Is Christianity the Only Path to ‘True’ Financial Peace?


[If you cannot view the video above, click here to go directly to the post]

Here’s a quick overview of some of the topics I discuss in the video:

  • [0:30] – What I love about Dave Ramsey.
  • [1:05] – Why I can only drink 95% of the Kool-Aid
  • [1:30] – Should religion bleed over into business life?
  • [2:15] – Why I don’t connect with Dave Ramsey’s approach to religion.
  • [3:05] – What ‘financial peace’ means to me.
  • [4:10] – What about Hindus, Buddhist, Muslims, and Atheists?
  • [5:00] – Different roles that religion can play in our financial life.
  • [6:10] – What role does religion play in YOUR finances?

I had a lot of fun doing this video!  This is a topic where video feels much more nature than trying to fit it into text.  I’m really want to improve my videos and always looking for feedback.  You can email 100% honest suggestions or praise to Baker (at)  I’ll really appreciate it!

What role does religion (or spirituality) play in your financial life?

Does it effect your daily decisions?  Does it even have a place in finances?  I’m still searching for answers myself and I’m really interested to hear your thoughts below!

112 thoughts on “Is Christianity the Only Path to ‘True’ Financial Peace?”

  1. I have heard Dave Ramsey a few times and like you I admire his enthusiasm and obvious love of what he does. However, I do find him a tad too evangelical for my tastes and what you described kinda fits into that framework.

    I don’t think there is any ‘should’ with money and religion, I think it has to be a personal decision. I’m not at all religious although I do consider myself spiritual, but it’s not anything I give consideration to when I’m deciding if I can afford an iPhone or not.

    1. The majority of the time, I think he incorporates religion very well. It’s just a couple parts that make me cringe a little.

      I feel very much in line with your stance… although, man… it must be nice to be able to afford an iPhone! 😉

    2. “I don’t think there is any ’should’ with money and religion, I think it has to be a personal decision. I’m not at all religious although I do consider myself spiritual, but it’s not anything I give consideration to when I’m deciding if I can afford an iPhone or not.”

      @ It is interesting that you say that because there are 2,350 verses in the Bible that deal with money – more mentions than faith and prayer combined. Jesus even spoke about money and possessions more than heaven and hell combined. Many people would not at all flinch if someone said that having faith or being a person of prayer ‘should’ be intertwined with religion but yet if someone says the same thing about money and religion then many people have the opposite reaction.
      .-= Credit Card Chaser´s last blog ..Wells Fargo Expected to Raise Credit Card Interest Rates 3% =-.

  2. Being an atheist, I don’t see the necessity in preaching while teaching. I grew up Catholic and went to Catholic school from K-12, but looking back, my teachers could have taught me the same thing and built the same mindset in me without religion. Obviously, that disagrees with the approach of catholic schools as they are trying to ingrain religion. I am somewhat bitter at the approach my teachers and family influenced me with religion. If they would have took out the religious background or overtone to their teachings, I would have learned the same principles minus the unnecessary religious ties. I learned early on that stuff is stuff and experiences are worth everything. That was extremely key to my upbringing. Did religion play a major role in the decision making of what was really important? Maybe, but it shouldn’t and didn’t need to.

    Dave Damron
    .-= Dave – LifeExcursion´s last blog ..Living Off the College Mean =-.

  3. As one who grew up with a religious background (my father is a minister, albeit a very liberal one), I tend to shy away from folks who use any organized religion in the way Ramsey does. After all, the core principles of Christianity (peace, love thy neighbor, selflessness, etc) can and SHOULD be ones that all people strive for. The Christian part is a personal choice (I myself am not one) that people can make, but the values are the same.

    Teach values and principles? Yes. Wrap it in dogma? No.
    .-= Norcross´s last blog ..Even Someone At Fox News Knows =-.

    1. Norcross, from what you have shared I can only assume that you do not know the core principles of Christianity. The core is all about redemption from a condition that we have absolutely no hope of reconciling in our own power. We are hopelessly lost in a sea of our own moral filth and God was willing to pay the price necessary to provide a solution to fix our condition.

      I hope you realize that followers of Jesus Christ actually believe in moral absolutes! I find it ironic that you stated that all people SHOULD strive for the the practices and character traits you have noted. Um, why is that? Why should we strive for those? Without real moral judgements this is just your opinion!
      You mentioned peace…Do you realize the peace that is described in the Bible is achieved by trusting that the God of the Bible knows what it is like to be facing conditions common to all of us, that is, facing circumstances similar to being chin deep in crap upon a spinning orb of selfishness, and that this God is not surprised by your predicament, but provides encouragement to continue to trust Him and obey Him in spite of said predicament? I think you were alluding to some kind of “tolerance” where we all just get along. Not even close.
      I know what you mean by organized religion but if you were to find other like minded people and got together every once in a while to discuss your views; well then …guess what? Pot…meet kettle!
      I don’t think you realize it but your last statement is no truer than saying that vanilla ice cream is the best, just because.

  4. When faith in God is a part of the very fiber of your being, then it can’t be removed from you in your business. Baker kind of addresses that – if it is part of you, then it has to be part of you at work.

    I’m reminded of this video from Penn of Penn & Teller – A man gave Penn a Bible after a show. Penn is an atheist, but he talks about how if someone REALLY believes that Jesus is the way to eternal life in heaven, then how can they NOT tell people about it? “How much do you have to hate somebody to believe that ever lasting life is possible and not tell them about it?”

    Dave is a Christian. He truly believes in God. He makes the statements about the Prince of Peace because he wants you to have the same kind of peace that he has in God.

    For me, being a Christian is just a part of who I am and is therefore a part of every decision I make, financial or not. I might not consciously say “What Would Jesus Do?” when picking out a stocking hat for my 3 year old, but my faith shapes my value system which affects me even when I’m not consciously thinking about. More concretely, my faith makes me WANT to write out a check to my church every Sunday and to write an extra check after cashing in when I exercise some stock options. I have no qualms about doing so even as I look at the balance of my last debt and dream of the day when the account says “paid in full”.

    1. Amber, you do a fantastic job of explain exactly why I don’t ming the Dave includes religion in his business. You explained my own thoughts better than I did!

      That Penn video is right on. If someone believes that, there’s no way they should keep it ‘separate’ from different areas of their life.

      I find it awesome that you still find the ability to give while in debt. This will be the topic of upcoming post I have in the works. Let’s just say, it’s not an easy issue for me to follow through on!

      1. Thanks, Baker! As a Christian, that Penn video actually hit me pretty hard the first time I saw it. You may disagree with Dave’s exact method, but it is tough to convict him for the act.

        As for giving, I struggle a lot with balancing the desire to give with getting my own financial house in order. I’m very anxious to be on Step 7 so I can be free to give money away willy-nilly. When a kid at church doesn’t have the money for camp, I want to pay for it. When the cook at daycare tells me her husband’s new job won’t give them health insurance for 60 days and they can’t afford her 3rd grader’s ADD meds, I want to hand her $300 to cover it. When friends raise money for a charity, I want to write $100 checks (or more). I want to buy expensive allergen-free chicken nuggets for a friend whose kids have crazy allergies. I used to be a rather selfish person, but I see how much I have and how blessed I am and I want to spread it around. 🙂

        1. @Amber You raise an excellent point. I don’t want to get too terribly scriptural, but Dave for example often references paying tithing (giving 10% of your income to church/charity). Read Malachi 3:8-10. Basically, it states that God has commanded us to pay “tithes and offerings” and He will in return open the “windows of heaven.” So, either you believe in God or you don’t. Either you believe He has given us commandments/laws or you don’t. And you believe that you will receive blessings/help when you are obedient to those commandments or you don’t. Meaning, if you believe in God, that all things are His or in His control, and that He blesses obedience, then giving and helping others will result in increased capacity to meet your own financial obligations just as He promises in Malachi. I’m a devout Christian and have paid tithing all of my life. It’s amazing how many bills that I didn’t think I would be able to pay that I suddenly seemed to have just enough money to pay for right when I needed it.

  5. Baker –

    You did address a heavy one today, but I’m glad you brought it up. I’ve considered myself a Christian most of my life, but I didn’t really accept God fully until 2006. One of the most important things I held back is my finances. Without all the details, I can comfortably say that following the biblical teachings on finances has brought dramatic improvement. And I am/was a CPA and MBA before I took the FPU course and made these changes so knowledge itself should not have been the issue. Frankly, it was discipline. For me, faith and finances (and all of the aspects of my life) will forever be intertwined.

    Obviously, I don’t know Dave Ramsey personally, but I would suspect that his primary goal in life is to encourage people to accept Christ. His method of reaching and engaging with people is teaching them about finances, but I believe this is his means, not his end. You can’t really be a believer and follower of Christ without making that your number one priority. I think the person that made this point best was the illusionist Penn, an atheist, in this personal blog video –

    As Penn says, if you truly believe in heaven and everlasting life, “how much do you have to hate someone to not proselytize?”


    1. Kendra,

      You posted this at roughly the same time as Amber above and I really appreciate the Penn video. I hadn’t seen it before and I agree with it 110%.

      And in THAT regard, I deeply respect Ramsey’s attempts to incorporate ministry into all of his work, personal and business. There are just a couple times when it’s a little too forward for my liking. I have no experience converting people to Christianity, but it’s one of those ‘catch more bees with honey’ thing for me.

      1. @Baker – I must confess that I was a little unsure of how to take Dave when I first listened to him driving through Nashville some years ago. Since then, I’ve come to accept him for what he is – a Christian with a deep understanding of people who are struggling financially and better still, a great teacher of personal finance. For me, it was as simple as learning who he is and reading his books that helped me understand where he was coming from.
        .-= Michael Harr @ TodayForward´s last blog ..TodayForward is the Simple Way to Plan, Manage, and Organize Your Money =-.

  6. At a young age I realized that religion wasn’t for me. My mother got divorced and the Catholic Church would not let her take communion anymore because of the divorce. I guess that point has turned me off from religion ever since. I believe you should treat people the way you would like to be treated. That’s my only religion.

    I too love the passion that Dave Ramsey applies toward his message. I take it for what it is and use the advice without the religious part. Even if you don’t believe in a person’s cause there can still be great nuggets of information in the message. It was Dave who got me on the path to debt freedom.

    I used my imagination to view the video because it won’t load here at work. You looked great 🙂 Keep up the great work.

    Jeff @deliverawaydebt
    .-= Jeff´s last blog ..Transition from a Workaholic to a Passionate Worker =-.

    1. Haha, thanks for the kudos on the video you didn’t watch. 😉

      Seriously, though, I’ve taken much of the same ‘nuggets’ from Dave without so far diving into any of the religious content, as well. It because I can clearly see the value outside of the ministry part of his talking that I still find it addicting.

      But maybe that’s his goal? Hook us with an awesome message and leverage that to spread his ministry. More power to him if it works in my mind.

  7. First, I don’t believe that one needs to follow a specific faith to achieve inner peace. I know many non religious people who are inspiring in their actions, and I know many people who attend services regularly but are petty, selfish, or otherwise reprehensible.

    I have a good deal of respect for people who use their faith to guide them towards helping others, even when I don’t personally agree with the tenets of their church. I have less respect for people who use that generosity to try and push people to join their particular organization. If you act selflessly, the example you set will be enough to win new converts. I think the goodness of helping someone less fortunate is lost if you essentially tie conversion into the good deed.

    The one thing I have a real problem with is when religious groups tie financial support into their dogma. While people *should* chip in to subsidize a service (in this case religion) that they benefit from, many religious groups twist that into very specific demands. I know this immediately brings to mind tithing, but there are certainly many other groups that have similar requirements for their members. I don’t think spirituality should ever be treated as a tax–“If you don’t pay X%, then you are not going to achieve true spiritual enlightenment.”

    1. Nancy, very thoughtful comments. I would say that I’ve never personally felt ‘pushed’ by Dave Ramsey to choose Christianity. I actually feel like he’s going about the approach of modeling first, explaining second fairly well.

      For me it’s just those couple times when his actual statements seem a little extreme (more than feeling like he’s ‘selling’ me something).

      While I don’t think many religions based ‘enlightenment’ on the process of tithing or contributions, I still agree with your sentiment. I feel that some sects of the religious world do this more than others. In my limited experience with Christianity, I never felt like I *had* to tithe in order to have a relationship with Jesus, etc…, etc…

      1. Hi Baker,

        I think your blog is an exceptional tool to help people out.I have been reading the different posts to the question of religion and fiannces, and the statement that you made “I never felt like I *had* to tithe in order to have a relationship with Jesus, etc…, etc…” is absolutely correct.

        The question is not “Do you tihe because you are trying to have relationship with Jesus?” But “Do you tithe because you have a relationship with Jesus?”

        Is the same fundamental question about “Do you not cheat because you are in love?” or “Do you not cheat because your are married?”

        One arises out of obligation, another arises out of the relationship. Let’s put the issue of organized religion asking for money aside for a moment. Without any hesitation, I can recognize that things in this world take money to make them happen. It is probably because someone in the past donated money to a religious organization, or institution, or people, that allowed bibles to continued to be printed, or books to be written, or missionaries sent to remote areas so that the word of God could be preached. And because someone else gave, I was the recipient of that blessing, and now I have come to know Christ as my personal saviour.

        Like Penn said, If I believe that I Jesus saved me, why would I not tell. If I belief that I received a blessing, why would I not give so that someone else in he future might receive the same blessing until Christ returns?

        So you see, to me is not a question of giving to develop the relationship, but giving because I have a relationship, and I understand that giving does a miraculous work in me.

        When you read those verses in Malachi, God talks about robbing, but then he also says “test me in this”. If we know him, then we give, because he asked us to do it, and he asked us to have faith and test Him.

        So giving,then transfers from an obligation, to a test of faith, a test of love for God, and a test of love for our neighbor. In the new testament it talks about giving to the poor, and the poor is more than just material, there are spiritually poor people, who are living without hope for the future.

        And knowing Jesus, might give them an opportunity to have a hope greater than this earth, and their earthly possessions. And my question friend is, why would I not want to be part of that?

        I am sure you read the news of how many took their lives, because their hopes where placed in the upside-down home, or upside-down car, or upside-down furniture; and now they had nothing, and maybe some hope for the future, the spiritual, and the eternal, might have given them what they needed to have life.

        Continue in your journey, values and principles are definitely good, and some people may not like what the call the religious aspect, but at the same time i would say, why knock down what you have not tried?

        Blessings to you friend and continue in your journey!

  8. I grew up in an extremely Roman Catholic household. For me, the only role that religion plays in my finances is when I’m really really worried about money – I have to say, “Have faith, have faith that the next job will come, the next product will sell” etc. I don’t tithe currently – though I may start contributing a certain percentage of my paycheck to charity again. Like Andrew, I am also not a huge fan of organized religion at this point in my life, but I am still a believer and I put my trust in God when I can’t handle my finances myself.
    .-= Monica O’Brien´s last blog ..President Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize win proves age matters less than ever in the workplace =-.

    1. Monica, obviously I can’t speak for you, but it appears that your ‘having faith’ mentality might be very similar to what I talk about when I say that we are only ‘managing’ the assets we have.

      They both are meant to bring the focus onto the big picture. In your example, your simply affirming that you can’t control everything and that micro-managing or controlling the details often causes more harm than good. I really relate to that and it’s at the very core of being a great ‘manager’ of our money (for me).

  9. I am a Christian and a big fan of Dave Ramsey and I have to agree, that his use of the phrase at the end of each radio show does make me twinge a little bit. I was raised in a very “Pentecostal(Prayer service on Red Bull)” home and for the most part, I’ve cast that aside which is the cause of the twinge.

    I respect him trying to evangelize through his radio shows, but don’t really feel like that’s the time or place. And on the actual question, I don’t know that I can honestly say that Christianity is the only path to true financial peace. I do believe that there is a huge amount of good financial wisdom in the Bible but I don’t believe that, as far as finances go, it’s the only way that works. It’s done a great deal in helping my wife and I work out our finances and take steps to pay off our debt.
    .-= Daniel Alcantara´s last blog ..Starbucks Via =-.

    1. Haha, I laughed out loud when I read ‘prayer service on Red Bull’.

      Very well said in the second part of your comment. Fantastic principles, many have helped us, but can’t sit here and say it’s the *only* path. Great stuff!

  10. The reason that I feel Dave Ramsey uses this phrase at the end of his show is that it is his whole motivation for teaching about finances. I don’t know him personally but from his writing and what I’ve read about him, I believe that his faith is so deeply rooted into who he is and what he does, that he cannot help but use his platform to discuss his beliefs.

    I think that people often here the word “religion” and automatically are turned off to what an individual has to say instead of looking at their whole message. My interpretation of Dave’s phrases is that he believes the true peace, which he teaches about, can only become complete when it is coupled with a relationship with Jesus Christ. I myself, also subscribe to this worldview and know that Christ is the center of all my decisions and I want to honor Him with my possessions, being that I am just steward of it all, as discussed in the video.

    Dave Ramsey is very knowledgeable about financial matters and for some people that is the sole reason that they listen to his show. However, if you take a closer look, that is only a portion of what his entire message is, hence his closing comments on each show. So, I feel that people should either take away the parts of his teaching that they like and call it good or listen to all he is offering up and accept him for what he teaches and believes.

    1. Wow, very well said Luke.

      Many people like to label ‘religion’ as exclusive or judgmental, but in my life, many non-believers are just as judgmental or even worse so. Once the see or hear religion, it’s all downhill from there. The actual message is lost.

      I’m definitely in the group that analyzes what Dave says and takes the parts the connect with me. Luckily, that’s 95% like I said. I love the message and even most of the ministry sections.

  11. My grandfather and Great-grandfather were preachers. As a child I was forced to attend a Baptist church until I was old enough to get a job that would work me on Sundays. (About 14). Televangelists thrive on southern television so the cumulative effect was a growing disdain for organized religion. The pressure to “get baptized” was just great enough to help me choose to turn my back on that church forever. I will go so far as to admit that for a long time I had no belief in a God. To be honest, I’m still not so sure about God but I am positive about the whole soul thing. I am a curious person so I spent some time studying the differences and similarities between a bunch of different religions. I’ve finally decided that the one that most closely resembles my personal philosophy of life was Taoism. Mainly because it is the only religion I have found that does not purport to be the only true path. There are actually a few Taoists who are also practicing Christianity or other religions.

    I believe that any religion that helps you lead your life in a positive way, or provides a comfort for you, is probably a good thing. Unfortunately, taken to extremes it can be a force for evil just as well as anything else. The Inquisition, the Crusades and Jihad are all examples of this. I spent a lot of time reading the Bible and nowhere in it can I find it recommended that we torture people. I’ve known quite a few Muslims and find that Islam is also a religion of peace. When you compare the philosophies of Buddha and Jesus Christ you will find there is very little difference. The core tenets are pretty much the same for all of your major religions. So it seems to me that there’s nothing wrong with religion. The trouble starts when people believe that their religion is the only true religion and people who believe differently must be inferior. And all religions suffer from hypocrisy. The Golden rule, Karma or even “what comes around goes around”, are all central to a lot of belief systems. You reap what you sow!!

    If you are using your religion to help you generate income, you get nothing from me but disdain. If you feel the need to force me to convert to your religion, I will feel compelled to respond with a list of atrocities committed in the name of your God! But if you are living a life in which you try to follow the principles of your religion, (It’s almost impossible to live any philosophy perfectly!) without trying to persuade me to do the same, then you earn my respect and support!! Dave Ramsey mixes his God and his business, for that reason alone I will not even bother to pay him any attention. I don’t care how great your product is, if you’re trying to sell me on your God with it I see that as hypocrisy at its worst form. I wonder if Dave Ramsey bothered to read the Bible. After all, the Bible teaches that”the love of money is the root of all evil” and the only people that Christ ever lashed out at were the money lenders. That same information is out there and coming from people I like and respect. Baker, J.D., Trent, Wisebread are just four online examples. That’s one of the reasons I follow you: you walk the walk while keeping the talk on topic. Knowing your a Christian doesn’t bother me. If you started using that fact to increase your following and income, then you would probably lose me.

    By the way, I like the videos. They emphasize your humanity. You might want to do a post on the camera and software used. Have a great day and keep up the good work.
    .-= Steve “Dream” Weaver´s last blog ..keepin’ on truckin’ =-.

    1. First, thanks for such a passionate comment, man!

      Also, I don’t actively consider myself a Christian at this point. I’m more agnostic right now than anything. I’m exploring! 🙂

      I appreciate being put into a group with J.D., Trent, and the other WB writers. 🙂 That’s a very nice compliment.

      However, I’m not sure I share your views *completely* on the business/religion thing. I feel that Dave Ramsey’s primary message is on passionate and aggresive debt reduction. I *don’t* feel that his primary focus is on selling the religion or even on leveraging the religion for a profit.

      While Christianity IS a huge part of his brand and market, I don’t see his approach to business in a negative way. On the other hand, we both could easily come up with examples of shady people who are only interested in cranking out profits at whatever cost (and using religion to do so).

      So, I’m not willing to rule someone out just based on the fact that religion comes up in the business. In the Midwest, there are a lot of different small business that use biblical references, names, etc… I don’t immediately avoid their services (other factors come into play, too).

      However, I do (like you) connect much more deeply with those people who actively model their religion. If you push me, I’ll either push back or leave. But modeling something I respect will quickly turn me into a raving fan!

  12. I believe God wants me to take responsibility for myself, take care of my family, and provide help to others outside of my circle. He’s blessed me with tremendous wealth and opportunity. Taking charge of my financial life and maximizing my giving opportunities are what’s expected of me, I believe. Not because God wants control over me, but because he knows it will ultimately bring me the most joy.

    I enjoy the videos, Baker. Keep em coming.
    .-= PT Money´s last blog ..$50 TradeKing Account Opening Bonus =-.

  13. Hey Adam, nice topic.

    I’m an atheist, although I grew in a religious context. To be honest, and harsh probably, nothing sustained in religious beliefs can help me. I try to find peace some place else. Religion plays no role to be honest, I care about my finances because I care about what happens to me while I’m alive.
    .-= Carlos Miceli´s last blog ..Prisons, Fear and Personal Branding =-.

    1. Carlos, you know I love you, but that’s a fairly bold statement!

      Nothing can benefit you? Even most atheists I know will subscribe that there are many valuable lessons in many religious or spiritual belief systems. Even though I’m still not sure where I fall, I know there’s a lot I can learn from religion in general.

  14. I’m an atheist, and therefore religion doesn’t play a role in my financial decisions at all. I can tell you, though, that back in the day when I was Catholic I didn’t have the entrepreneurial drive that I have today (why work hard if someone else is deciding your destiny anyway? Why not just pray for good things to happen instead?) so my financial prowess has increased many-fold since I started freeing up my Sundays.

    That being said, I think the level of involvement that your religion playsi n your finances is, as you say, a personal decision. In fact, it plays a very direct role because many religions require some amount of money to be a part of what they’re doing, so you may have to pay out 10-15% of what you make a year to whomever is up high on the totem pole (not literally…well…unless you’re part of a totemic religion!) which directly impacts your finances.

    Coming from the outside of religion, the whole of it seems a little silly and like a waste of time and money, BUT I know for many people this is not the case, and religion brings them a whole lot of happiness, which makes it a good invest. Is your happiness worth 10-15%? Perfect! That’s a small price to pay for spiritual fulfillment! Is religion more something you do because your family or you have always done it? Then maybe it’s time to investigate a cheaper option (Buddhism is nice)!
    .-= Colin Wright´s last blog ..I Punched a Local in the Face =-.

    1. Colin, I really appreciate you sharing your honest thoughts.

      I would note a couple of things (in my experience). First, many churches or institutions do a lot of good within communities with the money that is donated, tithed, pledged, etc… It’s not just a matter of ‘buying’ happiness. There is a lot of tangible good being done in many cases.

      Of course, some of it does go ‘up’ a totem pole to pay salaries, expenses, etc… You don’t have to search very hard to find a group of individuals who are able to send a large percentage of the money OUT into the world in order to help others.

      You insight on how this has effected your entrepreneurship is very interesting and not something I’ve thought about. I can see this working both ways actually and I love that you brought it up!

  15. I’m not so sure Dave is actually referring to money when he speaks of that “true” financial peace. What I believe he is saying is that with Christ, whether you have money or not, whether you’re financially secured or not, you will be at peace, ultimately.

  16. Put yourself in a reader’s shoes. Imagine you read a blog regularly. Several times a week, maybe even every day, you stop by to see if the author’s posted anything new. You like the author, find him to be a respectable, intelligent person. You generally look forward to seeing something new posted on his site. Then one day you stop by, and the title of today’s new post is:

    “Is Islam the Only Path to ‘True’ Financial Peace?”

    How long does it take you to dismiss that title outright as a ridiculous question that obviously didn’t need asking? Maybe a full second before you’ve come up with a resounding “No” in your head?

    And to answer your questions (this is a problem with video, I had to pause it and write these down myself as you asked them):

    What role does religion play in your finances?
    None, as I don’t follow a religion.

    What role *should* religion play in finances?
    Depends entirely upon your religion, doesn’t it? If you follow the Church of the Almighty Interest Rate, it probably plays a large role. If you follow a religion with only a single tenant that is, “there is a power greater than us in the universe of which you should be aware” (or no religion at all), then it probably needs play no role at all in your finances, right?

    Might as well ask “how fast should you drive on the street?”
    The obvious answer is, “it depends which street.”
    .-= Tyler Karaszewski´s last blog ..Summer Update =-.

    1. Haha, I will admit to looking forward to your comments! Although, sometimes I can’t decide whether you are complimenting or criticizing (both?). 😉

      Obviously, headline writing is a fun and interesting part of blogging. Either way, I’m glad you decided to watch the video without dismissing it!

      Also, I realize that once I ‘ask’ a question I should shut-up and or end the video. Asking a question and then continuing to ramble probably isn’t the best strategy, haha.

      Using your analogy, maybe the question should be:

      “Should we follow speed limits or just drive however fast we each find appropriate?”

      1. Since we get to choose our own speed limits (i.e. religious convictions), we might as well follow them, or there’s not much point in claiming that we do, is there?

        If you ignore your religion when it’s not convenient, you may want to think long and hard about why you claim to follow it at all. Maybe you’d be better off with a different one, or none at all.
        .-= Tyler Karaszewski´s last blog ..Summer Update =-.

  17. Baker, really great video and good questions!

    For me, my faith in Jesus (Christianity) shapes my entire life, my world view. It shapes what I view on tv (not much!!), which blogs I subscribe to, and how I dress. I want to show by the way I live, what I buy, and how I use money, that God himself is my ultimate value, my highest treasure.

  18. Re: Nancy L – “I don’t think spirituality should ever be treated as a tax–”If you don’t pay X%, then you are not going to achieve true spiritual enlightenment.””

    FWIW, Dave does not believe that tithing is a salvation issue. But Dave believe that God wants you to do it, even though paying off debt as it helps to teach you that money is everything.

    Re: Steve “Dream” Weaver – “I wonder if Dave Ramsey bothered to read the Bible. After all, the Bible teaches that”the love of money is the root of all evil” and the only people that Christ ever lashed out at were the money lenders.”

    The Bible says the “love of money” is the root of all evil. It does not say money itself is the root of all evil. Money is amoral. It is how the person chooses to use it that decides its morality. Jesus lashed out at the money lenders because they were trying to make quick profit at the door of the temple at the expense of others. He was upset simply because they had money. Even the point of this story ( when Jesus says “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” is not that money is evil. It is that people get attached to their things and their STUFF and the love of STUFF distracts them for a focus on God.

    Re: Colin Wright – “(why work hard if someone else is deciding your destiny anyway? Why not just pray for good things to happen instead?)” I do not believe that God wants us to sit on our duffs and just pray for good stuff to happen. My pastor put it this way – one should PAT – Pray for God’s guidance and direction. Act with confidence and Trust that you are doing the right thing.

    I have said before that the problem with the church is that it is made up of people. Yes, organized religion has its problems. People are imperfect and Satan attacks the church because that is where is work can do the most harm. It saddens me greatly that the mistakes of a few imperfect humans have completely soured people on God.

    1. Dave may not say that–but you’ll also notice I did not once specify Dave in my reply. I have heard MANY stories of religious groups that demand to see tax returns, etc, and then pressure the members incessantly about donating very specific percentages of their income. That, to me, is a much different atmosphere than someone choosing voluntarily to pledge a certain percentage towards a religious organization because they feel it’s the right thing to do for spiritual reasons.

    2. Amber . . . RIGHT ON! I’m very sad to read some of these comments from people who had bad experiences with organized religion. I’m sure God is grieving over them. P.S. I once heard a pastor say “sure God takes care of the birds of the air . . . . but he doesn’t drop the worm in their nest, they need to go out and get it!” So there is another answer to getting off your duff and working hard.

  19. Great post, thanks for starting a conversation Baker.
    I listen to Ramsey as much as I can and would consider him my “financial guru” of choice as well. As a Christian, I agree with Dave’s philosophy that we are manager’s of God’s resources (including our money, our talents, our time) while on this Earth and part of living the Christian life is to be as responsible as we can be with God’s stuff.
    You said you thought Atheists or agnostics could also ascribe to this lifestyle, but why would someone who doesn’t believe in a God feel the need to be a responsible steward of money? Wouldn’t spending yourself into oblivion be a perfectly valid life choice for an Atheist?
    I agree with you that someone of a different religion could find their own version of financial peace by adhering to their own value system – but as a Christian I would have to agree with Dave that it isn’t “true” peace because it ascribes to a false premise.
    .-= Katie Leipprandt´s last blog ..@twitter =-.

    1. For me that’s like saying the bible says, ‘Thou shall not kill’. What’s to keep an atheist from running around and stabbing people? I can’t say for sure, but most atheists I know aren’t serial killers.

      So to answer your question, I don’t think that being atheist or agnostic means that you have nothing ‘keeping’ you from being a good steward. They might not believe it’s God money, but they, for example, may just to be stewards of the environment. And maybe that ideal leads them to reject mad consumerism, attachment to material possessions, and greed over money.

      Interesting talking points you’ve brought up.

    2. Wait, what? I don’t understand this bit at all: “You said you thought Atheists or agnostics could also ascribe to this lifestyle, but why would someone who doesn’t believe in a God feel the need to be a responsible steward of money? Wouldn’t spending yourself into oblivion be a perfectly valid life choice for an Atheist?”

      Let me put it to you this way: atheists and many agnostics believe there is no afterlife. If you have no afterlife, you only have this life, and you must live it the best way you can. So if you believe in an afterlife, why do you have to be a good steward of money in this life? Why not spend it how you want and see fit if you’re going to die and go to a place where you can’t take your money, anyway? I can’t claim to know a lot about Christianity, personally, but I think these sweeping generalizations are troubling.

      Most people I know – atheist, religious, agnostic – are good people who consider themselves stewards of the earth and of their fellow man. Finance wise, they’re all over the map, with no correlation (that I have seen) to religion.
      .-= Stephanie PTY´s last blog ..Change for Climate Change Without Breaking the Bank =-.

  20. First off, I do not describe myself as a “religious” person. I do believe in god and I occasionally attend a Buddhist temple in my city. My spiritual beliefs do have some influence though over how I spend. I don’t believe in tithing to a brick and mortar church. I love nature and feel that our greatest gift that was given to us by god was our natural world. It has given us a huge abundance of resources: food, water, raw materials and some naturopathic medicinal plants. Look at what we have down to this gift! My own personal way of tithing is to spend time in nature and cleaning it up better than I found it. It shows respect for the gifts we were given and will hopefully preserve it for future generations.

    Buddhism plays into my spirituality by keeping my shopping and possessions in check. I don’t need to have an Imelda Marcos worthy shoe collection or the latest trendy fashions. I am also helping to not exploit other people and cultures by carefully choosing what I buy. It is all interconnected. I will not claim to be a bible expert, as I have never read it in its entirety, but I did thumb through a fascinating book about poverty and the bible. According to the author, poverty is addressed so many times throughout the book yet it is something that we hardly focus on. It is much easier to show up to church every weekend and donate the money than it is to take the time to help other people in need. Oddly enough, people will donate their money quicker and thus remove themselves from having to directly interact with those that are less fortunate than ourselves.

    In short, Christianity is not the only path and thankfully so. I will get off my soapbox now.

    1. Nicely said! I loved your comments about what ‘tithing’ meant to you. Cool stuff.

      I think using religion or spirituality as a filter for how we view our lives can be positive financially. Especially in terms of consumerism as you pointed out.

  21. I must admit, spiritiuality/religion plays not much of a role in my attitude towards business and finances. Don’t get me wrong, at one point my wife was tithing from out checks, but, because of money irresponsiblity and the constant “want” factor, we stopped.

    Prior to and since then, I have never really involved religion in my finances. When I think of my finances and work with my finances, I am thinking of my future well being, not my place with God.

    Can religion be a part of your finances? For some, yes I believe so. But not for everyone.

    To answer the question: No, Christianity is not the ONLY path to “true” financial peace.

    You have to find your OWN path to YOUR “true” financial peace.

    1. It looks like you admit that you stopped ‘tithing’ because of the wrong reasons, but now just haven’t started it back up. That’s interesting. What has changed? (I don’t tithe, either, btw)

      1. To be completely honest, I have never been on the tithing boat. I know it is a good thing to do and can help a lot of people, but I have seen tithing gone to the wrong cause (ie: $1.2 Million new church in a glitzy new area as opposed to the lesser church that was giving most of the tithing money to theircommunity service groups and outreach programs).

        My wife wanted to be a “better” Christian, by giving money back to the church, but I don’t think tithing makes any person better than the next.

        It may sound selfish, but I worry about myself and my family first and foremost and then worry about giving. Giving does not have to include money, either. I feel that giving my time is a lot better then giving my money.

        May just be me.

  22. I am sure there are many people who are debt free and have no religious views. Dave Ramsey feels that Christianity plays a big role in financial freedom, but that does not have to be your opinion. It’s called “The Dave Ramsey Show” for a reason. He can say what he wants and does not care if anyone cringes with his comments.

    Dave Ramsey is a man with lots of passion. People may not like his views on religion, but it is hard to argue his views on finances. I am a Christian, but that is my choice. It does play a role in all aspects of my life. People have a choice to believe in whatever suits them.

    Dave wants to share his views with others. I know many people who have become religious because of some tragic event in their lives. These people just want to share that. He will not judge you if you do not share his beliefs. Just turn off his show before that part if it is that bothersome.

    Unfortunately, I only hear the one hour podcast because of time and technology limitations. By the way, good video.
    .-= Steve G Johnson´s last blog ..The Restart of My Blog =-.

    1. I totally agree, which is why I not only support him bringing religion into his business, but also continue to listen even though I don’t connect with one little part of it. Very well said!

  23. “What about Hindus, Buddhist, Muslims, and Atheists?”–OR Freethinkers who don’t follow any dogma (be it religious or nonbeleiving) and use logic to form decisions and beliefs.

  24. I’m a Christian and I’ve mentioned that fact several times on my site. That being said, I’m pretty sure that anyone, regardless of their faith, could understand the content on my site. [ Whether it’s USEFUL content – well, that’s clearly up for debate! 🙂 ] To turn your question on it’s head, just a bit, is it possible to be a Christian, and yet still learn from non-Christians? Obviously, the answer is yes. Every day, I interact w/ all kinds of folks, from all kinds of backgrounds, and, somehow, even though I might disagree w/ their views (and they w/ mine), we somehow manage to communicate, share ideas, and things move forward.

    Now, personally, I believe in a gracious, caring God who has saved me from my sins. I live my life, free from past guilt and looking forward to a future w/ Him in eternity. My finances, while important, are just part of my life – but since I have committed all of my life to Him, I’ve also committed my finances. The principles of scripture give deeper meaning to the financial choices that I make.
    .-= NCN´s last blog ..How A Silly Little Experiment Helped Me Get Out Of Debt =-.

  25. Baker,

    Great, thought provoking and challenging video.
    As a Christian, I had to ask myself if my financial peace is because of Christ in my life. I would say, “sort of”, meaning that I have more financial peace by becoming debt free than I did when I was swamped in debt. But I was a Christian the entire time.

    However, if I could distinguish between “peace” and “financial peace”, I can state with certainty that being a believer in Christ has always given me a deep peace, whether my finances were in order or not. A walk with Christ doesn’t mean peace once we get our messes cleaned up. It means peace even in the middle of our messes.

    1. I love that you bring up the ‘peace’ and ‘financial peace’ difference. I was just thinking about that and hoping someone would note it.

      Actually, if he left ‘financial’ out of his outro, I’d actually connect MORE with that message. I understand his beliefs, where he is coming from, and the ‘true’ part would reflect that ‘peace’ is more important than ‘financial peace’.

      Am I making sense or did I lose ya?

  26. Baker, and fellow commenters, I thouroughy enjoyed this video and discourse.

    I’m going to go ahead and toss one out from left field.

    I’ve never subscribed to Dave Ramsey, though I do know the name well.
    Let me start by quoting his (and my) Prince of Peace.

    Jesus’ Guide to Financial Peace:

    “If you want to be perfect, sell all of your possessions and give to the poor.” (Matt. 19:21, Luke 12:33)

    His earliest followers did that (Acts 2:44-45). How on earth did Western Christianity get away from anything but that… I have no idea.

    I also have no idea if Dave Ramsey realizes this is the standard he’s asking people to follow when he says to follow the Prince of Peace. In today’s iPhone generation, this sort of radical denial of “stuff” isn’t seen very often.

    Baker, I appreciate your transparent minimalism in opposition to our culture of More.

    I do incorporate my religion/spirituality into every decision in my life, because, as stated, it’s at the core of who I am. But: Considering the above standard is the standard I’ve adopted, I fear all to often I fail at what I set out to do. I fear far too often my financial choices look something entirely different.

    Nevertheless, that is the standard, and I can’t pretend that “considering my religion in financial decisions” would be anything less for me, a “Follower of the Prince of Peace.”
    .-= Chase´s last blog ..On not finger-drumming my life away, and being around others who feel the same =-.

    1. Wow, powerful perspective. I’ve never actually seen or read that quote before. I understand where you are coming from on this issue and constantly have similar internal battles. Thanks, man.

    2. I believe you are quoting those verses out of context.

      That response Jesus gave was to one person – the rich young ruler.

      His response to Jesus – basically “I can’t do that, I have too much stuff” was basically Jesus calling him out on his love of money.

      No where in the Bible are Christians called to be poor. We are called to be stewards of what God has entrusted to us and surprisingly if you are a good steward, you tend to get more. The parable of the talents makes this very clear.

      I think Andrew Carnegie said it pretty well:

      “Surplus wealth is a sacred trust which its possessor is bound to administer in his lifetime for the good of the community”
      .-= Michael Kaply´s last blog ..Operator 0.9.5 Finally Available =-.

  27. The video was not at all what I expected when I read the post title. Congrats for taking on this controversial topic, Baker. Whatever someone’s religious views, you show time and again that thoughtfulness and honesty appeal to people. Personally, religion doesn’t play a part in my financial decisions. I evaluate decisions based on a set of values that don’t come from religion. It sounds like Dave Ramsey (I’m not familiar with him) has decided to let religion guide his decisions, and to share that view with his audience. I’m sure that’s attractive to some people and repelling to others. What’s important is that Ramsey is being honest about who he is, and apparently religion is a big part of that person.
    .-= Corbett´s last blog ..Is “Fake It ‘Till You Make It” Mentality Keeping You Down? =-.

    1. Is that a good thing or a bad thing about the expectations of the title, haha!

      I love Dave Ramsey because he IS who he is. I really feel like he’s genuine, which I don’t get very often from larger ‘guru-ish’ personalities. Without the religion, I might not get the same vibes. Great point, here.

  28. As always, you get us thinking, which for me is why I read, not to reinforce my own views, but to learn, and perhaps share.
    Dave clearly makes his religious beliefs known, and I think a tag line at the end is his decision. I have some other differences with his advice, but I have no issue with someone in his position preaching his beliefs. Any of his listeners are free to turn him off if they wish, right?
    .-= JoeTaxpayer´s last blog ..Term vs Whole Life Insurance =-.

    1. Very true. But the issue is for people like myself, who DON’T want to turn it off, but still cringe a little at the minor 5% we don’t connect with.

      Obviously, it’s going to be impossible to find a perfect match (even if you look in the mirror most of the time), but because the issue involves religion… I think it complicates things even further! 🙂

  29. Whatever your religious beliefs are, I would think they would enter into your decisions about everything, as that is kind of their point (see Tyler’s comment).

    If people aren’t worried about their religious convictions, they should say what they have to say. Some people will be turned off by it, and others won’t.

    If someone want to make their show/blog/etc. with that kind of a sendoff or content, the audience demographic might change, but if you are okay with wherever you are with whatever faith you have, then don’t worry about it.
    .-= James NomadRip´s last blog ..NomadRip: @leawoodward – HA! That is a fantastic picture! 😀 =-.

  30. Religion plays a somewhat small role in that I aim to follow Buddhist teachings, but they’re mostly centred around not being lame, so it’s not that big of a deal:

    “A lay follower should not engage in five types of business.
    Which five? Business in weapons, business in human beings,
    business in meat, business in intoxicants, and business in poison.”

    “To be ethically sound, economic activity must take place in a way that is not harmful to the individual, society or the natural environment. In other words, economic activity should not cause problems for oneself, agitation in society or degeneration of the ecosystem, but rather enhance well-being in these three spheres.”

    .-= David Turnbull´s last blog ..The Beauty of Privacy in a Public World =-.

  31. Thank you so much for tackling such a controversial topic. You spoke very well about the topic and I admire your bravery. I am loving the video posts! Keep up the good work. 🙂

  32. Wow, after reading all of this, I’m not sure I know what “true financial peace” is anymore! I have never thought about my finances having anything to do with religion. I think religion is a great tool for motivating people, whether that is to be a good person, or have peace, (financial or otherwise). Sometimes I think “What Would Dave Do?” Haha. But I don’t think religion is essential to obtaining that peace, and I don’t think you need religion to be a good person, or to manage your money wisely.

    I don’t tell people I’m an atheist because I’m afraid that most people automatically assume that atheists are bad. (Stabbing and killing people? What? Haha.) But I actually enjoy going to church with other people. The messages are usually good whether you belive in God or not. Same goes for the Dave Ramsey Show.

  33. Greetings…
    As many of you know, I am a Personal Finance blogger who spins his posts from a biblical perspective. Why? Because I have reached a point in my life where I have submitted every part of my live to Jesus Christ and His Word. Was I always there? No, absolutely not. Do I expect everyone else to be there? No, of course not. All of us are on our own life/financial/spiritual journey, and thusly each of us will have our own unique path toward spiritual enlightenment. Do I believe that Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the life… and that no man can cometh unto the Father but by Him? Absolutely, but I do not judge or pressure anyone to believe as I do. Instead… I live my life according to the relationship I have with Jesus and hopefully that will be a blessing to at least one person in the course of my life. Has Jesus given me peace, financial and otherwise? Yes, absolutely. Whether I am in a positive spot or a troubling spot… I know that if I adhere to the principles Jesus lays out in His Word that I will end up exactly where He wants me, and that is very peaceful. In my experience – I did not have that until I submitted and committed 100% of my life to Christ. Ramsey seems to have had a similar experience.

    Baker said he admires Ramsey for being 100% passionate about what he believes – I do too. Each of us need to sell out 100% to what we believe… otherwise we’re not fully committing to anything. I too would rather see someone commit fully to something at the risk of offending someone rather than just positioning themselves to be pleasers of men. All will never agree on all, so follow your passion 100% and be a total and utter sell out for what you believe in!

    .-= Matt Jabs´s last blog ..Credit Cards – Close ‘em Shred ‘em & Forget ‘em! =-.

  34. I was too bored to get through 30 seconds of the video. Save the personal commentary for your friends and family. Baker here and straight into the discussion will capture more attention.

  35. When it comes to finances I’d have to admit that my religious beliefs don’t extend very far into my pocketbook, and actually that’s a bit heartbreaking to admit. As a Christian I *say* I believe in living not for yourself but rather for the improvement of others; however, I often fall into the capitalist mentality of “more is better” rather than following the example Jesus set of simple living.

  36. I’ve just found you in the past few days and am enjoying your posts, including the video blogs.

    I believe that true Christianity is not as much of a religion as it is a relationship. As far as I know, Christianity is the only religion who serves a Living God Who has sacrificed for them and desires to maintain a relationship with them (please correct me if I’m wrong–I haven’t studied religion extensively!). Putting it in that context makes sense of Ramsey’s comment that the only way to true financial peace is the Prince of Peace. He didn’t say the only way to true financial peace is following these 12 specific rules (i.e. “dogma”, as someone suggested). He points one back to the Person who originated and sustains peace.

    Though some will disagree, the basic principles on which Dave has built his entire business and that of any other successful personal finance businessperson are all outlined in the Bible and originated from it.

    One other thing that captured me from your video was your statement that you believe in Dave’s definition of financial peace that we are not owners but stewards of what we have. If religion plays no part in finances then Who is the owner? If it is not us or a religious being (whoever or whatever it might be) , then who does own our finances?

    1. Yes Jennifer, it is true that Christianity is the only “religion” who serves a God who claims to still be alive – no other religious figure or god makes that theological claim.

      You are also correct in assuming that Dave did build his business model on biblical principles, there is nothing to disagree with in that statement since Dave openly owns that.
      .-= Matt Jabs´s last blog ..Wise Use of Paid off Credit Cards? You Decide. =-.

  37. Baker, I’ve been following along for a while now, and I really admire your honesty, bravery and transparency. I tend to agree with you that the way Dave words things comes off as a little exclusive.

    I think that most areas of life allow for some shades of grey in how we approach things, and finance seems to be one of them. I believe that God made us each unique with our own set of skills and talents, tendencies, likes, and dislikes. That makes things a lot more interesting, if you ask me.

    However, I have noticed a trend that’s been happening in our world. In an effort to to be tolerant and inclusive to everyone, we are on the verge of making EVERYTHING a shade of grey, watering down the truth. It’s easy to get caught up in saying, “Just go with whatever feels right to you,” in an effort to not offend anyone. Some things in life are black and white. Some things are good and some things are evil. Some things are right and some things are wrong. For instance, on this planet, the law of gravity is real. Someone saying, “Well I don’t really believe in gravity, but it’s okay if you want to believe in it” would be looked at as absurd.

    So to answer your question, when it comes to handling finances, I think there are a lot of different and valid ways to go about handling them, as you do so well to point out on this blog. It’s an area with a lot of grey. But as a person who hates conflict and tends to want to please other people, I find that I need to be reminded often that other areas in life and faith are black and white, whether I care to acknowledge them or not.

    I admire Dave for wearing his convictions on his sleeve and I admire you for bringing up such a potentially controversial topic.

  38. I see Dave’s point pretty clearly here. After all, a core Christian belief is that only those who accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior will have eternal life – the rest get to experience hellfire. Dave seems to take this to the next level, when he says that only Christians will have “true” financial peace. So while I don’t agree with him, I do see where he’s coming from.

    As a Christian, I think anyone can have financial peace. There are TONS of great money lessons in the Bible, and all Christians should do their best to follow them. But it’s certain not an exclusive way to be financially secure. Surely people of other faiths, or no faith at all, can be financially secure just as well as I can.
    .-= Simple Llama´s last blog ..DIY iPhone Scanner =-.

  39. I guess Dave Ramsey is just speaking based on what he believes to be true. That’s allany of us can do. Personally, I think each individual determines if their financial status is good enough. No one religion has a monopoly on a type of financial peace that is Universally more peaceful or true than another. The idea is hilarious when you really think about it.
    .-= Nea | Self Improvement Saga´s last blog ..What It Really Takes to Achieve the Impossible =-.

  40. I will try to answer these dense questions with as simple response as I can muster.

    The first thing I challenge in your questions is about the word religion. I called myself a believer, but I would be defined by those external to me as a Christian, thus falling into the religion of Christianity. The issue I have with the religion of Christianity and a spiritual walk with my Lord Jesus Christ and God is that I find that these are separate entities. I believe that my spiritual walk does not involve the religion. While they may have similar aspects and an outside observer may quickly conclude I am a participant of the religion of Christianity, I would still declare them separate. The result of that is that I would declare religion has no bearing in my life since I am not religious including finances.

    Now, I will take some liberty to change the first question to “What role does spirituality play in my finances?” The answer to this question is that it defines my spending, and my financial planning. Debt is a burden on my mind, body, and soul, and I must be very diligent to keep my debt as small as possible. The burden of debt reduces my capability to worship thus I must keep it at a minimal to show my financial commitment to God. My spiritual walk also defines my daily spending since I desire to be a good steward of all of my processions thus when I purchase a new item(being new to me not necessarily new item to the world), I have to accept the responsibility to keep the item in a favorable, working condition. If I cannot or do not want to complete this task, I should not purchase the item. Again, my spirituality defines my finances.

    Lastly, what roles should spirituality play in finances? It depends on your definition of a person. My definition of a person is that there are three aspect to there body, mind, and soul, thus all three must be in consideration for any major aspect of your life. Finances defines a major portion of most people if not everyone’s life, thus the spirituality should be in consideration for all aspects of it. I pray my answer will be well received and that I answered the questions to your satisfaction.

  41. Wow, that’s pretty deep stuff, right here. I’m not even sure where to begin. Let’s start with my religion: I was raised as United Church of Christ, a fairly liberal congregation, and I don’t recall much talk of other religions in a negative context. Yes, there was some comparative religion covered in my confirmation classes, but that’s about the extent of it. And even then, there was no talk or suggestion that Heaven was only for the UCC members (or even only for Christians); the message I got, whether intentionally or not, was that all good persons, from any faith, would go to heaven, and Jesus was just hear to show us how and help us to reach that point.

    From that beginning, my faith has gotten a bit more complicated. My belief system is probably best described as Deist in nature: I believe that there is a Creator (although, I doubt said Creator would be anything that could be described as a human male, even an unbelievably powerful one) who set into motion the creation of the Earth as well as the rest of the universe, and continues to watch over it, guiding and helping us confused humans. I’m a bit on the fence about Jesus, truth be told; I think he was a good guy, and seemed to have a line on the Creator, but as far as being the only way to get to Heaven (to say nothing of the whole literal (as opposed to figurative) ‘Son of God’), well, I just can’t seem to believe that, at least not with every fiber of my being as some Christians (including some of my relatives) seem to be able to do. Add in the fact that some of what His followers do in His Name (Starting with the Crusades on down to Fred Phelps), and I’m almost more comfortable calling myself an agnostic (a hopeful, hopeful agnostic, but agnostic nonetheless) than a Christian.

    Now, onto how this all affects my finances: I do give to my church, although that’s almost more because I know and appreciate all the people there than because ‘The Lord sayeth Thou Shalt Give 10% of your gross income’. I don’t think God and faith in Him is the only way to financial peace, as I’m sure that plenty of members of other faiths have also achieved financial peace (whether true or not, that’s a tougher call). That said, I’m sure if you have a deep faith and feel a connection with God through your faith, living that faith to the best of your ability, letting it influence your financial decisions is not only right, but also required if you are to feel truly at peace. (Which I think is what Dave, talking to a primarily Christian audience, was really trying to get at.)

    As for how I think religion should influence our views on money…that’s another toughie. My general thought is this: as long as you are following a religion that tells you to treat other people right, that is, don’t lie, don’t steal, don’t cheat people, don’t kill them off in a holy war (and don’t wish they all perish when you get Raptured off this doomed globe, for that matter), then go ahead, your beliefs are only reinforcing the natural laws most of know we should follow (like the Golden Rule, treating others as we wish to be treated), and if they add purpose to your life, Mazel Tov! If your beliefs tell you that you can steal, lie and scam other people (if you’re a Satanist, for example), it’s probably best to break with traditions, though.

    And that’s about it; my views on religion and money, now that I’ve come up with some of them.
    .-= Roger´s last blog ..Weekly Thoughts: Bittersweet Credit Card Moment =-.

  42. “I’m a bit on the fence about Jesus, truth be told; I think he was a good guy, and seemed to have a line on the Creator, but as far as being the only way to get to Heaven (to say nothing of the whole literal (as opposed to figurative) ‘Son of God’), well, I just can’t seem to believe that, at least not with every fiber of my being as some Christians (including some of my relatives) seem to be able to do.”

    You should take a look at “Lewis’s Trilemma” :
    .-= Credit Card Chaser´s last blog ..Annual Fees are Stealthily Getting Tacked on to Many Existing Cards =-.

    1. I’ve heard that argument made before, and I still don’t buy it. As noted in the Wikipedia article itself:

      “A chief criticism of the argument is that it leaves unaddressed the possibility that the Biblical depiction of Jesus is erroneous or wholly untrue. This would give the argument force only for those who claim to simultaneously believe in the infallibility of the Bible and the non-divinity of Jesus, but not for those who question the accuracy of the Biblical account.”

      I don’t believe that the Bible is the literal word of God, nor that it managed to be copied, translated, written and rewritten down through ages without being altered in the slightest from the original intent. Even assuming the disciples didn’t embellish or otherwise alter the story intentionally, centuries of hand-copying the passages could add any number of typos to the text. A change as seemingly benign as misquoting ‘A son of God’ as ‘The Son of God’ could drastically change the meaning of his words. (From ‘I am a creation of God who looks to Him as if to a Father’ into ‘I am the only begotten Son of the Lord Most High, and only I have the express line to reach Him.’)

      That said, I don’t claim to know anything for certain about the afterlife, Creation, or God. I DO know, however, that my particular branch of Christianity encouraged me to ask questions, express doubts, and use logic when it comes to determining where I stand with God. So, that’s just what I try to do.
      .-= Roger´s last blog ..Weekly Thoughts: Bittersweet Credit Card Moment =-.

      1. Hi Roger, thanks for your reply. I respect your opinion but it seems that you are missing the point that whether you believe the Bible to be true or not is not something that Lewis’s Trilemma relies upon as I did not reference the Bible when I responded to you. Rather I simply quoted your words where you said:

        “I’m a bit on the fence about Jesus, truth be told; I think he was a good guy, and seemed to have a line on the Creator, but as far as being the only way to get to Heaven (to say nothing of the whole literal (as opposed to figurative) ‘Son of God’), well, I just can’t seem to believe that, at least not with every fiber of my being as some Christians (including some of my relatives) seem to be able to do.”

        So, in other words you said by you very own admission that you think that Jesus was a “good guy”. I am submitting to you that you can’t have it both ways. Jesus cannot be both a “good guy” and not who he says He is (God).

        Even if you choose to not believe any of the Bible it is still historical fact that Jesus existed and that he claimed to be God. Therefore, you have to choose between either: “Lunatic, Liar, or Lord”. It is irreconcilable to say that Jesus is good while also saying that he is not God.
        .-= Credit Card Chaser´s last blog ..Annual Fees are Stealthily Getting Tacked on to Many Existing Cards =-.

        1. With respect, when it comes to Jesus, the Bible and historic fact are one and the same. We don’t have any writings from Jesus himself, nor from any of the disciples who knew him directly. All we have is hearsay and stories, copied down third-hand and translated (arguably, mistranslated) through the centuries intervening. As for what was included and excluded as far as those stories are concerned, I can point to examples over the centuries where works were added or dropped according to political considerations (such as the Council of Nicea).

          If forced to say what I believe Jesus to be, I would have to say that guru seems most fitting; he could be speaking of himself as God in the sense of everything being divine (as noted again in the article you quoted). Even assuming that there is an independent historic record of Jesus maintaining that he is God which is unconnected to Bible (and verifiable as (a) being an accurate depiction of what he said and (b) not altered by anyone who came after), the possibility that he was speaking figuratively remains.

          If you still insist that I classify Jesus as Lunatic, Liar, or Lord, I have to go with Liar, as I believe he was not the ‘Only Begotten Son of God’, but rather, attempting to forge a connection between God and mankind and speaking in a metaphorical fashion. I hope that satisfies you.
          .-= Roger´s last blog ..Book Review: The Automatic Millionaire Homeowner =-.

  43. One thing that saddens me about Ramsey is that he hasn’t branched out his work into religious and non-religious avenues. It’s great that someone who’s a Christian can go to FPU and learn about money in a way that integrates holistically with their faith.

    But I have a friend and former PF blogger who is a Wiccan and really wanted to teach Financial Peace classes. She loved Ramsey, swore by him, even enjoyed FPU because she was able to filter the religious aspect. But she can’t teach his methods because she’s not a Christian and not going to lie. It’s a pity, because I think she could do a great job–perhaps in a secular wing of his organization–helping people who aren’t able to filter out the religious material and otherwise wouldn’t use his method to get out of debt.

    It saddens me that he chooses not to help more people for reasons entirely unconnected to their debt.
    .-= Mrs. Micah´s last blog ..When the Doctor Charges for Unnecessary Tests =-.

    1. Re: a secular version of FPU

      If you look at the FPU page on his website, it shows workplace, correctional institution, military and bank options. Are the videos exactly the same and the different pages on his site are just for marketing purposes? Or is the content different than that sold for churches? Does anybody know?

      Also, he has a curriculum for high school students which I believe is available for and used in public schools. The FAQ on its site says it meets constitutional guidelines for use in public schools.

      1. Financial Peace University is taught in many non religious settings including community centers, credit unions, prisons, military bases and workplaces.

        All of the FPU classes use the same videos, although some of the classes have an extra video and the Financial Peace at Work class can choose to not use the 13th video (The Great Misunderstanding), although you’d be surprised at how many companies do. The video is about giving in general although it does focus on it more from a Judeo-Christian point of view.

        The high school curriculum uses some of the video content, but it is a completely different class and I haven’t seen it yet, so I can’t speak to it.

        Note that the “religious” content in the first 12 FOU videos mostly focuses on the book of Proverbs which honestly most people quote in their day to day life without even realizing it.

        How “religious” a Financial Peace University class is depends entirely on the teacher. In the classes I teach (even at my church), I choose not to pray before classes. If someone is going to be alienated or uncomfortable, I’d rather Dave do that than me.

        To jump into the fray, though, I think the early comments about the Penn video are dead on.

        Dave is a Christian and being a Christian colors everything he does (as it should). You can’t separate the man from the mission. Honestly, this should be true of any Christian (or any person of faith).

        The best way to understand Dave more with respect to this subject is probably to listen to Dave’s Personal Testimony. I found a copy here:

        This is the audio CD he gives out at the end of all of his live events.

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  45. First off, I really like your blog. Second, I think Dave is right on the mark (can you guess I am a Christian?). The “peace” he speaks on is all-encompassing, not just financial. But being a money talk show, that is the area he focuses on. There is a sense of peace and hope that I do not think can be found anywhere else. And the core of the belief system of Christianity is that there IS only one way to God, just like there is only one way to any kind of peace. If Jesus was just a good man, then His death was in vain. IT was not, because He was so much more than good. People ask me “What if you are wrong?” I answer that I really don’t think I am, otherwise I would be a _______ (fill in the name of another religion). I am not being holier-than-thou, because I am probably lower-than-thou.

    Lastly, I need to add this. We tend to use “Christianity” and “religion” synonomously. A lot of the responders to your video say “Well, I am not religious”. That is the way it should be. Part of Jesus’ ministry was to denounce religion because of all the laws that the people thought were tied to salvation. How can man EVER be good enough or lawful enough to warrant God’s favor? Religion is man trying to be good enough to reach God. That will never happen. Christianity is God sending His best to give man the ability to reach God. If that’s not love, what is? If I am tagged a nut, or a simpleton, I am very cool with that. Grace is so simple, yet so often misunderstood.

    Sorry, I went to preaching. I didn’t even take up an offering! Kidding, kidding.

  46. I’ve achieved financial peace, and stopped my rampant shopaholic ways without religion.

    So my answer? No. Christianity is not the only path.

    Maybe Minimalism is the new religion.

    What I don’t get, is how some devout Christians say that they’re all into the practices of their religion, but some are CRAZY shopaholics who basically worship money indirectly by spending up a blue storm in stores.

    Or trying to show off with a new car or new toys.

    I recall in the Bible a story about a golden calf and a god named Baal that drove their god to smite the false god in a fury?

    Uh huh. Not so Christian after all.

  47. I’ve observed the same things about some Christians. I think it depends on how one defines a Christian. As I mentioned earlier in the comments, if it is a relationship with Jesus rather than a religion with lists of rules, that person would be careful to worship only Jesus rather than material things (the essence of Dave Ramsey’s idea of financial peace).

    As a person that loves the Bible and Jesus, I might just make a minor correction. The story about the Israelites worshiping a golden calf occurred while their leader was gone talking with God. When he came back, he was angry and broke the god into pieces. The Jews and Christians then and today believe in only one God. The leader was just a messenger from God and the Bible does not say God told him to destroy the false god. He had such a close relationship with his God that it angered him that the others could be so callous with their supposed relationship with Him.

    No one is perfect. I’m not sure if anger is the right response, but an affront to someone with which you hold a close relationship evokes some type of emotion. That is just part of being human.

    One other thing came to me about being a shopaholic. We may know that we have a personal struggle with spending too much money or worshiping it, but we cannot judge the motive of another person. Perhaps they have a lot of money and therefore spend what it looks like to us is too much when in reality it is reasonable for the income they make.
    .-= Jennifer´s last blog ..Saving the Best for Last… =-.

  48. I write a blog called Money Help For Christians, and no, I’m not a Buddhist. I write about what I believe. I think there are a lot of folks out there that do the same (write about what they believe) – Christian and non-Christian. Earlier in the comments someone made a comment about Christians and their tendency to be judgmental. My favorite comments on my blog are when people ‘berate’ my content because I am a Christian. Now, I don’t want to be judgmental :), but that sounds a tad judgmental to me. Sometimes I want to reply, “Dear concerned reader since my blog name has the word Christian it is fairly predictable that I will write positive things about Christianity.” Someone once asked why I don’t do a website called Money Help For Jews. Well the answer is quite simple -I am not a Jew and I am not passionate about Jewish issues. I would lack honest and integrity if I did not write about my passion.
    Without Christianity it would be difficult for me to have internal peace. My Christian faith invades everything I do. For me it is not something I can walk away from. It seems as though Dave Ramsey is the same way. He would be personally dishonest and would lack integrity if he did not include his comments and convictions about Christianity. I believe his comments regarding his faith are not about “us” but are about “him”. In other words, he says them because he believes them not because he is necessarily trying to convince us to believe it. He would be a fraud, a man without substance, if he conveyed a message just for ratings. Every financial commentator has stuff I love and stuff I don’t agree with. Fortunately, we have the on/off button or the back button.

  49. Excellent topic Baker. As a Christian I appreciate greatly the fairness you discussed this topic. Religion is much like politics. It causes a deep emotional reaction. Although I don’t agree with everything you say, neither do I always agree with Dave. The great part is that you approached the topic without an agenda. Keep up the good work!

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  51. This comment might be a bit late. I have listened to Dave Ramsey many times. There was a time when I listened to him regularly. I also follow Suze Orman. I like both of them, but Since I’m not religious, Dave’s proselytizing got to be too much for me (not to mention his anti-Democrat bent) so I had to stop. He made me feel very marginalized. I actually think that his message ( is really important, and he’s more practical on the day-to-day tasks. Suze’s a bit of a whack job, but at least she makes me feel like I’m part of the fold, so I find her infinitely more comfortable to watch.

  52. Dave Ramsey is the personal finance expert that I follow. Most people would not consider me to be religious, but I am Christian. I know some are turned off by Dave’s inclusion of religion into his message, but it doesn’t bother me. The principles that he teaches can be supported with quotes/proverbs/scriptures from various religions and cultures. I respect the fact that Dave represent what he believes to be true and incorporates this into the marketing/branding of his business. We wouldn’t want him to present information to us that he doesn’t believe to be 100% truth.

    Religion does not play a larger part in my financial decisions, but my actions can be supported by various scriptures from the bible.

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  55. Frederick Bvalani

    Baker, this is the Dave Ramsey Show. It’s Dave Ramsey’s message. Honestly as an evangelical christian myself, he doesn’t even start to put religion in his program.

    You may not agree with me, and that’s Ok but those of us who have experienced salvation in Jesus Christ know that debt freedom alone does not bring true peace and we feel a urge to share the good news with others. And there is a difference between religion and a relationship with Christ. When you have a relationship with Christ, it is who you are 24/7 and not what you do on Sunday morning only.

    And if faith helped Dave Ramsey experience true financial freedom while should he deny his audience the good news. That is his message and what works for him. If you don’t agree to his view listen to those you agree with. If you agree to just part of his message take that part and use it.

    There are others who like him but their 5% is his “no credit card” message.

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  57. I accepted a relationship with Christ 5 years ago and with that acceptance began tithing immediately. We never stopped. I must say that I’ve had ups and downs in my walk, yet we never stopped tithing. I know and believe that is why we are not active participants in this recession.

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  59. Well Ramsey is located in the Bible belt so he is speaking to his base, I am not offended for the most part, by the way I am a Muslim. When I first heard Dave on the radio I loved him and ran out and got his book, and I was turned on by the fact he acknowledge God (in his own way).

    Religion plays a large role in my personal finances, In Islam riba(interest/usury) is forbidden, the principle being that a person should earn money from their own effort by selling goods and service, money in Islam is not seen as a commodity but a means of transaction so I have to avoid it as much as possible in today world. Also it effects what types of stocks and mutual funds I choose to invest in, as a practicing Muslim I do not want to invest in companies that sell intoxicants, porn or other immoral things.

    Also I find many of the things Dave says match up with the messages of the Prophets of god peace be upon them, askew interest, don’t try to make money off of leading to your brother, live moderate and simple, don’t place too much value in this worldly life, give charity.

    so I will be reading my Quran and total money make over with out any inner conflict .. : ) .

  60. Frederick Bvalani

    @nyx Your message is clear “and I don’t like Dave Ramsey” , “I just don’t like him at all”, “I hate it when personal finance gurus say to give back to the world because god”, “Growing up around other christians I had so many bad experiences, that I just don’t like to be around them.”, “I don’t know I just have a bad feeling about dave ramsey, I just don’t like him.”, “but I just really do not like dave ramsey”.

    It is clear that this has nothing to do with DR. You hate God, you hate Christians and Dave Ramsey is one and doesn’t hide it.

    You carry a lot hate of christians and you are afraid of God.

    Ever heard of ‘niche market’? Believe it or not, there are lots of people as ethical, logical and efficient as you and your boyfriend. Those people need Dave Ramsey. If everyone was as logical as you most people wouldn’t be in the financial messes that they are in. Dave Ramsey says that it’s not about Math, it’s about behaviour. Even Financial experts mess up their finances.

    Go to his website listen to one of his 3 hour shows archives and take note of how many times he invokes religion and post it here. OK? He teaches common sense to everybody, whether Christian or not. Even if he taught the Christian message, you are not his target audience anyway, tune in to somebody else, buy someone else’s book.

    I bet you’ve never heard of Crown Financial Ministries. Why are you not attacking them instead? Because they are the ones who teach Christian Personal Finance.

  61. You know this is why I don’t get into arguments about religion, and I usually avoid religious discussions because people are just so passionate about this on both sides of the coin. We have differing opinions on DR and that’s fine, I should not have posted such an emotional response and that is my fault. I should have cooled off and posted a much more reasonable reply. My mistake.

  62. This is the kind of post that attracts tons of people. Money obviously gets people interested, and when you add an element of faith to it you’ll get even more readers. This was the first post I read on your site..and now I’ll be back to read some other good stuff. Thanks!

  63. I found this video very fascinating. I have been a DR follower for a few years, having led FPU and attending the Financial Coach Masters Series at Financial Peace Plaza. However, I’m a New Englander. We’re a little different up here 🙂 The role religion plays in our lives is kept pretty close, not shared with others very often. As I’ve travelled around the country, I’ve noticed how north easterners tend to be not as friendly or outgoing as folks from other parts of the country. I’m a firm believer that weather plays a large role in that, but I digress. I’m currently researching and brainstorming on ideas on how to help folks with personal finance in a manner similar to FPU, but shorter, and without the religious aspect. I also drank 95% of the Kool-Aid. I have listened to Dave for several years, and I must say that as the years have gone by, he has become more exclusionary in his attitudes towards those that don’t think just as he does. If someone voices an opinion that doesn’t line up with his christian beliefs, he discards their opinion and denounces it publicly, as if to say, “well, get your own radio show then,” Some could say he comes off as condescending and arrogant. Whether it be regarding religion, homosexuality, or what have you. Recently he posted a blog entitled, “Seven Life Lessons from Truett Cathy”, founder of Chick-fil-A. Chick-fil-A, who publicly denounced same-sex marriage. Why does a fast food chain get to comment on this issue? I love Dave’s fresh approach to personal finance, calling people on their BS and getting to the heart of the matter….behavior. I cannot continue to line his pockets as he continues to spout all of this nonsense about everyone who is different than him. What if “God” wants us to be accepting and supportive of all individuals who love one another, and want to walk through life in a peaceful manner, including financially. Rant over.

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