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Friday, June 28, 2013

Faith, Hope, and Charity: Religion and Generosity

I recently noted that in terms of charity and volunteering, people of faith contribute far more of their time and money than do their secular counterparts. Moreover, this is true for both religious and secular institutions. That is, not only do people of faith contribute more of the their time and money to religious institutions (e.g., churches, synagogues, Habitat for Humanity), they also contribute more of their time an money to secular institutions than their secular counterparts ("How Religion Benefits Everyone, Even Nonbelievers"). See also "Religious Attendance Relates to Generosity Worldwide".

However, rates of and reasons for giving within and across faith traditions do differ, and why they do is the subject of a new study by Carolyn Warner, a political scientist at Arizona State University, along with her colleagues Adam Cohen, Ramazon Kilinc, and Christopher Hale ("Religious Institutions and Generosity: Catholicism and Islam"). Carolyn is also featured in a recent Research on Religion podcast, hosted by Anthony Gill ("Carolyn Warner on Religion and Generosity"). Here's a brief description of the interview:
Why and how do religious groups motivate generosity? We visit with Prof. Carolyn Warner (ASU) who is involved in a multi-national, cross-faith, and interdisciplinary investigation exploring why religious individuals give money and volunteer time to help others. As part of a larger team of scholars, she has conducted interviews with Catholics and Muslims in France, Ireland, Italy, and Turkey using both person-to-person interviews and an experimental design to see if there are differences across these to faith traditions. She and her team discover that Catholics tend to be motivated by “love of God” whereas Muslims are moved to give out of a “duty to God.” This sheds light on whether organizations need to provide close monitoring and sanctioning of volunteer behavior or whether individuals can be counted to be generous on their own.
For a more detailed description of the podcast or to listen to the podcast, follow this link ("Carolyn Warner on Religion and Generosity") to the Research on Religion website. You can also download the podcast from iTunes.

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