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Explain how the teachings of Christianity and one other religion on wealth and poverty could help relieve poverty.

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Introduction

GCSE Religious Studies: Coursework Religion, Wealth and Poverty Part B (b) Explain how the teachings of Christianity and one other religion on wealth and poverty could help relieve poverty The Christian teaching on poverty is a very clear one. Throughout the Bible, the message that is continuously stressed and accentuated is that all people are equal in the eyes of God, God cares about the poor and the lifestyle that they lead, wanting them to live a good life as well as being treated appropriately. Apart from this issue being emphasised, it is also noted that the value of a person is not judged on the money they possess or the material belongings they may have but on the quality of their character and actions throughout their time on earth. The Christian teaching on wealth is also understandable as in the Bible, the issue of wealth is not welcomed as it is realised as advocating greed, selfishness and egotism not happiness or tranquillity. It is written in The Old Testament in Genesis 1:27-31, that men and women have been created equal. Here tells the story of the creation of the earth where Adam and Eve were produced in God's image, where they were told of their equality, their right to reign over the earth but not over one another. This teaches Christians that all humans are equal no matter what their backgrounds, their upbringings, their financial situation, their colour, nationality or creed. From this, Christians can learn that to discriminate against someone on any issue is wrong as in the beginning, God created humans in his image and were so therefore alike and balanced. From these verses, Christians are taught to treat the poor as equal as although they may not be as financially stable, they are still humans and the Bible teaches that everyone is equal in the eyes of God. In addition, the story of the Jewish slaves working in Egypt who knew of persecution, injury and powerlessness, God helped them in answer to their cries is written in The Old Testament. ...read more.

Middle

Jesus who says that he identifies with the poor so much that those who help the poor are indeed helping Jesus in addition, unbeknownst to them, not realising the good that they have done. This belief therefore teaches Christians to believe that their duty is to serve the poor and do it in "obedience to Christ". In conclusion, it is obvious that the main motivation for Christians to help the poor is because they are serving Jesus as they serve the poor due to his connection with them and that God welcomes those who are willing to help others even if they are depriving themselves. The response of the Church is slightly divided between the two denominations of Christianity; the Catholic Church and The Church of England. It is written in the Bible that it is a Christian's duty to help those who are poor or in need as God is noted as being "on the side of the poor". The Roman Catholic Church take their responsibilities of caring for the poor very seriously and are encouraged to help those in great need. In 1987, pope John Paul II distributed an encyclical called Social Concern, Sollicitudo Rei Sociallis in Italian. Within it were the causes of poverty and there was great emphasis on the fact that the problems that cause long-term poverty are problems that are unavoidable. It was noted as saying that all of the money that is spent carelessly on weapons could effortlessly provide clothes, food, housing and the opportunities for education and medical care for the entire current population of the world. Unfortunately, hazards such as natural disasters occur frequently, causing short-term poverty in lesser economically developed areas, but it is felt that it could be dealt with more adequately rather than tending to ignore things in the hope of them disappearing. The Catholic Church believes that the reason many things are not as they are because the methods of our thinking have been immoral, really that poverty has been caused by the great sin of the world. ...read more.

Conclusion

Surprisingly, it is not only the receivers who gain from Zakah as the giver does too. The word "Zakah" translated means "Growth" or "Purification". Zakah prohibits greed and egotism and also manages to be a heightened form of worship as Allah can be worshiped through providing for others, especially as all wealth is known to belong to Allah. The only problem with Zakah is that savings must be given every year whether the individual wants to or not. II. Zakat-ul-Fitr This is another form of payment towards the end of each year near Ramandan. It is well known that fasting during the month of Ramadan is the fourth pillar of Islam, and through fasting, most Muslims say that this is when they identify most with the poor. This month-long fast ends with the Id-ul-Fitr festival and at this time, Muslims are expected to provide willingly to those in need and these provisions are known as Zakat-ul-Fitr. III. Sadaqah This is known as a good deed that must be done for the sake of Allah rather than for yourself, for selfish reasons and can be practised at any time and any place. It may include having to give up prayer, time, talents or money or it can even be something small in comparison, for example, picking up a piece of litter - Sadaqah can often be given through a will after someone's death. In conclusion the belief of poverty and wealth within Islam is that Allah is definitely on the side of the poor, as it is made clear in all of their holy books that greed is condemned and Muslims should all take part in giving to the poor. The acts that Muslims invest in, to provide for the needy are worthwhile schemes and are helping relieve poverty dramatically although not as much as it would like. Overall, the Muslim beliefs on poverty are very similar to the Christian, in the way that they both believe that the poor should be respected and cared for. If the teachings were put into action, poverty may eventually relieved. Joanna Lowe Page 1 5/10/2007 ...read more.

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