Book Reviews, Studies Economics (Justice,Greed,Tax) Unbelievers Say & Do the Good

Should Christians Work Against Poverty? This Muslim Thinks So.

All state organizations that provide free or subsidized services for the poor could be done away with.” “There would be no begging in the streets.” “Nobody would be at the mercy of anybody else, and that is what would make all the difference.”*

“To me a world without poverty means a world in which every person can take care of his or her basic life needs …. nobody would die of hunger or suffer from malnutrition. This is a goal world leaders have been calling for for decades, but they have never set out any way of achieving it.” “No children would die of hunger-related diseases” (as against 35,000 per day now [35,000!!]). “All people would have access to education and health-care services.”

I can sense my “conservative” Christian friends’ wounded sense of logic and propriety. They would argue, FIRST, that such a time will never be brought about by human effort. We should just keep our spiritual shoes polished and wait for God to do things like that in His own time. Besides, we’re not good enough to achieve such wonders. SECOND, they would say it has a flavor about it of some sort of state socialism or anti-prosperity ideology.

On the FIRST point they are wrong. In reality God will judge us for refusing to take responsibility in these matters. The Bible records many warnings to that effect.

It’s like the guy who waited for God to rescue him from a flood. He declined the help of two boats and a helicopter, and drowned. When (in the afterlife) he complained, he was asked why he did not use the tools that were sent to him.

So for us. We have to use the tools we have been given, or we and our world also will drown, and it will not be the Lord’s fault. He will hold us responsible for not caring enough to use our brains, energy, and sense of responsibility to figure out what’s going on and work to adjust things toward justice and truth. I’m afraid that in these matters much of Christianity stands guilty before the question of Jesus, “Why do you call me, Lord, Lord, but do not do what I say?”.

On the SECOND point they are also wrong. Muhammad Yunus is saying this:  If we actually practiced justice and our much-loved freedom – “liberty and justice for all” – in financial markets, we could make capital available to vastly more people than can now get to it, and the vast majority of those people certainly would use their brains and energy to be productive. It would be a boost not only to world freedom, but also to world prosperity. It would really be very capitalistic, in the good sense.

“If you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness …. You will be like a well-watered garden …” Isaiah 58:10,11

* Muhammad Yunus, in Banker to the Poor: Micro-lending and the Battle Against World Poverty, PublicAffairs, NY, 1999, p245


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  • Which Christians, the typical ones or the real ones? I hope real followers of Christ have it in their mind to make it better at their own expense. The rest have adopted the cold American attitude of “Someone else’s fault, someone else’s problem.” Well, that’s the impression I get.

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