I mean, it’s Sunday, so why not?
So this one isn’t going to have much of an intro, which I apologize for, but that’s because the title kind of explains all that needs to be said — and also because I finally don’t have any background story to explain that has sparked my want to write about this topic, either. I just thought it was a good idea, so I’m gonna do it.
P.S. – This is going to be an every Sunday kind of thing.
But before we officially begin, I just want to explain my religion real quick. For those who either don’t know or who are unsure, a “Non-Denominational Christian” is someone who practices general Christianity and the general love of God and Jesus Christ solely through the Bible (and also good priests) and without any of the semi-biased particulars (also known as rituals) of any of the denominations (which are simply branches, like Presbyterian or Catholic or Lutheran).
That was my own homemade definition, so hopefully it successfully cleared up any confusion. If not, though, well, Google it.
Another quick clarification: All that I’m about to say is made up entirely of my own personal opinions. Now, lots of people who practice my same religion probably share these, but that does not mean that we all feel this way. Sure, what I believe stems greatly from the way I was raised to see God, but it also stems partly from the other things I’ve experienced in life. So, you can group everyone in my religion together based on the opinions I am about to share with you if you’d like, but just keep in mind that I am only one person — only one voice out of the group, one voice who has entirely different experiences than everyone else alive and thus entirely different beliefs — which means that you are also allowed to refrain from said grouping.
Now let’s begin.
Making it Rain $$$$: Religion and Fortune
Well, even though it has always existed, I think the excess of it that we see so often these days is what makes it modern. And by excess, I’m not just talking about there being some people with an excess amount of wealth; as I just said, that’s always been the case — and always will be.
What I mean by “excess” is the specific amount of people who now have such wealth.
HOLD UP. What do you mean there’s a lot of people with wealth, Leah? You’re wrong, girl! It’s the few with the wealth, and they need to be stopped, need to be–
Shut up, and let’s count. Or at least attempt to.
I mean, I think we can all agree that it is physically impossible to count the number of “celebrities” with millions of dollars in Hollywood nowadays simply because there are just so many of them (hence why the word “celebrities” appears in quotation marks…think what you want about that). But even though impossible to count those with fame, it’s definitely way, way into the thousands. Way. At least.
But now put Hollywood aside and think of all the local celebrities who are basically just as rich. Now we’re talking about hundreds of thousands.
Now for the CEOs out there (most of who we’ve probably never even heard of) of both huge corporations and small business who are also making millions of dollars each year (again, whether they deserve it or not). Their numbers easily rival all the local, international, and global celebrities living in this country. Easily. Which means that we’re now probably in the millions.
So then we have all of our top doctors and lawyers and professional athletes and heirs and government officials who are, once again, also making more bank than most banks have themselves. Which puts us far into the millions.
And then, finally, we round it out with all of the “everyday” rich people — you know, the ones doing who-knows-what who are living in the beautiful, new, custom homes down the street who maybe don’t quite make a million dollars a year but who definitely are raking in six figures. And they definitely bring our count up to many millions. Many, many millions.
So yes, near-socialist, millions and millions and millions of people are currently making more money than they know what to do with, very unlike what you thought before.
Let me reiterate that for you: Millions and millions and millions.
Oh, but I forgot to mention that, right now, I’m only talking about my country, America.
And I’m also only talking about the people making six-figures and up. But we could definitely add to this all the people in this country making comfortable, middle-class wages (what I consider to be between $60,000 and $90,000 a year).
Which would take it to the hundreds of millions level.
Just in America.
Which means that we need to even out the playing field a little; add in all the other people in all the other countries who fit into the aforementioned categories based on the standards of their economies, and…
Now, I can’t do the exact math, for obvious reasons (I don’t got time for that), but I’m guessing that adding the rest of the world makes for a few billion, folks.
A few billion people worldwide make more money than their economy can allow them to know what to do with.
(So what was that about the few being the wealthy, again?)
And when it used to be only a handful (or a few handfuls) of people in each country making extreme amounts of money and everyone else earning wages that were way less than the rich but were also relatively similar to each other, I think you can easily see why I say that the “fortune” we see now solely belongs to the modern world.
But what do I think about it, from a religious standpoint?
I know that a lot of Christians, whether denominational or not, condemn wealth and fame and fortune and success, calling it sinful, but I don’t necessarily think it’s that. Granted, I feel like it can be sinful (as well as definitely lead to sin), but in and of itself, fortune is not sinful, and here’s why I say so:
Say you’ve worked hard your whole life and thus end up making a crap ton of money because of it. If that’s the case, then good for you! You deserve it, and I’m glad for you, proud of you, even. But that act of earning money is not a sin. It simply happened, simply was an effect of you living your life, and so it’s not wrong that you ended up that way.
I believe that fortune only becomes sinful for two reasons. The first is what you do with said money. Say you earned your money naturally — without specifically working just to get it — but then you let it get to you and thus start going around and buying everything you possibly can just because you can (a.k.a. three Lamborghinis, 18 Gucci bags, and a trillion-dollar home). Then that, to me, at least, is when your fortune becomes sinful. (It’s also sinful, though, if you spend your fortune on, well, sinful things, such as buying yourself a prostitute. But that’s a little obvious for this conversation, I think, so let’s jump back to blowing all of your money on the ridiculously expensive.)
The reason why I feel that buying everything and your mother is sinful is because of the rest of the world around us. Now, I realize that charity can only go so far and fix so many things, but when people are out there still dying of bad diarrhea caused by having to drink filthy water, it just seems incredibly selfish and idolatrous to spend all of your money on trivial things.
I don’t know. It just seems to me that if you have the means to help those who don’t, yet you choose not to, you’re committing a sin. Firstly, like I just said, it’s a bit idolatrous, toward both yourself and material things. But secondly — and most importantly — your not helping others often times only leads to said others’ premature deaths, specifically because those others in need are only in need because they’re in horrible, life-threatening situations. (Sorry, but we gotta face reality sometimes.)
So in my eyes, it’s sin all around!
Just help a brother out, gosh darn it!
The only other way I feel fortune can be sinful is if making money wasn’t simply a side effect of your hard work — a.k.a. you spent your whole life working hard only to make lots of money. So if you became rich not because you had a bigger plan in mind that coincidentally gave you wealth but rather because you love money (and didn’t want to be poor) and thus worked as hard as you could so as to have all the money possible, then your fortune is a sin. Why? Because it’s more idolatry. You worship money, which is why you worked so hard to get it. And so it’s a sin.
Look, life is all about motives. If you meant to do something, the story is always completely different than if you didn’t mean to do it. So if you meant to get money, it simply makes your fortune a little more…wrong, that’s all.
BUT HERE IS WHERE I CLARIFY:
Yes, I just explained what I believe makes fortune sinful. However, know that I don’t mean that you’re never allowed to buy yourself nice things or never allowed to want to get rich; what is wrong is spending all of your money on crazy items or only wanting to get rich.
So if you want to be wealthy but also really don’t care either way if you actually achieve that, then you’re fine. Why? Because every person, deep down, wants to get wealthy. It’s just whether or not they let that wealth consume them and thus start worshiping it, working only to make money (and probably also hoarding all of their money because of it). Likewise, if you are wealthy and splurge on a nice Burberry coat or pair of Valentino bow flats every here and there in between giving/donations and grocery trips and house payments, then you’re fine once again. Why? Because everyone with sufficient means will splurge on something nice at least once in their lives (unless you’re an utter miser, of course). It’s just whether or not you let that want to splurge get the best of you and thus start worshiping it, buying tons of ridiculous things just because you can.
So the moral here is that fortune is okay. You just need to exercise moderation with it, that’s all. Acknowledge it, work with it, but at the end of the day, don’t let it affect you. Why? Because it doesn’t even really matter, anyway, that’s why.