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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. Phil Pressley

    I don't think they confused correlation with causation. At least Dave didn't. Nowhere in his article does he say that doing these things will make a person rich. It's simply a look at what the general habits of two economic class groups are. I know a lot of rich people who eat a ton of junk food calories and don't wake up 3 hours before work!

    December 2, 2013 at 3:02 pm |
  2. Poorboy

    If you have taken Ramsey's short course, as I have, perhaps you would conclude that it provides very wise advise. And he ends the course by suggesting ways we can contribute to the lives of the less fortunate.

    Many progressives today think the answer to helping the poor is to reduce "inequality" while conservatives want to reduce "poverty." Inequality can be reduced by bringing everyone down to the same level. Bill Gates helped reduce poverty for millions by creating the PC. In the process, it made him rich, which did not necessarily reduce inequality. Progressives would have probably grabbed his company after his first billion in profit, and chained him in the fields to grow corn and "reduce poverty." As it turns out, he is now using his billions to increase world health and food supply.

    BTW, George Will has done research which shows that conservatives contribute a much larger share of their income to charity, as opposed to liberals. Liberal lawmakers want to pass laws to take from others to give to others. They then feel their obligation to the poor has been fulfilled, because they "gave at the office."

    December 2, 2013 at 2:57 pm |
  3. His panic

    No way Jose, the fact is that they both have fallen victims to Panic.

    December 2, 2013 at 2:53 pm |
  4. Me

    We just need to ask help from Obamacare and we get healthy....

    December 2, 2013 at 2:25 pm |
  5. Anna

    ,
    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZeedE8vH1FQ&w=640&h=390]

    December 2, 2013 at 1:15 pm |
  6. David

    Rachel,
    You obviously have not listened to Dave Ramsey or read his books, and are going on hearsay. Dave has a lot of compassion on the poor, manifested in 1) encouraging in philanthropy on the part of those who have gotten out of debt, and 2) helping the poor out of their poverty. (You can give a man a fish or teach him to fish.) You wrongly assume animosity toward the poor, when in reality he is simply pointing out "the way out." His primary message is getting out of debt, the bane of American existence from the government on down. From there, why not build wealth? Makes sense to me. Jesus said, "The poor you have with you always," and also, "The poor have the gospel preached to them," in the same breath as "The blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up." The bible does teach a way out of poverty for the poor, but also teaches compassion toward the poor. Dave Ramsey is on that page. And you, Rachel, do you think poverty is a ticket to spirituality? Do you worship debt? How's your balance sheet? Maybe when you get out of debt, you will feel differently about Dave Ramsey's amazing impact on the (evangelical or not) indebted of this enslaving debt culture.
    David

    December 2, 2013 at 1:06 pm |
  7. cross eyed mary

    Dodo, what did Buddha say, anyway?

    December 2, 2013 at 12:57 pm |
  8. cross eyed mary

    Who was it that said, give and it shall be given to u? Buddha or Zeus?

    December 2, 2013 at 12:56 pm |
  9. His panic

    I think she may be suffering from Anxiety, Hysteria even Panic. As far as Dave he may too be in a State of Panic, I even I may be his Panic. If this is true, then both of them are failing to Trust in God and in Jesus Christ God's Only Son. Because those who really really Trust in God and in Jesus Christ God's Only Son WILL NOT Panic.

    December 2, 2013 at 12:38 pm |
  10. VMS

    Rachel, don't hold your breath. Most of the evangelicals I know couldn't explain the difference between correlation and causation anyway.

    December 2, 2013 at 12:12 pm |
    • Say What?

      Good one.
      Way to insult the religion the author was raised with and one her parent's practice.

      December 3, 2013 at 12:18 am |
  11. Live4Him

    @Live4Him : It is because everyone who rejects Christ will be thrown out of His kingdom for ever and ever. Since death and the grave are not a part of his kingdom, they are also thrown out. Think of it as house-cleaning.
    @ME II : Wow, what a cheery way to think of eternal torture in a lake of fire... house-cleaning.

    What do you do with disease causing trash in your house?

    December 2, 2013 at 11:47 am |
    • ME II

      @Live4Him,
      "What do you do with disease causing trash in your house?"

      If it is people we're talking about, I start by not calling them "disease causing trash".

      December 2, 2013 at 11:51 am |
      • HotAirAce

        And I'm being harassed in another thread for using the word delusional. . .

        December 2, 2013 at 11:54 am |
      • Live4Him

        @ME II : If it is people we're talking about, I start by not calling them "disease causing trash".

        So, would you live in a house with two other people with the black plague? Or would you seek to create some separation between you and them (i.e. house-cleaing)?

        December 2, 2013 at 11:58 am |
      • ME II

        @Live4Him,
        "So, would you live in a house with two other people with the black plague? Or would you seek to create some separation between you and them (i.e. house-cleaing)?"

        Personally, I would call for medical professionals. That being said, even quarantine and/or treatment is a very long ways from eternal torture in a lake of fire, neither of which would be considered house-cleaning.

        December 2, 2013 at 12:12 pm |
        • Live4Him

          @ME II : Personally, I would call for medical professionals.

          Why not care for them yourself?

          @ME II : That being said, even quarantine and/or treatment is a very long ways from eternal torture in a lake of fire

          So, if you have an infectious person who will always be in that state (i.e. no cure available) and quarantine means total separation from love, then how will that person feel? Nothing but hatred heaped upon them. Makes you more compassionate toward those who are bullied. And yet, that bullying will be a walk in the park compared to being eternally separated from love.

          December 2, 2013 at 12:24 pm |
        • ME II

          @Live4Him,
          "Why not care for them yourself?"

          You said the black plague and I am neither qualified nor equipped to treat the plague. It would be irresponsible of me to try when better options are available.

          "So, if you have an infectious person who will always be in that state (i.e. no cure available) and quarantine means total separation from love, then how will that person feel?"

          What? Who said anything about total separation from love?

          "Nothing but hatred heaped upon them. Makes you more compassionate toward those who are bullied."

          What? When did hatred and bullying enter into it?

          "And yet, that bullying will be a walk in the park compared to being eternally separated from love."

          Again, who said anything about love or separation from it?

          December 2, 2013 at 12:39 pm |
        • Live4Him

          @ME II : You said the black plague and I am neither qualified nor equipped to treat the plague.

          No one is qualified or equipped with the eternal rebel. And those who reject God fall into this category.

          @ME II : Who said anything about total separation from love?

          I have previously. Obviously, you jumped into a discussion without reading the context. I (and JW) agreed that God is love. I also pointed out that hell is eternal separation from God. Logically, being in hell would men eternally separated from love – leaving only hatred to remain.

          @ME II : When did hatred and bullying enter into it?

          I used bullying as a parable for what it would be like in hell, without love and plenty of hate.

          December 2, 2013 at 12:46 pm |
        • Grand

          Look, L4H, you are famous for talking quotes of of context, so when starting a new thread as you are want to do, people reply to that new thread.
          And you complain.
          Lol. So typical of your debate style.

          December 2, 2013 at 1:06 pm |
        • ME II

          @Live4Him,
          "No one is qualified or equipped [to deal] with the eternal rebel. And those who reject God fall into this category."

          You are shifting analogies, yet again. A rebel does not have to be treated and is not, by nature, infectious. Although, I would guess that sin is not infectious either, so you plague analogy fails there.

          "Obviously, you jumped into a discussion without reading the context. I (and JW) agreed that God is love. I also pointed out that hell is eternal separation from God. Logically, being in hell would men eternally separated from love – leaving only hatred to remain."

          Ah, I see the connection to love now, thanks.
          However, if (and a big if) God is love and hell is eternal separation from God/love, then how does that equate to eternal torture in a lake of fire?
          Also, if separation from God/love is the absence of love, it is not necessarily hatred nor bullying.

          And back to my original comment, how does any of this justify their treatment as "disease causing trash", let alone the dehumanizing euphemism of "house-cleaning"? I thought God was love.

          December 2, 2013 at 1:14 pm |
        • Live4Him

          @ME II : A rebel does not have to be treated and is not, by nature, infectious.

          So, how did you get your infection of rebellion?

          @ME II : However, if (and a big if) God is love and hell is eternal separation from God/love, then how does that equate to eternal torture in a lake of fire? Also, if separation from God/love is the absence of love, it is not necessarily hatred nor bullying.

          If one is separated from all love, all that could remain is hate. And if one is immersed in hate, it would feel similar to a lake of fire.

          @ME II : how does any of this justify their treatment as "disease causing trash"

          A sinner is one who rebels against God's authority, considering self to be equal or better than God. This sin is easily transmitted to others (i.e. infectious). Once a person becomes a determined rebel who will reject God at all costs, then they lose all potential value in a kingdom without sin (i.e. trash). Since we deal with infectious elements and trash all the time, I used them in a parable.

          @ME II : the dehumanizing euphemism of "house-cleaning"? I thought God was love.

          Some people reject his love, which is their choice. So, why do you think that God should force someone to endure that which they don't want (i.e. to be in his kingdom)?

          December 2, 2013 at 1:41 pm |
        • ME II

          @Live4Him,
          "So, how did you get your infection of rebellion?"

          Huh? Now you're just spouting gibberish, is that it?

          "If one is separated from all love, all that could remain is hate. And if one is immersed in hate, it would feel similar to a lake of fire."

          Aren't you excluding the middle as it were? Separation from love, if that is even a realistic statement, would just be the absence of love. Hate is an emotion, not a thing in and of itself, and requires a being to have it, i.e. someone must have hate for oneself even if it is oneself that has it.
          Addtionally, if one can have hate while being separated from God, then why can't one also have love? They are both emotions after all.
          And lastly, why would being "immersed in hate", if such a thing were possible, feel like a lake of fire? If in fact the Bible is even going for a metaphor.

          "This sin is easily transmitted to others (i.e. infectious)."

          How so, exactly?

          "Once a person becomes a determined rebel who will reject God at all costs,..."

          This hardly seems to be the case when there is no changing one's mind after death. This goes to the inherent unethical nature of eternal punishment for finite crimes. If one is not allowed to recant, repent, or change one's mind then it is unethical to consider that an on-going crime, since it is not of their own choosing whether or not to continue, i.e. not a moral agent.

          "Some people reject his love, which is their choice. So, why do you think that God should force someone to endure that which they don't want (i.e. to be in his kingdom)?"

          There is a difference between allowing someone to leave "His kingdom" and throwing someone into a lake of fire for eternity. One is passive and the other is actively forcing someone into a situation. If you do not see that there is a difference then there is little hope of rational discussion.

          December 2, 2013 at 2:29 pm |
        • Live4Him

          @Live4Him : So, how did you get your infection of rebellion?
          @ME II : Huh? Now you're just spouting gibberish, is that it?

          Sigh. Must I explain everything in detail? A) You've rejected Christ. B) Christ's kingdom is what we're discussion. C) Since you've rejected Christ, you've rebelled against his right to be the king of his kingdom. Thus, I've shown that you have the spirit of rebellion in you. You obviously got this rebellion from somewhere – similar to an infection. So, how did you get it?

          @ME II : Aren't you excluding the middle as it were? Separation from love, if that is even a realistic statement, would just be the absence of love. Hate is an emotion

          Of course. One cannot both love and hate the same thing. It voliates the law of excluded middle. Lets define the two terms. Love is giving to others. Hate is giving to yourself. Love is outward, while hate is inward. Love satisfies, while hate dissatisfies.

          @ME II : They are both emotions after all.

          Only with a simplistic viewpoint. The question is which comes first, the emotion or the action?

          @ME II : why would being "immersed in hate" ... feel like a lake of fire?

          Imagine being bullied. Others are projecting their hate toward you. Do you feel confortable? No, you feel very uncomfortable. Now, imagine that the person hating you is yourself. The hate is now intensified and there is no escape.

          @ME II : How so, exactly?

          How were you introduced to any new sinful activity? By others.

          @ME II : there is no changing one's mind after death.

          How many times does a person want to change the contract after signing it? It happens frequently. So, lets assume that you've rejected God in this life, but once you're dead and see God you want to change your mind. Why do you want to change your mind? It is because it would be better for yourself. So, the decision is motivated by sin, not by love for others. So, you want to bring sin into heaven and corrupt it. But, once corrupted, it is no longer heaven, but has been turned into hell.

          @ME II : There is a difference between allowing someone to leave "His kingdom" and throwing someone into a lake of fire for eternity. One is passive and the other is actively forcing someone into a situation.

          God gives you a choice: follow or not. If you follow, you will find yourself in heaven. If you don't follow him, then you wind up in hell. No one forces you to either place.

          December 2, 2013 at 3:08 pm |
        • ME II

          @Live4Him,
          "Sigh. Must I explain everything in detail?"

          Everything that doesn't make sense, yes.

          "You obviously got this rebellion from somewhere – similar to an infection. So, how did you get it?"

          I was born that way? So, following your metaphor, it's congenital. My point is that your comparison to a disease does not make sense after a certain point. A disease follows biological processes which means that there are constraints to it's transmission, infection, and treatment. Rejection of a concept, does not have the same constraints.

          "One cannot both love and hate the same thing."

          That's debatable. Ever love someone that was bad for you? or someone that cheated on you? But I digress.

          "It voliates the law of excluded middle."

          The third option that you are missing is ambivilence. The law of the excluded middle states that something is either true or not true with no possible third option, love or not love. Hate is separate and ambivelence is a valid third option.

          "Lets define the two terms."

          I disagree with your definitons. Love and hate are subjective emotions and ultimately only have meaning to those who experience them.

          "Only with a simplistic viewpoint. The question is which comes first, the emotion or the action?"

          I don't understand, to what action are you referring?

          "Now, imagine that the person hating you is yourself. The hate is now intensified and there is no escape."

          Why assume that the "sinner" in question hates themself? And, I still don't see how that feeling would equate to a lake of fire.

          "How were you introduced to any new sinful activity? By others."

          1) Introduction is not infection. Introduction to a concept does not mean acceptence.
          2) Not all "sinful activities", require introduction.

          "How many times does a person want to change the contract after signing it? It happens frequently."

          What contract? You claim there is one, but I see no evidence of it.

          "So, you want to bring sin into heaven and corrupt it."

          I have yet to understand how exactly "sin" corrupts. What is the mechanism, or pathogen to use your analogy?

          "If you don't follow him, then you wind up in hell. No one forces you to either place."

          But just a second ago you were comparing it to "cleaning-house" and getting rid of "disease causing trash". How is that not forcing one out of heaven?

          "And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire." (Rev)

          December 2, 2013 at 4:00 pm |
    • Bibletruth

      The correct view is eternal death. Death =non-life. Eternal death is non-life forever. When a person dies that person is dead...i.e. has non-life and will have no life until the ressurrection, either one, the resurrection unto eternal life, or the resurrection onto eternal death (non-life forever). The wicked shall be brought to ashes along with Satan and never shall they be anymore. God tells satan his time is short. God further tells Satan that his (Satan's) destiny is the lake of fire. And God further tells Satan that there (in the lake of fire) I shall bring thee to ashes and never shalt thou be anymore.

      December 30, 2013 at 8:49 pm |
  12. Amy B

    I just want to know if Ms. Evans has actually sat through the 9 week Dave Ramsey course. Given her comments and complete misunderstanding of his teachings, I'm pretty sure the answer is no. I believe in informed journalism, and this is simply impossible if you do not fully inform yourself about the subject on which you are writing. Ms. Evens, I highly recommend that you attend the entire Dave Ramsey 9 week course and then write an article that is a bit more informed. I think that you will find you have completely missed the point of his teachings. Believe me his course is not a get rich class.

    One more side note: the Bible does not purport to say that you must be poor to be truly holy, nor does it say that all who are rich will not be allowed in heaven. You may want to spend a bit more time studying the Bible as well.

    December 2, 2013 at 11:36 am |
    • Live4Him

      Excellent points!

      December 2, 2013 at 11:41 am |
    • In Santa we trust

      In the context of your comment, what does this mean?

      "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God." (Matthew 19:24)

      December 2, 2013 at 11:43 am |
      • joshuapostema

        Next time, how about reading what Dave Ramsey actually says before criticizing it? I'm not exactly unsurprised that you don't seem to understand the correlation between wealth and good behaviors, but I would have at least expected someone writing at CNN to -read- what they are criticizing before criticizing it. Suffice it to say, you aren't arguing with Dave Ramsey, but some fiction you've created. It is a sign of emotional thinking to lump all people one disagrees with (Dave Ramsey and prosperity-gospel-types) into one category without any understanding of the nuances – or in this case, the vast differences – in their thinking.

        Even more worrying is your terrible exegesis. This is less surprising than completely misunderstanding Dave Ramsey, though. You've been consistently bad at conveying the purpose and content of Scripture.

        December 2, 2013 at 1:08 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          I don't need to read what Ramsey said to reply to a comment on a post written by someone else. Are you paid to endorse him anywhere you can?

          December 2, 2013 at 7:00 pm |
      • Amy B

        This scripture in Matthew is referring to a rich man who has relied on his wealth for his salvation and has made richness the focus of his life in place of God. This is not referring to general wealth. Money itself is not the root of all evil, but the love of money that it is the root of all evil. We cannot transpose the two.

        December 2, 2013 at 3:21 pm |
    • melvin

      The center core of Jesus' teaching is to help those who can't help themselves. In other words, if your money & riches are more important to you than ending human suffering ... then Jesus & Christianity isn't for you. Your point of view is secular and not religious in nature. I have taken one seminar catering to gaining wealth and the sponsors were VERY BIG about returning a good part of the wealth back to charity and human suffering. I won't bore with with the bible verses but it is so easy to combine wealthy and charity. Instead, many of the wealthy keep investing in wealthy, until it becomes a race to reach the FORBES top 100 list for the wealthy. There are many wealthy people who are HUGE contributors ... but sadly, most are not.

      December 2, 2013 at 12:46 pm |
      • cross eyed mary

        U r a liar, dodo

        December 2, 2013 at 12:52 pm |
        • Grand

          Explain why. And while your at it, explain why you are again attacking a fellow believer.

          December 2, 2013 at 1:09 pm |
    • Mary

      Why don't you be informed before commenting. She said his financial advice was good advice and helped a lot of people.

      She is just saying it is misinformation for him to spread those statistics about habits of rich versus habits of poor. Some of those bad habits are because they are poor. They did not make them poor. For example, Poor people eat junk food because it is cheap.

      December 2, 2013 at 1:02 pm |
      • Stephanie

        Dave Ramsey was not saying these habits create poor people. He was simply saying these were certain trends based on financial backgrounds. Cause and correlation have nothing to do with it.

        December 2, 2013 at 2:22 pm |
    • kondordisqus

      Interesting. I have not taken the course, but I do listen to Dave Ramsey regularly on his radio show. And he does indeed make most of the points that Ms. Evans is pointing out in this editorial.

      Does this mean that the course itself teaches something other than what Mr. Ramsey uses to get people to enroll in and get through the course? That is a little deceptive, don't you think?

      December 2, 2013 at 1:33 pm |
  13. Not religious. .but love Dave

    I am not a religious person. I am middle class. However, I introduced Dave Ramsey to my sister who makes a lot less than me (working poor). According to my sister, the take home message is learning the principles. It does not matter how much money you make, but the principles. So, when you make more money later you can follow those same principles. It is not how much you make, but what you do with your money. Another example, years ago a lady who was single, poor, can't read, lived in a shack, and worked washing rich people clothes for a living in Mississippi. When she died, she was left a million dollar to an historically black university. Case in point.

    December 2, 2013 at 10:50 am |
    • Sara(swati)

      Yes, I remember that woman who was an inspiration and an example of how many of these principles are a great help. But despite her disadvantages I'm quite sure you would have found that that woman was above average in intelligence and showed great self-regulation from early childhood. Additionally, she never had illnesses that sucked up her money nor had to quit work to care for family members. I think all this article is asking is that we remember that not everyone can make it rich, even if it is more convenient to believe that to. be the case.

      December 2, 2013 at 10:56 am |
    • HotAirAce

      I listened to a few minutes of his latest show, and once I got past the extensive "please buy my stuff" part, he sounded more like a christian version of Dr Laura (christian with brief nude career, then Jewish, now?) than a financial advisor. Both are mildly entertaining but not evil, in my opinion of course.

      December 2, 2013 at 10:57 am |
      • Live4Him

        That's strange. I've listened to his program for years on the radio (106.9 out of Black Mountain, NC) and have never heard an appeal to buy his stuff. In fact, he often goes through his five step 'get financially free' program on the program. So, why would anyone need to buy his stuff unless they want more details or a more indepth explanation for the steps?

        December 2, 2013 at 11:12 am |
        • In Santa we trust

          His website is full of his products for sale and endorsements for services (that he is compensated for). Not so much about financial strategies.

          December 2, 2013 at 11:19 am |
        • HotAirAce

          I listened, this am, to the beginning of the show that is currently on his website.

          December 2, 2013 at 11:33 am |
        • Live4Him

          @In Santa we trust : His website is full of his products for sale

          Do you work for free? Then why do you think he should work for free? The concepts that he teaches are freely available, but if one needs details, workbooks, etc. then one should expect to pay for them.

          December 2, 2013 at 11:33 am |
        • In Santa we trust

          As you say there are services for free – see http://www.nfcc.org/. Contrast the layout and presentation. The point is exactly that – for Ramsey it is a business first and foremost and some people would view selling high-priced products to people who are already in financial trouble as exploitation. Some of his advice is questionable – paying off the card with the smallest balance costs more than paying off the card with the highest interest rate; some say that is psychology but the balance and rate of increase can be presented such that progress is obvious when using the financially efficient strategy.

          December 2, 2013 at 11:41 am |
        • For creationists

          Maybe focus on this cross eyed mary.

          But you can find info for free L4H

          Top 10 Questions from Richard's Live Chat on Reddit

          posted on November 27, 2013 04:24PM GMT

          http://www.richarddawkins.net/foundation_articles/2013/11/27/top-10-questions-from-richard-s-live-chat-on-reddit#

          December 2, 2013 at 11:48 am |
        • Live4Him

          @In Santa we trust : As you say there are services for free

          Yes, there are. His program (for free) is on numerous radio stations. So, it appears that you're complaining about formatting issues. Why?

          @In Santa we trust : Some of his advice is questionable – paying off the card with the smallest balance costs more than paying off the card with the highest interest rate;

          Based upon this complaint, it's clear that you've never listened to his program. Managing your finances is a lifestyle change, and as such, is hard to change. Like smoking, the solution is easy to see and hard to implement. Because of this, Dave recommends paying off the smallest card first to give you encouragement to finish the process. If one's largest card takes two years to pay off, many people will give up instead (declaring it hopeless). However, if their smallest card takes six months, they will remember that victory while paying off the larger card that is taking two years.

          December 2, 2013 at 11:55 am |
        • In Santa we trust

          I covered that when I said "some say that is psychology but the balance and rate of increase can be presented such that progress is obvious when using the financially efficient strategy." Just a different way of presenting progress. You seem to feel that altruism is driving Ramsey – his website shows that is clearly not the case. Apparently he says that the rich should not show their wealth yet lives in a $5M home with no mortgage so he's not walking that walk. The link I provided earlier is a contrast because those people offer a needed service without trying to make themselves rich.

          December 2, 2013 at 12:05 pm |
        • Live4Him

          @In Santa we trust : You seem to feel that altruism is driving Ramsey

          Not at all. However, I don't go to the other extreme as you appear to be doing (i.e. its all about making more money). If someone has something that I want or need, then I think they deserve to be compensated for that knowledge or item. Why don't you?

          @In Santa we trust : The link I provided earlier is a contrast because those people offer a needed service without trying to make themselves rich.

          Where does their money come from?

          December 2, 2013 at 12:18 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          The point is they are offering a service first and may (or may not) cover their expenses; Ramsey is trying to make money (and succeeding) and financial guidance is just the vehicle. I have similar issues with Orman etc. it's just that this post referenced Ramsey.

          December 2, 2013 at 12:51 pm |
        • Live4Him

          @In Santa we trust : The point is they are offering a service first and may (or may not) cover their expenses;

          You avoided the question. Where do they get their money from? From the consumer – just like Ramsey. They are a non-profit corporation – which means their employees (including the equivalent of CEO) can make as much as they want – because their salary will only be an expense on the ledger. Thus the CEO could be making a million dollar salary and the company would still qualify as a non-profit.

          So, your point of contention appears to be related to his beliefs, rather than what is charged to the consumer.

          December 2, 2013 at 1:49 pm |
        • Stephanie

          Understand, Dave Ramsey takes free calls, allows people to listen to his radio shows for free, and also gives out free classes to people who call for advice. Yet, you are sitting there accusing him of exploitation for selling some books about financial advice. That's crazy. I guess, by your logic, everybody exploits these days.

          December 2, 2013 at 2:30 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          Is the CEO earning a million dollar salary? Does this site sell unnecessary products at high-profit? Yes it is exploitation if they sell high-priced unnecessary products to people who are already in financial trouble. Not quite in the same league as pay-day loans but ...

          December 2, 2013 at 7:06 pm |
  14. BJW

    Where to start? Dave also teaches that money is amoral, meaning it is neither good nor bad. I hope we all agree. It is hard to dispute this. (The LOVE of it is the root of evil.)
    Dave is not teaching us that we will be rich beyond our wildest dreams if we follow his biblical teachings. He was simply pointing out that you must do good things if you expect a good return, and he was highlighting some statistics that suggest what some of these "good things" are. A farmer shouldn't be surprised that he has no crops at the end of the season if he never planted them or cared for them.
    Disasters happen, Dave has never suggested they wouldn't. That's why Baby Step 1 is a small emergency fund, and might I point out that Baby Step 3 is also an emergency fund. Good luck getting noticed for the right reasons when you don't know the whole story. So, good decisions do reap rewards. It's like the saying in sports goes, "They play the game for a reason." If the under dog doesn't show up to to the game, they definitely will not win. This is what Dave was hinting at. This society seems to just want to be offended all the time, and brag about their excuses. That is why we end up where we do.
    Personally, I am not rich; I am in a better place because of how I applied Dave's teachings. MY WORK, living within my means, and prioritizing some wealth over some stuff is what got me to where I am today.
    We need to understand that money is "a" (meaning not the only) measurement of influence. If you don't make enough, you need to work on that. If you you spend too much, you need to work on that. If you don't save enough, you need to work on that. And Dave also says we need to be able to give it to bless others. He also suggested that if we got to work in the giving category, we could put the government wellfare programs out of business. That sounds like a wonderful idea, but we will never get there if it isn't a priority. It is pretty clear that this journalist hasn't spent much time listening to what Dave has been teaching. Google makes it easy to pull up the scriptures as a reference, but studying puts those scripture references together. I see a lack of studying on this journalists part.

    December 2, 2013 at 10:12 am |
    • Realitybites

      Great post.

      December 2, 2013 at 10:16 am |
    • Reality # 2

      Basic economics taught in high school.

      December 2, 2013 at 10:47 am |
      • BJW

        Sadly enough it isn't common for highschoolers to have never heard any of this stuff. This wasn't available in my school.

        December 2, 2013 at 11:27 am |
        • BJW

          I should've proofread that. haha. It isn't uncommon for highschoolers to have never heard this stuff.

          December 2, 2013 at 11:49 am |
        • Grand

          Let's cut some more "non-essentials" from out curriculum!

          December 2, 2013 at 11:55 am |
  15. Mike

    After reading the article and comments here, I said a little prayer. I usually don't share my prayer, but I thought I would make an exception this time. It is my prayer and my prayer only. I do not speak for anyone else.

    Dear Lord, My Father,
    Thank You for keeping me safe and secure. Thank You for my wealth in health, in spirit, and in finances. I deserve none of these. I know that I am no better nor worse than those who have less than I do. I thank You for allowing me to know the poor. I serve the poor as you have commanded. I see that they are as unique and individual as all of your creatures. They have their faults, but often they are also my faults. They have generosity and goodness as I hope can be said of me. They have abundance of Your spirit, and they often have talents that I can only dream of having. It is only by Your grace, Your undeserved grace, that I am not in their situation. I thank You and vow to remember that. And please, Dear Lord, I pray that You help those in need. And that You help those who will not see, to know that these are Your children and the causes of their strife are varied, that there are both common causes and unique ones. I also pray that one day those that keep asking "Why won't the poor do the things I have done?" will instead ask, "What can I do to ease the suffering of my fellow man? What can I do to ease the unimaginable stress on their mental, physical, and spiritual help caused by their poverty?" Thank You, Lord. AMEN.

    December 2, 2013 at 10:10 am |
    • Reality # 2

      And now moving to the 21st century:

      The Apostles' Creed 2013: (updated by yours truly and based on the studies of historians and theologians of the past 200 years)

      Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
      and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
      human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven??

      I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
      preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
      named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
      girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

      Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
      the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

      He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
      a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of
      Jerusalem.

      Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
      many semi-fiction writers. A descent into Hell, a bodily resurrection
      and ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
      Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
      grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
      and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
      called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.

      Amen
      (references used are available upon request)

      December 2, 2013 at 10:50 am |
  16. Don C

    Ms. Evans does make a good point. If you listen to Mr. Ramsey's show for any period of time, he most often is not speaking to the poorest of the poor, who have had all the cards stacked against them, but rather to those that are living in the "middle class", who have made unwise decisions to fill immediate wants with "stuff". Mr. Ramsey is a very intelligent, talented, and highly motivated individual that had made a bunch of money, lost it, and made it back. So many like himself have similar stories. The point he misses is that a poorly educated person supporting several children on minimum wage, with poor math and verbal skills can't exactly walk into an employer and command a job making $50-60k a year. If you talk to highly successful businesspeople and entrepreneurs, those people often have a difficult time understanding and empathizing with those on the other end of the economic spectrum. You usually hear "why can't they just....", when referencing economically disadvantaged in our country. I think the truth lies somewhere in the middle between Dave Ramsey's entrepreneurial bent, and the proponents of the social gospel that the poor will always be among us.

    December 2, 2013 at 10:08 am |
    • Realitybites

      Nothing wrong or unchristian with not speaking to the poorest of the poor. If you help people who are middle class do well is that unchristian or evil. No. But his program applies to everyone. The more wealth you have the easier his program will be. That is life and nothing unique ot his program or his philoopohy. His program is really just about making good decision with what you have. Someone with no income isn't going to get very far and all he can do is encourage them to find income if it is feasible or make the most of whatever they have if they are on a fixed income

      December 2, 2013 at 10:20 am |
      • Grand

        "Nothing wrong or unchristian with not speaking to the poorest of the poor."

        No? Then stop patting yourself on the back as being such a good Christian. Jesus would surely disagree with your opening salvo.

        December 2, 2013 at 11:51 am |
    • Sara(swati)

      People doing well tend to forget, or choose to forget, that half the population is functioning with IQs under 100, and that almost no one in that range is going to be working as a professional making that kind of income. IQs and ability to delay gratification are pretty stable after about age 4, so if you want to do something to make people more independent, focus on gestational care and early childhood enrichment. Then suck it up and admit that not everyone will make it. Add to people with intellectual disadvantages those with physical disabilities, caring for sick or disabled family members or with psychiatric illness and a lot of people aren't going to be getting rich.

      And yes, I'd love to hear from people who say "I was in special ed through high school and have an IQ of 90 and now run my own multi-million dollar business" but I'm going to guess I'll hear silence.

      December 2, 2013 at 10:49 am |
  17. JW

    Is Hell a place of torment? What is Hell?

    Some Bible translations use the word “hell” for the Hebrew word “Sheol” and the matching Greek word “Hades,” both of which refer to the common grave of mankind. (Psalm 16:10; Acts 2:27) Many people believe in a fiery hell,However, the Bible teaches otherwise.

    1.Those in hell are unconscious and so cannot feel pain. “There is no work nor devising nor knowledge nor wisdom in Sheol.”—⁠Ecclesiastes 9:10.

    2.Good people go to hell. The faithful men Jacob and Job expected to go there.—Genesis 37:35; Job 14:13.

    3.Death, not torment in a fiery hell, is the penalty for sin. “He who has died has been acquitted from his sin.”—⁠Romans 6:7.
    Eternal torment would violate God’s justice. (Deuteronomy 32:4) When the first man, Adam, sinned, God told him that his punishment would simply be to pass out of existence: “Dust you are and to dust you will return.” (Genesis 3:19) God would have been lying if he were actually sending Adam to a fiery hell.

    4.God does not even contemplate eternal torment. The idea that he would punish people in hellfire is contrary to the Bible’s teaching that “God is love.”—⁠1 John 4:8; Jeremiah 7:31.

    December 2, 2013 at 9:06 am |
    • lol??

      Not to worry about hell,
      Rev 20:14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.

      December 2, 2013 at 9:25 am |
      • JW

        Good scripture. How can hell be cast into the lake of fire?..good one.

        December 2, 2013 at 9:42 am |
    • Live4Him

      @JW : Is Hell a place of torment? What is Hell?

      In the Bible, there are two terms that could be called hell, Geenna and Hades.

      Hades, which is a Greek term and is the equivalent to the Hebrew term Sheol, could be translated as the realm of the dead. This death is the first death. You may also look at it as the destination of the body upon death. It could also be translated as the grave, but there is a different Greek term that is usually translated as grave (taphos or a burial).

      Geenna, which is a Greek term, refers to the second death (or destination of the spirit). It is described as the fiery lake, but I think it is symbolic of the destination. So, what is hell. If you consider that God is Love and separation from God as hell, then hell is the separation from all love. And that would appear to be a similar feeling as being in a lake of fire.

      Revelation 21:8
      But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”

      December 2, 2013 at 9:49 am |
      • JW

        Live- you have to see is what that text really means. Adam was condemned to "Dust" were the came from... And like "lol" said, in Rev 20:14 is said that Hell and death are cast into the lake of fire where the "beast and false prophet have been sent to!
        When Jesus spoke about a Gehenna he was not talking about a fiery hell, but of eternal death, without ever having the opportunity of resurrecting .

        December 2, 2013 at 9:59 am |
        • Live4Him

          @JW : When Jesus spoke about a Gehenna he was not talking about a fiery hell

          And yet, that is what he DID say in Matthew 5:22. And the 'hell' is the term geenna.

          Matthew 5:22
          But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell

          December 2, 2013 at 10:12 am |
        • JW

          Live-

          About Matt 5:22:

          ▪ In the Gospel accounts, Jesus warns his disciples against suffering the judgment of Gehenna. Obviously, Jesus intended that the warning be taken seriously. However, was he referring to a burning hell of everlasting torment?—Matthew 5:22.
          First, let us look at the word itself. The Greek word Ge′en·na corresponds to the Hebrew geh Hin·nom′, meaning “valley of Hinnom,” or more fully geh veneh-Hin·nom′, “valley of the sons of Hinnom.” (Joshua 15:8; 2 Kings 23:10) This geographic site, known today as Wadi er-Rababi, is a deep and narrow valley located to the south and southwest of Jerusalem.
          In the times of the kings of Judah, from the eighth century B.C.E., this location was used for pagan rites, including the sacrificial burning of children in fire. (2 Chronicles 28:1-3; 33:1-6) The prophet Jeremiah foretold that the same valley would become the place of slaughter for Judeans at the hands of the Babylonians in judgment from God for their wickedness.*—Jeremiah 7:30-33; 19:6, 7.
          According to the Jewish scholar David Kimhi (c. 1160-c. 1235 C.E.), the valley was later transformed into a garbage dump for the city of Jerusalem. The place served as an incinerator where fires were kept burning to dispose of rubbish. Anything thrown into this dump would be completely destroyed, turned into ashes.

          Many Bible translators have taken the liberty of rendering Ge′en·na “hell.” (Matthew 5:22, King James Version) Why? Because they associated the pagan-inspired notion of an afterlife of fiery judgment for the wicked with the physical fire in the valley outside Jerusalem. Jesus, however, never associated Gehenna with torment.
          Jesus knew that the very thought of burning people alive is repugnant to his heavenly Father, Jehovah. Referring to the use made of Gehenna in the days of the prophet Jeremiah, God said: “They have built the high places of Topheth, which is in the valley of the son of Hinnom, in order to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire, a thing that I had not commanded and that had not come up into my heart.” (Jeremiah 7:31) Moreover, the idea of torment for the dead conflicts with God’s loving personality as well as with the Bible’s clear teaching that the dead are “conscious of nothing at all.”—Ecclesiastes 9:5, 10.
          Jesus used the term “Gehenna” to symbolize the utter destruction resulting from God’s adverse judgment. Hence, “Gehenna” has a meaning similar to that of “the lake of fire,” mentioned in the book of Revelation. Both symbolize eternal destruction from which no resurrection is possible.—Luke 12:4, 5; Revelation 20:14

          December 2, 2013 at 10:31 am |
        • Live4Him

          @JW : According to the Jewish scholar David Kimhi

          This is a logic fallacy called 'Appeal to Authority'.

          @JW : Anything thrown into this dump would be completely destroyed, turned into ashes.

          Nothing in this system is completely destroyed. According to the Laws of Thermodynamics, matter cannot be destroyed, but is only transformed. So, where do the ashes go?

          @JW : Many Bible translators have taken the liberty of rendering Ge′en·na “hell.”

          Again, an appeal to authority.

          Jesus, however, never associated Gehenna with torment.

          Jesus is quoted using 'fiery geenna'. Are you claiming that fire does not create torment?

          Matt 5:22 And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire [Greek: pur – fire] of hell [Greek: geenna – hell].

          Revelation 20:10
          And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.

          December 2, 2013 at 10:49 am |
        • JW

          Live- so I guess both of us agree on the fact that Hades and Gehenna are not Hell as we know it. A fiery hell with satan poking on people... But it's a dogma that was introduced later to the church, a dogma well accepted in between the pagan greek philosophers.
          Then why the so called "christian" churches are teaching this dogma?

          December 2, 2013 at 11:09 am |
        • Live4Him

          @JW : so I guess both of us agree on the fact that Hades and Gehenna are not Hell as we know it. A fiery hell with satan poking on people.

          My view is that Gehenna is eternal separation from God (i.e. Love), which will be eternal torment that will feel as bad or worse than being burned. But, I don't think that Satan will be 'poking on people', he'll have too much of his own torment to worry about tormenting others.:)

          December 2, 2013 at 11:23 am |
        • JW

          Live – I respect your point of view. Though consider Genesis 3:19, and ask yourself, if there was a place of torment, wouldn't God had given Adam a condemnation of torment? What does that tell you about what's Gods punishment over the wicked?

          December 2, 2013 at 11:50 am |
        • Live4Him

          @JW : if there was a place of torment, wouldn't God had given Adam a condemnation of torment?

          The place of torment is not pre-determined, but is conditional (i.e. if you reject God). So, how could God announce punishment of all mankind with the destination of hell?

          December 2, 2013 at 12:03 pm |
        • JW

          Live- the bible gives examples of Gods judgments in the case of Adam,... Just read the bible and try to understand it. Whatever people say that is not in the bible, is really not valid. As their guiding themselves by theories that are not in the bible. The bible itself explains many things!

          December 2, 2013 at 12:09 pm |
        • Live4Him

          @JW : the bible gives examples of Gods judgments in the case of Adam

          You seem to have the view that I'm not familar with the Bible. I would have thought that my posts have demonstrated my understanding of the Bible. I never need to defer to an authority figure, etc. So, I'm quite familar with God's judgment against Adam. I also understand that none of them address his final destination.

          December 2, 2013 at 12:30 pm |
        • JW

          Live- the bible is upfront with the condition of the dead, what hope they have and what judgment will the wicked have... Whatever is said after that, its just theories.

          December 2, 2013 at 12:51 pm |
        • Live4Him

          @JW : the bible is upfront with the condition of the dead

          Christ, himself, made it very clear.

          Matthew 25:46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

          December 2, 2013 at 3:20 pm |
        • JW

          Live- on Matt 25:46:

          Matt. 25:46, KJ: “These shall go away into everlasting punishment [“lopping off,” Int; Greek, ko′la·sin]: but the righteous into life eternal.” (The Emphatic Diaglott reads “cutting-off” instead of “punishment.” A footnote states: “Kolasin . . . is derived from kolazoo, which signifies, 1. To cut off; as lopping off branches of trees, to prune. 2. To restrain, to repress. . . . 3. To chastise, to punish. To cut off an individual from life, or society, or even to restrain, is esteemed as punishment;—hence has arisen this third metaphorical use of the word. The primary signification has been adopted, because it agrees better with the second member of the sentence, thus preserving the force and beauty of the antiithesis. The righteous go to life, the wicked to the cutting off from life, or death. See 2 Thess. 1.9

          Meaning: "everlasting punishment" is not properly translated. A Hell supporter decide to be bias on this one.

          December 2, 2013 at 4:40 pm |
      • JW

        What is Gehenna?

        14 Jesus condemned the religious leaders of his day because they made each of their disciples “a subject for Gehenna.” (Matthew 23:15) Back at that time, people were familiar with the Valley of Hinnom, an area used as a garbage dump where bodies of executed criminals who were deemed unworthy of a proper burial were deposited. Earlier, Jesus himself had made mention of Gehenna in his Sermon on the Mount. (Matthew 5:29, 30) Its symbolic meaning was clear to his listeners. Gehenna represented complete destruction without hope of a resurrection.

        December 2, 2013 at 10:05 am |
        • Live4Him

          See Matt 5:22 post – above.

          December 2, 2013 at 10:17 am |
        • Live4Him

          Revelation 14:9-11 A third angel followed them and said in a loud voice: “If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives its mark on their forehead or on their hand, they, too, will drink the wine of God’s fury, which has been poured full strength into the cup of his wrath. They will be tormented with burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment will rise for ever and ever. There will be no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and its image, or for anyone who receives the mark of its name.”

          December 2, 2013 at 10:23 am |
        • JW

          Rev 14:9-11- who's the beast and it's image? Why is hades or hell and death cast in to the lake of fire in Rev 20:14?

          December 2, 2013 at 10:41 am |
        • Doris

          I would have to guess, JW, that the expiration date on the weed that John of Patmos was smoking when he wrote that mess had long expired.

          December 2, 2013 at 10:52 am |
        • Live4Him

          @JW : who's the beast and it's image?

          Most believe that it is the anti-Christ.

          @JW : Why is hades or hell and death cast in to the lake of fire in Rev 20:14?

          It is because everyone who rejects Christ will be thrown out of His kingdom for ever and ever. Since death and the grave are not a part of his kingdom, they are also thrown out. Think of it as house-cleaning.:)

          December 2, 2013 at 11:04 am |
        • Doris

          Oh boy, that's a real clear image of the anti-Christ that Christians have, isn't it? For some, it's the Pope, for others, it was a baby sacrificed in Chile last year.

          December 2, 2013 at 11:09 am |
        • ME II

          @Live4Him,
          "@JW : Why is hades or hell and death cast in to the lake of fire in Rev 20:14?"

          "It is because everyone who rejects Christ will be thrown out of His kingdom for ever and ever. Since death and the grave are not a part of his kingdom, they are also thrown out. Think of it as house-cleaning.:) "

          Wow, what a cheery way to think of eternal torture in a lake of fire... house-cleaning.

          December 2, 2013 at 11:35 am |
        • JW

          Live- the bible interprets itself. I'll help you with what the beast is:
          Read Dan 8:20-22. When the bible talks about beasts, who is it referring too?

          Now translate that to our days. Who's is the beast of our times? It said that this beast gave birth to an Image, so who might be that Image that came from this beast?

          December 2, 2013 at 11:38 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.