Religious people 'more likely to give to charity'

by
13 June 2014

by a staff reporter

THE METHODIST CHURCH

Sharing fortune:  the "Wheel of Generosity", an online resource produced for the Methodist Church's 2014 campaign, "A Generous Life". People are encouraged to spin the wheel to commit a small act of generosity  http://www.methodist.org.uk/mission/a-generous-life/the-wheel-of-generosity 

Sharing fortune:  the "Wheel of Generosity", an online resource produced for the Methodist Church's 2014 campaign, "A Generous Life". People are encouraged to spin the wheel to commit a small act of generosity  http://www.methodist.org.uk/mission/a-generous-life/the-wheel-of-generosity 

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 non-believers.

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 recently.

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."

 

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