- Once Saved Always Saved- This post offers evidence of secure salvation that does not take the conventional route to examine the book of Hebrews. Instead, it will adopt three independent approaches. Check it out!
- Faith and Work in Harmony –Read this post to support the Once Saved Always Saved post as it is complimentary. Check it out!
Before I accepted Jesus as savior, I held prejudices against Christians. Without hard evidence, the sensing informed that Christians were sanctimonious and hypocrites. My father-in-law and mother-in-law are atheists. The Christian English speaking peers discriminated against them in the work environment for their speaking mandarin background and inferior command of the English language. The government policy perpetuated this discriminatory work environment in the 1970s and 1980s that promoted English and suppressed mandarin use.
Till today, these experiences stumble them from seeing the love offered by Jesus. Unsurprisingly they share the same prejudice once held. I still have this prejudice. The reasons for them will naturally reveal themselves in this series of posts.
When it occurred to me that I am as guilty of this same indictment, this is one reason that motivated me to start blogging and adopt changes to reflect the truths that God has revealed that illuminate my soul.
I was heavily exposed to the “hyper-grace and prosperity gospel” of Joseph Prince Ministries from 1996 to 2012. Therefore I am no stranger to the influences of wealth and material blessings legitimized through such preaching. I am opposed to such teachings as they test God’s will with a carnal mind. Please refer t the link below, which is a related post about testing God.
The above raises the query, Is there truth to the indictment of sanctimoniousness and hypocrisy by non-believers concerning Christians? This reflection aims to examine Christians and money as the context to support to answer this query.
In total, 12 parables (see Appendix A) regarded money with key roles illustrating money as a source of value and motivation. The value of money becomes glaring when it is insufficient to meet the basic needs and endangers life.
Money is a proxy of power and influence. It is of such paramount importance that Jesus recognized that man struggles to denounce their worship of money, which is necessary before one can genuinely serve God (Mat6:24).
Money fuels hedonic adaptation. This adaptation compels man to pursue after things or relationships to bring about happiness. Tragically this state of happiness is fleeting, not sustainable, and requires more significant pursuits to create the same pleasure.
One main engine of this hedonic adaptation is social comparison. Social comparison breeds envy and covetousness. These toxic emotions drive the pursuit of money that one imagines can give them what others have, bringing happiness. Hedonic adaptation and social comparison are both parts of the human condition of the flesh.
For more about the hedonic adaptation, watch the following video.
Christians and Money
The link https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wealth_and_religion and https://www.cnbc.com/2015/01/14/the-religion-of-millionaires-.html show that based on the report by New World revealed the wealth distribution among different religious groups. Based on the data from this link, the ranking of the winners emerge as follow. Christianity is clearly in the lead in both categories, highest in global wealth as a percentage and the highest number of millionaires.
Table: Global Wealth Ranking of Various Religious Groups
Money and the World
The above diagram from the link https://web.archive.org/web/20150214155424/https://publications.credit-suisse.com/tasks/render/file/?fileID=BCDB1364-A105-0560-1332EC9100FF5C83 illustrates the severity of the rich-poor chasm.
The wealth pyramid shows that 8.4% of the world’s wealthiest segment of the population possesses 83.3% of the world’s wealth.
In contrast, 68.7% of the world’s poorest segment of the population possesses 3% of the world’s wealth.
The “middle class” that makes up 22.9% of the world’s population possesses 13.7% of its wealth.
For comparison, it is useful to adopt the relative ranking approach with the world’s poorest population as the smallest denominator. The denominator is defined as “% wealth/%population,” which gives the unit of wealth across the population’s particular segment. The following emerges.
Categorized by Wealth
|% wealth/%population.”||Relative Ranking|
The above shows that the world’s most prosperous group is 226.9 times wealthier than the world’s poorest as a group.
The total wealth reported by Credit-Suisse is 240.8trillion exceeds the New World Report amount of 195trillion. This reporting difference is attributable to the ways wealth data were categorized, gathered, and accounted for.
The reasons for this reality are complex, and the webs of factors are involved. While no one individual, even the richest, can unravel this Gordian knot, the evidence shows that Christians as a whole have the largest stake that sustains the status quo of glaring wealth disparity.
The graph below shows about 20% of the world’s population lives in abject poverty; less than USD 1.90 a day. These are more than just figures. People’s lives revolve around these realities.
Who is the Master?
The data does not reveal how much wealth in the top 8.4% belongs to Christians.
If one adopts the same proportion (55%) given by New World and applies this to the top 8.4% wealth in Credit-Suisse’s report, the millionaire Christians hold about 110 trillion. Using the 2013 global population of 7.162 billion (https://www.worldometers.info/world-population/world-population-countries.php), the average net worth for each Christian in that 8.4% segment is approximately $330,000.00.
This evidence embellishes the indictment that Christians appear to be serving two masters. In Ezekiel’s language, the prophet, this is akin to playing the harlot with the world’s economic system. Jesus says that this man will end up with a love-hate relationship with the two masters (Mat6:24).
In reality, the love-hate relationship is not loyal to either Master. The soul swings like a pendulum. The soul is in this constant tension and conflict-torn between two spiritual Masters and conflicting inner desires.
This reflection ends on this sobering note. The following post will explore what the bible reveals about the harlotry of such nature.