God or Mammon

God or Mammon April 13, 2012

Philip Goodchild ( Theology of Money (New Slant: Religion, Politics, Ontology) , pp. 6-7 ) offers this gloss on Jesus’ opposition of God and walth in Matthew 6: “God and wealth are set in competition; for time, in terms of ‘storing up treasures’; for attention, in terms of the health of the eye; and for devotion, in terms of service. Our evaluations are primarily expressed not by what we say or simply by what we do, but by how we pray – the determination of our time, attention, and devotion.” Money’s power is seen “not simply in the worship or accumulation of wealth for its own sake, but in the way time, attention, and devotion are shaped by the demands of the social institution of money.”

The opposition of God and money comes to this: “wealth contains its own principles according to which time, attention, and devotion are allocated. In a society organized primarily for the pursuit of wealth, nothing could seem more evident and unquestionable than that time, attention, and devotion should be allocated to the pursuit of wealth. It is the very obligation to do so that constitutes the spiritual power of money.” Economic theory examines the “outcome of economic activity” and involves “the investigation of the powers and principles by which time, attention, and devotion are distributed.” Theology can’t be content with this, but must be “an exploration of the nature and effects of money’s mysterious power.”


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