Demon Mammon?
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Mon Apr 27, 2015 at 09:50:54 AM EST
An anthropologist from outer space might be forgiven for concluding that the god of this world is Mammon. (Or, rather, The Market, as depicted by John McMurtry in his book The Cancer Stage of Capitalism.)

Strictly-speaking, Mammon is not a named demon-- in the sense of R. C. Thompson's Devils and Evil Spirits of Babylonia. (Generally, these may be understood as ritual alignments--in the sense of Ghāyat al-Ḥakīm. See, for ex., Richard Hoagland and Mike Bara's Ritual Alignment System--or RAS--described in their book, Dark Mission. Also see Thompson's Reports of the Magicians and Astrologers of Nineveh and Babylon. I credit Giorgio de Santillana and Hertha von Dechend for their insight that most 'demons' are representations of failed --or "out of joint"-- astronomical alignments.)

According to Wikipedia, one likely source for the Biblical (NT) expression, Mammon, is the Aramaic 'mamon' - used by Jesus (Matthew, 6:24) - or in Syriac Aramaic, 'mámóna...' "[A] loanword from Mishnaic Hebrew ממון (mamôn) meaning money, wealth, or possessions... The word is unknown in Old Testament Hebrew, but has been found in the Qumran documents." "The Greek word for "Mammon", μαμμωνάς, occurs in the Sermon on the Mount (during the discourse on ostentation) and in the parable of the Unjust Steward (Luke 16:9–13). The Authorised Version keeps the Syriac word; John Wycliffe uses richessis." Wikipedia notes that "No trace, however, of any Syriac god of such a name exists." One could add: (any god) or demon.

However... There is a long tradition which associates the Golden Calf with worship of wealth. Cattle understood as money or bride-price. And, can there be any doubt about the significance of Wall Street's Charging Bull? What is fascinating, then, is the witting or unwitting elevation of wealth--Mammon-- ostensibly only as a sign of God's favor, but more cogently, as the One (Only) True God (of this world), by Christians of a certain disposition. Those who believe that "God helps those who help themselves" is "in the Bible."

For whatever reason, these people have turned their backs on the Jesus of the Sermon On the Mount, and, instead, worship the Wrathful Lamb of the Apocalypse. THEY are nowise "stewards of the Earth," but merely "witnesses" (or would-be witnesses) to its destruction. Cf. Reagan's Secretary of the Interior James G. Watt: "After the last tree is felled, Christ will come back." (1983). (Watt insists that this remark was taken out of context.)

In the meantime, Powers and Principalities, in the form of MNCs (multi-national corporations) prowl the world like roaring lions, looking for someone or something to devour.

Despite Laurence R. Iannaccone's assertion that "most rank and file fundamentalists and evangelicals are not economic conservatives and would probably reject any free market consensus that did emerge from their leaders," I think his description of the economic views of fundamentalists, as imagined by the "average American" bears more truth than Iannaccone wishes to admit: "Theological and economic conservatism go hand in hand. Theologically conservative Protestants are staunch defenders of market capitalism. They denounce every form of socialism, reject paternalistic government spending programs, and advocate free enterprise as the solution to virtually every economic problem." - Fundamentalism and Economics In the U.S.

(For a very thoughtful review, see Is the Market Moral? Protestant Assessments of Market Society, by Brian Steensland and Zachary Schrank, Review of Religious Research, December 2011.)

For discussion of this, see Ideological Disaster – An Analysis by Lawrence Davidson and then the article From Poverty to Perversity by Margaret R. Somers and Fred Block (American Sociological Review, April, 2005) and a comment by Alexander Hicks Free-Market and Religious Fundamentalists versus Poor Relief and a reply by the authors Poverty and Piety. (both in the June 2006 issue)

And then, Deus ex machina--Faith in the free market and Baylor Religion Survey reveals many see God steering economy

And then Religious and Free-Market Fundamentalism Have More in Common Than Their Fans in the Tea Party, by Mugambi Jouet and Tax Revolt as a Family Value--How the Christian Right Is Becoming A Free Market Champion and especially Why Do Christians Worship Greed? Only in America can one find significant numbers of Christians who argue that unfettered capitalism represents God's Plan for human thriving, by Peter Laarman .

In "God and Mammon," R. T. France writes: "[I]t is not only wrongly acquired wealth, but possessions as such that Jesus declares to be in competition with God for men's allegiance. The competition is such that Jesus elevates 'Mammon' into a principle, almost personifies it, in a way that even the Targums, with their attack on the 'mammon of falsehood,' do not do. It is the principle of materialism, and it is diametrically opposed to the service of God, because 'where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.' "

So... The true god of the fallen world is self-interest.

This true god is the Greed of what Daniel Quinn's 'Ishmael' calls the Takers.

And in that sense this true god is a "God of Excess" and Consumption. (see Gaither Stewart ).

In the movie "Constantine" (2005), adapted from the Hellblazer comic series, Mammon is attempting to break into this world, an event that will usher in the Apocalypse. But surely this is intended as irony!

Comic books aside, should we account Mammon/The Market God a demon? According to the formula of de Santillana and von Dechend, demons are failed gods that no longer order the seasons (in Hamlet's Mill, this was due to precession of the equinoxes and the shift of the pole star).

I would argue first that the only truly global "world system"--in Immanuel Wallerstein's sense-- that exists today is that of the neo-liberal, so-called, "Washington Consensus." That is, McMurtry's Market God, represented by GATT and the WTO, orders our world. (The UN is dysfunctional by design.)

Second, I greatly fear that the problems that face us represent a future evolutionary bottleneck-- the last such bottleneck having been between 125,000 and 60,000 years ago when no more than 7,000 humans were alive--note that every one of descends from one of the (approx.7) "daughters of Eve"

[Problems that face us]:

the carbon crunch (peak oil; peak coal; "peak carbon");

the steep decline in ecological services everywhere--perhaps best represented by Health of World's Ocean 'Collapsing Before Our Eyes';

and, of course, global "climate change." (More accurately, climate chaos.)

Third, I think constitutional optimists like Julian Simon wrong. I do not believe the problems that face us admit a market-based solution, or market-based solutions.

In that sense, the Market God--even though it orders "our" world--is a failure. Because the real world is coming apart at the seams!

And so, I do account Mammon a demon. A god whose failure to "order the seasons" is rapidly becoming all too clear.




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Mammon, biblical term for riches, often used to describe the debasing influence of material wealth. The term was used by Jesus in his famous Sermon on the Mount and also appears in The Gospel According to Luke. Medieval writers commonly interpreted it as an evil demon or god. Elite Corporate Wellness

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By Chris Rodda (171 comments)
The Legacy of Big Oil
The media is ablaze with the upcoming publication of David Grann's book, Killers of the Flower Moon. The shocking non fiction account of the......
By wilkyjr (97 comments)
Gimme That Old Time Dominionism Denial
Over the years, I have written a great deal here and in other venues about the explicitly theocratic movement called dominionism -- which has......
By Frederick Clarkson (92 comments)
History Advisor to Members of Congress Completely Twists Jefferson's Words to Support Muslim Ban
Pseudo-historian David Barton, best known for his misquoting of our country's founders to promote the notion that America was founded as a Christian nation,......
By Chris Rodda (102 comments)
"Christian Fighter Pilot" Calls First Lesbian Air Force Academy Commandant a Liar
In a new post on his "Christian Fighter Pilot" blog titled "BGen Kristin Goodwin and the USAFA Honor Code," Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan......
By Chris Rodda (123 comments)
Catholic Right Leader Unapologetic about Call for 'Death to Liberal Professors' -- UPDATED
Today, Donald Trump appointed C-FAM Executive Vice President Lisa Correnti to the US Delegation To UN Commission On Status Of Women. (C-FAM is a......
By Frederick Clarkson (101 comments)
Controlling Information
     Yesterday I listened to Russ Limbaugh.  Rush advised listeners it would be best that they not listen to CNN,MSNBC, ABC, CBS and......
By wilkyjr (74 comments)
Is Bannon Fifth-Columning the Pope?
In December 2016 I wrote about how White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, who likes to flash his Catholic credentials when it comes to......
By Frank Cocozzelli (223 comments)
Ross Douthat's Hackery on the Seemingly Incongruous Alliance of Bannon & Burke
Conservative Catholic writer Ross Douthat has dissembled again. This time, in a February 15, 2017 New York Times op-ed titled The Trump Era's Catholic......
By Frank Cocozzelli (54 comments)
`So-Called Patriots' Attack The Rule Of Law
Every so often, right-wing commentator Pat Buchanan lurches out of the far-right fever swamp where he has resided for the past 50 years to......
By Rob Boston (150 comments)
Bad Faith from Focus on the Family
Here is one from the archives, Feb 12, 2011, that serves as a reminder of how deeply disingenuous people can be. Appeals to seek......
By Frederick Clarkson (173 comments)
The Legacy of George Wallace
"One need not accept any of those views to agree that they had appealed to real concerns of real people, not to mindless, unreasoning......
By wilkyjr (50 comments)
Betsy DeVos's Mudsill View of Public Education
My Talk to Action colleague Rachel Tabachnick has been doing yeoman's work in explaining Betsy DeVos's long-term strategy for decimating universal public education. If......
By Frank Cocozzelli (52 comments)
Prince and DeVos Families at Intersection of Radical Free Market Privatizers and Religious Right
This post from 2011 surfaces important information about President-Elect Trump's nominee for Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos. -- FC Erik Prince, Brother of Betsy......
By Rachel Tabachnick (209 comments)

Respect for Others? or Political Correctness?
The term "political correctness" as used by Conservatives and Republicans has often puzzled me: what exactly do they mean by it? After reading Chip Berlin's piece here-- http://www.talk2action.org/story/2016/7/21/04356/9417 I thought about what he explained......
MTOLincoln (231 comments)
Fear
What I'm feeling now is fear.  I swear that it seems my nightmares are coming true with this new "president".  I'm also frustrated because so many people are not connecting all the dots! I've......
ArchaeoBob (84 comments)
"America - love it or LEAVE!"
I've been hearing that and similar sentiments fairly frequently in the last few days - far FAR more often than ever before.  Hearing about "consequences for burning the flag (actions) from Trump is chilling!......
ArchaeoBob (168 comments)
"Faked!" Meme
Keep your eyes and ears open for a possible move to try to discredit the people openly opposing Trump and the bigots, especially people who have experienced terrorism from the "Right"  (Christian Terrorism is......
ArchaeoBob (142 comments)
More aggressive proselytizing
My wife told me today of an experience she had this last week, where she was proselytized by a McDonald's employee while in the store. ......
ArchaeoBob (139 comments)
See if you recognize names on this list
This comes from the local newspaper, which was conservative before and took a hard right turn after it was sold. Hint: Sarah Palin's name is on it!  (It's also connected to Trump.) ......
ArchaeoBob (130 comments)
Unions: A Labor Day Discussion
This is a revision of an article which I posted on my personal board and also on Dailykos. I had an interesting discussion on a discussion board concerning Unions. I tried to piece it......
Xulon (141 comments)
Extremely obnoxious protesters at WitchsFest NYC: connected to NAR?
In July of this year, some extremely loud, obnoxious Christian-identified protesters showed up at WitchsFest, an annual Pagan street fair here in NYC.  Here's an account of the protest by Pagan writer Heather Greene......
Diane Vera (122 comments)
Capitalism and the Attack on the Imago Dei
I joined this site today, having been linked here by Crooksandliars' Blog Roundup. I thought I'd put up something I put up previously on my Wordpress blog and also at the DailyKos. As will......
Xulon (183 comments)
History of attitudes towards poverty and the churches.
Jesus is said to have stated that "The Poor will always be with you" and some Christians have used that to refuse to try to help the poor, because "they will always be with......
ArchaeoBob (137 comments)
Alternate economy medical treatment
Dogemperor wrote several times about the alternate economy structure that dominionists have built.  Well, it's actually made the news.  Pretty good article, although it doesn't get into how bad people could be (have been)......
ArchaeoBob (79 comments)
Evidence violence is more common than believed
Think I've been making things up about experiencing Christian Terrorism or exaggerating, or that it was an isolated incident?  I suggest you read this article (linked below in body), which is about our great......
ArchaeoBob (186 comments)
Central Florida Sheriff Preached Sermon in Uniform
If anyone has been following the craziness in Polk County Florida, they know that some really strange and troubling things have happened here.  We've had multiple separation of church and state lawsuits going at......
ArchaeoBob (76 comments)
Demon Mammon?
An anthropologist from outer space might be forgiven for concluding that the god of this world is Mammon. (Or, rather, The Market, as depicted by John McMurtry in his book The Cancer Stage of......
daerie (104 comments)
Anti-Sharia Fever in Texas: This is How It Starts
The mayor of a mid-size Texan city has emerged in recent months as the newest face of Islamophobia. Aligning herself with extremists hostile to Islam, Mayor Beth Van Duyne of Irving, Texas has helped......
JSanford (102 comments)

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