Keeping Faith With Currency

Paige Baker on Facebook told how a professor of hers held up a dollar bill before his students and asked, "What do you see?" "Money, a dollar" they all replied. "No," replied the professor, "you see a piece of paper with a picture of a dead president on it."

I wonder what would happen to the very idea of currency if some vein was struck in the earth, or some rich asteroid was found that made gold as abundant as tin foil? It seems to me that all currencies are acts of faith whether they are Federal Reserve Notes or gold coins. The value we attribute to currency is ultimately arbitrary.

One of my favorite pieces of blasphemy was a very clever academic comparing a dollar bill to the Eucharistic Host. Each in and of themselves is worthless, a piece of paper, a flavorless cracker. What made each of them valuable, he said, was what they could be exchanged for; goods and services for one, salvation for the other. The dollar could be "transformed" by faith just as surely as the wafer could be turned into Jesus.