Bargaining With God: Religious Development and Economic Socialization

Volume 27
Fall 1999
Bargaining With God: Religious Development and Economic Socialization

In view of the developmental conceptual and emotional similarities held by individuals with regard to both God and money, it seems likely that in an intense money culture the ultimate reality of God will be confused with, and even displaced by, the ultimate reality of money. Bargaining appears to be a developmental stage in both economic socialization and in the development of relationships with God, and, therefore, a study of the similarities between economic and religious bargaining offers a starting point for considering the impact of money upon the spiritual development of both children and adults. Oser's (1980) theory of religious judgment describes the second stage of the religious development of children as the bargaining stage. Oser's theory thus enables us to perceive an analogy between religious development and economic socialization, and to trace the implications of this potential confusion into adolescence and adult life. In the more mature stages of spiritual development, self-centered bargaining is gradually transformed into a covenant of sacrificial love, in the light of which the idolatry and false consciousness of the earlier confusion is revealed.

Dr. J.M. Hull
241 - 249
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