Living in a material world
And I am a material girl
You know that we are living in a material world
And I am a material girl
I don’t think Madonna knew just how accurate her words were when she sang Material Girl. Unfortunately, we are living in a material world and we are all quickly becoming material girls. In a market dominated culture, we are quickly commodifying all aspects of life.
The value of human life has been called into question in thousands of subtle and not-so-subtle ways. Pornography. Child prostitution. Sex slavery. Abortion. Euthanasia. Genocide. Beauty pageants.
The commodification of human life is a startling dark side of our materialist world. We are constantly grasping for the next great pleasure or satisfaction. We will stop at nothing, including the inconvenience of another’s life, to reach our dreams.
In a chilling article for Salon.com Mary Elizabeth Williams states:
Here’s the complicated reality in which we live: All life is not equal. That’s a difficult thing for liberals like me to talk about, lest we wind up looking like death-panel-loving, kill-your-grandma-and-your-precious-baby storm troopers. Yet a fetus can be a human life without having the same rights as the woman in whose body it resides. She’s the boss. Her life and what is right for her circumstances and her health should automatically trump the rights of the non-autonomous entity inside of her. Always.
She argues that the lifestyle of the mother trumps the baby. Every time. I will grant that she is among the more radical voice of the pro-choice side, but opinions like this are becoming more commonplace.
Once we enter the debate around which life has more value, we are finished as a civilized society. Subjective value is no value at all. If our value does not exist outside of ourselves, with the One Who Creates, then we are just cells or stardust, if you prefer. We are just another commodity to be traded; sex is just one tool of many, beauty is great because it gives you an advantage, children are just weaker parts of the society destined to be used, the elderly have nothing to give and have lost their worth.
We poke fun at the pc world we live in-every child needs to get an “A” so that they don’t get their feelings hurt, we only know how to have virtual relationships because we don’t talk face to face anymore. Yet, anti-depressants are the number 1 prescribed medicine in the United States to people between the ages of 18-44. Children as young as 12 are committing suicide. We chase after value that fades, value that can be achieved. We exist on a never ending cycle of achievement that is hollow and exhausting.
We have forgotten “I am.” (Exodus 3) The one who gives rest to the weary (Matthew 11:28). The one who declares his pleasure with us, that we are very good (Genesis 1: 31). We forget that we were worth dying for (Romans 5).