Is Money and Materialism Evil? - Filipino Journal

Is Money and Materialism Evil?

Is Money and Materialism Evil?

(On the Extrinsic Meaning of Love and Sharing that Christmas Symbolizes)

The three kings express and show their love for the baby Jesus Christ by presenting him three respective gifts—gold, frankincense, and myrhh. It was obviously a material expression of the three kings’ respect and love for the baby Jesus Christ.
Christmas Is Sharing, Sharing Means Sharing Material Things with Others
Christmas symbolizes and celebrates loving and sharing. Yes, that seems to be a universally accepted concept of Christmas. However, we should really be able to process that concept to make it more realistic and specific. I mean, let’s not be hypocrites; what’s wrong with expressing the spirituality of love and sharing through materialism? After all, how else could we express our love to our loved ones? Isn’t it with material things also? By providing for them their needs, isn’t it a material action? And isn’t it an expression of love? By providing them shelter—house with amenities—isn’t this an expression of love and concern? When we give them gifts on Christmas, whether simple or expensive gifts—isn’t this an expression of love as well? When we spend money to be able to host a gathering at our homes, so we could invite loved ones and friends, isn’t this an expression of love and sharing?
I think the problem lies in the notion that anything material is evil—which I clearly disagree with. While I acknowledge and agree that the true spirit of Christmas is loving and sharing, I remain firm in my stance that the best extrinsic application of these virtues remains to be through material things, and there’s nothing evil or wrong about it. I think that everything boils down to responsibility, sincerity, and financial wisdom.
Responsible Spending
I mean, there’s nothing wrong with celebrating Christmas with our families and friends through gathering, partaking of foods, exchanging of gifts, and having fun; as long as we are able to do all these within the limits of our financial abilities and resources and being responsible in having fun (especially those who love drinking, and by ‘drinking’ I mean “drinking alcoholic beverages”). This, I think, is the actual modern meaning of Christmas—in complement with the traditional concept of Christmas as “loving and sharing”—for, to reiterate—there’s no other way to express and put into practice the “love and sharing” but by spending money and providing what our loved ones and friends really need.
Loving One’s Family Means Providing Material Needs
This concept extends also to the practicality of life itself. Yes, many parents say that the best “gift” that they could present their children with is love, but, come on, realistically, how could parents express this love? By working hard and smart to be able to provide their kids with good education, food, clothes, daily needs, etc. All these are material things, but these are not evil. Some will argue that quality time with our children is also an expression of love; but then again, how do you spend quality time with your children? Watch movies together, eat meals together, watch DVDs at home together, play together? Don’t all these activities involve also spending? Of course, they do. So, there is really no escaping materialism when expressing love.
Removing the Stigma and Guilt Feeling
I am simply removing the stigma that many people feel about money and material things. They automatically associate materialism with evil and immorality, and that is what I find unfair and illogical.
We should stop the indoctrination of guilty feelings and hypocritical suggestions that anything material is evil.
If a person works hard and smart, then she gets to spend her earnings wisely and deserves to celebrate responsibly.
What’s more important, I think, is the sincerity, frugality, and responsibility that should accompany the idea of loving and sharing that many people are holding in high esteem.
As in the song, “Give love on Christmas day…” But the question remains to be “How can you translate that love to make it realistic? By a kiss, by a hug, by sweet words? Of course, not; these are not enough. We give love to friends and even strangers by sharing portions of the material things that we have, and to our loved ones by providing the things that they need—shelter/house, food/nourishment, school supplies, education / tuition fee and school allowance, little pleasures like TV, cable, computer, Internet, and other gadgets, etc. And there’s nothing wrong about all these.
Non-material Love
I think the only non-material way of expressing one’s love and kindness to others are the following: By saying only good words about them, by not gossiping about them; by letting them know directly, personally, and tactfully if you think they did something wrong (or shut your mouth if you don’t have the courage to tell them, or at least don’t badmouth them to others); by taking time to assist them with some errands (though this may be also material, if you have to spend gas). But, for the most part of it, expressing love and kindness to others involves material things, and let’s not be hypocritical and deny this; after all, there’s nothing wrong with this. Money, or materialism for that matter, is not evil.
Sa Madaling Salita
Wag maging ipokrito at makitid ang utak. Dahil sa pera, maayos na nakapamumuhay ang mga tao. Dahil sa pera, natutustusan ang pangangailangan ng pamilya. Dahil sa pera, may nagagamit na pampagamot sa mga sakit at karamdaman ng tao. Dahil sa pera, natutustusan ng isang gobyerno ang pangangailangan ng kanyang bansa. Sa makatuwid, wala sa pera ang kasamaan, kundi nasa kamay ng taong gumagamit dito.
At ang Pasko ang isang malaking halimbawa kung kalian nagiging mahalaga ang pera para maibahagi natin ang ating pagmamahal sa ating pamilya at ang pagiging mapagbigay sa ating kapwa tao.
Or, in Simple Words
While loving and sharing may be the underlying spirit of Christmas, let’s not demonize the material things that become indispensable and inevitable to be able to really express the virtues of love and sharing.

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