Religious Studies Coursework – Wealth and Poverty

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Last updated: November 22, 2019

Question a(i): Outline Christian teaching, and the teaching of one other religion, on wealth and poverty:Christians believe wealth is something that can be used for good and evil, so in itself wealth is not a bad thing.

Christians can only gain money in lawful and moral ways, and when they have wealth it is a gift from God – and not theirs alone. Many biblical teachings show that if people have the wrong attitude to money and wealth, it can lead them away from God.Christianity also states that rich people/countries have a moral obligation to help the poor. If nobody helped the poor, they would die for foolish reasons, so by helping them not only would they be helping themselves religiously, they would be benefiting others and pleasing God. This point is stated by the Catholic Church, when it says:”God blesses those who come to the aid of the poor and rebuted and those who turn away from them. Love for the poor is incomplete and immoderate use of riches of their selfish use.

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” Catechism of the Catholic Church.If you do not have a lot of wealth, you shouldn’t be depressed as a consequence. This is stated by Timothy 6:9,10,”People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires, that plunge a man into ruin and destruction. For love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.

“The Islamic attitude towards wealth and poverty is similar to that which is Christianity.Islam says those who are rich are equal to those who have little or no money, because on the day of judgement – your actions in life will be taken into account – not your financial status.Muslims have two ways in which money is transferred to the poor; through Sadaqah and Zakat. Sadaqah is where you give money to the poor, or food instead of money, in the aim will accept your deed and help an ill family member. Zakat is when you give 2.5% of your wealth to the poor, so if somebody has £25000 saved up, they give £625 to charity. Zakat takes place once a year, around the time of Ramadan.

Islam also states that if somebody is in debt to you, owing you money, not to keep on asking them for your money, or making them pay you back,”If the debtor is in difficulty, grant him time to repay. But if ye remit it by the way of charity, that is best for you if ye only knew.” Surah 2:280This basically says if someone owes you money; don’t keep asking them for it back, if they (the debtor) pay it in the way of charity that is even better. This shows there is many more things to consider in religion than money; charity is a way of pleasing God, so by lending money to a poorer person you would please God, and the money being returned through charity would further please God.If a Muslim is not wealthy, it is not a reason to do bad things, as only God can give wealth and happiness – without God they wouldn’t be alive.

Question a(ii): Explain why there is a need for World Development:There is a need for World Development, as it is not fair that some countries and people are poor and living in an inhabitable environment, whilst others are rich and live in lavish and posh surroundings.Countries are divided into 1st World and 3rd World countries, and in between them there are nations that are transforming from 3rd world countries into 1st world countries. Countries like the USA, Canada, UK, France and Germany are all examples of 1st world countries, Bangladesh, Uganda, Ethiopia and the Philippines are 3rd World Countries; Pakistan and India are nations in the middle of the two groups.If World Development were continued at a greater pace, many countries would benefit from better Education, Health Care, Economy, Government and infrastructure levels.

If World Development were one day at such a high stage, people would be treated fairly, and given more chances in life. For example, if somebody was granted asylum and allowed to stay in this country and work, he would not a decent wage compared to his British counterpart, however if the country of the foreign national were improved, everyone would be treated as equals.World Development is not just about giving massive amounts of money to LEDCs (Less Economically Developed Countries) from MEDCs (More Economically Developed Countries) it is more about helping them manually. By that for instance, a Government could be set up which has more understanding of the outside world, which could therefore improve country relations and bring income to the country, from exporting something which is specially grown in that area.

Or by extending the countries Infrastructure, improving transport in and to the country, by air, road and rail. Providing a telephone network that may lead to computer networks, or by building power stations, so electricity is more widespread in the nation.By doing this, persecution of people, and discrimination of the poor will be ended. As in today’s modern world, the countries picked on by others are those that are poor, undeveloped and where there is not much hope for people. Major designer labels make children make their clothing, and pay them as little as 2p per item, yet these companies go on to sell their clothes for over £40, depending on what is being sold.

This is immoral and wrong.World Development is needed, as everyone is equal, therefore should be treated equally. But due to exploitation by others, some people are not treated fairly.

This is wrong, and is against all major religions. So World Development would lead in people being treated fairly, living in healthier conditions, better education on job prospects, and more importantly – a happier and more enjoyable life.Question a(iii): Analyse and explain the work of ONE religious agency working for World Development:Christian Aid began as the British Churches Ecumenical Refugee Council in 1944 to help the hundreds of thousands of European, who had become homeless by the Second World War. In September 1945, it became Christian Aid; a department of the British Council of Churches (all the non- Roman Catholic Churches) providing help for poor people in less economically developed countries.Christian Aid works in over 60 countries providing emergency aid and long term assistance to Church and community organisations, working to overcome poverty. Christian Aid prefers to work through local organisations, believing local people know how to solve their own peoples. Christian works on the basis of need, regardless of race or religion.The money Christian Aid raises I done through a number of ways.

From door-to-door knocks, sponsorships donations from member churches, profits from stalls set up at local fairs and most importantly, supporters in the General public. With this, Christian Aid more around £40 million pounds a year.Despite raising so much money, Christian Aid tends not to want to help areas where there has recently been a natural disaster; instead they like to work in ‘development work’. Which is small-scale, but long-term projects run locally.

These types of development project help people themselves, instead of always depending on help from others. This is known as Sustainable development. Christian Aid feels strongly about this sort of work, therefore, 52% of their earning for the year goes to this type of work.Christian Aid also hopes that governments, especially this country, adopt some of their ideas. Christian Aid feels that the government of this country hampers the efforts of countries to develop. This is because poor countries borrow masses of money from MEDCs, like the UK.

The country uses this money and it helps the economy of that country greatly. However, those countries make no profit as the interest of the money they borrowed is always growing, and the country ends up paying that. Christian Aid wants all debt owed by poorer countries cancelled; giving poorer countries a chance to improve even further. Christian does not press a lot on this issue as it feels it is too political, and Christian Aid are a charity, not a political party.

I feel that Christian Aid are a good charity, and do a lot to help the needy, from sustainable development, which results in 52% of their income being spent, to emergency help to disaster hit zones, 12% of its income. However I do feel that Christian Aid needs to take their campaign to the government. If poorer countries don’t get their debt cancelled, they will never reach a level of development needed, because the money the country earns goes to richer countries as interest; yet these rich countries don’t need it.Question b: “There should be no rich people as long as there is poverty in the world” Do you agree?I think there should be rich people, as long as there are people in poverty my reasons follow. If there was no rich people, how would we know who is rich and poor? It is like saying nobody should have ill health, if that was the case, we couldn’t appreciate how lucky we are to be in good health. So if there were no rich and poor people, we couldn’t appreciate how lucky we are, and how rich we are, as we will always be above somebody else. If everyone had equal riches, or there were no rich people, there would be a power struggle to show which nation had the most power.The most obvious reason in my view though, is; if there were no rich people, who would help the poor.

Despite richer countries sometimes exploiting poorer nations, they are the ones who lend money, and many charities raise their money from richer people. If there were no rich people, there would be more people in poverty and harsh conditions, than if there were rich people. Poorer people may say that if they suffer, everyone should suffer. This type of thinking is wrong, what would the point be of many others suffering for the sake of the poor people in the current state.

If people are rich, it is because God has given it to them as a gift, and no human can oppose that. Many religions, including Christianity and Islam, that once you have died, on the day of judgement your financial height won’t decide whether you go to heaven or hell, what you have done in life will.I think there should be rich people as long as there are people in poverty, if they’re no rich people, no one will be able to help the poor. The poor may feel if they have little money, so should everybody else, but, Christianity says wealth is a gift from God, and so we cannot choose who is rich and poor.

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