Elizabeth Kerr looks at money from a different - biblical - perspective in response to the Pope's message last week

Elizabeth Kerr looks at money from a different - biblical - perspective in response to the Pope's message last week

By Elizabeth Kerr

I know what you’re thinking..."oh no, don’t go there Elizabeth!"

Oh yes I am”, I wink.

Last week the Pope formally presented a letter to his church weighing in on his views on everything from climate change and consumption to the use of technology and exploitation in the pursuit of economic growth.

It wasn’t happy reading. According to him we will end up consuming ourselves out of a home planet and are all going to hell in a hand-basket if we don’t change our ways.  

“...The emptier a person’s heart is, the more he or she needs things to buy, own and consume...Obsession with a consumerist lifestyle, above all when few people are capable of maintaining it, can only lead to violence and mutual destruction...” he wrote.

Ouch!  Talk about giving us all a telling off.

So this week, inspired by the Pope's speech, I thought I would mesh together the two subjects that people go to great lengths to avoid in conversation; wealth and faith. For many people their faith has a significant impact on their perception of money and their attitudes toward creating personal wealth.

Money and faith is a very complex subject, and with many layers, many more than I can acknowledge in one column today. But one of the reasons I want to write about this is because I think some people have self-sabotaging thoughts in this space: 

  1. They think that those who become wealthy must have had to do something immoral and ungodly to get there, or
  2. They feel guilty, as though they are displeasing to their God, for wanting to build a money machine.

Both of those things are ridiculous to me, so I thought I’d have a poke around the Bible and see what I could find. For clarification I am not referring to any particular faith, but I am using the NIV Bible which is a billion times easier for a layman like me to read.

The overwhelming message scattered throughout the Bible about money is that God wants you to be happy, to be prosperous and to have and do that which brings you joy. He is not asking you to absolve yourself of your possessions, embrace extreme frugality or self-denial. Figures in history have taken that approach, some glorifying it as a virtue to holiness, but it's not really written in the Bible that you have to do life that way (or if it was I couldn’t find it there now and people are obviously ignoring that part still).

Having said all that, you can’t run off to the Mall and buy whatever takes your fancy either, for as far as I could find nowhere is taking on debt, or living beyond your means, mentioned as a good thing. 

Apparently there are over 2000 references to money in the bible. I didn’t read the entire book for you this week to find out but I did collect five biblical references for money below which you might find interesting:

1. Money is NOT evil

Most people have heard the biblical saying “money is the root of all evil” from Timothy 6:10. But that’s not accurate because the most important part of that verses is at the start which says: “The LOVE OF money is the root of all kinds of evil.” Now that changes our perspective a bit doesn’t it? There is nothing wrong about money. It is a means of trade and commerce and quite important. But to be in love with money by focussing only on your wealth and financial accomplishments will probably not work out well for you.

Whilst the bible refers to money as a currency like notes and coins, in our present age I think we could take those verses and apply them to a wider definition more suited to our times. For example Money meaning technology, the latest fashions, designer homes, the cars we drive, the clubs we swing and all the other informal currencies that we use to weigh each other up with.  

2. God Wants You to Invest Money

Matthew 25:14-30. A parable about a man who goes on a journey entrusting his three servants with his money each in his absence. Two of the servants invest that money to make it grow (interest). One servant dug a hole and buried it out of fear he would lose it. When the man returned and found out what he had done he was angry and took the money giving it to the servants who had more and fired him. The moral of the story – we mustn’t be afraid to invest money, for hiding it away just makes it useless.

3. Borrowing Money is Bad

Proverbs 22:7. “The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender.”

Well that’s pretty self-explanatory. If you borrow money you are at the mercy of the lender until it is all paid back in full. On the other hand the Bible does refer to lending money, so, I interpret that as borrowing money is okay but shouldn’t be done all the time, and that we should strive to be self-sufficient with our finances.  Again, just my interpretation and I could be wrong.

4. Be Generous

Proverbs 28:27. “He who gives to the poor will not want, but he who hides his eyes [from their want] will have many a curse.

Whether you believe there is a God or just that there is such a thing as financial karma, you can’t deny that giving to others is a good and worthwhile thing to do.  How this is incorporated into your lifestyle design/money machine is very personal and different for everyone.

It appears to me that those who DO achieve their money machine all have one special thing in common - an abundance mentality. They believe that there is enough in this world for everyone to have their needs met and they rest assured they can always help themselves should the shit hit the fan. For this reason they are also very generous with what they do have, be it money, skills or time and receive joy from their contribution to their community. They are indeed being generous.

5. Live Within Your Means

Luke 19:17. “Well done, excellent bond servant! Because you have been faithful and trustworthy in a very little [thing], you shall have authority over ten cities.”

This passage tells us that if we design a lifestyle that works within our current financial limits that He will reward us with more. Just as though we don’t let our kids use the big kitchen knife until they have mastered the butter knife, as is the same for our money.   

This can be a hard pill to swallow when all around us we see people spending beyond their means and looking so fine in their latest gears…but again, whether you believe in God, or want to just stick to the maths, their day of financial reckoning will come and they will have to pay for those overspends eventually.

“Only in America folks”…

If you think the Pope weighing in on our modern day consumer habits is a bit bizarre then you are going to love the ‘Life After Shopping Church’. (Yes I am serious… that is what this church is called). It comes complete with a “Not Buying It” band.  

This church is known for singing powerful songs about anti-consumerism, apparently performing public exorcisms on cash registers and busy shoppers. At Xmas time they drive around in a big bus preaching in shopping malls and Walmart hailing the benefits of not spending money.  

In a thick American accent “Let’s go Playstation free” Rev Billy preaches, “back away from the Walmart, back away from the Hoooommmme Depot everyone… and leave those products on the shelf, Hallelujah” he says.  

I admit to liking SOME of what he has to say but I honestly can’t tell if he is being serious or not. And his hair is truly something else. Click here to see for yourself.

In Closing….

I don’t know how comfortable you might be talking about money and faith together. You may have grown up in a church, dutifully putting your loose change in the offering basket as it came around and that was the closest money ever featured in your relationship with God. What I do know is that there will be GFC’s, stock market crashes, bubble booms and busts forever more, but if you wanted to get a Godly perspective on it all, the Bible, a book that is thousands of years old, has plenty of personal finance advice that may still hold true today.

More importantly it clearly outlines that having money is not something to feel guilty about, but as the Pope alluded to last week, we might want to rein back our feelings of entitlement.

I close with another quote from his letter:

Human beings and material objects no longer extend a friendly hand to one another; the relationship has become confrontational. This has made it easy to accept the idea of infinite or unlimited growth, which proves so attractive to economists, financiers and experts in technology. It is based on the lie that there is an infinite supply of the earth’s goods, and this leads to the planet being squeezed dry beyond every limit.”

Maybe the Pope is “on the money” this time?  -  (Ha! See what I did there!)

We welcome your help to improve our coverage of this issue. Any examples or experiences to relate? Any links to other news, data or research to shed more light on this? Any insight or views on what might happen next or what should happen next? Any errors to correct?

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Great TED talk: does money make you mean?
It's amazing what a rigged game of Monopoly can reveal. In this entertaining but sobering talk, social psychologist Paul Piff shares his research into how people behave when they feel wealthy. (Hint: badly.)


Good on you for introducing a biblical thought to how people view money and handle their wealth. Unfortunately the subject often quickly leads towards one extreme or another. Hence the warnings you refered to in opening. But if you continue to explore biblical view on handling wealth, on the whole would be for the better, and it might just take readers to interesting places.

Thank you Matthew.

For all readers: If anything i write raises some questions or you want to share your thoughts privately, about this column or anything i have written on Interest.co.nz, I can be contacted at Elizabeth.Kerr@interest.co.nz

Great to see such challenging topics being tackled, well done

“The LOVE OF money is the root of all kinds of evil.” for me is the key. The rich young man was told to give away all his money for this very reason. It doesn’t mean you don’t take opportunities to generate wealth or look to better yourself financially as it would be irresponsible not to. It’s addressing something much deeper, it’s addressing the health of our heart.

Love should be reserved for real relationships, when it’s hijacked by anything else (of which money is the most common) our heart becomes sick. Suddenly being generous becomes a chore, we struggle to be truly happy for others success and we lack space in our heart to love others. Biblically this is the definition of an idol as it also crowds out God himself from our heart.

"Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God." - Matthew 19:24

Maybe property wealth doesn't count.

As discussed above, this is because the problem of "loving money" becomes more prevalent the wealthier individuals are. Being rich isn't the issue, being bound to our wealth through an unhealthy love for it is. Many of the great historical figures in the Bible had huge wealth.

The last part of the passage you quote is more encouraging

"With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26

Thank you Julz for your comments. You have really added some more value to this topic today.

Im so glad you mentioned this Guido. This verse made my Draft but I was pushing my personal word limit to include it.

Back in the day wealth was seen as Gods approval over your life. If you were wealthy then you were a sure-foot into Heaven and obviously blessed. What the bible is saying here is that's not true. Should a rich man spend so much of himself focused on his wealth and accomplishments that he is instead spiritually poor, then he is as unlikely to accept God as is a camel able to fit through the eye of a needle.

(I think, anyone else is welcome to add to this interpretation)

Agree Elizabeth but I think it is also reminding us that everything we have is given to us by God and he gives it so that we can use it to the benefit of others not just ourselves. Those who are fortunate to be blessed with more also have more responsibility to use it wisely.

Many modern (last 20 years) point to that aspect as being one that refers to a path of the disciple.
The Matthew 19:24 is a curious one, because "The Kingdom" aka "Malkuth" is the term used to refer to the material world (hence a connection to "Kingdom Halls" of the Jehovahs Witnesses, since they don't "bow in worship" before priests/images, they has have a place in "the Kingdom" where they meet; And so it is questionable whether that particular comment is a side comment (Those who chase material things) and possibly added by someone else; or whether it might be added for cult purposes (give your lands and filthy money to the church and be saaaaved); or as mentioned elsewhere that to give away all your wealth/possessions because it is impossible to fully study spiritual and natural philosophies and fully purpose business operations. Note that many who "gave away all their wealth" then through feast or purchased expensive gifts, had to do if you've given everything away...

Since houses have become money like, then the saying could be valid as "for the love of houses is the root of all evil"

I've been thinking about this since you wrote it this morning. In many ways i think you are right and one thing that springs to mind is those landlords that forget the well-being of their tenants and don't keep their properties in a safe and inhabitable condition. This could be for a number of reasons, laziness, over-leveraging finances or time, incompetence...etc....

A recent example comes to mind.....

If you follow the trail of scriptures it is clear that charging of interest is immoral and is in fact the basis for the church not permitting it for most of its history. But the principle goes deeper to Isaiah 65:21&22 where the right of a man to his own labour is outlined.

Perhaps the bible is better discussed in a neutral sense as a book of ancient wisdom, than simply a matter of faith.

Interesting the property proponents seem to be avoiding this thread.

However the church did sell so called sacred items which were almost certianly forgeries, got paid to read the bible to ppl and marry people. Surely this then is "profit" which really is what interest is.

You just described unearned income.

It has been said that the biggest problem with modern religion is that ancient people knew it (religious teachings) as both esoteric truth and stated allegory and that it is only the foolishness of modern people who would buy into the "faith" that it is literal truth.
This is also borne out through the "guru"/initiate style systems where the clergy were given special teaching and instruction in how to decipher the codes within holy writings. This, of course, had become corrupted as more profit was gained by clergy representing humans and performing ritual on the populaces behalf in return for community support, as was available to "leaders" who stayed true to the guruship principles. Compare the Church to the some of the Indian monks, the people donate to the monks all sorts of goods in return for prayers and thanks to "the everything/whatever" for their personal success, and the ascetic monks then pass those goods and do services for those who are in need on an as come basis. It works as a good system of social support, as donations are anonymised it doesn't fall into the trap that modern sponsorship/begging does, however it is also entirely reactive as shown by how little the society has progressed in 3000 years.

“We swears, to serve the master of the Precious. We will swear on… on the Precious!”
– Gollum

"It wasn’t happy reading" Only to those such as yourself. 8><------

For me it was a happy reading as it told some truths ppl needed to hear.

"According to him"

no according to science, he is just the messenger.

"we will end up consuming ourselves out of a home planet and are all going to hell in a hand-basket if we don’t change our ways."

That is correct, before oil the planet could sustain maybe 2billion, once its gone by 2050 all it will be able to support is 2billion...maybe.

Okay, you got me there. Reading the Popes speech was not a chore for me because i was interested in his perspective.

(Just to clarify "going to hell in a hand-basket" were my words, not the Popes for anyone who is wondering)

" he is just the messenger." lol. nice one :)

Lets get a couple things straight:

- church is not God, God is not the church.
- clergy are humans with an agenda.
- people with money and power are important to human institutions and other people who want power
- keeping people down and paying and satisfied is a key factor in gaining and holding power
- God already has _all_ the power God needs, by definition, whatever particular value or belief you have (or don't have).

- the Pope (head of a human institution interested in power) says people need to be satisfied with not being wealthy. Next question: Is his institution wealthy?

Perhaps we should look at a quote from his holenesses book," Yeshua said to them, “Give therefore to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's.”" (Luke 20:25)

Which is an odd thing for Ysvh to say really but since he was an expert in the Temples earlier teachings it can be also interpretted as say separate church and state - don't mix spiritual with the clergy/law/infrastructure. Which Ysvh being a rather learned teacher (and famed for an act of violence over banking fees being exacted within the sanctified places of human spirituality) it can be suggest that he could perceive of corruption that might have grown from the abuse of power should a human institution claim all power (of both spiritual and material authority)....

Which is interesting because the Wandering Tribes, and the many schools of teaching in the Mediterranean passed on many rules of business as part of their cultural writings. Often in the form of short family stories or examples, or in some of the older writings, philosophies built on how the universe worked based on human interaction including trade.
Thus we have stories about the Son who hid the Talents (money) his father/boss entrusted him having his gift seized for he did not enjoy it's worth, nor apply it in risk to grow more.

(1) it doesn't translate as "Love" but "desire". thus one taking a bribe (a very common thing which is always linked with bad things (tm) happening (like how the US film industry is not allowed to have people look like they prosper from crime).

"Love" of money, like "money is evil" is easy for the political person to use to accuse anyone with wealth. Clearly "the Love" of money made them great, and made everyone else poor, everyone else "loved God" (just ask any of them) therefore anyone with money who wasn't keen to give it to God to show their love was "in love with money" (and later "in pacts with the devil to gain it") giving the church the "spiritual right" to punish those who did not "love God" (aka "Put their love of money before the love of God") as by God's own law (of the church's own publication and interpretation) and as in the Statute/Act of the Ten Commandments... the first of the list strangely enough....

As always Cowboy your comments give the readers something to think about.

Clearly whether it "love" or "desire" as per your interpretation, its value is much higher than it should be when making decisions. Other scenarios come to mind - the women in Aus who tried to kill her husband by making it look like a botched car-jacking so she could get his insurances, mafia killings, tobacco companies, palm oil..... the list never ends...... even sugary cereals could make this category sometimes. (Seriously who needs 15 teaspoons in a breakfast cereal which is fed to children.... that's madness and clearly a focus on the love of money before people)?

There is a bunch of stuff in the esoteric (aka occult) teachings which spell it out more clearly, and give several systems for examining the process in more detail. You get the basic grasp of it's meaning.

But what you describe, is that "love" (aimer, amour(euse)(eux), adore, desiree), is it want? a hopeful fulfillment of security? hope of personal status or gain? Is it comersion of putting the happiness of another above ones own immediate want? does it speak of compassion?

Is of Aphrodite or of Porne? :) (since we touch on the divine today)

(and enough from me for a while....)

In the coming weeks can we see some articles on what the other gods have to say also.

Perhaps we could start with Plutus.

I shall keep that in mind.

While my own preferences have been more with Fontuna than Plutus, it is interest to note that although born of Demeter (grain, fields, agriculture) he that was described as the face of the spirit [information] of wealth is associated with Tsyche (cities). Although to be fair, I would hardly expect a Pope to have reason for such knowledge, being envoy of St Peter in the Kingdom an all...

Yet IMO/IME it is exactly that Demeter-Plutus-Tscyhe...and then fall (Pluto) pattern. It also honours a four-fold step birth, growth, maturity, decay *. the question to the spiritual being then, is do we wish to walk that path for eternity or will the Gods allow a different path? Does Ipter have any other ideas for man (such as stars, or harmony); he that denied humans fire and punishes the forerunner of any such challenge or development, would he have or permit any change to those who walk the fields and streets of man? (just as the authorities in politics must also repress ideas that would overthrow their own seat).

Mine own testament.

(* also seen in marketing development. (and a music note ;) )

#3 that's the modern interpretation.

It goes a little deeper than that if you know your history. In old history the borrower was _literally_ the slave until the debt was repaid. There were even rules that a debtor could not give testimony/speak in a case in which there creditor was involved due to the debt owed.
Its more akin to borrowing in brown paper bags passed in public spaces than todays' laws that rigorously define limits on contract and limits/provisions of debt.

One major effect was that as a debtor a man was considered unmanned; incompetent and unability to manage his own business, habits, and family affairs such a person was untrustworthy and dishonourable until that debt was discharged. Likewise his worth as a producer or organiser was to be looked down on as he was clearly incapable there as well and needed another to carry him - and being carried by others was _not_ a manly thing. Having many debtors however gave a man power, as it clearly showed he was a great and capable organiser and supplier far in excess of his own personal needs. A great man could demand things for his wife and her many offspring (starting with maids and servants), a debtor could not even support himself.... Thus the debtor was pariah to women of worth or connection. The position of a debtor in that society could be paralleled to that of a drug addict today. Even the wealthy (parallels of Elvis or Charlie Sheen) could fall to the evils of debt.
And even once the debt was formally discharged their was always a lingering stigma of mistrust, that the person was not their own person, and that they called always be called on that favour done for them.

and that was _without_ usury (interest and security) playing a part !!

This was also why it was important to have a usband of position or saleable skills, and a wife whose family had contracts, business sense (for running household, not always cash), and capital.

.... now what would it be like if we returned to those traditions? ..... the mind boggles.

Much of the system in China is very similar. The people are humans. They are intelligent. There are profits to be made and still many people that are able to make a quicker profit from a shortcut or a rort.

So in reality those things _are_ still happening, they're just painted different colours.

That's the sad part, without knowledge of the system, people fall back into the patterns. Because these patterns are natural processes not deliberate targets. In Game Theory it's like playing Noughts-and-Crosses. The moves are all mapped out, so there is no alternative.
It actually takes deliberate effort to bend those rules, so we go into Chess or Monopoly, Which are more complex, but still "solved". To evolve into something beyond those rulesets will take players willing to play by different rules....which apparently wealthy Popes aren't one judging by his speech.

It is a good article, and I don't think the Pope is all wrong. In fact he seems to be trying to take his church to some uncomfortable places for them, which is good.
However arguably there are two key variables in the environmental damage and depletion humans are causing. These are the amount of damage done per person, and the number of people there are. He is talking about the damage per person, in the full knowledge that the Catholic church and Islam have stated policies that would have the outcome of growing the number of people in an unlimited manner, in part by demonising contraception. The two religions between them are surely partly culpable for the world population growing from 2.5 billion in 1950 to over 7 billion now.
Will the Pope address the church's approach to contraception? Most of his parishioners long ago dropped their strict adherence in any case. I understand last week he was silent on the topic, which concerned hard line Catholics.

I like to think the current Pope and Cardinals are wise to the dangers of population size and density, however they are on the horns of a dilemma. Their secular power arises purely from the number of followers they have (as opposed to law, borders, money, industry, etc). To slow reproduction leaves them open to be overtaken by other religions and organisations and they are already losing influence in many parts of the world, so do they take the good choice? or the powerful and popular choice? What is the beatific choice?

As a Catholic who believes in and chooses to follow the churches teaching on contraception I would just like to add...
we accept people have a right to limit their family size - for medical reasons I have stopped at 4 kids - but this can be done, successfully, using Natural family planning which the Catholic church approves of. I think the Pope is trying to get us to think about our personal consumption. I would like to suggest that a lot of larger families use resources more efficiently - making good use of second hand clothes etc also taking into consideration things like economy of scale (i.e when my sister takes her 7 kids to school she is only using the same amount of petrol as some one taking 2 kids to school).
I am not preaching just putting across a perspective.

In my view having 7 kids on a loaded planet is irresponsible. As regards, "natural' birth control verses a piece of latex, what a nonsense. How can any semi-educated person take such views seriously?

World overpopulation is only a theory and reputable mathematical teams have debunked it. As for natural v artifical birth control methods one leaves room for God the other does not. And yes I have Degrees in Science and Law so I am semi-educated, thanks.

semi-educated would be accurate.
Reputable mathematicians have also supported the theory and actually have observable events on their side.
if you think "natural vs artifical" pushes out room for god then you are not semi-educated, you are poorly educated, and over propaganda'd. as my son, post vasectomy (through a specialist no less) can attest...or are you going to back your "reputable theorists" over measurable observances.

I consider us all to be semi-educated until the day we die, it would be arrogant to ever think of ourselves as fully and completely educated.
Regarding "natural v artificial" I was merely trying to sum up my opinion in one sentence, of course it is a complex issue with lengthy debate. If by "propaganda" you mean encyclicals of Saint Pope John Paul II then yes maybe I have been propaganda'd but I am happy with my choices.
Finally, overpopulation, yes any theory can probably be proved or disproved sometimes its just how you spin the numbers and again that is a whole debate on it's own.

Are we destroying the natural world around us, are the seas becoming polluted and have we fished out some parts of it, are we on the verge to the 6th great extinction caused by us in a number of ways. A hint, the answer to all of those is yes and that is because we have ALREADY over populated the planet.
I am over people who continue to stick their heads in the sand because they are indoctrinated by belief in some spaghetti monster in the sky, sorry for being so blunt, but that is how it is going to have to be to cut through the crap and get to doing something about the human OVERPOPULATION of this FINITE world

You need to cheer up dgmg, and get out more. It's big planet out there - though I don't anyone have ever claimed it was INFINITE. Like trying to find someone who thinks the climate doesn't change.

"Over the past several decades, through technological innovation, Americans now grow more food on less acres, eat more sources of meat that are less land-intrusive, and used water more efficiently so that water use is lower than in 1970. The result: lands that were once used for farms and logging operations are now returning as forests and grasslands, along with wildlife, such as the return of humpback whales off the shores of New York City."


I have no respect for any religion (and law that worships human writings) that ignores evidence of what it does. My "book of religion" is that which the Most High (of whatever that is to a person) created, ie that which made creation itself. Thus in natural philosophy it behooves us study the "writing"/workmanship of the Greatest...and not to put institutions invented by humans or profit first.
Only in finding the true laws which observably _work_ in nature (and thus the economy) do we have any hope of sustainability or long term harmony.
those who cling to ideas such as infinite resources because "someone said so" flying the face of that morality. But "past results does not guarantee future performance" does seem to be a natural law, so the clear process is when possible, not to outstrip ones local production or shelter or finances.

So URL please? just as an aside I dont believe you as we eat fossils fuels and that is gone by 2050.

Oh and on top of that we are on a finite planet and have exponential growth.

and here is a math guy saying you are full of it,


and here is someone else doing the math v energy use,


Thank you for the links...I think my original point has been missed.
I was replying to a comment by Stephen L and trying to point out that the Church already accepts that people can limit their family size. The church's stand on contraception does not mean it can't or won't support the idea of overpopulation.

....well if you have a science degree you will appreciate that anything that can occur must be natural, otherwise it cannot be. You religious concept of natural is no more than a thought in your head.

World overpopulation was a theory. Though Ehrlich still somehow manages to make a living out of it.

"In fact, birthrates are now below long-term replacement levels, or nearly so, across much of Earth, not just in the industrialized West and Japan but also in India, China, much of Southeast Asia, Latin America — just about everywhere except Africa, although even there the continentwide rates are declining."


And as for the existing population lack of clean water an electricity is still paring back the numbers.

"Diarrhoeal diseases, lower respiratory infections, neonatal causes, and malaria are still in the top five causes of death in children younger than 5 years."


Those making it to adulthood are in for a short life in some place too..


Well maybe if the developed world produced less bombs etc the vast amounts of money spared could be used for some good.

Funny you should mention water as I was about to ask you where all the extra water needed for more people might be grown

Over population is an observable fact so your mathematical teams need to go back to school. As do you I suspect, along with profile who I have already provided the information to. Actually change that, if he has the information but still can't see another factor must be at play, commonly known as just not smart enough. So I hope you are smart enough to observe world population stats and observe biological and statistical phenomenon at work.

You're all class scarfie. This is an observable fact within your short, angry, lifetime. Did you miss it while you were frothing over the keyboard? Population of US goes from 200 mill in 1970 to 320 mill today yet we see:

"Over the past several decades, through technological innovation, Americans now grow more food on less acres, eat more sources of meat that are less land-intrusive, and used water more efficiently so that water use is lower than in 1970. The result: lands that were once used for farms and logging operations are now returning as forests and grasslands, along with wildlife, such as the return of humpback whales off the shores of New York City.


The return of nature - it's laughable, but I'll believe once technology solves this little problem for us;


Lots of kids *must* be a benefit, after all that's why Egypt and African Nations _lead_ the world in economics, and why large Maori and Pacific Island families make up the top tiers of New Zealand's rich list.
It's why people like Bill Gates come from large families (3?), and why low income areas have population density issues from their childless or one and two child families, "squeezed" into two or three bedroom abodes.

Again to promote my management style of 4 elements. Law is just another Religion of human written words. Self-promoting "Experts" write "The truth" and over paid profiteers get rich inflicting their "truth" without personal responsibility, without it having to align with natural philosophies or observable criteria because in all religion, including law, the theory is held higher than mere phenomena or consequences of application. This can also be seen through the the eyes of anthropology where thousands of human religion and legal system require no truth nor factual/forensic evidence so long as the theory is accepted by the influential people as being done.

the other 4 elements (that was the Earthern based one, otherwise aimed at "doves")

Air which is art, highlighting creativity and random-seeming change. this contains aspects of media and communication as well as things connected to entertainment and image. (peacocks)

Science which is water, constantly re-evolving but always seeking it's own level. Science has a dependability and reliability which air does not. In an organisation this is the management processes, the measurement and goal analysis. Like waves, it constant iterates but the observations and numbers, if done correctly do not lie. To be in this low chaos (ie "cold") state things are all measurable, and cyclically linked (unlike Earth, where one Law can be placed on top of another Scripture, on top of a decreed Procedure; simply because authority/management have dictated that "As it is written so it shall be").

the fourth, the magic, my favourite, Is the planning. Things created in this feiry crucible aren't real, have no causative proof. But they have a permanence and energy of change entirely different for the creative air and just entertainment. Science and Earth might say "the sun will rise tomorrow in the East", an expectation based purely on interpretation of past experiences. But if you want to say "Next quarter is going to be a boomer", then fiery planning and motivation is what you need..."its going to happen because we're going to make it that way"

that's one of the many reasons I despise the revealed religions and their lies. they make a decree...but what do they contribute? More kids, packing their own pockets with many times the median wealth. Throw people in jail for stealing less than they do... They have no analytical ability beyond "it said in this book" or "a person in authority stated this", yet what consequences do they personally suffer from their mistakes and indiscretions...... at least a burglar takes an honest risk in his acquisitions, unlike the tax man or lawyer or doctor.

When my husband and I got married we had to do a "So you're marrying a Catholic" retreat weekend, even though I informed the priest that he was not getting any recruits out of me. He laughed and said it was for my hubby to get to know the faith (the only time I've stepped into a church over the past two decades has been for a handful of funerals). The b*llsh*t that they put across on so called "natural family planning" left me aghast - it was all about how to get knocked up in the quickest time possible, but 'sold' as natural family planning. I let the woman give her spiel and then loudly pointed out all the things wrong with her so called facts (which weren't) and happily told the others where they could get more advice on how to NOT have kids - every single woman (apart from the very irate goody-too-shoes) came up to me to thank me for giving them the info they required so that they would NOT have kids until they were ready to do so.

Coming from a large family (2nd oldest of 11) I can tell you now that my mother would proudly sit for an entire evening watching the budget each year to work out how much $$$ she would get for popping out another recruit for the church - the priest cried at her funeral, she died aged 66 from a worn out body due to over breeding. That the majority of us have turned our backs on the fraud that this religion is, is quite ironic. We have no kids, but I have 16 nephews and nieces so far and my siblings will probably keep going as a few still have to find a mate and start.

As for your perspective that large families use resources more efficiently, ummm well the first words out of my mouth when I read that aren't really polite but here goes :what the %&*(^%$#!!!!!! I can tell you now that large families are a burden on every aspect of society irrespective of how many you cram into a car. And what are we still doing as a society, but paying people to breed, and the wrong people to breed when it comes to it. The Catholic church does not want an army of intelligent recruits, just enough fodder egged on by the privileged few.

Good on you for thinking for yourself. The teaching you describe is not from scripture and no one can claim it came from God. Many contentious issues like this one are noticeably absent from scripture in fact and require us to make our own minds up. Love to Chat is upfront about the fact it is only a perspective.

It would be a shame to throw out the baby with the bath water though and reject all Biblical wisdom because we disagree with how others have "filled in the blanks".

How odd. Why did you marry in the Catholic church in the first place?

I was born a Catholic, my husband is no religion at all, we got married on our front porch - wedding all done for around $500. Used a priest to shut my mother up as she threatened to never stop complaining to us/about us if we didn't have a priest. If I'd known how quick she was going to die I would have held out for the registry office wedding I wanted and put up with the never ending complaints. Peace and quiet have reigned in the family ever since she went in the ground, though she did her best to control everything from the grave.

So I've been indoctrinated all through school, first with the nuns until Form 2 (they were Old Testament style nuns - now that's religion), and from From 3 by priests who were New Testament - a bunch of pansies (in the case of one I mean that literally) where you ignored what they said we should do and just admired the two-faced approach to the life they believed they should lead. Now those were a bunch of blokes with a sense of entitlement. Then you get the goody-too-shoes in the church, the families with the connections and only 1 or 2 kids at the most....only the masses are encouraged to breed, the ones of use to the priests have just enough to keep the church happy.

I wasn't the only one to have twigged to how the church was run, a few of us after high school met up to reminisce with one of the retiring nuns....she just gently smiled when we presented our 'facts' to her. Sister Philippa taught us to question everything, including the religion we had all been born into, I can still remember her telling us that it was her duty to prepare us for the world as it was warts and all, not what everyone told us it was.

Could we have a similar review based on the Pastafarian religion ?
Avoid Fridays, that is their sabbath when they will be drinking beer and relaxing.

Personally I prefer some nice buns without the hot dog ;)

Then there are Haastafarians

"you can’t deny that giving to others is a good and worthwhile thing to do. "

It's called "enabling". And it will keep the middle classes poorer, and the wealthy (who 'sponsor' not give) rich.
To quote one esoteric teaching "And unbridled Mercy is naught but weakness" (enabling)

and "Charity the greatest of virtues as it is twice rewarded. Lifting up those both those who are in need and the giver" yet also "Charity, in the sphere of Mercy, which must take great care as it cause resentment in the receiver of themselves and others whom they must appeal, and of those who are called to give for the constant need of others".

** anyway what I forgot but just remembered: "Love" or money, or "Love" of people... anthroposophism is also a terrible god. (putting value of "people" above all other things, in this context especially God('s))

Not the passage I was looking for, but do try to read up on the Awakening of Lazarus.

Note that being wealthy isn't a problem only hoarding what God/Nature has gifted (ie what large corporations and excessive governments do). The wealth comes from the people, so the admonishment is to return value in some way. Compare that to the first part of the speech that Elizabeth quoted. (that the poor should be happy with poverty)

Well, many of God's supposed favourite dudes of the Old Testament are dodgy con artists who couldn't lie straight in bed, so if you take the likes of Jacob as an example, then all manner of crookedness and swindling are just peachy, apparently.

The pope is basically a hedge fund manager who has the chutzpah to clip your ticket by 10% each and every time. Pope or CEO of the Catholic church? So from a biblical point of view, yes money is fantastic so long as other people labour to make it for you. Amen.

From a Biblical point of view it doesn't state anywhere that 10% should go to the church. Like birth control which is also absent from scripture we should be critical of how these "blanks" have been filled in by the church. The concept of giving generously is certainly present in scripture but typically in relation to the poor and the wider community.

Another ancient concept from the Bible is the Jubilee year, which I think Steve Keen has advocated.
If some kind of Jubilee had been rolled out after the GFC we may be better off. So debt forgiveness for all those who had over borrowed, same for nations e.g. Greece.
Problem is how to stop abuse of this, e.g. Bankruptcy then reemerge in business too soon.
But the idea is a good one - get long term debt off the backs of people every so often.
Also the breaking up of land ownership so monopoly holders are slowed down, e.g. Modern version e.g. was Servicemen getting farms, orchards on ballot after WWII. - These are biblical concepts which were once influencing policy.
Unfortunately, under globalisation, many of these values are dropped ....

We've been having a Jubilee since the GFC, it's called QE & ZIRP.

Unfortunately we're stuck in it and can't get out.

I think the way the Jubilee worked in practice is that very few people lent money close to the debt forgiveness date. If they did it was done with a very high interest rate or with a willingness to donate the money anyway. Regardless it still has the desired result of ensuring a debt reset every 50 years. This would prevent one generation burdening the next with debt they will never be able to repay and it prevents creditors amassing ever greater wealth and enslaving their debtors.

As a mere Dwarf in the Data Mines, I certainly hope that Hiz Popeness' trope of 'there is an infinite supply of the earth’s goods, and this leads to the planet being squeezed dry beyond every limit" is not valid.

I personally fear Peak Electrons.....

Human nature never changes and I find it ironic how there is a resurgence in Marxist thinking among many religious hierarchies (Pope included) and governments in general. They are all quietly calling for more taxes and hammering anyone who has more than someone else, even though this effectively contradicts one of the ten commandments: "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbours property". As Julius Caesar said, "Men freely believe want they want to believe". And, like lawyers, they will twist any laws to validate what they want to do. And as for his position on "climate change", the historical analogies with the Catholic church's condemnation of Galileo are very sad...

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