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Are religious people more generous?

  1. secularist10 profile image90
    secularist10posted 4 years ago

    At first, it appears so, according to this article:

    http://news.yahoo.com/mormon-bible-belt … 34869.html

    "Americans in Utah, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, South Carolina and Idaho gave the highest percentage of their income to charities in 2008, according to a report released on Monday analyzing the most recent comprehensive data from the Internal Revenue Service.
    With two of the top states home to large Mormon populations and seven others comprising the so-called Bible Belt of heavily Protestant Christian states, rates of charitable giving appeared linked to religion, the report said."


    This has been measured by the percentage of income donated to tax-deductible charities and nonprofits on their tax returns.

    On the other hand, we must remember that many of these donations are to churches and religious organizations, which changes things significantly:

    "Excluding religious donations, New York would move up from the 18th place to second place and Pennsylvania would be in fourth place instead of 40th, the report said. Households in the Northeast donated 1.4 percent of their discretionary income to secular charities whereas in the South households give 0.9 percent."

    This is the study with more info if anyone is interested:

    http://philanthropy.com/section/Facts-Figures/235/

    1. DoubleScorpion profile image86
      DoubleScorpionposted 4 years ago in reply to this

      I would have to say...That if you are giving for the tax break...then it isn't being generous...You are doing something for your own good...Either to lower the tax bracket you are in or to just get rebated for the "donations"...so you can feel a little better about yourself.

      Real and Honest generousity doesn't seek a return or attention...

      1. secularist10 profile image90
        secularist10posted 4 years ago in reply to this

        I don't think there's anything wrong with taking a tax break for it, in and of itself. Although, sure, many people have the wrong motives.

  2. Shadesbreath profile image90
    Shadesbreathposted 4 years ago

    No, they are not. They tend to be windbags who talk about generosity far, far, far, far, far, far, far, far, far, far, far, far, far, far, far, far more than they do anything that remotely resembles it, and even then, what counts as "generosity" tends to be dropping cash in the collection plate of the church that has convinced them doing that counts.

    You want to test that out? Ask a religious person what they have done in the name of generosity and I bet they can name it.

    1. 0
      Motown2Chitownposted 4 years ago in reply to this

      Don't know that I get your point.  Are you saying they talk about their generosity far more than the average non-religious person?

      tongue

      Sorry, couldn't help it.

  3. The Invincible profile image61
    The Invincibleposted 4 years ago

    Being generous has got nothing to do with religion. Generosity comes naturally, religion comes by birth..

  4. 0
    Motown2Chitownposted 4 years ago

    I'm going to throw out an opinion here.  The line of generosity shouldn't really be drawn between the religious and non-religious.  Rather, it should be drawn between those who have experienced poverty and those who have not.  In my experience, I have found that the most generous people are those who have known some sort of extreme financial need in their lives.  It's almost as though they understand the frustration, the shame, and the pain of those who are currently suffering and offer their time and energy as well as whatever money they can to help those suffering to feel more human again.  Those folks who have never experienced poverty tend to give (if at all) just cash, and they tend to do it in a rather condescending and judgmental way. 

    Now, I recognize two things about this response.  One - it's quite subjective.  Two - it does speak in generalizations.  As I said, though, this has been my experience and it's what has defined my beliefs about generosity.

    A particular hubber here who is an atheist, IMO, is a wildly generous person, but I believe it's because he's experienced poverty and need himself - and truly wants to help others be better.

  5. 0
    Emile Rposted 4 years ago

    I think Motown is right, but I would also point out that a lot of charitable contributions and activities don't show up on IRS records. So, I don't consider that a valid source to use to draw firm conclusions on what group gives what.

    1. secularist10 profile image90
      secularist10posted 4 years ago in reply to this

      That's the major criticism of these results. However, the tax returns are probably the most reliable source of information possible. And they are probably representative of giving in general, just as a small population sample can be representative of the general population.

      1. 0
        Emile Rposted 4 years ago in reply to this

        I would disagree. Of course, they are certainly representative of the larger charitable contributions given to the big charities. But, those are obviously given with the assumption that a tax write off is going to be taken. It doesn't represent monies given out of pocket to needy neighbors and local grass roots efforts to help; Nor does it represent the manner in which the average person below a certain income level keeps records.

        From the people I know, and the manner in which the average middle class and lower income household's taxes are prepared; charitable contributions are not factored in. These people are not looking for a tax write off. They are happy to help when they can.

        1. secularist10 profile image90
          secularist10posted 4 years ago in reply to this

          I think it is representative of those more informal approaches, because it is a barometer for overall generosity, which includes such things.

          If you have different/ contrasting data or figures, I would love to see them.

          And I don't think it's fair to say that just because someone decided to take the tax break, therefore that's their main motivation.

          1. 0
            Emile Rposted 4 years ago in reply to this

            I am not attempting to make any judgements, or sway anyone's opinion. I am simply stating that you are using a skewed perspective in your attempt to make a statement. You statement may be true, but your evidence isn't valid evidence to  fully present the case.

            IRS tax records are a foolish source to use. The only people that would show this type of deduction are people above a certain income bracket. The only reason that lower and middle income Christians would take a write off is because they give each week to the same organization. Maybe churches keep track and give them a receipt at the end of the year?

            Something along that scenario is the only record the average American would be able to lay their hands on come tax time. We don't have accountants who keep track of everything in Quickbooks for us throughout the year. 

            I make charitable donations when and where I see a need. Rarely does it go to big charities because I don't trust that my money will get to the source I believe I am contributing to. Any organization I give money to I do it because I think I can help. I don't keep the receipts even when I do get one; not simply because I don't have the time or the interest to keep track. A receipt and a tax write off negates the good will value of helping, in my mind. I don't see evidence that I am unique in my line of thinking.

            1. secularist10 profile image90
              secularist10posted 4 years ago in reply to this

              As I said, if you have better evidence or data on individual charitable giving, I would love to see. I am open to whatever facts are out there.

              "I am simply stating that you are using a skewed perspective in your attempt to make a statement. You statement may be true, but your evidence isn't valid evidence to  fully present the case."

              Emile, I am not trying to make any statement, lol. I'm just looking at the facts in front of me.

              The facts indicate that by one narrow measure, the religious are more generous. But by another, more comprehensive measure, they are not.

              1. 0
                Emile Rposted 4 years ago in reply to this

                Whether or not you are making a statement by presenting the information in the manner you have done to the side;

                Going into your philanthropy link...which link  offered within that supports the statement in your OP? And how does that prove that non religious people may be more generous?

                The primary problem I have with discussions begun in this manner is that people search around for links to support their preconceived notions, without thinking about the information they rush to present. 'Are religious people more generous?' Since we don't know the  spiritual leanings of anyone from tax records how can you ask that question, using tax records as your evidence? The only thing you have presented is that people give more to churches in some areas and more to secular charities in others. It doesn't prove that religious people didn't donate to secular charities, or that non religious people didn't donate to churches.

                1. secularist10 profile image90
                  secularist10posted 4 years ago in reply to this

                  "Going into your philanthropy link...which link  offered within that supports the statement in your OP?"

                  I'm not sure which statement you are referring to. I made several statements and questions in the OP. The news report I cited cited the philanthropy organization as its source.

                  "And how does that prove that non religious people may be more generous?"

                  It's already spelled out in the second quotation in the OP.

                  "The primary problem I have with discussions begun in this manner is that people search around for links to support their preconceived notions, without thinking about the information they rush to present."

                  I did not go searching for anything; I came across this news story and posted it here because I thought it was an interesting topic. You're trying to read into things too much.

                  "Since we don't know the  spiritual leanings of anyone from tax records how can you ask that question, using tax records as your evidence?"

                  The tax records are divided up by state, county, municipality, etc. And we know the significance of religion by state, county, municipality, etc. (across many studies, surveys and polls). So we have two sets of data, and we simply compare them.

                  "It doesn't prove that religious people didn't donate to secular charities, or that non religious people didn't donate to churches."

                  It's not trying to prove that. It's not either/or. It's a question of degree. Again:

                  "Households in the Northeast donated 1.4 percent of their discretionary income to secular charities whereas in the South households give 0.9 percent."

                  1. 0
                    Emile Rposted 4 years ago in reply to this

                    You make broad assumptions in order to use tax records so that you can spring board into another set of broad assumptions. Assumptions that cannot be confirmed using tax returns. You obviously want to consider this some type of valid evidence that showcases the level of giving grouped by opinions on religion within different groups. I'm afraid it isn't evidence. Not by a long shot.

    2. Uninvited Writer profile image85
      Uninvited Writerposted 4 years ago in reply to this

      Exactly, especially if you donate smaller amounts to a lot of charities. And some people donate to charities but by the time they do their tax returns they have lost the receipts so they don't claim. That happens to me all the time.

  6. 59
    chatroomsposted 4 years ago

    I think religious people are no different then everyone else. It has been my experience that "religious" people unless they are in a situation where they know they are being judge by their faith they will act like you or me but sometimes even worse. Some of these so called religious people are not the nicest people in the world. I wonder what Jesus would think of them.. lol

    1. lone77star profile image91
      lone77starposted 4 years ago in reply to this

      Likely Jesus would count them amongst the worst offenders, just like the Pharisees.

      Ego is the problem. Those who are generous in a way that other people know about it "have their earthly reward," and are found lacking. Those who do such things anonymously will have their heavenly reward.

      It's not always easy to be entirely anonymous. Sometimes you merely have to do what is right no matter who finds out about it. But then don't go making a big deal out of it. I think the greatest generosity is the kind that is entirely anonymous so that the recipient does not feel burdened by a sense of debt.

  7. Thelma Alberts profile image81
    Thelma Albertsposted 4 years ago

    I donĀ“t think religion has something to do with generosity. Some people who are generous have other motivations for helping others. Like what others commented, for tax purposes and for showing off.

  8. lone77star profile image91
    lone77starposted 4 years ago

    A powerful subject, @secularist10.

    Definitely, religious people are not more generous. Too many of them have too much ego. Even when they do give, it's all about receiving (attention, admiration, etc).

    Ego is the problem. Too many of the religious don't realize that ego is the point of religion. Ego is the enemy and the barrier to their spiritual reawakening. And yet they wallow in ego, flaunting their pride.

  9. prettydarkhorse profile image66
    prettydarkhorseposted 4 years ago

    Not necessarily.

 
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