The well spoken-of Pope Benedict is warning Christians about “rampant materialism” which he believes is diluting the Spirit of Christmas. The trouble with this statement is that it belies the initial spreading of the Christianity meme. Marketing has been a big part of Christianity since the early days of the religion, whether it involved spreading the word peacefully through secret house meetings on Sunday following Sabbath services, or crusades, coercive conversions, and evictions of non-believers (and the quickly-spreading news of such activities, inspiring fear). This marketing involved a promise of something good, ethereal in this life but material in the afterlife, for those who believed. One might say this view of Christianity is the Ultimate Materialism, or it started that way.
When it comes to faith and belief systems, people often have very strong opinions. The belief that opinions are true is the definition of faith. There are as many opinions as there are people in this world, and you and I are just two people.
Updated September 28, 2007 and originally published December 11, 2005. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @flexo on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.