world. Money is our metaphysics. In that God we trust. And when trust breaks down, as it has done so dramatically in the last year, then people experience something close to a crisis of faith.

Understandably missing from Critchley's argument is a proper acknowledgment of the Biblical condemnation of the love of money. We live in a time of rampant idolatry. As Critchley notes, in the Western mind, religion and economics are inseparable. Despite the opinions of dewey-eyed skeptics, religion is still alive and well, but its content has noticably changed for the worse. We like to think of public (i.e. secular) space in which faith and superstition have been evacuated, but something entirely different is going on:
it is not so much that the money-changers have desecrated the temple, but that the only temples where we can worship are places where money changes hands in some perverse parody of a religious service.
It makes me wonder whether Critchley has every visited a mega-church, where often as not there isn't much room for parody.
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And finally, I must share another electrifying tv appearance from St. Vincent, who performs "Marrow" (from her brilliant new album Actor) live on Jimmy Kimmel.

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