We spend allot of time here comparing equipment and extensively analyzing the pros and cons of bodies, lenses, etc.
However - many people say, that the real ingredient for producing special pictures - is the skill of the photographer. Many all time famous monumental photographs where taken black and white with "simple" equipment. The special part of those photos is often the content and meaning of the picture - much less the "sharpness" or other tech features.
How important is our equipment ? Would you agree that it more like 85% skill and 15% equipment ?
My take on it as an amateur photographer is that having usable equipment is essential -- for example you can't take pictures without a camera ! However, the main thing more expensive equipment buys you is convenience, not necessarily better quality.
An example of needing usable equipment -- my move to SLRs was motivated by very unsuccessful attempts to take indoor portraits with a point and shoot. The camera had no manual focus and had a lot of trouble auto-focusing in that light. Under the same conditions, an inexpensive manual focus film SLR would have worked admirably.
These days, one can pick up a pro autofocus film body like the EOS 3 for the price of a mid range point and shoot. This camera has weather sealing, 45 autofocus points, 7fps with battery grip (4 without) and an eye tracking AF system, E-TTL flash, and spot metering.
So having equipment is essential but once you have an appropriate setup, you won't get better returns in terms of quality for your dollar. However, you might get more in terms of convenience or quantity. For a pro, being able to crank out more of the same in less time (more quantity and more convenience) is good for business. Few amateurs suffer from not being able to take enough pictures ! The amateur doesn't have to photograph everything -- they always have the option of saying "the lighting is no good" and putting away the camera, but this approach won't work very well for you if you are the paid wedding photographer. So for the enthusiast, an expensive DSLR is really more about convenience than better results.