Wealth and Poverty in Christian Tradition

God, Theology

Contributed by: Canadian Poverty Institute

Wealth and poverty are elements of social stratification that substantively contribute to people’s definition and experience of “good life.” Wealth is a multivalent concept loaded with multiple ideological complex meanings. It evokes difficult to disengage attitudes of prosperity, power, social status, security and personal success. It decisivelycontributestopeople’sassumptionofself-worth. Povertyontheotherhand is a concept that refers to “pronounced deprivation in well being.”1 In simple terms, to be poor is to be hungry, homeless, sick, illiterate, voiceless, powerless and generally unprotected from adverse and potentially oppressive and unjust social realities. Poverty is a global problem of huge proportions with explosive social consequences for peace and stability. According to the World Bank, of the world’s 6 billion people, 2.8 billion live on less than $2 a day, and 1.2 billion on less than $1 a day.2 Generally, wealth and poverty are asymmetrical social realities that reflect unjust distribution of material resources, knowledge and power in local and worldwide scale.

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Photo by John Moeses Bauan on Unsplash

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