Are religious people more charitable? Yep, says survey

RELIGIOUS Australians donate an average 50% more to charity annually than do atheists or agnostics, the latest data from Roy Morgan Research shows.

The average Australian gave $288 to charity in the year to June 2014. Those who identify with a religion gave an average $331 each in the past year—over a $100 per person more than those who say they have no religion.

Among the religious, charitable giving surges by age 25-34 to an annual average of $333 per person, and continues to a peak of $409 among 35-49 year-olds before declining around $35/year at ages 50-64 and 65+.

The average amount given by the spiritually disinclined continues to increase with age, with those aged 65+ giving more on average than their religious contemporaries.

Average annual charity spend of religious and non-religious Australians by age group


Overall, religious Australians say they donated $4 billion to charity within the past year, while reported donations from the non-religious totalled almost $1.6 billion.

Norman Morris, Industry Communications Director, Roy Morgan Research, says:

“A comparison of the dollars donated does indeed suggest that religious people are more charitable than others. Across all age groups, Australians who cite a personal religion are more likely to have made a donation within the past year than those who say they have no religion. And, across all age groups except among the over 65s, religious donators also give more on average than non-religious donators.

“As the number of Australians with no religious affiliation continues to rise, all charities—whether religious or not—must find ways to inspire genuinely altruistic donations outside religious giving structures.”


93 thoughts on “Are religious people more charitable? Yep, says survey

  1. Interesting that donations from the religious increase until mid-life, then decrease, whereas donations from non-religious steadily increase throughout life. Why is it so?


    • There are many reasons. Some people will call themselves religious in some instances but not religious in others. Some people will take into consideration Jesus’ injunction not to let the right hand know what the left is doing, donating in secret, etc. so it is difficult to know exactly how many of these non-religious types are actually religious people giving under cover so to speak.
      Then you have the issue of looking after aging relatives instead of dumping them on the state to look after. The fifth commandment of the Decalogue commands care for parents, which some religions emphasize. The more this happens the less likely that income will be available for donations to charity.
      It would be interesting though to find out how many of the non-religious people whose donations increased with years, were in the category of being childless, had no parent to look after, no disabled child to look after, and therefore had the disposable income to increase donations.


      • Charitable giving by atheists and agnostics in America is significantly less than by theists, according to a study by the Barna Group:

        “ The typical no-faith American donated just $200 in 2006, which is more than seven times less than the amount contributed by the prototypical active-faith adult ($1500). Even when church-based giving is subtracted from the equation, active-faith adults donated twice as many dollars last year as did atheists and agnostics. In fact, while just 7% of active-faith adults failed to contribute any personal funds in 2006, that compares with 22% among the no-faith adults.”

        A comprehensive study by Harvard University professor Robert Putnam found that religious people are more charitable than their irreligious counterparts. The study revealed that forty percent of worship service attending Americans volunteer regularly to help the poor and elderly as opposed to 15% of Americans who never attend services. Moreover, religious individuals are more likely than non-religious individuals to volunteer for school and youth programs (36% vs. 15%), a neighborhood or civic group (26% vs. 13%), and for health care (21% vs. 13%).

        Arthur C. Brooks wrote in Policy Review regarding data collected in the Social Capital Community Benchmark Survey (SCCBS) (data collected by in 2000 by researchers at universities throughout the United States and the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research):

        “ The differences in charity between secular and religious people are dramatic. Religious people are 25 percentage points more likely than secularists to donate money (91 percent to 66 percent) and 23 points more likely to volunteer time (67 percent to 44 percent). And, consistent with the findings of other writers, these data show that practicing a religion is more important than the actual religion itself in predicting charitable behavior. For example, among those who attend worship services regularly, 92 percent of Protestants give charitably, compared with 91 percent of Catholics, 91 percent of Jews, and 89 percent from other religions

        ABC News reported:

        “ …the single biggest predictor of whether someone will be charitable is their religious participation.
        Religious people are more likely to give to charity, and when they give, they give more money: four times as much.

        Given that atheistic evolutionary thinking has engendered social darwinism and given that the proponents of atheism have no rational basis for morality in their ideology, the immoral views that atheists often hold and the low per capita giving of American atheists is not surprising.


      • 1, “Charitable giving by atheists and agnostics in America…..” Would surely include the agnostic American Buffett.


        2. Average


      • Bubba Ray,
        my conclusions are based on anecdotal evidence. I am too busy engaging with the people that need my charity to pursue surveys. My conclusions are based on engaging with real people with real needs as opposed to some latte sipping intellectuals who have nothing better to do than carry out surveys, then pontificating on whether religion is relevant anymore or not.

        Because the reason for this survey was to try to prove that you don’t need religion to prove that one is charitable.


      • HI Davinci

        “my conclusions are based on anecdotal evidence”

        Thanks for that. I’ll give em the appropriate weight.


  2. From the link: ” Overall, religious Australians say they donated $4 billion to charity within the past year, while reported donations from the non-religious totalled almost $1.6 billion.”

    Maybe the non-religious are just more honest ?


      • Pure speculation. But I did wonder how many people actually know how much they give to charity at any given time? I know I have some charities that regularly deduct from my credit card and I give to the door-knockers and others but until tax time I wouldn’t really know how much that was. So if you asked right now how much did I give to charity I’d be taking an educated guess.


      • Hi Bryan

        Nope – but unless people were also asked to show receipts or their tax returns how reliable or accurate are their responses ? ?


      • Well Steven the survey methodology does not indicate receipts or returns were asked for. Merely self reporting.


      • PS David, if you let that reply to Rian through this time you’d see a pretty solid reason to be suspicious of the Morgan figures. “evidence” if you like 🙂


  3. Just a reminder

    But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.

    The only time it should be public is if you are encouraging others to give.


    • Bryan et al,
      ‘Religious people more charitable’? Some of the conclusions drawn from the stats here appear to me to be dodgy to say the least.

      The most obvious here is the sentence that says ‘Overall, religious Australians say they donated $4 billion to charity within the past year, while reported donations from the non-religious totalled almost $1.6 billion’ (making a rough total of $5.6 billion). Now we have variously had quoted to us the findings on the numbers of the non-religious, are 15%, 7%, 3% and etc. Never seems to be a consistent agreement on the figures. And with regard to those TOTAL donations that $4 billion comes from religious, and just a paltry $1.6 billion from the non-os, it would represent respectively from religious some 70% odd of the total and from non religious about 30% at the most.

      Now, just taking that highest percentage of 15%, (and therefore some 85% are religious) we can take it then that these 15% non religious of the population have contributed about 30% of the total, while the 85% have contributed about 70% of the total. Do I really need to spell it out there? The most statistically inept among us would just have to see that the total given by the non-religious is proportionately larger BY FAR for their number, than the total given by the faithful.

      Another point that I would like to know is (as far as the giving of the religious is concerned) do a lot of these folk include in their details of giving, the funds they donate directly to their churches. This is keeping in mind that churches are non-profit and pay no taxes, therefore may by many be classified as ‘charitable’ foundations.

      Of course a further source of confusion might possibly exist when you consider that many charitable organizations are secular in nature, and membership embraces both religious and non-religious. We think of the Freemasons, the Rotary, Lions, Legacy etc etc. That might not be a significant factor though.
      Finally, if the non-religious really are contributing some 30% of the total donations to charity (keeping in mind their smaller numbers seen above) then it has to give the fallacy to the oft-quoted maxim that non-religious folk just have to be less moral than the religious since they have no directives thrust at them from a Divine Authority.)

      The donating of time and effort to personally ‘helping’ in society may on the other hand be a legitimate feather in the caps of the religious. Although it is our secular governments that send aid and personnel to other countries, then Doctors without Borders and the Fred Hollows Foundation for starters, offer a pretty good record, dont they? Then it just so happens that it was our secular governments and societies that following some 1800-1900 years of Christianity, got round to abolishing public executions and death sentences, torture, women’s suffrage, slavery, and allowing freedom of the press etc.

      I would far rather be living here today in these modern secular societies than just about ANY Western society during our Christian past. Wouldnt you? How noticeable that in our times, the biggest battles on many of these bad issues are still being fought out in USA, the most Christian (and theocratic Christian) of all major countries of the world.


      • Just to follow up on my last post,
        I would point out thar the stats quoted in the blog just have to be up the spout.

        Since the quoted figures for all donations to charity indicate a huge major PROPORTION of the money coming from the non-religious, then when distributed among the individuals of that presumed 15%, it just HAS to represent a much bigger amount given by those individuals than is stated. The individual donations described and the total stats listed simply contradict each other! I still maintain that it is likely that the religious majority who claimed to donate larger amounts to charity, are actually including among their figures, the donations to their churches.

        If anyof the subscribers here can justify the figures quoted, then please tell me.

        Now in her quoted comments, Kim refers to the ‘immoral’ views that atheists often hold, I find another bit of wooly thinking. What exactly are being referred to here as ‘immoral views’?

        Many Christians are for Capital punishment. Others consider it immoral, though it is obligatory in the Bible. Many Evangelicals seem to believe that it is immoral for women to work while raising children, or to officiate in churches. Official Catholic teaching claims that Contraception is immoral. Many members of Christian churches (and many religious Jews) believe that Abortion is not necessarily immoral. etc etc. Need I go on?

        As for that claim that I saw quoted again in one of the present blog columns, that the Ten Commandments are the basis of our laws. Well, what a lot of hogwash. What country in the world does not make laws against murder, against theft, against lying under oath? Presently we have no laws forbidding work on the 7th day of the week. We have no laws condemning children for not respecting their parents. We have no laws against making graven images of any kind. We allow and tolerate worship of just about any deity that one can imagine; and to my knowledge no-one is ever prosecuted for coveting things belonging to another person. Though certain other cultures deliver heavy sentences including death penalties for committing adultery, we dont.

        So no! our unique Christian centred present day laws are NOT based on the Ten Commandments!

        cheers, Rian. (note – still thumping his chest, davinci!)


      • A study by The Barna Group examines the numbers, lifestyles and self-perceptions of atheists and agnostics.
        One of the most significant differences between active-faith and no-faith Americans is the cultural disengagement and sense of independence exhibited by atheists and agnostics in many areas of life. They are less likely than active-faith Americans to be registered to vote (78% versus 89%), to volunteer to help a non-church-related non-profit (20% versus 30%), to describe themselves as “active in the community” (41% versus 68%), and to personally help or serve a homeless or poor person (41% versus 61%). They are also more likely to be registered to vote as an independent or with a non-mainstream political party.

        One of the outcomes of this profile – and one of the least favorable points of comparison for atheist and agnostic adults – is the paltry amount of money they donate to charitable causes. The typical no-faith American donated just $200 in 2006, which is more than seven times less than the amount contributed by the prototypical active-faith adult ($1500). Even when church-based giving is subtracted from the equation, active-faith adults donated twice as many dollars last year as did atheists and agnostics. In fact, while just 7% of active-faith adults failed to contribute any personal funds in 2006, that compares with 22% among the no-faith adults.–M8


      • Geoffrey,
        Okay, you’ve quoted the Barna group stats. But how do you deal with the stats comparisons that I’ve quoted here? and these have come directly from the figures given right here on this blog.


      • Hi Rian,

        You gotta love the Internet, your long thoughtful post on the above numbers gets a cut and paste reply with the old American survey.

        But here’s another reason to be suspicious of the Morgan figures

        Seems that based on ATO data for 2011/12 financial year Australians gave $2.2 billion to charity.

        Yet the Morgan figures above would indicate that in 2013/2014 they gave $5.6 billion.

        A 250% increase in 2 years. That would be truly remarkable.

        As to the commandments I’d thoroughly agree. At best our legal system incorporates 3 out of 10. Hardly a pass mark. On the other hand we seem to embrace concepts like “coveting” it would be a huge component of our consumer driven society.


      • All I seemed to find on the net is ‘opinion’ about the 10 Commandments being the basis of our modern western law.

        As a Christian though, I’ve always assumed that was the case; that Christianity once played an integral part of our societies (Australia, England and America) and was indeed the basis of our laws.

        I would love to hear from someone who knows what they are talking about regarding this subject—thanking you in advance.


      • Hello Monica,

        Really that’s all you found. Gee I wish I could google like that.

        Bet let’s look at the 10 commandments and our criminal law

        You shall have no other gods before Me.
        – No law against that one

        You shall not make idols.
        – no laws here

        You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain.
        – not illegal

        Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
        – no laws on this one either

        Honor your father and your mother.
        – Well you can if you want too but there aren’t any laws on the topic

        You shall not murder.
        – Ok yep this one is illegal

        You shall not commit adultery.
        – Well you can if you want – no laws against it

        You shall not steal.
        – number 2 that’s illega

        You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
        – ok you can’t defame or commit perjury so yeah this one is in there too

        You shall not covet.
        – Why not ? Greed is good some say.

        So of the ten commandments 3 apply to our legal system and 7 don’t. Yeah Christianity once played a huge part of our legal system – from trials by ordeal to the influence in the courts of chancery.

        But our legal system comes from a number of sources, Roman – Pagan – Saxon even Islamic (according to some). The notion that it’s all down to the 10 commandments is a bit far fetched.


      • Unless the atheist can provide an absolute definition of “good,” they cannot complain about “evil.” And this does not mean simply being able to invent a definition but it means evidencing the what, when, where, why and how of good and evil in an atheistic universe: what, when, where, why and how does a blind, unconscious, non-volitional, amoral concoction of laws, energy and chemicals produce morality, or ethics, that are enjoined upon us.

        The atheist must understand that in order to complain about evil they must contrast evil against an absolute good hence, an absolute moral/ethical code or law. This logically implies a moral code/law giver, which the atheist does not accept. Nature “cares” not for good, evil, morality/ethics but “cares” only for survival . The conjure as to evolution being the moral law/code giver fails for various reasons including lack of evidence and arbitrariness.

        Thus, the atheist wants it both ways: they want to appeal to an absolute moral law that will allow them to besmirch YHVH’s character but they cannot admit that the moral law has come from YHVH. Unless the atheist can evidence that a good God would not allow evil, they cannot define God out of existence for this reason. Also, unless the atheist can evidence that YHVH is not doing anything about evil, they cannot besmirch His character for a perceived lack of action. The reason that atheists besmirch the character of YHVH, as presented in the Judeo-Christian scriptures, is because they judge that character against their own theistic concepts.

        The Bible has taught about this subject since long before any atheist made the argument. And yet, atheists still make this argument, even though the answer has been available for millennia.

        Simply stated: God did not create evil but did allow it to be produced by our freewill. In order to ultimately rectify evil God paid the price and offers us eternal salvation.

        Thanks to Mariano Grinbank of the website “True Free Thinker” found at the url:


      • Is it ok if I complain when my coffee is served cold or do I need some kind of absolute temperate reference to relate too ?? How about if my neighbor is playing their music too loudly ? Do I need some kind of absolute definition of volume before I asks them kindly if they’d mind turning it down? If a police office was to pull you over for speeding would you ask if he has developed an absolute definition of velocity before you accept the ticket ?

        PS if God din’t create evil where did that Satan fella come from again ? Be nice if somebody got their own mythology right before they started complaining about the inconsistencies of the atheists.


      • You’re surely not that facile Bubba.

        In a modern recasting of the Good Samaritan story, a priest walking down the road to Jericho finds a man badly beaten by robbers.

        The priest quickly administers the last rites and hurries back to his church to deliver a sermon.

        Another pastor walks the Jericho road and is appalled to see the beaten man. So he returns to his church to formulate a course on How Christians Can Help Alleviate Poverty.

        A revivalist sees the man being beaten on his TV and gathers thousands in the Jerusalem Bowl to sing songs about moral decay.

        A political activist sees the man being beaten and organises a demonstration.

        And while the priest, the pastor, the revivalist and the activist are busy, the man on the Jericho road dies.

        The tale is an attack on the non-involvement towards people in need.

        American pastor Edward F. Markquart, who used the modern version of the Samaritan tale in a sermon, said the Jericho road was always with us.

        In the original Good Samaritan parable, told by Jesus, a Jewish traveller on the road is beaten, robbed, and left for dead. First a priest and then a Levite come by, but both avoid the man.

        Finally, a Samaritan – one of those despised by the Jews – comes by and helps the man who many would have seen as his enemy.

        Martin Luther King visited the road, known in Jesus’s time as the bloody pass, and described a winding, meandering road conducive to ambushing.

        King said it was possible the priest and the Levite had thought the man lying by the road was pretending to be injured to lure them to a place where they could be robbed and beaten.

        And so the first question that the priest and the Levite asked was, “If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?” King said.

        But then the Good Samaritan came by, and he reversed the question: “If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?”

        The Samaritan betrayed all stereotypes that many people at the time had about his race. His neighbour was not defined by locality – someone next door – but someone in need.

        C.S. Lewis once said: “It is easier to be enthusiastic about humanity with a capital H than it is to love individual men and women, especially those who are uninteresting, exasperating, depraved, or otherwise unattractive. Loving everybody in general may be an excuse for loving nobody in particular.”

        We live in a suffering world.

        The Good Samaritan parable is about making excuses, about self-justification, about letting oneself off the hook.

        A US professor at Harvard Divinity School once asked his students to use the Good Samaritan story to preach about love and compassion at all their classes.

        He watched them rush between classes to carry out the assignment.

        All the students had to walk through a courtyard at least once during the day to pass by an actor posing as an ill beggar who had been deliberately planted there by the professor.

        Few of the would-be preachers stopped to help the man. Most walked right past the example at the heart of the Good Samaritan parable.

        It was a powerful lesson.


      • SACE1 Legal Studies Textbook Third Edition
        Year 11 Publication

        Topic 1 – Law and Society

        The development of Australia’s laws

        Australia’s system of laws has developed over time from rules, customs, creeds, codes, customary law and common law.


        Often, civilised societies have written down their laws in a code, example:

        The Talmudic Code, an ancient Jewish law based on the Pentateuch or first five books of the Old Testament (also called the five books of Moses or the Torah), was supplemented by oral laws. It was the basis of a system of morality and law drawn from the Code of Hammurabi. The laws are not presented as a codification of the common law, but stem from moral principles of a universal nature. From these early rules, The Ten Commandments were formed and have become a fundamental part of ancient Jewish law and of Christian belief, and the basis for many of our laws today.

        Creeds are a set of rules based either on the morality of the society or on the religious beliefs of the society, and may form the basis of codes. Moral values are the fundamental beliefs of a society. Our society in South Australia believes in the ‘sanctity of life’ and has laws that protect life, such as laws against murder and the abolition of capital punishment, example:

        Creeds were sets of rules based on religious principles or moral principles, such as the Ten Commandments.

        The ancient Jewish law was recorded in the Old Testament and referred to social and ceremonial aspects of their society. The Ten Commandments were part of Mosaic Law (Law of Moses) and became part of Christian principles and so influenced the development of Western legal rules.


      • Letting go of the Lord’s Prayer in Parliament
        By John Dickson
        Updated 17 Jan 2014

        “It is only natural that Christians would lament this development. It is a genuine sorrow at the thought that one of the great fountains of Western culture – the teaching of Jesus – is being ignored or sidelined. The teaching of Jesus has influenced Australian society infinitely more than…….

        Obviously, much of our language comes from the Bible: the blind leading the blind, a law unto themselves, sign of the times, two-edge sword, pearls before swine, sweat of the brow, salt of the earth, all things to all men, and countless other incidental expressions come directly from biblical teachings.

        But these are simply tokens of the much more significant reality that Western culture is the product of deeply Jewish and Christian convictions. “Love your neighbour as yourself” and “Do to others as you would have them do to you” are not mere archaic proverbs. They are the heart and soul of the West’s instinct for compassion in public and private life. They did not come from Greece and Rome, the other two cultures that shaped Western civilisation. As political philosopher and atheist Jürgen Habermas concedes, “Egalitarian universalism, from which sprang the ideas of freedom, human rights and democracy, is the direct heir to the Judaic ethic of justice and the Christian ethic of love. To this day, there is no alternative to it.”

        The sadness Christians will feel if the Parliament no longer says the Lord’s Prayer is not because they think Australia will suddenly become pagan and lawless without this token of Christian influence. It is more because this would signal a denial of the significance of Christ’s teaching for our country’s history and health.

        Whatever else prayer might be, it is an act of humility. There is something beautiful and noble about our leaders acknowledging they are not “top dog” in the universe – expressing out loud that they are accountable to Something higher than themselves and that, despite their commitment to using every faculty of human reason, they could do with some outside assistance. There aren’t many marks of humility in our society anymore. The Lord’s Prayer would be missed.

        The issue, I suppose, is that a lot of Christians still hold out hope that recent surveys of Australian beliefs are accurate: most of us believe in God; most still pray sometimes; most believe miracles are possible; most think Jesus had a special connection to the Almighty (Neilson poll 2009; McCrindle Research 2009). If this is true, it’s probably appropriate to keep the Lord’s Prayer in Parliament, especially since no one is forced to pray it.”


      • Hello Monica,

        Your source also quotes
        – The Hammurabic Code of ancient Babylon
        – The Laws of Manu is a set of laws within the Hindu religion
        – The ancient Greeks established a code of laws that emphasised citizenship and
        respect for the law
        – The first Roman law code was the Laws of the Twelve Tables written about 450 BC
        – Roman-coded law was the first model for modern law codes and is the basis
        of the law in many European countries today

        But I guess we’re supposed to ignore all that and just focus on those 10 commandments right ?


      • Well Monica and Bubba Ray,
        let’s have a closer look at the Ten Commandments and their origins, and also the issue of just how they actually came down to us.

        Our culture of course developed through countries that were predominantly Christian in orientation. And so it is only natural that the Christian propagation of the Judaic traditions would represent the conduit for the traditional Ten Commandments to come through to us.

        However, as we have been discussing in this forum, without the Judao-Christian tradition (and Bible), then those three crucial items that are to be found in our legal system, – ie on Murder, Theft and False Witness – would have automatically come down to us via descent from Rome, from Egypt, from Greece or whatever. They are universally recognized principles of justice. We did not really need Judaism to be the only unique source to tell us this. In Egypt and Sumer they go back at least to 2,500BC in their documentation. In other words well before friend Moses. The ancient Egyptian Confession to Maat details a profound moral code which goes far beyond those three basics from the Decalogue.

        Every system in the ancient world naturally paid tribute and worship of some kind, to the deity or deities of the particular society they are found in. The Egyptians and Babylonians propagated reverence toward their respective gods. The Romans demanded that no public disrespect towards their gods should be tolerated. (It was on this issue, of course, that the early Christian church and its teachings fell into unpopularity.) Particular times or days would commonly be appointed to or set aside by the priestly classes, in order that the gods should receive their due. The language or terminology with which one spoke of or addressed to the deity, was commonly legislated accordingly, too. Common too was it for the ‘name’ of the particular deity to be holy (that is TABOO, just as in the Mosaic commandment.)

        I seem to recall reading somewhere that a Seven day cycle was established in a number of religions of the old world, and this naturally decreed that one particular day of the seven should be given over to the worship of the God. Even in our modern world, we know that the 7th day is so regarded among the Jews and the 6th day similarly among Islamics; while the 1st day of the week is treated as holy by most Christians.

        Okay, one particular unique thing shows up in OUR tradition. I think it can be said that it is only in Jewish and Christian tradition that a single invisible deity is supreme above all. Oh, and I guess one may add Islam to that list as well, and that particular faith tends to take more literally the Decalogue restriction on making images. Similar crucial taboos have been observed among many many religious sects and cults

        It is perfectly true that in previous centuries of our Western tradition, various denominational factions were in power that extended the list of taboo behaviours and verbal expression. And the punishment repercussions connected to disobedience could be horrific. So up till relatively recently, sins of Blasphemy and Adultery could be severely punished in our culture. We recall some of the most cruel tortures and execution methods, – like being Hanged Drawn and Quartered. Just by the bye, are all our present readers here familiar with just what that particular punishment consisted of???

        Curious that though Homosexual behaviour has been consistently condemned in the Judao-Christian tradition, and has come to represent just about the ‘nth degree’ in abominations to many devotees; and yet it is not mentioned among the primary Commandments of the Decalogue. Then too, illicit translation and printing of the Bible was never condemned in the Commandments either.

        And so it was that the Catholics burned Protestants for their infractions against the Catholic versions of that Law. Similarly the Protestants burned Catholics in the same way. Both parties brutally put down persons of the Anabaptist party. Calvin’s Geneva burned dissenters from the ranks of fellow Protestants. Luther was all for burning Witches. The Puritans of the New World also added extra clauses to their versions of the Commandments, propounding many harsh punishments. The American Dominionists today would like to return to savage and horrendous Old Testament practices that they see as representing the commands of God for all time.

        So, just which of these groups was acting in decent accord with the Ten Commandments that they each purported to uphold, and which many Christians today maintain are still the foundation of our legal system?

        No, I don’t think we can really claim that the full listed collection of Ten Commandments has ever been the essential AND UNIQUE foundation of the Laws of our land. We would have got them and taken them on, or the majority of them at least from other sources, even if we had not had the Judao-Christian version and tradition behind us.


      • “But I guess we’re supposed to ignore all that and just focus on those 10 commandments right ?

        Oh grow up Paddy!

        Why do you think I gave you the link? So’s you could read it for yourself instead of my having to cut and paste the whole textbook here. The fact is that “The Ten Commandments were part of Mosaic Law (Law of Moses) and became part of Christian principles and so influenced the development of Western legal rules.”

        The Ten Commandments were formed and have become a fundamental part of ancient Jewish law and of Christian belief, and the basis for many of our laws today.” is being taught to our Senior school children, so it must be so.


      • Hey Bryan

        Awww what’s the matter, apart from lacking a sense of humour.

        I’ll do this in a couple of parts to hopefully make your censorship a bit easier.


      • You’re surely not that dull Bryan.

        Lawsuits have been won and lost on the strength of the heat of a cup of coffee.
        Neighbours have killed each other over the volume of music.
        Livelihoods and liberty have been lost as a result of speeding fines.

        Life and liberty not important enough for you ????


      • Hello Monica

        You have presented the link with the article as though it thoroughly supports the concept that our legal system is based solely and entirely on the 10 commandments. Your comments simply ignored those parts of the article that do not support that. This is dishonest and you are still doing it.

        Yes the article states that “The Ten Commandments were formed and have become a fundamental part of ancient Jewish law and of Christian belief, and the basis for many of our laws today.”

        But you conveniently forgot the passage that immediately precedes the quoted material. That is;
        “It was the basis of a system of morality and law drawn from the Code of Hammurabi. The laws are not presented as a codification of the common law, but stem from moral principles of a universal nature. From these early rules, The Ten Commandments were formed…… ”

        So it would appear that if you wish to ignore the Roman, Greek and other influences then the proper source for our legal system would be the Babylonian Code of Hammurabi.


      • Thanks Rian,

        I appreciate your input. And as always, a very interesting read indeed.

        Be that as it may, though, I believe with all my heart that the 10 Commandments were given to Moses by none other than God Himself.

        Cheers 🙂


      • In NSW schools:

        Excel HSC Legal Studies by Belinda & Dimity Brassil
        Page 13, Chapter 1 – Law & Society

        Divine Law

        “Those who accept the idea of divine law say that human laws come, or should come from God. Christian societes, for example, are based on belief in divine law as handed down by the Ten Commandments and the New Testament. Many of our laws today are based on Christian beliefs. The philosophy of divine law states that human law should not go against the laws of God.”



        “In origin, our Constitution and law were based on the Ten Commandments. Even less well known is that the role of the legal system was to interpret these commandments in the light of the Holy Scripture while the role of parliament was to correct any mistakes (deliberate or otherwise) that might be made by the Courts.

        From this we see that neither the Courts of Law nor the Parliament were there to make laws. They were there to preserve the law and to defend the human welfare.

        Now here is another little-known fact:

        In 1917 English law ruled (as part of a gradual usurping of traditional authority) that Biblical law was no longer relevant to British law. However, as the Australian States were formed before this date, they, in the strictly legal sense, are still under law as at the date of their formation and, until this is legally changed, your rights and responsibilities are as laid down by the Ten Commandments and Holy Bible.

        Does that surprise you? Do you appreciate what a restraint keeping to the law would place on the bureaucratic meddlers? Do you wonder why the political parties are so urgently and secretly trying to get rid of all restraints imposed on them by our legal constitution? Do you understand what an effective restraint our legal constitution places on the manipulators by enforcing law restricted to that proclaimed by a WRITTEN unchangeable document?”


      • Yes Mon Our legal values are clearly based on Judeo-Christian principles. The preamble to the Constitution even asks the “blessing of Almighty God‟ and the roots of our individual rights and freedoms are found in Christianity. It’s even taught in first year law classes.


      • Slapped I hope not when a man can’t handle a simple Mitchell and Webb clip I fear a wet lettuce might be too much.


      • “It’s even taught in first year law classes.”

        Wasn’t in mine.

        But ok then put your money where you mouth is “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.” Can you name the law we have that’s based on this one ?


      • What university did you study law at Bubba? My first year law class at Monash certainly established the link between our law and Judeo-Christian values. So which university did you say you studied law at?


      • “So, do you have a point Bubba”

        Yeah and it’s pretty obvious, maybe if you read comments without worrying what to sensor or how to make a “funny” comeback you would have fairly easily picked up on it.

        But that “listening” thing is still waaaaaay beyond you. Have another go.


      • Hi Bryan,

        Ok I’ll see if I can simplify things for you

        People make a range of decisions in regards the value of a particular attribute without any absolute reference whatsoever for that attribute. .

        Therefore the suggestion that before a value judgement can be made an absolute reference needs to be determined is invalid.


      • Hi Bryan

        – So when did you graduate ?
        – Which subject at Monash suggest that our legal system is based exclusively on the 10 commandments?
        – And how did you go at identifying which of our laws is based on “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy” ?


      • Hi Bryan,

        Right so you didn’t graduate, can’t name the subject at Monash where you learnt that our legal system is based on the 10 commandments and you can’t identify any laws that are based on “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy”.

        So a law-school dropout and failed news corp hack still feels free to lecture others. Interesting enough I suppose.


      • No not a “law school” dropout. Failed News Corp hack? Well that’s your opinion. Do you know me? Did you ever work with me? Which university do you claim to study law at? Funny you’re not exactly forthcoming on that claim. More bullshit I suspect.


      • Right you’ll assume I fibbed. So If I do tell you the name of my alma mater why would you believe me then ?

        Illogical and irrelevant. Quite a quinella you have there.


      • Well I apologise for touching a nerve “Bubba”. But it’s rather cowardly, in my opinion, to not back up what you say. Still, that’s blog life. Anyone can come in under a pretend name to make grand statements and insults without any substance. If you really want to be bold, use your real name and attack me. Be a real man. Don’t be an anonymous little man.


      • Well, to follow Monica on Sept 20th at 21.47.
        perhaps I should apologize for a few long ones here, but there was a lot I found I wanted to say.

        Further on Ten Commandments. (in Four parts. ) Part 1.

        In one of your interesting quotes, Monica, the writer mentioned the derivation of the Ten Commandments from the Hammurabi Code of Laws. Since you firmly hold to the belief that the God himself delivered the Commandments, then presumably you would reject that statement.

        As a matter of interest here, is there a majority of Christian opinion on this blog which would affirm that the Ten Commandments were literally delivered personally by the God in a supernatural fashion, to Moses? Furthermore, which is the authentic and original set of Commandments since no less than three lists or descriptions are given in Torah of the Decalogue. And then, just which is the correct list for us today anyway, – the Catholic version or the Protestant version?

        It is pointed out that in distinction against the Jewish code (as well as in Roman and Greek law), Hammurabi allowed women to file for divorce, just as in Egypt and ancient Sumer. There were equal punishments for men and women in cases of Adultery; and strikingly too there were laws against spreading evil rumours and gossip.

        Interestingly, it was quoted that very similar laws and codes are to be found in Steles and records in Ur, even three hundred or more years prior to Hammurabi.

        Cheers Rian. (parts 2 3 and 4 to come.)


      • Further to follow Monica Sept 20, 21.47pm.

        Ten Commandments Part 2

        The argument about the absolute standard to be enforced of the Ten Commandments in our day is rather contradictory. The Decalogue say some, is still in force. Then on the other hand, in one of the debates about the Ten Commandments, there is a persuasive counter argument offered, which quotes the Christian Testament account of Peter’s lecture. This is found in Acts and further from Paul in Corinthians. I found a good commentary about this in an Internet link called SHOULD CHRISTIANS KEEP THE LAW OF MOSES? WHAT ABOUT THE TEN COMMANDMENTS ?
        So if there are tricky questions about the more barbaric rules re stoning to death etc, as well as many of the local rules which are taken as not applying to our modern Christian times, as well as the confident statements in Acts and in Corinthians, that we are no longer bound by the ‘Law’ since the coming of the Christ, then how can Christians describe all of the Ten Commandments as still applying to us today? And since few of them anyway are included in our present day laws, I simply cant see how anyone can identify them in our lists of laws today. For the greater part for example, Christians do not treat the seventh day (Sabbath) as being the essential holy day of the week; and what is more very few make a significant substitution of the so-called ‘Lord’s Day’, (which ironically is the ancient day dedicated to the Sun God!)

        Few in our culture carry any inhibition about speaking the ‘name’ of the God, – and that name let us remember, is simply NOT the generic word GOD, nor is it Jehovah or Elohim. There is certainly no law on our books about speaking the Tetragrammaton aloud. But it is a deadly serious matter in the Decalogue! And for centuries our artists have made loads of paintings and ‘graven images’ of things both on earth and in heaven.

        Would anyone here care to detail for me from the Ten Commandments, those ones that not only are uniquely Jewish (that is, that cant be found elsewhere in the ancient world and in prior occurrence); but most importantly, that are applicable and included in our legislature today, as still binding on the populace?

        Cheers, Rian. (parts 3 & 4 to come)


      • Again to follow Monica on Sept 20th at 21.47pm.

        Ten Commandments. Part 3.
        Let’s look at some of the laws that have varied or become redundant since the ancient days of the Torah.

        Looking up Internet information about the Babylonian origin, I found that among Christian commentators, the rather obvious assertion was offered stating that the unique feature of the Biblical commandments is a spiritual dimension which is missing in the Babylonian. Another Christian viewpoint is that in the 613 commandments of the Law in the Torah, there is some allowance to be made for motivation and intention in the case of an infraction. I’m not really convinced by this, there being no mention of such in the Decalogue itself, and since we recall the poor devil who got duly slaughtered when he (presumably innocently) collected wood on the Sabbath.

        And then though the claim is frequently made that women gained higher status under Christianity (and even from the Torah), the Commandment about Adultery makes it very plain that women were simply regarded as the property of the husband. This is emphasized in that very strange 10th Commandment, when the neighbour’s wife was undeniably listed as one of his possessions. Legislation against coveting anyway appears to be a very odd concept, and surely it is impossible to prosecute people just for their unpopular emotions. Equating and including this in the same master list of laws with murder is surely peculiar.

        In the old Torah code, a charge of Adultery would only be made against any girl or woman who was betrothed or married, and the ordeal test of Bitter Water was only applied to a suspected female subject and never to the male. Another thing, we learn that however much the act might have been deplored by the conventionally devout, the rape of a marriageable girl who was not betrothed, was not regarded as a crime, but simply made it compulsory for the rapist to take on the responsibility for the female possession, who was thus being seen thereafter as ‘damaged goods’.

        Cheers, Rian. (part 4 to come)


      • the last bit to follow Monica on Sept 20th at 21.47.

        The Commandments part 4 (nearly finished, – aint you glad!)

        The only unmarried or not betrothed girl who would actually commit a crime by having sex, was of course the daughter of a Priest, and who, we are told in Torah, was to be burned to death. The woman taken in Adultery in that interpolated passage in the Gospel, would of course be neither a prostitute or an unmarried/- unbetrothed girl. And further, since Adultery was in the Jewish law defined as having relations with a married or betrothed female, therefore, in the wording of Jesus about a man who lusted after a woman having already committed adultery in his heart, he would have only been meaning there, a man who lusted after a married woman.

        Prostitution was common in those days, and was not a crime under Torah. I presume that the word ‘Fornication’ was a blanket word used (essentially in the Christian Testament) to cover any and all other sexual activity that was outside marriage, but not illegal. Oh and another thing, in the old Jewish days as in most cultures, I would remind the reader that Marriage in itself was not a religious rite; though it was common for a Rabbi or some such to pronounce a blessing on the newly weds, while a devout Jewish father could and did do the same. (We recall the relevant agony over the matter in the Musical show ‘Fiddler on the Roof’). In fact as far as our modern laws are concerned, in the Christian West, Marriage only became a Sacrament about the year 1600. And that is despite the pious claims about the Wedding at Cana described in the Gospel. Interestingly by contrast, the Eastern Orthodox Church had a sacramental ceremony of marriage from the early Byzantine days, unlike the Christian West. So our actual laws about Marriage are not derived from the commandments or from any of the 613 commandments of the Law nor from Jesus and a Christian source. Indeed the formal and legal part of our present Wedding ceremony is known to have been derived closely from the civil marriage ceremony of Pagan Rome.

        (the end,at long last) Cheers, Rian.


      • Did God grant to Hammurabi his famous code? I would say yes. Perhaps not as literally as the Bible tells us he dealt with Moses. Perhaps he inspired Moses to look at what he’d already given to Hammurabi?


      • HI Bryan,

        Of course you touched a nerve, I abhor bulling behaviour, most decent people do.

        Where’s the pay-off at your end though? Is it just to insult, bully and harangue the people who disagree with you enough so that they leave the blog?


      • I would hope that someone would feel comfortable questioning the merits of atheism or the manner in which a atheist blogger is coming across without immediately being called a bully
        We are called by God to patiently love our neighbour. This doesn’t mean that our neighbour gets a free pass.
        It seems to me that some (not all) atheists love to trot around treating anyone who believes differently than they do with contempt and disrespect, and the second they get called out on it they go scurrying behind allegations of bullying


      • Do you feel better now Rian,

        getting all that off your chest? 😆

        Okay, we both know that I can’t answer your questions. Perhaps someone else here can?

        It appears to me that when we claim western culture and our laws are influenced by the 10 Commandments, as handed down to us from God via Moses, you interpret that claim as pertaining to every single Commandment, when in actual fact that thought never even entered my mind—not in the literal sense anyway. Bearing in mind that I am no scholar, I see things through the ‘eyes of faith’, which is not the way you, and obviously others, do. I see our western culture primarily influenced by the Bible and Christianity, generally. Our morals and values definitely originated in God and certainly not evolution, and so it reflects on our justice system.

        So Hammurabi, and others, heard God speak (in part) too, and before Moses’ time. So what? God speaks!….to whoever has ears to hear. Revelation knowledge is wonderful, and more so when you can see our Creator’s footprints leaving clues and linking up through time. Romans 1:20 “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse,”

        “The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship. Day after day they continue to speak; night after night they make him known. They speak without a sound or word; their voice is never heard. Yet their message has gone throughout the earth, and their words to all the world. God has made a home in the heavens for the sun.” (Ps. 19:-4)

        Did Moses steal his material from the pagans? No! If I believed that then I my faith would be worthless. Moses was an amazing man of God! I have nothing but admiration for the man who allowed God to turn his life around and be used mightily of God. He is one of my all-time heros and oh, how I wish, with all my heart, that I too could see God ‘Face to face’ as he did!




      • Hi Bryan,

        Well nice to know we agree on something. But how many of your recent comments would have made it onto the blog if there was an impartial moderator applying your stated standards ?


      • Hi Rian,

        I found this:

        “Some critical scholars to postulate that the Mosaic law in the Bible was derived from the Code of Hammurabi. Most scholars, however, have abandoned this theory, since further research has shown that, in ancient times, there were codes of law in various countries. Some of these were even older than Hammurabi’s stele.

        Furthermore, Mosaic law moved beyond the Code of Hammurabi, or any of the ancient law codes, because it is grounded in the worship of one God. The ethical principles in the law of Moses spring from love toward the one true God. Such love demands that one also love fellow human beings, whom God made in his image. Moses thus talks about human sin and our responsibility to God in resisting sin. Hammurabi and other ancient lawgivers, however, do not address this issue.

        Hammurabi’s law code is civil and criminal. Moses’ law code, on the other hand, begins with spiritual principles — love toward God and humans — from which the civil and criminal laws are derived. From its stress on the motive of love, the law of Moses demanded more humane treatment for slaves, gave higher regard for womanhood, and placed greater value upon human life in general. The priority given to such spiritual values made the Mosaic law unique among all the ancient law codes.”


      • LOL, what you said bothered me Rian and I just had to delve deeper. 😆

        I found this, too:

        “The theory that Moses’ Law is simply a rewording of Hammurabi’s has largely been abandoned today, due to the fact that similar law codes, even older than Hammurabi’s, have been found in various other places. These would include the Cuneiform laws, written as early as 2350 B.C.; the Code of Urukagina, 2380 B.C.; the Code of Ur-Nammu, 2050 B.C.; and others.

        Most critics accede to the fact that the Babylonian laws were probably well-known to the Hebrews of Moses’ day. When God communicated His Law, He used language that the Israelites were already familiar with, and this would explain similar wording for similar laws.

        Both Hammurabi and Moses recorded a complex system of laws which were unique to their times. Hammurabi claimed to receive his code from the Babylonian god of justice, Shamash. Moses received God’s Law atop Mount Sinai directly from Jehovah, the God of the Israelites. There are some similarities between the Mosaic Law and the Code of Hammurabi, as would be expected from two legislative systems. However, their significant differences demonstrate the baselessness of the charge that Moses copied from the Code of Hammurabi.”

        Read more:


  4. Oh, and Bryan,

    I am completely convinced that Bubba is in fact our ‘Patrick!’ So from now on I will be addressing all my comments to ‘Paddy’ and not to ‘Bubba’.


  5. Hi Rian,

    Would you like to back up your comment?….. “The American Dominionists today would like to return to savage and horrendous Old Testament practices that they see as representing the commands of God for all time.”

    That’s news to me, and a pretty damning accusation too, I might say. Thanks.


  6. hI Monica,
    Hm, well, to refresh my memory, and to check some of the latest comments, I simply keyed in a few words like Christian Dominionism, Christian Reconstructionism, and even Stoning in Dominionism.

    Turned up a whole lot oif articles on the matter, and it is not at all pretty. Apparently the extremists among the Dominionists are relatively smallish in number, but when you find such people in high places, a Congressman and Presidential candidates among their ranks, you realize that they are very worrying people.

    Describes how they have wanted stoning for recalcitant offspring, adulterers, gay and lesbian inidividuals, pre-marital sex and so on. Stones being found everywhere in the ground, the necessary executions would legitimately be a public activity of the people, rather than having an official executioner. But you can go on to read up on it . Not real nice.

    love, Rian.


    • Good grief Rian! I could not comprehend the reality of such a branch of Christianity, and so I thought you were making it up. But you weren’t. According to CARM though, only a few think that way….and thank God.

      What’s the difference between them and Sharia Law? Nothing! The more I learn about those who claim to be Christian, the more despondent I become. No wonder we Christians are told by Jesus to preach nothing but the Gospel. We’re not told to go preach doctrines/religion because all these perverted Christian doctrines do is to lay heavy burdens upon us; to confuse us, and to put us off the true giver of life and His word, Jesus Christ.

      If a Christian is more enamored with religiosity than with the One he purports to worship, then I would question whether he was a genuine follower of Christ.

      Folks, look to Jesus. He’s the answer. Read the New Testament at least. Pray to God and ask Him to reveal Himself to you. He delights in us and promises that if you truly seek Him with all your heart, He will indeed answer prayer.


      • Well, yes Strewth,

        but Jesus and Paul preached the same gospel. 🙂

        Mark 16:15-16
        And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.

        Luke 9
        Then He called His twelve disciples together and gave them power and authority over all demons, and to cure diseases. 2 He sent them to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick (to the Jews only at this stage)… 6 So they departed and went through the towns, preaching the gospel and healing everywhere.

        Matthew 28:18-20

        And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”


      • Hi Mon,

        Good to read the material you posted on Moses. Now regarding the matter of just where Moses derived his laws from, you say quote accurately that most scholars have abandoned the idea that Moses got his laws from Hammurabi. Fair enough of course, but since there were comparable codes being devised and made into law hundreds of years prior to King Ham, the argument is actually still identical. It just changes the identification of the source. As well of course the opening commands of the specific spiritual matters may well distinguish the list from the preceding criminal lists.

        Anyway, I have been left scratching my head somewhat at a line in one of your last posts there. It read… ‘Did Moses steal his material from the pagans? NoI If I believed that then my faith would be worthless.’

        Now if you are intending to mean just what it appears to me that you are saying, then it would seem to me to be confirming one of my big critical convictions about Christianity, and further contradicting the most essential thing that I believe that you stand for. So could you please explain just what you are intending there?

        Love, Rian,.


      • Perhaps you should tell me what you think I am saying Rian,

        Because you are starting to give me a complex about my communication skills (or lack of). I thought I explained myself already? But again, I have faith in God’s Word, written or otherwise. I believe that the Bible is inspired so that when I read it I believe what I am reading, that it is truth. So I therefore believe what the Bible says about Moses, that he met with God face to face and that God gave him the Ten Commandments. In other words, if someone brought forward undeniable proof/evidence that Moses stole from the Babylonians, then the whole episode at Mount Sinai is false (Exodus 34), and the inspiration of Scripture is suspect. That revelation would be enough to shatter my faith in God and His Word.


      • To Monica following hers of Sept 24, 22.42pm.

        Oh my poor benighted Monica,
        Never fear, your original comment was absolutely clear, and the explanation you just offered confirmed it. So please dont get worried about your ability in communication skills, which are just fine. The problem has to be mine, since I can tend to overlook certain issues that exist in the practice of orthodox Christianity.

        With the instinct of the Gnostic, I distinguish between the fallible things that are of earthly ‘fact’, and those that are of the heavenly world and thereby real. So belief in events that are claimed to have occurred in this world, or matters that are written in any book however holy it may claim to be, dont count for anywhere near as much as those things that are found to be real in the realms of the spirit. This distinction is the Gnostic interpretation of the words of Paul in 2 Corinthians, 3.6.

        I am flung back to an exchange I had some 18 months ago on this blog, with our friend Alexie. (I cant recall exactly what was said, so I shall have to try and recapture the essence of the debate at the time.) I was severely reprimanded by the good fellow, when I made the statement that in the long run, the absolutely essential things in Christian living, just have to be the huge experience of ‘being saved’ and the ongoing surety of a relationship with Christ, and the forgiveness of God. I stated that the catalogue of beliefs about Jewish history, the events in the Bible and so on are nowhere near as significant and necessary to the Christian.

        Alexie’s severe answer to me, was to the effect that ‘No! Those are actually the very ESSENCE of Christianity.’ I must confess that I am still rather shocked by the contention.

        Now, just to come back to your statement, – over these last two years, I’ve read many postings from you that detail the very profound experiences you have had. You are very much aware of your relationship with the Christ; and you have been conscious of God speaking to you. Just the other day you commented on how you have been clearly redeemed in your life; and though still not perfect (being in human incarnation), you are much ‘better’ than you used to be, because of the divine influence.

        I just find it incredible that you can have such an inner experience going on day after day, and at the same time, are able to state that if your belief in the literal account of Moses on the mountain were shattered, all of your Faith would go.

        This is the kind of thing that gives me the impression that Christianity is just so amazingly fragile. One’s Christian faith appears to depend on just so many issues that one apparently MUST believe. But as I have tried to explain, my own faith carries no dependency whatsoever on any past event in human or religious life, nor yet on any sacred book or writing. This was precisely the kind of thing in the early days that divided the orthodox/literalist body of Christianity from that of the dreaded and duly condemned Gnostic community.

        Oh yes, sure, I realize that the Bible has to carry an extraordinary weight in its accounts, since to the believer it is the veritable ‘Word of God’ and simply must be true.

        Hope that makes things clear. Love Rian.


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