I had no idea that going to Sam's Club -- we do not have a Costco here -- on "Palm Sunday" would make the place a nightmare, with a cast of thousands (as the movie publicists were wont to say in the era of blockbuster Biblical epics) swarming about the aisles and making the checkout lines as long as Olympic swimming pools. It shocked me. The massive parking lot outside was full of what a cranky fellow I met online called Stupid Useless Vehicles and pickup trucks, the sort of gas guzzlers that ought to be taxed at the pump for their over-indulgence in use of a non-renewal resource, to say nothing of the environmental contamination. (Pace, S.U.V. owners. I just see too many of these vehicles with a single occupant in them: the drivers. They point up the absurdity of this country.)
I thought maybe, Rip Van Winkle-like, I had slept through the year and wound up, as in Groundhog Day, experiencing Christmas all over again. And then it hit me: it's Palm Sunday. What I want to know is, what is the connection between religious holidays and beefed up consumerism? Any thoughts on that? Come on, all you sociologists, psychologists, and game theorists. I might think on it for a few days and come up with some ideas, but I figured that this forum has enough experts in this area of life to give me some ideas and some answers.
Here's my 2¢ worth of musing on the connection. Goes back to the Puritans. The more material objects you possessed, e.g. better and larger house, lands, crops, and ultimately profits, the more it was apparent on earth you were favored in the afterlife. This was a relatively new idea that earthly wealth equaled wealth in the hereafter. 180° opposite of Catholicism, of which they were mortal enemies.
Catholicism, which favors poverty, didn't really come to America until the 1840's, starting with the Irish. Yeah, there was the colony of Maryland, but they were overtaken by the Protestants before 1776. And unlike Europe, the RCC didn't have a choke hold over the population. One of the advantages of this new idea, coupled with the opportunities America afforded, was the idea anyone could get rich, and store up those treasures. Even the Catholics adapted to it, over here.
It's a cultural hold over. And now, the idea garnering wealth has overtaken and outrun the original idea that it was a symbol of your favor with the invisible "Boss." It's morphed into "God and Flag and Conspicuous Consumption." Make sure you have a big tree and lots of presents for Xmas, and a big ham (decidedly un-kosher) with chocolate for the kiddies and new clothes for celebration of the rise of the zombie.
Then again, I could be completely full of shit.
You? Full of bull, no never. And your 2 cents is probably worth two dollars compared to most mortals'. Thanks for the explication.
Religion = mindless narcissism. The main thing Christianity offers is eternal life. Some versions offer wealth (prosperity gospel), forgiveness for all wrongs, and damnation of people they don't like.
Consumerism is another leaf on the same tree - "me me me me me".