Amazon prime day deals
Each year, shoppers eagerly await the launch of Amazon’s “Prime Day” hoping to score big deals on popular items.

As we close in on the final hours of Amazon’s “Prime Day” sales event, the annual online consumer frenzy in which shoppers can enjoy deep discounts across thousands of products, it’s worth considering: has shopping replaced other faiths as America’s biggest religion?

Let’s consider the evidence. The country’s religious landscape is constantly changing, but on the whole, Americans are becoming less religious over time. The increasing secularization of America and the dramatic rise of religious “nones” has been well documented here and in other publications; fewer and fewer people say they believe in a higher power than past generations, and only a fraction of believers regularly attend church services.

So what are they doing instead? Well for one, they’re buying stuff.

Consumer Worship

It’s no secret that Americans love to spend money on things. From the latest-model smartphones, to flat screen TVs, to fancy blenders that make the best margaritas (or so the packaging claims), we daily fight the urge to buy shiny new products that promise to improve our lives. Consumer culture in the United States is so strong that we even have a holiday dedicated specifically to shopping – Black Friday.

We also came up with the idea of putting all these things in one place for easy buying convenience; the first modern shopping malls were conceived and built in the U.S., a model which soon spread around the world.

Buying as a Religous Experience

When you think about it, are malls so different from churches?

Both are grand palatial spaces intended to inspire awe in their visitors, entice them to spend money (either at the register or through tithing) and, most important of all, encourage them to come back. Malls, just like churches, seek to create a community space where people are drawn to congregate.

The holy texts of this new consumer religion are big signs with prices slashed out to reveal incredible savings “for a limited time” or “this weekend only.” Instead of communion, there’s a food court. In place of choir vestiture, the latest styles at Macy’s. Each time you return, you’ll spend some money. The trip becomes a habit.

Except in this competition for people’s time and attention, traditional houses of worship are losing out. Attendance is down across the board, particularly at smaller churches, forcing some faith leaders to get creative in order to win followers back.

And yet, even as people have abandoned their pews at church for the aisles of Nordstrom and Target, online shopping has exploded – further evidence that Americans’ love of things is not simply a fad. Consumerism is a powerful force, and it looks to be here to stay.  

19 comments

  1. Kim says:

    Sadly….gone are the days I sold bibles out of the back of my old panel truck. And used cheap olive oil on a shop rag to anoint the sick. Shopping is too much like gambling these days.

    1. Lionheart says:

      Used engine oil would have been just as less effective Kim.

      🦁❤️

      1. Kim says:

        Oh spit…It’s you Again!
        I did use motor oil on my dog’s mange and it cleared it right up.

  2. Lori says:

    I think it’s embedded in our DNA. We’re still hunter/gathers deep down inside. Some hold the need more than others and, yes, to so many it has become a religion….or an addiction. Just another indulging thing for the masses.

  3. Carl Elfstrom says:

    Right on, Lori. It’s not a religion, but an addiction, or an obsession, but not necessarily a bad one, if you can afford it. I don’t obsessively shop, but I am addicted to Amazon. I’ve had their Prime service twice, but don’t have it now, and really don’t care for it. I’ve been shopping with Amazon since 2001, back then on my 1996 IBM Thinkpad, with Windows 98, AOL, and my 33.6 fax modem. Yesterday was the first time I bought anything on Prime Day, but like I said I no longer have Prime, and it wasn’t on sale. This month I spent about $ 269.00 at Amazon, but most of that was on groceries. However, today in the mail I received a fifty pack of old, classic mystery movies on twelve DVDs from Amazon for less than seven dollars (including shipping), in used but good condition. And I’ve already watched two Sherlock Holmes movies, one starring Basil Rathbone (a shorty), and one starring Arthur Wontner (Murder At The Baskerville’s). Now I do everything on this android phone, except for watching DVDs, which I use my Dell Latitude Professional for. Happy shopping!

    1. Lori says:

      And happy shopping to you! It’s just one more etching on my cave wall.

  4. Carrie says:

    Now, like forever, there are consumers. They always have existed and they always will. More people, more consumers…mass media, more exposure. Religion has absolutely nothing to do with it! Humans always like to “pad the nest” and “gild the lily”. A century, or more, ago, the Sears catalog was the mainstay of every household, whether used in the outhouse or not, and wells fargo delivered anything and everything imaginable. How is that different from Amazon, Ebay, Etsy or a thousand other sites that use fed-ex, ups or usps? No religion here…only faith it will be delivered on time!

  5. Secretary3rd says:

    By the way Eric Schaumburg (eric@shopcraftracks.com) is looking for property for his church. Does anyone know a place for him. It seems that he said something about buying that means he has money

    1. Lionheart says:

      Yes there’s some very nice real estate in Hell, MI. There’s a restaurant there called Go To Hell, and there’s also a store called Hell In A Handbasket. Both are on Patterson Lake Road. There’s even a place he can drink at Hell Saloon on the same road. Both are just slightly north of a lake. It actually contains water, not fire and brimstone.

      I’m thinking he should feel very comfortable in Hell.

      🦁♥️

      1. Carl Elfstrom says:

        If I owned a bar in Hell I’d call it The Last Judgement, Fall Of The Damned Saloon.

        1. Kim says:

          Welcome to the body of Christ…..Monte Christo

        2. Lionheart says:

          Great names Carl. Would your bar sell spirits 🥃?

          All Hail to the Ale 🍺

          🦁♥️

          1. kimberly says:

            You’re missing the point dear.

  6. Secretary3rd says:

    If they are spending money on Amazon then they are not giving to the church.
    That money I could use to fuel the jet that the church brought. Fill up those large homes with furniture that the church brought. Of course stock the frig with expensive wines. It is so hard to make ends meet being a pastor.
    Wonder how Mr. James Orsen Bakker is doing it with his pitches.

  7. Rod Gesner says:

    It’s The Evolved Society. What the Priests in Charge Before Publishing and Propoganda Became More Easily Consumed.. 😉 instead of Sacrifices and Fights in the Collusium to the Gods: we have Organised Sports “god’s” Maiming and occasionaly Killing Those of Different Beliefs for US; or The Never Ending WAR..
    Instead of Slavery: We have Credit, Loans; Ins. Keeping up with Our Groups of Worker Bees. Etc… to Controll us from Birth. Children are Electronically Programmed ATTACK Cosumers if you don’t provide Whatever to their demands They Turn on You and Extort use Peer Pressure of the Community and Social “Overseers” or Become Thieves Thugs Addicts ETC….
    Then They Get Reamed By College Loans; Peer Presure/ Social Expences
    Bowing to The Priests and Landlord (Baron, Duke King Etc.. ) has Become Sucking your Way up the Corp Ladder or Fighting for Attentiion at Whatever Church, Charity, or Clubs, You Pay to Belong to….
    We Are PressGanged To Work till we Retire ?Dissable or DIE… With Occasional Costly Vacations Thrown in……

    What a Hollow Hell… We have Created here in our Rush To CONSUME and PROFIT At all Costs….

  8. Carl Elfstrom says:

    Please send monetary donations to my church so I’ll have more to spend on religious items at Amazon, like a new pool table for the church. We shoot pool instead of playing
    bingo. And we’re going to need a new hottub for conducting baptisms pretty soon, too.

    1. Lionheart says:

      Would you also need some gold ornaments Carl to adorn your altar? Starving children in Africa don’t need the money!

      Oh, and don’t forget the tax exempt status you can rely on. I think you are onto a winner.

      🦁♥️

      1. kimberly says:

        Starving children in Africa are starving because their dictator stole all the money we gave them as supposed “humanitarian” gestures to build rockets. Then religious organizations have the audacity to ask for money for those same starving children only to put it into “administrative” expenses. Which of course includes videos of those starving children as a sale pitch to bring in more money.

  9. Kim says:

    Be glad there are items in this country to buy.

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