The Exorcism of Money: Part 3, To Make Money Profane

After having described money as a spiritual power in Money and Power, Jacques Ellul goes on to describe how our spiritual resistance to money involves "profanation," the desacralization of money. 

To profane something involves reducing something sacred to something commonplace and ordinary. Generally, this is viewed as a bad thing. But if money is a spiritual power profanation, according to Ellul, is exactly what has to happen. Money has to be stripped of its spiritual potency. The spiritual power of money has to be removed. 

Here is Ellul making this point:

The ultimate expression of [the] Christian attitude toward the power of money is what we will call profanation. To profane money, like all powers, is to take away its sacred is just as possible to conduct such an assault against Satan and all he inspires. In this case, profanation is truly a duty of faith...

This profanation, then, means uprooting the sacred character, destroying the element of power. We must bring money back to its simple role as a material instrument. When money is no more than an object, when it has lost its seductiveness, its supreme value, it superhuman splendor, then we can use it like any other of our belongings, like any machine. Of course, even if this relieves our fears, we must always be vigilant and very attentive because the power is never totally eliminated. 

We can call this profanation of money, this expelling its dark power, the "exorcism of money."

But how to conduct this exorcism? We'll turn to Ellul's answer in the next and final post.

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