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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. Colin

    Let's face it, one can attribute any motive or intent to God and be 100% immune to disproof. This is why there are so many sects, sub-sects and sub-sub-sects of Christianity. God wants us to be rich, God wants us to be poor, God wants us to be baptised as infants, God doesn't want u s to be baptised as infants, bread and wine become Christ's flesh and blood, no they don't it's only symbolic, good deeds can achieve grace, good deeds alone cannot achieve grace, etc., etc., etc.

    When you make the whole thing up, and there is no external validation or fact checking, any view is as (il)legitimate as any other. EXACTLY what we would expect if there were no God and we were all just groping for a futile way to escape death.

    November 30, 2013 at 2:06 pm |
    • QuesCity

      What kind of atheist are you?

      November 30, 2013 at 2:09 pm |
      • Colin

        A tall one.

        November 30, 2013 at 2:10 pm |
        • QuesCity

          I've met some from that subsection. They have different viewpoints than short atheists. I know short atheists that will look at your opinion you just posted and see flaws.

          November 30, 2013 at 2:13 pm |
        • HotAirAce

          I'm a short atheist and see no flaws in Colin's views.

          November 30, 2013 at 2:26 pm |
        • QuesCity

          Yes, not all will see the flaws in his opinion.

          November 30, 2013 at 2:28 pm |
        • Colin

          That is a false equivalence. To the extent there is disagreement on a secular issue, there is objective, independent criteria by which to decide the veracity of the respective positions. Religion does not have this, once again, because it is all made up.

          November 30, 2013 at 2:32 pm |
        • QuesCity

          No, your views on what "religion" (what a fricken' broad term you use their buddy) is is made up. And it has flaws.

          November 30, 2013 at 2:35 pm |
        • Colin

          OK Quscity, can you point me to one theological doctrine in Christianity that can be validated or invalidated by an external fact check.

          November 30, 2013 at 2:44 pm |
        • QuesCity

          I don't know my Christian doctrines very well. I think the Christian view has flaws. Just like your (what, atheist?) views are flawed.

          November 30, 2013 at 2:49 pm |
  2. Noyb

    Self esteem and the ability to crap on anything that gets in the way of your vision makes people wealthy. Self esteem makes people thin. Self esteem answers all of this. Thinness and wealth and health all come from having self respect vision and drive for yourself. Saying you won't settle for less. Amd the self disipline to go through with It. That's what makes people thing rich and beautiful.

    November 30, 2013 at 2:02 pm |
    • ME II

      Really?
      Are you sure you don't have self-esteem confused with egotism?

      November 30, 2013 at 2:05 pm |
      • lol??

        Ego is an unproven theory. Educate yasef.

        November 30, 2013 at 2:17 pm |
        • ME II

          Huh? Who said anything about theories?

          November 30, 2013 at 2:21 pm |
      • Noyb

        Whatever you want to call it, the rich have it in spades. The egocentrism to say I want amd deserve more, amd the willingness to fight to have their vision realized. It's basically that simple. It's the beginning of sucess for everyone amd anyone. It may or may not be legal, moral or compassionate, or it may be through the acceptable approved method of college and education, but either way, this is where it starts.

        November 30, 2013 at 2:38 pm |
        • Noyb

          Saying the rich eat less junk than others do is pointless. Like saying rich people go to the doctor more. Yeah we know thanks. It's comes opdowm to saying I WANT. . And I deserve it, amd i am willing to do what it takes to get it. Legal , nice, or not. That is the fundamental building block of success.

          November 30, 2013 at 2:44 pm |
  3. Amy

    Waah, waah, poor me. Even when I worked two and three jobs at a time (all minimum wage) while putting myself through college, I did not eat junk food (I shopped at the "health food store" for fresh veggies and fruits), I borrowed audio and hard copy books from the library, and I took a job that had the exercise built in – security on a hilly college campus that required a lot of walking, even in the snow.

    This society is full of takers who make poor decisions and blame everyone else when they have nothing left at the end of the day. If your job sucks or doesn't pay enough, get a different one. If you don't have the skills or education to get a better one, go to college and take out loans or apply for grants like the rest of us did. If you're in a bad neighborhood, move (like others of us have done – foreclosure is not the end of the world). And for heaven's sake, if you can't afford children in the first place, then don't have them. There is no situation you can't get out of unless you've joined the military – and even then, there are ways.

    Mind you, I'm not a huge fan of Ramsey. I dislike most people who call themselves Christians, as they are often the biggest hypocrites around. But quit calling people victims when they really aren't. They just continue to make lousy choices and drag the rest of us down.

    November 30, 2013 at 2:01 pm |
    • Did you

      Go to college in 1960?

      November 30, 2013 at 2:05 pm |
      • lol??

        The socies in educratism have become rather emboldened. It's the only game in town anymore.

        November 30, 2013 at 2:14 pm |
  4. Craig

    "Can't afford a gym membership." How about take a walk/jog. The poor eat more junk food because they live in a "food desert". This false argument has been debunked numerous times – with rare exception, the poor can access vegetables just like anyone else. These liberal arguments are so silly and really demeaning to poor people. It is no wonder liberals never have any solution for poverty. They make up pathetic excuses.

    November 30, 2013 at 2:00 pm |
    • Ironicsalesman

      Hmm, source?

      November 30, 2013 at 2:29 pm |
  5. Tim

    Dave Ramsey seems like a finance guy who turns to the Bible, rather than being Bible guy who seeks God to turn him. timfall.wordpress.com/2013/11/20/20-ways-that-dave-ramseys-blog-turned-my-stomach-today/

    November 30, 2013 at 1:56 pm |
  6. Dale

    Wow, the "athiest trolling" here . What on earth are they doing in a "Belief Net" blog in the first place? Trolling. That's what.

    November 30, 2013 at 1:47 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      What is the "Belief Net Blog"?

      November 30, 2013 at 1:48 pm |
      • Set

        religion.blogs.cnn.com

        November 30, 2013 at 1:51 pm |
        • Seti

          I wonder why that's not the actual name of the blog?

          November 30, 2013 at 1:54 pm |
        • Alien Orifice

          Again, what is the "Belief Net" blog? Never heard of it.

          November 30, 2013 at 1:55 pm |
      • Dale

        Correction. This is "Belief Blog" of CNN. I was thinking of belief.net's blogs, which are at belief.net , where I also see articles and discussions of this type. The point remains the same. Why are people zeroing in on the whole "existence of God" question which is obviously not at issue here? It's only an issue for people who want to insert their own "sanctiomonius" conceit about how they're "too intelligent" to believe in God in the first place, and that all religion is stupid. One can find such things all over this Belief blog, whatever the subject. That being, inserting "Religion is dumb, Belief in God is dumb, and not caring to address the particular "belief" issue that is the subject. THAT's TROLLING.

        November 30, 2013 at 2:02 pm |
        • Nonsense

          You're doing the same thing. Go figure.

          November 30, 2013 at 2:07 pm |
        • Boris

          Dale, it's partly because morons like you also get to vote, and your beliefs impact the laws and societal norms that the rest of us have to live with. Your beliefs are not in an isolated vacuum.

          Pushing back against religious stupidity such as yours helps society. And sometimes it's fun, too.

          November 30, 2013 at 2:07 pm |
        • QuesCity

          Boris

          This is a democratic society. Unfortunately you are in the minority. But be content. If you were the minority in many other countries...

          November 30, 2013 at 2:42 pm |
        • Boris

          QuesCity: fuck off and die painfully, ass hole. We aren't in another country, and Christianity is in steep decline in the US.

          November 30, 2013 at 3:07 pm |
        • QuesCity

          You are worse than the Christians you profess to hate.

          November 30, 2013 at 3:17 pm |
    • Ungodly Discipline

      Dale, a better question is why are you here trolling? We are commenting on the article. What are you doing?

      November 30, 2013 at 1:49 pm |
      • Nonsense

        Acting sanctimonious.

        November 30, 2013 at 1:50 pm |
      • Dale

        take a look at how many people are here, simply to talk about how belief in God is the problem itself, rather than the implications of those beliefs. This article on Ramsey gets at the interplay between economic views and a particular right wing Christian interpretation. The issue many NON-right wing Christians have is that this is not representative of either the Bible or God or religion. This is the subject at hand. To keep coming back with what amounts to "belief in God is stupid" or "religion is the cause of so much evil" simply hijacks the conversation. That's the classic definition of trolling, to bring those comments to a more nuanced conversation on the implications of religious (in this case, Christian theological) beliefs.

        November 30, 2013 at 2:08 pm |
        • Boris

          Dale, believing in the crazy Christian doctrine in the face of reason and modern science, and all the internal contradictions of Christianity as well as conflicting evidence, really is stupid. That is not nuanced at all, and nor is there any need for it to be. Simple.

          November 30, 2013 at 2:18 pm |
        • QuesCity

          Boris, what about the Christians that actually know more about science than you? Do you just ignore that fact? Pretend like Christianity is completely anti-science, despite the fact that many Christians support, finance and participate in scientific advancements that benefit us all?

          November 30, 2013 at 2:44 pm |
        • Boris

          QuesCity, stow your bullshit already.

          Now get off your fat lazy butt, learn some science for a change, and start supporting stem cell research.

          November 30, 2013 at 3:10 pm |
        • QuesCity

          I'm not a Christian. But I also don't ignorantly label them as you do.

          November 30, 2013 at 3:14 pm |
    • tallulah13

      First Amendment, sparky. Pointless statements and name stealing are trolling, but honest opinions on a topic? That's our Constitution in action!

      November 30, 2013 at 1:50 pm |
    • Set

      Certain atheists talk about God and religion just as much as the right-wing fundies. They are so much alike it is scary.

      November 30, 2013 at 1:50 pm |
      • Ungodly Discipline

        Of course we do. We are on the Belief Blog. What else would be talking about? Brilliant.

        November 30, 2013 at 1:52 pm |
        • Set

          But for 8-12 hours a day, 6-7 days a week?

          November 30, 2013 at 1:54 pm |
        • Alien Orifice

          Who are you referring to? And why do you care what one does with his or her time?

          November 30, 2013 at 1:57 pm |
        • truthprevails1

          Set: Does it affect you directly what we do with our time?

          November 30, 2013 at 1:58 pm |
        • Set

          I'm referring to posters on this blog that are hostile and intolerant toward other belief systems.

          November 30, 2013 at 1:59 pm |
        • Set

          No. Does it affect you directly when I criticize you and other people that spend 8 to 12 hours a day 6 to 7 days a week talking about religion?

          November 30, 2013 at 2:01 pm |
      • truthprevails1

        Maybe if it wasn't in our faces and it was kept in the church and home, we wouldn't need to be having the discussions.

        November 30, 2013 at 1:55 pm |
      • doobzz

        So? It's a Belief Blog. Anyone can read and comment.

        Christians in this country are trying to encode their religious beliefs into civil law, in violation of the US Constitution. I'm exercising my first amendment rights by expressing my opinions here. Too bad if you don't like it.

        November 30, 2013 at 1:59 pm |
        • lol??

          The lawless don't appreciate law, however regulatin' is a whole nuther story.

          November 30, 2013 at 2:02 pm |
        • doobzz

          Try Prozac. I hear it works wonders.

          November 30, 2013 at 2:39 pm |
        • lol?? translator

          I'm great. Everyone else sux.

          November 30, 2013 at 2:11 pm |
    • truthprevails1

      Is there secret print that only believers in a god can see that states we are not entitled to voice our opinions on something shoved in our faces daily? You do know that we have beliefs also, right? We just happen to care that our beliefs are based on evidence and not faith-can you say the same?

      November 30, 2013 at 1:51 pm |
      • Set

        Slow down. He didn't say you shouldn't post here.

        It is just incredibly ironic, that is all.

        November 30, 2013 at 1:53 pm |
        • Ungodly Discipline

          In what way is it "ironic"?

          November 30, 2013 at 1:54 pm |
        • truthprevails1

          What is ironic about it? And yes his question is basically saying that he doesn't think we should post here.

          November 30, 2013 at 1:55 pm |
        • Set

          Certain atheists say they hate religion – yet they choose to come to an OPINION piece written by a CHRISTIAN.
          And talk about religion all day long.

          Most atheists do NOT do this.

          November 30, 2013 at 1:57 pm |
        • Set

          8-12 hours a day, 6-7 days a week talking about religion and God.

          What is not ironic about that?

          November 30, 2013 at 1:58 pm |
        • Alien Orifice

          "Set" knows what most atheists do.

          November 30, 2013 at 1:58 pm |
        • Alien Orifice

          Set, still not following you...what is "ironic" about participating in a Belief forum. Everyone has beliefs.

          November 30, 2013 at 1:59 pm |
        • doobzz

          What business is it of yours what someone else does with their time? Try addressing what people actually say instead of attacking their characters for your perceived "flaws", and perhaps you'll gain some credibility. So far, all you've done is point fingers.

          November 30, 2013 at 2:03 pm |
        • Set

          I know and love a lot of atheists. Very few care to talk about religion. They have other things that occupy their thoughts.

          It is ironic that certain atheists express extreme hatred towards religion, but choose to come to a blog dedicated to faith.
          Some atheists come on here and engage in good discussion. But, some, ironically hate religion – and talk about it all day and week long.

          November 30, 2013 at 2:04 pm |
        • Dale

          "Certain atheists say they hate religion – yet they choose to come to an OPINION piece written by a CHRISTIAN.
          And talk about religion all day long. Most atheists do NOT do this."
          A good succinct way of saying what I was thinking in my "atheist trolls" comment. I should have known better than to complain about that, since I invited more trolling , which is what trolls do. Anything but the real subject at hand.
          A piece written by a Christian challenging another Christian on theology and economics offers nothing for someone who simply wants to question belief in God in the first place. Again, the essence of trolling. Thanks for your cogent point.

          November 30, 2013 at 2:46 pm |
        • doobzz

          Again, what business is it of yours how people choose to spend their time? If Christians weren't trying to encode more and more of their religious beliefs into our secular laws, people of other beliefs or no belief in deities wouldn't push back so hard. Minorities tend to get vocal when they are being discriminated against.

          If you had any point to make, it would be different. All you've done so far is accuse others of spending too much time here. Perhaps you could contribute something of value to the discussion instead.

          November 30, 2013 at 2:49 pm |
        • doobzz

          @ Dale

          Thank you for deciding what articles offer value to me and which ones don't. I'm so glad I have you hear to tell me what I should and shouldn't read and comment on. It's always great to be called a troll because you don't think I belong here.

          You're an excellent example of Christian values in action.

          November 30, 2013 at 2:53 pm |
        • doobzz

          "here", not "hear".

          November 30, 2013 at 2:54 pm |
      • lol??

        Oh, oooh. TP1 is falling back into the mob mold with the beliefs of the "Wegodians".

        November 30, 2013 at 1:59 pm |
        • truthprevails1

          lol??: Back to the nurse, you need your meds! WTH is a wegodian or is the something one of the other patients at the asylum you're in told you about?

          November 30, 2013 at 2:02 pm |
      • ok

        - voice our opinions on something shoved in our faces daily? -

        We choose to come here and have it shoved in our face.

        November 30, 2013 at 2:31 pm |
        • truthprevails1

          Yes we do but my point is that Dale is wishing to know why we do voice our opinion and to clarify, my point is simply that the whole topic is inescapable...if it isn't this website, we'd see other places or on the street corner or wherever.

          November 30, 2013 at 2:46 pm |
    • Ungodly Discipline

      Dale is just a "drive by" Christian troll.

      November 30, 2013 at 1:53 pm |
      • lol??

        Your tires are a little bald, pal. You wouldn't want to cause an accident and hurt somebody.

        November 30, 2013 at 1:57 pm |
        • Alien Orifice

          huh???

          November 30, 2013 at 2:01 pm |
        • lol?? translator

          Sticklemarf gatsilipard goofeondick packtronitie lichstendal.

          Makes as much sense.

          November 30, 2013 at 2:03 pm |
    • Dale

      Boris, Nonsense, you both fully illustrate why this is atheist trolling. Its fruitless to tell someone who asks that the subject be given its due that they too are off the subject. Just observe the long drawn out back and forth on this, complete with people calling others "moron". You all knock yourself out.

      November 30, 2013 at 2:35 pm |
      • Boris

        Dale, believing in the crazy Christian doctrine in the face of reason and modern science, and all the internal contradictions of Christianity as well as conflicting evidence, truly is stupid. That is not nuanced at all, and nor is there any need for it to be. Simple.

        Pushing back against religious stupidity such as yours helps society. And sometimes it's fun, too.

        November 30, 2013 at 2:42 pm |
  7. Freddy77

    Rachel, I read this and I wanted to say, WELL DONE!! You get it. Dave Ramsey lives in a bubble and is very short sided. Dave, instead of preaching the gospel, why don't you go spend some time with kids in poor neighborhoods near you and see, first hand, what poverty is all about. I was a mentor in Big Brothers & Big Sisters for 2 years. One day I went to pick up my "little brother" to spend the day together. I couldn't get to his house to because a 15 year old had been shot and killed on his block. Let me tell you, I realized first hand his environment was not an easy one. I used to point the finger at poorer people too! Then I realized you get closer to god when you take time out of your day to really understand and have the courage to go to those poverty-stricken areas to experience first hand what their environment is like. We'd all be better off for it instead of pointing the finger.

    November 30, 2013 at 1:46 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      Nicely said (except for the closer to god part).

      November 30, 2013 at 1:48 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Good on your for your compassion and kindness. If you want to credit your god, you go on ahead, but I give all the credit to you.

      November 30, 2013 at 1:51 pm |
      • lol??

        Credit?? Credit is what makes the banksters have the moolah to buy off the servants.

        November 30, 2013 at 1:55 pm |
        • Alien Orifice

          .huh?

          November 30, 2013 at 2:02 pm |
  8. Apple Bush

    I certainly have no problem with financial advice and I do ok myself, but why the religious crap? Why the disconnect with the real reasons so many people find themselves in trouble financially? Why do you have to be rich to be happy? I am not rich but I am happy. My take on Dave Ramsey is that he is a fake, straight up. Sure he has some good advice, but he hides behind a god to hold himself up.

    November 30, 2013 at 1:44 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Yep. It's sort of like those musicians who turn to the christian market when they fail in the mainstream. There are plenty of financial advisers in the mainstream media. Christianity is nothing more than the schtick this guy is using to make his own fame and fortune.

      November 30, 2013 at 1:48 pm |
  9. mutanttruth

    "we should be careful of assuming our relative wealth reflects God’s favor"

    Actually, we should be careful assuming god exists. Leads to all sorts of bad decision-making about cause-and-effect.

    November 30, 2013 at 1:44 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      Anything based on a belief in gods is not going to end well.

      November 30, 2013 at 1:46 pm |
  10. ConfucianScholar

    The author is clearly a socialist and needs to emigrate to a socialist country.

    November 30, 2013 at 1:43 pm |
    • Nonsense

      Nonsense.

      November 30, 2013 at 1:47 pm |
    • tallulah13

      More likely, she is a christian who is appalled when people misuse her faith to make a profit.

      It's amazing how some people think that if you are not utterly selfish, you must be a "socialist".

      November 30, 2013 at 1:54 pm |
  11. Mark McNeil

    Rachel this was a poor hatchet job. Ramsey has already responded to your concerns and his understanding about the poor (at your first link provided above.) In America, the poor are victimized by, as Ramsey says by "payday lending, rent-to-own, or our own government-sponsored oppression, the lottery." Ramsey encourages work, saving and not going into debt, hardly anti-Biblical concepts. Ramsey is a bright light in our debt oppressed culture. I believe, the real sin here is found at Proverbs 6:19b.

    November 30, 2013 at 1:42 pm |
    • Marc

      Ramsey-religious nutter.

      November 30, 2013 at 1:49 pm |
      • Mark McNeil

        This is a religion blog, right?

        November 30, 2013 at 2:27 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Christ was fairly straight-forward about his thoughts on wealth, but christians have always spun the bible so that it means what they want it to say. Just another reason I'm an atheist. I don't like hypocrisy.

      November 30, 2013 at 1:57 pm |
    • mac

      Marks' point is valid about pay day loans, rent to own and high interest fees, but Mark who do you think owns these companies that "provide" these services? And who do they look to whenever they feel threatened, they turn to the politicians they've paid off, so they can continue.

      November 30, 2013 at 2:04 pm |
      • Mark McNeil

        They're 'services' are usurious and therefore unconscionable. Not too long ago in American, anything over 36% was usurious and illegal.

        November 30, 2013 at 2:24 pm |
      • Mark McNeil

        Their 'services' are usurious and therefore unconscionable. Not too long ago in American, anything over 36% was usurious and illegal.

        November 30, 2013 at 2:25 pm |
        • Mark McNeil

          I hate typos, grrr.

          November 30, 2013 at 2:26 pm |
  12. Milagros

    Ms. HeldEvans is taking advantage of the haters and the feeble minded here. Her convenient tear down of Mr. Ramsey has the sole purpose of advancing the 'victim society' and the 'dependence agenda'. Another thought suppressor doing a hit piece on a fellow who is mostly doing a good service. Mr. Ramsey is empowering people with his information. Ms. HeldEvans wants people to simply blame others for their underachievement and demand handouts.

    November 30, 2013 at 1:41 pm |
    • That swoosh

      Is RHE's point going over your head.

      November 30, 2013 at 1:45 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      With which of Evans's statements do you disagree?

      November 30, 2013 at 1:49 pm |
    • What your Bible Says

      Deuteronomy: "There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your fellow Israelites who are poor and needy in your land."

      The Gospel of Mark:
      17 As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

      18 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. 19 You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, you shall not defraud, honor your father and mother.'”

      20 “Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.”

      21 Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

      22 At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.

      November 30, 2013 at 1:50 pm |
  13. His panic

    From the article: "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."

    Working OVERTIME if available will help. Even the rich work from sunrise to sunset, overtime or long hours, as well as Billions of people all over the world have done for millenniums. Because minimum wage will always be minimum.

    November 30, 2013 at 1:41 pm |
    • sumner

      I think the point of working 40 hours a week and receiving reasonable pay is so that we are not working from sunrise to sunset. What a waste of life if we have to work 80 hours a week to afford to live! I'd rather have some time to spend with my family!

      November 30, 2013 at 1:53 pm |
      • His panic

        @ Sumner,

        You don't have to do 80. Often 60-70 if available is all it takes, even the rich and bright do that! The day has 24 hours. A billion people are doing it the world over.

        November 30, 2013 at 2:10 pm |
    • lcw

      What? This is probably one of the most illogical statements I've read so far. There is a HUGE difference working overtime when you are making $8/hour or earning $50 or $100 or $200 per hour. Yea, earning time and a half with a minimum wage job might help SOME. But it still won't build wealth or enable that person to get out of poverty.

      November 30, 2013 at 1:59 pm |
      • His panic

        ICW,

        Sometimes I also see double... standards everywhere. It is illogical to you but not to me. Because you are as clearly stated, thinking of building wealth. While the comment in the article was about, not making enough to support their families with 40 hrs. of minimum wage work. Like I said OVERTIME if available will, could/should help for that.

        If you are interested in building "wealth", for you nothing will EVER be enough. Because you are a materialist, and because of that you can easily fall victim to fear, hysteria and Panic. However those who really really Trust in God and in Jesus Christ God's Only Son WILL NOT Panic.

        November 30, 2013 at 2:21 pm |
    • megan

      So what about the single moms on my block who work 2 jobs, and are taking night classes so they can get better jobs and still can't make ends meet?
      What then?

      November 30, 2013 at 2:05 pm |
      • His panic

        megan,

        So why is she a single mom in the first place? It seems to me that in this country, being a single mom has become some sort of a new standard and litmus test of work ethic. Some if not many, are single mothers because of their own promiscuity, lack of self control and lax morals. That for your information is NOT some sort of virtue. I have seen that over and over and over for years.

        November 30, 2013 at 2:28 pm |
        • KG

          Giving men a pass much???????
          If there is a medical emergency in my home, because my head just exploded – you are directly to blame.

          November 30, 2013 at 3:15 pm |
        • His panic

          😛 😀 KG, Sorry to hear you lost your head about it! Here is more to finish you up!

          At this point in time and in History, in this country, in this sub-standard culture and for that matter in any other.

          More than enough women should/ought to know, that when they accept and enter in that type of "relationships", as they call it.

          The chances of them ending-up in the loosing side is an unacceptable risk. A girlfriend, a concubine, a one night stand et al do not have the same expectations and rights of a legitimate and lawful wedded wife.

          November 30, 2013 at 6:45 pm |
  14. Ungodly Discipline

    After reading the responses from the proponents of Dave Ramsey, I am convinced none of you read the article or understand what it is about.

    November 30, 2013 at 1:39 pm |
    • Dave saves!

      I know what it's about, it's about a person who chose writing as a vocation so she needed a topic to submit an article. The Bible is the most subjective piece of fiction ever created and people have always molded it's teaching to fit whatever belief they're trying to support. Now she just sits back in a coffee shop while the rest of us post our little opinions on here and she gets more hits, thus securing another writing gig on CNN. She's no different than Dave, using religion as a hot button to get people's attention make a living.

      November 30, 2013 at 1:49 pm |
      • Alien Orifice

        Incorrect.

        November 30, 2013 at 2:03 pm |
    • Mark McNeil

      For me, the best anti-poverty program is a job. Our current government Robin Hood programs are not effective nor compassionate.

      November 30, 2013 at 2:35 pm |
  15. John Doe

    Unfortunately, the author of this article completely misunderstood the point. The point is, all people need to take responsibility for their lives, rich or poor. And if you want to be something, it is helpful to look at the behavior of some of the people that are how you want to be. If this author or the critics of Dave had any idea of what he stands for, they would know that Dave's whole job is to help those struggling. He gives an enormous amount of resources and time to help those in need. It is so sad that this ignorant author got it so wrong. In a world of so much ugliness, Dave is actually one of the good guys.

    November 30, 2013 at 1:39 pm |
    • Lvmaddi

      I think the point that Dave makes is that even if you are dirt poor you need to learn to manage your money. People make bad choices all the time. I work at a bank and people go to Fivebucks when they hae 2 dollars in the bank and spend five and get a thirtyfive dollar overdraft fee ON A REGULAR BASIS. Imagine if they just saved 35 bucks a month they would be able to retire with dignity!! Anyone can save money no matter how little. There is no reason for people to live paycheck to paycheck (Like I used to before Dave Ramsey) they just have to learn some discipline.

      November 30, 2013 at 1:48 pm |
    • terry beaton

      Wasn't Jesus saying that we needed to take 'responsibility' for those around us in need? "We are our brother's keepers". The problem is it's just to difficult for most people to be as generous and giving as Jesus demands. This Prosperity Gospel is a complete abomination if you ask me. To be rich while there are those around you (everywhere in the world) dying for reasons beyond their control, is to be in danger of God's judgment. How could it be otherwise.

      November 30, 2013 at 2:17 pm |
  16. Tom, Tom, the Other One

    Perhaps we can agree that the greatest evil in our nation is reactionary conservatism that would have us believe that poverty is deserved and proper housing, nutrition and healthcare are not. The conservatives are rejoicing now at what they hope is the imminent failure of Obama and his Affordable Care Act, believing that there will be poor always and they should be shit out of luck as always if they fall ill. They are dedicated to the idea that, by God, there must never be another champion of the poor in the White House.

    November 30, 2013 at 1:38 pm |
    • lol??

      This whole hemisphere deserves free healthcare!! After all the Monroe Doctrine sayz so.

      November 30, 2013 at 1:51 pm |
      • Maddy

        I am unsurprised that you completely miss the point.

        November 30, 2013 at 1:57 pm |
  17. Randy T

    We have a justice system in the U.S. What system do you propose to enforce "economic justice" and who will serve as judge?

    November 30, 2013 at 1:35 pm |
  18. Dave saves!

    I'm an atheist, and I love Dave Ramsey! I received Financial Peace as a gift about 7 years ago when I was knee deep in credit card debt, but didn't really see it as a problem. After following the steps with "gazelle intensity" I'm living like no one else so I can LIVE like no one else (I have no debt other than my 15 year mortgage and nearly 600K in retirement savings, age 42). Even though I don't subscribe to the belief in a higher power, I find Dave's biblical analogies generally pertinent to the conversation. They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. I stepped out of my comfort zone and took financial advice from someone who has a completely different view of religion than I do and I am richer for it. If you don't like is application of Scripture to your finances, do what I do, tune it out like it's a commercial and start paying attention again when the good stuff comes on. Trust me, the Ramsey method will change your life!!!

    November 30, 2013 at 1:33 pm |
    • Set

      My very secular, non-religious workplace offers Ramsey courses as a benefit... they are helpful. Good principles to follow.

      November 30, 2013 at 1:36 pm |
    • Ungodly Discipline

      Thanks Dave.

      November 30, 2013 at 1:36 pm |
    • tallulah13

      There are a lot of good financial advisers in popular media, all offering the same advice. This Dave Ramsey guy is simply using religion as a means of gaining a paying audience. It's a brand of hypocrisy I find completely off-putting.

      November 30, 2013 at 2:18 pm |
  19. David M.

    What I find humorous about the comments is that all the chest-beating "I came from the poorest part of town, nobody gave me anything, I pulled myself up by my bootstraps, etc." posts show absolutely no empathy for the poor folks in which they came.

    I have the same kind of story, Dad constantly laid off from job to job, never having much growing up and I joined the military, used the GI Bill and work to get through college and am doing well. But I also empathize with the poor because that is where I came from. I recognize that the "they are choosing to be poor" charicature is B.S. I pulled myself up, but never forgot where I came from.

    November 30, 2013 at 1:33 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Yep. I grew up poor and worked very hard to get to the middle class. But I know that every story is unique and that some people are simply trapped by circumstances that they cannot overcome. Generalizations are very simple to use rhetorically, but they are seldom accurate.

      November 30, 2013 at 2:16 pm |
    • deegeejay

      So – how does Ramsey teaching self control and self restraint run counter to this? f'n idiot

      December 1, 2013 at 10:14 am |
  20. scott

    This is funny. Ramsey talks about habits of successful people and you make excuses. Sounds like you don't have much money and need to justify your lifestyle. The reality is that he is talking about habits that characterize successful people versus habits that characterize poor people. They aren't absolute, but they are statistically true. Statistics can be used to distort the truth, but the reality is that they are generally very accurate, and if you ignore them, you will more than likely pay the negative consequences. The sad part of this article is that it detracts from Dave Ramsey, and what he does can help almost anyone be more successful regardless of religion, race, etc. Very sad to write a piece to take someone down who is doing so much good. Shameful.

    November 30, 2013 at 1:32 pm |
    • Ungodly Discipline

      They only thing I agree with you on is "shameful". This guy is a shameful snake oil salesman and should be called out for his deceitful ways. Greed and lies.

      November 30, 2013 at 1:34 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      How is Rachel trying to "take down" Dave Ramsey? Did you note where she spoke highly of him and discussed using his techniques appropriately?

      Which statements in the article do you find to be inaccurate or false?

      November 30, 2013 at 1:35 pm |
    • lol??

      The article doesn't mention the feral PUblic Servants that have caused a $3,000 car to cost $30,000. Any statistics on that????

      November 30, 2013 at 1:48 pm |
      • John Cullimore

        She talked about the public servants repeatedly in the context of the "systemic" problems. They are part of said "system."

        December 5, 2013 at 5:21 pm |
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About this blog

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.