If work is sometimes humorously referred to as a four-letter word, philosophically, wealth is almost always viewed in a negative light. Money--whether we are spending it, saving (hoarding) it or making it--seems to be sort of universally considered bad. Why?
Could the image of wealth, like many aspects of creation, be suffering from oversimplification and too much attention given to its being the source of happiness? What if money and material goods were essentially neutral -- until people became obsessed to the point that good character is forgotten? "With fire We test the gold, and with gold We test our servants," to quote Bahá'u'lláh is His masterful distillation of historical core religious belief, titled, "The Hidden Words."
Like drugs, careers, entertainment, sports or fears, for instance, the pursuit of wealth can be abused. But that doesn't change its importance when put towards the service of mankind. Here's the latest article from the Baha'i site at BellaOnline.com.
Bahá'í View of Wealth
For Bahá'ís, detachment from material goods as the only source of happiness and security is a goal, and requires practicing both personal economy and social generosity.
School is out this week for many young people (and teachers, yay!), and college students have gone home or on winter vacation. The town is awfully quiet, even with Christmas shoppers, but by next weekend may fill up a bit with all those folks coming to visit Grandma for the holidays. (Our area is 70% retired folks, so lots of grandparents, LOL.) Even though Bahá'ís do not observe the winter holidays as part of our religion, we certainly share the fun with relatives and friends who do. I've posted articles in the past explaining this:
Christmas at my house - http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art26693.asp
Is Bahá'í Christmas in February?? - http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art55034.asp
Do visit bahai.bellaonline.com for more articles on parenting, education, and tools for character building, plus links to the sacred texts of the Bahá'í Faith. You don't have to rely on only my understanding, when you can go straight to the source!
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Cheryll Schuette, Baha'i Editor
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