Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Money, and evil

In Christianity, Satan is considered the being...Image via Wikipedia

Ever wonder why do people consider money to be evil? There are three primary reasons people consider money evil.

1) Their religion tells them so

2) Their political belief tells them so

3) They don't have it, so they decided to vilify it. In other words, "sour grape" mentality


ARE THE REASONS LOGICAL?

Why are some religions against money? It's hard to say.

Regarding the Judeo-Christian faith... As far as I can tell, Jesus was not against money, but he did preach to the poor and was prosecuted by the rich. Others in the Bible, like Moses, are the same: Egyptian Pharaoh, the ultra rich, vs. the poor Israelites.

St. Augustin,e at the beginning of the Dark Ages, about 6th and 7th Century AD, also preached against money. By then, Roman Empire was falling, Vandals and Goths were teeming at the borders. Civilization was almost doomed. Augustin, then bishop, later St. Augustine, was preaching that one must abandon the cities, and live in the countryside, and go back to subsistance farming and such. This world and its possessions, including money is worthless, transient. Only the hereafter mattered.

But they're not really AGAINST money.

Buddhism and Hinduism placed little emphasis on money. Hinduism stressed castes and the afterlife and reincarnation. Buddha used to be a prince until he received enlightenment. Neither was particularly enthused about money, but neither are they against money.

I am afraid I am not sufficiently familiar with Islam to determine if they regard money as evil, but I will guess that they do not.

There goes 90% of world population!


As far as I know, no political system actually says money is evil. Communism just believes that no one should have MORE money (or property) than any one else. It's better that everybody owns everything, all are supposedly equal.

Which does seem that the sole reason to regard money as evil is because of the "sour grapes" attitude. The politics and religion reasoning are added later as alternate justification.


BUT HOW IS MONEY EVIL?

Money is NOT inherently evil (or good). It is just money. It can be used for good, it can be used for evil. It can lead to good, it can lead to evil. It's like blaming car as evil, or gun as evil. They are just tools, or multipliers. They enhances someone's power and flaws. And it is the flaws that people notice, not the strengths.

It is the PURSUIT of money that sometimes leads to evil, due to the flaws, now magnified by money.

Money is used as a measure of a person's status in society. The more money s/he has, the higher up his/her place, in most Western societies. Thus people want to move up, they need more money. The Industrial Age lead to a lot of the Nuveau Riche, i.e. middle class, demanding some of the treatment that long ago were exclusive to the upper class. However, this lead to a lot of the poor, lower class, being "exploited" for their labor in the factories. This inspired Karl Marx with his idea of "communism", and probably lead to a lot of the preachers, eager for an audience, teaching the "evils" of the rich.

If you are selfish, when you are rich you will still be selfish, except now your selfishness affects a lot more people. Say you have a store, and you underpaid your two employees there, and treat them harshly. It is just the way you are. Two people are affected. What if you are rich, and now have 20 stores, assuming same two employees per store? Now you're yelling at 40 people, instead of just two. You're affecting more people due to your riches. What if you have a factory that employed hundreds? And so on.

And who can forget Ebenezer Scrooge? His name is now a part of the lexicon (in a negative way) even though at the end he has been reformed.

People remember the bad things, but not the good. Media report on the bad, but not the good. Thus, the bad reputation lingered. The industrial age created the word "robber barons", even though there are plenty of "enlightned" industrial barons, who introduced pensions, dormitories for workers, health care, education, and so on.

And at the heart of that "evil" is money. People want to blame some external cause for failings, instead of fellow man. So money became the bogeyman.


PURSUIT OF MONEY CAN LEAD TO EVIL

People who want money, but don't want to "pay the price" for it, are the problem. They are the ones that do evil things for money. be it fraud, robbery, murder, or any of thousand other crimes that are for basic "greed", or pursuit of money.

The pursuit of money in itself is not evil. Indeed, financial freedom leads to a better quality of life, which pumps up the economy, leading to improvement all over. It's people who are doing it wrong that is the problem. They are trying to cheat their way through, and that simply will not work in the long run.

Frankly, it is NOT hard to get rich legally, so why do people really want to cheat is beyond me. In a sense, they are selling their soul for money, and how can that be fun?

So the point is... money is not inherently evil, nor is pursuit of money inherently evil. It's the abuse of others in the pursuit that is evil, basically taking advantage of others.




















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