Christian Teaching on Wealth and Poverty

Christian Teaching on Wealth and Poverty

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Christian Teaching on Wealth and Poverty

In the world today rich countries are at a great advantage over
LEDC's, this is because the richer countries can pay for good
education systems, hospitals and ever improving sanitation, whereas
LEDCs are stuck in debt and poverty. MEDCs keep getting richer - a lot
of money they get from foreign labour or debt repayments that can be
seen as an exploitation of the weaker countries, MEDCs get the
majority of their income through businesses and industry.

In the first section of my coursework I researched the need for world
development and answered the question why are some countries less
developed than others? In this section of my coursework I will look at
Christians and Muslims responses to wealth and poverty.

In Christianity people believe that wealthy people should use their
money to help the less fortunate, and that money can be used either
for good or evil. One of the strongest messages that comes through in
the Bible is to use your money to help other people, not just
yourself. In the parable of the Sheep and the Goats (Matthew 25:31-46)
the sheep represent good Christians who carry out selfless acts of
giving and serving, Christians use this teaching in many aspects of
life, in money they see this as it is ok to have money as long as you
help people when they are in need, if you have excess money and see
someone in debt or other money related problems do not spend the money
on your self but help that person out. This message is similar to one
in The Rich Ruler:

(Luke 18:18-29)

"Indeed 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."

This is used because the front entrance to the Jerusalem market was
known as the eye of the needle and wealthy people had heavy laden
camels who could not fit through it. Rather than dismissing their
important possessions they used the back entrance.

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This shows that
possessions and money are more important than entering Gods Kingdom
the right way you shall not enter at all. Acts 2:45 tells a story of
the early Christians. It says "selling their possessions and goods,
they gave to anyone in need". This is an example of stewardship and a
reinforcement that money should not be kept for luxury while people
are suffering. Finally the Bible teaches that people should be happy
to help other people for "God loves a cheerful giver" (2 Corinthians

Not only does the Bible teach what is truly Christian but also it
gives reason for people to live the Christian life, donating and
helping where possible.

(I Corinthians 15:58)

"Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always
abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your
labour is not in vain in the Lord."

I believe this is saying that for any work you do the Lord will
remember and reward you.

Christians have strict beliefs about how and when they can use money
such as the teachings on Usury, which is lending money and then
earning a large profit of interest on it. They also believe some jobs
are non-Christian, such as jobs in the arms trade, drug trafficking,
gambling, prostitution and any other jobs that can physically or
mentally harm someone.

Stewardship is another belief, it stems from the principle of the
Genesis creation where God says to Adam and Eve use what I have
provided to help others around you. Stewardship is now seen as using
the resources you have such as wealth to help the less fortunate,
sometimes it is described as "time, talent and treasure" as these are
the main things that could help someone in need.

Need: Parable of Good Samaritan, Commandments

Muslims also have strong beliefs on what is right and wrong when
concerning money. Muslims collectively give a lot of money to charity,
as the Third Pillar of Islam is Zakat, sometimes spelt Zakah. This is
when Muslims give 2.5% of their "spending money" (their income after
all necessities have been paid for) to a charity. The money is
collected at the Local mosque and sometimes the money is used to aid a
local family who may have suffered trauma and the Mosque feels it is
right for them to have the money. Nationally, then the money is sent
to another mosque in the same country to help people or even a whole
community. Thirdly the money can be sent Globally to help people in
another country. For global Zakat the money is sometimes sent to
Muslim Aid or other Muslim charities as it can be very hard to send
the money themselves. The word Zakat means growth or purification,
Zakat is said to purge the giver of greed and selfishness. If a muslim
spends the Zakat on themselves this is seen as stealing from Allah.

At Eid-Ul-Fitr Muslims give a special Zakat to the poor. The money
given then is called Zakat-Ul-Fitr. Normally it is the cost of a meal
for each member of the family.

If Muslims have spare cash they can give voluntary payments called
sadaqah. Sadaqah is not always in the form of cash. It is the
equivalent of Christian stewardship and anything that helps other
people is a form of it, even something simple like picking up litter.

Muslims are taught about the "Rashidin" otherwise known as "the
rightly-guided" who had great amounts of success and wealth, instead
of living like princes they lived a simple life, just like Allah had.
They ate simple food and hand stitched clothing. They used money to
help those who needed it instead of buying luxuries that they did not

Abu Bakr, one of the rightly guided (stewards), taught many lessons
about wealth and how to use money to abide by with Allah's word. One
of the stories he told was about his wife who wanted to buy sugar to
make him some sweets, she saved as much money as she could from their
very meagre allowance, when she had finally made the sweets Abu Bakr
demanded to know how she managed to make them, when she told him he
said they had obviously been taking more than they needed and
instantly reduced their wages.

These example of the lives of Muslim Caliphs may be slightly
exaggerated as most things say Muslims are allowed to be wealthy, but
they do show the strong sense of charity in the Muslim community and
only taking what they need when others around them are suffering.

Muslims, like Christians, are also against loans and high interest
profits, it is completely banned for Muslims and for occasions like
taking out mortgages special Muslim companies have been set up to
allow them to buy properties. Also if Muslims loan money to people in
need and they cannot easily pay it back they are encouraged to give it
as a gift as they could spare the money in the first place.

This is because in the Surah 2:280 of the Quran', Muslims are taught

"If the debtor is in difficulty, grant him time to repay. But if ye
remit it by way of charity, that is best for you if ye only knew."

The Muslim way of life has a lot to do with helping those in need,
Muslim based charities have been set up to provide support for those
who need it. Muslim Aid sends supplies such as food, medicine and
clothes to help victims of natural disaster and wars. They do not just
help Muslims, they help those in need regardless of ethnicity, colour
or religion.

Like Christianity, Muslims holy books have hints of reward for people
who help those in need, and:

Surah 2:195 teaches

"But do good, for Allah loves those who do good."

In conclusion both Muslims and Christians strongly support the idea of
charity, both religions are given incentives for being generous and
kind. Neither religion forbids riches either, but teaches of good
hardworking people who share money freely.
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