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100 Qs for God: Does God value wealth?

January 8, 2013

This is Question 63 from “100 Questions for God” series

Some religious leaders have suggested God has a vested interest in the wealth her followers attain. While God’s representatives on Earth, whoever they may be, probably would have an advantage through accumulated riches, the existence of prosperous Hindus, Muslims, Christians, atheists, Communists and people with other affiliations, tends to suggest either everyone’s right, or God’s not very selective. I’m leaning towards the latter and prepared to take it one step further – it’s unlikely God gives two hoots.

While this might come as a disappointment to the spectacularly rich among us, it shouldn’t. God’s failure to value affluence is not an indictment so much as a definitive statement of apathy. There are several reasons why this indifference to the size of your wallet might exist:

1.     You can’t take it with you.
2.     It has no value anywhere else in the universe.
3.     It doesn’t guarantee you’re any smarter.
4.     It doesn’t seem to have much impact on love, honesty, integrity or how funny your jokes are[1].
5.     It’s a score not a meaningful measure of achievement.

Some religious texts have suggested having a decent chunk of money will preclude you from God’s good graces,… a dubious concept at best. I’m firmly convinced God has virtually no interest in whether you have a great deal of money or a little. Evidence to support this supposition would be:

a)                 People of every religious flavor live in poverty.
b)                Many religious leaders live relatively frugal lives.
c)                 The broad forces of JOE and RUTH seem to take on all comers.
d)                In general, the richer you are the less religious you are[2].

Apart from a slight inclination toward “the poor shall inherit the Earth”[3] due to the last point, God’s spectacular disinterest recognizes money’s arbitrary value on our planet and inability to be useful in its own right. Money can facilitate great deeds or injustices – the actions of the people using the legal tender will define the value of the moment rather than the amount, type or source of the funds involved.

Initial Opinion:

Ultimately, money is a currency God doesn’t deal in and doesn’t care about. To the degree it facilitates individuals and communities bettering themselves and seeking out their God, I’m confident God has no qualms about using cash as a tool. At the other end of the spectrum, funds used wastefully or to aid illicit activities are frowned upon because of the effects rather than any underlying problem with money itself.

[1] My own hilarity tends to suggest an inverse relationship between wealth and humor. However, I have heard a rumor that more people laugh when rich people tell a joke – a dubious benefit God is probably extremely uninterested in as well.

[2] Let Us Pray for Wealth, Dan Mitchell, New York Times, 11/3/2007

[3] Various translations of Matthew 5:5 in the Bible


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