Materialism and life satisfaction. A sociological and Christian comparative approach

Valeriu Frunzaru, Elena Monica Frunzaru

Abstract


This paper discusses the similarities and differences between sociological and Christian approaches (focused on the Bible and the Church Fathers’ teachings) regarding the relationship between materialism and life satisfaction. The theoretical analysis gives reasons that advocate the view that there are resemblances between the two perspectives regarding materialism (greed or avarice in theological language) features and the impact of these values on life satisfaction. Both approaches argue for a less materialistic way of life in order to become generally happier. Nevertheless, if science gives research-based proofs to this relationship, Christianity states that worship of God, and not material goods, is the only way to get true happiness. Finally, the paper attempts to give some possible explanations for these similarities between sociology and Christianity. First, similarly to the Christian religion, some sociologists (i.e. Marx, Veblen, and Beaudrillard) criticise materialism and consumption society. Second, the scale construction can rely on popular notions of materialism, thus some items can have religious backgrounds. Eventually, the Bible and the Church Fathers’ special concern with the human nature lead to some thoughts about man that have been confirmed by researchers.

Keywords


materialism, commodity fetishism, consumption society, life satisfaction, happiness, sociology, Christianity, Church Fathers, greed, sin

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