Picture with me the invalid man beside the pool of Bethesda who had been there for 38 years. Healing was actually within his eyesight but he was never able to get into the pool to receive it. It is very likely he saw others healed but never had a chance to be healed himself until Jesus came along one day. This is a prophetic picture of how the spirit of poverty paralyzes many Christians. We think there should be more, but we just can’t get past where we are in our finances.
Having served as a youth pastor for a number of years, I found the study of world religions and a biblical worldview helped me to understand and answer the worldview questions of teenagers. If we look at world religions today, we find the idea of things never changing is more closely aligned to the Hindu worldview than the Christian worldview.
Darrow Miller in Discipling Nations states: “Hinduism has at its core the idea that a person is assigned a place in life. It sees perfection as a state of resignation and complacency. This causes people to withdraw from the world and not attack its evils. There is no hope or desire to change their present situation. There is no rationale for why people should be helped. The poor are poor because of what they did in their past lives, and the way out of poverty in the next life is to suffer in this one. The caste system in India is an example of a society in the grip of such Hindu fatalism. “Don’t interfere with the workings of karma,” we are told. “Leave the destitute in their state.” It is not a coincidence that few advances in science, innovations and cures for diseases are coming out of Hindu India.
According to Miller this same fatalism…feeling like things will never change…is found in other non-Christian world religions. In Thailand for example, the peasant is labeled “jaak-con” meaning “destined to poverty.” This attitude enslaves the poor in poverty. In some African languages there is not even a concept of “distant” future. This means there is not a category to define things getting better. In the heart of Buddhism is suffering and death. The goal of the Buddhist is not to combat suffering and death, but to escape from them into a spiritual state (Miller).
In contrast the Christian worldview is one of advancement. Poverty is rooted in the rejection of Christianity. The gospel is good news. It brings self respect and a self worth and causes people to desire to advance. Can we permanently settle in our minds that God wants us to advance? Although this thought is embedded in Western society, which has its origins in the Christian worldview, this is not an idea of Western society; it is a biblical, Christian idea!