A Christian Perspective of Poverty and Wealth

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INTRODUCTION Poverty and human deprivation have been recognized as the most central challenges to the development of human society ever since the dawn of history. Alongside them is the issue of wealth, its creation, possession, distribution and our attitude towards it. Poverty is considered a major constraint to any form of development of human beings. The ways and means of eradicating it are now intensely studied and researched in several academic disciplines like economics, politics, history, sociology, religion, theology, ethics and even law. Tremendous amounts of resources and time have been spent on this problem by both governmental and non-governmental organizations and institutions for several generations. Yet today (2001), there are more human beings suffering chronic deprivation than ever in history. Recent estimates show that nearly half the world's population, about three billion people, live on less than two dollars a day. Most of these are destitute, trapped in absolute poverty. All over the world, disparities between the rich and the poor even in the wealthiest of nations are rising sharply. Fewer people are becoming increasingly "successful" and "wealthy" while a disproportionately large population is becoming even poorer. Ironically, all this is happening in a world that God has blessed with abundance, enough to allow every living soul on earth have a descent and comfortable life. This is the problem this essay endeavors to address. Why is there poverty, suffering and hunger in a bountiful world? Do Christians have any responsibility in the face of such a situation in our world? What role or approach should Ch... ... middle of paper ... ...ally and spiritually. This therefore calls for an integrated and practical approach in teaching our students to handle the problem of poverty with kingdom values in mind. END NOTES 1. Baulch, Robert, 1996. 'The New poverty Agenda -- A disputed consensus' IDS Bulletin 27(1) pp 1-10 2. This is a summary of the views, experiences and aspirations of more than 60,000 poor men and women from 60 countries undertaken for the World Development Report 2000/2001. 3 Yates Geoffrey, 1980 Food Need and Myooia p. 40 4. White and Killick, African Poverty in the Millenium, p. 60 5. Griffith and Lucas, Ethical Economics p. 172 6. Addison Tony, "A Review of the World Bank's Efforts to Assist Governments in reducing poverty. 7. White, Ellen G. Welfare Ministry, pp. 173-174. 8. Patriarchs and Prophets pp 530-1

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