Poverty and Our Responsibility

Today is Blog Action Day, where bloggers everywhere are discussing the issue of poverty. This is a topic that I am passionate about, though I have not yet posted anything about it here on the site (but be sure to check out my article, 5 Ways the Web Can Help Us Eliminate Poverty, on my business blog). I think poverty is a serious ethical issue, and as such we have a strong obligation to fight against this problem. Extreme poverty is not only disastrous but also solvable- God has provided the resources we need to eliminate it. Yet, in our consumerist culture, we have turned a blind eye to our neighbors and have indulged in unneeded luxury. Even the Church has fallen into this trap- spending millions on fancy church buildings. Moreover, Christians hardly stand out from the crowd when it comes to consumerism- Christians with money are just about as likely as anybody to spend that money on unneeded luxuries while children around the world literally starve to death.

I think Christ called us to a higher standard. His care and concern for the poor and marginalized comes through on every page of the Gospels. Consider Luke 12:33-

“Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys.”

Whether you are a follower of Christ or not, however, the ethical consequences of extreme poverty should be clear. I wrote an article on this issue a year ago, so for my contribution to blog action day, I’d like to repost that here. Unfortunately, I was limited to 1,500 words, so I was not able to fully develop all of my arguments. I will try to offer a more comprehensive review of this argument in the Ethics section at a later date. But without further ado, here is my essay on A Poverty of Benevolence: The Moral Obligations of the Affluent:

It is a chilly Friday morning, and, running a bit late, you briskly walk to class. As you pass the university’s water fountain, you notice that something is amiss. You hear the gargled shrieks of an infant girl, who has somehow wound up in the middle of the knee-deep fountain, struggling for her life but clearly losing. In a matter of minutes she will be overcome with exhaustion and unable to stay afloat. You can save the child from a painful and needless death and, according to your watch, make it to class on time as well. Alas, it is unfortunate that you are particularly well dressed this morning, and your trek into the fountain will certainly ruin your designer pants. Clearly unacceptable- these pants cost seventy-five dollars, after all. So you briskly walk by, ignoring the child, saving your pants, and making it to class a full two minutes early.

At this point, you are probably indignant at the thought that you would behave in such a manner. As virtually all people recognize, ignoring the infant’s shrieks to save one’s pants is morally outrageous. In fact, the case of the drowning infant is a classic thought experiment used to illicit such moral disgust. This example reveals an important truth about ethics, namely, that inaction in the face of preventable evil is morally wrong. Even if you are innocent of causing harm to another person, failing to act when you can alleviate their suffering, especially at little cost to yourself, is unethical.

Suppose that many other people are rushing to class this particular Friday morning, all of whom are equally capable of rescuing the child and equally responsible for doing so. Even if none of them did anything to save the child, this would not relieve you of your moral responsibility. Indeed, the presence of many other callous individuals who fail to help when they ought to may make it psychologically easier for you to justify your inaction, but it would have no bearing on the moral status of your failure to act.

Finally, suppose that the child lived far away, or was of a different nationality. Assuming that you were capable of saving the child without significant cost to yourself or the risk of danger of any kind, would you be justified in allowing the child to die? Clearly you would not be, because distance and nationality are not morally significant factors. One of the foundational moral principles of modern society informs us that all people have equal value. The Declaration of Independence affirms that “all men are created equal,” and this basic moral truth has provided the moral bedrock for the Civil Rights and Women’s Rights movements. We must admit, at least, that a person’s nationality and proximity to ourselves are not relevant to the moral worth of that person.

We live in a world of drowning infants. More than 26,000 children die each and every day, most of them from preventable causes. The vast majority of these children live in the developing world, where poverty, war, and disease run rampant (UNICEF 1). This includes six million children claimed by malnutrition and more than one million claimed by malaria. These sad statistics are part of the broader phenomenon of extreme poverty- the living conditions faced by over one billion people who live on less than one dollar per day (UN).

Poverty profoundly influences billions of people who inhabit this planet, but the affluent in the developed world do not really feel its effect. They do not truly know what it is like to watch their own child slowly starve to death. They do not comprehend the fear that they may one day be forced to watch their relatives and friends be brutally raped by warlords. They do not understand the psychological consequences of wondering if they can eat next week.

Yet, the poverty suffered by so many around the world affects the affluent in one very important way. It convicts nearly all of us of moral failure. As we sip five-dollar lattes, live in $100,000 homes, and buy $75 pants, thousands of people around the world are dying of preventable causes. As a whole, the affluent of society have turned their gaze from the plight of those who suffer from extreme poverty to the allure of rampant consumerism. Every time we purchase fashionable clothing, eat expensive meals, and take exotic vacations, we indicate where our moral priorities lie. Thus, while it may appear that extreme poverty has no significant effect on the lives of the wealthy, it actually changes their moral status. If it were not for the existence of such extreme poverty, spending money on luxuries would pose no problem. However, given the facts of the current situation, spending priorities have to be adjusted if the wealthy are to retain their innocence.

Quick reflection reveals that our current situation is almost exactly parallel to the case of the drowning infant. Right now, a child is dying from a preventable cause. At relatively little cost to ourselves, say, by writing a check for $75 to UNICEF, Oxfam, or any number of organizations dedicated to alleviating extreme poverty, we can provide that child with the food, medicine, or protection he or she needs to survive.

There are millions of wealthy people around us, but they are not doing enough, either individually or collectively, to save the child, because the need for aid greatly exceeds the donations provided. As we noticed in the case of the drowning infant, their insufficient action has no impact on our moral obligations. Lastly, the child is far away from us, and probably of a different nationality. However, this no longer presents any insuperable difficulties. We live in a world of instant communication, rapid travel, and global organizations. These technologies, and the infrastructure of organizations that developed around this technology, have made it possible for us to easily, efficiently, and at little cost to ourselves provide life-saving aid to fellow humans around the globe. Clearly, we cannot maintain that the physical distance between the wealthy and the poor is morally significant. Since the current situation is so closely analogous to the case of the drowning infant, how can we condemn ourselves when we walk past the dying child while excusing ourselves from donating a vast majority of our expendable wealth to those who are dying of equally needless and preventable causes?

The proposal I am offering here- that wealthy individuals are morally required to give away the vast majority of their expendable wealth- may seem so out of line with our intuitions that it is deemed absurd. However, this is far from the only historical situation in which moral ‘intuitions’ conveniently conflicted with what was morally required of us. Not very long ago in American history, slavery was deemed morally acceptable by a high proportion of (non-black) society. We now know that slavery is in fact a moral abomination. We look back at the founding fathers; men like Thomas Jefferson and George Washington, and are gravely disappointed that they owned slaves. Of course, Jefferson and Washington, along with many individuals in the southern United States, would have suffered a significant setback in financial success and standard of living if they were to give up their slaves, as they were eventually forced to do. Nevertheless, these inconveniences do not even begin to justify the practice of slave owning. Likewise, the inconvenience of sacrificing our high standard of living does not justify our failure to act.

We look back at the slave owners of the past with a profound sense of disappointment. Even though their behavior was within the norm permitted by their society, we know that what they did was morally repugnant and, thankfully, a thing of the past. Hopefully, a couple hundred years from now, people living in a society far more just than ours will look back at us with that same sense of disappointment. They will wonder how the wealthy of society were able to ignore the suffering and death of their neighbors, while blithely enjoying unneeded luxuries. If that world is ever to come- a world where extreme poverty, starvation, and preventable diseases are largely a thing of the past- it will require a profound shift in the attitudes of the wealthy, a shift that can start with us. Our generation can be the first to truly reject the cruel disparity of wealth that causes suffering for so many. Turning our gaze away from material success, we can focus on eliminating the disgrace that is extreme poverty, leaving a legacy that we can be proud of.

Works Cited

UNICEF. The State of the World’s Children 2008: The Women and Children (State of the World’s Children). New York: Unicef, 2008.

“UN Millennium Project | Resources.” UN Millennium Project | Welcome to Our Historic Site. 16 Apr. 2008 .

  1. First,I’m not discouraging giving to the poor. Clearly, we should give to the poor. This message is riddled through out the bible. Give where The Father leads you. However, “eliminate poverty”? This is an extremist idea. Show me one verse in the Bible that implies the message that as Christians we should eliminate poverty. Matthew 26:11-
    “For you have the poor with you always…” This statement is actually made twice in Matthew and once in John. Your idea is noble as a human with a great deal of emotion and empathy. But when we allow emotion to drive our soul more often then not we stray the path. Great idea but certainly has never been a message of the bible. Be careful about leading people astray by labeling ideas “Christian” with ideas that are not.

    Many of the living simply ideas that you have shown are certainly needed in this world. Just watch your focus and stay away from extreme movements. God’s grace is sufficient for the world. If everyone embraces the ideas of living simple you have outlined above then yes your idea of eliminating poverty could be possible. Unfortunately, we know, because the bible told us, men’s heart’s are evil. There was only one man that ever walked the face of the earth with the ability to make every decision with perfection. We can strive to become better but sooner or later we will all fail usually on a daily basis with something. There will always be those that will fail making good decisions with their money. This is why poverty will always be with us.

    DeVries    Nov 21, 12:59 PM    #
  2. DeVries… are you suggesting that we should help the poor, but not too much? I have to admit, I’m dismayed at your use of the Bible to suggest that poverty isn’t the sort of evil that should be obliterated. So it’s all right to let some infants die of malnutrition, as long as not too many do? It’s okay to let some people go without necessary food, clean drinking water, or medical care, as long as it’s not too many? Dreaming of a day when there won’t be any children who look like this ( http://www.moonbattery.com/starving_african_child.jpg ) is extremest and unChristian? Shame on you.

    — Oceanic    Nov 24, 07:14 PM    #
  3. Devries,

    I see your point about not becoming extremist on this issue, and Christ did indeed tell us that poverty will always be with us. However, I’m not even advocating the complete eradication of poverty. I’m merely claiming that we should be doing more- a LOT more- to end extreme suffering, starvation, and deaths from easily preventable diseases. We have been lured by our culture into thinking that if we live in a home worth less than $200,000 and go out to eat only once or twice a week, then we are being appropriately modest. However, even the average, middle class American family lives in a state of wealth almost unknown in Jesus’ day. Moreover, we have unprecedented resources and infrastructure in place to make a big difference now. By giving more, less children die of easily preventable ailments. It’s hard to believe that Christ would advocate living in expensive homes, driving fancy cars, and drinking expensive lattes, rather than giving the vast majority of such luxurious wealth to help save dying kids.

    Kyle Deming    Dec 2, 01:09 AM    #
  4. First off, I agree with the first comment.

    Secondly and completely unrelated to that comment:
    Why does everyone point to fancy cars, expensive homes and expensive lattes when saying WE should be doing more to help the poor? I don’t drive a fancy car, live in an expensive home or drink expensive lattes, but does that free me from the burden of helping the poor? You even talked about “the wealthy” in your rant… It’s as if you’re implying that only rich people should have to give up their stuff to help. What about the computer you’re typing this blog on? What about the monthly fee you’re paying for the internet connection you’re using to access this site? You could give all of that up and use the money to help the poor couldn’t you?

    I only say that because people always think WE should do more to help the poor, but then pass the blame and responsibility on to someone else like saying, “They will wonder how the wealthy of society were able to ignore the suffering and death of their neighbors, while blithely enjoying unneeded luxuries.”

    News Flash, EVERYONE has unneeded luxuries. The only things we NEED are food, shelter and clothing. Heck, I’ll even throw in electricity. Nobody needs to spend $20-$30 on food at a restaurant…. heck, nobody really NEEDS to spend more than $3 for any meal. Get water, get rice and get some beans and you’ve got the cheapest meal you’ll ever eat. You can eat that for EVERY meal if you want to talk about unneeded luxuries.

    Get rid of cable.
    Get rid of your phone.
    Get rid of your internet.
    Sell your computer.
    Sell your $7,000 car and buy a $2,000 car.
    Sell your expensive clothes and get some cheap knock-offs.

    You either have to draw a line somewhere or you have to give up everything and give all your money to the poor. Don’t act like it’s just the wealthy who have unneeded luxuries. EVERYONE has them. That’s why you see an Escalade in a driveway in a trailer park. That’s why you see people who can barely afford to pay their bills buying a pack of cigarettes every day, talking on a cell phone and wearing expensive jewelry.

    Anyway, sorry for the rant. I’m done.

    Justin    Dec 5, 09:50 AM    #
  5. Justin,

    I think my article inspired a misunderstanding, which is entirely my fault. Due to strict limitations on the word count for the essay, I did not get a chance to speak in detail about what I meant by ‘wealthy.’ I do, in fact, consider myself to be among the wealthy. And, I agree with you that ‘you either have to draw the line somewhere or you have to give up everything and give all your money to the poor.’ That’s essentially correct. And, the facts are this;

    1.) Right now, there are kids who are dying of easily preventable causes.
    2.) If we donate money to organizations like OXFAM and Christian Children’s Fund, then less children will die of easily preventable causes.
    3.) Therefore, by failing to give our money, more kids than necessary will die of easily preventable causes.

    Using extremely conservative estimates, Peter Unger calculated in his book “Living High and Letting Die” that it costs roughly $200, on average, to save a child from an unneeded death and give that child above a 90% chance of living a long adult life. Thus, when we decide, let’s say, to purchase a cable subscription costing 20$ a month, we give up the opportunity to save a child every year that we have that subscription. When we choose to purchase a car that costs 7,000 rather than 2,000, we have essentially chosen to allow 25 innocent kids to die of easily preventable causes.

    Now, addressing extreme poverty is not the only moral good. In fact, as a Christian I think it is far more important that the Gospel and resurrection of Jesus Christ is preached. Nevertheless, the unneeded death of innocent kids is a fairly serious moral problem. Just as in the case of a drowning infant in a pond, we need a pretty strong justification to refuse making a sacrifice to save that child. Unfortunately, having the ability to watch cable television or drive a comfortable car aren’t likely candidates as ethically justifying reasons.

    Unfortunately, in your response to my argument you have essentially taken the tack of accusing me of failing to live up to the standards I advocate. But this simply fails to address my point. Even if I were a wretched hypocrite, that would do nothing to demonstrate that my general argument is invalid.

    As a matter of fact, since realizing the ethical implications of spending my money on unneeded luxuries, I have attempted to significantly alter my lifestyle. In fact I almost never purchase restaurant meals, I can’t remember the last time I purchased a latte, I don’t buy clothes, and so on. I’ve also donated thousands to charities like UNICEF and Christian Children’s Fund. But this has nothing to do with me. To be honest, I do often fail to be as fiscally conservative as I should. I have no excuse. I am simply a moral failure. Living ethically is not easy, and I never claimed to be any better than anybody else at it. But, regardless, it seems to me that the facts are clear, the arguments are clear, and (once we truly reflect on this issue) it is virtually indisputable that spending money on things we don’t need (with few exceptions) is morally equivalent to walking by as a child drowns in a shallow pond.

    Now, the question is, unless there is a fault with my argument, how are you going to respond? Will you radically change your life and give virtually all of your excess wealth to help save dying kids? As James says in verse 4:17: “Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.”

    I say this not to condemn you or others or pretend that I am high and mighty- I say it because you (if you are a reasonably well-off individual), have the power within your lifetime to save hundreds of kids from dying of starvation, disease, and disaster.

    Kyle Deming    Dec 6, 11:49 PM    #
  6. Supposed you have already saved one drowning baby, do you need to save this baby too? The answer is obvious, save as many as you can, even if you have to miss class. If other words, just helping a few doesn’t get you off the hook, you must give everything you have.

    This is an hard saying; who can hear it?

    tyrone ferrara    Mar 31, 06:25 PM    #
  7. Ultimately I agree with much that has been written here, however it seems to me that this process can be taken to extremes. Even in the case of Jesus he is documented attending parties, marriages, even consuming alcohol. Just as in 21st century North America, so to in 1st century Palestine, these things are non-essential (they are not food, water, or shelter). We do have individual responsibilities, and those of us that are wealthiest have collossal ones, but to suggest that humanity should live with all but the most basic of essentials would crush creativity, destroy the economic growth that allows us to donate wealth in the first place, and ultimately create a far worse world. Perhaps one should also feed ones children just Kraft Dinner as well and give the money you could spend on fresh fruit and vegetables to charity as well? This seems to me absurd. It is here that common sense is necessary, even if that common sense necessitates that at this moment in time many people, largely through the fault of their own governments, cannot access those things necessary for human flourishing. Finally, we cannot shift all blame to slightly above-average income individual’s, these matters are far more related to political policies than anything else. For example, if Western governments would simply release the poorest nations of their debt the massive majority of childhood death and disease (in properly functioning states) would immediately end. Ultimately I think punishing oneself for living in a successful society is simply not what the gospel orders. To be clear, I agree with the majority of the argument stated, if one earns say 1,000,000 a year I would say that all told 90% or more should be given directly to charity, but to say that we should never or even extremely rarely purchase consumable goods would make us a much poorer part of the world both culturally and economically. There is a healthy balance that must be struck and it is one that no human would deny, even the poorest of people, in the most interesting of ways, invest time and relative resources into non-essential’s; this is part of being human and it is necessary to be a fully-functional individual. In my mind it is perfectly acceptable then for a person in our world to purchase a meal at a restaurant (with the possible exception of a corporate mega-giant like Mcdonalds or something) or to enjoy a cold beer on a hot day. The issue is to what extent one does this, simple utilitarianism does not do justice to either our moral intuitions at root level and we must, at the end of the day, strike a fair balance between oneself, ones family, and the broader human community. These are not easy questions but that is the nature of ethics, especially ethics of this sort.

    — Ryan Blood    Jun 26, 11:10 AM    #
  8. Ryan,

    I like much of what you have to say, and I appreciate your honesty on this issue. If you think that 90% of expendable wealth should go to charity, then you and I are basically on the same page. I completely agree with your point about political policy; in particular the fact that these countries are forced to live with crushing debt is an absolute travesty and a disgrace to humanity.

    I understand your point about crushing creativity and destroying the wealth that gives us a better standard of living in the first place. This is, technically speaking, a possible concern, but in the actual facts of the case we could get rid of the vast majority of needless third-world deaths without crippling ourselves financially, if everyone simply did their part. The problem is that virtually nobody does their part (i.e., gives a marginal amount of money to life-saving charities like Oxfam); much less do people rise above and beyond such bare essentials of human goodness. Unfortunately, that leaves those of us with a sensitive conscience in the position of knowing that for every dollar we spend on something unneeded, that’s one less dollar given to kids dying miserable deaths. It is therefore up to those of us with such sensitive consciences to rise to the occasion.

    There is also a disanalogy between Jesus’ day and our own. Given the state of technology and so forth, we can easily provide relief to children all the way across the world, whereas in Christ’s day one’s charitable giving would have to be relatively local, by necessity. The fact that we are so globalized increases our responsibility. This is tough luck for us, but the simple facts of the case are that kids are dying and we can stop it. If you look to my comment before, you will see Peter Unger’s estimation that it takes just $200 on average to save a kid from dying young and giving that child a long life. The stakes are indeed high.

    Nevertheless, perhaps a bit of balance is needed in the issue, so if we can all give 90% of our expendable wealth, that would be quite a noble difference maker.



    Kyle Deming    Jul 17, 08:51 PM    #
  9. I agree with your message of charitable giving to the poor. However, what you are suggesting is a bit too extreme in that, as a prior poster stated, it would crush the very economy that allows us to provide for the poor in the first place. For example, travel in the US picked up this month, in turn, hundreds to thousands of jobs were created and those people were able to provide for their families and give to the poor. But following your advice, the “new” or “increased” travelers should have instead given all that money to Oxfam. The solution is not as simple as you make it. The solution is not simply give 90% of “expendable” (however that term is defined) income to charity. Rather, people such subject each expenditure to scrutiny to determine if it is helping someone, and at the same time ensure that they are providing a bountiful sum to the poor. Further, people should hold elected leaders responsible for helping those in poor nations, and, finally, hold the elected leaders of poor nations responsible themselves. The root cause of poverty in other nations indeed is the failure of their leaders to provide for their people. Not that this means that we shouldn’t give, but rather that we should also put pressure upon them to be more than mere recipients of our charity.

    Mike    Sep 27, 07:21 AM    #
  10. thanks …

    عالم حواء    Nov 2, 10:44 PM    #
  11. Many of you keep saying “this is too extreme.” This statement bothers me for several reasons. I mean no disrespect and I understand the argument about economy and how we can’t give so generously without our wealthy economy it-but is our comfort worth more than the lives and well-being of others? And is not Christianity a faith of extremes? You cannot get more extreme than Jesus giving up His own life for us. We will not eliminate poverty-we cannot eliminate any sin in this world. But why can we not give all we can to try? Why do we settle for mediocrity, settle for the point of view that has dulled our sensitivity to the suffering of others? God is sovereign, the most powerful One and He can do anything through us! How can we believe otherwise? But it isn’t only money-I have no money to give, I am just a college student. But God has called me to spend the rest of my life serving the poor. I have to give up my home, being close to my family and friends, and the comfort of living safely here. I do not just want to feed their stomachs and minds, but their souls too.I want to love them. I want to show them the love of Christ, to weep with them, to agonize for their sufferings and rejoice in their successes. With God it is all or nothing, there is no halfway. Not all are called to go and serve the people in this way. But we are called to live like Christ-and would He have made excuses about world economy? Yes that is important, but we are talking about people here. People who hurt, people who starve, people who are sick. You know that not every person in the US is going to live as suggested here, so the economy will be fine. There is no excuse for not living with an awareness of those with nothing. I do not mean to disrespect any of what has been said. But I could not help but notice how comfortable some of the commentators seem in their faith when we should never be comfortable. When God calls us to be extraordinary and willing to do what some might consider extreme, but what He would consider right.

    Karly    Jul 11, 07:02 PM    #
  12. Justin, cut out the crap. I could almost bet my life that God would say keeping a billion dollars for one’s own use (rather than using it to save thousands and thousands of lives) is nothing short of passive and involuntary murder. If you had to bet YOUR life on it, would you bet that I am wrong about this??

    By the same token, in order to feed the whole world, it is not necessary for people to give up every single non-essential item. America is the richest nation in the world, yet more than half of America’s families manage to survive on less than $50,000 a year. Many of them are poor, but I doubt we can say that half of America is poor, so this indicates that it is possible to live on $50,000 a year without being poor. Of course, the poor simply don’t have much money to give, but those middle class folk who have $100k can easily give $25k away. And if all “upper middle class” families were willing to live off of $100k or $150k max per year, they could STILL enjoy plenty of luxuries while the rest of their money could collectively save hundreds of thousands or even millions of lives. And if the Bill Gateses, Warren Buffetts and Oprahs of the worlds were content with living off of say $10-20 million, they could EACH save millions of lives, while still enjoying luxuries that 99.9% of people can only dream of. In this way, combined efforts of the middle class and the wealthy could easily feed the world. And one last question for you: did any millionaire or billionaire work 1000+ times harder than the average American? Then would God say that they deserve 1000-1,000,000 times the wealth of the average American WHILE MILLIONS STARVE???

    Don’t kid yourself here. There is Christianity and there is faux Christianity.

    GreedOverPeople    Dec 2, 08:29 AM    #
  13. If you think giving all you’ve got to the poor will help them, forget it. It will help them a while, but also make them dependant on you. It’s like lifting the child out of the fountain, only to discover he’s chained to the bottom. So all you can do is keep him alive, but he can’t be taken out. I’ve worked with aid organisations in different countries and my conclusion is that it’s useless in most of africa. Only in countries like India where there is a government that actually wants it’s people’s situation to improve, will there be any hope for them. In most african and muslim countries people are glad to take your help, but as soon as you make any headway, the government will send people to come and take control(taking a large part of the funding). Also having educated citizens who don’t have to spend all their time and effort on survival is a danger to them, so they will be sure to keep that from happening. And if they can raise more money from the suffering of the people, there is a very bad incentive to keep the suffering in place.

    Also, in countries where we send food, the population just increases and the same problem returns with 5x the people. So unless you can cut the chains, you might as well let the baby die. It’s a sad and evil world. What then can we do? I don’t know. Africa is the richest continent resource wise, so it is very possible for them to thrive. Somehow I think we should focus more on changing the African culture of corruption than on changing their circumstances. In the end only God can really solve things.

    David    Dec 17, 09:48 AM    #
  14. Why use the web to canvass for the poor? Firstly, the web is a human invention and not a god one! Secondly, jesus said that the poor will always be with us. Stick with the plan man. If you feel like helping the poor, fold your hands in prayer and god will sort it out – the bible says so.
    Also, remember that god planned this world in detail some 6000 years ago (past and future)so do not try and have him change his master plan to suit your agenda – it might piss him off and we have the rapture sooner – I still have some thing to finish before then.

    Gerry    Dec 17, 11:37 AM    #
  15. Ok, so you capitalists say charity is “fruitless” to alleviate starvation? Then how about donating a large fraction of your millions/billions to give some hard-working underprivileged people life-saving medical treatment, or to help blind or deaf children afford the operations which will restore their sight/hearing? Unless you actually worked 20 times harder than the average American who earns $50,000, there is absolutely no way that you can claim you actually DESERVE your millions/billions in God’s eyes. You were only able to obtain your millions/billions because others are deprived of rights and necessities such as health care!!!

    HoardWealthWhileOthersSuffer    Apr 5, 11:22 AM    #
  16. There is certainly a great deal to understand about this. It looks like you made a quality points in Features also. dd1

    Horace    May 4, 03:08 AM    #
  17. Four years ago, my wife and I left a church because of their inward focus. We have since become involved in programs with the disabled, digging wells, food programs, co-operative business operations in the Phillipines amongst other things. We have used what was previously put on the church plate to fund these activities. We have seen lives healed, changed, people gain self respect, salvations. Apart from this, we have experienced a level of joy unparalleled in our combined 60 years of christian experience

    laurie    Aug 7, 03:56 PM    #
  18. Great blog. I must agree with you that I have experience so called christians who will not bat an eye if someone is hungry or sleeping on a cold floor. I give as much as I can it doesn’t make me a better person it just makes me human.

    vicks    Nov 20, 12:48 PM    #
  19. Great blog. I must agree with you that I have experience so called christians who will not bat an eye if someone is hungry or sleeping on a cold floor. I give as much as I can it doesn’t make me a better person it just makes me human.

    vicks    Nov 20, 12:49 PM    #
  20. I am a believer in Christ. I have a small income but I want to provide for others. I give where I know the money(also we can give in other ways too)is truly being used to help others. I do believe the example of feed a man a fish and he eats for a day, but teach him to fish and he eats for a lifetime.

    elizabeth    Jan 17, 07:04 AM    #
  21. That reference to Jesus saying the poor will always be with you, Is Jesus saying that He was about to depart. It in no way ever meant that the poor will always be around and not to help them…. Helping the poor and feeding the lame, is repeated in the bible 1000’s of times, So don’t take 2 references out of context and apply it. Look beneath to judge properly. Bless other donate and give, and you will be blessed with more. You can’t out give God, Were blessed to live in rich countries to be a blessing to poor other countries. Take that as fact and adjust accordingly!! Sodom and Gomorrah’s Sin that caused their destruction was their greed, and their Hard hearts to not want to help others, to not help the poor, the sick , the lame.

    Read ez: 46-50 for a better idea, but 49 and 50 hit the nail on the head.

    Ezekiel 16:49-50

    “ Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. 50 They were haughty and did detestable things before me. Therefore I did away with them as you have seen

    — -Jeff    Dec 7, 11:16 AM    #
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