Man’s addiction, man’s obsession, man’s insatiable pursuit of money really knows no bounds. Some would say drugs and pornography and sex are very big business, and they would be correct. However what can compare with the profit creating business of religion? And given the tax free status of churches and religious ministries, the money just keeps rolling in. Think about what man has used to line his own pockets.
He has made and sold crosses and other religious jewelry. He has invented slogans and sold bracelets and bumper stickers and refrigerator magnets. He has made and sold clothing associated with religion. There have been innumerable books and pamphlets which claim to speak for God or to accurately interpret Scripture. Millions of tapes and CDs of teachings and sermons have been sold. Christian conferences have used hotels and motels and have supported local restaurants and airlines and yes, have increased the financial portfolio of the speakers and singers. The Christian music industry is an incredible avenue of the transfer of wealth. How many billions have been made by the production of Bibles in all different translations or paraphrases and with all kinds of reference themes and different bindings? Books that “prove” that the signs show Jesus is coming back at a certain time have been legion. Billions have been spent on Christian television and have made many men and women extremely wealthy. Christmas and Easter are cash cows themselves. And billions have been spent on church buildings and the interest paid on those loans have lined the pockets of banks and other financial institutions.
Yes religion, and Christianity in particular, is big business. It seems as if the money changers scourged by Jesus has lost its value in instruction today. Capitalism is now a great god.
In fact at its heart patriotism and nationalism in America is rooted in money. The Revolutionary War was over unfair taxes. And the “American way of life” and the “American Dream” are fundamentally a route to personal prosperity. I realize people use the term “freedom”, however money is at the core of it all. And make no mistake, money is a driving force within the institution commonly known as the American church. When a church grows, and their offerings grow, what does it do? It builds bigger barns and hires more staff. Money dictates everything.
If you see in the American church the compromise, and the slide, and the powerless redundancy, and the comfortable friendship with this culture and you wonder why then I believe it can be summed up in one word. Money.