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Wealth and Poverty.

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Introduction

GCSE RS COURSEWORK WEALTH AND POVERTY Question (a) a). i. Outline Christian teaching, and the teaching of ONE other religion, on wealth and poverty. Christians believe that wealth in itself is not a bad thing, but choosing a life devoted to money is wrong and selfish. They believe that wealth can sometimes lead a person away from God. Christians believe that if they have wealth, it is a gift from God and must not be taken for granted. They also believe that it must be acquired legitimately and morally by avoiding exploitation of people for example. These views are based on teachings from the Bible. In Matthew 25:31-46, Jesus tells a parable that at the end of the world, at the day of judgement, the good and bad will be separated as the sheep and goats were separated by the shepherds. Those who do not use their wealth to help Jesus' brothers aren't helping Jesus himself, and so will be judged on this. In the parable of the Good Samaritan, Jesus showed that Christians must help anyone who is in trouble using the commandment, "Love thy neighbour." Christians believe that they must share their wealth with the poor, and according to the New Testament, wealth must be used to help others, especially the poor. All humans are seen as equal in God's eyes and the good things of the earth have been given to humans by God to use to help each other. So Christians should also be concerned about the poor not just in Britain. Muslims see wealth as being God given and a commodity to be shared. ...read more.

Middle

They provide information about the organisations work and information on world development which increases awareness of the unjustness of poverty. For example, the total world expenditure on arms in two weeks, would give everyone in the world enough food, water, education and shelter for one year. Question (b) "There should be no rich people as long as there is poverty." Do you agree? Giver reasons for your opinion, showing you have considered another point of view, and referring to religious teaching. It is clear that the worldwide distribution of wealth is very uneven. Only 25 per cent of the world population live in developed countries, however, they receive 80 per cent of the world's total income (U.N. fact-file, 2001). Whilst there are vastly rich people especially in the Western world, there are large impoverished areas such as Africa and parts of Asia. The everyday struggle to subside in impoverished countries would be somewhat inconceivable for the richer people of the more economically developed countries. However, the statement is controversial and thus, both sides to the argument must be carefully examined in order to reach a credible conclusion. The statement is somewhat ambiguous in the sense of what extent to define as 'rich' and where to draw the line of 'poverty' as these terms will vary across different countries. For example, some people in Britain may consider themselves to be poor as they may only own a small house and a cheap car. However, people in less developed countries would consider these people to be vastly wealthy, as 'rich' to them would be defined as having 'luxuries' such as fresh running water. ...read more.

Conclusion

Muslims believe that everything belongs to Allah, even wealth and so should be shared equally. Christians also believe in equality as in Galatians 3:28, it says that everyone is equal in God's eyes as it says "there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus." So due to the inevitability of there being people more wealthier than others, we should concentrate on trying to share the money so that everyone has a chance in life, and this can be and is done through religious charities, such as Christian Aid and Muslim Aid. Poverty varies among each country but it is up to us to try and share wealth but not to make everyone totally equal, as this would make hard work worthless. In light of both arguments, one would disagree with this statement because it would be virtually impossible to achieve international financial equality due to the world's wealth being so erratically divided that, for the rich, the idea of handing over all their wealth is bound to cause difficulties. Historians that have studied communism would agree with me and argue that this has been tried in communist Russia during the 1940s and the richer people opposed violently to what was rightfully theirs being taken away, leading to mass violence and deaths. Furthermore, the religious arguments supporting the statement would only be listened to by those who wish to, and thus cannot be embraced into a multi-faith society consisting of many atheists and liberal religious people. The very idea of ridding of all wealth until poverty is eradicated is very idealistic and unfeasible, however, the need to aid those inflicted with poverty is indisputable, though this must be done through reasonable and rational means. ...read more.

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