01: There is a significant “charity gap” between religious believers and secular liberals and even secular conservatives, both in making donations and in donating their time, according to a new study. The study, published in the book Who Really Cares (Basic) by Arthur C. Brooks of Syracuse University, finds that the reason conservatives tend to be more charitable than liberals is largely because of the religious factor.
In an interview with World magazine (Dec. 9), Brooks reports that religious conservatives are 28 percent more likely to give than secular conservatives. Religious conservatives give four times more dollars per year and volunteer more than twice as frequently. Brooks points out that religious liberals give at “extremely high rates–very similarly to religious conservatives–while secular liberals give little.” He adds that the “big problem for liberal charity today is that the population of religious liberals is shrinking quickly” due to low fertility rates and the secularizing of the American left.
02: Turkish Muslims and Israeli Jews registered the highest rate religiosity in a survey of youth in ten countries. The survey, conducted by a team of European researchers directed by Hans-Georg Ziebertz of Wuerzburg University, polled 10,000 young people about their attitudes toward religion. Young Turkish Muslims had the strongest faith, followed by Jewish youth in Israel.
Those also showing a high rate of religious commitment included Catholics in Poland, Ireland and Croatia. The German evangelical newsletter Idea (December 19) reports that the young generation in countries with a Protestant tradition, such as Germany, Finland, Great Britain, the Netherlands and Sweden showed only a weak identification with their faiths.
Religious education in Turkey and Poland had the “highest degree of sustainability.” Eight out of ten Polish and Turkish young people said they would follow the faith of their parents. By comparison, only one in five young Germans would follow in the religious path of their parents. Eighty four percent of Turkish parents and 60 percent of Polish parents say such transmission of the faith to the younger generation is important compared to nine percent of German parents.
(Idea, P.O. Box 1820, D-35528 Wetzlar, Germany)