Did religion die?
I went to church as girl. My mum didn’t go, she didn’t like it, she never spoke about why, so instead I went with the neighbours and their children. I sat and said; ‘Peace be with you’ and took the hands of strangers, but never really felt at peace of find the sense of deeper meaning and wonder that I felt in the woods.
I have dabbled in Buddhism, shamanism, Sufism, Hinduism, paganism and taken something from them all; as a friend once said; I am a Woolworth’s pick and mix, for those who remember what that is.
As a child and since, I was searching for connection to other people and to something more important, more vast than just my small life. I have been looking for the thing that unites people through story and action, I think many of us are, even if we don’t know it.
So we have been sold a trick to fill that yearning.
A religion called consumerism.
Consumerism unites its consumers in the story of needing more, never having enough, needing newer, better, bigger.
It hosts the beliefs of limitless resources to be exploited for human need, the belief that we can throw something away and it will simply disappear without consequence, without needing to pay attention to landfill or plastic pollution.
It unites people in the practice of going shopping for fun, of using shopping centres as a a place to worship, of going online to buy things to make us feel better; no need for the blood of Christ when we have Amazon.
It has rituals; Black Friday, Boxing Day sales.
It has preachers; the advertisers who promise heaven in a care home and eternal life in a face cream jar.
It has the threat of eternal damnation for those who don’t enter the fold; the threat of social exclusion for those who don’t have the right gel nail, or trainers, or sofa, or plastic surgery.
It entices us to have faith, that this product, yes this one, will take away our ills, our fears, our weight, our thinning hair.
It excludes those who don’t consume, seeing them as dangerous pariahs out to cause chaos but growing their own and buying second hand clothes.
It consumes our longing to belong, our desire for communion with deep roots and wild, wide wings and packages it in plastic to beguile and sedate us.
We have been mis-sold, we didn’t read the small print about destroyed eco-systems, anxiety scoring our young with knife cuts in tender flesh, the eternal, earning stress machine.
cut your losses,
and fall in love once more with the wind tangling your hair and the rain against your skin.