A Theology of Plenty

From The Source of Life by Jurgen Moltmann:
It is, of course, true that when we look at our world...we can see [which principles dominate] our lives, our busy activities, our economy and our politics. In all these sectors of life the slogan is 'never enough!'... Both consciously and unconsciously [we] are dominated by the fear of death....'There is never enough for everyone. So reach out now and help yourself!' That is what death tells us - death which swallows us up after we have swallowed up everything else. Our modern economy based on want, our modern ideology of growth and the compulsion to expand are pacts with death. They are deadly games with human anxiety. The are bets placed on the craving for life, and they are sucking people dry.

There is not enough for everybody: this motto shatters every human community and rouses one nation against another, and in the end everybody against everybody else, and everyone against his or her own self. It is a slogan of fear, which makes people lonely and leads them into a world which is in principle hostile. 'Every man for himself!' people say. If you don't push, if you go to the back of the queue, that's your own fault. Everyone is his own best friend. And so we have a world that really is without heart and without soul: the dog-eats-dog society....

If we want to find true life, and to escape the universal death of the world - if we want to gain the true riches of life, and to escape from poverty and want - then we must turn round and begin at the point where the severest loss of all begins: with God. Godlessness leads to the feeling of godforsakenness. Godforsakenness lets the fear of death and the devouring lust for life well up in us; and then there is 'never enough.' But if God is not far off, if God is near, if God is present among us in the Spirit, then we find a new, indescribable joy in living. We are in safe keeping; we are at home; we are trusted and can trust ourselves and other people. Our profoundest want, the want of God, has been remedied. Our yearning for happiness has been fulfilled....

I would suggest that the best thing we can do is to build up communities of a manageable size, and to strengthen our sense of the life we share with one another and for one another. The ideology of 'there is never enough for everyone' makes people lonely. It isolates them and robs them of relationships. The opposite of poverty isn't property. The opposite of both poverty and property is community. For in community we become rich: rich in friends, in neighbors, in colleagues, in comrades, in brothers and sisters. Together, as a community, we can help ourselves in most of our difficulties. For after all, there are enough people and enough ideas, capabilities and energies to be had. They are only lying fallow, or are stunted and suppressed. So let us discover our wealth; let us discover our solidarity; let us build up communities; let us take our lives into our own hands, and at long last out of the hands of the people who want to dominate and exploit us. There is enough for everybody when - yes, when justice is added to the fullness of life, to the powers of life, and to the means of living. (106-110)

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