To be clear it isn’t just atheists who struggle with idols. Christians are just as prone to letting an idol into their hearts as atheists are. The idols may or may not be different for Christians than they are for atheists, but they are still there, they are still a temptation. With that in mind fleshing out how to keep work in its proper place isn’t just something we say to atheists with a told-you-so tone while we wag our fingers. When it comes to work, Christians need to honestly assess if their desks have become their altars too.
The economists of the early 20th century did not foresee that work might evolve from a means of material production to a means of identity production. They failed to anticipate that, for the poor and middle class, work would remain a necessity; but for the college-educated elite, it would morph into a kind of religion, promising identity, transcendence, and community. Call it workism.
Decline - Faith - America - Explosion - Atheisms
The decline of traditional faith in America has coincided with an explosion of new atheisms. Some people worship beauty, some worship political identities, and others worship their children. But everybody worships something. And workism is among the most potent of the new religions competing for congregants.
According to Thompson this devotion to work isn’t necessarily about greed but rather these men and women choose to go to work for the same reason Christians go to church, “its where they feel the most themselves.” By making the case that this is a spiritual matter, Thompson raises the stakes on a bewildering issue. Throughout the article he continues to use religious and spiritual imagery to emphasize his point. “The problem with this gospel—Your dream job is out there, so never stop hustling—,” writes Thompson,...
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