HAVING a faith makes people more generous in giving to charity,
a new survey has found.
Researchfor the BBC showed that people in England with a
religious belief were more likely to give to charity than
The research was carried out by ComRes. Of those who practised a
religion, 77 per cent said that they had given money to charity in
the past month, compared with 67 per cent of those who did not
practise a religion.
They were also more likely to believe that their own friends and
family gave to charity.
The most generous people by religion were Sikhs and Jews. Of the
3000 people polled, all of those who were Sikh, and 82 per cent of
practising Jews, had given money in the past month. Among
practising Christians, 78 per cent had given money recently.
As a population, English people as whole emerged from the
statistics as very generous: 70 per cent had given money to charity
The biggest motivator for those donating to charity was a direct
appeal by a charity, but appeals from churches were also important
in encouraging people to give.
The general secretary of the Methodist Church, the Revd Dr
Martyn Atkins, said: "Religious faith should motivate people to
acts of generosity, and it's good to see this reflected in these
figures. Of course, financial giving is only part of the picture.
For some people, a simple act of kindness, or the very fact that
someone has made time for them, can mean more than any financial
gift. But every act of generosity, however small . . . helps to
change the world for good."
The Methodist Church is encouraging people to think about what
it means for them to be generous, as part of its campaign A
Generous Life. It has also created an online "wheel of generosity"
to encourage people to think of other ways to be generous.
But the president of the National Secular Society, Terry
Sanderson, said that the research had been "spun", and that the top
three biggest charitable givers in the world were atheists. "The
divisive message of this poll and others like it does nothing to
unite us in a common cause."