Greed, or one of its derivatives, is a term we hear used often, and most people seem to know generally what it means. Specifically, it refers to an intense selfish desire for something—usually power and riches. Of course, like some other traits of animal behavior, it seems to be an inborn tendency. For instance, when an animal kill is made by a pride of lions, it is the larger and stronger male that fills his belly, seemingly to the point of nausea, before the females get a bite. In the human race, greediness seems to be a common trait among toddlers and younger children—they want ‘all the toys’.
So, how do we humans become less greedy? Like so many other things in life, we must be taugh a sense of caring and sharing with others. When that lack of teaching, by both verbal instruction and example, falls short of adequate, the inborn trait of greed becomes magnified. In those situations, it is likely that many or most all other desirable aspects of personality development will be lacking also—a potential criminal in the making.
I suspect that very few ‘greedy people’ are aware of their insatiable need to own more and more. They see it as normal because that is the way they developed. In other words, their greed has become a subconscious personality disorder of which they are unaware. In fact, by proper psychoanalytic psychotherapy, most could be cured. A cure requires two elements—1-the greedy one must recognize his condition and want cure and, 2-a competent psychoanalytic psychotherapist must be available. Sadly, it seems neither of those conditions prevail very often in most locations.
Without doubt, I believe Jesus had a similar understanding about greed, as well as all other human (animal) conditions. He recognized that each person was different from all others, and, more importantly, he understood the only way peace could be achieved was through ‘acceptance’ of each other. Therefore, he suggested two commandments for us—love your God with your all and love your neighbor as yourself (paraphrased).
During my rational lifetime of eighty-one years, I have attended Roman Catholic mass a minimum of forty-six hundred times. Only once in all those times have I ever heard a homily address Jesus’s commandments, and that was due to my coercion. I think I know the reason for that obvious omission. Churches see Jesus’ commands of love to be too simplistic—not nearly demeaning and humiliating enough. If churches accepted Jesus’ commands of love as sufficient, there would be little if any need for them or their preachers—maybe an occasional reminder. There would be no need for religion which demeans us and keeps us feeling guilty for being God’s normal creatures. It was exactly the greedy king, high priest, and the rest of Jewish hierarchy whom Jesus observed to be oppressing their people. Jesus’ purpose was to liberate his people and all people from the oppression of guilt imposed upon them for being normal human beings–the Jews had him killed for that heresy.
But Jesus’ words have gone totally unheeded. The greedy bishops who formed the first official Christian religion 325 years after Jesus’ death totally ignored his teaching of love. They put themselves in the greedy position of power, control, and money. That rotten foundation was inevitably bound to fall—and fall it did. Likely, most people would be shocked to learn that, as of the year 2014, there were 33,000 so-called Christian religions and sects on this earth. What a staggering number and why?
I believe with reasonable certainty it has to do with a combination of greed, pride, and ignorance. I am allowed to say that from the simple observation of today’s situation. What we have is a perpetual attempt by the Roman Catholic Church and most of the major Protestant denominations to ‘steal’ each other’s constituents. Each, in turn, does so under the guise of ‘orthodoxy’. Each professes a ’more perfect’ pathway to heaven, whilst, frequently, openly decrying the hollowness if all others. Each is sending missionaries all over the world in an overt attempt to convert other’s members. Do you honestly believe they give ‘two hoots in hell’ about your soul? —I don’t. Clearly, I believe their actions demonstrate overt greed which sometimes sems like avarice— extreme greed.
I’ll guarantee you, if churches and preachers did as Jesus commanded the apostles to do: ‘Go into the world and spread the good news. Take no provisions, not even a second cloak. Live off what is offered you. If you are not well received, shake the dust from your sandals and move on’ (paraphrased), there would be very, very few preachers, and likely fewer churches.
Rather, as are most things related to human nature and behavior, ultimately, it is always about the same greedy things, power, control, and money.
I am aware that many of you have read my books regarding this and many, many more such considerations. For those of you who haven’t, they are all available Amazon-Kindle and me, email@example.com. Wilderness Cry, Peace in Spirituality, Provocative Catholic. For fun and humor, try Growing Up in Fancy Farm Kentucky.
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