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February 01, 2006

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jamie G

It's not just money and physical resources that are allocated unequally. Perhaps more thorny is the issue that some a born equipped to do much better in life than others. IQ shows high heritability, and someone with an IQ of 80 will invariably do much less 'well' than someone with an IQ of 140. Or think of the subtle and many advantages an attractive person has over someone merely ordinary looking.

jamie G

[Another thought.]

Then there's the idea that some 'blessings' can be problematic, tying in with your idea of the people in difficult conditions being the most thankful. It's often those who have relatively little who are the most generous. Rich people aren't always generous with what they have, even rich christians: how many of us find it hard to give even what we can easily afford? I guess it is because money and stuff can be addictive - we often use it illegitemately to scratch itches in the soul. Thus we become trapped by our 'blessings'. It's a difficult issue, because it's easy to justify accumulating wealth for good reasons (being poor sucks and it is generally best avoided; we may be terrified about sending our kids to a bad school, etc.). But God may not give us the financial security or nice 'stuff' we crave because we would be trapped by it, maintaining our own self-sufficiency and control rather than entering into a relationship based on trusting him to provide.

The parable of the talents is helpful, and surprising.

It recognizes that inequality exists. But rather than confront that inequality, or be demotivated by focusing on it, it suggests that we should be entrepeneurial with what we have - and bold in using it to the best of our ability. There's a sense of stewardship here, as well as a recognition that what we have comes from God and is not our possession at all. You've got one talent, and you're upset that someone else has five. Get over it! Use the one you have and see what you can do with it.

This brings up a further issue, and one which I have no answer to, and no particular stance on. The bible seems to suggest that in heaven's new order there will be some sort of hierarchy, where people have equal worth but there is not equality in the sense that we tend to think of it.

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