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Questions on Spirituality, Marketing, and Money

I’m currently writing a new ebook: “Spirituality, Marketing, and Money” with a couple of my Pro Web Design Alliance team.

The purpose of the book is to explore how we relate to business, marketing, money, and wealth — all from the perspective of spirituality, religion, and ethics.

It seems to me that many people who are religious, or spiritually aware, find it difficult to relate to money and wealth in a positive way. Drive and ambition give way to humility and modesty.

That can result in people undervaluing our contribution to the world (or undercharging for it!), and making less of a difference in the world than they could, which is a shame.

I’d like to get as many different perspectives on this area, from a wide range of spiritual and religious traditions. I already have a series of interviews lined up with marketers and coaches I respect. But I’d love to get your input too!

So I’ve put some simple questions together, and it would be great if you could add your comments below. (Your words may even make it into the book.)

Many thanks,
Ben & team

My Questions For You

Please respond using as many words as you need.

  1. How would you describe your religious, spiritual, or philosophical position?
  2. What is your place in the Universe?
  3. Who are your customers, really?
  4. What does service mean to you?
  5. What does money mean to you?
  6. How do you relate to wealth?
  7. How important is making a profit?
About the author

Ben Hunt

Ben is the creator of Web Design From Scratch. He started writing articles about web design to kill time on a long train commute, and is now one of the most influential figures on the subject of effective web design. He has written three books and spoken at multiple conferences internationally.

Kev Webster - 10 months ago

How would you describe your religious, spiritual, or philosophical position?
# My spiritual position is one of responsibility. Broken down I would describe this as my ability to respond to life with integrity and realness.

What is your place in the Universe?
# My place is my purpose and my passion.

Who are your customers, really?
# Those whose needs I can meet

What does service mean to you?
# To listen and respond appropriately

What does money mean to you?
# It is a choice tool

How do you relate to wealth?
# It’s my birthright

How important is making a profit?
# Very, It lets me know I’m getting positive feedback

    Ben Hunt - 10 months ago

    Thanks Kev, much appreciated.

    I identify with the idea that profit can be an indicator of success: your “score” of how well you’re serving your customers perhaps.

    I’m curious that you describe your customers as “those whose needs you can meet”. That could be a lot of people. How do you discriminate between them? Do you try to serve them all, or only those whom you can serve profitably?

      Kev Webster - 10 months ago

      Hi Ben, thanks for the reply and great question. I believe that people come into our lives for good reason even if the initial experience may not be perceived as good for business. For me that makes it interesting or maybe better to say ‘curious’. A prospect may have a profitable project for me to work on but after discussing and ironing out the details I may find their manner unpleasant. In my experience they would end up causing me grief in some way. So I decline the work based on my belief that I get ‘more’ from doing business with people that I enjoy working with than with arse-holes. I do let them know why I’m declining ,I see that as being part of my responsibility. So it’s not just about financial profit for me, as long as there’s a gain I am happy to work with someone. I probably went the long way round explaining..

      Ben Hunt - 10 months ago

      Interesting. I guess there are many ways in which we can “profit” from a customer.. not all material.

      A customer could provide the case study we need to open new doors, or provide a vital learning experience, for example.

      Or, we might do a project pro bono, knowing that we’re having a positive impact (made more possible when we make material profit on other projects).

brijesh - 10 months ago

About every other week, I confront popular pluralist notions that have become a large part of the way Americans think. For example, pluralists contend that no one religion can know the fullness of spiritual truth, therefore all religions are valid.

But while it is good to acknowledge our limitations, this statement is itself a strong assertion about the nature of spiritual truth. A common analogy is often cited to get the point across which I am sure you have heard – several blind men trying to describe an elephant. One feels the tail and reports that an elephant is thin like a snake. Another feels a leg and claims it is thick like a tree. Another touches its side and reports the elephant is a wall. This is supposed to represent how the various religions only understand part of God, while no one can truly see the whole picture. To claim full knowledge of God, pluralists contend, is arrogance.

When I occasionally describe this parable, and I can almost see the people nodding their heads in agreement. But then I remind the hearers that the only way this parable makes any sense, however, is if the person telling the story has seen the whole elephant. Therefore, the minute one says, ‘All religions only see part of the truth,’ you are claiming the very knowledge you say no one else has. And they are demonstrating the same spiritual arrogance they so often accuse Christians of. In other words, to say all is relative, is itself a truth statement but dangerous because it uses smoke and mirrors to make itself sound more tolerant than the rest.

Most folks who hold this view think they are more enlightened than those who hold to absolutes when in fact they are really just as strong in their belief system as everyone else. I do not think most of these folks are purposefully using trickery or bad motives. This is because they seem to have even convinced themselves of the “truth” of their position, even though they claim “truth” does not exist or at least can’t be known. Ironic isn’t it? The position is intellectually inconsistent. (Tim Keller)

In its pure form Pluralism is a fact. It’s not an opinion or a belief or a religion. In other words, not every one believes the same things. We live in a society that’s very diverse, not just ethnically, but also religiously. But when pluralism starts to become a philosophy, when it starts to become a religious dogma, then it becomes a different animal. And that’s what I want to call relativism — or religious relativism, philosophical pluralism. It goes by different names but that is the dogmatic religious assertion that all religions are basically the same, that no one knows the truth about God. And no one can know the ultimate truth about God in a way that invalidates other peoples’ religious opinions and the belief that it’s arrogant to say that you have the truth religiously and it is arrogant to try to persuade other people to believe what you believe religiously. That’s relativism, philosophical pluralism. And I would say that’s the default belief of most people you run into in our city.– whether they’re religious or not, most people think about religion that way.

Here is what I want to urge on you and try to unpack in several ways. And that is that relativism is itself a religious belief. It is a dogma. Relativism is. It has affirmations and denials and a missionary force. One of the affirmations of relativism is that God is ultimately unknowable. No one can know the truth about God. But how do one know that to be true? This assumes an ultimate understanding of spiritual reality. All religions are ultimately the same. All religions are following a path to God. It doesn’t matter how you believe, it matters how you live. Do you see this? Those are religious statements. Those are matters of religious beliefs, dogma. Doctrines! If people say, “No, I’m not religious. I’m saying you can’t know. I’m saying, Nobody can know the truth about God. I’m not claiming that I’ve got a corner on it.” But if you look at it closely, the statements of religious relativism are every bit as dogmatic as the statements of the Koran or the Bible. It’s a religious dogma.
It has denials.

Religious relativism denies with certainty that there is one God who is holy and just, who has taken on human flesh in the person of Jesus Christ, who is our creator and judge. Who can only be appeased and known through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and faith in him. Relativism says that is false. It makes a religious assertion: we deny this, creedally, that that is not true. It’s a dogmatic assertion that relativism makes. And — relativism seeks to persuade those who do not believe it to believe it.

Somehow, the relativist has come to understand that he alone sees the full reality. He alone is in the airplane. He alone is the king who is not blind telling the parable of the elephant. Only relativism is timelessly and objectively true. Relativistic belief is accepted so it can be taught as public fact in America today, even though we have separation of church and state. I hear nonsensical statements like it is because of religion that all war starts – of course it is because of religion, but religion is an inescapable part of the human condition. Relativism also zealously fights to make sure no one believes in any absolutes while they must use their own absolute to establish this idea.

Now Christians have been known to be proud… plenty of us. There are lots of arrogant Christians. But if you read the Bible, you see that Christians ought not to be arrogant. Arrogant Christians are betraying Christianity. And when we’re arrogant, we’re not believing the gospel. We’re not being Biblical. But, ultimately, to hold a relativistic point of view, you have to turn the question back on yourself and doubt your own doubts and say, “Why aren’t the relativists’ religious beliefs arrogant? Why isn’t it arrogant to say that you’re the one in the airplane? Why isn’t it arrogant to say you’re the king who’s not blind and can see the whole elephant?” Ultimately, if you judge your doubts the same way you judge other peoples’ religion, then you find yourself hoisted on your own petard. Right? Yes. It’s just as arrogant to claim relativism, as it is to claim religious truth.

The Christian is not better in any way than a pagan. There are probably many pagans who have lived more moral lives than the Christian. In fact the Christian believes Himself not morally fit for God – a person who’s so desperately broken that unless Jesus Christ dies under the wrath of God in my place, I can never be reconciled to God and have fellowship with Him.” There are lots of people wiser than us, lots of people who are more moral than we are, people who are more devoted to their religion than we are. If a person claims anything different, he is missing the gospel. It’s why we ought to be teachable. When we talk to friends who don’t know Christ, we ought to be learning, instead of just talking.

But, someone will say, you only believe this because you were raised where you were raised, right? You say you know the truth but really its just provincialism. You’re a product of your culture. So, how can you say it’s the only truth?” But if you’re raised here, you’re raised in a relativistic culture. Right? And so you believe — that all religions are one. You’re a relativist. That’s just because of your mom and dad — and because you grew up in LA or the like. If you were born in Indonesia, you would not be a relativist. So, therefore, relativism couldn’t be true. It’s just a cultural construct. Right? You only believe it because of where you were raised so don’t make any dogmatic assertions about all religions being equal. That’s just what your little culture believes.

Once you get out and about in the world and are a little more cosmopolitan, you’ll realize that that’s just one view among many. The criticism has to apply to relativism if it has to apply to other religions, doesn’t it?

So — if relativism is your default mode, if that’s what you’ve booted up with, because of where you were raised, let me appeal to you this way. At least look at it, doubt it, the way you doubt religion. Look at your own beliefs with the same critical apparatus you use to look at other people’s beliefs. See that it’s a religious dogma like others and see if it holds water as a religious dogma. Is it true? Is relativism true? Ask yourself this important question.

    Ben Hunt - 10 months ago

    I appreciate the argument, and realise that you’re describing my own position quite well (although I was not asking for debate on people’s metaphysical beliefs).

    To me, the relativism you describe is similar to the approach of the *true* scientist. Science, when practised honestly, rather than being a rigid statement of fact, says, “This is all we know at this point, and we will continue to explore until we discover deeper truths.”

    Or perhaps the path of the mystic, who has the courage to say, “I don’t know for sure, but this is what I experience.”

    Reading your comments in the light of the previous reply, which expresses the relative tinyness of this planet in the big picture of our Universe, I’m left with an uncomfortable feeling..

    Say the Universe is 13 billion years old. And Jesus appeared 2000 years ago, died, was resurrected, and ascended into Heaven, as I assume you believe.

    I calculate that’s 1/6,500,000 th of the age of the universe. And you have to say that’s extraordinarily improbable.

    But, if you’re going to be a Christian, you have to accept that improbability. The whole of the history of the Universe was leading up to those few days, on that one particular planet.

    Could it not be true that the same power is available to all people (those who lived before Christ included), and at all times?

    I’d also be interested to hear how you would answer the specific questions I posted, too. Many thanks.

brijesh - 10 months ago

We live our lives absorbed in dealing with what is right in front of us: work, family, and what needs to get done. We worry, stress out, get sick and feel frustrated because we have so much to do.

A few of us stop every now and then to take stock and think of the big picture. What do we want to accomplish in the next year, five years or even in a life time? This is large scale thinking of living to our potential and making the best of life.

Even this grand view of our life is still myopic in the larger–much larger scheme of things. Every now and then, I start thinking about this view that is unfathomable to my tiny human brain… what is out there…where do we fit in the universe.

We are lucky to be living in times where science and technology have advanced so much. We have unprecedented access to the vast, insurmountable cosmos.

Where does our earth fit into the equation of the universe?

The list below might give you an idea of how vast our universe is.

Earth is one of the smaller planets in our solar system with only one moon(Jupiter and Saturn have 62 moons each).
ss2

Our star (the sun) is huge compared to the size of earth. About one million (1,000,000) earths would fit inside the sun.
earth-sun

Our galaxy (the Milky Way) which includes our solar system is comprised of at least 200 billion stars like our sun (more recent estimates put the number close to 400 billion). So our entire solar system is 1/200 billionth of our galaxy. Our sun cannot be seen when looking at the Milky Way.
The Milky Way, it turns out, is no ordinary spiral galaxy. According to a massive new survey of stars at the heart of the galaxy by Wisconsin astronomers, including professor of astonomy Edward Churchwell and professor of physics Robert Benjamin, the Milky Way has a definitive bar feature — some 27,000 light years in length — that distinguishes it from pedestrian spiral galaxies, as shown in this artist’s rendering. The survey, conducted using NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope, sampled light from an estimated 30 million stars in the plane of the galaxy in an effort to build a detailed portrait of the inner regions of the Milky Way. Used with permission by: UW-Madison University Communications 608-262-0067 Illustration by: NASA/JPL-Caltech/R. Hurt (SSC/Caltech)

The universe has 100 billion galaxies. So our galaxy is 1/100 billionth of the universe. If we would look at the universe, each galaxy would look like a small bright object (image below enlarged). The estimated number of stars in the universe would be 20 billion trillion (or 20 sextillion) stars.
universe

Where we fit into this equation: if our sun represents 1/20 sextillion, we can estimate that planet earth would be 1/million of that which would make our share of the universe to be …drum roll… 0.000000000000000000000000005%.
In effect from the universe perspective, earth almost amounts to nothing. Each human being is 1/6 billion of this nothing!

How does this view impact our lives?

Okay now we know we really don’t matter much in the largest scheme of things. So how is it going to change how we live? Below are a few reminders that I hope can make your living a bit easier. Feel free to share your views and insights.

We are one. Everything in existence, as we know it, originated from the same source of energy. We all came from mother big bang and what followed. Nothing is better or worse. Everything just is. This unifying view can help us in leading lives with understanding and appreciation, no judgment or use of force against anything or anyone.

Keep things in perspective. At the end of the day, considering the much grander scheme of things, nothing that we do or don’t do really matters. We can just be and take it easy. If we get things done or not, life still goes on as intended.

The universe does not revolve around us. We are a tiny part of a universe that is much larger than we can comprehend. The universe goes on and what unfolds is part of the cosmic evolution. Whether we like and accept what happens or not, it is going to happen. The only wise course of action for us it to accept what is happening and move on. And not to take things personally!

The universe is not perfect, nor should we be. The imperfection in the universe is what allowed creation and life to materialize in the first place. We can view our own imperfections as ways to express our uniqueness and creativity.

Every form of existence grows, contracts and eventually dies. From the big bang to the immeasurable size of the universe, every physical form has a beginning and an end. Our planet will die at one point and so will our sun. This is part of the evolution of the cosmos. Death from a cosmic view is not the end of life but rather the transformation of energy; the end of one form can be the beginning of another. Fearing death or fighting it is futile.

We don’t and can’t know everything. We are only a small, invisible, almost nonexistent, blip on the radar of the universe. As we continue to evolve and grow, we will gain more knowledge and understanding of the cosmos. This growth should come with the understanding that we may never know the real purpose of our evolution and life. We are here for a brief moment in time and space; all that matters is that we enjoy the ride and let the rest unfold in due course.

There is also the non-material element of existence that we may never be able to fully understand. How consciousness fits into the equation of creation is another matter.

All things considered I think it is wise to lighten up and not take things too seriously. We are part of an ever expanding carnival of energy; we are fortunate to be able to experience and participate in this magnificent cosmic dance.

    Ben Hunt - 10 months ago

    Thank you. I really enjoyed your comments. I’m guessing that you would extend that thinking to money by saying, “Let it be.. Don’t worry about it”, right?

Nwakpa Marcellinus M - 10 months ago

Spirituality is the act of been spiritual, and spiritual is relating to things that are sacred, things that are dedicated to a God or god.

It has less or no consideration to things of the world. Now coming to MARKETING, it is the business activity of presenting products or services in such a way as to make them desirable.

MONEY a medium of exchange issued by a government or other public authority in the form of coins of gold, silver, or other metal, or paper bills, used as the measure of the value of goods and services.

Spirituality to a great extent will make an individual to make a tremendous success in marketing, since it involves relationship with one another, having a sound spirituality (morality) will make one to make a good success in marketing business, this is so because success in marketing involves credibility and for credibility they must be a sound moral background(spirituality), of course the duo goes together.

Now money is as result of good marketing skill, the result of the sale of service(marketing) is the payment of money. But money can mar marketing and spirituality. The bible says that money is the root of all evil. Many are mislead at the presence of money, this is why some religious organization advices her member on the danger of over reliance or complete dependence on money. However, money is inevitable for life but the abuse of it is what the spirituality is against. In summary, spirituality, marketing and money are seriously dependent on the each other.

    Ben Hunt - 10 months ago

    Thanks for your comments.

    If I may pick up on one of your points, in particular. The Bible doesn’t say “Money is the root of all evil”.. It says “Love of money is the root of all kinds of evil”, which I think is an important distinction, and something that’s going to be central to the book. In other words: What do you worship? What is your life ABOUT?

Mohul - 10 months ago

- How would you describe your religious, spiritual, or philosophical position?

I dont believe in any God, but yes, bow before the ultimate superpower, the Universal Truth, which drives us. Giving it a face or a name undermines its value. So, that summarizes my position on Religion; Spirituality and Philosophy.

– What is your place in the Universe?

I strongly believe that we all have a purpose in this universe. The mission of life is to find out that purpose and use the Universal powers to achieve that. As Steve Jobs said, “Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish”.

– Who are your customers, really?

As far as my business is concerned, my customers are those who want to learn and implement Online Marketing in their business or in their life. My typical customer is a person who has a passion, a fire under his belly, and want to conquer the world with no marketing budget.. :)

– What does service mean to you?

Service means to fulfill the expectations of the person who is paying for it. To help achieve his ambitions and goals using the tools and/or ideas which I offer.

– What does money mean to you?

Money is a tool to achieve our goals. Yes, money can bring happiness if it helps us with our purpose of life. Money earned to fulfill materialistic desires is energy wasted.

– How do you relate to wealth?

Wealth, for me is an entity which can help me to roll out my ideas and vision into this world. Wealth for me is having the ability to do what I want to do, when I want to do and where I want to do.

– How important is making a profit?

Profit making is important, but not essential. Yes, if profit comes as a way of doing good stuff is great, but at the cost of other’s time and trust.. No!

    Ben Hunt - 10 months ago

    Hi Mohul. Thanks for your considered responses.

    I definitely get where you’re coming from in not wanting to limit the Ultimate Truth by describing it.. risking “making God in Man’s image”. I’m drawn to the Islamic concept that God is ultimately unknowable. Others of our group prefer to use the concept of “Tao”.

    Interested to know why you address customers who have no marketing budget. How can you make a profit?

    Really like your “wealth = potential” idea!

Pedro - 10 months ago

Like a lot the title of the new book!

Should this 7 questions be answerer here or by mail?

    Ben Hunt - 10 months ago

    Please answer on this page Pedro. Then everyone can have the benefit of reading others’ perspectives. Thank you.

Abhishek Gupta - 10 months ago

1. Religious and spiritual positions can not be described in words, where as I’m into philosophy (more inclined to that related to self esteem and wisdom).
2. I’m alive.
3. My customers are my peers, and should be my peers.
4. Service is where profits are not involved.
5. A necessity. Without it you purchase nothing.
6. wealth is nothing, but personal worth is what we must be concerned about.
7. profit is everything. It represents the success or failure of a concern. Investors’ money must not be assumed to be a “success thing”, in long run it is profit which shows the fate of the concern.

    Ben Hunt - 10 months ago

    Thanks for your responses. I’m interested that you say “Service is where profits are not involved”.. Can companies provide service? Can charities survive without the surpluses they need to grow?

Paul - 10 months ago

How would you describe your religious, spiritual, or philosophical position?

I have chosen to follow the Islamic Sufi way. It is a path of balance between material wealth & spiritual wealth. Even seeking material needs is part of the spiritual path, it is considered a form of worship (of God, of course). Doing anything that sustains your life and your family’s (within the limits of the Law of Justice, i.e. money obtained through non-stealing, non-deception etc.) is considered worship. One reason for that is because you are taking care of your family & self and it is a good deed in the end.

What is your place in the Universe?

I am a creature/creation of God. I respect his Laws and I ask God for my daily needs.

Who are your customers, really?

I provide goods and services to companies. But the question seems to ask about how I see my customers from spiritual perspective. My customers are people who need/want something and I’m providing it to them, simply. Of course, I am not allowed to deceive, steal, mis-advertise, cheat etc., or else the money I am making is not ‘clean’.

What does service mean to you?

Offering something that is not material in nature. Also, service can come in a form of free help. So service can mean giving money to the needy, and is also a form of worship because it’s a good deed and it cleans our bad deeds.

What does money mean to you?

Money is a form of exchange. It can also be said that money is a form of exchange of energy.

In Islam, there are 2 types of money: one you search for, and one that comes to you (without effort). The 1st is determined by how you plan and strategize etc. The 2nd comes alone, suddenly pops up, and you can increase it by giving to the needy and helping others in any way.

How do you relate to wealth?

2 kinds of wealth: material and spiritual. Spiritual needs guidance and commitment to practice.

Material wealth is a blessing from God. Even if you yourself worked hard to amass a fortune, it is from God because He gave us this ability in the first place + the opportunities that came before us. It is not a bad thing to have wealth, but it is bad if it’s not spent to the betterment of society (ex. needy people, shared community services, anything that helps people have a better life). So it is wise to keep some money aside for yourself, but it is bad to keep all your wealth to yourself. It will not follow you to the grave. So better to use it for helping others, even if it means opening a business with it, just don’t keep it static.

How important is making a profit?

It is very important! How else will I live?

Profit is also a payment for my hard work. Even if my work is simply selling vegetables, I have put some effort in sourcing it and transporting it and making it available. So I deserve some repayment and it is my right.

Hope this helps!

Let me know if anything is unclear.

Best,
Paul

    Ben Hunt - 10 months ago

    Thanks Paul. I have already explored the Muslim perspective with my team member Bera, and it’s good to get the Sufi angle.

    I find your words highly pragmatic. You mention that profit is vital for continuity (and, of course, growth). And it must be obtained in a fair way – not through usury (lending with interest) for example.

    Much appreciated.

Ravi - 10 months ago

Definitely, Ben i would like hear your advises and articles as well as your notifications, i need your guidelines for my future plannings and you’re inspiration to my all

Kevin - 10 months ago

I find it more of an ethical question than a religious or spiritual one. Or to put it another way, an issue of values.
I strive to do the very best for my clients and find it hard to square that with a good income for me. The old adages of ‘serve your customer well and/or follow your passion and the money will follow you’ just don’t seem to work. Time and again I see my clients falling for the cheesiest promises from unscrupulous marketeers who I know are going to rip them off. And who then go on to do just that.
I could make a lot more money for far less effort if I was as unscrupulous as these sharks. But I can’t be. My ethics, values and self respect won’t let me.

    Ben Hunt - 10 months ago

    Interesting perspective Kevin!

    Maybe you’re falling prey to the being-nice-so-not-charging-enough thing..? Challenging that is really one of the major goals of this book.

    Businesses need to make profits in order to continue to serve their customers, and certainly to grow, and therefore serve more customers.

    Also, charging customers a higher (but fair) fee, based on the value you actually deliver, can help you to serve smaller customers who have fewer means too.

    What do you think the reasons are that you find it hard to square doing the best for your clients with making a good income? Do you charge what you’re worth, or what you think your clients will happily pay without complaint?

Ana Lomba - 10 months ago

Hi Ben,

The angle of your new e-book intrigues me because I have been thinking of writing a similar blog, but from the point of view of an educator. In the field of education (and other fields, I guess), we are trained to pretty much work and expect nothing in return. I have seen first hand how this erosive, brain washing message works… and I am ready to fight back :)

Is this an angle that would interest you, or are you just looking at spirituality and religion?

Best,
Ana

    Ben Hunt - 10 months ago

    Hi Ana. Great to hear from you.

    Please feel free to post any response.. Or do your own blog post and then send me that! :-)

    I guess any response that comes from who we are, our place in this world, and how we relate to others, is valid.. We don’t need to add religious tags to make it meaningful.

Jayant - 10 months ago

Sir from my point of view religious is that which having eternal love peace and truth not outer type.Spritual start where Science led down

My customers is both bad and well wishers
I m a human with simple living high thinking this is my position

Money is matter today becoz we human give position to it other wise money is only interface b/w customer
and producer

One service that is help service give ur best not thinking after that what happen..

    Ben Hunt - 10 months ago

    Thank you Jayant. Interesting points.

Jennifer Joy-Matthews - 10 months ago

How would you describe your religious, spiritual, or philosophical position? I am a Quaker and a pacifist

What is your place in the Universe?
I think of myself as a very small part of the universe. I think I am pretty central to my family but not to anyone else. I think I will be pondering on this question for ages so might need to send in a revised version!

Who are your customers, really?
I am not a web designer. I have a Community Interest Company http://www.peakorganics.org.uk which is all about enabling people to grow fruit, veg, salads and herbs and flowers organically. We also sell veg boxes etc. We want to enable people who have mental health issues, learning disabilities etc etc to have a safe place where they can come and work. We will be fundraising for this via buzzbnk in the near future.

What does service mean to you?
It means giving the customer or volunteers what they want and need in a nice way! Or saying no nicely!

What does money mean to you?
In some respects not a lot. I am not interested in being really rich. I have been really poor now I can buy almost anything I want. I have always saved so I don’t have debts and I have some savings. I like my money to do some good. So I invest in ethical things. I “lend with care” a great organisation.

How do you relate to wealth?
I get cross when people earn obscene amounts of money for doing very little. I have a friend who is a multi millionnaire and he has worked hard to make his money and I really respect that.

How important is making a profit?
Very! If we don’t make a profit on our CIC we can’t do what we want to do. However, I think it is important not to rip people off and to provide good value for money.

    Ben Hunt - 10 months ago

    Thanks Jennifer, great responses.

    I’ve also spent a lot of time at Quaker meetings too, so that’s nearest to how I’d describe myself.

Pedro - 10 months ago

How would you describe your religious, spiritual, or philosophical position?
//
I cant describe because it cant be described.
Overcaming this concepts are not followed by grammar which only can be used for the so call “material world”.

What is your place in the Universe?
//
No place and in all the place.

Who are your customers, really?
//
The ones I can make a positive understanding.

What does service mean to you?
//
Hearing and listen and find out what positive understanding could result.

What does money mean to you?
//
Something needed for the “material world” but that does not has the power to blackmail my freedom.

How do you relate to wealth?
//
I have no particular relationship with “material wealth”.

How important is making a profit?
//
None as it is not my focus, it is a natural sequence of loving to do what you like.

Best regards Ben,
Pedro

    Ben Hunt - 10 months ago

    Thanks Pedro.. I’d be interested to know how your work impacts the work, without any focus on profit or money?

      Pedro - 10 months ago

      Welcome Ben,.. impacts well as if you like what you do your focus goes to the project itself. Does it worth having a .. “whatever profit project” .. if it is not to be in your loving atmosphere?
      We can find a lot of this “focus profit” on wall street, the universe does not need anymore of those :)

Chris - 10 months ago

Ben,

I am Christian business owner who has struggled with a sense of guilt about making money for most of my life (I am now in my 50’s).

I grew up as a Catholic and whole concept of the poor being blessed, being suspicious about people who are rich, being humble and taking a lowly place in the world has made it difficult for me to make a lot of money.

I’m in a service business and my tendency is to under-charge, and give away more than I really should. Over the years, I have gradually learned to charge higher prices, and charge for every hour worked. But still the underlying tendency to feel guilty about making money is deeply ingrained.

Money to me is not about having a flashy house, car, yacht etc. But I would like to have enough to travel and also to be able to give to others – charities etc.

I think you are tackling a very worthwhile issue, as I know other Christians in business who also grapple with these same issues around money.

This particularly affects Christians from Catholic, Anglican and similar backgrounds. There is, of course, another strand of Christianity that promotes prosperity as God’s blessing – the “health and wealth” preachers who are popular in America.

I think there is a middle road. People like me actually need to listen to some of the health and wealth teaching, just to come into some kind of balance!

    Ben Hunt - 10 months ago

    Thank you Chris.

    Coming from a Christian background myself, I sympathise with your experience.

    There is a prevailing sense of sinfulness and unworthiness that can result in a false humility.

    But there are other teachings, such as not “hiding one’s light under a bushel”, which can counter those tendencies.

    I want my book to help people to move forward boldly, keen and happy to earn, knowing that money itself is not intrinsically evil – rather it’s a tool, potential, capability, resource that can be used for positive or for negative ends.

Obinna Okafor - 10 months ago

1.How would you describe your religious, spiritual, or philosophical position?

To live a life that will positively affect others, and at the same time being happy with what I have done

2.What is your place in the Universe?

My place in this university is to be part of those that will change the world for good than they met

3.Who are your customers, really?
Those that need software and application development (other ICT services)

4.What does service mean to you?

Service means to me, rendering a helping hand to others which is motivated by passion, money or that I am being influenced to rendering the help.

5.What does money mean to you?

To me money is a fundamental tool that one needs to accomplish whatever he or she would want to accomplish whether good or bad.
Money is vital for happiness, joy and good health; Mind you, money in my traditional perspective is not only the “paper” required for exchange of goods and services. Money is far beyond that.

6.How do you relate to wealth?

I am traditionally inclined (as an Igbo person) and religious (as a Christian). In both perspectives, wealth is power and a blessing, which can easily be related and be measured with money. Wealth has many components in it of which money is the most pronounced- as it can give one easy access to needs and wants. Knowledge is wealth which when utilized is geared towards making others happy and making yourself happy by generating returns (in this case money). But wealth is far more broader than money. In the ancient Igbo societal set-up, having many wives and children is wealth- productivity and high farm produce (at the end gives you the power to get what you want). Wealth again in Igbo culture is also associated to wisdom and gray hair, as a wise elder without “physical cash”, can still influence lives with his knowledge, even to the level of making those he or she comes in contact with rich. (I think telephone interview would make this explanation interesting and easy, so I will stop here)

7.How important is making a profit?

Very very important. We sow to reap, cultivate to harvest, and invest to get return. Profit to me (religiously, philosophical and in Igbo metaphysical belief), is very vital as it shows the joy and happiness one derives from working hard. One should make profit in everything you do, if not it is a waste. But not making a huge profit that does not match the services provided. You need to make profit enough to change the world around you for good. In Igbo culture, a poor man cannot/can never be of help to his community. It is better to provide a service for free, than to make very little profit from a service you had already made up your mind that it will fetch you some profits. Making profit is traditionally and spiritually okay/ encouraged.
But over the years, those that do not really understand Christianity thinks that making profit is a bad thing- they are wrong in all ramifications.

Final word:
I think you should make sure that this research gets to different people from different spiritual, religious and trado-metaphysical background. And I think making telephone conversations/recording it will be far more better. I cannot write everything I know here- it will be lengthy. I wish you all the best.

    Ben Hunt - 10 months ago

    Great response. Thank you for giving me a totally new perspective :-)

Tim - 10 months ago

For questions like this, a survey would be good.

Gary Ward - 10 months ago

How would you describe your religious, spiritual, or philosophical position?

Matter is never without spirit, spirit is never without matter. One might say Christian, but not in a limited sense. I am also a Muslim, and a Hindu, and a Jew, and a Hermeticist, etc.

What is your place in the Universe?

Created, part of creation, and a creator.

Who are your customers, really?

Seekers, looking for adventure and bliss.

What does service mean to you?

Everything is service. All products supply some service. Service is a creation of value between two (or more) people or a person and a thing.

What does money mean to you?

Money is spiritual. It is really only an idea, but through our value in it, it becomes tangible.

How do you relate to wealth?

What does it serve? Everyone with wealth needs to ask this. If it is not serving some real purpose, it is stagnant and dead.

How important is making a profit?

I am in business, profit is the motive and the goal. The profit provides wealth, the wealth serves a spiritual purpose-I hope.

Without writing a dissertation, these are my core beliefs.

    Ben Hunt - 10 months ago

    That’s great, thanks Gary. I appreciate your clarity on the importance of profit in your business.

shashank - 10 months ago

Thats Realy Great that You are writing a book on it,Spirtuality is a great concept,God bless,all the very best.

Thanks & Regards,
Shashank Kamath.

Tomislav Stamenovski - 10 months ago

1. My religious, spiritual, and philosophical positions are ONE. They are the same path of my life (or everyone’s life). The only difference is that some admit it to themselves and some do not. Generally, people opt for one of the above mentioned positions, and therefore caused division among the people according to their infirmities. And when they choose their life paths, leads to the formation of different religions, philosophical teachings, etc., but also to the different political and economic systems. My happiness is that I grew up without religion and without the imposed beliefs until my adulthood when I chose which religion I’ll be christened, and under what beliefs will live.
(Thanks to my parents)

2. My place in the Universe is the position of explorer.

3. My customers are all in the Universe and beyond.

4. For me, service means a need for interaction between people and beyond.

5. For me, money is a necessary tool for interpersonal interaction.

6. Way to invest in the exploration of the unknown.

7. It is extremely important to make a profit for the sake of a cause. In my case it is the answer to question 6.

    Ben Hunt - 10 months ago

    Brill, thanks Tom :-)

    ONE is my favourite number. One way, one love, the perfect expression of unity.

      Tomislav Stamenovski - 10 months ago

      Welcome Ben
      Unity, simplicity, …
      Thanks
      :)

nura - 10 months ago

I love to spend more time to find a new thing,not a religious matter,But how can i handle a different on a different peoples? Well trust on mind and mouth let more customer mark your business in return,I communicate with people that differ in religion and language;I now schedule it out to more than what you suppose to do on successes or not,if the plan much on fail,the next issue is gain more ;than when we make it and gain it,that means success forever,

Ron Cole - 10 months ago

1.How would you describe your religious, spiritual, or philosophical position?
I believe we are multi-dimensional being of light, experiencing a 3-dimensional reality.
2.What is your place in the Universe?
We are all fragments of the Creator, connected and loved.
3.Who are your customers, really?
People who want to grow in their skills, abilities and accomplishments.
4.What does service mean to you?
Providing the means for people to grow, discover and evolve.
5.What does money mean to you?
Money is the fruit of one’s efforts and mindset. It is one of the things which allows us to multiply our good.
6.How do you relate to wealth?
I’ll quote Dorothy Parker: “I’ve never been a millionnaire, but I’m certain I’d be darling at it.”
7.How important is making a profit?
Quite important, as profit allows us to continue and multiply our work.

I recommend visiting my wife’s page on Facebook:
The Age of Imagination
More than 50 poems on spirituality!
She has over 10,000 “likes.”

    Ben Hunt - 10 months ago

    Great, thanks Ron.

Chi Kit - 10 months ago

I practise Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism and am a member of lay organization called Soka Gakai International. In Uk, SGI-UK is the UK branch of Soka Gakkai International, a socially engaged Buddhist movement based on the teachings of the 13th century Buddhist teacher Nichiren.

http://www.sgi-uk.org

I believe in through chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, I can draw out buddhahood within me and so I can take the best action for the future. I believe everyone has buddhahood which is the highest potential in everyone’s life, which is worthy of respect. In Nichiren Daishomin’s buddhism, one can chant whatever one wants, even money if its for our happiness, it is ok.

Buddhism expounds the principle that ‘the Universe is one’s self.’ It teaches that the human being is essentially one with the Universe and clarifies the vastness of the human mind. Spatially the infinite expanse of the Universe in the ten directions and temporally the eternal flow the time spanning the three existences of past, present and future – all this is contained in a single moment of one’s mind.

Who are your customers, really?

My customers are all those I can serve and who would enjoy my products.

What does service mean to you?

To me, service is added value to my customers and to offer more than their expectations.

What does money mean to you?

Money is a mean to pay for my living, pay for things which I will enjoy.

How do you relate to wealth?

I think wealth can enable me to have more freedom of choice, can do things which I may not do in general. I can use it to create greater good for me and others.

How important is making a profit?

Making profit is important as it is an indicator of the success of a company. As the world is changing fast, profitable business can afford to response to changes easier.

    Ben Hunt - 10 months ago

    Thank you Chi..

    I’m interested in the idea of wealth being a force for good, e.g. when you have wealth you can employ other people to do jobs you maybe don’t enjoy (or are not so good at).. People who’ll be very grateful for the money.

    You can invest in good causes and projects.

    You can give significant sums to support charities.

    The greater the wealth you attract, the greater flow of wealth you can generate in all communities within your influence.

RalphB - 10 months ago

How would you describe your religious, spiritual, or philosophical position?
I am very conservative in my views and very traditional in a lot of ways. I do not follow after the current trends of the world. All three of these are all the same for me. They are a way of life for me and dictate the vast majority of how I treat people and interact with them.

What is your place in the Universe?
I am like a sand grain on a beach. I do what I can to influence for the good but leave it up to everyone around me to do what they believe.

Who are your customers, really?
My customers are my family first then everyone around me whether they buy from me or not or are even interested in what I have to say or sell. If I do the best job I can to help them I will succeed.

What does service mean to you?
Service is doing what you can do better the lives of those around you in whatever way is best. Sometimes that does mean you do nothing for someone and almost everything for others.

What does money mean to you?
Money is only a means to live life and not have to be a slave to work or other people.

How do you relate to wealth?
Wealth is best described by having a relationship of love and compassion for your family. If you have that love and help from your family you will always have the most important things in life. Money helps to a small degree to alleviate your stress of day to day but it is not the most important.

How important is making a profit?
As long as you make enough money to pay your bills and have some extra left over to enjoy your life you are making a profit that is good enough to live your life.

    Ben Hunt - 10 months ago

    Thank you Ralph, much appreciated.

Ron - 10 months ago

How would you describe your religious, spiritual, or philosophical position? ** Christian deist. We signed up for this, and we spend our lives on the carnival ride. We crave stimulus. The opposite of “happy” isn’t “sad”. The opposite of “happy” is bored. The opposite of “sad” is also bored.

What is your place in the Universe? ** The absolute center. :-) I mean this. It’s the only thing that makes sense. Of course you are at the absolute center of your universe. And Obama is at the… you get the idea. The question is: are they the same universes? How do they interact?

Who are your customers, really? **Fellow travelers, snorkeling through the oatmeal. I try to help.

What does service mean to you? A well-conceived and mindfully run business is itself a thing of beauty. It always boils down to providing a service that taps an inner need. The laws of supply and demand, need and fulfillment, probability, etc… are just as valid as the laws of physics. Defy them at your peril.

What does money mean to you? The lowest use of money is buying stuff. Next up the scale is using money for experiences. Most noble, is using money to start something that perpetuates and does good.

How do you relate to wealth? Wealth is not a thing or even a state of being. I reject the premise of the question.

How important is making a profit? It’s the surest sign that you are providing service.

    Ben Hunt - 10 months ago

    Great responses, thanks Ron. I love the concept of different orders of ways to use money, from the profane to the noble.

neat - 10 months ago

It’s a great idea bro, i mean d spiritual marketing , well my religion is Christianity & it’s afford me everything i need to be great in life spiritually.

Well my place in the universe is off course at the heart of the universe where the development and changes takes place plus i’m also part of the changes.

My customers are not necessarily those i do business with but also those who make my day great.

Service 2 me means ur humanity 2 God and Humanity 2 man.

Money mean any financial material i use 2 improve my life and that of other people around me.

I relate very well to wealth, profit making is vital 2 every human so i guess it is important

    Ben Hunt - 10 months ago

    Thanks man, I appreciate your reply :-)

Matt Gee - 10 months ago

Question 1: Messianic. Which is about a government being on this Earth in the future that will have business and industry.

Question 2: To prepare for a position in that Government of God, with Jesus Christ the Chief Administrator.

Question 3: Those interesting in wanting more from the Bible, and who believe there is something missing in society.

Question 4: “Buy the Truth, and sell it not.” The information one gives in a religious based industry should be far more valuable that the money that is made. As in donations or tithes and offerings.

Question 5: Money may be “a root to all evil,” which is the correct translation of that verse, but it isn’t evil to have money and to be wealthy.

Question 6: I wish I had more of it…lol. But when one serves God and looks to His Government on this Earth, it becomes secondary.

Question 7: It is important to make a “profit” in a religious based industry. Especially in tithes and offerings. God used this to help and encourage all involved. Even the Levitical Priesthood lived off the tithes and offerings because to God serving Him was their inheritance.

In God’s coming Government on this Earth there will be business and industry and profit will be made. The great difference is that things will be done God’s Way.

    Ben Hunt - 9 months ago

    Thanks Matt. There’s a very interesting tension there. You wish you had more money/wealth, but it’s secondary. You believe it’s possible – and virtuous – to make an honest profit.

    I wonder what’s holding you back from accepting greater wealth? David and Solomon commanded huge wealth. Maybe it just isn’t everyone’s place… but that opens up a new question: Do we believe in abundance, or scarcity?

      Matt Gee - 9 months ago

      Ben, I would say that “my place” is holding me back from greater wealth. One has this desire but the timing is very important with God. The Bible says things about wealth and what one calls wealth, and then also says to put your heart on things above.

      The “things above” points to a greater purpose that will be served on the Earth, as I said in my answers. I believe in abundance, however, the way man seems to misrule resources just may become scare. And that goes into the subject of prophecy of the coming economic system. Here is my web site I made through Wix.com if you want to take a look at it: http://www.mattweb99.wix.com/godsgovernment.

      Ben Hunt - 9 months ago

      Thanks for the extra info Matt. Unfortunately the bold blue text on your site is practically unreadable, so I didn’t even try.

      My understanding of wealth in the Abrahamic religious traditions is not that it is evil in itself, but that it is wrong to worship it, to put it first in your life.

      There is no question that wealth – used well – can have a huge positive impact. But money on its own doesn’t do anything, doesn’t have any meaning, or value. It only manifests when used by people, and it is the spirit in which it is used that gives it power, value, and meaning.

Mike Baker - 9 months ago

1) How would you describe your religious, spiritual, or philosophical position?

My ‘spiritual position’ is that I have turned my life and my will over to the care of God as I understand Him. I have a good ‘relationship’ with my higher power. My ‘religion’ is basically in the evangelical Christian realm.

For every philosophical debate there is a convincing counter debate. In the end I felt I needed to choose something to believe in. Even evolution requires a great deal of ‘faith’ where actual science cannot fill the gaps. I felt that there is no way such organized complexity could be ‘random.’

2) What is your place in the Universe?

My place in the universe is to do as much as I can to help others and to keep my side of the street clean. I want to be a positive influence on those around me and those I come in contact with.

3) Who are your customers, really?

My customers are mainly small business people right now.

4) What does service mean to you?

Service means I deliver the best product I can and help the business owner focus and communicate the most effective message we can. My experience has been that many small business owners have no idea what they really want to say or who their customers really are, or even what those customers want to hear. I love being able to help them find those things out and to cultivate their dream and turn it into a reality.

5) What does money mean to you?

Money is means by which I pay the bills and meet my obligations. Money allows me to have choices and in the end I hope to make enough to retire comfortably.

6) How do you relate to wealth?

For me true wealth in found in my relationships with others. Having lost everything 12 years ago and having to start over I discovered my best laid plans were no match for my ‘bright’ ideas. Financial wealth would be nice to accumulate, and I am by no means against it, but I have come to realize that it can be fleeting.

7) How important is making a profit?

Making a profit is extremely important to me. Without it I cannot keep the doors open or meet my obligations.

Thanks for asking great questions Ben!
Happy Holidays to all to all a Happy New Year!!!

Mike Baker

    Ben Hunt - 9 months ago

    Hey Mike. Thanks for your response.

    I actually agree with you on evolution. I’m 100% convinced that life has evolved, and continues to evolve, on this planet, but I’m convinced it cannot be powered by random mutation. Quite what completes the gaps I don’t know, but it certainly seems there is intelligence within the evolutionary process.

    That’s an idea I would have rejected a year ago, believing that “Intelligent Design” was a weak argument and just a Trojan horse to get Creationism into schools through the back door. However, it isn’t the same thing. Young-Earth creationism is patently wrong. We just don’t have all the answers yet, but the questions are fascinating!

      Mike Baker - 9 months ago

      Ben:

      This has been an interesting thread – I enjoy reading your responses. I agree with your thoughts about wealth. Wealth is indeed a great tool in the hands of a disciplined and spiritual individual. I have never seen money as good or evil – it is tool, just like fire. If you use it improperly you can get burned – when you use it properly it can cook up some great stuff! I am all for wealth accumulation and I hope I can use the tools you have given me to do just that! Happy New Year!

      Ben Hunt - 9 months ago

      Thanks Mike, I wish you all the very best for 2014.

      Ben

Jonatan - 9 months ago

How would you describe your religious, spiritual, or philosophical position?
My position for all my life would be my belief in Jesus Christ as my personal Savior. I don’t want to call it my religious position, because I have a relationship with Jesus which comes from love. Love is the foundation. Religion, doctrines is not important for me, I don’t believe that gets you closer to God. Spiritually I pray to God, through his Holy Spirit.

What is your place in the Universe?
I’m God’s beloved creation. He loves me for who I am and for nothing else. That’s the foundation which never changes. I also believe I’m put here to help people who do not believe in God come to him.

Who are your customers, really?
Those who need my services. Right now I’m a webdesign student so I have no customers, haven’t put my services out yet.

What does service mean to you?
To provide what the customer needs.

What does money mean to you?
Money is a tool we use for our purposes.

How do you relate to wealth?
Much like my view on money, I think wealth is something you can use to get to the place you want. Personally I feel wealthy by having a roof over my head, clothes to put on my body, food to eat etc, as there are so many who don’t. I try to use what I have to help other people.

How important is making a profit?
For a business it’s very important, of course. I do though think businessess which has a lot of money owe it to the rest of the world to give money away to help eradicating poverty for example. I think bigger companies seem to go way to far to make more money, such as having child workers etc.

For me personally it’s not that important. I want what i need for my daily life.

    Ben Hunt - 9 months ago

    Thanks for your input Jonatan. Interesting to hear your view that companies with profits owe it to the world to give those profits away to help tackle poverty. A leftist perspective, which is another powerful and important viewpoint I think we need to represent.

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