Tom Hanks, a Presbyterian minister, taught Old Testament at the Seminario Biblico Latinoamericano in San Jose, Costa Rica, when this article appeared.
Posts By This Author
From the Archives: January 1981
IF A POLL WERE to be taken in North American churches concerning the causes of poverty, the results might be quite revealing. The major cause of poverty is widely assumed to be “underdevelopment.” Other prominent factors are believed to be laziness (we’ve all read about those exemplary ants in Proverbs 6), vices such as drunkenness, and, however subtly and discreetly expressed, the supposed racial and national inferiority of certain peoples. It’s a very comforting worldview, and one that our most popular politicians delight to propagate.
But if you look up “underdevelopment” in a concordance ... you find precisely nothing. The Bible contains a few scattered references attributing certain instances of poverty to laziness, drunkenness, and other assorted causes, but hardly enough to substantiate any of them as the basic cause.
Why People Are Poor
If a poll were to be taken in North American churches concerning the causes of poverty, the results might be quite revealing.