The Dark Side of Debt

There’s More to Life Than Money

Many of us have heard the saying, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs” (Bible, 1 Timothy 6:10). While we have heard this saying, we do not listen to it. When we we talked about how Money is Not God – Only God is God, we saw that this saying is supported not only in the Christian Faith, but in many faiths: Sikhism, Buddhism, Islam, and beyond. Many faiths, beliefs, and religions have denounced greed and the love of money. If that is the case, why do we have speculative spending, loans that keep people enslaved to the love of money?

I remember when I was working at a bank – I would work with people who were putting so much faith in borrowing money so they could buy a piece of equipment to make more money. Day in and day out, I would speak to 60 to 80 people a day with their money concerns. Well before the Covid-19 crisis, I would hear voices of concern and fear saying, “I borrowed so much money, I don’t now how I can repay it” or “This loan was to save me from bankruptcy, what should I do now?” or “I graduated college on a loan and all I could get was a job at McDonald’s…how can I pay my loan off now?”

There are many news articles through a google search that will tell you “How to budget” and my job at this bank was to be the non-google “how to budget” person; however, I am one of millions in the United States who took out tens of thousands in loans for school where I don’t even know how I can repay. How could I be a hypocrite to tell people, “Sorry sir, you still have to pay” when I don’t have enough to pay Sallie Mae and Navient myself? What’s more important, our lives or the life of the dollar we created? Humanity will always be more important than a rectangle-shaped green colored paper with special writings on it.

There is more to life than learning how to budget to keep our debt in check so you can just make the minimum payments.

Image by Derek Robinson from Pixabay

The Love of Money is the Root of all Evil

My dreams were crushed time and time again when I was in college. Before college, I followed the American dream of chasing my dream to be a Chef. After the 08′-09′ great recession, when I was still in high school, and hearing of many restaurants closing, I got discouraged from cooking and did not know where to go. Due to chronic health issues I had back then, I also knew I needed a way to maintain some form of insurance. Back then, in order to stay on my parents insurance, I had to go to college – but for what?

Just like the 44.7 Million other Americans with student loan debt, and just like many looking to find a way out of the hardship following the great recession, I found myself scrambling to make my next move. Just like many others, my family was not in a situation where they could pay for school out of our pockets. Just like many other 18 year old teenagers entering the world, I had no credit. After studying for five years, I took out more loans than what my current salary could pay. The job I was able to find when I graduated was at a bank, enforcing others to pay back their loans.

Even as we’re in lockdown for the Covid-19 pandemic of 2020, Sallie Mae and Navient are still calling for payments even though many cannot pay them and must worry about food and keeping their houses in their name. Like you, I have been fed that continuing education through loans will “guarantee” you a better life. Like you, I have been fed that money will provide more than God. Like you, I have been fed that Money is the God to be worshiped – continuously pay your debt, always make sure it is in check, and beware that you get behind or else you can lose everything.

How wrong is this mindset? Where does it say, in any religious text or faith, that money can provide more than God/The Higher Power? Depressed that I found myself enslaved to pay debt while working to ensure others were paying their debt, I would drive an hour home from the bank and an hour to get there. Every day, I would be stuck in traffic, as if we were all caught in a new form of ball and chain slavery. Drive to work, be sure you are on time or else you can be fired, drive home and make sure you are home on time to get enough sleep to continue the cycle the next day. As I drove home from work, I would pray to God/The Higher power ‘There is more to life than the love of money. There is more to life than this!

How could we be truly happy with our lives when we force others to pay for debts we enforced them to take out to maintain the American Dream?

Graph from NerdWallet

In the above graph from Nerdwallet’s 2019 average debt, we can see the average debt held per household and in the United States is rather high. If we take a look at the below study by Pew Research Center, we can see the large amounts of debt do not necessary correlate and fit well with the current income levels in America today. With this as well, the disparity of wealth between Americans has also increased.

The below graph shows a study by Equitable Growth that shows the disparity of wealth between populations in America. If we continue to worship money as God, this trend will continue to grow for the benefit of those who make money their golden calf.

The love of money and the treatment of Money as God has lead us all to believe the falsity that money can buy happiness and money’s powers grow beyond God. As we can see in the above graphs, the truth can be anything but for the masses.

Greed is Denounced by Many Faiths and Peoples

At one point in my life while I was working at the bank, I found myself chasing after the question, “How can I make money?” to pay my debts and continue the system so tirelessly that I lost a sense of myself and almost lost my connection to God/Higher Power. I could no longer tolerate being a hypocrite to tell people to pay their debts while I struggled to pay my own, so I left the bank and never looked back. There was more to life than servicing this false God.

“Renounce sexual desire, anger and greed; remember the Name of the Lord of the Universe in your mind. Meditation on the Lord is the only fruitful action.” Sikhism, Sri Guru Granth Sahib, pg. 408

“The greedy stir up conflict, but those who trust in the LORD will prosper.” Christianity and Judaisim, Bible, Proverbs 28:25

“Proclaim: ‘If your parents, your children, your siblings, your spouses, your family, the money you have earned, a business you worry about, and the homes you cherish are more beloved to you than GOD and His messenger,and the striving in His cause, then just wait until GOD brings His judgment.’ GOD does not guide the wicked people.” Islam, Qu’ran, 9:24

“The Love of Possessions is a Disease with them. They take tithes from the poor and week to support the rich who rule. They claim this mother of ours, the Earth, for their own and fence their neighbors away.” Sitting Bull, Hunkpapa Lakota

No matter where you come from in the world, from Punjab to North Dakota or from Jerusalem to Mecca, greed has been denounced consistently and should be continued to be denounced.

Image by Public Co from Pixabay

I turned away from the bank and started my path back to God and walking with God, the Earth, and all Life around me. While I was raised in Christianity, I spoke to many people of different faiths with the same issue on debt and money. As I delved more into researching greed and seeing the denouncement of it is spread throughout many faiths, I cannot help but think all faiths and the religions of the world have been proclaiming peace and a balanced life at their cores, just in different variations. I am now walking my own path with God. If there is one thing debt has taught me, it is this: no matter how you try and mask it, the golden calf will never replace God/The Higher Power – no matter if the mask is debt or a “how to” on paying your debt on google.

Money was created as a tool to be a medium of exchange between two goods and services – not as a mental ball and chain for the masses in debt and in a false sense of peace. I believe there is a truer, more peaceful and more balanced, way of life that does not involve the level of faith and trust we currently have in Money. I believe there is a life where we control money as the tool it was meant to be rather than money controlling where we buy, what we buy, and what job we get to pay off the debts that we were spoon fed to believe we must take out. I believe in a world where we return to our paths with were we our paths with God/The Higher Power, the Earth, and all Life is beneficial for all.

Be well and be safe.

Papa Hannah

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