Saturday, September 10, 2016

Early Morning Ramblings On Economics And The Existence Of God

I once watched a Joel Osteen sermon on television. My takeaway from the sermon was that God wanted for me the blessing of abundance but that the abundance would be delivered on God's schedule, not mine. It was inspiring, to be sure, but its message fades against the fabric of reality.

I look at the United States, one of if not the most abundant countries in the world, and wonder if God might not be hoarding his abundance. I speak from a personal perspective but also from the macro perspective. To be fair, God has always provided me and my family enough but when I look at the imbalance - the distribution of wealth, the wage gap, racism, sexism - I can't reconcile it.

I have heard that somewhere between six and eight families control 80-90% of the wealth in the United States and that the number of families living below the poverty line increases at an alarming rate every year. How can we sustain that? How have we sustained that for so long? I look at modern politics and modern economics and think that some day it all has to reach a critical mass and that day will come sooner than later. I fear that day. I fear that day because the preshocks have already occurred - The Great Depression, the dot com bubble, the housing bubble. Those were bad enough but I fear the tear that is occurring today will swallow us when the big one hits. It's not just the United States that will suffer. The global economy is so intertwined that the collapse of such a major power would destroy so much more than itself.

I am not a biblical scholar by any sense of the word. What I know of scripture is merely bits and pieces and stories. Religion is the source of my morality. My view of the Bible and scripture is more about that sense of right and wrong than of specific words. I thought I might include some bit of scripture here to play off of but I don't know the text well enough to locate anything that might closely express my sentiment.

Here's my point: If God so wants abundance for us all, why does it not seem that His abundance is being dispersed?

Is it because of the love of money in the hearts of those six to eight families? Are they, and not God, hoarding the abundance? How shall they be judged?

Is it because of a lack of faith? I want to believe in God but humanity makes faithfulness difficult. Between terrorist activities, greed, political corruption, broad-spectrum hate speech from religious groups (I'm thinking specifically of Westboro Baptist but there are other groups and other forms), abuse by and morally abhorrent behavior of "men of God," and universal (meaning enacted by the universe, not necessarily widespread) bullshit, there are times I consider atheism as much as agnosticism.

Is it because we have all deviated so far from the word of God? We lend and borrow and spend and acquire so much that we're forced to operate within a system that is inherently corrupt.

Is it because there is no God? The words in the Bible are written by the hands of men. Modern society is so far removed from that time and we have enough inaccuracy and controversy in the recording of our own history, how can we trust a book written so long ago and translated at least twice to present it in a living language? How many "versions" of the Bible are there, anyway? If the words are so divine, shouldn't there only be one? I mean, it's not like there's King James, New International, and modern paraphrased versions of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.

Where is the modern savior who will take it upon himself to drive the merchants and money exchangers from the temple? I'm not talking about the second coming or anything but of the person of power and influence who screams, "Enough!" I mean, look what happened in the mortgage collapse. Banks, actually those that run banks, knowingly sold services based on false pretenses and incorrect assumptions. They fleeced the public into believing they could get so much more for so much less. It was only a matter of time before those lies, and the economic repercussions of them, caused the shitstorm that they did. And what were the consequences? Money from the federal government (you and I) to bail them out of the situation they put themselves in and the reward to their leaders of bonuses so large that the average person does not even have a frame of reference for that level of disbursement.

If one person is not enough to effect such change, why are groups of people not rising up? We certainly should but we can't seem to even care enough to overturn our own congress. I think the reason that the last five presidents have served two terms is that it's easier for people to handle. It's not because they are great men but that they are the devil we know.

Where am I going with this? I don't really know. I woke up at 4 am with it rattling around in my head and had to get it out into the universe so I could go back to sleep (maybe).

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