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...
- Argyle, M. (2000). Psychology and religion. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Brooks, A. C. (2003). Religious faith and charitable giving. Policy Review, 121, 39–50.Google Scholar
- Inaba, K., & Loewenthal, K. M. (2009). Religion and altruism. In P. Clarke & P. Beyer (Eds.), Oxford handbook of the sociology of religion (pp. 876–889). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Loewenthal, K. M. (2007). Religion, culture and mental health. Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Lynn, P., & Smith, H. (1991). Voluntary action research. London: The Volunteer Centre.Google Scholar
- Macaulay, J. R., & Berkowitz, L. (Eds.). (1970). Altruism and helping behavior: Social psychological studies of some antecedents and consequences. New York: Academic.Google Scholar
- Maple, P. (2012). The real motivation for giving to charity. The Guardian, 1 May 2012. https://www.theguardian.com/society/2012/may/01/claire-squires-charitable-giving-motivation
- Montada, L., & Bierhoff, H. W. (1991). Studying prosocial behavior in social systems. In Altruism in social systems (pp. 1–26). New York: Hogrefe & Huber.Google Scholar
- Myers, D. G. (1992). The pursuit of happiness. New York: William Morrow.Google Scholar
- Porter, R. (1993). Religion and medicine. In W. F. Bynum & R. Porter (Eds.), Companion encyclopedia of the history of medicine (pp. 1449–1459). New York: Routledge/Chapman & Hall.Google Scholar
- Seligman, M. (2002). Authentic happiness. New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
- Shneur Zalman of Liadi. (1796/1973). Likutei Amarim – Tanya (Bilingual edition) (trans: Mindel, N., Mandel, N., Posner, Z., & Shochet, J. I.). London: Kehot.Google Scholar