A Christian’s Solution to World Poverty
6 December, 2010 § 1 Comment
Dr. William Brown, President of Cedarville University, writes in Cedarville’s biannual publication, The Torch, that, “…many agree that the absence of basic needs to sustain life is the level where true poverty begins” (Fall-Winter 2010 Torch, Brown 3). With this “absence of basic needs” as a starting point, it can be said that obtaining and maintaining those basic needs for the impoverished should be the goal of those who have the means to give aid. In Peter Singer’s essay, The Singer Solution to World Poverty, Singer gives a convincing argument: he instructs each person in the world who makes over $30,000.00 annually to give the surplus completely towards the total elimination of poverty (The Best American Essays, Singer 395). While Singer’s solution is the kind of dramatic and idealistic plan needed to eradicate the problem of poverty quickly, we must realize that the world is not under one socialist government levying people’s bank accounts, and that the actuality of enforcing such a financial overhaul would be a logistical nightmare.
The solution to world poverty lies partly in the heart change of those who are able to give towards ending world poverty, and those who are impoverished. The propagation and coercion that occurs when convincing people to give towards humanitarian efforts is astounding, but it is tiresome as well. Instead, if we encourage those who are have means to give precedence to the needs of others, the result will be natural and automatic care for those who are less fortunate. In the case of the impoverished, no one wants to throw money into a black hole. Many people will not give to an impoverished person (especially in the case of a homeless person on the street) for fear that he or she will misuse the money on drugs or alcohol. These fears are not entirely unfounded. In an attempt to protect investors, and to accost the heart of the issue, we must teach the impoverished that every gift that we receive is ultimately from above and that it is our responsibility to be good stewards of what God has given us. Therefore, the heart change of the financially able and the impoverished towards selflessness and stewardship would start the ball rolling towards a financially stable world. This would be a world in which the inhabitants would sustain each other willfully out of genuine concern and responsibility. However, if we forgo the attempt to change people’s hearts, we will affect neither their habits nor their wallets.