Thursday, July 29, 2010

Money and God

For several years I gave an annual talk for The Applied Philosophy Institute in Sunnyvale, California. One year the topic was "Money and God." Almost everyone in the audience had deep feelings about the subject. I struggled to bring God and money together in the same breath. One businessman wanted to make it simple. He said, "Money is God. Anything you can say about God, you can also say about money."

"What do you mean?" I responded. "Well, think of the traditional statements about God," he said. "Okay. God is love. God is everywhere. God is infinite. God is all-powerful," I remarked.

"That's it!" he said with delight. "Money is love. Money is everywhere. Money is infinite. Money is all-powerful. People treat you as if they love you when you have lots of money. Everywhere I go there's money -- an ATM machine or bank in every part of the world. Money is so powerful we go to war and give up our lives for it. And, since money is abstract, we can create infinite numbers out of it. Therefore Money is like God, Money is God."

This businessman was serious. He was also deeply disturbed by his position. He was admitting an awesome truth that most people would not take seriously.

Ultimately, all investments start with how we use time. Some say "Time is money." Time is more fundamental then money, and a little closer to God and life. Life is the time we have, so use time well.

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