I had the blessing of watching a TEdx presentation by Tai Lopez on why everyone needs a mentor, and if you can’t have a mentor in person, it would be advisable to read books and follow up on the philosophies of the great individuals you respect and admire.
Paul had Gamaliel, Joshua had Moses, Elisha had Elijah, Bill Gates had Paul Allan, Warren Buffet had Benjamin Graham. From an investment point of view, Warren Buffett is one of my mentors.
Warren Buffett grew up in a devoted Christian environment. His father, Howard Homan Buffett, a former congressman from Omaha, was a pastor in the Presbyterian Church.
As a Christian, I wanted to know whether this seer of the investment world, who has experienced so much of a success in business while practicing principles clearly espoused in Scripture, is a Christian or just an agnostic. In the 2014 letter to shareholders, Charlie Munger, the Vice President of the Berkshire Hathaway, the company of which Warren Buffett is president, commented, “Buffet often displayed almost inhuman patience.”
We know that in Galatians 5:22-23 that one of the Fruits of the Spirit is “patience”, and Warren seems to excel in patience, at least from an investment point of view.
To have a sense of where he stands spiritually, we could factor in the stupendous sum of money he has agreed to give to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to fight disease and poverty; the simple and low profile life that he lives; his ethos in conducting business; his mild demeanor and sometimes reticent disposition in almost all encounters, all are like a weather-vane pointing to a man of faith and prudence – a man like Job of the Old Testament
But these outward manifestations of goodness, painting a vignette of Christianity, do not necessarily mean that he is a Christian, nor do they equate to some religious spirituality.
“Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.”, said the physician, Luke (Luke 6:45).
In most of Buffett’s letter to shareholders, he alludes to Pascal’s Wager. According to Wikipedia, “Pascal’s Wager is an argument in apologetic philosophy devised by the seventeenth-century French philosopher, mathematician and physicist Blaise Pascal (1623–62). It posits that humans all bet with their lives either that God exists or not.”
In his 2015 letter to shareholder, she addressed a question posed by a shareholder regarding the possibility of climate change exerting an impact on Berkshire’s insurance business.
He wrote, “This issue bears a similarity to Pascal’s Wager on the Existence of God. Pascal, it may be recalled, argued that if there were only a tiny probability that God truly existed, it made sense to behave as if He did because the rewards could be infinite whereas the lack of belief risked eternal misery. Likewise, if there is only a 1% chance the planet is heading toward a truly major disaster and delay means passing a point of no return, inaction now is foolhardy. Call this Noah’s Law: If an ark may be essential for survival, begin building it today, no matter how cloudless the skies appear.”
In his 2007 letter to shareholders, he spoke about the Berkshires return on invested capital with Biblical tones. “Just as Adam and Eve kick-started an activity that led
to six billion humans, See’s has given birth to multiple new streams of cash for us. (The biblical command to ‘be fruitful and multiply’ is one we take seriously at Berkshire.”
The 1999 letter to shareholders alludes to Joseph interpretation of Pharaohs dream (Genesis 41), drawing similarities to the downdrafts and appreciations that characterized the market from 1964 through 1981. He said, “Now, to get some historical perspective, let’s look back at the 34 years before this one—and here we are going to see an almost Biblical kind of symmetry, in the sense of lean years and fat years—to observe what happened in the stock market.”
In 2002, he spoke about why the quality of management was important. “Both the ability and fidelity of managers have long needed monitoring. Indeed, nearly 2,000 years
ago, Jesus Christ addressed this subject, speaking (Luke 16:2) approvingly of ‘a certain rich man’ who told his manager, ‘Give an account of thy stewardship; for thou mayest no longer be steward’. Accountability and stewardship withered in the last decade, becoming qualities deemed of little importance by those caught up in the Great Bubble. As stock prices went up, the behavioral norms of managers went down.”
Frankly, although Buffett appears to be very knowledgeable about the Bible and he arguably possesses many good attributes, he continually makes references to Scripture as a source of wisdom and not as the ultimate word of God. I may be wrong, for I am often wrong. Only God knows a man’s heart and every man must carry his own cross.