Can You Be Rich and Be a Christian?

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I think the problem is dependence on materialism - the tendency for people to spend money on stuff we don’t need. It’s superficial happiness. It makes sociopathy seem okay.

If people with money can be actually be happy while their neighbours 20 minutes away are struggling, let alone those in other parts of the world - the problem is also on a sociopathy spectrum throughout society. (Diminishing empathy) “I got mine - they aren’t my problem.” No, I don’t think it’s Christian. It’s just rotten. People don’t seem to feel that giving up anything for anyone else is for the greater good. Society has lost that. I don’t think one can be a Christian without that sense.
 
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The amazing thing you see with a lot of the big moneymakers is that they still spend huge amounts of time working so I am not sure it gives us more time with family. I think that may be part of why you're starting to see people like Brin and Page stepping back from their businesses. Would not surprise me to see Zuckerberg retire young as well.



Having enough money definitely helps, I think. But I also think must be a point where diminishing returns kicks in. I mean, I would say that I have enough and I am nowhere near to having as much money as even some doctors and lawyers, let alone corporate execs and successful businessmen. I would probably stress out over what to with it all if I was in the big leagues.

So I guess for me, happiness is about that balance you mention. Having enough so you live without anxiety about what happens if you lose your job or whatever, but not being rich to the point of excess. But maybe if you're a wild hedonistic sort who needs money to gratify various desires, perhaps that isn't enough. However, I find that the top few on the Forbes list, like Gates and Buffett, don't tend to fit that mold. Many of them live fairly frugally even though they could afford a Hollywood lifestyle better than some of the people in Hollywood.
Why don’t they give away what they aren’t using, and still live comfortably, then? They were “gifted” with knowledge of how to make scads of money. At least some of it if not most of it was luck...right place, right time, right circumstances, right contacts...and nobody is self-made...so why do they feel entitled to hoard what they’re not using?
 
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There’s also a difference in attitude, I’ve found, with “new money” and “old money”. Though, the Trump family breaks that rule. They couldn’t be more shallow and garish.
 

Ritafee

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Many of them live fairly frugally even though they could afford a Hollywood lifestyle better than some of the people in Hollywood.
:X3:
Bill Gates owns a https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/26/Residence_of_Bill_Gates.jpg that overlooks Lake Washington in Medina, Washington. The 66,000-square-foot (6,100 m2) mansion is noted for its design and the technology it incorporates.[1]

In 2009, property taxes were reported to be US $1.063 million on a total assessed value of US $147.5 million.[2]
But wait there's more:
But wait there's more again:
Besides holding the title of the richest man in the world, Bill Gates is also a big spender when it comes to security. His $150 million complex outside of Seattle Washington is reportedly equipped with some of the most advanced security measures in the world. Whenever Mr. Gates travels in public, which is quite frequently, he is escorted by a large security team. After getting hit with a pie in 1999, Mr. Gates has been especially careful when it comes to his security. Trips to developing countries and other dangerous places make it even more difficult to provide Mr. Gates with adequate security.
 
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Luce NDs

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:X3:
Bill Gates owns a https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/26/Residence_of_Bill_Gates.jpg that overlooks Lake Washington in Medina, Washington. The 66,000-square-foot (6,100 m2) mansion is noted for its design and the technology it incorporates.[1]

In 2009, property taxes were reported to be US $1.063 million on a total assessed value of US $147.5 million.[2]

That's taxing ... especially if you look at the bill from my sense of relativity!

Thus it doesn't calculate well ...
 
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To have more money than one could reasonably spend in several lifetimes, and feel entitled to it while the world burns, is beyond selfish. It’s pathological.

Gates and Buffet don’t work harder than the average janitor who cleans their properties. To be in the business of making money doesn’t make them more meritorious.
 

Mendalla

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Why don’t they give away what they aren’t using, and still live comfortably, then?
Some of them are, in case you haven't noticed. Zuckerberg gives away a good chunk. Gates has put a lot of his into the foundation, which is involved in research, healthcare, green technology, and education. Buffett is pledged to give or leave most of his fortune to the Gates Foundation. Mackenzie Scott (ex of Jeff Bezos and owner of a 4% stake in Amazon due to that split) has given away 1.7 billion dollars so far this year, much of it to organizations focussed on racial, gender, and LGBTQ equity. It's not like they are just sitting on the money for the most part. But when you own a large, fast-growing company like FB or Amazon, the money likely rolls in faster than you can give it away or spend it. Also keep in mind that some of them are reinvesting in other companies, helping create jobs for others. Look, I am not going to begrudge them having some fun with their earnings. Some of them worked very hard to get there (Gates and Buffett are both notorious for burning the midnight oil). But I am glad to see that so many of them do put the money into helping others and world.

I think the problem is dependence on materialism - the tendency for people to spend money on stuff we don’t need.
Define "need". Is buying a cheesy romance novel to read at the beach spending money on stuff you don't need? Are you suggesting that once we have a roof and food, nothing else is necessary so we should sit and dourly glower at the horrible news we read on the TV (oh, that's a luxury) or Internet (nope, that's gone, too). Not every thing we buy needs to be a necessity and spending money on them doesn't make us "Dependent on materialism".
 
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Some of them are, in case you haven't noticed. Zuckerberg gives away a good chunk. Gates has put a lot of his into the foundation, which is involved in research, healthcare, green technology, and education. Buffett is pledged to give or leave most of his fortune to the Gates Foundation. Mackenzie Scott (ex of Jeff Bezos and owner of a 4% stake in Amazon due to that split) has given away 1.7 billion dollars so far this year, much of it to organizations focussed on racial, gender, and LGBTQ equity. It's not like they are just sitting on the money for the most part. But when you own a large, fast-growing company like FB or Amazon, the money likely rolls in faster than you can give it away or spend it. Also keep in mind that some of them are reinvesting in other companies, helping create jobs for others. Look, I am not going to begrudge them having some fun with their earnings. Some of them worked very hard to get there (Gates and Buffett are both notorious for burning the midnight oil). But I am glad to see that so many of them do put the money into helping others and world.



Define "need". Is buying a cheesy romance novel to read at the beach spending money on stuff you don't need? Are you suggesting that once we have a roof and food, nothing else is necessary so we should sit and dourly glower at the horrible news we read on the TV (oh, that's a luxury) or Internet (nope, that's gone, too). Not every thing we buy needs to be a necessity and spending money on them doesn't make us "Dependent on materialism".
But poor people deserve “dourly glower”? Zuckerberg could still live not in dourly glower if he gave up 99% of his money. His business is predatory...that’s how he’s made his fortune. I don’t understand why the middle class is not more livid at the obscene wealth of these people than they are with families who get by on “socialist” income support programs.
 
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We do not live in a meritocracy. That is a myth. The American Dream visa-vie the Protestant work ethic is a myth. Especially considering that level of obscene wealth.
 
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Zuckerberg is worth $85.9 billion. That’s too many zeros to get my head around. 1% of that is $895 million. Do you think he could suffer that dourly glower? He built an internet platform that invades privacy, subliminally steers consumer buying habits, spreads gossip and misinformation, and facilitates international espionage...is anyone going to try to argue that he deserves even $895 million for that? Or his cohorts in a similar game?
 

unsafe

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BetteTheRed ----you said --
Faith without works is dead.

I say --do you really know what this statement really means that you make here -------what Faith James is talking about here and how that Faith applies to Works he mentions here -------that is the real Question ?
 

BetteTheRed

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BetteTheRed ----you said --
Faith without works is dead.

I say --do you really know what this statement really means that you make here -------what Faith James is talking about here and how that Faith applies to Works he mentions here -------that is the real Question ?
I doubt that I understand this statement in exactly the same way that you do. I'd certainly be happy to dance around the relationships between Jesus, his brother, Peter, the "righteous gentiles" still worshiping with their Jewish siblings, the forgotten Mary(s), and then that upstart Paul... We could do some textual criticism, make some decisions about dates/authenticity of various writings.

In the end, I could probably give you some opinions about what the passage means to me, in my real life, today. (If you're interested, it would be a loose interpretation of two of my mother's old proverbs: "The Lord helps those who help themselves" coupled with "it's better to give than to receive".) We could have a nice chat, some tea, and probably leave having convinced each other of nothing, and that would be good. We would have been authentic and open to each other's original thoughts.

I'm sorry, unsafe, but you don't convince me that you have the Real Answer.
 
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The Lord helps those who help themselves is a terribly overused bad phrase. Maybe that was how Christianity turned so greedy.
 

BetteTheRed

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The Lord helps those who help themselves is a terribly overused bad phrase.
Depends where you get it from, what the context was. This is a woman who spent her teen years in a very badly bombed city in England. She married a vet who served from 39-46. They emigrated to a foreign country. They pretty well looked after themselves, none of the huge extended family that both had "back home".
 
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People can work hard and get nowhere, be quite unlucky, and God doesn't seem to get very involved in their material success. We all rely on other people or we'd be driving on dirt roads and not buying groceries. People organize themselves into communities - some more helpful than others. It's always a collective effort. It's quite an ableist phrase - mistaken for gospel. And the Prosperity Gospel that says if you're rich God has blessed you (no matter how shady the business that created the wealth apparently) - which is how I interpret God helps those who help themselves. That somehow God likes self centredness and greed. I don't believe that. There's also the biblical phrase about God causing the sun to shine and the rain to fall on the just and the unjust alike. And of course, the Beatitudes. Those seem to indicate a more humble and generous way of life. As do other teachings of Jesus. One can live a vibrant and even comfortable life - with style even - with little as long as they have enough, and a spirit of creativity. The problem is consumer society dictating what we should have at various stages of life compared to others. Which is false, and dehumanizing. Also, housing costs and shortages mean lots of people pay more than 2/3 of their income just on rent, if they can find a home. That shouldn't be the case and can be a downer after prolonged periods.
 
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