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Church and money and stuff

 
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Anonymous
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2007 10:40 pm    Post subject: Church and money and stuff Reply with quote

I just wanted to point out to some of the objectors here that they seem to confirm a lot of Brooks' arguments in their attempts to refute him. For instance, one poster says that Brooks' claim that middle- and lower-class people give as much, proportionately, as wealthy people would be a result not to the liking of conservatives. Why? The premise is obviously that poor and middle-class people are liberals, and so the evidence Brooks musters cannot be construed as supporting the claims of "compassionate conservatism." And the premise is false. Even if it were true, Brooks' claim is not that simply belonging to the republican party makes one more generous-- it is rather that a certain core set of values associated (these days) with conservatism encourage charitable behavior more than the core set of values associated (these days) with left-liberalism.
Another poster remarks that churchgoers giving to churches is like a person who likes hamburgers buying food from McDonald's (or something like this). The idea is that the motives are economically explicable in terms of rational self-interest, and thus cannot be construed as charity. Brooks deals with such arguments in his book. "Charity is a behavior, not a motive," he writes. What seems to go overlooked is Brooks' very clear assertion that "In years of research, I have never found a measurable way in which secularists are more charitable than religious people." He presents the evidence for this claim, and that evidence includes the fact that religious people give more to secular activities than secularists. They give more blood. There is a strong suggestion that they are more charitable in their opinions of others as well as in other informal ways. In other words, they do not simply put money back into the clerical hand that spiritually feeds them. This they do, but they also give elsewhere, and more than non-religious people.
Part of Brooks' goal in the book is to put the scalpel to a lot of our going assumptions about the "hearts and minds" of liberals and conservatives. We assume that conservatives somehow want to fleece the poor and middle-class. We assume that someone like Brooks must have a hand in his pocket, or an ideological agenda driving his research. This is both because we are culturally attuned to the idea of conservative moneyed-interests and nefariousness as well as to the idea that their mtovies are in any case impure. The presumption, a priori, against the idea of religious charity is a shibboleth of secularism-- probably with roots , ironically, in old Protestant skepticism about "Papism." That is speculation, but the point remains that our unwillingness to put the scalpel to our presumptions shows just how pervasive and stubborn they are--which is (part of) Brooks' point.

--Chris
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alan82



Joined: 04 Apr 2008
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Fri Apr 04, 2008 6:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Based on what I believe is a very thawed study, I doubt really that I would change my beliefs about people based on it's conclusions, one way or another.
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liberal4ever



Joined: 20 Apr 2008
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 20, 2008 5:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

what I'm about to say may seem like a stretch (it certainly does to me), but given the fact that Brooks stated that liberals who attend church services give just as much to charitable causes as conservatives do, it's just that there's more conservative church-goers than liberal ones in the first place that makes such a difference, it seems to me that this is an institutional result rather than an ideological one.

So going to church for charity is the big driving force for charity, right? First off, I think people go there for their own selfish reasons (saving their souls) to a greater degree than they do to help others. But that's a bit off topic.

My hypothesis is that those who do go to church have more opportunities to give to charity, it just comes up more, and there's a loud, ever-present advocate encouraging the people to give (the clergy), compared to those who don't go to church or any other large social gathering of the like who may not have all the information about all the many charities that are out there.

Like I said, it's a stretch, but I think it should at least be looked into.
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Sapwolf



Joined: 29 Apr 2008
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 29, 2008 2:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

alan82 wrote:
Based on what I believe is a very thawed study, I doubt really that I would change my beliefs about people based on it's conclusions, one way or another.


And what conclusions would those be?
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Sapwolf



Joined: 29 Apr 2008
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 29, 2008 2:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

liberal4ever wrote:
what I'm about to say may seem like a stretch (it certainly does to me), but given the fact that Brooks stated that liberals who attend church services give just as much to charitable causes as conservatives do, it's just that there's more conservative church-goers than liberal ones in the first place that makes such a difference, it seems to me that this is an institutional result rather than an ideological one.

So going to church for charity is the big driving force for charity, right? First off, I think people go there for their own selfish reasons (saving their souls) to a greater degree than they do to help others. But that's a bit off topic.

My hypothesis is that those who do go to church have more opportunities to give to charity, it just comes up more, and there's a loud, ever-present advocate encouraging the people to give (the clergy), compared to those who don't go to church or any other large social gathering of the like who may not have all the information about all the many charities that are out there.

Like I said, it's a stretch, but I think it should at least be looked into.


Yes, but the key is that people practice their religion which may open up opportunities to give to others. It's not the other way around.

You cannot get around the fact that most religions practiced in America emphasize helping others. This selflessness I've witnessed at my church all the time, and yes, there are more conservatives than liberals, but at the same time, these people are the nicest people I'm ever around. That's why I have always laughed or shook my head when I hear the term Compassionate Conservative. Not because it is an oxymoron, but because it has always been true in my life of those I meet.

I've lived in both the San Francisco Bay Area and in the Huntsville area of Alabama. The people in Alabama tend to be more conservative, but significantly more charitable and don't have as much as a "me" attitude. Plus, they don't have anywhere near as much to give as the people in SF Bay Area and yet they give, give, give. As affluence goes up, religious belief tends to go down, and selfishness I've noticed is a hallmark of that part of CA.
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Sapwolf



Joined: 29 Apr 2008
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 30, 2008 6:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

liberal4ever wrote:
what I'm about to say may seem like a stretch (it certainly does to me), but given the fact that Brooks stated that liberals who attend church services give just as much to charitable causes as conservatives do, it's just that there's more conservative church-goers than liberal ones in the first place that makes such a difference, it seems to me that this is an institutional result rather than an ideological one.

So going to church for charity is the big driving force for charity, right? First off, I think people go there for their own selfish reasons (saving their souls) to a greater degree than they do to help others. But that's a bit off topic.

My hypothesis is that those who do go to church have more opportunities to give to charity, it just comes up more, and there's a loud, ever-present advocate encouraging the people to give (the clergy), compared to those who don't go to church or any other large social gathering of the like who may not have all the information about all the many charities that are out there.

Like I said, it's a stretch, but I think it should at least be looked into.


Sounds like another excuse for not being charitable.

And by the way, people wanting to save their souls is not selfish. That's like saying people eating food are being selfish. How dare they feed themselves to keep their bodies from starving.
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