Consumerism is Damaging Families, Christian Voice Researchers Discover

From Christian Voice:

460315046_divorce_a29nov09_xlargeGlobal consumer culture is destroying the family, Christian Voice researchers have discovered.

The net effect of a culture that prioritizes material prosperity above all else is that family relationships suffer, either directly through family breakdown, or indirectly from the array of pressures that prevent families from being properly ordered.

In the course of their investigation, Christian Voice researchers discovered seven primary areas where consumerism has been damaging families.

Robin Phillips, who oversaw the research, commented that he wanted to look beyond simple family breakdown to explore the more subtle ways consumerism is harming families. “Normally when we talk about threats against the family we have in mind things like divorce statistics” Phillips told the media in a statement this morning. “But we should also be attentive to the quality of family life. Our research suggests that the quality of family relationships has been a casualty of unrestrained consumerism. This runs against current thinking which tends to associate the good life with material prosperity.”

Phillips, whose book Saints and Scoundrels was published last year, added, “Although people have been warning about the effects of consumerism for years, what amazed us was the sheer scale of the problem. There are few areas of family life that have been left untouched by the ethic of unbridled consumerism. The impulses and metaphors of consumerism have exerted tentacles beyond the marketplace to affect nearly every area of life.”

Below are the seven areas Christian Voice identified where consumerism has wrought particular damage to the family. Click here to see these points fleshed out.

See Also

  1. Products Are Replacing Relationships
  2. Throw Away Culture
  3. Lifestyles For Sale
  4. Commodification of the Body
  5. Advertising Changes Identity Perception
  6. Consumerism Breeds Radical Autonomy
  7. Where Consumerism and Social Media Meet

When asked if the research yielded any surprises, Christian Voice researcher Robin Phillips replied: “the main effects of consumerism surprised us because they were not the areas that first come to mind. Greed, ambition and the accumulation of wealth do create great obstacles for healthy families. However, the primary harm consumerism does to families is more subtle, in so far as it orients family-members towards a false idea of what it means to be human. When joined with the powerful industry of advertising, the consumerist impulse underscores ideas of autonomy and self-definition that make it hard to accept the fixities of marriage and family life.”

Christian Voice, which has campaigned for many years against forces threatening to destroy the family, said it would be broadening its campaign to warn people against the temptations posed by unrestrained consumerism. The group is calling people to revaluate what truly matters in life based on Biblical teaching. They pointed out that although scripture teaches that wealth is a blessing (Proverbs 3:9-10), it also warns about the temptations that can arise when buying and selling are elevated above eternal verities like faith, hope and love (Mt. 6:24; 1 Tim. 6:9; 1 Cor. 13:13). A person’s true wealth is his family (Ps 127:4-5), and it is the wealth of family relationships that must be protected from the pervasive consumerism all around us.


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