"If Christians are supposedly so generous, why do they object to increases in welfare and anti-poverty programs? Why do they hold the less fortunate back like this?"
THE ANGEL POSSENTI:
This objection really comes down to a misunderstanding of charity. Multiple definitions of charity exist but I prefer the two definitions provided by Oxford:
The voluntary giving of help, typically in the form of money, to those in need.
Help or money given voluntarily to those in need
Notice the common trait in the two definitions: what one donates must be voluntarily given..as in, it must be given under one's own power. That right there is why Christians don't accept government programs: it's funded by taxes and taxes are for the most part not voluntary.
Not only that, government programs are notorious for not alleviating poverty at all but instead encourages dependency on more handouts.
This is why you never hear about generational dependency in private charities: unlike government run programs, private programs encourage people to change their lives for the better and take personal responsibility.
"But wait," some misguided atheist might say, "most religious people only give money to religious groups so since their intention is to promote their religion, that doesn't count as charity."
First of all, charity has NEVER been measured by what our intentions are but rather what the results are. Second, research has shown that religious people are more likely to give to religious groups…but they're also more likely to give to all charitable groups overall.
In fact, according to the book Who Really Cares by Arthur C Brooks, there are four factors that will determine how generous someone is:
-marital status (research has shown married people are more generous than single people)
-whether the person has kids or legal dependents
-whether the person has a skepticism towards the idea government can do a better job.
(Sidenote: the author could not find any connection to people who flat out reject the notion of letting government do the job).
-whether the person is religious: religious people give far more to charity than non-believers.
"But wait," an atheist is bound to object. "I'm far more generous than any religious person I know."
Statistical data from the book shows that is most likely a lie. In the event it's not a lie, it's either because the atheist in question lives in a religious area where charity is encouraged or the atheist was raised in a religious family that encouraged charity. It further showed if someone is atheist and from an atheist family, they give so little it's not even worth mentioning.
Finally, many atheists and misguided Christians will claim the Bible does promote bigger government with these verses:
And all they that believed, were together, and had all things common. Their possessions and goods they sold, and divided them to all, according as every one had need. (Acts 2:44-45)
That interpretation of these verses misses the mark because it overlooks one basic fact:
the group they're talking about is the Church, not the government.
Sure, you hear about monks or nuns living together in community and holding things in common, but it's only a certain number living in one particular building and they live that life voluntarily. Neither factor applies to government running things.
There's that word again: voluntary. Atheists just can't seem to wrap their heads around that concept.
Then again atheists are idiots.