Religion, Personal Finance, and Dave Ramsey

I’ve been having a rather interesting conversation with a few other bloggers about religion and personal finance.  Apparently a couple of the overtly religious Christian PF bloggers like Gibble and Lynnae get comments on a weekly basis saying they should leave religion off their blogs.  Others, like plonkee, get the suggestion to not mention religion (or in plonkee’s case, lack of religion since she’s atheist) to avoid alienating readers, especially the “Dave Ramsey acolytes.”

I guess I can be described as a “Dave Ramsey acolyte” of sorts, or at least a “Ramsey-ite.”  Here’s the kicker (or punchline if you prefer) though: I am not Christian.  I am not going to get into what my beliefs are or are not, because that just isn’t the purpose of this blog.  Someday I might start up have now started a blog for that subject, but right now my focus is on the personal finance and Dave Ramsey side of things.

But there is the sticky wicket: Dave Ramsey isn’t just Christian, he is VERY Christian.  Since I am well-versed in the Bible (pun intended) and my mom would not have raised us kids any other way, I understand most of his Biblical references and simply accept him for who and what he is.  I know there are some non-Christians who are very turned off by Dave Ramsey’s openness about his faith, and I feel they are closing themselves off to an excellent opportunity.  Then again, I am not the kind of person who would stop talking to someone based on religion alone.

Hubby teases me about being a non-Christian listening to Dave Ramsey as often as I have teased hubby about being a reluctant spouse who tries to get his coworkers to listen to the FPU audio CDs we have.  We’re both a bit contradictory LOL  But while I may not share Dave Ramsey’s faith, I do share his belief in the money handling methods.  No need to throw the baby out with the bathwater here.  Dave Ramsey’s baby steps worked to get me out of debt and I firmly believe they will help me achieve a level of wealth above what our income would suggest.

I personally think it would be great if Dave Ramsey offered a secular version of his Financial Peace University … but I don’t think it will happen.  I have yet to hear a single radio show where Dave Ramsey doesn’t mention faith, Christianity, or a Bible verse.  It seems to be a part of who he is.

And now for the part I truly hesitate to broach: I do have one big beef with Dave Ramsey.  One of the requirements for becoming a certified counselor through his company is you must be Christian, according to the FAQs on his website.  That means no matter how much I believe in his baby step program, I can never get the stamp of approval from him simply because of my religion.  I can take the counselor training (at a reduced price), but not receive the certificate.  Dave Ramsey doesn’t believe a person can make it through without his version of god.

This really does sadden me.  I’d love to have a secular version and take his financial advice out to those who might otherwise be turned off by his overt Christianity, because the personal finance model is rock-solid.  The problem is I don’t see either one happening any time soon.

So, it’s off my chest now: there is a reason you don’t see much on this blog about Christianity or Bible verses (even though I do like that Proverbs one about the borrower being slave to the lender).  It may be who Dave Ramsey is, but it isn’t who I am.  And yes, I do feel like I stick out like a sore thumb being a non-Christian Dave Ramsey fan.  One would think by my age I would be used to being “different” and “weird” but sometimes it still makes me stop and think.  I’m probably not the only one out here, but I have no illusions about being in the definite minority.

But, back to the original conversation that kicked this rambling off.  Should bloggers mix religion and personal finance?  Looking at subscribers and traffic, I’d be inclined to say “Yes” since both Gibble and Lynnae are kicking my (donkey) in both.  Or maybe it’s more a case of “Be who you really are” instead of an either/or on religion.  If that’s the case, it’s taken me about nine months of blogging (other than a sentence or two in previous posts) to finally get this load off my chest.  I am a non-Christian personal finance blogger who is a Dave Ramsey fan.  Yeah, I guess that makes me “officially weird.”  But that is what and who I am.