Religious Education

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  • Created on: 26-03-13 21:10

Religious attitudes to the rich and poor in British society

 Introduction to the rich and poor:

Our society includes very rich people and very poor people as well as the vast majority of people who fall between these two exstremes. The rich have aquired or inherited wealth in the form of money, possessions and investments. They have more money than they need to provide the basic necessities of life such as food and a home. In addition, they are able to buy luxuries, holidays and cars and have savings in the back or other investments. Thier lives are comfotable and the have few financhial worries. 

On the other hand, anyone living in poverty stuggles to afford food and the basic living necessities for themselves and their family. Some will have a home, but it might be unsuitable for their purpose and they may be behind with their rental or mortgage payments. Others will be homeless, weather through difficult circumstances or because of their own choices which have led to that situation.

Is equality possible?

Many people would prefer their to be less of a difference between the rich and the poor. But complete equality, where people have the same amount of wealth, is very likely to remain an ideal. Communists philosophy attempts to close the gap between the rich and the poor and some religious teachings share this ideal. But other people think that complete equality is not desirable. 

Religious attitudes to the rich and the poor

Chrisitanity- "No one can serve two masters, you cannot serve both both God and Money" The Bible teaches that all created things belong to God. People are givin talents that should not be squandered. So it follows that talents can be used to earn money. But money, and in paticular striving to accquire more than is needed, can take peoples attention away from God and this is to be avoided.

Hinduism- Weath may be a result of good karma in a previous life. If so, it is not a bad thing. Some would argue that the poor may have been wicked in a previous life and so are being punished in this one. 

Islam- "Richness does not lie in abundance of wordly goods, but in true richness is the richness of the soul" The qur`an teaches that wealth is a blessing from allah and should be used to help others. The value of money is in what it can do, rather than what it is. 

Judaism- Wealth is permitted in judaism, but must never take the place of God. Acquiring wealth may lead to sin, such as greed, selfishness and expoliting others. 

Sikhism- "blessed is the godly person and the riches they possesss because they can be used for charitable purposes and to give happiness" Wealth may be a result of a previous life. Therefore it is not wrong in itself, but spiritual goals in life are much more important than wealth.

Buddhism- The Buddha left a wealthy life for a poorer


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