I shall be analysing different teachings from different religions on wealth and Poverty, which are the Christian, and Islamic teachings
Religious Teachings on Wealth and Poverty
In this coursework, I shall be analysing different teachings from different religions on wealth and Poverty, which are the Christian, and Islamic teachings. Both religions believe that wealth and riches should be used for the good and Prosperity of the Poor.
a) (i) Outline Christian teaching, and the teaching of ONE other religion on wealth and poverty
Christian teachings on wealth and Poverty
In this part of my coursework, I will be explaining the teachings of Christianity and their beliefs concerning wealth. Christians believe that wealth is a reward and Gift from God which should be used in productive ways. Christians believe that wealth on its own is not bad but can be used to do good.
Christians believe that wealth must be made legally and morally and wealth is not for them only. Jesus said that wealthy People are more likely to be led away from Righteousness. Jesus himself does not mind poor people as long as their soul is Pure.
A way in which Jesus taught the multitude that wealth on earth is unnecessary but life in heaven is essential can be seen in Matthew 6:19:20, which quotes “Do not store up riches for yourself…..” Jesus is saying that riches are not necessary on earth but life in heaven is a number one priority and that to get to heaven their souls must be pure.
Another teaching that God wants the money to be used decently is in Luke 16:19-31, which it is about the rich man and the poor man. “….the rich man and a Poor man….” He was treated badly by the rich man and when they both died, the poor man went to Heaven (eternity) while the rich man went to Hell where his soul perished. God is telling us that riches with a clean life are worthless but a poor man with riches is more important.
In the bible, People with riches are likely to fall into temptation can be seen in 1 Timothy 6.6-10 which states “But godliness and Contentment is great gain….” it is telling people that a man with riches but goes to hell is a loss but a sinless life is more worth it without riches.
Similarly, Jesus expects people to care for the poor and the needy. This can be seen in Matthew 19:16:22 which is “…Sell all your Properties…”. Jesus Christ was telling a rich man to sell all his properties, give the money to the needy, follow Jesus and to keep his ten commandments to gain eternal life.
Christians Generally believe that the love of money is the root to all evil and that money is not bad on its own but the desire to have money is bad and can be used to do evil.
Islamic teachings on wealth and Poverty
In this Section of my Coursework, I shall be analysing the teachings of Islam and its belief concerning wealth. Islam considers wealth as a gift by Allah and it should be distributed. Islam believes the wealthy has a big responsibility towards the Poor.
Muslims believe they must meet their family needs and their needs by providing money but the riches made must be gained legally and lawfully.However they should aim to lead a modest and simple life and not indulge in luscine. It is not for themselves and should not be used to kill, gamble e.t.c but for the needy and poor only.
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The Qua’ran preaches that a man cannot value wealth more than Allah. This can be seen in Surah 3.14, which states, “A Muslim must not make wealth a more important thing than Allah”. It is teaching us that wealth is not as important as people take it to be but life in eternity is number one goal.
Muslims also believe that being a rich person does not make heaven a certainity but a person with clean and pure soul is more important. This can be found in Hadith, which tells us “Richness does not lie in abundance of worldly goods, but true richness is the richness of the soul”.It means that being a poor person on earth with a clean heart is more profitable than a rich person on earth with an impure soul is because the poor person with pure soul goes to heaven while the rich person with impure soul goes to Hell.
Islam teaches that no one can enter the kingdom of God until he is prepared to sacrifice anything of importance to him can be found in the Qu’ran in Surah 3.92 which states “You will not attain Piety until you give what is dear to you”. This means to enter the Kingdom of God a person must be prepared to give anything up even riches and wealth.
Islamic teachings states that a true believer with wealth and riches who does not help his poor neighbour is not a real believer and he is a cruel person and this can be seen in the Hadith which says “He is not a believer who eats while his neighbour remains hungry by his side”. This is a teaching from hadith, which is telling us that a true believer should be able to give to his poor neighbours if he has more than enough.
Muslims believe that giving alms to the needy is one of the five pillars of Islam and there are three main ways of giving alms, which are
Zakah- is the the third pillar of Islam and the wealthy Muslims must give a 2.5% percentage of their earnings once a year as the zakah helps the needy because it is all for the benefit of the poor and needy people.
Zakat-ul-fitr- it is an extra payment on the final day of Ramadan and it is the fourth pillar of Islam, which is to pray and fast during the Ramadan period. This is phenomenal because it is a way of distinguishing the poor and needy.
Sadaqah- It is just another kind of act that is done in the name of God and it could take place in any nice and holy way, which can be for instance giving money to the poor, helping the old or homeless people and volunteering your services to help the people.
In my own opinion, I think that Christians and Muslims share the same goal of helping the poor because in the Bible the books of Matthew 19: 16-22 when Jesus Christ told the rich man to sell his goods, give the money to the poor and follow him while in the Qua’ran in the books of Surah 3.14 which says that “You will not attain Piety until you give what is dear to you”. This means to enter the kingdom of God a person must be prepared to give anything up even riches and wealth.
(ii) Explain why there is a need for world development.
The Need for World Development
There is an urgent and important need for world development because of the suffering and discomfort of innocent and vulnerable people. The world’s wealth has been unevenly distributed leaving some people extremely rich and some people just a bit comfortable while the rest of the world live in absolute poverty which means that they cannot afford the necessities of life.
Less than 10%of the people in this world are wealthy while about another 25% are comfortable while the rest of the world live in gross poverty. Since the struggle for independence from different colonies from their colonial masters, the newly independent colonies have been faced with one disaster after the other while their former colonial masters turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to it (from the Internet).
World poverty has gotten out of control to the extent that countries are now been classified into three main groups mainly:
The First world Countries- These are countries that are developed such as U.S.A, U.K and Germany. They are the MEDCs (More Economically developed countries).
The Second world Countries- These are countries that are developing such as China and Sweden. They are the EDCs (Economically developing Countries).
The Third world countries- These are countries that are underdeveloping such as Pakistan and India. They are the LEDCs (Less economically developing countries).
The second and third world countries especially are poor because of a result of either one or a combination of many disasters. Some of which are wars which means two different groups are having a conflict or debt which iscaused by owning other richer countries money which they will be unable to pay. Military leadership and corruption also play a part in underdevelopment because during the military becaust the leader does everything his own way , there will be no rule or democracy and the citizens of that country rely on the sole judgement of their leader without consulting the people. Somalia is presently suffering from wars while some countries like Sri Lanka are presently suffering from disasters. There are different reasons for lack of development such as
Wars: The LEDCs have really suffered from wars for example in Somalia so many people have been displaced or even killed and the MEDCs do nothing to stop it. War is a state of conflict between or within countries. It is a physical combatant with use of sophiscated weapons, which is wrecking the economy and development.
Unfair trade: This is when only one party has the monopoly of the business, which means the party dictates the price and profit making. The MEDCs have the monopoly making it difficult for the LEDCs to compete in the trade making it easier for the MEDCs to make profit from the LEDCs.
Natural disasters: Many LEDCs are located in areas where natural disasters occur regularly such as Earthquake, which could destroy thousands of lives and properties in which the inhebitants depend on.
More than half of the people in the world go to bed hungry while less than a tenth of the world’s children spend their money on luxuries. The second and Third world countries are so poor that they go to the first world countries for loans which eventually accumulates into huge interests and unpayable. These countries borrow the money out of necessity in order to develop but instead of progressing further, they are being wrecked by the debt they must pay. Then if they cannot pay, they give their natural resources to their debt owners, which make the case worse.
Some of the other reasons for lack of developments are ack of education, Debt issues e.t.c. If all of these problems can be dealt with, Poverty will be eradiciated and development will Increase.
(iii) Analyse and explain the work of ONE religious agency working for world development.
This religious charity organization has aided the poor and the needy people in places such as India, Pakistan and Sudan. The Islamic relief does not only help countries financially but also helps the needy nationwide by providing shelter, food and clothing. They also set up a safe project within those countries in order to help and support those countries with the belief that in the future these people in the countries that they have helped to be financially independent.
The Islamic relief has helped countries like India by providing water by building taps and wells, food by transporting food to deprieved areas, educational facilities by building schools and training teachers and other helps. In countries like Sudan, the Islamic relief has provided health programmes by building hospitals amd making drugs,
and Shelter by building tents. They also have large farmlands in which thay provide business enterprises and work for the women and children to work in order to make money to sustain their familes.
The Islamic relief took part in the “Make poverty history” programme in which many public organizations, charities and members of the public take partfor the purpose of promoting Justice by encouraging fair trade and improved aid in order to help world development. The charity encourages Zakah in which Muslims should give a 2.5% of their annual income to the poor.
Islamic relief is presently starting a business project in Sudan in which the local Inhabitants can easily benefit from the business. The business is a farm, which the families can work, and the plants grown will be sold and the money will be used to take care of their families.
(b) ‘There should be no rich people as long as there is poverty in the world.’
In my own opinion, I will like to say, “There should be no rich people as long as there is poverty”. I believe this because wealth is a gift from God and it is not for one person only and that this wealth should be distributed equally. I also believe that where rich people exist, they should be taxed according to their earnings and the money can be used to help the poor.I support the Islamic idea of Zakah, which is a 2.5% percent of their total earnings, which is donated to redistrubite the wealth. I also support that the Islamic idea of Zakat-ul-Fitr, which is an additional alms given after the period of Ramadan, which they believe it,’s a phenominal act in identifying and assisting the needy. Many extremely poor people live with disability, which means they struggle to work because they are ill. In Countries like Sudan where there is no infrastructure or authorities to look after the poor how, do their people look after themselves and their families? Often in poorer countries, people are working but they are growing thecrops for cash. They should be using the land to produce food for their families Instead thay are selling produce to the MEDC.
That money is been used to pay off the country debts that has been borrowed from MEDCs. Many of these countries are simply paying off the debts and not clearing up the debt and are forever in the cycle
In relation to this, the bible in the books of Luke 6:19-31, which talks about the fact that God, does not love greedy and selfish people. Similarly in Matthew 19:16-22 which Jesus himself told a rich man to sell his properties in order to make heaven.
However, some people may disagree with the idea of“There should be no rich people as long as there is poverty”. This is because some people are just too lazy to go out to look for work; they would rather stay at home and beg for food from the rich people rather than seizing the opportunity to work. I think that it is wrong because the rich will struggle for the poor to enjoy their sweat by claiming benefits. If the poor people were given the chance to be rich by working, they will refuse and would rather rely on the rich. Although some people will be unable to work due to injury, inflation, which means higher money chasing a few goods or no work available.However there, are people in less developed countries who are born into poverty and cannot get out of the poverty cycle due to droughts, disasters, no tools to work on the land e.t.c.
The rich have the right to their wealth as long as they have worked for it because their money is legal so therefore they are entitled to have as much as they want and the poor should be made to work for money legally and stop relying on rich people.
In Conclusion, I will like to say that everyone has a right to their own wealth as long as it is legitimate but the rich people should also try to give a 2.5% of their annual earnings according to Zakah to saves lives according to the Islamic teachings. In addition, the poor should endeavour to find lawful ways of making money to sustain them and become useful in our society today.