Posted by: Hereandthere40 | February 26, 2012

Hospitality Towards Strangers

The world is big, and mankind has progressed in many ways over the centuries.  However, in some ways we have grown more paranoid, and less hospitable.  As religion slowly fades away, so do the moral codes people used to live by.  In the United States today, the only situation I can think of where it is obligatory to help a stranger, is if you are the first to see a car accident.  By law you are required to stay put and report it.  Apart from this, the citizens have no obligation to take care of anybody but him/herself.

In the Ancient Middle East the Christians, Muslims, and Jews all showed unimaginable hospitality towards strangers.  In Islam, the hospitality relationship is also a trinity between: the host, stranger, and God. Hospitality is a right rather than a gift, and the duty to supply it is a duty to God, not to the stranger.  The Koran states that all Muslims should provide 3 days of hospitality/entertainment to travelers.  The bible teaches to treat those in need in accordance with the story of the Good Samaritan.  The Good Samaritan helped a wounded man to an inn, and paid for his stay until he was well enough to continue on.  This entire culture of hospitality in the Middle East was so strong that it came with a warning- “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares”.

There are points in history where some cultures have taken hospitality to an extreme level.  For example, it was reported by white missionaries that Aleutian and Alaskan Eskimo men would allow traveling strangers to stay in their homes, and allow the stranger to sleep with their wives for a night.  If that isn’t a bit much, I don’t know what else you could sacrifice to a stranger.

From my experience traveling, I have noticed that in any city, regardless of which country, people tend to be paranoid and less willing to offer directions or welcome people into their homes.  Yet, in the countryside and in sparsely populated areas trusting people still exist.  Some people are willing to lend a hand, yet it’s not an obligation.

Why has society gone backwards in regards to the treatment of strangers?  Perhaps today’s world is more consumer/material driven? That, and religion no longer steers the moral code of society.  Not even the Eskimos are willing to take such chances with strangers nowadays.


  1. Unfortunately this is true. Years ago it was the ultimate treat to be taken out to dinner. Now it is much more of an honor to have someone invite you to their home to share a meal.

    • Very true, its an honor and a rarity to be invited into somebodies home.

      • i feel like in america in 2012 everyone is playing the game lets see how many people i can screw over today. most younger people dont even see the problem because they grew up in an era where people dont care about people. everyone’s just a consumer looking out for their consumer needs. MORE MORE MORE! until its all gone. then the people with morals that can see the big picture will have the enjoyable time of rebuilding society. when i was growing up your word meant everything, you say something or agree to something you do it. now a days talk is cheap.

  2. This is eloquently put Luke and oh so very true. We can continue to be hospitible and have our Faith and hope others catch on, be leaders not followers. Great reading.

  3. I came to Brazil ten years ago as a volunteer and have consistently met people who were gracious and who invited me to their home, to spend holidays with them, to travel to visit family with them, etc. If I stop to ask for directions, or chat a moment with someone in a store, I am met with smiles and cordial behavior. I also love the respect that people are show who are older. It is an honor to live here and I thank the people of Brazil who have made me feel so welcome. hugs, pat

    • Pat, I agree with you, older folks are respected in Latin America. Sadly, they are not shown any attention in the U.S.

  4. I agree Luke and it’s sad… I get almost shocked responses from people when I hold a door open for them, let alone invite them into my home. Hope all is well with you!

    • Bish_You always did open doors for people-although the majority were woman-. j/k Good to hear from you, I will send you an email.

  5. […] was reading an article on a travel blog about hospitality: The world is big, and mankind has progressed in many ways over the centuries.  However, in some […]

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