"For all creation groans in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed: For this, the creation was subjected to frustration... in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God. (Romans 8:19-21)There is no power on earth that has the power to corrupt so thoroughly and utterly completely than that of the love of money. All of historical deadly sins have their root in this one attitude which wields a power so complete, that it exerts its tyranny both on those who have wealth as well as those who don't. Few if any are free from its spell, a net cast so broad as to encompass the whole world. Steve Taylor sang of its poison in his Rock opera "Cash Cow" in which we see this deceit especially recorded in the historical context of a chosen people.
This is the evil which found its expression in the likes of the pagan emperor Nero, Adolf Hitler, and far worse. Upon the Christianizing of the empire under Constantine, it adopted "Christian" disguises first under Arianism, and then under the Roman Church; through which to carry out its suppression of those who sought any deeper truth. According to John Foxe two thirds of the property possessed through the inquisitions became that of the Roman Church, while the remainder placated local princes and served as fodder for literally centuries of violence. The Crusades themselves exist in our popular history somewhat corrupted by the belief that the battle cry was 'kill the infidel moors'. Far more Christian Anti-papists fell victim to the villainy of the Crusades than any other. Crimes for which the Roman church (post Vatican II) has only recently begun to atone. During the whole of the "Moorish crusades", nearly 2 million people died, most of whom were Christian (although non-roman, or anti-papists), the bulk of the remaining victims were Jews slaughtered by both warring sides. There were however, other Crusades specifically against Christians such as the Albigensian Crusade, in which the Roman church authorized the massacre of over a million people, promising eternal life to any who would carry it out. And during the undeclared crusade known as the thirty years war more than 4 million people perished.
The Cathars, Albigensians and Waldensians, although all having different elements (and accused of dualism and gnosticism) all preached a gospel of the kingdom requiring the forsaking of mammon, for which they were reproved and eventually persecuted to the point of extinction. Originally known as the "poor catholics" Waldensians differed very little from Orthodox faith, except in their renunciation of money. Even the Anabaptists were persecuted primarily because of their belief in "equality and the community of goods".
Today the lie of money and materialism has so infiltrated our culture that there is now once again no distinction between good and evil. But, lest we forget that we must jealously regard and defend our liberty - Men were eviscerated for pointing out the absurdity of transubstantiation, burned at the stake for the right to read the Bible, racked and tortured for declaring their faith in Christ alone (and not in the Roman Church) - all at the hands of the very institution that claims to be the Vicar of Christ on earth; the very Christ these people loved and for whom they died.
There is perhaps no greater evil in this world than the spirit of Mammon, by which fathers have killed their own sons, by which injustice of every type is carried out, and to which authorities blind even their own eyes. The militant atheist with his objection to religion is naught but an Anti-theist if when confronted with his own objections to religion, he fails to see a world full of hypocrites clouded by the deceit of money and power. This Anti-theist, is but Mammon's agent and a dark force in the world - desiring not the light of man but its destruction.
Of the hypocrite of which we speak, we see naught but mans true condition, testifying without ceasing and throughout all ages of mans helplessness to be that which he desires - indeed we see his lack of ability to even understand himself, or his desires, if he is so unwittingly and universally a hypocrite to the faiths which he has made claims to hold. This draws for us a picture illustrating the ultimate need for either redemption or disastrous end, to place punctuation upon this a most cruel existence. It is acknowledgement of the cruel existence that is the truest definition of the state of mans sin.
Cash is the currency of power, and as Friedrich Nietzsche pointed out, the human race thrives and falls upon this; the "will to power". Perhaps there is no force more insidious and universal in the life of the mind than this the will to power: I myself would be ready to accept this save for the writing of 'prophets' like Albert Schweitzer who expounds upon a more primal instinct, buried often by the corruptness of greed within what is a nearly crippled human soul.
Perhaps it is as Schweitzer says; respect for life, all life, because we have no power over it (because we cannot cause it) which unites the souls of mankind. Even the dispossessed who "wish to die" do not wish to really dispose of their life, but rather would prefer to "live differently" or not at all. Respect for life, all life, stirs in us an ethics which can be universal, a categorical imperative: to do unto others as thou wouldst have others do unto you.
This teaching is far from new. The second of the very wise four noble truths of Buddha teach us that “Desire causes suffering”. “The love of money is the cause of every kind of wickedness” (1 Timothy 6:10). Even the ancient Hebrews were forbade to make a profit off their neighbor in the charging of usury (Deuteronomy 23:20-21). It was about this which many inquired of Jesus “who is my neighbor?”
Unless we become free from the tyranny of money, we cannot see the true power structures around us. Until we see the true power structures around us we are blind sheep being led to slaughter. The Good news of the gospel is that no matter what illusions we may see, or artificial structures we may create; money has no real power (Many solutions & were largely concerned with the movements of small, green pieces of paper,& Douglas Adams), Death has no real power, (O death, where [is] thy sting? O grave, where [is] thy victory? 1 Corinthians 15:55 KJV).
This is the good news of the kingdom of God, the authority of heaven, and the message of Jesus Christ.
"For all creation groans in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed: For this, the creation was subjected to frustration... in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God. (Romans 8:19-21)