It’s difficult to associate religion with finance. After all, religions are supposed to be all about faith and spirituality. However, religion is much like any other organization. Religion has leadership. It has income and expenses. Therefore, you can think of organized religion much like a business. In fact, there’s a lot of money that goes through religious hands, and it’s a good thing that most of that money is used for charity—at least we all would hope that’s the case. In any rate, there are many religions out there that are actually rich organizations, and here’s a list the world’s top ten.
10. Church of Scientology
Founded upon the teachings of L. Ron Hubbard, the Church of Scientology was started in 1952. 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—including its most popular member, Tom Cruise, arguably. It costs a lot of member to climb the ranks. If you are interested, expect to spend at least a couple of hundreds of thousands to be at the top tier. That’s surely one good way to earn money for the church.
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.
One of the more popular divisions of Christianity, Protestantism has a great amount of followers. Protestantism is basically the separation from the reign of the Vatican seat. The religion has been around since the 16thcentury, and it has grown to over 33,000 denominations since. Protestants rely heavily on the bible for practical guidance, and many Protestant churches also rely on tithing and charitable contributions for money.
All the gods in Hinduism live in wealth. The Hindus believe that wealth and abundance are gifts from the gods. It’s no surprise that Hinduism is one of the richest religions in the world. Many devout Hindus all over the world pursue self-knowledge and self-realization, and they aspire to find wealth not only physically but also mentally. In the US, the Hindus are the second richest body of religion.
6. Episcopal Church
Having its roots from the Church of England, the Episcopal Church was established in the United States in 1785 as a separate entity from the British monarchy. Today, there are over two million Episcopalians throughout the US, but the church has expanded to other countries including the Caribbean, Latin America, Taiwan, and also Europe. Its members are some of the wealthiest in the nation.
5. Church of England
Also a form of Protestantism, the Church of England was actually founded by Henry VIII because of controversy. The king refused to follow the marital principles of the religion at the time, so he decided to create his own church in order to divorce his wife at the time, Catherine of Aragon. Although it started off that way, the Anglicans have grown to be a tremendous religious body. They also happen to own a lot of land in Britain—estimated at $6.7 billions worth, which also collects hundreds of millions in income each year.
4. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
The Mormons are a popular group for many reasons—thanks largely to the Broadway musical hit, The Book of Mormon.Although that may be the case, it’s also true that Mormons have grown in popularity because of its growing spread throughout the globe. Some people say that Mormons are everywhere, and that’s probably true given that the church roughly has about 14 million members worldwide. That kind of membership explains how the church earns their annual revenue of $6 billion.
Jews have long been associated with wealth. Many Jews pursue professional careers and are excellent in business. The Jewish community is also a faithful group of believers. Jews make up roughly 25% of the 400 wealthiest Americans. It’s largely the reason why the religion is rich—many of its members are wealthy themselves. The Jewish tzedakah boxes also see 10% of a household’s income—much like its Christian cousins.
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. It’s also the reason why Islam is number two on this list. Islam doesn’t have any laws against the acquisition of wealth, and some of Islam’s believers happen to be kings in their countries. It’s been estimated that the Islamic faith has assets of nearly $1.6 trillion.
1. Roman Catholic Church
Being one of the oldest religions in the world, the Roman Catholic Church is as complicated as any religion could get. For example, Roman Catholic priests make a vow of poverty upon entering service in the church, so it’s actually surprising that the Catholics made it to the top. The leadership in the church primarily consists of priests in different rankings, but there’s hardly any poverty within the church organization at all. In fact, the Vatican economy relies on donations from its members and also on its various investments. However, the governing body of the church likes to keep its finances secret; though we do known they operate consistently in the billions each year.