Studies show that people who are religious are more generous and charitable than those who are not. Many are surprised to learn that religious participation is the single greatest predictor of charitable giving. In fact, those who regularly participate in religious activities give four time more to charity than those who do not.
Interestingly,while religious people of all political persuasions are more generous than non-religious people, religious folks who are politically conservative, perhaps surprisingly, are the most generous of all. And this is true even exclusive of giving to churches and religious causes. Even if such giving isn’t counted, religious conservatives are still the most generous givers in America. Religious conservatives are not only more likely to give to give to explicitly non-religious causes, they are also more likely to give their time and even their blood.
Below is a link to a fascinating discussion of this phenomenon and an excerpt with comments from Arthur Brooks, a professor of Public Administration at Syracuse University, author of Who Really Cares. I strongly recommend reading this:
In fact, recent studies have shown that religious conservatives are the most generous givers to charity in our country. Arthur Brooks of Syracuse University performed a detailed study on which segments of society give to charity and which do not. “When I started doing research on charity,” Mr. Brooks wrote, “I expected to find that political liberals — who, I believed, genuinely cared more about others than conservatives did — would turn out to be the most privately charitable people. So when my early findings led me to the opposite conclusion, I assumed I had made some sort of technical error. I re-ran analyses. I got new data. Nothing worked. In the end, I had no option but to change my views.” Brooks found that 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. And Arthur Brooks notes that giving goes beyond their own religious organization:
“Actually, the truth is that they’re giving to more than their churches,” he says. “The religious Americans are more likely to give to every kind of cause and charity, including explicitly non-religious charities….It is one of the bitterest ironies of liberal politics today that political opinions are apparently taking the place of help for others.”
Brooks also notes that religious conservatives are more likely to give time to charities, and even to give blood.
Sadly, it seems that many “liberals” and non-religious people who advocate for social justice and help for the poor, just don’t put their money where their mouth is. For many of them (and I realize of course that there are many very generous non-religious political liberals) they must believe they satisfy whatever obligation they feel to be charitable, by voting a particular way.
Imagine how much good could be done if these folks would step up and be as charitable as their religious conservative fellow citizens.
And ponder why, as a group, folks who are religious are more generous in all ways than those who are not.