Materialism: The Enemy of True Spiritual Development
The spiritual takes precedence over the physical in that it directs and renews the physical. This has always been true. And it will always be so. So it is in this sense that the spiritual produces the material.
Many resist this fact. This is due to the fact that so many of us are so very materialistic. Therefore, we don’t see as clearly as we could or should. At the root of this materialistic attitude is a narrow and selfish view of reality; a very warped idea of the value and the meaning of life itself—even the life of the person holding that narrow and selfish view.
The materialistic outlook signifies a preoccupation with or emphasis on material objects, comforts, and considerations, as opposed to spiritual or intellectual values. In contrast with the spiritual outlook it is relatively superficial. The spiritual, which ought to be the determining factor of the true worth and use of the material, is devalued, discarded, ignored and even mocked by those driven with the materialistic disposition.
To be materialistic means to be out of balance. One does not see reality—as reality really is—out of that frame of mind which is materialistic. That state of mind works utterly against the natural workings of the original mind, in which there was—and is, when it is working properly—the proper relationship between the spiritual and the physical aspects of the same reality.
The unspiritual mind-set seldom really asks, in the right spirit: “Why?” in the ultimate sense of that word. This is due to a subconscious recognition that the “why” question, put forth in the proper manner (or spirit) leads to the destruction of the materialistic origins or roots of that state of mind. The materialistic attitude originates and resides in the first prompting of resistance to the original principle; which was originally established or set up by Him, Whom Muslims reverently call by His name Allah, or that religious people call God (by other names). Allah established what He did after His own nature, which comprises the most exquisite blend or balance of all elements.
Of course, the opposite extreme is not good either. To ignore the material needs and wants of life is to be impractical; even foolish, suicidal and fatal. Then again, there is that which only appears to be spiritual, but which is in fact the materialistic in disguise.
The doctrine that physical well-being and worldly possessions alone constitutes the greatest good and highest value in life is fatal to true spiritual development and progress. An excessive regard for worldly concerns degenerates the human beings into a beast-like existence. Crass materialism causes people to forget spiritual values and corrupts the quality of good relationships. The inordinate love of possessions, of material things, an inordinate concern for comfort; the constant pursuit of wealth; acquisitiveness, covetousness—this leads to spiritual blindness, or, deeper, it prevents spiritual development from occurring in the first place.
Again, the materialistic point of view regards matter and its motions as constituting the universe, or the dominating force in creation. It views this as the source of the best explanations—to the exclusion of the spiritual—of reality. All phenomena, including those of mind, are seen as due to material agencies. It is the view that spiritual realities do not exist, or at least, are relatively unimportant, despite the overwhelming proof to the contrary.
And so, those with a materialistic bent of spirit, mind, attitude, and disposition cannot grasp certain realities from on high—where God is—having been above top secret until today. Indeed, as already indicated, such a state of mind is rooted in opposition to God, the Originator of the whole of reality, the fullness of Whose identity has been the greatest of all secrets until today.
Many have recognized that there is an inherent enmity between the ultimate (two) sources of the spiritual and the unspiritual attitudes, mindsets, or dispositions. However, not until today, when God has actually appeared to reveal all things, could we gain access to the understanding of the ultimate realities—the true sources of good and evil—out of which comes these opposing mindsets we’ve so far briefly discussed.
So, to sum up, the idea that physical matter is the only reality and that everything, including thought, feeling, mind, and will, can be explained only in terms of matter, or physical phenomena, is what is called materialism.
This self-defeating concept dies of itself and is the epitome of self-contradiction in that it is spiritual in itself; only it is on the lowest level or order of spirituality.
To get up into the thinking, the feelings, the view point of God, to any degree, means to get into His word. That gets us up into His spirit. That’s life; life on the highest level, at the best level, the best quality.
Consider this from I Corinthians 2:11-14: “For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man’s spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. We have not received the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught to us by human wisdom, but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words. The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.”
And so this leads to such insights as: James 4:4 “…to be a lover of the world means enmity with God? Therefore, whoever wants to be a lover of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” (NAB); and James 4:4 “…friendship with the world is hatred toward God… Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.” (NIV)
This is to say that this world is rooted in the nature of that which is just the opposite of the very nature of the essence of the Almighty. Now that He has arrived and this is His time to rule eternally, this world must bow and go later or go now—depending on its willingness to yield to Him.
Here, we are looking at the root of certain kinds of disputes, arguments and differences, whether subtle or manifest, over certain facts, throughout the world; even within the Nation of Islam in the West—(in this sense, defined as all of the original people in the U.S.A.)—the prime place where this struggle is being worked out on the highest level. Everyone of us is going through the same struggle which an untold number of those before us have gone through. The difference is now the battle is totally out in the open. Good and evil; right and wrong; truth and falsehood. As one referee says, “Let’s get it on!” And it is on, at every level, and in everyone of us.
As touched on in the first chapter of this book, the Honorable Louis Farrakhan is right in the middle of it. The implications of his vision are central to this entire struggle.
There has been much written about the spirit and the soul of human beings and the nature of revelation from God to men and women. But how much of it is accurate? Moreover, we must ask just how much of it could be understood in this world based on evil? Could we, or should we have really expected the ultimate answers to such questions before the arrival of Him Whose work is to manifest the whole or the entire range of truth?
More next issue, Allah willing.