Summer Allen: No statistical differences

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Therefore show these men the proof of your love and the reason for our pride in you, so that the churches can see it. 2 Corinthian 8:24

“Are religious people more generous than non-religious people? Do people of one religion tend to be more generous than others? Several studies have sought to answer these questions, with somewhat disparate results.

A study of nearly 30,000 people across 50 communities in the United States found that religious people were 25 percent more likely to donate money to a charity than were secular people, and a 1998 study of giving across the American population, focused predominantly on different Christian traditions, found that self-identified nonreligious people gave less money to organizations who help the poor.

This study also found that more frequent church attendance and the degree of importance that people assigned to their religious beliefs were associated with increased giving, while how religious one’s family was during childhood was not.

For the participants in this study, being religious appeared to have more of an effect on giving than did belonging to a particular religious tradition; the “other religious” group—which lumped together Jews, Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and other religious identities—actually gave the most in this study, although small numbers in this group prevented a more detailed analysis of which denominations were responsible for this high level of giving.

In contrast, another study using data about income and religious identity for a cross-section of Americans found that there were not statistical differences in giving to charities that support basic human needs across Christian denominational identities and nonaffiliated families.”

Summer Allen in “The Science of Generosity” White Paper produced by the Greater Good Science Center.

The Apostle Paul urged God’s people demonstrate proof of their love. On this Lord’s day from Czechia, I want to proclaim the same thing to Christians around the world.

As the data appears disparate or mixed, it seems that our collective Christian behavior has left the jury deliberating whether or not we are more generous than others.

The part that stung was hearing that “Jews, Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and other religious identities—actually gave the most in this study” when we would hope that would have been the Christians.

Rather than push back or refer to a different study that gives us the results we want to hear, let’s take this one on the chin and resolve to do our part to move the needle. Let’s give in statistically different ways.

The people I am meeting in Europe will likely help underwrite efforts to activate a peer accountability movement here. But that’s not the case in most of the world. At GTP need your help to go and teach and train in those places.

If you have given to GTP, I want to challenge you today to take the step to set up monthly giving. If you live in America, use this portal. And if you live overseas use the Visa or PayPal options on this page.

Thanks in advance for your monthly partnership which demonstrates proof of your love and to sends a message to our global staff that you want to help set up accountability structures and grow generosity in every nation.