Religion and Poverty

Posted on: 08/07/2012

I have just been listening to the "God Slot" on BBC Radio Four.

Some songs say it all and that was certainly the case with the first Hymn this morning.

The title?

"Come With Me Because The Journey Is Long".

One of religion's main themes is journeying.  In Catholism, there is even a patron saint of travelling, St Christopher.  I suppose the great sailor Columbus was named after St Christopher, though, perhaps tellingly, the planet's most famous voyager never quite knew where he was arriving.

And arriving is the thing you never do on any religious long journey. Or at least not until you have died and then, of course, you don't know that you have.

Speaking of the living, since 80% of the planet's population is poor, one thing Religions can safely be said to have done is impoverished the World.

Even where Religions have been able to live in peace with one another, which has been very rare, poverty has never been addressed.  Ministers of the church, every church, have usually managed to live in a big house or temple, whilst their flocks have often been left to survive as best they can in disease ridden slums.

Religions often lecture about "helping the poor" but those of the cloth have spent most of their time helping themselves.

In regions of the World where religion is made the excuse for hatred and slaughter, the position is much worse.  Almost everywhere one looks, the picture is of civil wars, either between religious factions or supported by them.

CIvil unrest increases poverty, if nothing else because people standing around discussing who to fire the next bullet at are not working to provide economic benefits.  Idleness leads to poverty.  It is as simple as that.

I do not believe in God.  I also do not believe that it is necessary for poverty to be so prevalent as it is today.

Religion, for believers, should be a private matter.  Keep it private and proportionate and billions of people around the World can spend their time working to better themselves, rather than congregating for the next civil disturbance.

Women in particular would benefit from release from the yoke of religion.  Where there is poverty, which is almost everywhere, women and their children suffer more than men. Most religions treat women as, at best, second class citizens.

Sweep away the power of religions, all religions, and poverty will decrease - and we won't have to wait until we die to see the benefits for billions of people currently living in misery around our planet.

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