Wednesday, 4 December 2013

What is modern poverty? Loneliness. What should Christians be doing about modern poverty? Visiting


Christians have become very mixed-up about poverty.

The idea (which I have heard from the current leaders of the Roman Catholic and Anglican churches) that alleviation of poverty is a particularly urgent task of our day and ought therefore to become the major priority of the Christian churches is especially misguided - indeed, not just a mistake but actually a dangerous and harmful policy.


The fact is that poverty, in the Biblical sense, is pretty-much abolished from the modern world.

Biblical poverty was about working all the hours of the day and indeed being worked to death, starving to death, dying of disease... it was about death.

In the modern developed countries, by contrast, so-called-poverty is characterized by what the Bible would have called something like 'luxury and idleness': over-eating, obesity, alcohol and drug over-use, and un-employment (not working), and by living longer than anybody in history - but having on average few children.

In undeveloped countries, nowadays, poverty has a lot more hunger and disease than in developed countries - but is nonetheless characterized by societies rearing unprecedented numbers of children, with the population being added-to faster than ever in the history of the planet: an extra billion people every 12 years since 1975 and another billion expected in the next 14 years.

(As context, there was only one billion people in the whole world circa 1800 and it took more than a century to add the next billion.)

Thus Biblical 'poverty' was about populations collapsing due to famine and plague - while modern 'poverty' is about luxury and idleness in the West, and an exploding population in the poorest nations.

Two different things.


Furthermore, Westerners live in a world with a previously-unimaginable focus on this-worldly materialism, a world of short-termist hedonism, addiction to technological distractions, and intolerance for discomfort, a world of grotesque spiritual deficiency - so that to ask for a greater focus on relieving material poverty is precisely the worst possible emphasis for Christian leaders to recommend.

A greater focus on examining the distribution of material resources and on re-distributing material resources is exactly what we do not need; exactly what would be most harmful  to us - it is even further to subordinate Christians under the Marxist materialist preoccupations of Leftism.

I regard such policy as following the agenda of The Adversary, not of God.


(This is why the secular Leftist mass media have given such a positive reception to Pope Francis. Because he is assisting their demonic agenda.)


But we are told that the poor are always with us - so who are they?

I would say that the modern poor are the lonely.

Therefore perhaps Christians could or should focus on the area of greatest need - that is to say visiting the lonely - as with the Biblical instruction to 'visit orphans and widows in their affliction' - but expanded to visiting the lonely of whatever nature or cause.

(I hasten to add that up to now I have personally failed in this, as in so many charitable imperatives. This is a case of don't do as I do...)

Visiting would therefore be a more worthy and more necessary aim, less counter-productive and less actively-harmful, than pandering to the already dominant corrosive priorities of Leftism; which merely fuels the tendency to see the world primarily in economic terms.


Nonetheless, if modern Christians were to focus much more on visiting the lonely, they would not have the slightest difficulty in finding people who needed to be visited - in contrast to the way that people have great difficulty in finding people who resemble the Biblical depictions of poverty. 

To find the lonely, Christians would NOT have to travel thousands of miles to war-torn Africa, or home-in on disaster zones; they would not even need to cross to the other side of town. 

Christians could just step-out of the front door of their home or office, turn right or left - it doesn't matter; and walk for just a few seconds or minutes to find someone who needs visiting. 

Because loneliness is everywhere in the modern world. It is the main form of modern poverty.