Religion and wealth and poverty

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Last updated: November 22, 2019

A) The need for world developmentThe world can be divided by a line into two halves, north and south. North of the line contains the richer, developed countries, and to the south, the less developed poorer countries.

Only 25% of the world’s people live in the north but have 80% of the world’s money. And in the south there are 75% of the worlds people with much less money. In the south only half have the chance of a formal education. Much of the south suffers from famine, overpopulation, drought and disease. The average life expectancy in the north is 70. In the south it is merely 50.

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Many babies, women and children die everyday from curable diseases simply because they cannot afford the medicine.With such problems, many southern countries have needed to borrow money from richer northern banks. This is fixed so that the northern banks make money from poorer countries that can never pay back the debts on the loan interest. Out of what the banks in the north spend only tiny amounts of money go to poverty aid in the south. In fact they receive much more money from the southern debts than what they give.

In developing countries, there may be a shortage of money, medicine or food, but that does not mean that simple money donations or emergency handouts can solve its problems. This can temporarily help, but that will solve little. To attack poverty in the long term you must attack it at its roots. They need education and they need to be shown how to help themselves. This means more than money, manpower and physical help is required. This is the meaning of the phrase, “give a man a fish and you will feed him for a day: teach him to fish and he will feed himself for life”. Political help is also required and the government of developed countries must try and help developing countries with either less debt or more aid contributions.

B) Christian teachings on wealth and poverty, charitable giving and charityMany of the Christian beliefs reside from the fact that all people are seen as equal in Gods eyes, and therefore no one should be treated unequally, or have extreme wealth and another poverty. And as Christians we all have a duty to help the poor, even if only a little.There have been many Christians who have publishes their teachings on poverty.

Teaching on modern social issues began in 1891 with Pope Leo XIII, when he published his encyclical. It teaches of how with the industrial revolution making terrible conditions for the poor drastic changes were needed. And so the teachings began. Through the ages the various popes released a number documents and speeches on the causes and solutions of poverty, with a large amount stating to the problem of unfair international trade and politics, and the situation of the rich banks making money from the poor countries with interest debts from loans. And that this must be stopped.The Catholic Church teaches that each and every individual has an obligation to the poor. That we have a duty to act, think, and pray for the poor in everything we do.

The Catholic Church calls this ‘having an option for the poor’. If we can individually change our hearts, to not commit sins, it will build up to stopping the sin and corruption that has worked its way into the main cause of poverty: modern politics and international trade. Therefore all people have a commitment to change their ways, and by each person doing their small individual part, it will lead to help with the elimination of poverty.The church of England and all other churches also agree with this, stating that there is required a new system of economic relationships between nations, and strongly sides with Leviticus 25: -‘Do not make them pay interest on the money you lend them, and do not make a profit on the food you sell them. This is the command of the lord your God.’The general Christian view is that it is wrong for some people to starve, while others have plenty, and we must act accordingly to prevent and stop this.C) The work of one Catholic agency working for world developmentThe Catholic Fund For Overseas development (CAFOD) is an organisation that is doing a great deal to help with the various issues overseas such as poverty and human rights. Its aim is to eliminate poverty in the third world, and create a situation where everyone has a fair share.

One aspect of CAFOD’s work is in environmental and farming aid. They cover several types project, including help for construction of things such as dams, and emergency shelters, which greatly help. They also work to help the livelihood of people such as farmers to improve their crop with new agricultural techniques and methods.CAFOD does not simply send over engineers to make constructions or bags of food to feed the hungry, it always tries to maintain an attitude of, ‘helping people to help themselves’. For example, they can educate people, who can help other members of their own community, thus allowing them to help themselves.One of the major causes of poverty is third world debt. Where countries are repaying loans they have to cut the budget on important things like education.

CAFOD believes that some of the debts of countries should be written off so they can make a fresh start. They campaign on debt and ask powerful money-lending organisations to change their policies in order to help with preventing third world debt.CAFOD also does a lot of emergency work when it is needed. When there is a natural disaster or an event such as the Kosovo incident, such as a flood, hurricane, or earthquake they provide food and then help with rebuilding.They also run many fund raising projects through schools and otherwise, such as sponsored sports events to raise money.D) My response to the view that: -“There should be no rich religious people as long as there is poverty in the world.

“Some people do agree with this statement, and think that there should be no rich religious people as long as there is poverty in the world, because no one deserves to be better or worse off in the eyes of God as we are all equal.But then again, being rich or poor and what you give is all a matter of perspective. There is no set currency for being rich, nor is there a set amount to be classified as being rich. For instance, the average person living in the UK would seem rich compared to the average person living in India. But also seem poor compared to the quality of life and average income in Japan.

Therefore being rich depends entirely on what you consider to be poor.This also means that giving away your riches to the poor can be anything, as shown in the case of the bible where the poor widow donated a single coin but since she had nothing else, she was giving more riches away than all the wealthy people who gave lots of gold.Also, being rich does not always mean in terms of money, for many people believe that being rich is a matter of spiritual riches and/or talent. For instance, if someone is happy, then they can say they have all they could ever want and then they would be truly rich.So when people agree with and follow this statement, it does not necessarily mean that they are going to give all they have to the poor and live a penniless existence, begging in the gutter, but rather that they feel that they are giving their wealth to poverty. But this does not even mean money at all, it could mean to give there talents or gifts, for example the gift of being able to talk in front of audiences, to make workshops to contribute to poverty aid.

Other people may not agree with this statement and think that there should be rich religious people, even while there is poverty in the world.They may think this for a number of reasons. One possibility would be that although they are still rich, they think that their efforts would be better appreciated and they could do more good from a rich point of view. For instance if a business man earned more money then he could also donate more, and also donate more frequently, whereas an alternative would be to give all he had to the poor, and then never be able to help again. Therefore in this situation he could do the most good by being rich.Others simply may disagree, on the grounds that they worked hard for what they have earned, and therefore they should deserve to keep there riches and stay ‘rich’, or they just think they should not need to ‘waste’ their money giving to charity.

Another point of view would be that they would always be rich. Not in physical wealth, but in spiritual gifts, and therefore no one could take away their riches even if they wanted to.I personally feel that it does not matter whether you are rich or poor when you give to poverty, as long as you give. In such a case as the case of the businessman, to be rich would be best, or in another case to give all would be best. In the case of spiritual riches, you can give much but still be rich forever, so it would be right to give as much as you can.

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