How Morality Reduces Poverty (a video)

 

I have often said that the goal can’t be to moralize people. Making people more moral on their way to hell doesn’t accomplish anything. And if you legislate morality, what are you really accomplishing?

I still believe that. However, a recent study by the Brookings Institution brings some new thoughts to my mind. The Brookings Institution is one of the oldest and most influential think-tanks in the United States. They are an often-quoted group by both media and politicians, with a liberal leaning.

So – it was a huge surprise when I heard about a report they published of how to severely reduce poverty in the United States.  They said three things need to happen to massively reduce poverty. Each individual needs to:

  • Graduate from high school
  • Get a full-time job
  • Wait until 21 to get married and have children

If an individual does those three simple things – 98% will not live in poverty and 75% will at least join the middle class. The order of marriage and children matters too. The article indicates marriage first and it indicates the couple stays married. Children in two-parent homes rarely grow up in poverty.

So – if their list matched the article – I think there are five things that each person must do to severely reduce poverty:

  1. Graduate from high school
  2. Get a full-time job
  3. Wait until 21 to get married
  4. Have children after you get married
  5. Stay married

So – considering those last two – is that trying to moralize America? No, I don’t think so. Instead, it is recognizing that morality and poverty are related. So we aren’t trying to moralize America. We are trying to obey the Bible and help those in poverty. And the best way to help them is to help them make better choices…moral choices…biblical choices.

Sidenote: I know that #5 requires two people to cooperate. And there are biblical grounds for divorce, but I’m just summarizing what the Brookings Institution said.

So – do we want to reduce poverty in America? Of course we do. Do programs help? Most don’t seem to help. Programs to reduce poverty continue to grow. Money spent to reduce poverty continues to grow, but poverty isn’t declining. The best hope for a reduction of poverty is helping people see that the Bible’s way is best – for everyone. And of course, the ultimate goal is to change their eternity, not just reduce their poverty. But if they can see that the Bible’s way will help with the latter – they may be more open to embracing the former.

You can see the original article HERE.

Relevant Church

 

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