Do you know who said the famous quote “Money is the Root of All Evil?” This is not from the bible, because in 1 Timothy 6:10 (or at least in the translation available to an English speaker like me) say “Love of money is the root of all evil.” And so the people who actually abbreviated this message, down the centuries, are quoting some lazy fraud.
The love of money is a chilling reality, ranging from personal life to international business and government. It is important to note the history of money, throughout all of time, and wonder how many people have died in its name.
Money has changed throughout human history. It has gone from smooth stones, to shiny things, then into melted, precious metals and glittering, polished gems, then coins with the artistically carved face of a ruler, and, eventually, into the grubby present tense of paper bills featuring legends of each nation’s past, whom someone, no doubt , at some point in the bill’s past, has jabbed up their nose to snort cocaine off the lid of a toilet in some dingy bar or nightclub.
And yet these forms of wealth have been the cause of the greatest evil in human history. People are competitive by nature–or I should say by instinct, because there is a deep germ that spreads all throughout our lives; the desire to be better than everyone else. I mean, look at the modern ways we try to acquire wealth–the commercials for, say, E*trade (https://us.etrade.com), where we see some person with a doleful look, glaring with envy at another person’s success. And a voice over talks about how these people ‘like’ whomever it is, but would like them more if they were richer and more successful. This is an excellent reflection of the selfish and greedy desires of our lives. And E*trade, really nothing more than an on-line casino, promotes themselves as the best way to easy money of this current moment.
And that’s the root of the problem: wealth makes people lazy, this acquisition of things, the gluttonous superfluity of possession. No one can ever be rich enough. If all you have done is spend your life buying more and more, why would this ever stop? It is an addiction, and, like any junkie, the idea of loyalty and morality is easily discarded in the quest for the next fix.
Money itself, as far as it is embraced within an economy, can do plenty of good things. Money can build bridges (both literal and metaphorically), bringing people from all over the world together to help create a brighter future for everyone! Only such naive, frivolous dreams never come to pass. The need to eat, and finding shelter, the daily grind of family and work life forces people to keep everything they have hidden, protected, locked up safe with more money spent on alarms, guns and other deadly and frantic forms of protection.
Money has made the world a battle zone, and the people who proclaim themselves holy, fanatically beyond a quest for wealth, are base hypocrites. Not only do they covet extreme wealth, but they are willing to establish a brand new currency based upon what they alone already have. Money, as we have seen, is bound to change over time. When all the trees are dying, for example, and the means to make paper start to disappear, cash will increase in value at first, then become an obscure collectible as the inevitable crash into a wholly computerized ‘e-currency’ rises, then falls as power grids begin getting knocked out in the wars that follow.
Wars are always about money. Property is an investment, and taking other people’s things, outright robbery, which is a good part of any war, is about trumping up your own wealth. This creates havoc and resentment as all the poor civilizations are forced to suffer until they get organized for next revolution. A nation without any money inevitably leads to starvation, to the spread of new diseases as medicine grows scarce, to evangelizing forces bribing people into conversion with a loaf of bread. Most of all desperation will lead to anger, frustration, rage, and civil wars, a new fundamentalism, a new religion, and the spreading wave of new ideologies that consume every other struggling person in the region, and eventually, they hope, the entire world. All because of money.
Hey, I am not offering any solution to this problem, and I am relatively content within the parameters of my own life. My children are not starving. We live in a pretty nice home, drive an average car, can afford to see the occasional movie, or even eat out every now and again. But this is my life. This is what that raw bone of money has allowed me and my family to attain. This is also reflective of the deeper problem.
Without money, people are in a dire state. Crime is on the rise, drug use and alcoholism to take away the pain, if only for a moment. And then whatever cash is still lying around goes into the addiction. More crime. More death, fallen over in the trash and mourned by no one.
This is merely something to think about the next time we see a hurricane relief jar, or a save the wild animals from extinction commercial, or any other charity with the goal of helping people out of desperation. Do we drop in our sixty-four cents in change from the cup or coffee or sandwich we bought for lunch, or simply pocket it, justifying our selfishness by blaming the victim?
I do not usually take the side of the bible in anything. I am not religious, nor even an ordinary believer. But there are still some very good lessons within the text, scattered between the fantasies and children’s heroic stories. And this is one. The love of money . . . it is the same thing, over and over again, as every reckless sin we are guilty of every single day. The love of money is indeed, coupled with the more public variety of reasons we believe, the fuel that drives all evil.