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Does being religious make you more generous?

(92 Posts)
Lilygran Mon 09-Jun-14 09:40:46

There have been a number of threads recently attacking Christian and Muslim institutions. What do posters think about this?

Mishap Mon 09-Jun-14 09:46:05

Well that is good to hear. It is also pleasing that Britain is seen as a nation of givers in general. Something for us to be proud of.

I do not think there have been any threads attacking Christian and Muslim institutions. Expressing concern and engaging in debate do not constitute attacking.

penguinpaperback Mon 09-Jun-14 09:53:44

Having no faith and being a generous person I disagree with the article.
Those of us with no faith still live by our own high standards.

Mamie Mon 09-Jun-14 10:02:24

I guess that some religions are quite tied up with the idea of charity and actual charities, Lilygran.
With some notable exceptions, I am always quite surprised by the relatively low level of charities and charity-based activities in France. I think this is because the idea is that the state should provide for most things, which is another way of looking at the world.
I do support charities (see yesterday's Race for Life), but I am a bit uncomfortable with the notion of "Charity" which sometimes seems to have a patronising feel. Obviously there are lots of ways of supporting others that do not involve the giving of money, so I find the "religion makes people more generous headline" a bit strange.
I am an atheist and am definitely more comfortable with some charitable activities than others. Does that make sense?

petallus Mon 09-Jun-14 10:03:30

Religious people might give more but does that mean they are truly more generous.

They might just be 'following orders' (from God) or hoping to win Brownie points so they go to heaven.

On the other hand, as an atheist, if I give to charity I don't expect to get anything out of it (except perhaps a warm glow).

Agus Mon 09-Jun-14 10:32:35


sunseeker Mon 09-Jun-14 10:42:22

I don't think being religious makes people more charitable. I give to some charities but don't do so to "follow orders" or "to win brownie points". I do so because I want to.

In church yesterday the Priest told us of a friend of his who is an atheist who does a lot for charity and the community in general and he feels she is a better person than he is himself.

durhamjen Mon 09-Jun-14 10:49:27

Agree, Agus.

whenim64 Mon 09-Jun-14 10:56:31

How about 'poverty makes you more generous?' It's been found, time and again, that people in deprived areas are ready to give and their donations are a much higher percentage of their income, no matter what their faith or non-faith. Also, aren't those donors who don't practise a religion more motivated to donate, given there is no routine collection or tithe at prayer gatherings to prompt them?

Lilygran Mon 09-Jun-14 11:12:59

Is it better to give to charity 'following orders' than not to give? And is it better to give to charity just in the hope of a warm glow (personal satisfaction) or to give to charity as part of a belief system?

HollyDaze Mon 09-Jun-14 11:15:48

How about 'poverty makes you more generous?' It's been found, time and again, that people in deprived areas are ready to give and their donations are a much higher percentage of their income, no matter what their faith or non-faith

That has been my experience.

I would also wonder if religious people who display generosity do so because of their religion which isn't really the same thing. I have met some very mean-spirited religious people so my view of religious people isn't quite as rosy as it once was.

Mishap Mon 09-Jun-14 11:17:31

Well - it's just good that we as a nation give for whatever reason.

rosesarered Mon 09-Jun-14 11:24:25

I don't think that being religious has any bearing at all on 'giving'.Perhaps some branches of different faiths have laws on giving to charity.Does giving money to charity because you 'have to' make it any worse? No, in my view, because the money is still going to a charity.Does it give you a warm glow to give to charity? Probably, but again, the charity still gets the money.There is a view that people never do any act for purely altruistic reasons.This could well be true.

whenim64 Mon 09-Jun-14 11:34:57

No, it doesn't matter whether personal or religious motivation prompts donations, but the question is about whether being religious makes you more generous. It's a piece of flawed (reported) research that hasn't gone into the whys and wherefores.

granjura Mon 09-Jun-14 12:49:41

In my experience it certainly does not. I know many people who are very generous, in both 'camps'. However those who are religious tend to be very insular in their generosity, eg. give to the communities and charities inside their church community or those sponsored by such.

Tegan Mon 09-Jun-14 13:07:39

I've never found deeply religious people to be any nicer than non religious people [in fact it's often the opposite]. It was one of the things that always puzzled me as I was growing up. Which isn't to say that I haven't known devout Christians who really do live their lives by Christian principles; it's just that I've known a lot that don't.

janerowena Mon 09-Jun-14 13:13:33

Beat me to it, granjura. Those charities have been pre-approved by others of their own circle. oooh! A goldfinch. yes, well, where was I... My small town nearby doesn't have any beggars, but we do have a Big Issue seller. Some days I have to practically queue up to buy a magazine. I like to do the odd bit to help out charities, but I do like to chop and change, and it often depends on which family member is sickest, so when I donated a lot of plants to the village show I was quite irked when I found that I didn't quite approve of the charity the money was going to. I didn't disapprove, it's just that there were others in greater need of funds. It's my own fault for not getting more involved I suppose.

Mishap Mon 09-Jun-14 13:13:35

I do agree that the channeling of charitable giving via religious organisations is something that I find troublesome. A gift should be without strings and given from the heart and for purely altruistic reasons.

A friend of mine always tries me to get me to fill a shoe box with goodies for children in the third world at Christmas, and I used to do it, until I discovered that a bible is inserted into each box. I do think that this is wrong, especially when the parcels go to children in a country with its own different religious traditions.

janerowena Mon 09-Jun-14 13:15:07

I'm amazed, I always did that when my children were younger but was told that nothing religious was allowed into the countries - maybe they cater for different areas of the world.

Ana Mon 09-Jun-14 13:23:46

janerowena, you do realise that any money give to the Big Issue seller goes directly into his/her pocket, don't you? They buy the magazines and sell them on - their takings are their profits, not the charity's.

thatbags Mon 09-Jun-14 13:31:32

I think the only thing more that being religious makes a person, is more religious (than someone who isn't religious).

janerowena Mon 09-Jun-14 13:32:53

Yes, I did. The idea is to give them a job. They buy the paper for less money than they sell it for. I read an article about the founder, he said it was to get them to have a small business of their own, to have a reason to get up in the morning. So I suppose by buying it, a percentage of what I pay goes towards them being employed. The paper is quite good, too.

thatbags Mon 09-Jun-14 13:32:59

Badly put.

Being religious makes a person more religious than someone who isn't religious, and that's all.

thatbags Mon 09-Jun-14 13:33:34

Sorry, janer, I was commenting on my own comment, not yours. Crossed posts.

janerowena Mon 09-Jun-14 13:36:23

No, I agree. I have met some very mean church-goers in every sense of the word. On the other hand I have a religious friend who anonymously buys all sorts of rubbish and contributes to all sorts of things, thinking we don't realise it's her. She is definitely the most charitable person I know, but I think it's just her nature.