Spiritual materialism attempts to manipulate
supernatural forces to fulfil our selfish desires.
Through sacrament, donation or sacrifice, we try to placate the gods.
Do we not attempt to get what we want through a spiritual covenant,
hoping to see our behaviour reflected in divine response?

We pray - to assure our comfort, or another's.
We confess - so that our sins may be forgiven.
We look forward to a life of comfort and bliss
as a reward for our faithfulness.

To abandon such selfishness would be to give up
the specious promise of an afterlife in which our faithfulness is rewarded.
But would a truly redeemed human need to look forward to an arena,
in which all acquisitive desires would be slaked, even after death?
Is this not projecting our self-centred nature into eternity?

The salvation that Christ proclaimed was about finding a way to live
that keeps faith with goodness and love even in the direst situation.
Supernatural rewards seem to make a mockery of the true sacrifice of Christ.

The ordinary secular virtues of self-confidence, fairness, and so on,
take life on its own unredeemed terms and make the most of it.
The theological virtues (faith, hope, love) are hardly different.

Maybe the reality of redemption lies in a transformation,
which equips us to live out holy lives in our present life-time.
Maybe salvation is then our capacity to find fulfillment in this life,
rather than any change in a presumptive post-death existence.
Maybe Christ came to save by showing us how to live.