The correlation between wealth and religion has been a bone of contention for many years. After all, religion is a cultural system that often involves belief in supernatural forces and may intend to provide a moral system or a meaning of life. Suffice to say, religions are supposed to be all about faith and spirituality. However, religion is much like any other organization that has income and expenses. Therefore, you can think of organized religion much like a business. Wealth is the status of being the beneficiary or proprietor of a large accumulation of capital and economic power. In any rate, there are many religions out there that are actually rich organizations.
Here are the top 10 richest religions in the world.
1. Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church is considered the wealthiest organisation in the world. You might say that it is the biggest financial power on the planet. So, whatever your thoughts on the religious aspect, you have to admire the balance sheet. Their operating budget is in the hundreds of billions of dollars, which is far higher than some of the world’s largest companies. Being probably the most popular religious group in the world, the church is both financially and physically endowed. It’s not really astonishing that the church made it to the top of the richest religions in the world. This is due to the fact that is the most populated religious sect on the planet.
The church’s wealth lies in its history, from priceless art pieces to prime tourism real estate, the religion was able to carve out a consistent income that attracts its billion strong membership. The Catholic Church owns some of the greatest art works ever made in the world history. It also possesses vast gold deposits and billions of dollars in assets. The church also earns a significant amount of income from the tourism sector as the Vatican is considered an independent city-state.
On the converse, they have a low staff cost, as upon entering the calling, Catholic priests and nuns take a vow of poverty and don’t own anything themselves. Tithing is encouraged by the church’s teachings, and if you do the math on a billion members, that’s plenty of income to work with. The churches asset figures are hard to come by, but the Vatican itself is flush with assets and security investments deep in the billions of dollars. The figures are shrouded in secrecy, but the sheer size of the churches membership ensures it is always in the green.
Islam is a monotheistic religion that is one of the fastest growing in the world. Much of the richness of the religion is credited to it presence in most of the leading oil-rich countries in the planet – being the Middle East. It’s no secret that some of the richest nations in the world are in the small area of the Middle East. The seat of the oil empire, the Middle East has been a symbol of wealth for many years now. With Islam being predominant in that region, it’s likewise the motivation behind why the religion is number two in this rundown. Islam doesn’t have any laws against the securing of riches, and a large portion of Muslims end up being rich people.
Jews have long been associated with wealth. Those practicing Judaism are said to have accumulated the most wealth among all believers in religions in the world. This is not stereotype profiling, as Jews are known to be adept in the world of business. Though Judaism is monotheist, it is not homogenous as it does have a lot of different views. The largest streams and movements are Rabbinic Judaism, Orthodox Judaism, Conservative Judaism and Reform Judaism. Aside from its homeland in Israel, its members also have enough economic clout in the United States to form a powerful lobby that can influence and sway the decisions of political leaders.
4. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a distinct religious group, that is considered to be one of the fastest-growing and richest religions in the world. Its members are called Mormons and can be found everywhere, from Scandinavia to Japan. Nearly 90% of the church’s finances come from member contributions called tithing, in which members are required to give 10% of their entire income.
5. Church of England
In a way, the Church of England is also a form of Protestantism. It was only formed because of the desire of the King of England, Henry VIII, to get a divorce from Catherine of Aragon. It was something that the Catholic Church would not grant him. Although it started off that way, the Anglicans have grown to be a tremendous religious body. Also known as Anglicanism, the church rakes in hundreds of millions in income each year through tithe baskets.
The Episcopal Church was established in the United States in 1785 and traces its origins to the Church of England in the American colonies. The church split from Anglicanism as clergy of the Church of England are made to swear allegiance to the British monarch. Aside from the United States, it has extended to different countries around the world. Its members are probably the most well off in those countries, and this contributes to the religion’s richness.
All the gods in Hinduism live in wealth. Hindiusm is firmly rooted in the belief that abundance and wealth come as gifts from the gods. In fact, the Hindu gods live in wealth and opulence, and devout Hindu’s heap gifts of adoration and appreciation of effigies for them. It’s no surprise that Hinduism is one of the richest religions in the world. The Hindu ethos is to be in a constant pursuit of self-realization and self-knowledge, so it is not a system that you ever “summit”. The aim is to find mental and physical wealth through the Hindu religious practices, and with such a large brief, it is a lifelong pursuit.
Protestantism is a division of Christianity that has a lot of followers. Protestantism is basically the separation from the reign of the Vatican seat. It actually involves any denomination in the Christian world that deny the authority of the pope in Rome. The religion has been around since the 16th century. It affirms the principles of the reformation and believes in the primacy of the Bible as the only source of truth. Protestants rely heavily on the bible for practical guidance, viable direction, and numerous Protestant churches likewise depend on giving and magnanimous commitments for money. These factors has made the religion one of the most richest in the world.
9. Non-denominational Christianity
Non-denominational Christians follow the basic tenets of Protestantism without being subjected to its creeds. The religious sect has seen an increase in membership due to the growth and popularization of mega churches throughout the world. There’s also a modern and secular appeal to non-denominational Christianity. Many pastors that establish churches through this religion rely largely on the regular tithing of its church members for cash flow. Interestingly enough, most churches like this are rich because of the devotion of its members when it comes to church offerings.
10. Church of Scientology
The Church of Scientology is devoted to the promotion of the belief system of scientology. L. Ron Hubbard established the religion in 1952, a spin off from his self-help programme called Dianetics. The Scientology religion works through subscriptions, wherein a church member climbs up ranks within the church by paying the required fee. It’s an unusual setup for a religious organization, but this has appealed to many celebrities in the world. It costs a lot of member to climb the ranks. The sign up fees are ludicrous, but they offer you pureness of body and soul if you stick with it. As you pay up you can move up the ranks of the church earning your more respect and purity. That’s surely one good way to earn money for the church.
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