One of my current Sociology instructors has already covered with us that religion was created as a result of a need of the upper class to explain why they are more privledged than the rest of society and to institutionalize/perpetuate their status in society.I would hope that religion predates the aristocracy bending it to their ends, but that's still a good segue to "Let There Be Markets: The Evangelical Roots of Economics", an article I read a while back and have been wanting to work into a post ever since. Read the whole thing, of course, but here's a pretty good quote:
The group that bridled most against these pessimistic elements of Smith and Ricardo was the evangelicals. These were middle-class reformers who wanted to reshape Protestant doctrine. For them it was unthinkable that capitalism led to class conflict, for that would mean that God had created a world at war with itself. The evangelicals believed in a providential God, one who built a logical and orderly universe, and they saw the new industrial economy as a fulfillment of God's plan. The free market, they believed, was a perfectly designed instrument to reward good Christian behavior and to punish and humiliate the unrepentant.The article also discusses the question of whether most economists today are spinning theories that apply only to a fantasy land. In this, I guess they'd be kind of like mathematicians except less aware of how abstract their work is.
As long as I'm phoning it in with a dazzling array of quotes and hardly any original thoughts, I'll leave you with a couple of others.
If you want to know what God thinks of money, just look at the people he gave it to. — Dorothy Parker
God shows his contempt for wealth by the kind of person he selects to receive it. — Austin O'Malley
This is an impressive crowd: the Have's and Have-more's. Some people call you the elites. I call you my base. — President George W. Bush