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.