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Survey Finds You Can't Serve God and Mammon

More Americans believe that Christian values are at odds with capitalism and the free market than believe they are compatible. Those are the results of a new national survey from PRRI/RNS Religion News.

This pattern also holds among Christians. Among Christians in the U.S., 46% percent believe capitalism and the free market are at odds with Christian values, while only 38 percent believe the two are compatible.

The survey also finds a strong majority (62 percent) saying that one of the biggest problems in the country is that more and more of the wealth is held by just a few people, compared to less than one-in-four (24 percent) who say this is not really a big problem.

"Religious Americans across the spectrum are strongly concerned about increasing wealth inequality in America," says Dr. Robert P. Jones, CEO of Public Religion Research Institute. "And in the current economic climate, more religious Americans than not see some conflict between Christian values and capitalism."

The survey also finds that there is some disagreement among religious groups about what issues are most important for religious leaders to address.

"White evangelical Protestants are more likely than Catholics or white mainline Protestants to say that it is very important for clergy to speak out on the issue of abortion," says Daniel Cox, PRRI research director. "On the other hand, Catholics are more likely to think it's very important for priests to speak out about the gap between the rich and the poor than about the issue of homosexuality."

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And from The Urantia Book:

71:6.1 "Present-day profit-motivated economics is doomed unless profit motives can be augmented by service motives. Ruthless competition based on narrow-minded self-interest is ultimately destructive of even those things which it seeks to maintain. Exclusive and self-serving profit motivation is incompatible with Christian ideals—much more incompatible with the teachings of Jesus.

"In economics, profit motivation is to service motivation what fear is to love in religion. But the profit motive must not be suddenly destroyed or removed; it keeps many otherwise slothful mortals hard at work. It is not necessary, however, that this social energy arouser be forever selfish in its objectives.

"The profit motive of economic activities is altogether base and wholly unworthy of an advanced order of society; nevertheless, it is an indispensable factor throughout the earlier phases of civilization. Profit motivation must not be taken away from men until they have firmly possessed themselves of superior types of nonprofit motives for economic striving and social serving—the transcendent urges of superlative wisdom, intriguing brotherhood, and excellency of spiritual attainment."

Also, please see: Religion and Social Reconstruction, as well as our topical study on ECONOMICS

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