Wednesday, February 10, 2010

What would Jesus buy?

Tonight I saw What Would Jesus Buy?, a movie about how consumerism and excessive shopping has ruined the true spirit of Christmas. Yes, I know it's February, and yes, I know that Christmas was nearly two months ago. The title kind of grabbed me, and the message kept me watching. Think Affluenza for people with a YouTube attention span. Either way, I enjoyed it. The movie follows the tour of Reverend Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping spreading the word and warning about the onset of the shopocalypse. Add the Life After Shopping choir (or Stop Shopping Choir, depends on where you read) and the Not Buying It Band, and you have a seriously humorous group with some seriously important messages. In essence, they're trying to say people are buying more, enjoying it less, and spending less time with people they care about. Never mind that, go visit their web site and see for yourself.

Before that, I saw Food, Inc., a documentary about where our food really comes from. I think the biggest revelation I gained from the movie was the impact of corporations ' control of the food chain. Imagine being able to patent seeds (the seeds that grow the food you eat). That's exactly what the Monsanto Corporation does (see http://www.monsanto.com/seedpatentprotection/default.asp for the excuses for their practices). They go so far as to sue farmers who are growing crops next to farms with the patented seeds if these seeds happen to blow into the adjacent farms. In other words, they're the Microsoft of the agriculture world - trying to bully the world into being dependent on their product. You'd think it only happens with computer technology. I have no objection to a company being entitled to profits resulting from their research and development, but I'm really tired of corporate lawyers manipulating the legal system and using their unending supply of money to effectively drive the "little guy" out of business. That's not fair competition. The entire situation stinks, and it makes me ill to think that these kinds of people are making a disgrace of the free market system.

Then there's the 20/20 episode from Friday talking about the politicians who have cheated on their spouses. I'm tired of hearing about "family values" and the sanctity of marriage from these lying hypocrites. Sure, I'm willing to accept that people make mistakes. We all do. It isn't a mistake when they violate their own alleged core values, while they are willing to subvert the U.S. Constitution to force them on the rest of us.

I hear a lot about religious concepts (god) and wonder how some of these people sleep with their conscience at night. I ask again, would Jesus approve of the way his birthday (or resurrection) is being celebrated? What would Jesus buy? Would any of the other religious icons approve of a small group of people trying to own the food supply? How can men who are claiming to be so righteous treat their spouses and marriage as they do? These are perfect examples of how religion does not equal moral values. I've heard religious people try to argue that people who are atheist don't have any basis for moral behavior. I disagree. Moral behavior is based on the concept of being good stewards of this planet and the life that exists here. Most value systems generally boil down to treating others as we would like to be treated. If your moral compass only functions because the fear of a god has been instilled into your being, then you're not really a moral person - you're a robot. A truly moral person will do what is right no matter who or what is watching.

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