On Profit: What Do Spiritual Books Say?
Profit is something that is becoming a concern for the general public nowadays. There are many questions to be asked regarding this topic. For now, I would like to focus on Spirituality and the idea of lending money at interest, in order to make a profit.
For those who consider themselves Christians, I think the notion of banks and bankers lending money at interest should be looked at as a vile way of making a living – a lazy and rotten path, I may add. It literally means that one person is using another person simply for their own benefit: usury.
What is written in the Bible is fairly straight forward, in my opinion: “If you should lend money to my people, to the afflicted alongside you, you must not become like a usurer to him. You must not lay interest upon him”, Exodus, 22:25.
In Psalms 15:5, it is said: “His money he has not given out of interest, And a bribe against the innocent one has not taken. He that is doing these things will never be made to totter.” And in Ezekiel 18:13, the words are even harsher: “On usury he has given, and interest he has taken and he positively will not keep living. All these detestable things he has done. He will positively be put to death. On him his own blood will come to be.”
There are countless passages in the Bible which clearly speak against lending money at interest. Yet, I have still to hear Christians speaking against the way bankers are acting like leaches. How can millions and millions of Christians use banks and support such a greedy and corrupt system?
After these thoughts fermented in my mind for a while, I wondered what the Qur’an says on this topic. It did not take me long to find a quote which reads: “O you who believe, beware of God, and refrain from all outstanding gains from usury, if you are truly believers. If you do not, then know that you are at WAR with God and His messenger...” (2:278-279)
So, Islam teaches the same thing as Christianity, regarding lending money at interest: it is a no-no, to put it plainly. Yet, this does not seem to have translated in day to day life. Bankers and their rotten institutions have ravaged through societies world-wide in the last few years, hitting hard on the middle class and keeping the poor, poor or driving them even poorer. All this while profits for banks and bankers have sky-rocketed.
Greed has taken control of our social and political systems and I wonder what people who regard themselves as pious followers of Christianity or Islam have to say about this state of affairs? Is it acceptable?
Note: My photograph, Paris, France, 2010
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