The article entitled “The Key to Prosperity” in Christianity Today reports a survey of 400,000 people across 100 different countries who were asked:
“Generally speaking, would you say that most people can be trusted or that you need to be very careful in dealing with people?”
And from that survey was generated a map of correlation between per capita income plotted against “trust” percentile rank.
The article is introduced with the following words:
“What are the most important qualities of a society that allow economic prosperity to take root? A lust for learning and knowledge? A blistering work ethic? Increasingly, academic research has highlighted a characteristic that may surprise many: Social trust.
Trust and its inseparable counterpart, trustworthiness, are themes that run strongly throughout Scripture.”
Keeping in mind the usual caveats regarding correlation versus causation, it is nonetheless interesting to note the way nations across the globe are clustered. You can draw your own conclusions.
Conspicuous on the graph are the orange “Christian” nations high and to the right. These are the most prosperous nations. They are also those that carry the highest historical level of trust that their politicians, generals, faith leaders, and CEOs are going to do what they say they will do.
Seems to me we are witnessing a calamitous decline in trust and trustworthiness in these orange-dotted countries whose decline in prosperity may be correlated in a graph a century from now with the collapse of Christian civility.
The kind of Christianity espoused by the politically-vocal so-called evangelical voice is devoid of charity, instead characterized by a high level of suspicion and mistrust for the poor, for refugees, for prisoners of any kind, of environmental advocacy and for aliens of other colors and faiths. Their central dogma is mistrust, and is as antithetical to the Old and New Testament’s mandate to care for “the least of these” as I can imagine.
My personal take-home from this and related reading is that if Christians are going to be ambassadors of our faith, we must take every measure to be trustworthy and above all, to trust those we do not understand, do not agree with, and especially those who come to us in need, not judging their motives or intent or skin color or expecting payment in return.
The MESSAGE / Matthew 34-36Â “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Enter, you who are blessed by my Father! Take what’s coming to you in this kingdom. It’s been ready for you since the world’s foundation. And here’s why:
I was hungry and you fed me,
I was thirsty and you gave me a drink,
I was homeless and you gave me a room,
I was shivering and you gave me clothes,
I was sick and you stopped to visit,
I was in prison and you came to me.’
37-40Â “Then those ‘sheep’ are going to say, ‘Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?’ Then the King will say, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me–you did it to me.’