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Q: Is It Sinful to be "American"? ( No Answer,   15 Comments )
Subject: Is It Sinful to be "American"?
Category: Relationships and Society > Religion
Asked by: rewenzel-ga
List Price: $5.00
Posted: 06 Sep 2006 22:32 PDT
Expires: 06 Oct 2006 22:32 PDT
Question ID: 762903
In the American sense I am by no means wealthy, but compared to the
Third World is a different story.  I donate here and there to charity
but feel pressure to give more, that people around the world are
starving and living in squalor.  Whenever I go on relatively
modest-means vacations I suffer the guilt that I don't deserve it and
that others are dying.  Yet I still take them.  I have no guilt
whatsoever about staying where we are (New England state) and feel no
pressure from my conscience to move to the poorest regions of the
world.  How do we justify our wealth as Americans?
There is no answer at this time.

Subject: Re: Is It Sinful to be "American"?
From: probonopublico-ga on 06 Sep 2006 23:53 PDT
This is a tough one (and I'm not an American - I'm British) but I know
what you mean.

I just feel very lucky and privileged to have been born when and where I was.

Let's face it, there's always going to be some folk who are better off
than others; and we must hope that the better off folk use their
positions sensibly but, sadly, they don't.
Subject: Re: Is It Sinful to be "American"?
From: sublime1-ga on 07 Sep 2006 00:42 PDT
Justification of wealth may not be as useful as conscientious
utilization of it. An excellent book which explores your concern,
and many related issues, is Thom Hartmann's 'The Last Hours of
Ancient Sunlight':
Subject: Re: Is It Sinful to be "American"?
From: redhoss-ga on 07 Sep 2006 06:14 PDT
If you live long enough, you will very likely see an America that is
just like the countries that you now feel sorry for. Problem solved.
Subject: Re: Is It Sinful to be "American"?
From: markvmd-ga on 07 Sep 2006 07:37 PDT
The US government provides monetary and other aid to Third World and
emerging nations (and makes beneficial trade deals with First World
nations) for you, so you don't have to. Your taxes can now be used to
assuage your conscience!

Taxes are good. The US economy always performs well during times of
tax increases (Reagan's cut in the early 80's was quickly followed by
a tax increase and the economy did well. Clinton raised taxes and the
economy boomed. Bush has cut taxes and the economy has languished.
Subject: Re: Is It Sinful to be "American"?
From: kriswrite-ga on 07 Sep 2006 08:33 PDT
I think the American media really plays into this...They always seem
to want to pound into our brains that America is always wrong simply
because Americans are privileged. But the fact of the matter is, our
wealth is a byproduct of our work. We have established a system of
government that encourages smart business people to thrive.
Consequently, the people who own businesses can afford to hire many
people at a good wage.

You might ask yourself: Which is worse? To have hard-earned money and
hoard it? Or to have hard-earned money and give to the needy while
also getting some reprieve for all your hard work (through vacations,
etc.). Of course, every time you spend money, you are also, in some
way, helping other people (American or otherwise) by paying their
wages. And when you vacation in Mexico (or wherever) you are providing
funds to an area that relies on tourist dollars.

And how on earth would it be better if you were poorer?

Get over your guilt! As long as you aren't greedy, you have nothing to
be ashamed of :)

Subject: Re: Is It Sinful to be "American"?
From: tutuzdad-ga on 07 Sep 2006 09:18 PDT
I don't think enough is known about the type of justification you seek
in order to provide a suitable answer. You posted the question under
the Subject: Is It Sinful to be "American"? and in the Category:
"Relationships and Society > Religion". If it is a biblical or
otherwise doctrinal answer you are after I think you will need to
indicate under which specific "belief" you are hoping to "justify our
wealth as Americans". Justification takes many different forms
depending on one's brand and interpretation of christianity, Judaism,
Subject: Re: Is It Sinful to be "American"?
From: frankcorrao-ga on 07 Sep 2006 10:25 PDT
There is no justification for individuals.  We are lucky.  It is the
same as someone who is stricken and pleads "Why me"?  Just bad luck.

That said, if you would like a broad study of why different societies
flourish and progress while others seem not to, perhaps try some of
Jared Diamond's books, especially Guns, Germs and Steel.  I have not
read the entire thing, but the portions I read were interesting.
Subject: Re: Is It Sinful to be "American"?
From: boquinha-ga on 07 Sep 2006 12:01 PDT
I lived in West Africa for several months on a VERY impoverished
island. Most of the people there had no running water or electricity
(interestingly enough, they are some of the genuinely happiest people
I've ever met). I fell in love with those people. When I got back to
Europe and then the states, my sense of guilt kept growing. I know
what you mean.

A wise man once told me to honor those people by living wisely.
There's no need for guilt. NOT taking vacations because they are
unable to afford such things is a dishonor and disservice to them. If
they could, they would. Be sensible and honor them through wise and
balanced living.

Subject: Re: Is It Sinful to be "American"?
From: pugwashjw65-ga on 08 Sep 2006 05:17 PDT
Shouldn't you be asking, is it sinful to be well-off [ wealthy]. Many
people throughout the world have a comfortable existence. But billions
do not. Why? Because of greed. Of governments, of dictators, of
repressive systems. Who is at fault. To fiond out it is necessary to
go to the C.E.O. of the world. And right now it is Satan the Devil.
Revelation 12; 7-9 & 12 "
(Revelation 12:7-9) And war broke out in heaven: Mi?cha·el and his
angels battled with the dragon, and the dragon and its angels battled
8 but it did not prevail, neither was a place found for them any
longer in heaven. 9 So down the great dragon was hurled, the original
serpent, the one called Devil and Satan, who is misleading the entire
inhabited earth; he was hurled down to the earth, and his angels were
hurled down with him.

(Revelation 12:12) On this account be glad, YOU heavens and YOU who
reside in them! Woe for the earth and for the sea, because the Devil
has come down to YOU, having great anger, knowing he has a short
period of time.?
John 14;30 I shall not speak much with YOU anymore, for the ruler of
the world is coming. And he has no hold on me, [ Jesus said this]
(John 16:11) then concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world
has been judged.
Only Jesus with his Father's approval, does any judging. (John 5:22)
For the Father judges no one at all, but he has committed all the
judging to the Son,
(Ephesians 2:2) in which YOU at one time walked according to the
system of things of this world, according to the ruler of the
authority of the air, the spirit that now operates in the sons of
So the Ruler of the world is proved to be Satan.
And then Jesus confirmed that until Satan is done away with, we will
always have the poor with us.

(Matthew 26:11) For YOU always have the poor with YOU, but YOU will
not always have me.

We can help the poor if we have the means, but will not ' put a dent'
in how many there are. So it is pointless worrying about it. If you
make yourself poor in helping the poor, you will just join their
Many poor people have themselves changed their way of life and
redirected what resources they have by giving up smoking, gambling,
and other wasteful habits.
Subject: Re: Is It Sinful to be "American"?
From: bruceh2-ga on 08 Sep 2006 07:35 PDT
I lived in the Kingdom of Tonga for 2 years.  Most of the people there
are what we would call poor, but (like another commenter stated) are
quite happy. Their riches are in their social relationships. You can
read a little about it at
Subject: Re: Is It Sinful to be "American"?
From: boquinha-ga on 10 Sep 2006 11:21 PDT
Interesting, given your question, that this is the Time Cover Story this week:
Subject: Re: Is It Sinful to be "American"?
From: hermannjens-ga on 10 Sep 2006 21:10 PDT
You are a victim of some american guilt-manufacturing corporation.

Its a theme you hear all around you. "give me your money or else..."
Subject: Re: Is It Sinful to be "American"?
From: gorillabiscuit-ga on 13 Sep 2006 16:32 PDT
It astounds me that most of the people who commented here seem to
think it's some sort of a privilege to be an American(or Western
European) Do you truly believe that your lives are in any way more
meaningful or pleasurable than the people in the rest of the world? If
your heart gets broken by a girl in 5th avenue or by a girl in Mumbai
is the 5th avenue one more significant? Does it have more meaning?

Think of the rich people you know... Are they in a constant state of
elevated happiness? Americans have been taught that material wealth is
the key to happiness and it seems you have all bought into that lie.
And when you've spent your life in pursuit of something that you've
been told is your dream it will be to late.

Your question is based entirely on self-pity. You imagine what you
life would be like if you were born into some third world country.
Rather pity yourself for having been born where you are. The rest of
the world does not need your pity and doesn't lament that they don't
have the latest shiny gadget or gas guzzling SUV.
Subject: Re: Is It Sinful to be "American"?
From: frankcorrao-ga on 14 Sep 2006 10:48 PDT
Meaningful and comfortable are a matter of perception, so of course no
one can say unequivocably that a Westerner has a better life than
someone living in a third world country.  However, these are objective

Westerners have access to better education, medicine and technology. 
Our governments serve at the whim of the people (in theory...), not
the reverse.  We have substantial personal freedom.  In America at
least, the chance for substantial upward social mobility is quite
impressive; you can really go from nothing to something.

Again, whether or not all of these things make life "better" is not
something that can be answered in general.  However, I am convinced
that these are great advantages and feeling lucky to have them.
Subject: Re: Is It Sinful to be "American"?
From: ashrf6581-ga on 26 Sep 2006 13:20 PDT
no it's not a sin
who told you so???

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