Poverty – There are solutions



Solving poverty requires practical solutions, but the fundamental basis that motivates us is spiritual. The Golden Rule, which exists in all religions and cultures, testifies to this truth. Here is a “Golden Rule” passage from the Bahá’í Writings:

“Lay not on any soul a load which ye would not wish to be laid upon you, and desire not for any one the things ye would not desire for yourselves. This is My best counsel unto you, did ye but observe it.”  Bahá’u’lláh


We are all poor before God. Our obligation is to know and worship Him.

I bear witness, O my God, that Thou hast created me to know Thee and to worship Thee. I testify, at this moment, to my powerlessness and to Thy might, to my poverty and to Thy wealth. There is none other God but Thee, the Help in Peril, the Self-Subsisting.  Bahá’u’lláh


The worst poverty of all is poverty of the soul.

“Thou art He, O God, Who hath proclaimed Himself as the Lord of Wealth, and characterized all that serve Him as poor and needy. Even as Thou hast written: ‘O ye that believe! Ye are but paupers in need of God; but God is the All-Possessing, the All-Praised.’ Having acknowledged my poverty, and recognized Thy wealth, suffer me not to be deprived of the glory of Thy riches. Thou art, verily, the Supreme Protector, the All-Knowing, the All-Wise.”   Bahá’u’lláh


Our Creator has made us all to be rich of soul. However, people bring themselves down to poverty through their own behavior.

I created thee rich, why dost thou bring thyself down to poverty? Noble I made thee, wherewith dost thou abase thyself?”  Bahá’u’lláh


Naturally, we all have some responsibility to help the poor. Here is a passage from the Bahá’í Writings, where Bahá’u’lláh addresses the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire regarding the poor in Istanbul:

“We found among its inhabitants some who were possessed of an affluent fortune and lived in the midst of excessive riches, whilst others were in dire want and abject poverty. This ill beseemeth thy sovereignty, and is unworthy of thy rank.”  Bahá’u’lláh


People and their governments are really obligated to do something about poverty.

“A financier with colossal wealth should not exist whilst near him is a poor man in dire necessity. When we see poverty allowed to reach a condition of starvation it is a sure sign that somewhere we shall find tyranny. Men must bestir themselves in this matter, and no longer delay in altering conditions which bring the misery of grinding poverty to a very large number of the people. The rich must give of their abundance, they must soften their hearts and cultivate a compassionate intelligence, taking thought for those sad ones who are suffering from lack of the very necessities of life.  ‘Abdu’l-Bahá


Happily, social service projects are widespread throughout the world. Here, in Pierce County, Washington, for example, we have the Emergency Food Network. Formed in May of 2000, the Mother Earth Farm is an eight-acre  farm that produces over 150,000 pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables each year — all of which is distributed directly to local food banks and hot meal programs. Here is their link: http://www.efoodnet.org:80/mother_earth.htm.


Today, October 15th, is the second annual Blog Acton Day. The idea of Blog Action Day is for blog publishers to view a critical social issue from their own perspective, and do it all at once, in effect generating a multi-faceted global discussion on a specific topic. The topic this year is poverty.

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