How can you be religious and at the same time strive for riches? Hypocrisy of sorts?

Discussion in 'Religion and Ethics' started by 777, Aug 4, 2004.

  1. 777
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    777 Member

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    Apostle Paul wrote "The love of money is a root of all kinds of evil". How does a person want for all the material possessions for himself and still claim to be a believer of God? (iae. The money not used for common good such as donations, charities, etc.)

    In The United States something like 80%(?) of population identify themselves as religious, be it belonging to a particular denomination or just believing in God. The presence of religion in public and private life is ubiquitous, starting from the President of the United States, currency and pledge of allegiance. (I would not have written this thread if American society was largely secular - population largely non-believers).

    Then there is the American love affair with money and all it can buy. Undoubtedly, United States is a materialistic society. Many are struck by millionaire-mania, and many others strive to keep up with the Joneses or ever more preferable, topping them in material wealth. At times, one’s worth and level of respect is directly associated with the size of the bank account. People dream about wearing Prada or Gucci, driving fancy cars and living in mansions. I would imagine that these behaviors are not solely exhibited by the 20%(?) of non-religious people. The love of money and ambition for materialistic goals seem to be ingrained in the minds of many Americans. Even some men of God (ministers on TV to name a few) ostentatiously exhibit their wealth. They wear large gold jewelry and expensive watches and live in mansions. Should they not, of all the people, live according to the teachings of the bible?

    How can the concepts of a largely materialistic society, largely held belief in God, and by extension belief in values of bible such as “The love of money is a root of all kinds of evil” work in harmony?

    Do the people who claim belief in God “forget” Bible's principles that are not convenient for their lives so that they can acquire more and more material wealth without feeling guilt? Alternately, is it that many people claim love for God, but in reality do not live like a good Christian would, essentially making them false believers? I just don't know ... better ideas?

    I am not implying that having money, even lots of it, is bad, or that one should not strive for material wealth even if one is religious. It is what a religious person does with it. Does acquiring money become an all-consuming passion (becoming a slave of money)? Is the money used for good purpose or is it used for becoming powerful? Does having money create greed? I.e. how can a religious person avoid becoming victim of money, the root of all evil, in a materialistic society?

    After all the ramblings, my point is that I am trying to figure out how “love of money” and “love of God” at the same time can be a harmonious combination.
     
  2. Bullypulpit
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    Bullypulpit Senior Member

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    A good life, from a spiritual standpoint, and a material standpoint, are not mutually exclusive.

    The deciding factor is whether or not one clings to these riches...When one freely shares the benefits of his or her wealth with those less fortunate the spiritual and material "good life" are compatible.
     
  3. musicman
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    musicman Senior Member

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    Well said, Bully.
     
  4. rtwngAvngr
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    rtwngAvngr Guest

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    It matters HOW the money is made. The pursuit of wealth through honest means is fine. Providing a desired and/or necessary good or service is beneficial to mankind.
    Like I always say, the market is a needs satisfaction system. Individuals incented to efficiency by the prospect of personal wealth can run the intricacies of business better than brain-dead bureaucratic government officials.

    Unleash humanity, unleash capitalism and personal freedom on a global scale!

    Eliminate top down, fully planned economies!

    Power to the people!

    Screw tyranny!
     
  5. nycflasher
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    nycflasher Active Member

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    Interesting post, 777.
    I would say that the prevailing factor is how one treats others. Regardless of one's religious beliefs or material wealth, if one treats others with respect and compassion everything else falls into place.

    If you have all the riches in the world but your brothers and sisters are starving, what kind of life are you living? That's where I'm coming from.
     
  6. rtwngAvngr
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    rtwngAvngr Guest

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    Are You coming from montana? In montana I hear all they have is steers and queers. I don't see any horns. Ergo...
     
  7. nycflasher
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    nycflasher Active Member

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    Intelligent comment.
     
  8. dilloduck
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    dilloduck Diamond Member

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    Personally I believe spirituality to be the trip-not the destination. People are on various stages of this journey to obtain a sense of meaning and security. Depending on the culture that one is raised in, "security" has different meanings. Being raised in America, a land wit tremendous wealth when compared to the rest of the world, it is quite common for people to come to believe that material things can provide them protection. ( Actually Americans are far from being materialistic as I learned by reading Alan Watts. We consume material things-not worship them. After discovering that a certain piece of material does NOT provide the security that we had hoped for, it is discarded as mere junk.) After going thru the futile process of seeking security in material things and discovering that they cannot provide for the soul, the person can continue neurotically seeking the "right" material or realize the answer must lie elsewhere. Then the second part of the spiritual journey begins and material "wealth" is reduced to its' proper status. Some people learn this and some people don't.
    I don't see it so much as a hypocricy as I see it as a dichotomy that when resolved produces a new sense of meaning and purpose. IMHO of course.
     
  9. rtwngAvngr
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    Sentence fragment.
     
  10. Bonnie
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    Bonnie Senior Member

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    Probably the answer lies in both how you acquire wealth, and yes what you do with it once you have it. Are you an honest, ethical person? Then what good things do you do with that money. And one more important thing...Being humble enough to know that God was the one that made it possible to have what you have and to always give credit and thanks to that end.

    Money is freedom to accomplish great things, and as long as it is a means to an end but not necessarily the end that is the difference.
    Example does your quest for money come before marriage and family? Are you acquiring it at the expense of stepping on others? Does it come before your faith and church? Do you become a different person once you have it?
     

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