Friday, February 24, 2006

ONE Questions

After methodically working his way through most of the issues regarding the ONE Campaign, Pastor Mark Roberts made some questionable statements in this entry as he continues to reflect on the goals of the ONE Campaign.

Throughout his series, Pastor Roberts has been asking his readers to consider various Bible passages as well as the practical implications of the methods and goals of the ONE Campaign. He has thrown his support behind the goals of the ONE Campaign, while remaining neutral on the methods. He has asked many good questions, but let his readers draw their own conclusions regarding the ONE Campaign methods. Today, I have a few questions for Pastor Roberts that came to my mind after reading his piece that I summarized yesterday.

Pastor Roberts, since you claim that it is terribly easy for Americans, most of whom live far removed from the horrors of poverty, to minimize what is surely the most horrible problem in our world today; isn’t it just as easy for Americans who live far removed from the people who are labeled as poor to over emphasize the horrors of poverty? Why can’t a moral person choose to be poor? Why can’t a poor person choose to be left alone?

Pastor Roberts, since you claim that widespread poverty in our world is unacceptable and that it is simply wrong that there are so many poor people on this earth; what is the right number of people who should be poor? Also, exactly what does it mean to be poor?

Pastor Roberts, why do you take the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and Bread for the World at their word when both organizations have a vested interest in separating tax payers from their money? Is six million children dying each year and two billion people who are chronically malnourished the truth? One out of every three people on earth are chronically malnourished? Where do they get the energy to reproduce?

Pastor Roberts, why do you assume that people who live in relative luxury have little concern for the poor since most of the ONE Campaign organizers, promoters, and spokespeople are some of the wealthiest people on our planet? Is it possible the wealthy are too far removed from the problem to understand the real solution to the problem? Is it possible that people like Bono are using their fame and influence to force us to make poverty throughout the world worse? Is it possible that the poor need to be protected from the wealth and influence of people like Bono? Is it possible God wants the poor protected from the powerful people like Bono?

Pastor Roberts, do you really believe that poverty which is often a result of choices, but not always, is a bigger problem for the world than terrorists who blow up themselves along with innocent people who have no choice? Aren’t there certain degrees of culpability for those who are poor? Is a child dying of malnutrition the same as a hungry terrorist? Is a child suffering from malnutrition the same as an adult suffering from malnutrition? Is there a difference between suffering and extreme suffering? Is a hungry person who can work the same as a hungry person who is disabled? Does discernment matter in regards to Global poverty or is everyone who claims to be hungry a victim?

Pastor Roberts, why do you assume that most of us are self centered and would rather not think about poverty? Would you believe that many of us think about poverty all of the time? Would you believe that some of us have thought about poverty for over 40 years and some even longer? Did you know that the picture you showed on your site is similar to pictures that have been used for over 50 years for nothing more than eliciting a guilt response?

Pastor Roberts, did you not know that paying less for imported goods is helping to solve the problem of poverty throughout the world? Why would you want to stop doing something that is actually solving the problem in favor of something that would only make the problem worse?


Jeremiah Fyffe said...

Why can’t a moral person choose to be poor?

I think that you are misunderstanding the issue of what the Pastor Mark means by poor. It is one thing to choose to live a simple (from the outside regarded as poor) lifestyle. It is quite another to die of starvation because there is simply no food.

We are not talking about people who are choosing poverty or simplicity. God help us, that we would choose this more and more. We are talking about starvation. No moral person chooses starvation. It is the starvation and malnutrition of men, women, and children around the world that is unacceptable.

David M. Smith said...

Hi Jeremiah,

Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. I agree with you, Pastor Roberts, and anyone else who thinks that starvation anywhere in the world is unacceptable with only a few slight caveats.

Let me explain. First, there is definitely a difference between hunger, malnutrition, and starvation. The three are not the same and the response to each should be completely different. When an aid organization claims that 2 billion people in the world are chronically malnourished, the organization is either telling a complete lie or is incompetent. The number is phony.

For the most part, hunger is good. During fasting, hunger reminds us of our dependence on God. During times of little, hunger motivates us to move forward.

Also for the most part, malnourishment is neutral. People are more susceptible to disease and have less energy, but malnourishment is a temporary condition that can be alleviated with a better diet. Malnourishment is not related the amount of food or even the type of food, but to the balance of food. Some wealthy people are chronically malnourished.

Starvation does lead to death. However, the cause of the starvation must also be diagnosed before the cure is prescribed. People who are starving because they are not being allowed to eat and when they have not committed a crime deserving death, need to have whatever is causing the prevention removed. If the starvation is being caused by a corrupt government, the corrupt government needs to be deposed. This is a fact in some cases in Africa now.

However, the majority of the people starving in Africa now are starving because they were given aid when they were hungry. It is a fact, a very sad fact, that good hearted Christians in America have caused and are causing some of the starving in Africa right now. God help us.