This authentic self, moreover, must be freed from external authorities, such as parents, political and religious institutions. Those who remain entrenched in the political-institutional paradigm barely consider these phenomena to be worthy of attention.
It is fascinating that scholars of religion have all but ignored the obvious: the incredible rise of economics as a dominant and structuring social force in the beginning of the s. Since the acknowledgment of this global shift sheds light on how religion is no longer where our institutionalized political regulations expect it to be, the consequences for policy and public debate are enormous.
And the demotion of Jesus Christ from Lord to label means to live as a Christian no longer carries an expectation of obedience and good works, but rather the perpetual consumption of Christian merchandise and experiences - music, books, t-shirts, conferences, and jewelry.
If you didn't, you chose Ralph Lauren.Far from the criteria being God the criteria has become ourselves. This is why you have the oddity of atheists who regularly attend church services. What then can we hope for? This drives Christian leaders to differentiate their church by providing more of the features and services people want. How does this relate to religion? Consumerism, as Pete Ward correctly concludes, "represents an alternative source of meaning to the Christian gospel. There are many reasons for that but the basic one is a huge cultural shift in how religion is perceived. And we strive to convince a sustainable segment of the religious marketplace that our church is "relevant," "comfortable," or "exciting. From that moment on, the consumption of objects and services became a vehicle for the expression of personal identity and became tied to the quests for an authentic life for all social classes. Rather the brand component gets wrapped up into questions of identity and expressing your individualism. Indications are that over time American Hindu and Muslim leaders will follow their Christian counterparts in succumbing to the siren song of consumerism. Rather than providing the basis for the progressive dislocation of religion, it recomposes it and gives way to novel expressions.
We have to adjust our approach not only in Asia but even here in the United States. But the choice was primarily about which was right.
As Mark Riddle observes, "Conversion in the U. After all, in a consumer culture the customer, not Christ, is king.