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Old 01-10-2007, 10:43 AM   #1
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Normal "Blessed"

I hear it all the time. Religious people with a lot of earthly goods who always say they are 'blessed.'

I have some questions. Does this mean those of us without so much wealth or goods are not 'blessed'? Does this mean God gave them the stuff because he likes them best? I don't believe that, but maybe they do?

Why is it, also, that some of the greediest, most crooked businessmen in the world have so much, while so many good people have so little? Are they "blessed?" Why would they be, instead of a poor, nicer person?

I know there are some justifications like that God is 'testing' you if you're having a hard life, so does that mean if I pass the 'test' I too will be 'blessed?' Since I haven't been, does that mean I failed? Did the greedy businessmen pass? Or was it only the well off religious people? I am at a loss on this one.

Do any of you have any ideas or philisophical reasoning on this?
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Old 01-10-2007, 10:51 AM   #2
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The teaching of Calvinism pretty much told the the first capitalists in the late 18th and early 19th century, that if they are wealthy it is good and they shouldn't hesitate but increase their wealth further.

That was some kind of an excuse they than could use.
That time, people were very religious and what we call fundamentalism today, then was pretty much the standard.
Then Calvinism came up so that the rich entrepreneurs wouldn't feel so bad by exploiting the workforce and getting richer and richer.

Even Mother Theresa thought, people that are poor are so because God wanted it to be so.
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Old 01-10-2007, 11:46 AM   #3
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Old 01-10-2007, 11:50 AM   #4
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Thank you for the info, I didn't know any of that. I am surprised about Mother Theresa, but not the Industrialists. Wealthy, greedy people will always find a way to make themselves right.

People do use their beliefs to suit themselves. If they want to believe God wanted them to be rich, then anything they did was justified to them, even the way the treated the workers. They must also have believed the workers were meant to have a bad life!

In Mother Theresa's case, she believed EVERYTHING was the will of God, so that must include poverty.

Myself, I just don't know...
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Old 01-10-2007, 12:19 PM   #5
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I don't belief, hence it's my responsibility to make something out of my life.

I also don't belief in anyone living in poverty should do so because there is a higher power or anything that wants it to be so (which would be very cruel in my view).

I don't blame Mother Theresa for the way she believed. It's rather just consequent to think, everything is caused by the will of God poverty must have the same reason.

I myself wouldn't like to have more many than I could ever spend in my life on several bank accounts, when at the same time millions of people are starving because they don't have a penny.


When I did my door knocking job for World Vision in Australia I once came to a house where you could see the owners aren't starving at all.
The son entered the door, probably my age, around 20, and he came with the same argument, that he doesn't belief everybody who is rich necessarily has to give to the poor and so on.

A couple of minutes before a couple (both retired, she is deaf, he also has difficulties to hear properly and they aren't wealthy at all) were more than happy that I came and immediately decided to help one of the children.

I also discovered that some of the really rich people either were rude, or they were this kind of donators that like to give publicly so that there will be made a big sign for them in regards of their commitment.

Of course, that's not always the case, but I also didn't meet one rich person that was willing to even listen to me.
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Old 01-10-2007, 12:28 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by Vincent Vega

Then Calvinism came up so that the rich entrepreneurs wouldn't feel so bad by exploiting the workforce and getting richer and richer.
Well, Calvinism/Protestantism is a major reason for capitalism, but this statement has nothing to do with the theological factors in favor of capitalism. What you're describing is religious people who are already greedy and selfish using Calvinism as their excuse.
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Old 01-10-2007, 12:41 PM   #7
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Re: "Blessed"

Quote:
Originally posted by Butterscotch
I hear it all the time. Religious people with a lot of earthly goods who always say they are 'blessed.'

.......................

Do any of you have any ideas or philisophical reasoning on this?

I defer to Jesus, and he said "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth."

The full text:
Quote:
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
IMO, you can't feel truly blessed unless you have empathized with and put yourself in the place of others. People who are greedy and selfish can't say in truth that they are blessed because they haven't made any effort to see what life is like for those who have less wealth and opportunity.
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Old 01-10-2007, 01:35 PM   #8
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i don't think accumulation of wealth and goods are an indicator of being "blessed". people you overhear say that are wrong. WRONG I SAY!!!!

i've always thought blessings is another term for "gifts from God" having a tv as big as your couch is not a gift from God. however, seeing beauty in all things, not being afraid to talk to people different from yourself, and giving love freely are blessings.

i also consider certain things in my life blessings when they have turned my life around into a more positive direction. like, my dog is a blessing. not because i own a dog and i like to own things. but because he has brought so much love into my life.

i also believe simple living is a blessing. ever since i made the committment, ive been more open to people, sharing of ideas, and just embracing of new friends and experiences. it is a blessing to not get trapped under all your possessions because you can leave yourself open to experiencing real love in your life.
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Old 01-10-2007, 01:36 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by Liesje


Well, Calvinism/Protestantism is a major reason for capitalism, but this statement has nothing to do with the theological factors in favor of capitalism. What you're describing is religious people who are already greedy and selfish using Calvinism as their excuse.
Yes, but the teachings of Calvinism came up that time (they were invented earlier, but the industrialization was some kind of a renaissance), and some sentences then were even written on the example of the entrepreneur who has the God given right to increase their wealth.

Of course the sources for the Calvinistic teachings of that time were entrepreneurs themselves, who else should write something like that.
And they were thankfully adopted by the entrepreneurs to justify their doing.

That got then told their children, and so this way of thinking got stuck with some.
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Old 01-10-2007, 01:40 PM   #10
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Re: "Blessed"

Quote:
Originally posted by Butterscotch
I hear it all the time. Religious people with a lot of earthly goods who always say they are 'blessed.'

I don't usually hear it in that context. I'm not very religious. When I say it i'm not referring to wealth, which I don't have. I'm saying I'm grateful for what I do have. It's a reminder to myself that I should appreciate it and recognize others are less fortunate.
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Old 01-10-2007, 01:59 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by Vincent Vega


Yes, but the teachings of Calvinism came up that time (they were invented earlier, but the industrialization was some kind of a renaissance), and some sentences then were even written on the example of the entrepreneur who has the God given right to increase their wealth.
There are many post-Calvinist "teachings" that were not taught or addressed by Calvin. These ideas are more like spin-offs. This is one example. Another good one is TULIP. Both are commonly accepted as "Calvinist" beliefs by pretty much everyone except Calvinists that believe in the teachings of Calvin. Neo-Calvinism/mainstream Protestantism (at that time) - yes. Calvinism - not as much. I've always wondered why we name belief systems after people, but then ignore what these people were actually trying to say.

An entrepreneur has a right to increase his wealth and opportunity. It doesn't mean that this happened because he was somehow higher in God's favor than a poor person, or that he can say he is a better person simply because he is more wealthy. To say this would be against Calvinism, because you'd be saying that this person did something/somehow earned God's blessing through his own works. No, for a Calvinist, you are blessed by God and because of such, you should rejoice in this blessing and Grace by making a place for yourself in the world (the Christian Reformed refer to this as a "calling" - "the place where my deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet")
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Old 01-10-2007, 02:36 PM   #12
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Interested, because even my school book didn't make a difference there and just called it Calvinism.

I wouldn't blame an entrepreneur to increase his wealth.

Just the way they did at the time of industrialisation, and how they viewed their workforce, or today's rich that don't care but for the billions on their bank accounts are makes me feel sad.

And then to justify it with belief is very poor.
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Old 01-10-2007, 02:50 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by Vincent Vega
Interested, because even my school book didn't make a difference there and just called it Calvinism.
You were right from the beginning, capitalism does have very strong roots in Calvinism, but just not the way that people normally think. Calvinists believe that people strive for success in this world as a result of already being blessed by God, not as the blessing itself, if that makes any sense. A blessing is infusing something with divine holiness. To a Calvinist, being blessed is simply existing within God's creation, having been created in the image of God. A blessing is not the "something"/tangible object itself (money, etc). It's more of an act than an object. Calvinism is not to be used as an excuse for the very wealthy being greedy and saying "well I EARNED this so I shouldn't have to share." We recognize that it was the initial blessing from God that allowed us to be successful, and thus we are expected by God to use our success to help others. To not do so is greedy and selfish.
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Old 01-10-2007, 03:03 PM   #14
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What about the term "blessings in disguise?"

I believe blessings don't always appear to be so until later.
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Old 01-10-2007, 03:12 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by Liesje


You were right from the beginning, capitalism does have very strong roots in Calvinism, but just not the way that people normally think. Calvinists believe that people strive for success in this world as a result of already being blessed by God, not as the blessing itself, if that makes any sense. A blessing is infusing something with divine holiness. To a Calvinist, being blessed is simply existing within God's creation, having been created in the image of God. A blessing is not the "something"/tangible object itself (money, etc). It's more of an act than an object. Calvinism is not to be used as an excuse for the very wealthy being greedy and saying "well I EARNED this so I shouldn't have to share." We recognize that it was the initial blessing from God that allowed us to be successful, and thus we are expected by God to use our success to help others. To not do so is greedy and selfish.
Ah, ok, now I got it.

Now that you are saying it, I think there was also something written like by generating your wealth you're also doing good for other people since by working for you they earn something themselves.

So this was basically from a text distributed during the time of the industrialisation, hence the referring to making money.

Is a bit like Adam Smith described the visible hand with the entrepreneur who simply followed the aim of making more money, and thereby doing the same as the worker, whose aim is to work (better) to making more money.
So both just follow their aims, and by doing that they are leading the economy towards a better future for everybody.

Didn't work out that well all the time, but at least he believed in it.
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