December 28th, 2005

planet

why donate to charities?

Okay, so one of my friends has been contemplating the costs and benefits of religion. A lot of people look at organized religion, see things like the crusades and the holocaust, and figure it's probably a bad idea. I think stupid people will find a way to come together and wage wars no matter what God is up to... if it weren't for religion we'd have, like, militant knitting circles. But then again, I'm religious, so I'm biased.

ANYWAY in the course of this discussion I was about to explain to him that without religion, a lot of soup kitchens and homeless shelters would cease to exist, because most people who give a significant amount of their income to charities do this for religious reasons. But I have nothing to back this lovely theory of mine up. Speaking personally, it's a pretty safe bet that if I wasn't a christian, I would not be writing monthly checks to, well, my church. But there are other charities I support, mainly for human rights, that I probably would still support. But I don't give as much to those. But I don't know why. And I might be weird. I will say this: my goal is to donate 10% of my income to my church and other charities, and that 10% figure comes directly from my religion. If it wasn't for that, I'd be giving a lot less, because 10% is a LOT of money. I'm not there yet. But at least I'm trying... I have a goal, and it was set by God for ancient Jews, and I'm not a Jew but I still think it's a noble goal so that's why I'm working on it.

So the only scientific way to figure out how the world really works is with a livejournal poll. If it happens in a livejournal poll, it must be true. My theory: lots of people give, but the people who give a lot are religious. I'd be lying if I said I'd never met a generous atheist... when it comes to political causes, they're often MUCH more generous. But when it comes to sacrificing hundreds of dollars on a regular basis, I think people need a little prompting from God

Poll #641778 charitable giving

When it comes to charities... (check all that apply)

I donate a significant portion (more than 5%) of my income to charities
6(6.3%)
I don't donate a significant amount, but I'll throw a few dollars in the direction of a good cause when asked
14(14.7%)
I make shopping decisions based on moral principles
2(2.1%)
I donate money on a regular basis (it's budgeted)
2(2.1%)
I donate money for specific events (like natural disaster relief)
2(2.1%)

What causes do you support the most with your time/money?

Educating children
1(1.1%)
Feeding the hungry
0(0.0%)
Helping animals
4(4.3%)
Supporting minorities
0(0.0%)
Saving the environment
0(0.0%)
Protecting human rights
2(2.2%)
Spreading the word of God
4(4.3%)
Disaster relief
2(2.2%)
Providing culture and art
0(0.0%)
Curing diseases
0(0.0%)
Political causes or candidates
0(0.0%)

If you donate a significant amount (more than 5%) of your income, what's the biggest reason for that?

My religion
14(16.1%)
It's just a good thing to do
18(20.7%)
I just feel bad for people
3(3.4%)
I want a tax deduction
1(1.1%)
I have too much money
1(1.1%)
This does not apply, I do not donate a significant portion
50(57.5%)