Maclean’s asked this provocative question a couple weeks ago on its editorial page and I mentioned it recently in a message about generosity. It turns out that a survey released by Statistics Canada reveals that, on average, churchgoers give more generously of their money and time to charities than people who are not part of a church family. Maclean’s goes so far as to assert that
“without organized religion, the world would be a much poorer and less comfortable place for those less fortunate.”
It’s nice to see this mentioned in Maclean’s, though it’s a shame when such a statement surprises people.
Here’s another excerpt from the editorial:
“The average annual donation from a churchgoer is $1,038. For the rest of the population, $295.
With respect to volunteer effort, two-thirds of churchgoers give their time to non-profit causes while only 43% of non-attendees do likewise. And churchgoers put in twice as many hours volunteering.”
The Maclean’s editorial ends with noting the Foundation Beyond Belief, a group
“which aims to ‘encourage and demonstrate the generosity and compassion of atheists…’ So far, its 477 members have raised $18,760. Or about as much as 18 churchgoers in one year.”
We can debate whether this particular comparison to atheists is fair. Nevertheless, Christians ought to be characterized as the most generous people on the planet. Of all of humanity, we understand best the vastness of God’s generosity: There are no limits to His love and grace. May our society see less and less of a limit to ours!