Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion

Living Edition
| Editors: David A. Leeming


  • Kate M. LoewenthalEmail author
Living reference work entry

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-27771-9_106-7

How has charity been seen in religious tradition? How has it been understood by psychologists? What are the relations between religious affiliation and charitable activity, and how well do we understand the psychological processes involved?

Religion and Charity

The practice of charity is demanded in all religions (Argyle 2000): all major religions have clear requirements – Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, and others. Charity is generally seen in two ways in religious tradition. First, donating a fixed proportion of one’s income and agricultural produce to appropriate beneficiaries is a religious duty. Religious traditions also endorse providing assistance – financial, food, and whatever else is required – to the needy. These two practices overlap, but there are distinct religious duties: taking and donating a fixed proportion of property, even if there is no desperately needy recipient and assisting the needy – even if one has already given away ones tithes, one is...

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© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyRoyal Holloway, University of LondonEghamUK