12.09.2009

A cheap shot in the evening

Some days, Christianity just can't win. It usually gets kicked for glorifying poverty, instead of working to raise the poor out of their circumstances. Today, The Atlantic decided to go the other way, proposing:
Many explanations have been offered for the housing bubble and subsequent crash: interest rates were too low; regulation failed; rising real-estate prices induced a sort of temporary insanity in America’s middle class. But there is one explanation that speaks to a lasting and fundamental shift in American culture—a shift in the American conception of divine Providence and its relationship to wealth.
Now, encouraging the poor to remain so by winking about "inheriting the world" is absurd. And it's sickening when The 700 Club encourages those who are falling behind on their bills to keep tithing and keep the faith or when Joel Osteen smirks his way through selling his used-car salesman faith. But it is utterly absurd to suggest that Christianity itself caused the financial collapse.

And paired with lines like, "The Gilded Age launched the myth of the self-made man, as the Rockefellers and other powerful men in the pews connected their wealth to their own virtue. In these boom-and-crash years, the more reckless alter ego dominates," I have to say I stopped reading after the first page -- a cheap shot at religion egged on by economic illiteracy is hardly worth anyone's time.