Awkward questions, Global issues, Loving your neighbor, Suffering

Why do children in Africa starve to death?

africa

In this article we reply to Daniel, one of the readers of our webpage whose comment was:
‘Because if we were to blame God for all the evil in the world and if His job description included fixing it and having no debt, I, for one, would fire Him due to poor performance. If this is all that a supreme being can do, I am not at all impressed, on the contrary, I would accuse Him of negligence in employment, abuse of position and incompetence.
It suffices to see that 6 million children die from starvation and illnesses in Africa every year, babies burnt alive in maternity hospitals (like the case of Giulesti – a maternity hospital in Bucharest, Romania), poverty, diseases, fires, earthquakes, disasters, etc. Let me remind you: 6 million children die from starvation and illnesses in Africa every year. How does He pay his debt to those people?’

You are right, millions of people die from starvation in Africa and around the world every year, but at the same time think about how much food we throw away, think about how greedy we are… about how we eat 4 or 5 times a day…
Think about the fact that we, the ones living in the ‘good’ world have a daily food basket much larger and more expensive than those living in Africa.

Remember that our main concern, the westerners, is to live in comfort and delight, always seeking large salaries, big houses, luxury cars, trips abroad, social life during weekends, ever new and trendy clothing, daily gastronomic whims, expensive hobbies and many others…
Whoever in Europe thinks about the poor in Africa?
What country in Europe gave up the grand prize in their national lottery which usually amounts to hundreds of millions of euros in order to donate it to African children?

We accuse God for keeping His hands in His pockets and letting those children starve to death… but we are the ones to blame, the selfish westerners who forgot about God, who gorge ourselves silly.
How much clothing does Europe throw away?
How many cars does Europe scrap every year although they are between 10 and 20 years old? Cars that could just as well have been used. How many new cars does Europe produce annually despite the fact that the automotive market is overloaded?
How much does Europe produce for the delight and selfishness of its own citizens without thinking about the starving people in the world?
It is we that are the great hypocrites.

The poor on street corners in your city and in mine starve to death because of you and me. When we become aware of his, there will be no more poor people.
How many European billionaires stash their money in bank accounts thinking about what funds to invest them into?
Why do the European Union and the USA that handle billions and billions of euros every year not offer help to poor African countries, selflessly, without expecting anything in return? Why is there so much money for cultural projects but there is never enough money for helping our starving brothers?

If every European citizen gave one euro per year there would be 830 million euros which can be invested in Africa in order to give the poor bread and clean water. If we, European citizens, gave at least the annual interest to our bank deposits, it still would be something extraordinary.
The list of ways to give up at least 10% of the comfort of western living is long, and the aids gathered this way would be enormous. Nobody claims we have to raise the standard of living in African countries to that of European countries, but let us at least offer them basic food and hygiene products.

God is not the problem, I am. In the same way that in a family the parents and their child have the means to live and after a few years, 4 or 5 more children are born to them and they all have enough food to eat, in the large family of our world, if we shared what we have, everyone would have the necessary nourishment.
‘You give them something to eat!’ (Matthew 14, 16) our Saviour says in His Gospel. Yes! Let us give the poor something to eat and after we all shared our bread with the one next to us and when the wheat is over, only then let us cry out to the Lord: ‘Oh, Lord, we are starving, have you forsaken us?’

God’s answer to your question ‘Why do millions of people die from starvation in Africa every year?’ is the answer that He gave to the wealthy man in the Gospel who saw what a good crop he produced and had no room to store it and torn down his barns to make them larger thinking to himself he had enough goods to enjoy himself. God then said to him: ‘Fool! This very night your soul is required of you!’
This ‘Fool!’ describes the madness of the one who cries out to his father that his brothers are starving while his pantries are full of food.

Why do we experience afflictions? Why do we experience illnesses, fires, natural disasters, accidents, etc.? For the same reason that God put an end to the wealthy man’s life. Because we can’t get enough of living just for ourselves and we cause so much suffering to those around us who wait for a little help from our side. Our larceny and greed are the voice of the suffering of the poor constantly crying out to God. ‘In what way can I set before your eyes the suffering of the poor so that you can understand from what sighs you gather your fortunes?’ Saint Basil the Great says.
How much longer should God tolerate us? We murder our babies through abortions because we fear we can’t feed them. Brothers and sisters quarrel with one another because of money and fortune. People trample on one another for the sake of worldly glory and power, no matter who their victims are.
The world experiences afflictions after years and years God has tolerated us in our meanness.
Why does it experience them? So that we don’t think we are the masters of the Earth. So that we don’t forget that the Lord is our Creator and everybody’s Judge and that it is Him that rules the world, not the higher-ups, as we often falsely think.

If the rich don’t reach down into their pockets out of their own free will in order to help the poor, after years of God tolerating them due to His love, He will punish them out of love and they will lose the money in their bank accounts due to bad business, they will spend it on doctors when they become ill, they will withdraw it from their accounts… unwillingly.

In consequence the conclusion is this: the poor starve to death because we the people don’t give them food and don’t help them and the world experiences afflictions because it is only through suffering that people are awakened to reality and stop being selfish.
The land produces enough crops for everybody every year, the barns are always full… but our greed leads to the starvation of others.

(Claudiu Balan)

Translated by Claudia

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