Why Religion is an Important Part of Personal Finance – The glblguy's Perspective
There is an incredibly interesting post over at Get Rich Slowly titled Why Religion is an Important Part of Personal Finance. I read the entire article and all of the comments. While many of the comments go a little off track and start the whole Christian vs. Atheist Debate, along with the ever so popular “cherry picking” the Bible commentary from non-Christians, many of the comments are very thought provoking.
I of course, being a Christian personal finance blogger just had to chime in with a comment, and before long my comment turned into something more than a comment and I thought I would write a post instead.
First I want to congratulate FMF over at Free Money Finance for a well written and respectful article. I fully understand how difficult it is to write an article like this without offending someone. As we all know, religion is a hotly debated topic and one which people are very (and frequently overly) sensitive about. FMF also does a posting on the bible and money every Sunday, so make sure you give his site a visit on Sunday afternoon.
Anyway, I would like to address a few key points brought up in some of the comments:
That Gut says: This blog entry is really pushing the envelope of relevance with regards to financial matters. I am also concerned that anyone who ties together religion and financial decision making so tightly would be giving financial advise. Personal finances need to be viewed in an unbiased manner.
Let’s be clear here, we’re talking Personal finances, not just finances in general. A persons religious beliefs have more to do with their person than most any other influence. I knew when I make a financial decision, my belief, moral, and value system all play into the decision heavily. So from that perspective, if someone chooses to give you financial advice, trust me they are giving you spiritual advice they just aren’t telling you. Even Atheists believe in something whether that be science, humanity, nature, whatever. What they believe will impact their feelings on personal finance. I mean what could be more personal than your religious beliefs?
I think Randy Peterman said it best in his comment “It’s part of who you are and why you do what you do – and why I do what I do!” Well said Randy!
Referring to the Bible, Stacy says: If you need a book to tell you to be kind to your fellow man and be kind to the poor then as a species we are in trouble.
Stacy, first off people in general read books all the time about things that are what I call general common sense. Second, the Bible just doesn’t tell you how to be good, it just reminds you of what that means and puts definition around what God says being kind and good means, without this, it is subjective. I would argue that as society in general moves away from Christianity, that we are in trouble. Our crime rates are up, poverty is rising, and materialism is sky rocketing. Regarding kindness, just ride down the average American freeway during rush hour and you’ll get a feel for that pretty quickly.
Dave put a comment about how FMF’s article cherry picks the bible, and he offers a comment that is intended to provide a look at the Bible as a whole, but then references specific cherry picked versus, focusing on single bible verses taken out of context. Dave, this isn’t a look at the Bible as a whole. As with most things, those versus are more complicated and there is a great deal of context around them that has to be considered.
There were numerous other comments that really got off track about religion and finances and started the whole war about religion vs no religion. But there are numerous good comments from both sides, and the whole discussion is very thought provoking and interesting.
What is very surprising to me is that a number of people said they were unsubscribing to JD’s blog because of this post…a guest post. Folks, come on, just because bloggers don’t mention it, doesn’t mean a they aren’t religious. It would be naive to think that a blogger’s religious beliefs don’t influence their finances and their writing. Also, why would you unsubscribe to someone’s blog because of one post that was very well written and not offensive in any way. FMF even says early in his post:
“I’m a Christian and, as such, I have the most knowledge and experience on the various Christian viewpoints on money, how to handle it, on so on. My knowledge of other religions’ beliefs on money can at best be described as “limited,” so please forgive me if I make an inappropriate comment. It’s certainly not intentional. “
The bottom line here is for us all is this: Our Faith and our beliefs influence (and should influence) everything we do. There isn’t a decision I make each day that I don’t either consciously or unconsciously think about my faith and what decision God would want me to make. Just because I don’t tell you that, doesn’t mean it isn’t occurring, it just means you don’t know it.
Also, wisdom is wisdom, regardless of where it comes from. You don’t have to be Christian to get wisdom out of reading various biblical scriptures from the Bible. Don’t throw away perfectly good financial wisdom just because you don’t believe in the associated faith.
Finally, Wesley commented: I think JD had the right idea originally to leave religion and politics out of this site.
Why? So you could continue to read his very insightful, well written, and informative articles and deny the fact that he may or may not have some religious belief system that is driving what he is writing about? That’s the whole “don’t tell me because I really don’t want to know” concept. That is being naive. Wouldn’t you rather know where a blogger is coming from, and what is the drive behind what they are writing? I certainly would.
Here at Gather Little by Little, I am a Christian. I write about personal finance from a Christian perspective. The basics for most everything I write are rooted on Christian principles and biblical scripture. I hope that the “wisdom” I try to put in my posts are beneficial to all, not just Christians. I also sincerely hope that you aren’t offended by my beliefs. I am not offended by yours.
Please offer your comments and thoughts and make sure you read the post over at Get Rich Slowly along with all of the comments.
Other PF Sites I enjoy reading that are run by Christian Personal Finance bloggers:
If you have others, please post them in the comments or send me a link and I’ll add them.