Is Your Faith the Greediest?

Find out what these major religions have to say about greed.

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Both Western and Orthodox Christians believe greed was instilled in human beings after the Fall, and the Ten Commandments inherited from Judaism include not one but two prohibitions against covetousness, often interpreted by Christians as greed.

Jesus is famous for living in poverty and warning against having or wanting too much money. The Gospel states, "Then he [Jesus] said, 'Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions (Luke 12:15).'"

Other books in the New Testament explain further that worldly passions run counter to righteousness. The book of James says, "What causes wars, and what causes fighting among you? Is it not your passions that are at war in your members? You desire and do not have; so you kill. And you covet and cannot obtain; so you fight and wage war. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions (4:1-3)."

Both Catholicism and the Church of Latter-day Saints have strong positions against greed. Catholicism defines greed, or avarice, as excessive love for riches. Greed can become so overwhelming that the pursuit of money becomes a primary purpose of life. Basic desires, such as wanting food when hungry or clothing when cold are not in themselves sinful; it is when these desires become the overwhelming force of a person's life, or when they cause a person to want what is not rightfully theirs, that they are considered sins. The Catholic Catechism states, "The tenth commandment forbids avarice arising from a passion for riches and their attendant power," and "Detachment from riches is necessary for entering the Kingdom of heaven. 'Blessed are the poor in spirit.'"


Mormon texts also describe true riches as being immaterial: "Seek not for riches but for wisdom; and, behold, the mysteries of God shall be unfolded unto you, and then shall you be made rich," the Doctrine & Covenant states. "Behold, he that hath eternal life is rich."

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