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Explain how the religion you havestudied might analyse the cause and consequences of consumerism and assess howconvincing this analysis is.

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Introduction

Explain how the religion you have studied might analyse the cause and consequences of consumerism and assess how convincing this analysis is (30) Emma James It has been claimed that consumerism is 'the chief rival to God in our society'. Whether this is true or not is debateable. Whereas consumption of the basic requirements necessary for life has been a feature of all societies, the consumption and displaying of 'luxury' items has been reserved for the rich minority and used as a symbol for their status - as illustrated famously by King Solomon in the Old Testament. There is an inequality which exists between the ethics of the Kingdom of God and the fundamental aspects of the consumer culture as they relate not only to individuals but to society in general. At the heart of Christian ethics is to 'love your neighbour as you love yourself' and this draws our attention to the poor and vulnerable. A consumer society however, authenticates hedonism as a way of life. It is centred on satisfying yourself with material possessions rather than concern for the society as a whole. An active participant in consumer culture is more likely to prioritize in terms of the rights of themselves as individuals rather than in terms of their duties to others. ...read more.

Middle

We must become ethically aware consumers rather than consumers who take as much as they can for themselves without thinking of the wellbeing of society. Examples of good business practice which demonstrates ethical awareness are fair trade and Anita Roddick's Body Shop. These companies exercise their buying power along ethical lines. Even Madonna stated that "nothing is what it seems" and challenged the consumer lifestyle. There is clearly a long way to go but Christians should no longer assume no one will listen. In the Old Testament, material wealth is considered a gift from God. Wealth is not in and of itself evil, but it must be seen for what it is and not a substitute for God himself. Deuteronomy 8 calls us not to forget God just because we are blessed with good things. It is when we become slaves to money that we have a problem, and it is likely to become a problem within a consumer society since it is money that feeds our addiction to spending. A consumer society encourages its citizens to store up their treasures on earth, while Jesus encourages us to store up our treasure in heaven. With stories in the Bible such as the Rich man and Lazareth, Christians can learn that you are not condemned because you are rich - it's how that money is spent and whether or not you treat other people well and use that money, not only for yourself but also to help other less fortunate members of society. ...read more.

Conclusion

A good steward is not greedy - you must be fair in your trade and do not trick other people and treat your employers and customers with respect. When does making a profit become greedy? If people have a strong faith in God, they'd go to any lengths to serve that God. If money was that God, how far would you go? With the situation of the NHS and private healthcare, is there one thing a Christian ought to do? If the rich and poor are equal, then should there really be a situation where the rich can afford to jump the queue and receive treatment earlier than others just because they can afford it? The consequences of consumerism are that society will become increasingly obsessed with material possessions. We live in the era of competition and league tables, where the increasingly informed consumers demand value for money and choice and a tailor-made solution to fit their individual needs. Christian theology must challenge the consumer ideology that implies that identity can be bought at auction on eBay or by promising us the latest upgrade. Our identity is not something that we strive to purchase, only for it to always elude us, leaving us with a sense of failure and worthlessness. Indeed, we are being ripped off by the consumer society because our identity is where it has always been - 'Hidden with Christ in God' and grounded in the image of God. ...read more.

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