Original Research - Special Collection: Symposium Social Cohesion

The effect of religion on poverty

Jaco Beyers
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 70, No 1 | a2614 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v70i1.2614 | © 2014 Jaco Beyers | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 27 January 2014 | Published: 14 August 2014

About the author(s)

Jaco Beyers, Department of Science of religion and Missiology, University of Pretoria, South Africa


Poverty is a human condition. Social, economic, psychological and political factors affect society and can alleviate as well as stimulate poverty. Religion provides a unique perspective on the phenomenon of poverty. This article suggests three functions of religion regarding poverty. Firstly, religion can redirect human thought to spiritual concerns, focusing on spiritual poverty instead of material concerns. Secondly, it can provide the moral fibres needed in society. Religion can influence the response to poverty by having an ethical impact when principles benefiting all in society are applied within economic systems. Religion can also influence the response to poverty by fostering an attitude of willingness to practise generosity. Religion can educate communities in order for human dignity of all in society to be restored. Thirdly, religion can be part of the system actively encouraging and participating in alleviating poverty.


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