Being blind to endemic poverty

Having a meal at an outdoor eatery, with a small troupe of young children – who look underfed – staring at the food through a mesh wire fence is absolutely discouraging. In poor countries, there is visible evidence of poverty, of people living on the edge of survival.

In a surface-democracy of the Western kind, with governance by a plutocracy (the rich), while vast levels of poverty prevail, a clutch of international agencies will pontificate periodically about what needs to be done. Often, foreign investors will be in cahoots with the rulers to enrich themselves speedily and permanently. The reality is that economically depressed lower classes are needed to maintain the lifestyles of the powerful. Social and financial inequality is a necessity for the rulers.

What exactly are the major institutional religions of the world doing to ameliorate, indeed improve, the plight of the dispossessed? Another display of pomp and pageantry, more prayers? What is the track record of these religions? Do they seek to persuade the rulers of their nation that equalitarianism, especially in terms of equal opportunity to better themselves, is both morally and economically a necessity?

Is it not too easy for priests and politicians to expect their vision of God to pop out of Heaven to (hopefully) provide some betterment for those who (for example) rely on a living through scavenging on rubbish tips, or whose children are put to work at an early age by necessity, with no hope of ever improving their life-chances? Like a close friend of mine who blamed God for not curing her cancer, shall we all blame God for endemic poverty and its consequences?

Since the priest who talks to God every day (so she said) can do no more than save souls, should the rulers of institutional religions be invited to focus less on the pleasures of Heaven, and more on the sufferings of their flock of adherents on Earth?

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