Why Religion is an Important Part of Personal Finance – The glblguy's Perspective

By glblguy

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.

Bible Open to ProverbsI 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.


24 Responses (including trackbacks) to “Why Religion is an Important Part of Personal Finance – The glblguy's Perspective”

  1. topSPINme Says:

    “Just because I donÂ’t tell you that, doesnÂ’t mean it isnÂ’t occuring, it just means you donÂ’t know it.”

    – very very true! :)

  2. plonkee Says:

    I’ve always had a suspicion that many readers of GRS were fans of the no religion / no politics policy of the blog. And I’ve always hoped that there were plenty of atheists like me out there.

    I hope my own values (I’m essentially humanist) influence everything I do, and certainly everything I’m proud of. They certainly influence my blog posts and so they should.

    I think the influence of Christianity as an improving force on society is overrated by Christians. IMHO the decline in Christianity and any increase in crime etc are not linked to each other, but rather both are caused by the move from small rural communities to large industrial communities and societies.

  3. glblguy Says:

    @topSPINme – Thanks!

    @plonkee – Guess I would need to do a little digging on statistics, but you raise a good point. I would also agree that it’s related to what you reference as well. Guess I am fine with people talking about whatever belief (or non-belief system) they have. I mean that is what makes a blog a blog, the fact that it’s personal.

    You won’t see any politics here though, not that I don’t have opinions, I am just not that interested or knowledgeable :-)

    Thanks for dropping by, and offering your comments. Hope you’ll hang around, and hope the verse quoting doesn’t offend you, you saying your Atheist doesn’t offend me, nor should it.

  4. David Says:

    I was really shocked to read some of those comments. I mean, it somehow turned into a crazy battle about Christianity vs. Atheism. As a former atheist, I used to simply let Christians talk; after all, I didn’t believe in it, so why would it offend me. Simply disregard it, like we do about Santa and the Easter Bunny. People pretty much turned it into a discussion about why they hate/love religion, completely ignoring the point of the whole post, which was to show that religion does and should influence a person’s own financial decisions. Crazy response, though.

  5. glblguy Says:

    @David – Yes I was too, but generally any type of Christian posting on a non-Christian focused blog gets into that type of dispute. Seems everyone is always trying to prove what is best for everyone. Your point about not agreeing, so why would it offend is dead on. I think Crazy might no be strong enough ;-) What is sad is that people are actually unsubscribing, just shocks me and we (Christians) get nailed for not being tolerant!

  6. Randy Peterman Says:

    I’ll be doing a series of interviews with agnostic/atheist people as well as a series with my dad who is an elder/teacher at our church. They’ll be released as a podcast and what I’m hoping the reader and listener will gain will be knowledge of opportunities and sound financial principles. Anyone who feels the need to be neutral should attempt their best to be neutral, but I find that, just as you said, wisdom is wisdom, even if people don’t recognize a Christian source or a religious source for it.

    I’m a Christian, I got wise Christian counsel about my finances and then ignored it, now I’m facing those consequences. I will humbly admit my mistake and move on to the application of those cornerstones of wisdom. I’m sorry others are afraid to read financial advice from the Bible – they’ll find that it doesn’t say to do crooked business transactions, it says to give to those in need and that it says to save up for possible times of trouble. You’d think that those sorts of wisdom were tainted or something.

    Trent at the Simple Dollar posted a Buddhist parable recently. None of the comments are from people who are flaming mad because he used a somewhat religious source. Silly really that things come down to this.

  7. glblguy Says:

    @Randy – Very very well said, and I look forward to hearing your podcast. I added your site to my list above. Thanks for stopping by Randy!

  8. ChristianPF Says:

    GLBL, I hadn’t read that piece on GRS and I was floored at the responses. You can really tell that it makes the devil mad when God is brought up!
    Also, thanks for the link! Keep up the good work.

  9. RandomGirl Says:

    @ChristianPF

    Perhaps what makes the Atheist mad is being called or compared to the devil?

  10. Randy Peterman Says:

    @RandomGirl
    He didn’t say the atheist was the devil.

  11. RandomGirl Says:

    @Randy Peterman,
    He was floored by the responses(I found some of them over the top myself) and then immediately goes on to say that he can “tell that it makes the devil mad when god is brought up.” How did the devil come into this, whose words is he judging? One could conclude that either he feels that those commenting are acting under influence from the devil or that they are acting as the devil would. This kind of language is offensive although I’m fairly certain that it wasn’t actively meant to be.

  12. David Says:

    @RandomGirl,
    One might argue that if one doesn’t believe in God or the devil, then it is impossible to be offended by such a comparison. For example, if someone compares me to the easter bunny, or Thor, I do not take offense. :)

  13. RandomGirl Says:

    @David I suppose that some might feel that way. If someone compared me to unfavorably to a fictional character I would be offended that they thought so little of me especially if that character was the embodiment of all evil ;) Also, I don’t care for the suggestion that my actions are being influenced by a supernatural source regardless of whether I believe that such a thing is possible. I’m sure that there wasn’t malicious intent in that throw away comment, but I wanted to draw attention to the fact that such phrases can contribute to hard feelings between believers and non-believers.

  14. glblguy Says:

    @RandomGirl – I believe you are right, it certainly wasn’t intended to be offensive. Something that might help you understand though, is that Christ talked a great deal about persecution, and that by associating with Christ and following him and we as Christians would suffer persecution. Persecution is generally believed to be rooted from satan.

    I think most Christians would agree that whenever we try to do something that would bring us closer to God, or strengthen our religious faith, all kinds of things go wrong or we get “attacked” (i.e. persecution).

    Implying that satan is the cause of persecution, doesn’t mean the person persecuting is satan (i.e. athiests). However, from a Christian perspective it does imply that the person is possibly helping satan’s cause either intentionally or completely unintentionally. It could also imply that Satan is working through that person and they don’t even know it.

    Hope this makes sense. It’s often a struggle for us to describe our beliefs and explain them without offending. The simple nature of two people having a fundamental disagreement on something can be the root of offense. After all, there are just some things people aren’t going to like.

    I believe that it impossible for someone to control your emotions, after all they are your emotions and are yours to control. Maybe that’s why I don’t get offended to easily. Plus, God is plenty strong enough to defend Himself, He doesn’t need me :-)

  15. plonkee Says:

    @RandomGirl
    I’m with you. If you don’t tell someone that something is considered offensive then they don’t get the opportunity to learn.

    @David
    Its not so much being compared to an imaginary character that’s the problem, its being compared to something that the commentor believes to be the embodiment of evil. The actual existence of something is not always linked to its importance as a symbol.

    @glblguy
    The existence of different paradigms is why I find discussing certain issues with a believer exhausting. It takes so much effort to get over the different world-view thing that it never gets on to anything worthwhile. Of course, I feel like I’m the one that was made to try harder but I bet they felt the same ;).

  16. ChristianPF Says:

    @glblguy
    It looks like I missed out on my part of the debate : ) I couldn’t have said it better than your last comment.

    @randomgirl
    I apologize, I absolutely did NOT mean that you (or any atheist) were the devil. As GLBLguy wrote, I was referring to the persecution aspect of Christianity.

    Also, I know this is a bit off topic, but part of our call as Christians is to share Jesus with people and let them know how our lives have been changed by Him. Would you be willing to share your opinion about what we as Christians could do better to “win” atheists?
    I used to be an atheist myself, an really found that it wasn’t God’s existence that I had the problem with, but it was Christians. Any thoughts?

  17. deepali Says:

    Great post, but I am mostly fascinated by the side conversation about being called a devil. This is offensive to people who don’t actually believe in such a figure. I’m having a hard time wrapping my mind around this. I didn’t grow up with the devil, but there are demons in my mythology. So if someone called me the devil (or a demon), they are basically calling me evil, yes? I find it hard to get worked up about that, mainly, because, well… I’m not evil. What am I missing?

  18. glblguy Says:

    Hi deepali, appreciate your comments on the post. People are not the devil, so calling someone the devil isn’t really correct. Now, with that being said I do believe that both God and Satan perform works through people. If someone called me the devil, that would offend me as well. I agree that if someone called you the devil, they would be calling you evil…so I don’t think you are missing anything.

    I certainly can’t speak for those folks, but maybe one way to think about it that maybe they are stating particular actions you are doing as being influenced by Satan (or by God) maybe without your knowledge. Does that make sense?

    Good question, and thanks for asking.

  19. deepali Says:

    Thanks for the response. I think what it comes down to is that if I don’t believe Satan exists, I can’t really get worked up about someone else thinking I’m being influenced by him.

  20. glblguy Says:

    Sure, I would agree. it’s like not believing in ghosts and getting worked up they might be around :-) I would encourage you study and read up so that you can make an educated decision. I didn’t believe sometime back either and now believe without a shadow of a doubt that Satan does exist.

  21. Make Friends, Earn Money Says:

    I really fustrates me when I read comments like “Religion should be left out of finances or politics or life in general” or the world would be a better place without religion. This premise presumes that by doing so we can be free from any influence at all and operate in an unbiased way, but this is untrue because we are all under the influence of something at any given point in our lives. It’s just that for some we choose to integrate our faith as a christian into our everyday lives and if this means that we adopt a specific appraoch to our finances then great

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