Thursday, April 30, 2009

160 Billion Reasons Why

Because of their special status in society, it's very difficult to get a handle on the financial wealth of various religious bodies. In the US, for example, religious organizations are tax-exempt and their financial records are not required to be released to the public. So, the best available information must be obtained by making educated guesses.

One source estimates that the total income for Christian churches alone is $160 billion with another $250 billion from parachurch and institutional income. Altogether that's over $400 billion! More than the GDP for many countries.

So, why do religions hold on so tightly to their place in our world? Economics is a major reason. Religion is big business.

This is not to suggest that religious institutions and organizations don't contribute to society. Many religious bodies help out the poor, work on social justice issues and educate folks. At the same time though, like any big business, it enriches many people too. Their fortunes are tied to selling salvation to ordinary folks so they can fund their lavish lifestyles!

For me, this is one of the reasons why belief systems such as Taoism pose such a threat to western society. Philosophical Taoism doesn't have churches or clergy. There is no hierarchy. It doesn't require tithes or donations. In essence, it's anti-capital and our world is built on capital.

1 comment:

  1. Trip Lee says it best-

    These days in the church, most cats got it twisted/Don't let them fool you on how we posed to live this/For instance, some say to come to Christ for riches/Or maybe your blessing, but my question is what is this?Cause that ain't the gospel, that if you put your faith in Him/To come to the Savior, and then you'll rake that paper in? Face it friends, they made Jesus they holy ATM/ Paul would appalled, this gospel would be disgrace to Him/This false gospel strips Him of His flyness/He's more like your servant and less like His Highness/So please don't buy it, that idea is absurd/Jesus said the Christian life can be strife and it's filled with hurt


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