What arguments can be made to say that people should spend money on religious decorations rather than using that money to help the poor? This is for a world religions test. I need to write an essay about this topic.

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I assume that when you ask about “religious decorations” you are referring to Christmas decorations.  I will base my answer on that assumption.

There is certainly an argument to be made for the other perspective on this question.  We know that Jesus taught people to give away their possessions and give the money to the poor.  It is possible to argue that this means we should use the money that we spend on Christmas displays to help the poor. 

However, it is also possible to argue that the Christmas displays are a good use of money.  There are at least two ways in which to do this.  First, we can argue that Christmas displays are good for society.  It is important for us as a society to have things that make us feel close to one another.  Christmas displays show that we have this holiday in common.  They help to build a feeling of community for us.  Second, we can argue that Christmas displays are good in religious terms.  Jesus also told us in Matthew 4:4 that “man shall not live by bread alone…”  This implies that people (including poor people) also need “every word that comes from the mouth of God.”  We can argue that Christmas lights and displays are a way of spreading this word.  It is, in this way of thinking, just as important for people to use Christmas displays to spread the word of God because salvation is at least as important as having enough to eat here in this life.

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