punchy line

...and he (Simon Peter) saw the linen wrappings lying there, and the face-cloth ... not lying with the linen wrappings, but rolled up in a place by itself. - Jn 20: 6-7
-Jn 20: 6-7

Friday, May 29, 2015

Why I Believe Greed is the Most Pervasive Sin of Our Culture Today

As a Silicon Valley resident I have a front row seat to some of the greatest financial disparities in the country. CEOs commute to work in their luxury cars on the same freeways as their vanpooling, underpaid workers.  Here, some live as kings while the majority are exploited.  Greed's theater.  It's a world surely envisioned by the enemy and sculpted by human greed.  

But even if I didn’t live here, per se, judging by how it’s going in other places of the country, I would argue that in many aspects of our culture, greed is the most pervasive sin of our time.  Here’s why:

Greed keeps people quiet, noses to the grindstone…if those people are lucky enough to have jobs, that is.  Are you sad the Millenials still can’t find work?  I’m sure our parents aren't happy about it either, but it perplexes me that so few have vocally protested.  But then again, they seem to be the only ones working, if not in the best financial positions of their lives… and they’re staying very, very quiet about it.  

Greed leads to corruption in schools, churches and charities.  Why is Fr. Liturgical Dance driving a luxury car while only one percent of his parishioners can afford his parish’s private school?  Why is Catholic School now for the wealthy (is this really what we want, Church)?  Why do charities and universities have six and seven-figure salaried leadership? There sure is a lot of money to be made as an administrator of a tax-exempt organization.  Speaking of taxes...

Greed leads to the misuse of your taxes.  I live in a state with almost the highest taxes on absolutely everything.  Where does it go?  Oh to things like this, this, and this.  Thanks for nothing, Sacramento. 

Greed leads to the spreading and acceptance of more greed.  Is it not in the interest of the greedy to lower social mores and encourage greed in everyone else? Trust me, even the poor can become greedy.   We’ll march off and get our birth control, kill our babies, kill our own bodies so long as the uppers of society will keep us employed.  Don’t forget to tell us our decisions are somehow ‘empowering.’  The manufacturers of liberation are sure profiteering as the serfs buy their propaganda.

Greed insulates against having to feel any responsibility for anyone else and fools you into thinking you are just being practical.  Money Insulation.  This is the condition wherein plenty of comforts can be purchased to distract you away from truly caring about the state of the world.  What else do you need? Just a 401K, right?  Practical.  Just like, say, building barns to store surplus wealth.  Oh, wait…(and no, I'm not saying retirement plans are evil).

Greed delays true maturity.  Why do people put off marriage, kids, and growing up, i.e. real life?   Many may be desperately trying to establish themselves, which is honorable.  However, there is a wisdom in starting a family “before it’s too late” because of its positive effect on you. 

The family is where you learn to sacrifice, share, to let go of worldly treasure and of course, raise kids.   Starting young-ish means you are not too old or too set in your ways to change.  Many who delay starting families even for practical reasons (see above) inadvertently risk never growing up, and getting stuck pursuing prosperity as an end unto itself (i.e. greed). 

Good ol' Rover.
Greed replaces children with “stuff.” It can kill the family before it ever gets started. You’ll have lots of stuff though!  And pets! And lots of stuff for the pets!  You get the picture - and it’s probably a framed one of the Boston terrier on the mantle.

Greed makes you compete for handouts instead of fixing the system.  All of my friends who voted for Obama did so based on just one thing, “He’s going to get us free health care.”  I sympathize.  When your rent increases hundreds of dollars in one month, as it is like to in the Bay Area, you are desperate not to die.  Free healthcare should be something the Church provides… justly.  But we don’t, do we, Church? 

And now Generation Desperation will elect whatever corrupt politician promises them what they need FOR FREE.  This politician or series of them, will stay in office until the Church finally figures out that if we don’t fix problem of the uninsured, someone else will, and it will probably come at the expense and persecution of the sitting-on-our-hands Church.

So to sum up, greed is the most pervasive sin of our time because it is responsible for an era where a working class remains silent in the face of injustice, of over-inflated salaries for administrators, misuse of taxes, lowering of morals, indifference, immaturity, materialism as a substitution for children, and it keeps people clawing for handouts and electing corrupt politicians who promise to fulfill their needs for FREE.   (Side note: murder-for-hire organizations such as Planned Parenthood are thriving in this environment.) 

Hmmm…sounds like my generation.  Have I missed anything?

What the Holy Father has to say about greed.


  1. Well said! Nice original insights.

    The greed demons are having a field day on us. Its not even close. I hate greed, and you are right even poor people can get greedy. And greed is can even infiltrate intellectual life, relationships, spiritual life, pretty much any sort of human relation.

    1. Very true. There was so much more I could have included especially about how greed affects Christians, even "good" Christians, but that seemed like a completely separate post - or novel.:-) Thanks for reading!

  2. As I read this, I find that I keep wondering whether envy is an equally pervasive and destructive vice. And one that sees greed when it may not even be existent in all cases.

    1. Not sure what you're implying, if anything, but did you know that greed is a form of envy? It's the "lust" of the eyes - in the sense that the greedy constantly compare themselves to those who they perceive as having more and they "envy" the blessings even of those worse off than themselves as though they alone are entitled to material comforts. Check out this article here:http://www.catholic.com/magazine/articles/the-sin-of-greed. Thanks for reading!

  3. Hello Marissa. Greed is neither the most pervasive nor the most destructive sin of our day. As always, the root of all sin, most pervasive and destructive, is pride. The most destructively pervasive manifestation of pride today is gender ideology. it is ripping families apart and seeks to destroy the Church. Greed is a distant third. It is interesting that the French Revolutionaries, and their Communist successors also thought that the main sin against humanity was greed. This allowed them an excuse to engage in envy and wrath in order to correct the sins of the greedy. But at root, they were the spawn of satan, and as his children it was pride that motivates all behavior.

    1. I think it is very unwise and counterproductive to debate which sin is the more devastating. All of the deadly sins [pride, envy, anger, avarice, lust, gluttony, sloth] are destructive of our human nature / community.

      Of course, avarice / greed is widely practiced. Consider this: 1 Timothy 6:10: "The love of money is the root of all evils": -- Ignatius Bible RSV Catholic Edition [same translation as the King James Version]

      All sin involves, at its root, some form / degree of pride. I agree that gender ideology is growing and is a threat. Yet, the seven deadly sins are spiritually / organically connected to each other: they spring from the same fallen nature. We need to support each other in humbly identifying, resisting, and rooting them all out with the help of God's Grace---first in ourselves and then elsewhere.

      Marissa, great blog. This was my first read. Thank you for your courage, faithfulness, and perseverance. Keep close to God and keep upo the good work

  4. Yes, I have seen this for years. I have seen it and it will hurt everybody, it hurts the rich (for obvious reasons) the middle class (we work our tails off for everything...striving to death for stuff...like expensive colleges etc), it also hurts the poor, the material wealth and ideals are tough to attain for middle class folks, it is difficult for the poor, but maybe middle class way of life is not something toward striving for. Not everyone needs a gingerbread house and a quarter acre lawn and two cars, phones etc. I see hamsters on wheels and family life is destroyed. I have years experience watching this work in the culture. I have also worked (for all the wrong reasons) in a day care for a few months...don't even get me started.

  5. Reasons to Believe in Jesus

    Reasons to believe Jesus is alive in a new life with God can be found in quotes from two prominent atheists and a biology textbook.

    Thus the passion of man is the reverse of that of Christ, for man loses himself as man in order that God may be born. But the idea of God is contradictory and we lose ourselves in vain. Man is a useless passion. (Jean-Paul Sartre, Being and Nothingness: A Phenomenological Essay on Ontology, New York: Washington Square Press, p. 784)

    Among the traditional candidates for comprehensive understanding of the relation of mind to the physical world, I believe the weight of evidence favors some from of neutral monism over the traditional alternatives of materialism, idealism, and dualism. (Thomas Nagel, Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature Is Almost Certainly False, location 69 of 1831)

    And certain properties of the human brain distinguish our species from all other animals. The human brain is, after all, the only known collection of matter that tries to understand itself. To most biologists, the brain and the mind are one and the same; understand how the brain is organized and how it works, and we’ll understand such mindful functions as abstract thought and feelings. Some philosophers are less comfortable with this mechanistic view of mind, finding Descartes’ concept of a mind-body duality more attractive. (Neil Campbell, Biology, 4th edition, p. 776 )

    Sartre speaks of the "passion of man," not the passion of Christians. He is acknowledging that all religions east and west believe there is a transcendental reality and that perfect fulfillment comes from being united with this reality after we die. He then defines this passion with a reference to Christian doctrine which means he is acknowledging the historical reasons for believing in Jesus. He does not deny God exists. He is only saying the concept of God is contradictory. He then admits that since life ends in the grave, it has no meaning.

    From the title of the book, you can see that Nagel understands that humans are embodied sprits and that the humans soul is spiritual. He says, however, that dualism and idealism are "traditional" alternatives to materialism. Dualism and idealism are just bright ideas from Descartes and Berkeley. The traditional alternative to materialism is monism. According to Thomas Aquinas unity is the transcendental property of being. Campbell does not even grasp the concept of monism. The only theories he grasps are dualism and materialism.

    If all atheists were like Sartre, it would be an obstacle to faith. An important reason to believe in Jesus is that practically all atheists are like Nagel and Campbell, not like Sartre.

    by David Roemer