The Role of Religious Beliefs and Institutions in Generosity: Catholicism and Islam

Project: Research project

Project Details


The Role of Religious Beliefs and Institutions in Generosity: Catholicism and Islam The Role of Religious Beliefs and Institutions in Generosity: Catholicism and Islam World~wide charitable giving is heavily dependent upon the generosity of the major world religions. Despite the fact that religions have charity and giving as virtues and obligations, the causal mechanisms ofjhe generosity of their adherents and organizations are nol well understood. What specific religious beliefs and institutions promote generosity? Do these vary across religious traditions? Do religions promote generosity toward their own members as well as others, or do religions tend to favor their own? How, if at all, do taxation, social welfare arrangements and religion~state regulations affect the generosity of adherents of different religions? As major world religions with a growing share of the world population (approximately 1.1 billion Catholics and 1.5 billion Muslims), understanding the conditions that foster or hinder generosity among Catholics and Muslims and by the Catholic Church and Islamic organizations is crucial. Our project will contribute significantly to an emerging science of generosity through comparative, collaborative and cross~disciplinary work. Our team of political scientists and soc ial and quantitative psychologists will carry out the investigation through large-scale cross-national quantitative analyses of survey and other aggregate data, experiments conducted on site in two countries with univers ity students and members of the general population, and case studies of mosque and parish communities in four European countries. By combining these methods, our program of research gives serious, sustained attention to questions of religious influences on specific causal motives and propens ities towards generosity, and on the external conlexlS that may promote or hinder generosity. Furthermore, most studies of religious giving have focused on Christian religions, and the bulk of those on religions in the United States. This projeci expands the scope by taking Europe as its locus, focusing on Catholicism and Is lam in Ireland, France, Italy and Turkey, and by looking explicitly at generosity
Effective start/end date1/1/106/30/12


  • John Templeton Foundation: $363,666.00


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