Religious people "are more charitable" - Church response to BBC stats

• Spin the Wheel of Generosity

According to statistics released by the BBC today, people whopractise a religion are more likely to say they have given tocharity in the last month than those who don't.

The ComRes survey, commissioned by the BBC showed that:
• Three quarters of people in living in England who practise areligion (77%) have given to charity in the past month. Thiscompares to only two thirds of English people who do not practise areligion (67%).
• They are also more likely to believe their friends or familydonate. 73% of religious practitioners believe their friends orfamily have donated to charity in the past month, compared to 64%of those who do not practise a religion.

This year, the Methodist Church is encouraging people to rethinkwhat it means to be generous in their local contexts as part of theA GenerousLife campaign.

Responding to the statistics, the Revd Dr Martyn Atkins, GeneralSecretary of the Methodist Church, said: "Religious faith shouldmotivate people to acts of generosity and it's good to see thisreflected in these figures. Of course, financial giving is onlypart of the picture. For some people a simple act of kindness, orthe very fact that someone has made time for them, can mean morethan any financial gift. But every act of generosity, howeversmall, bears witness to a generous and loving God and helps tochange the world for good."

A range of resources is available to help congregations exploretheir vision, commitment and generosity within the local church andits community. People can also spin an online Wheel ofGenerosity and commit to small acts of kindness as part of theChurch's campaign.

When asked about the people who had inspired them to be generous,one respondent said:

"When the woman who worked as my cleaner and childminder in SouthAfrica (a 'domestic worker') offered to take on an AIDS orphan whowas rummaging through our bin on bin collection day - she had solittle but was willing to give so much. It inspired me to adopt achild permanently as a member of our family."

Another said:

"I am what I am today because of the generosity of time and energyof my Boys' Brigade Officers in Scotland. I was there for fiveyears, walked out at the end of those five years and have neverseen them again. They may think they had failed but they planted aseed. One day we will meet again and they will be so surprised thatI not only became a Christian but a minister."

1. Methodology Note: ComRes interviewed 2,606 English adults bytelephone between 28th February and 23rd March 2014. Data wereweighted to be representative of all GB adults aged 18+.
2. A range of images to accompany A Generous Life can be foundonline here.