One of the more visible signs that consumers have regarding a company's religious views is whether the business operates on Sundays. A 2005 article from the periodical The Guardian quoted Pope Benedict XVI, who called on his Catholic followers to focus on Sundays as a religious day to stem against "rampant consumerism and religious indifference."

A number of high-profile retail firms, including chicken fast food provider Chick-Fil-A, arts and crafts store Hobby Lobby and furniture giant R.C. Willey, proudly state on their websites that they are closed on Sundays. Capitalists are quick to point out that Sundays are among the most popular days for shoppers who work during the week. Additionally, missing a single day means being closed for 14% of the week.

Warren Buffett called into question R.C. Willey's decision to remain closed as it expanded out of its home state of Utah, but lost out to a "higher authority," as the stores are still closed on Sundays. Mr. Buffet isn't alone, however, when it comes to keeping business practices separate from religion. Below are some famous businessmen and investors who have proclaimed themselves non-religious.

SEE: A Guide To Faith-Based Investing

Warren Buffett
Buffett has admitted to being agnostic, which is consistent with his rational views on business and life in general. He was said to not have been originally hired by his mentor Benjamin Graham because they did not share the same religion. A number of quotes and interviews have detailed Buffett's agnostic attitude toward religion. One suggested he liked the agnostic view as it meant no one is wrong when it comes to religion, which sounds logical enough.

The companies Buffet invests in are well known, and every trade he makes seems to be scrutinized by those who wish to be as successful as he is. That said, if you want to invest like Buffet, you might consider Walmart, Wells Fargo or Coca-Cola.

SEE: Warren Buffet: How He Does It

Steve Jobs
Apple founder Steve Jobs wavered on the existence of God. Much of Jobs' thoughts on religion were released as part of Walter Isaacson's research in putting together his biography on Jobs. Transcripts and interviews detail that Jobs became more religious following a cancer diagnosis, but he also detailed that he thought the chances were "50-50 maybe."

Jobs also thought that life and death may simply be like an on-off switch on an electronic device, and alluded to the fact that he didn't add the switches to Apple devices because he liked the thought of the existence of an afterlife and not the finality of passing into it.

Bill Gates
Gates, who serves on the board of directors of Buffett's Berkshire-Hathaway, is said to prefer a scientific approach to "why things happen and how they happen," over one that is based on scripture or other religious views. In an interview from the 1970s, he was quoted as not believing in certain Christian beliefs and not being a regular churchgoer. In another interview with Walter Isaacson, he stated "There's a lot more I could be doing on a Sunday morning."

Gates' portfolio holds a lot of financials, but he also likes big names; some of his top holdings include McDonald's, Coca-Cola, and Caterpillar.

George Soros, the "official website of George Soros" states that the billionaire investor identifies himself as an atheist and that he "respects all faiths and religious practices." Specifically, "he believes that people of faith and faith communities contribute to the public's understanding of pressing social issues and often add a principled, moral aspect to debates that are too often dominated by politicians, statistics and polling."

Some of Soros' newest buys include Cvr Energy, Chevron, Suntrust and Macy's.

SEE: The Philosophy Of An Elite Investor

The Bottom Line
Often business leaders and investors generally prefer to keep their religious views to themselves and focus on serving their customers and clients. Success does allow certain professionals, such as those above, to state their views without impacting their personal bottom lines. Overall this makes sense, considering that many beliefs concerning the afterlife are, for some obvious and practical reasons, difficult to prove.

Related Articles
  1. Professionals

    What Accounts for One-Third of the Wage Gap

    Women who work full time still make less than men who have the same qualifications. One third of the pay gap may be due to gender bias and discrimination.
  2. Personal Finance

    Top Universities for Getting an MBA Abroad

    Going abroad for an MBA can add cachet when it comes time to get a job.
  3. Personal Finance

    Five Things To Avoid at Your Next Interview

    Do you have an interview coming up? Avoid these five mistakes and leave a lasting impression on your potential employer.
  4. Professionals

    Career Advice: Financial Planner Vs. Wealth Manager

    Understand the differences between a career in financial planning and wealth management, and identify which is better for you based on your goals and talents.
  5. Investing

    Procter & Gamble Restructures, Sheds 100 Brands

    All businesses face adversity, and Procter & Gamble is no exception. We take a look at recent developments affecting this global giant.
  6. Professionals

    4 Ways Companies Can Relieve Workplace Stress

    Workplace stress can cost companies tons of money in lost productivity and absenteeism. Some of that is out of their control, but often they are the cause.
  7. Forex Education

    The Most Famous Forex Traders Of All Time

    The five most famous forex traders share common virtues such as strong self-confidence.
  8. Personal Finance

    6 Reasons To Get Your MBA Abroad

    Given the number of high caliber business schools outside the United States, it may make sense to venture overseas for your MBA. Here's what you can gain.
  9. Retirement

    Why Some Celebs Say 'No Inheritance for My Kids'

    To some of the super rich, inherited wealth is not the ultimate gift, it's a burden. Here's how their children—as well as charities—stand to benefit.
  10. Entrepreneurship

    Top 3 Most Successful African Entrepreneurs

    Discover the educational backgrounds and entrepreneurial ventures of some of the most successful and well-known African entrepreneurs.
  1. Which US cities have the highest number of high-income households?

    According to the most recent U.S. Census report on the geographic concentration of high-income households conducted in 2 ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. Why did Warren Buffett invest heavily in Coca-Cola (KO) in the late 1980s?

    Warren Buffett found Coca-Cola an attractive investment because it had a moat and was attractively valued. Buffett began ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. Why does Warren Buffett largely avoid investing in the technology sector?

    Warren Buffett has often said that he avoids investing in the technology sector because he does not like to own stocks in ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. Why doesn't Warren Buffett own Apple (AAPL) stock?

    Warren Buffet claims he simply does not know how to properly evaluate Apple (AAPL) and does not feel confident in his reading ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. What qualities are necessary to be an effective member of the c-suite in a publicly-traded ...

    Several qualities are needed to be a member of the c-suite of a publicly traded company. The c-suite is business jargon term ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. What are examples of businesses that exhibit social responsibility?

    In the 21st century, companies that exhibit corporate social responsibility are winning high marks from consumers and investors ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

Hot Definitions
  1. Zero-Sum Game

    A situation in which one person’s gain is equivalent to another’s loss, so that the net change in wealth or benefit is zero. ...
  2. Capitalization Rate

    The rate of return on a real estate investment property based on the income that the property is expected to generate.
  3. Gross Profit

    A company's total revenue (equivalent to total sales) minus the cost of goods sold. Gross profit is the profit a company ...
  4. Revenue

    The amount of money that a company actually receives during a specific period, including discounts and deductions for returned ...
  5. Normal Profit

    An economic condition occurring when the difference between a firm’s total revenue and total cost is equal to zero.
  6. Operating Cost

    Expenses associated with the maintenance and administration of a business on a day-to-day basis.
Trading Center
You are using adblocking software

Want access to all of Investopedia? Add us to your “whitelist”
so you'll never miss a feature!