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The love of money is the root of all good

Apples

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Hello,

Why does the Bible teach that greed is a bad thing, when the desire for material well-being grows the economy and vastly increases standards of living around the globe?
 

minasoliman

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Because you'll never be materially satisfied with what you have or get.

Furthermore, the goal for all Christians (and arguably all humanity) is to acquire a sense of selflessness, to sacrifice yourself for the other, even the stranger, even the enemy.  The last two is something that transcends morality, but the most basic ethic to give yourself to the other who you love is in essence the antithesis of greed.  Greed will get in the way of that.
 

Porter ODoran

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The Holy Spirit is hopelessly behind the times, obviously. This is well known -- did you really have to ask around here to learn it?

The true answer is that greed and hubris are destroying mankind rapidly, in body and mind, in soul and culture. Where you see "good," many of us are able clearly to see the evil about which our Lord spoke. Doubt not, the ambitions of the present shall fail according to God's eternal promise as every Babylon has failed. A remnant, as always and as also promised, will be preserved to return to humility and gratitude to God. Where will we be?
 

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There is a difference between the love of money and desire to live well. Plenty of people with very little in the way of material goods or comforts live lives that are very close to God, while no one who loves money is as close to God as they should be or could be. I think of it as working in conjunction with verses such as Matthew 6:20-21 ("...for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also") to remind us that God should always be our first and only true love, as only our relationship with Him will outlast the transitory concerns of the world, no matter what our lot in it is. To love money and God might also be said to be an attempt to serve two masters, which is also a big no-no according to the Bible for what I hope are obvious reasons.

Keep in mind that the apostles, when they traveled far and wide to preach the gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, also worked and earned their keep wherever they were. This is good and honorable. But they also earlier had heeded the call of our Lord to leave everything behind they had and follow Him. Money or participation in economic activities for the benefit of your society are of course not inherently bad things, but we have to keep our priorities straight. God is #1, everything else is secondary. He must increase; I must decrease.
 

Mor Ephrem

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William said:
Hello,

Why does the Bible teach that greed is a bad thing, when the desire for material well-being grows the economy and vastly increases standards of living around the globe?
I don't think "material well-being" requires "greed", at least in a Christian understanding of these terms.  That said, I look forward to this discussion because I've got a few unanswered questions about this general topic.  Thanks for starting it.      
 

Porter ODoran

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To expand in a more practical way on my post above --

Our system of living is based on speculation and usury. It is enforced by might. Therefore, the common doctrine that such a system can result in "good" should give any moral person pause.

If we go back in history to the simpler beginnings of the system, the nature of its success becomes more-nearly clear. "Goods" abound because the hard work of our forefathers and the forefathers of peoples around the world, and because the bounty of creation, lay helpless before modern systems of predation.

To return to the present, so much of what is termed advance around the world is truly the destruction of others -- I will put it like this: when you read that thus many "jobs" have been made available to a primitive population, or loans extended, or some other "advance" made, you are being lied to, usually with many levels of sophistry, yet often baldly -- and at base at least in this way: It is not mentioned that the supposedly-benefited population was free of a need for jobs, or usurious loans, or what-have-you before.

I can sense that coherence in any detail is beyond my powers at this time, so I'll leave the post at this stage, more a list of hints than a thesis. Besides, one can hardly pursue this topic properly without attracting political responses, and this is not a political forum.
 

WPM

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I think its because greed influences you to depend on money instead of God.
 

Apples

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Hi Porter,

I for one am glad that I won't die of malaria at 27, but that is just me. But I am skeptical of your claim that earlier societies did not need to labor to survive. Could you please provide some references?
 

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William said:
Hi Porter,

I for one am glad that I won't die of malaria at 27, but that is just me. But I am skeptical of your claim that earlier societies did not need to labor to survive. Could you please provide some references?
Your post is too clever perhaps to be serious, but I'll answer some of it seriously. It is not necessary to have a job to survive nor to be a billionaire to combat mosquito infestations; however, in society as we know it, it can be necessary. This, then, "society as we know it," is what was under scrutiny in my post.

It would be a strange thing indeed if any circumstance could be enforced into which no good could come! The same would be to enforce an absence of God; this no system no matter how wicked can do, not even the "love of money." Does this mean, then, that whatever we do, it is good? I think St. Paul is apropos: "Shall we sin that grace may abound? God forbid."
 

Apples

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Porter ODoran said:
It is not necessary to have a job to survive
Will you live not by bread, but the word of the mouth of God alone?

nor to be a billionaire to combat mosquito infestations;
Will you finance the pharmaceutical scientists by telling them that God loves a cheerful giver?
 

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minasoliman said:
Because you'll never be materially satisfied with what you have or get.

Furthermore, the goal for all Christians (and arguably all humanity) is to acquire a sense of selflessness, to sacrifice yourself for the other, even the stranger, even the enemy.  The last two is something that transcends morality, but the most basic ethic to give yourself to the other who you love is in essence the antithesis of greed.  Greed will get in the way of that.
William, just (at least try) and imagine what the world would be like if every single person really would have a sense of selflessness and sacrifice.  Everyone would help each other out.  Turmoil and violence would all but disappear, we would feed and clothe each other, etc.  How could you say that there would be no technological/biological/etc advances?
 

xOrthodox4Christx

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William said:
Hello,

Why does the Bible teach that greed is a bad thing, when the desire for material well-being grows the economy and vastly increases standards of living around the globe?
It doesn't increase the standards of living of everybody. In any case, Elisha seems to have gotten the point. People who value things more than other people do exist, and their fruits are known every Black Friday and economic crash.
 

biro

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William knows better than St. Paul? Wow! Who says you can't learn anything on the Internet?
 

dzheremi

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William said:
biro said:
William knows better than St. Paul?
About modern economics? Certainly.
Why did you start this thread by asking about the Bible if what you really want to talk about is modern economics? Do you expect or wish that the Bible would uphold modern economic theories and principles?
 

Apples

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dzheremi said:
William said:
biro said:
William knows better than St. Paul?
About modern economics? Certainly.
Why did you start this thread by asking about the Bible if what you really want to talk about is modern economics? Do you expect or wish that the Bible would uphold modern economic theories and principles?
I want to discuss the apparent contradiction between biblical principles and an economic fact which is completely uncontested by actual economists of all parties and political affiliations (something the delusional left-wingers in this thread should realize).
 

dzheremi

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The Bible is not a testament of economic facts, however, so what does it matter that modern economic theories and principles contradict it, or that it contradicts them?
 

biro

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William said:
dzheremi said:
William said:
biro said:
William knows better than St. Paul?
About modern economics? Certainly.
Why did you start this thread by asking about the Bible if what you really want to talk about is modern economics? Do you expect or wish that the Bible would uphold modern economic theories and principles?
I want to discuss the apparent contradiction between biblical principles and an economic fact which is completely uncontested by actual economists of all parties and political affiliations (something the delusional left-wingers in this thread should realize).
It is not uncontested and you know that. Sounds like the only delusional one is you.
 

minasoliman

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Let's be nice.  Obviously, the man is conflicted.  He found a new religion or hobby in economics.  It seems to tell him, "greed is good, greed is economically beneficial, greed leads us to be more advanced."

Little does one realize when you are under the bus, greed will also drive over you.
 

quietmorning

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William said:
Hello,

Why does the Bible teach that greed is a bad thing, when the desire for material well-being grows the economy and vastly increases standards of living around the globe?
Greed doesn't give. 

The desire for material well being is not the same as being greedy.

You can have material well being and still help some one who is less fortunate than you. 

As far as 'mammon' is concerned - it has nothing to do with having wealth - it has to do with having an idol.  Making something - anything more important than God.  When you have what you want and would rather deal with that than do what God wants you to do - then you have an issue. 

He gave it to you, He can just as easily take it away.  And He'd be perfectly right in doing so - because it's all His, any way.

A word of experience: Wealth isn't what it's cracked up to be.  It's often here today and gone tomorrow.  If you put your trust in it, you'll find yourself washed away with it when it goes.  It's better build your house on the Rock - so when the sand washes away, you'll still be standing there.  Learn to be content in whatever your situation is - poor, rich, middle class. . . and learn that life is a whole lot more than money and far more precious.
 

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William said:
I want to discuss the apparent contradiction between biblical principles and an economic fact which is completely uncontested by actual economists of all parties and political affiliations (something the delusional left-wingers in this thread should realize).
"Unto the Jews a stumblingblock and unto the Greeks foolishness." Do you really think this is anything new?
 

vamrat

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Mor Ephrem said:
William said:
Hello,

Why does the Bible teach that greed is a bad thing, when the desire for material well-being grows the economy and vastly increases standards of living around the globe?
I don't think "material well-being" requires "greed", at least in a Christian understanding of these terms.  That said, I look forward to this discussion because I've got a few unanswered questions about this general topic.  Thanks for starting it.      
What Mor said.  William's question requires much more thought than was given in the previous denunciations.
 

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William said:
Hello,

Why does the Bible teach that greed is a bad thing, when the desire for material well-being grows the economy and vastly increases standards of living around the globe?
I will give a shot at answering as I do think you bring up a good question.  This is me just kind of thinking out loud, so feel free to point out errors.

Greed is the amassing of wealth.  That is bad.  Even modern economics will tell you that wealth disparities are unhealthy for a country. Wealth only creates a benefit when it is circulated. This is actually a problem in the EU right now because the Germans have been exporting much more than they import and as saving most of that surplus money rather than spending it.  This is causing a problem because it is impoverishing the other countries in the EU and causing them to go greater into debt.  If Germany started either spending or distributing that wealth rather than amassing it, it would benefit everyone, themselves included because it would make wealthier neighbors who could in turn buy even more German product.

God is not against buying and selling and neither is the Bible. He is against placing greater priority on amassing wealth than helping your fellow man. Now, there are some (many?) of us who are incapable of exerting enough self control that we do not cross that line. In those situations, it is often better to remain without the lure of material possessions than to be consumed with them and forget your purpose here on earth.

I'm not trying to say that saving money is bad, because it isn't, but it is bad to continue to hoard riches to the detriment of your fellow man.
 

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quietmorning said:
The desire for material well being is not the same as being greedy.
^This

Greed is the desire for power over others and the amassing of wealth strictly for the sake of status.
 

minasoliman

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For argument's sake, the conflict will probably be this, that the most successful CEOs out there are psychopathic greedy men.  They are a minority, but their competence is superior above all others because they don't care about individuals, but about the company and their own success.

So economically, even if there are moral men in economics out there who want to help their fellow man, there is still that narcissistic tendency to want more and achieve more in the ladder of financial success.  The excess is what gives man power these days.

I think that image, that idol, is a real temptation for many.  They see Christians as these incompetent fools, not willing to step up and make a buck to show forth good strength because the poor and the needy seem to "get in the way".  But the fact is, the mindset and the goal is different.  One wants to work for money and the other wants to work for the good will of humanity. 

A greedy man is a man who has his priorities on the money and the power in society that comes from it.  It may lead him to be a cult figure, to be worshipped, in the altar of Forbes, and he might sacrificing anyone else who gets in his way, aspiring to become the psychopath if he so desires just to milk the extra money into his favor.  A man of God is not controlled by money, but uses only what he needs and what others in the community need.  He strives to make a good living for himself, his family, and give back to the society that is still struggling.  He venerates other people as the altar of God before himself and offers himself as sacrifice for them.

That's why being a "rich" man has a very large temptation.  Because you are rich, one is unable to really let go.  And it's not just money.  The concept of "letting go" involves other things in man's life.  Sometimes it's a personal collection you have.  I know I love books, and that can be my "mammon" at times.  My own mind, my greed of knowledge, while it's not evil, it can certainly lead me to forget my priorities, the good things in life.  So I certainly am not saying I am any better than anyone.  But I do recognize what the ideal or what the standard is.  That's why to say "greed is good" is succumbing to a philosophy that quite logically leads to Machiavelli's "the end justifies the means".  If the means don't matter, then who cares what the Bible thinks, so long as "facts of economics" show forth the material success of the world.

Now, I presented greed in its extreme.  As others mentioned, greed does not equate well-being.  A man of God can work and make money for his family, but his priority is not money; it's the family.  To say that the Bible contradicts economic principles only means that you are unwilling to engage in ethical priorities in a society.  Any advancement in health or in preventing diseases, you redefine it as if it comes from greed, but you forget it primarily comes from people who cares about the other and sacrifices the time and knowledge for the betterment of the other.  Perhaps the greedy and the selfless scientists both accomplished the same thing, but one of them accomplished it with his heart in the right place.
 

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If you are rich you can't enter Heaven.
 

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Greed is as different from making money as gluttony from being hungry. And becoming rich by wise administration of wealth and even helping others into prosperity is as different from stealing or exploitation as becoming athletic by exercise or by steroids.

Wealth makes the path to paradise difficult for the same reason that extreme beauty, talent, charisma or intelligence do. They are forms of power and all temptations begin as temptations to have more power aka to be like God. People who have at least one of these things *are* more powerful in society. They will receive free on their laps things that others will struggle all their lives to get and fail: family, "love", "friends", social acceptance, means to fulfill their dreams, good jobs (you'll get better jobs by just being taller!).

Criticism about greed is just one in the higher group of alerts about "do not seek worldly power". People do all sorts of sick things to be rich, to be intelligent, to acquire beauty and to be seen as charismatic. All the time. "Money", "rich", "treasure" are all allegories to all forms worldly power, which may include actual wealth.

Now in free-market economy monitored by a just government people who have more talent to create wealth would also have the right to dispose of their money as they see fit because that's a just reward for the wealth created - and notice that wealth is more than money here. It is general prosperity for all involved.

Today we do not live, almost anywhere that I know of, in a free-market. No Islamic nation has it, Russia-China don't have it and the West is constrained by meta-capitalists, people whose ancestors or who themselves ascended to the peak of wealth in society and whose interest is to destroy the stair they climbed to reach there so noone threatens their position. These are basically the funders of several liberal, socialist and welfare programmes.

True capitalism, where no company is too big to fail, where there are nos subsidies to failing companies, where every citizen can be the owner of his own company through shares, where there is no excessive bureaucracy or taxes, no excessive regulating laws to prevent small people from starting their own business, where competition is protected by the government to prevent current winners from killing start-ups, where legislation cannot be manipulated to kill competition, and where regardless of color, faith, ethnicity, sexual orientation or ideology one can ascend socially just because he/she is better in producing wealth and prosperity is the only true social revolution there is.

In that scenario, rich people have the function of water tanks in the distribution of water. They accumulate because through their many businesses and investments that wealth is better allocated to create more wealth. Measures that prevent accumulation much above the average also prevent efficient distribution in any system.

The problem is not that we have billionaires. It's that we have the wrong kind of billionaires, the ones who want to get rid of free-market to create their own dinasties, the ones who would destroy the ellevator to be the only ones who can live in the penthouse, and thus fund liberals of all kinds for that. The tragic irony is precisely that the spirit of the "Occupy" works directly for the benefit of the 1%.
 

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Private vices, publick benefits.

Thus every Part was full of Vice,
Yet the whole Mass a Paradice;
Flatter'd in Peace, and fear'd in Wars
They were th' Esteem of Foreigners,
And lavish of their Wealth and Lives,
The Ballance of all other Hives.
Such were the Blessings of that State;
Their Crimes conspired to make 'em Great;

...

The Root of evil Avarice,
That damn'd ill-natur'd baneful Vice,
Was Slave to Prodigality,
That Noble Sin; whilst Luxury
Employ'd a Million of the Poor,
And odious Pride a Million more.
Envy it self, and Vanity
Were Ministers of Industry;
Their darling Folly, Fickleness
In Diet, Furniture, and Dress,
That strange ridic'lous Vice, was made
The very Wheel, that turn'd the Trade.
Their Laws and Cloaths were equally
Objects of Mutability;
For, what was well done for a Time,
In half a Year became a'Crime;
 

mikeforjesus

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I came across this psalm (19)

The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever;
The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.
10 More to be desired are they than gold,
Yea, than much fine gold;
Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.
11 Moreover by them Your servant is warned,
And in keeping them there is great reward.
12 Who can understand his errors?
Cleanse me from secret faults.
13 Keep back Your servant also from presumptuous sins;
Let them not have dominion over me.
Then I shall be blameless,
And I shall be innocent of great transgression.
14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
Be acceptable in Your sight,
O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.


Seek first the kingdom of God and all these things shall be added to you
 

LBK

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TheTrisagion said:
Indocern said:
If you are rich you can't enter Heaven.
St. Constantine will certainly be disappointed to hear that.
As would Sts Nicholas of Myra, Emilia of Cappadocia, (and her son Basil the Great), Olga and Vladimir of Kiev, Joseph of Arimathea, etc etc ....
 

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mikeforjesus said:
I came across this psalm (19)

The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever;
The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.
10 More to be desired are they than gold,
Yea, than much fine gold;
Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.
11 Moreover by them Your servant is warned,
And in keeping them there is great reward.
12 Who can understand his errors?
Cleanse me from secret faults.
13 Keep back Your servant also from presumptuous sins;
Let them not have dominion over me.
Then I shall be blameless,
And I shall be innocent of great transgression.
14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
Be acceptable in Your sight,
O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.


Seek first the kingdom of God and all these things shall be added to you
I have my prayer for today. . .thank you, Mike!!

With everything changing (again) I've been trying to remind myself to keep my focus on His Kingdom and His Righteousness. . . and everything will be just fine. . .but needed a prayer to meditate. . .isn't it funny how you can pray a prayer every day and in a moment see it differently thanks to someone pointing out a different perspective? 

:)  Thanks be to God! 
 

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Porter ODoran said:
William said:
I want to discuss the apparent contradiction between biblical principles and an economic fact which is completely uncontested by actual economists of all parties and political affiliations (something the delusional left-wingers in this thread should realize).
"Unto the Jews a stumblingblock and unto the Greeks foolishness." Do you really think this is anything new?
+1
 

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Indocern said:
If you are rich you can't enter Heaven.
Matthew 19:23-26

Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved? But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.
 
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