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What Dave Ramsey gets wrong about poverty
Financial advisor Dave Ramsey is also an evangelical Christian.
November 30th, 2013
09:59 AM ET

What Dave Ramsey gets wrong about poverty

Opinion by Rachel Held Evans, special to CNN 

(CNN)– Dave Ramsey is rich. And he makes his living telling other evangelical Christians how they can get rich, too.

Host of a nationally syndicated radio program and author of multiple best-selling books, Ramsey targets evangelical Christians with what he calls a “biblical” approach to financial planning, one that focuses primarily on the elimination of consumer debt. His for-profit Financial Peace University is billed as “a biblically based curriculum that teaches people how to handle money God's ways."

Much of what Ramsey teaches is sound, helpful advice, particularly for middle-class Americans struggling with mounting credit card bills. I have celebrated with friends as they’ve marked their first day of debt-free living, thanks in part to Dave Ramsey’s teachings and all those white envelopes of cash he urges his students to use instead of credit cards.

But while Ramsey may be a fine source of information on how to eliminate debt, his views on poverty are neither informed nor biblical.

Take, for example, a recent article by Tim Corley posted to Ramsey’s website. Entitled “20 Things the Rich Do Every Day,” the article presents some dubious statistics comparing the habits of the rich with the habits of the poor, including:

“70% of wealthy eat less than 300 junk food calories per day. 97% of poor people eat more than 300 junk food calories per day.”

“76% of wealthy exercise aerobically four days a week. 23% of poor do this.”

“63% of wealthy listen to audio books during commute to work vs. 5% of poor people.”

One need not be a student of logic to observe that Corley and Ramsey have confused correlation with causation here by suggesting that these habits make people rich or poor.

For example, a poor person might not exercise four days a week because, unlike a rich person, she cannot afford a gym membership. Or perhaps she has to work two jobs to earn a living wage, which leaves her little time and energy for jogging around the park.

A poor family may eat more junk food, not because they are lazy and undisciplined, but because they live in an economically disadvantaged, urban setting where health food stores are not as available: a so-called “food desert.”

Critics were swift to point out these discrepancies and among the critics were some of Ramsey’s fellow evangelical Christians who also noted that, though the book of Proverbs certainly heralds success as a common return on faithful labor, nowhere does the Bible guarantee that good habits lead to wealth.

The writer of Ecclesiastes observed that "under the sun the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to the intelligent, nor favor to the skillful; but time and chance happen to them all."

And far from having contempt for the poor, Jesus surrounded himself with the needy and challenged the excesses of the rich. “Blessed are you who are poor,” he said, “for yours is the kingdom of God. … But woe to you who are rich, for you have already received your comfort” (Luke 6:24).

"It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle," Jesus famously said, "than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God."

It’s hard for the wealthy to flourish in the kingdom that Jesus inaugurated because the economy of that kingdom runs so contrary to the economies of the world. It rewards the peacemakers over the powerful, the humble over the proud, the kind over the cruel, and those who hunger to do the right thing over those whose wealth has convinced them they already are.

Ramsey responded to the pushback with an addendum to the original post calling his critics “ignorant” and “immature” and instructing them to “grow up.”

“This list simply says your choices cause results,” he said, again committing the false cause fallacy. “You reap what you sow.”

The list, he said, applies only to people living in “first world” countries, where Ramsey believes economic injustices are essentially nonexistent. While the poor in developing countries are so as a result of external circumstances beyond their control, the poor in the United States have no one to blame but themselves.

“If you are broke or poor in the U.S. or a first-world economy, the only variable in the discussion you can personally control is YOU,” Ramsey says. “You can make better choices and have better results.”

America, he argues, has prospered as a direct result of its “understanding and application of biblical truths” which have led to “life-changing industry, inventions and a standard of living never known before on this planet.”

“There is a direct correlation,” he concludes, “between your habits, choices and character in Christ and your propensity to build wealth.”

For Christians, Ramsey’s perceived “direct correlation” between faith and wealth should be more troubling than his other confused correlations, for it flirts with what Christians refer to as the prosperity gospel, the teaching that God rewards faithfulness with wealth.

Ramsey’s particular brand of prosperity gospel elevates the American dream as God’s reward for America’s faithfulness, the spoils of which are readily available to anyone who works hard enough to receive them.

But such a view glosses over the reality that America was not, in fact, founded upon purely Christian principles (unless one counts slavery, ethnic cleansing, gender inequity, and Jim Crow as Christian principles), so we should be careful of assuming our relative wealth reflects God’s favor. (The Roman Empire was wealthy, too, after all.)

It also glosses over the reality that economic injustice is not, in fact, limited to the developing world but plagues our own country as well.

When medical bills are the biggest cause of bankruptcy in the United States, there are systemic injustices at work.

When people working 40-hour weeks at minimum wage jobs still can’t earn enough to support their families, there are systemic injustices at work.

When approximately 1% of Americans hold 40% of the nation’s wealth, there are systemic injustices at work.

When the black unemployment rate has consistently been twice as high as the white unemployment rate for the past 50 years, there are systemic injustices at work.

And throughout Scripture, people of faith are called not simply to donate to charity, but to address such systemic injustices in substantive ways.

The 17-year-old girl who lives in a depressed neighborhood zoned for a failing school system who probably won’t graduate because her grades are suffering because she has to work part-time to help support her family needs more than a few audio books to turn things around.

People are poor for a lot of reasons, and choice is certainly a factor, but categorically blaming poverty on lack of faith or lack of initiative is not only uninformed, it’s unbiblical.

God does not divide the world into the deserving rich and the undeserving poor. In fact, the brother of Jesus wrote that God has “chosen the poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom that he has promised to those who love him” (James 2:5).

God does not bless people with money; God blesses people with the good and perfect gift of God’s presence, which is available to rich and poor alike.

And that’s good news.

Rachel Held Evans is the author of "Evolving in Monkey Town" and "A Year of Biblical Womanhood." She blogs at rachelheldevans.com. The views expressed in this column belong to Rachel Held Evans.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Bible • Business • Christianity • Ethics • evangelicals • Faith • Leaders • Money & Faith • Opinion

soundoff (2,299 Responses)
  1. Marie Hardiman

    The greatest wealth belongs is held by those who know how to love others. If you want to quote scripture.......read how many times that is repeated...and that those who love know the power of forgiveness which precedes it. It is no happenstance that heart dis-ease is the biggest killer in the U.S.

    December 1, 2013 at 9:17 am |
    • Mary

      Marie, why do you think heart disease is so prevalent? I'm curious, since I don't think it follows from your preamble.

      December 1, 2013 at 9:21 am |
    • Nancy

      You speak the truth Marie. That is why all these young guys are doing shooting sprees, killing children and adults, "knocking out" people, and the internet is full of anonymous people saying hateful things.

      December 1, 2013 at 9:26 am |
    • Fallacy Spotting 101

      Post by 'Marie Hardiman' contains an instance of the Non Causa Pro Causa fallacy.

      http://fallacyfiles.org/glossary.html

      December 1, 2013 at 10:14 am |
  2. Bob

    "Denny", since you still haven't responded directly to my questions, let's give you another chance. No weaseling out this time, please:

    The core premise of your religion, this Jesus "atonment" [sic] thing and the whole Jesus sacrifice for sin gambit, is complete bull manure. How is it again that your omnipotent being couldn't do his saving bit without the whole silly Jesus hoopla? And how was Jesus' death a "sacrifice", when an omnipotent being could just pop up a replacement son any time with less than a snap of his fingers?

    Pretty pathetic "god" that you've made for yourself there.

    Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement.
    Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.
    http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

    December 1, 2013 at 9:17 am |
    • Mike

      Bob, can you enlighten us on your life and lifestyle and how everything is working out for you? I'll read it after I get out of church with my loving family.

      December 1, 2013 at 9:23 am |
      • RV

        Changing the argument to how one is fairing in his own life does not invalidate the argument that person proposes. Ad hominem fallacy that is. Try refuting the argument, not the arguer.

        December 1, 2013 at 9:56 am |
      • Bob

        Mike, instead of wasting time praying to a non-existent sky fairy like you are doing, I'll be out contributing to an environmental cleanup project.

        Now grow some guts and answer my questions, coward. Well, I'm sure you can't.

        December 1, 2013 at 9:58 am |
  3. Mike

    The author has missed the point of Dave's teachings. I have used his teachings to get out of debt and understand the pitfalls of our economic system, which has lead to a better life without the worries of being in debt. I don't think he teaches us that being rich solves our problems, but that being financially responsible let's us live our lives without being slaves to the debtor.

    Does being out of debt make someone rich and therefore not able to get into heaven? I think not. If you've ever read Ramsey's books, you know that what we as a nation have changed our ways from being productive and cautious with our money to one that believe living on credit and being in debt is the norm.

    December 1, 2013 at 9:15 am |
    • Ed

      Dave Ramsey is now named "Mike".

      December 1, 2013 at 9:18 am |
    • Jim

      Fellow Christians who disagree with this opinion piece should read it again but with a more objective eye. I, too, thought it was going to be an attack on Christianity, but after reading it is clear that Ms. Evans is challenging the thinking that America is a nation under God when it is not, at least not any more. I have studied under Dave Ramsey and he has helped me to execute on common sense decisions that I would have not done otherwise, but to profess that in this morally bankrupt country we can all avoid poverty is jingoistic, narrow-minded and flat out wrong. Our system fails thousands of Americans every day as it rewards greed which has led to wide spread corruption and a pandemic abuse of power. And until we go back to a true nation under God it is only going to get worse. The United States is not much unlike the Roman Empire and I believe our trajectory is following suit as well.

      December 1, 2013 at 10:11 am |
      • Sue

        Wrong, Jim. You have no causal connection there. I think that it is partly the belief that some sky creature is going to save you that is a part of the problem.

        People need to work to fix their own problems and to use reason, not rely on some god for which there is no evidence – although that isn't the whole solution. I'm suggesting that the problem does not rest entirely in flaws in the "system", but also with individuals, and their unsupportable beliefs and expectations.

        December 1, 2013 at 10:19 am |
      • Tom, Tom, the Other One

        If your religion is what you look to for explanations as to why, like many societies present and ancient, have failed, then I think it will fail you. I find nothing in the Bible that explains why economic systems fail, why a system of compensation for labor is allowed to function in a way that allows money to accumulate among very few people to the extent that it falls short in providing millions of people with a living wage.

        December 1, 2013 at 10:36 am |
        • Jim

          Tom, as long as you agree that this country is a godless nation and not following the precepts of Christianity, then we are on the same page.

          December 1, 2013 at 11:00 am |
  4. texasnotea

    I am debt free because of Ramsey's advice. Have been for years. But my advice to Dave is to drop the religion angle it only makes you look like an opportunist to those who know GOD doesn't have a clue how much I make, or don't make.

    December 1, 2013 at 9:12 am |
  5. Dell Griffith

    After reading the opinion piece by Ms. Evans, I get the sense of one thing ... Dave Ramsey is resented because he is white, rich, and outspoken, and is thought to be greedy and insensitive ... and because he is a Christ follower. Ms. Evans' story doesn't surprise me. We live in a God-hating, Christ-rejecting country, and any public figure who has the guts to talk about Christ and apply the Bible to our lives is vilified and is fair game for the liberal press. Ms. Evans ignorance of the Bible is evident when she uses absolutes like "nowhere does the Bible guarantee that good habits lead to wealth." I think the story of Joseph refutes this statement. His people skills, common sense, strong leadership skills, and sound judgment regarding financial matters propelled him from a jailbird in Egypt to second in command to Pharoah and wealth beyond measure. Dave Ramsey uses the Book of Proverbs to show us how our lives and finances would go if everyone conducted themselves with patience and wisdom. But, Ramsey also knows that we live in a sinful and imperfect world and that we must keep our perspective. His message: Handle money wisely and don't let the inequities of this twisted world keep you from earnest, dedicated hard work to pay your way, avoiding the pervasive, casual acceptance of massive debt of our "I want it now" culture.

    December 1, 2013 at 9:09 am |
    • texasnotea

      Even if GOD did not exist in your world, shouldn't we all handle our money wisely anyway? Shouldn't we all endeavor to be the best we can be anyway? The question is, what does GOD have to do with it?

      December 1, 2013 at 9:23 am |
    • Vic

      I think you've had too much of the right-wing, nut-job, fundie kool-aid. The U.S. is by far the most "Christian" of the developed western states When people lash out at Christians it's to object to their attempts to turn this country into a theocracy, forcing the majority of Americans to live within the constraints of their religious dogma and ideologies. Oppression doesn't work. There's a reason that more and more societies are moving away from that kind of nonsense.

      And I don't get it why so many protestants outright ignore the words of Jesus, their so-called savior, but hang on the words of lesser players. If I'm not mistaken, Jesus was/is God, and by virtue is by far the greater authority on salvation.

      December 1, 2013 at 9:28 am |
      • Dell Griffith

        Truth twister: your reply is filled with sarcasm, cynicism, scoffing, and mockery. But I respect your right to express it.

        December 1, 2013 at 12:14 pm |
    • Cedar Rapids

      You know ms Evans is a Christian as well right? Yet you seem to dismiss her and raise up Ramsey.
      As for your story of Joseph .......no where foes that equal 'guarantee', which is what the author stated.

      And enough of the c rap about god hating country and can't talk about faith.......the US is the most religious western country and a huge part of the US power scene, with politicians falling over themselves to show faithful they are to get the religious lobby behind them. Your claims are in fact bordering on outright lies.

      December 1, 2013 at 10:00 am |
    • brianmclain

      Yes, in fact, a core component of Dave/s financial plan is the ability to interpret dreams. Seriously? I do think Evans has to be a little careful about applying isolated scripture to our current situations (for instance, the "eye of the needle passage is not about wealthy people – but about Old covenant Jews.. the "rich" are those who cling to the wealth of the old covenant system, not realizing they are turning to dust), but there is a sense in that the wisdom of the verses she quoted are still applicable to us (if not in a direct one to one correlation), but you're misapplying scripture way worse than she is here. Proverbs is another book that gets misapplied as well. The Proverbs 31 woman is NOT A WOMAN people! It's symbolic – The woman is Lady Wisdom. The same goes for riches. Let us not forget that Proverbs is mostly written by an extremely rich King to his extremely rich prince/son. However, in the new covenant, those of us in Christ share in His status as Prophet, Priest, and King… we're Kings, but this doesn't necessarily mean that we are called to be wealthy in a monetary sense. There is wisdom, to be sure, in many of Dave's principles, but more often than not they do not lead to wealth – but being debt free is a good goal. And, in fact, acquiring wealth often requires maneuvering in gray areas and sometimes ignoring scriptural wisdom – such as paying the lender back – which you don't do when you file for bankruptcy… twice.

      December 1, 2013 at 10:02 am |
      • Cedar Rapids

        Where are you getting that nonsense about your camel through eye of needle interpretation?

        December 1, 2013 at 10:14 am |
  6. Virginia Jones

    Isn't it great that we live in a country where we can hold differing opinions based on whatever we decide to base them on? Not only that, we can make them public and tear down people who are trying to help their fellow man, I assume Miss Held has reached the state of perfection herself. I wonder how many more people she has helped get heir lives in order than Dave has. Gee, it must be tough to be perfect and be surrounded by us lesser people. Reminds me of a scripture, oddly enough: "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone" – or ball of mud.

    December 1, 2013 at 9:08 am |
    • Terry

      Ad hominem much, Ginny?

      December 1, 2013 at 9:10 am |
    • G to the T

      Firstly – that entire story about the adultress is not found in our earliest copies of John and is generally accepted as a later insertion.

      2 – Why are you so angry? I thought we were supposed to be the angry ones?

      December 1, 2013 at 9:38 am |
    • D.A. Samayoa

      Ms. Jones,
      Mr. Ramsey threw the first stone. He thinks the poor are poor soley because of their choices.

      December 1, 2013 at 11:39 am |
      • Say What?

        I'd like the transcript or link to the video where he says that.
        Please post.

        The author has no qualms with conniving a fallacy based on bits and pieces of quotes. Would be great if someone would do their homework and fact-checking properly.

        December 3, 2013 at 12:30 am |
  7. mike

    Hi,
    – i don't believe Mr Ramsey is a phoney , – that is i believe he believes in his product .
    He also has some good ideas – common sense ones – as he says . How ever i do believe he is a little out of touch
    with what is going on today . i am approximately the same age as Mr Ramsey , – i know if i was bankrupt in my 20's
    early thirty's – i could most likely work myself out of it with a minimum wage job – "delivering Pizza's" . – Back then all you had to do is work and you could live and see a light at the end of the tunnel if you worked hard enough . Today is a different story, – as i am talking from experience -( not brains ). The minimum wage today is not a livable wage as it was when i was younger. i see folks working all kinds of hours at places for years and don't even make 10 dollars an hour. – Mr Ramsey's response to this maybe get another job or free education – it's every where ! – we are not all born with the same "Gifts",
    i believe working hard should be enough to survive – it isn't. The sad part is – or ironically , The same people who pay folks an unlivable wage – are the same folks who are against an increase to the minimum wage , or social programs. That they created the necessity for ! -It's pretty sad when someone works 50 hours a week and still qualifies for food stamps , heating assistance etc .. . -there is no light at the end of the tunnel -hopefully someday there will be ,
    – and of course there always exceptions to the rules . But as the disparity rate in America grows ,
    i believe in what i have stated here to be true ,
    wishing every one the best....

    December 1, 2013 at 9:02 am |
    • Terry

      mike, google the "good old days fallacy". Your post is full of it, and so are you.

      December 1, 2013 at 9:08 am |
      • mike

        Thank you
        i will check it out ,
        regards..

        December 1, 2013 at 9:14 am |
      • Vic

        I disagree, Terry. All you have to do is look at the facts. Wages have remained stagnant for decades. Minimum wage is worth less now than 40 years ago; in fact, about 20% less when factoring inflation. That's real, not some "good ole days fallacy." Some people actually recognize the problem as a number of states have imposed minimum wages above the federal minimum. Oh, and in case you get stuck on looking for faults and not facts, a 20% reduction in "value" compared to 40 years ago means that individuals who make the minimum today have much less money left after living expenses for discretionary spending (e.g. for audio books, presentable clothes for interviews, college tuition), if any. And with the sequester taking root, there's even less help available for people that really need it.

        December 1, 2013 at 9:39 am |
      • freespirit2005

        I think Mike is right on. I began working for the state of Missouri in 1970. Working full-time, my gross pay was $290 per month. My take-home pay was $230 per month. My apartment was $50 per month and included furniture and utilities being paid by the landlord. At that time, state employees got paid once per month; today they get paid twice per month. I usually walked to work as my apartment was just slightly over a mile from my job. A brand new car could have been bought for less than $2000. Even a sports car, like a Mustang with all the options, was under $3000. I didn't want the debt. Gasoline in my town was 30 cents per gallon, so it was easy to pay some one $1 for a ride in bad weather (and I sometimes walked then). I didn't smoke or drink and still don't. I did have a $30 per month splurge on large television console (financed for one year and now obsolete, but was a big deal at the time). I did fine. I couldn't make it on $230 per month today, even with no debt except for utilities..

        December 1, 2013 at 9:54 am |
      • Jane

        Terry is right, about both the fallacy identified, and the real economic case. The data backs it up. We are better off than ever, and even with greater inequality, our baseline standard of living and our life expectancy, and many other measures of our well being, are vastly better than e.g. 50 or 100 years ago. Now we just have to learn to take more holidays, and spend less time at computers :-)...

        December 1, 2013 at 10:08 am |
  8. stu

    just reading over these comments proves the point without an education, without a strong family(including father who is involved in your life) and without a strong work ethic you are destined for a life of poverty.

    December 1, 2013 at 9:02 am |
  9. Ruby Pree

    Getting rich aside, before the Total Money Makeover book and Financial Peace I was stressed out, broke and drowning in debt. I went in search of a way to get off the merry go round of debt. There had to be a better way to live and I was going to find it. I have read several books on budgeting to include Suze Orman's books, the Automatic Millionaire books, and otbers but none of them gave me a recipe for how to get out of debt. Dave Ramsey through his books taught me that I could live a life of financial peace and "no" I am not rich but I am a lot better off than I was before.

    December 1, 2013 at 9:02 am |
  10. Bill C

    Ramsey just doesn't get it about the real world in America! He also pushes mutual funds with a load as opposed to No-load funds. He also does not seem to understand real diversification. I know several folks of less than modest means who invested in a recommended heavily loaded fund which fared poorly and never recovered. As far as investments go, most folks would be wise to invest 60% of their money in the S&P500 and 40% in inflation protected bonds, reinvest all dividends, and never look at the investment for the next 40 years. They might end up with a little something to retire on.

    December 1, 2013 at 9:01 am |
  11. April Gass

    This is a below the belt attack. Obviously she couldn't find any other dirt this productive member of society who is and has helped others.

    December 1, 2013 at 8:53 am |
  12. TAJ

    The writer slams Ramsey for his beliefs but then pushes the equally, if not more fallacious idea of "economic injustice." Oh, I forgot...CNN.

    December 1, 2013 at 8:52 am |
    • Vic

      How is "economic injustice" a fallacy?

      December 1, 2013 at 9:42 am |
  13. Terry G

    A very common mistake made by the GOP of today. I'd bet more rich men get die in their ferraris than do poor men.

    December 1, 2013 at 8:48 am |
  14. david

    Rachel you should not be writing for any publication or news site it only takes one sentence to tell you have no idea what you are talking about. full of excuses, why would you say people cant exercise because they cant afford a gym membership. are you seriously saying you need a health food store not to eat crap. you are what is wrong with America. pathetic, anyone who thinks like you wont get anywhere. perfect article for not taking any responsibility for your own choices. its always someone else's fault. what does God have to do with getting up at 6am putting your big boy boots on and going to work and getting educated, self educated. spewing crap this is the liberal mo. self pity, oh I deserve to be taken care of by the govt, how has that worked with welfare a complete failure by the way.

    December 1, 2013 at 8:46 am |
    • Crys

      A "food desert". It doesn't mean that you live in an area where there is no Trader Joes or Whole Foods. It means you live in an area where there are literally no grocery stores at all. One of the things Dave Ramsey says, look I listen to him all the time, is to get rid of your fancy car. Well guess what, when I drive through low income areas it is easy to notice that there are more people walking, riding the bus, or ridding bikes. A food desert means there is no where in your area that sells reasonably prices vegetable, fruits, grains. It means probably the only store you have to buy food from in walking distance is a convenience store. I think it is interesting here how many people have failed to realize that the author actually applauds Dave's advice for the middle class. We are the ones who get ourselves into mounds of school and credit car debt, the ones who buy more then we should, have cars we can't afford and put ourselves into a totally unnecessary pay check to pay check situation. For those of us Dave Ramsey has excellent advice. But for the super poor in our country, those who are working minimum wage jobs and can't get out of from under the poverty line, those who never had access to credit cards or student debt, those who have no cars, or grocery stores in their neighborhood, those whose paychecks don't even cover minimum expenses, well then his advice isn't nearly as helpful, because telling people to workout more isn't going to cut it.

      December 1, 2013 at 9:43 am |
    • Vic

      You miss the point. She also said (and I agree, having "been there") that after working long hours there is no time or energy for exercise. Also, a number of scientific studies have correlated lack of sleep with weight gain, compounding the problem. As for eating crap, try stretching your food budget to the next payday while buying healthy alternatives. Invariably, the healthy alternatives are more expensive than the packaged foods (e.g. boxed mac & cheese) that many low income families rely on to keep food in the bellies of their children. Couple the high cost of healthy alternatives (especially in light of the ever-shrinking buying power of minimum wage income) with preparation time and it becomes a little more obvious why the poor find it increasingly difficult to eat healthy. And God forbid the car break down or one of the kids should get sick and need medical attention!

      December 1, 2013 at 9:49 am |
    • Cedar Rapids

      Hey David, show us where in the article she said 'I deserve to be taken care of by the government'

      December 1, 2013 at 10:05 am |
  15. Dell Griffith

    Sure, Dave Ramsey has done a lot of things wrong and is not perfect ... but he's also done a lot of good for thousands drowning in debt. The article by Ms. Evans totally passes over that fact.

    December 1, 2013 at 8:34 am |
    • Brooke

      No, she didn't. She started off her piece with this:

      "Much of what Ramsey teaches is sound, helpful advice, particularly for middle-class Americans struggling with mounting credit card bills. I have celebrated with friends as they’ve marked their first day of debt-free living, thanks in part to Dave Ramsey’s teachings and all those white envelopes of cash he urges his students to use instead of credit cards.

      But while Ramsey may be a fine source of information on how to eliminate debt, his views on poverty are neither informed nor biblical."

      December 1, 2013 at 9:07 am |
      • Dell Griffith

        my point was thousands, if not millions have been helped. She made no mention or gave no time to such statistics which would have balanced the scale of criticism which her piece is slanted toward

        December 1, 2013 at 12:10 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          She gave appropriate nods to the good Ramsey's work accomplishes. She also gave appropriate time to the criticisms she enumerates. Of all the folks bemoaning this article or Evans herself, or of all the folks screaming their undying devotion and love for Ramsey as some sort of lesser god, none of them have mentioned even one point on which Evans is wrong. Not one. I think that says quite a lot.

          December 1, 2013 at 12:17 pm |
  16. Bernardo

    Dave gives lots of good, solid advice that more folks should follow. Much of this advice is based on scriptural principles of hard work, ethics, and love for others. However, the Bible doesn't promise prosperity for Christians. Dave is lucky to be living a country where you can be a Christian and be wealthy. In many countries, being a Christian means hardship, jail, or even death. Jesus said "take up your cross and follow me". Christianity is for cross-bearers, not those who desire to be financially wealthy.

    December 1, 2013 at 8:32 am |
    • Mary

      I see that Dave R has changed his name to "Bernardo" and "Mike" and a few others too...

      December 1, 2013 at 9:23 am |
  17. mrpearl

    I never trust a rich religious person who says that if I believe in God I will be blessed with money. This is a theory that fits the current world economic model. Also I agree that America WAS founded on Christian principles: Slavery IS condoned in the bible. Gender inequity IS condoned in the bible. This is the hypocrisy of the right-winger who claims to be a Christian. Sadly, they have left out Jesus in the definition of Christian.

    Still, I like Dave Ramsey's model of saving lots of money and paying off debt, not being a slave to bankers and interest rates. But it is not biblical.

    December 1, 2013 at 8:26 am |
  18. DougtheGuitarist

    Ramsey has a great message for people that have the intuitive nature to better themselves. For me, his message is pretty relevant. Hardships of all sorts (usually out of the control of the people involved), and in my part of the country things like racial roadblocks and economic illiteracy, make Dave's message meaningless. Unfortunately, Dave Ramsey has compassion on a one-on-one basis when he talks to people who have had difficulty, but he regularly puts down people in the bigger sense when it comes to poverty.

    It's one of his weaknesses I wish he would acknowledge better.

    December 1, 2013 at 8:14 am |
  19. Cap'nD

    Like so many of his ilk, Ramsay seems to start with love of lucre and work backwards to cherrypick his Biblical justifications that God "wants" him to be rich. I'd rather read 1000 pages by Rachel Evans than have to sit through 5 minutes of Dave Ramsay's spiel.

    December 1, 2013 at 8:07 am |
  20. anne

    There is so much wrong with this article its hard to even begin, starting with the first paragraph. Dave Ramsey doesnt teach evangelical Christians, he teaches PEOPLE. Just PEOPLE. Does the author know that Ramsey was bankrupt? As in broke? And dug himself out? His teachings got me out of debt. Im single, make just above poverty level, and had huge credit card debt because I was stupid. Listening to Ramsey got me motivated, got me to Stop Buying Crap, and get myself out of debt. I am now out of debt, and instead of paying off credit cards, Im saving for retirement. With a modest pay check. Oh, and Im not Christian. His teachings work. The author is obviously cherry picking what Ramsey says, instead of listing to what he says in entirety. There is very little religion given; listen to his radio show, and you'll see. There is a TON of smart advise given...you'll see.

    December 1, 2013 at 7:45 am |
    • want2believe

      "The author is obviously cherry picking what Ramsey says, instead of listing to what he says in entirety."

      Ironic being you cherry picked the particle where she says Ramsey teaches with a Christian background, instead of listening to what she says in entirely regarding his views of the poor and the ridiculous stats that were thrown out there.

      December 1, 2013 at 8:13 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.