Getting Beyond Dualism of Economics vs. Religion, Money & Spirituality
Wednesday, April 16, 2014 at 12:43PM
Lee Van Ham in David Loy, From Lee, Harvey Cox, dualism, economic religion

Dualistic thinking keeps Spirit and Matter separate in the MultiEarth view of the world. I mean really SEPARATE—with a hard bold line between them! OneEarth thinking, on the other hand, sees a world in which Matter is infused with Spirit. In OneEarth consciousness, as in quantum physics, Matter and Spirit are as difficult to separate as wave and particle are in defining light.

That gets me to how OneEarth consciousness thinks of economics and religion. For most of my life economics and religion have been as separate as baseball and gardening. It’s not true for me anymore, but in a group I met with recently some challenged my description of the economy as religion. We were discussing pages 31-54 in my book Blinded by Progress, where, I propose, that we must stop giving religious devotion to MultiEarth economics. Only by changing that practice can we assure any kind of continuing inhabitability for our planet as we know it.

Here’s my question for you, blog readers, if you’d have been in that group, you’d have heard the following conversation. I’d like to hear your thoughts on what you’d have said in the group:

One person protested, “I can see similarities between how the economy functions and religion, but I don’t see that the economy is a religion.”

“In which ways do you see religion being significantly different from the MultiEarth economy?” I inquired.

“For one thing,” came the reply,”there’s nothing supernatural in economics. No supernatural deity intervenes in economics.”

The next day as I thought about this reluctance to see the MultiEarth economy as religion, I reminded myself how reluctant I’d been to do so only a few years ago. Economics and religion were sealed off from one another in separate rooms of my mind. Business people I knew who were part of religious congregations likewise kept economics and religion separate. Dualism reigned. Supernatural and natural? The same thing. Separate rooms. The one requires faith, the other acquires certainty through data and facts. One is spiritual, the other is material. 

Even though dualistic thinking has wounded our planet horribly and killed thousands of species, we’re so accustomed to it that we resist getting beyond it. So, readers, what do you think? Does recognizing MultiEarth economics as a world religion get us beyond dualistic illusions into a holistic breakthrough that’s transformative for our planet? Theologians Buddhist David Loy and Christian Harvey Cox do. Or is it just a quaint analogy?

Article originally appeared on OneEarth sustainability amid climate change (
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