The Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy conducts research on donations to charity in the United States. Their recently released figures show that charitable giving in the United States declined between 2000 and 2018. This data is before COVID, so the reduction in giving is not due to the pandemic. Instead, there is evidence for a connection between charity and faith in God. The statistics show that as faith in God declines, so does charitable giving.
In the year 2000, 66% of United States households donated to charitable organizations. In 2018 that figure had dropped to 49.6%. However, the total amount of giving in 2018 was greater than in 2000. So even as fewer people were giving, those who were giving gave more. The study shows that the percentage of Americans giving to religious causes has declined along with the percentage of Americans attending worship services. A disturbing trend is that only a third of households headed by someone under the age of 40 gave anything to charity.
My parents were atheists, and I can remember their argument when my father’s employer put pressure on the workers to give to United Way. Of course, my father didn’t want to give anything, but for social reasons, my mother wanted her name on the list of donors that the employer published.
The numbers are somewhat surprising when you realize that campaigns to raise funds for various causes have become more and more aggressive in recent years. Nearly half of the large volume of mail we receive is solicitations from organizations wanting donations. We have also seen a significant increase in phone calls pressuring us to contribute to various causes.
As our society becomes more secular, it has become more materialistic. Rejecting the teaching of Jesus that it is more blessed to give than receive is reflected in the charity data. We also suggest that this trend explains why marriage is becoming less common and why there is an increase in frustration and lack of satisfaction in sexual relationships. Giving is not just a physical action. It is also a shaper of how we think and how we approach relationships.
There is a connection between charity and faith in God. The Christian system of desiring to give and finding joy in giving works. Rejecting God and the biblical way of life brings unfortunate results for all people.
— John N. Clayton © 2021
Reference: Associated Press by Haleluya Hadero for July 28, 2021.