Volume 7, Issue 1, September 1997


Ending poverty worldwide is not a daydream, in fact, with a little will, and surprising little money, extreme poverty can be wiped from the face of the earth within a generation, declares a report of the United Nations.

Though we can easily feel overwhelmed as we look at the extent of the poverty of so many of our society and of the developing countries of the world, yet the existence of such want amid the world's overflowing riches is a scandal, and eliminating it is an unavoidable moral duty.

Arguing that giving to those in need encourages a weakening of a strong self-reliance, many today deny any ownership of the poors' problems.

As long as our economy is dominated by monopoly capitalism, and our society is permeated by values of personal gain, the supremacy of private property and the protection of the wealthy, poverty will be inevitable.

Religion connects the poverty of the materially impoverished with the poverty of the spiritually impoverished. It challenges the comfortable and the complacent, the affluent and the privileged with their own poverty.

And what applies to us as individuals applies to us collectively as a society. A good society seeks greater equity in the distribution of its wealth, realizing that greater equity creates greater equality.

Instead of dividing our collective means so as to give much to a few and too little to too many we may share in ways that those who have too little do not have to live with too little.

"Both humankind and economics must finally be studied in the light of God," stated the theologian, Nels Ferre.

The test of any economic practice, programme, or system is what it does for people; what it does for them and what it does to them. The human person is worth more than all things material.

Religious persons can help in the overcoming of poverty with ideas, ideals, motives and purposes.

We cannot live together as brothers and sisters until we share together in the general welfare of one another.

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"Religion NOW" is published in limited edition by the Rev. Ross E. Readhead, B.A., B.D., Certificate of Corrections, McMaster University, in the interest of furthering knowledge and participation in religion. Dialogue is invited and welcomed.