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Wealth in Buddhism and Christianity essay

Wealth in Buddhism and Christianity essay - The acquisition...

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The acquisition and possession of Wealth in Buddhism and Christianity Elizabeth Pirinis Jillian Weaver Religion 101
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The accumulation of wealth is a disputed issue in both Christianity and Buddhism. The development of opposing viewpoints has evolved in both religions, one siding towards the acquisition of wealth as being just and the other thoroughly opposing this notion. The viewpoints concerning wealth in Christianity and Buddhism are very much in contrast with one other and originate from different sources because of their different beliefs systems and ideologies. However, they parallel in their concern for deontological ethics, regarding the way wealth is accumulated, how it is used once in someone’s possession, and the effect that wealth has on the individual as being crucial faculties in determining morality. In Buddhism and Christianity, the focus is on the person’s intentions involving wealth and how well they correspond with the values and principles of the religion. If wealth is accumulated honestly, used to benefit the community through giving to the poor, and beneficial in helping people live comfortably while not becoming selfish and greedy is the basis for determining the morality of acquiring and possessing wealth. In Christianity, some people say that if wealth is attained through honest and just means, it is morally acceptable. The Gospel of Wealth emphasizes this as Russel H. Canwell quotes, “but get money honestly or it will be a withering curse” (Muelder 70). This view states that through hard work people who gain wealth are justified as they are attaining it through honest labor. Max Weber emphasized the “Protestant ethic” which he compared to a “work ethic,” referring to the belief system that justified wealth through work (Kennedy 127). During the protestant reformation, focus shifted towards the individual and labor became the scared calling of many Christians. Through making labor a “sacred obligation,” the accumulation of money that went along with this sacred act became justifiable for some people (Kennedy 128). Christian traditions which value individualism and success regard acquiring wealth as a positive action. The idea of Predestination, where God decided at creation the fate of all humans, encouraged individualism as people had to walk down their own path (Kennedy 128). People were to glorify God with
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their craft to the point where the virtues of diligence and hard work were encouraged. The doctrine of Diligence and Thrift places a moral outlook on mercantilism and scorns “idle” and “unprofitable” people (Samuelsson 81). It preaches the idea that hard work should be the primary means of attaining wealth (Samuelsson 85). Work, therefore, become respected and ennobled in certain communities, encouraging Christians to focus on their professions and earning money (Kennedy 129).
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