Yesterday I pointed out that there are some problems with Bono’s belief about government “tithing” toward poverty.  Last night while reading Rob Bell and Don Golden’s new book, Jesus Wants to Save Christians, I read some facts about the United States.  There is no denying the fact that we are indeed very rich in comparison to the rest of the world.

Bell and Golden point out:

  • America controls nearly 20% of the world’s wealth.  There are around six billion people in the world, and there are roughly 300 million people in the U.S.  That makes America less than 5% of the world’s population which owns a fifth of the world’s wealth.
  • One billion people in the world do not have access to clean water, while the average American uses 400 to 600 liters of water a day.
  • Every seven seconds, somewhere in the world a child under 5 dies of hunger, while Americans throw away 14% of the food we purchase.
  • Nearly one billion people in the world live on less than on American dollar a day.
  • Another 2.5 billion people in the world live on less than two American dollars a day.
  • More than 1/2 of the world live on less than two dollars a day, while the average American teenager spends nearly $150 a week.
  • 40% of people in the world lack basic sanitation, while 49 million diapers are used and thrown away in America every day.
  • 1.6 billion people in the world have no electricity.
  • Nearly one billion people in the world can not read or sign their name.
  • Nearly 100 million children are denied basic education.
  • By far, most of the people in the world do not own a car while 1/3 of American families own three.
  • One in seven children worldwide (158 million) has to go to work every day just to survive.
  • Four out of five American adults are high school graduates.
  • Americans spend more annually on trash bags than nearly half of the world does on all goods.
  • Bell points out, and I think that it is true that accumulation can breed a sense of entitlement.  It would be easy to ignore the fact that in the eyes of most in the third world, we are rich.  It is easy to think that we deserve all that we have or we are entitled to have basic “needs” met.  The response that we should have when we realize how wealthy we are as a nation and as individuals is to be grateful.  Be grateful for God’s provision, but then we need to be generous.  We as individuals, but especially those who are followers of Christ.  We should care about the poor, and not rely upon the government to meet these needs.

 

18 comments
  1. I hear what they are saying and for the most part agree.. the tough part for me is sending money/goods to countries that have so much corruption.. government and otherwise.. often gifts do not reach thos who need it most.

    Also, it seems that so much goes to the administration costs of charitable organizations. MinistryWatch.com is a good resource to check the stats out (before you give) on some organizations.

  2. I hear what they are saying and for the most part agree.. the tough part for me is sending money/goods to countries that have so much corruption.. government and otherwise.. often gifts do not reach thos who need it most.

    Also, it seems that so much goes to the administration costs of charitable organizations. MinistryWatch.com is a good resource to check the stats out (before you give) on some organizations.

  3. The problem is always whether what you give gets to where you really want it to go.

    We are rich no doubt and can do more to help the rest of the world. The problem is that people tend to view this in relation to those who have more than them, and are less likely to want it to go to someone else.

    Are we as Americans really ready to redistribute wealth outside our borders, or are we going to use the government is responsible to its own citizens argument?

  4. The problem is always whether what you give gets to where you really want it to go.

    We are rich no doubt and can do more to help the rest of the world. The problem is that people tend to view this in relation to those who have more than them, and are less likely to want it to go to someone else.

    Are we as Americans really ready to redistribute wealth outside our borders, or are we going to use the government is responsible to its own citizens argument?

  5. *speaks up*

    The difference between clean water and water can’t be understated.

    I’ve never lived on clean water before joining the Navy– the rest was private wells or springs.

    My family raises some 300 head of cattle on water that isn’t counted as clear, as well– this includes the water we use to raise alfalfa.

    One must remember that a US dollar spent in the USA is still worth more than a dollar spent elsewhere– my rent in Japan was crazy cheap, in USA dollars; it was totally normal in Japan cash.

    I want to help folks, but false equivalents annoy me…..

  6. *speaks up*

    The difference between clean water and water can’t be understated.

    I’ve never lived on clean water before joining the Navy– the rest was private wells or springs.

    My family raises some 300 head of cattle on water that isn’t counted as clear, as well– this includes the water we use to raise alfalfa.

    One must remember that a US dollar spent in the USA is still worth more than a dollar spent elsewhere– my rent in Japan was crazy cheap, in USA dollars; it was totally normal in Japan cash.

    I want to help folks, but false equivalents annoy me…..

  7. Foxfier – you make a great point.

    Regarding water though – what he is referring to is the fact that many African villages don’t have even a well. Instead they have to get their water often times from stagnant sources like a pond or lake. Sometimes they have to walk miles to have access to a well.

  8. Foxfier – you make a great point.

    Regarding water though – what he is referring to is the fact that many African villages don’t have even a well. Instead they have to get their water often times from stagnant sources like a pond or lake. Sometimes they have to walk miles to have access to a well.

  9. Somalia is a good picture of the kinds of things we have to combat to help these people. We’ve spent billions (both federally and individually) sending them supplies that were collected by warlords and used for their own power or allowed to rot.

    How do we get rid of them? Do we take try the “Cuba” solution (that’s worked so well), or our “China” approach (the pre-Olypic protesters may offer some thoughts on how well that has worked), or the “Iraq” approach?

    We only have so many tools at our disposal, and the one that has the best odds of success is the one the liberals would least want us to do (not that I want to do that either).

  10. Somalia is a good picture of the kinds of things we have to combat to help these people. We’ve spent billions (both federally and individually) sending them supplies that were collected by warlords and used for their own power or allowed to rot.

    How do we get rid of them? Do we take try the “Cuba” solution (that’s worked so well), or our “China” approach (the pre-Olypic protesters may offer some thoughts on how well that has worked), or the “Iraq” approach?

    We only have so many tools at our disposal, and the one that has the best odds of success is the one the liberals would least want us to do (not that I want to do that either).

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