Religion ‘makes people more generous’, concludes study

RELIGIOUS people are more generous than non-believers when it comes to giving to charity, British research claims

Research commissioned by the BBC found that British people who profess a religious belief are significantly more likely to give to charity than non-believers.

Sikhs and Jews emerged as the most likely to share their worldly goods with a good cause, just ahead of Christians, Hindus and Muslims.

The study, carried out for the BBC’s network of local radio stations, included polling by ComRes of a sample of more than 3,000 people of all faiths and none.

It found that levels of generosity across the British public are strikingly high, but highest among those with a religious faith.
Overall as many as seven in 10 people in England said they had given money to a charity in the past month. But while just over two thirds of those who professed no religious faith claimed to have done so, among believers the figure rose to almost eight out of 10.

Among those polled, all of the Sikhs and 82 per cent of practising Jews had given money in the past month. Among practising Christians the figure was 78 per cent.

The Revd Dr Martyn Atkins, general Secretary of the Methodist Church, said: “Religious faith should motivate people to acts of generosity and it’s good to see this reflected in these figures.

“Of course, financial giving is only part of the picture.

“For some people a simple act of kindness, or the very fact that someone has made time for them, can mean more than any financial gift.

“But every act of generosity, however small, bears witness to a generous and loving God and helps to change the world for good.”

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11 thoughts on “Religion ‘makes people more generous’, concludes study

  1. Maybe it’s wrong to admit this but sometimes when I feel I have to give to charity and I’m feeling a bit low on the dough I say to God. “I’m a bit wary about doing this at this time dear God, so if I do can you hit me up with some cash a bit later”.

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      • The solution to that problem is simple.
        Make lotsa money!
        …of course if you do that you get attacked by all sorts of godbotherers and
        eye-of-the-needle salesmen.
        That’s god and his How-To-Manual all over! The whole industry is a lose-lose proposition. 🙂

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    • Who says you have to specifically give money to charities? Ancient Israel had a system of welfare whereby the poor and needy could come into an orchard and feed themselves (provided that they didn’t take any fruits away). In the book of Ruth, we have this principle extended to wheat harvesting, whereby stalks of wheat were deliberately missed so that the poor could come after the main reapers and harvest the crop for themselves. Maybe giving other charities stuff is a way?

      In the new Testament we have someone called Dorcas, whose claim to fame was that instead of giving money away, she made clothes for the poor. Perhaps you have a talent that you can volunteer for a charity organisation?

      In the parable of the sheep and the goats, Jesus defined the ones who would be saved as those who visited the poor, the sick, and/or gave food to the hungry and water to the thirsty. Not necessarily the money givers.

      One of the most tragic examples of what I am saying is in regards to a teenage girl I met some time ago. First she asked me for spare change (which I didn’t have at the time because the smallest note I had was a $50). Then she offered sex, so I told her that I would give her the equivalent amount of money, if she did my laundry and cleaning in return. Instead of accepting my offer she accused me of being a pervert! A Salvation Army person who happened to walk by, observing only part of the incident rebuked me for being uncharitable, and of being a misogynist, for even suggesting that this girl could earn money by doing laundry and/or cleaning.

      I swore then, that I would never give money to Red Shield Appeal, but if the need arose, I would volunteer whatever talents I had instead.

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      • You’re right Davinci, I like those suggestions. I just bought myself a small knitting machine and I’d like to be able to make some things for charity.

        The food sharing reminds me of the post Bryan put up recently where the man had a storage outside his house for the poor to be able to access after hours. I think that’s lovely.

        I do also give cash when I can because I think that certain organisations through the church do a good job of taking care of some poor people that I will not manage to myself. We can’t reach everyone.

        I’m always excited by new and innovative ways of charity works.

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      • Big, big lesson God taught me, is that charity begins at home, and in turn that revelation taught my husband.

        Honestly, if you can be tight as with your own children/family and at the same time give to numerous charities hoping for God to bless you for your efforts, forget about it. It’s not going to happen. That revelation absolutely changed the dynamics of our family life because it freed us from the need to conform to religion and instead, to practice true love. We’ve blossomed since turning our backs on religion all those years ago. We no longer care what the religious think of us because we’re no longer bullied into conforming, praise God! I mean, once you’re labelled a backslider you really can’t get any lower, can you? 🙂

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      • The trick is to give freely and from the heart. I do that, but not always lol

        I possibly do it for God’s blessing, I don’t know. I know I don’t do it not because other people expect me to (who’s going to know anyway), but because I think God may expect me to and that it’s a lesson for me to not be afraid of my own poverty, to know that God will have my back.

        I actually love solutions to problems, to know that people are being helped – it makes you happy. I’m inspired by innovators like that young girl who made those sleeping bags. How fantastic. Reading articles like that makes other’s get involved. In the meantime I may plop out a single beanie on my soon to arrive knitting machine – but it all counts right?

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      • A knitting machine Kathleen?

        How exciting! They are fantastic.

        I used to know a woman who had one and I was just so impressed by the knitting she produced on it, and so quickly too….and the even stitches were just great. Oh, you’ll have such fun, I’m sure, and also bless a lot of people with your creations. I am really excited for you Sis.

        I would love to see your creations too. If you ever feel to get in touch, Bryan knows my email address and I’d love for him to give it to you.

        When hubby and I left the Catholic Church and went Pentecostal for a time, we started giving to a lot of American preachers (ministries) because we came under the Prosperity Gospel. It’s funny, even though I didn’t know the Scriptures at that time, the Prosperity Gospel never sat right with me, but we wanted to do what we were told is the right thing to do. “You have to give to receive” (from God) we were taught. That never sat right with me. Since when do you give to receive something in return? That’s so not right, and yet that is what we were taught. So we gave. But that didn’t change the hardness of my heart. I was not naturally generous. What I was doing was a religious obligation/duty, somewhat like what I would imagine the Pharisees would have done in Jesus’ time. I wasn’t giving because I truly wanted to. But I guess God sees the heart and He set about to change mine. He set me straight. Now I see things very differently.

        You know what God often says to me, “you have not because you ask not.” He wants us to ask Him for everything we need, including finances. He’s there for us and a good deed never goes unrewarded. Keep up the good work Sis. You are such a blessing.

        With love.

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      • Exciting or What!! lol

        I just cannot wait. I’m ambitious but need to crawl before I walk. Okey dokes, when I’m settled on the machine and creating a few things I’ll contact you via Bryan 🙂

        I understand completely what you’re saying re giving and expecting something in return. You’re very right.

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  2. The problem is that all the ‘giving’ in the world —> “Among those polled, all of the Sikhs and 82 per cent of practising Jews had given money in the past month. Among practising Christians the figure was 78 per cent. ”
    ….doesn’t fix the situation ~ or even alleviate it much.- There are more kids starving today than there were last year. It could, on that basis, be argued that giving money to charities exacerbates the perceived problem.
    Chucking resources down a Black Hole might be a feel-good exercise, but it’s about as futile as were the efforts of the tar-mixers helping to build the Tower of Babel.

    Money, as we know it, is made to be used.
    Not spent.

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  3. Giving to charity might be more prevalent amongst church goers because of a sense of duty rather than feelings of generosity. Working to eliminate causes of poverty might be more effective. I saw that in Utah the amount spent on imprisoning the homeless was greater than what they are now introducing – free units and a case worker for each!

    Wr can be generous with more than money, too. Giving our time just to listen can result in a great benefit for some. Even sitting at a bus stop to talk to strangers.

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