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Author Topic: The Purpose of Charity  (Read 4965 times)

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Offline Kythia

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Re: The Purpose of Charity
« Reply #25 on: January 28, 2014, 03:33:41 PM »
Honestly? The idea of "do as your done by", in my opinion, is parallel with the idea of "an eye for an eye", which has roots in Hammurabi's first legal code, from the very cradle of civilization.

But that's not always a viable connection.

Don't forget Hammurabi's legal code is only a couple of centuries older than the Bible. The Bible (or pieces thereof) is one of the oldest pieces of writing known to man and is specifically about morality.  I don't see why its so unbelievable that it was the first recorded instance of the precept.  But meh, none of that really matters I guess.

No - not 'do as you're done by'.  That implies that if someone is nasty to you, you should be nasty back (or 'an eye for an eye').  'Do as you would be done by' implies 'If I'm nice to others, they will hopefully be nice to me.  But if I'm nasty to others, they might be nasty back.'

Ninja'd

Offline Moondazed

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Re: The Purpose of Charity
« Reply #26 on: January 28, 2014, 03:35:27 PM »
Don't forget Hammurabi's legal code is only a couple of centuries older than the Bible. The Bible (or pieces thereof) is one of the oldest pieces of writing known to man and is specifically about morality.  I don't see why its so unbelievable that it was the first recorded instance of the precept.  But meh, none of that really matters I guess.

It's not about whether or not it's unbelievable, it's that it's simply not true.  I like to deal in facts.

Offline TorterrableTopic starter

Re: The Purpose of Charity
« Reply #27 on: January 28, 2014, 03:39:47 PM »
I'm not really against the Bible being the first recording note of that saying; the Bible, especially the Ten Commandments, has a mostly good moral code to follow, with a few sections that one should mentally update to keep up with the times.

But, beyond that, I was trying to emphasize that the idea of being able to exert a force on the world and other people and receiving a similar response is a very basic and inherent piece of human reasoning. Keeping this in mind, would it be a stretch to say that, when we first think of charity or doing charitable deeds, one of the quickest things to pop into mind is "how will doing this affect me?"

Also, you're* My bad for making a simple mistake.

Online Oniya

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Re: The Purpose of Charity
« Reply #28 on: January 28, 2014, 03:39:55 PM »
With a sentiment that has such positive implications, does it matter who put it on paper (papyrus, stone tablet, cave drawing) first?

Offline Kythia

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Re: The Purpose of Charity
« Reply #29 on: January 28, 2014, 03:41:37 PM »
It's not about whether or not it's unbelievable, it's that it's simply not true.  I like to deal in facts.

Shrug.  Affects me not.  Wikipedia agrees with me:

Quote
Leviticus 19:18 represents but one of several versions of the Golden Rule. It is seemingly the oldest written version in a positive form.[9]

so I think your beef might well be with:
Plaut, Gunther. The Torah - A Modern Commentary, Union of American Hebrew Congregations, New York 1981; pp.892. ISBN 0-8074-0055-6

but this is getting woefully off topic for what I thought would be a throwaway comment.

Offline TorterrableTopic starter

Re: The Purpose of Charity
« Reply #30 on: January 28, 2014, 03:49:15 PM »
With a sentiment that has such positive implications, does it matter who put it on paper (papyrus, stone tablet, cave drawing) first?

Positive implications, perhaps, but notice it implies that you do what you want to be done to you. In doing charity, if you are doing it with the mindset of what you want to happen to yourself, are you really doing it simply out of the goodness of your heart? To me, there is an ulterior motive placed straight in the wording of the quotation.

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Re: The Purpose of Charity
« Reply #31 on: January 28, 2014, 03:54:08 PM »
It also doesn't factor in masochism.  (Just kidding.)

Perhaps Douglas Adams phrased it better with 'How great it would be if everyone was nice to each other for a change.'

Offline Moondazed

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Re: The Purpose of Charity
« Reply #32 on: January 28, 2014, 03:54:38 PM »
Perhaps it's time for me to just bow out of the conversation.  The line you quoted says, "it is seemingly the oldest written version in a positive form", which does not equate to:

While that might be true, actually the earliest we have actual evidence for is in fact the Bible.  Leviticus 19:18 is the earliest written version.  Sure, other civilizations may have had it but they either didn't write it down or if they did we haven't found it, and other cultures have since found it independently.  But the earliest we can say with any certainty is the Bible.


I have nothing against the Bible, it just bothers me when things are stated as facts when they aren't.

Positive implications, perhaps, but notice it implies that you do what you want to be done to you. In doing charity, if you are doing it with the mindset of what you want to happen to yourself, are you really doing it simply out of the goodness of your heart? To me, there is an ulterior motive placed straight in the wording of the quotation.

Is your point that you're trying to define the human mindset and don't believe that humans do things altruistically, there's always a self-centered ulterior motive?

Offline TorterrableTopic starter

Re: The Purpose of Charity
« Reply #33 on: January 28, 2014, 03:57:30 PM »
Yes, I think. Through the wording of this old and hypothetically very ingrained-in-the-human-psyche quote, I am trying to prove that almost all altruism is due to an ulterior motive.

Offline Kythia

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Re: The Purpose of Charity
« Reply #34 on: January 28, 2014, 03:59:09 PM »
There's no need to bow out per se, Moondazed.  I'm happy to agree to disagree or to talk via PM, I'm just wary of the unexpected amount of offtopicitude that comment created.

Back to the ontopicitude, yeah I totally agree with you Torterrable.  Further, while Oniya's point about masochism was a joke it does lead to the other problem.  If you and your child are starving to death, do you prefer the last piece of bread goes to you or your child?  No need to answer, that's not quite my point.  Just that different people want "what other people do to them" to be different things.  A better phrasing would be "do unto others as they want you to do unto them"

Offline gaggedLouise

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Re: The Purpose of Charity
« Reply #35 on: January 28, 2014, 04:06:20 PM »
Anyway, the Torah is probably the first book or code to set up the precept "Love the stranger among you, for you were once strangers in another land yourselves" (Deuteronomy, I think - can't find the exact locus right now). That one is a very strong and...productive way of formulating that humans should care for each other, as humans, and that barriers are not always meant to be kept up at all costs (even if we'd emend "love" to "care for, include in your circle, and treat with fairness")
« Last Edit: January 28, 2014, 04:08:58 PM by gaggedLouise »

Offline mia h

Re: The Purpose of Charity
« Reply #36 on: January 28, 2014, 04:35:12 PM »
Well bringing up the Golden Rule thing was my fault I should put it in it's proper context
Quote from: John Stuart Mills
In the golden rule of Jesus of Nazareth we read the complete spirit of the ethics of utility. To do as you would be done by, and to to love your neighbour as yourself, constitute the ideal perfection of utilitarian morality.

I do see Oniya's point what if you are self-loathing, masochist?
The whole point of Mills' quote is to look at any situation from the other person's point of view and ask if you were in their position what would you want to happen? But it works both ways: On a street there is a starving man and a man with a loaf of bread. The man with the loaf of bread should see that starving man would like to eat; and starving man should realize that the hapless guy who was just out for a walk with his loaf doesn't want embarrassing and hectoring into handing over the loaf. But that's where the 'love your neighbour' comes in if I care enough about myself to make sure I have food and shelter then I should want the same for everyone else.
But Mills does end up in what seems a very odd postion that the best way to help other people is to help yourself and then pull everyone else along with you. If that pulling along takes the form of charity, then does it really to be completely altruistic?

Offline alextaylor

Re: The Purpose of Charity
« Reply #37 on: January 28, 2014, 10:49:28 PM »
In being charitable, is it necessary that you understand to what goal your charity is going towards? From what I've seen, many of your volunteer works (not to belittle them; I admire each and every one of you for what you do to help people) seem to aid, for a lack of better words, a "faceless mass". However, what if we gave them faces, but not necessarily the faces that you expect? What if that man who took your coat is using it to hide a gun to rob people? What if the person you just fed is going to go home and buy drugs? If you knew this were happening to each and every one of the people you helped (an impossibility, of course, but please bear with me), would you still volunteer at the soup kitchen or donate clothes? If another opportunity to help people that required more commitment appeared, such as working at a rehabilitation clinic, would you take it?

Additionally, consider marginal benefits in taking on more volunteers. New volunteers require training and overseeing to become effective and, no matter how big the volunteer group, at a certain point, the clashing of various people will end up causing a loss in production. With this knowledge in mind, some people still attempt to join one of these groups, even when others are available (this happens with a tutoring group on campus for me). Do you think these people still have genuine charity in mind, or are they more looking for something to make them feel better, to improve themselves, even if there is a cost to others?

Finally, when you go in to volunteer or donate, do you feel good? Do you consider that good feeling a side effect of volunteering, or do you volunteer to experience this feeling? While these may intertwine, is one of them stronger than the other?

I don't really think people donate to completely faceless masses. It has some kind of face. We normally give charity to those closer to us. Like I'd be more likely to donate to Somalia, Pakistan, Palestine or other Asians compared to say, the US Red Cross.

I know plenty of people who donate out of guilt. I'm quite strongly against donating to street beggars, because I see a lot of beggars smoking. A lot of people know this and still do so anyway. I think it's just better to invite the beggar for a meal if you're at a restaurant or something, and actually know where the money is going. One time I was out with a group of friends and we actually did this with a young beggar boy. The boy looked terrified at getting a free meal and kept looking over his back as if someone was expecting him.

On the other hand, I've often given fries or a side dish I don't like to homeless people on the side of the road. They were extremely grateful and thankful. By some philosophical views, I'm not really doing a good deed by getting rid of something I don't want. But the way they thanked me made me know that I actually made an impact that day.

A lot of the charities in my area have absolutely no problem with volunteers. But they're always lacking in money or other resources. I've actually asked to volunteer for one charity, and they said that they had more than enough. If you want to focus on making a difference in the world, I think the millionaire philantropist is the best route.

Charity is actually quite a bit difficult. The people who ask for it often get plenty and don't need it. The people who need it are often quite strong willed. I know a lot of poor people who get insulted if you offer them help, especially certain married men, who think it's ultimately a failure in life if he can't feed his family.

So, you'd still have to do some research on which ones to donate to.

Offline Valthazar

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Re: The Purpose of Charity
« Reply #38 on: January 28, 2014, 11:09:42 PM »
I don't really think people donate to completely faceless masses. It has some kind of face. We normally give charity to those closer to us. Like I'd be more likely to donate to Somalia, Pakistan, Palestine or other Asians compared to say, the US Red Cross.

I think it's unfortunate that so many people donate money to other countries, when right in our own backyard here in the US, there are people without running water living in shanty huts.  I can show you entire towns just a few hundred miles away from me, such as in West Virginia, where people are living in 3rd world conditions, and many Americans are oblivious to this.

Offline alextaylor

Re: The Purpose of Charity
« Reply #39 on: January 29, 2014, 01:06:08 AM »
That's my point :P

There are a lot of suffering people in the US, but I'm Asian and have more in common culturally with the suffering people in Asia or even Africa. I know plenty of Americans who do give to the Red Cross, but I normally say "no thanks" because there's a little less empathy there. Though the conversion rate has much to do with it... a dollar can go so much further in Somalia than it would in the USA.

Offline Iniquitous

Re: The Purpose of Charity
« Reply #40 on: January 29, 2014, 01:07:22 AM »
Quote
”…. I am trying to prove that almost all altruism is due to an ulterior motive.“

I admit I find that offensive. The things I do for others to help them is not from any form of ulterior motive. I want nothing in return, I expect nothing in return. I do it because I feel it is my duty as a decent human being to help others.

With that said, I also understand the fundamental truth that life is an echo. What you send out does come back to you - both good and bad. But I do not define my actions based on this fact. If I did then I would surely have far less instances of treating others in unbecoming ways.

Quote
”….. I’m quite strongly against donating to street beggars, because I see a lot of beggars smoking. A lot of people know this and still do so anyway..”

Point blank here… I try not to judge people. My responsibility to my fellow man is to help them, not judge them or try to dictate to them. They are old enough to decide what is more important to them - food, alcohol, smokes. If I have cash on me, I will give it to them.

I have been lectured more times than I can count about giving street beggars money and my response is always the same. Don’t judge a book by it’s cover. You do not know for a fact they are going to spend the money on smokes or alcohol. Ever cross your mind that they may be smoking cigarettes they picked out of public ashtrays? Or from the side of the road or sidewalks?

Quote
”…. Like I’d be more likely to donate to Somalia, Pakistan, Palestine or other Asians compared to say, the US Red Cross.”

Quote
”I think it is unfortunate that so many people donate money to other countries, when right in our own backyard here in the US, there are people without running water living in shanty huts.”

I cannot +1 Valthazar’s post enough. It is one of my greatest gripes (along with the whole ‘why the hell are you adopting from another country when there are so many children needing loving homes in the US?!’ gripe) simply because people ignore the starving here in the states. They ignore the homeless here in the states. They ignore those living in conditions that rival 3rd world countries. They simply turn a blind eye to it… or even worse… make the demeaning comments about the people being too lazy or too entitled to work. It irritates the shit out of me because I am a firm believer in taking care of your own before trying to take care of everyone else.

Yes, I have donated to other countries on occasion. But the exception has always been after a tragedy (the tsunami, the earthquake in Japan, this last storm that hit the Philippines). Humanitarian aide to another country is all fine and good - but being that I live in the US, I believe that I should be helping those that are here.

Offline alextaylor

Re: The Purpose of Charity
« Reply #41 on: January 29, 2014, 06:22:48 AM »
Point blank here… I try not to judge people. My responsibility to my fellow man is to help them, not judge them or try to dictate to them. They are old enough to decide what is more important to them - food, alcohol, smokes. If I have cash on me, I will give it to them.

I have been lectured more times than I can count about giving street beggars money and my response is always the same. Don’t judge a book by it’s cover. You do not know for a fact they are going to spend the money on smokes or alcohol. Ever cross your mind that they may be smoking cigarettes they picked out of public ashtrays? Or from the side of the road or sidewalks?

It depends on the situation, but I think it's fair to judge the book by the cover in some cases. Very often when I sit with a group of friends, I see an unkempt person asking for money.. nobody in my group actually believes a word of his story. Almost always, someone offers the bare minimum required to shoo him away.

I don't mind if the money was given to sincerely help the beggar, but in so many cases, it's given as a "don't bother me while I'm eating" fee. My mother used to love helping them until one replied "What, just $5? You drive a car like that and you can't give me $20?"

I live in a state where there is almost no poverty or homelessness. Welfare does a very good job of taking care of them, what with free healthcare and housing. Jobs are abundant, and minimum wage jobs pay almost the same as fresh graduate jobs. The jobless are often handicapped people, yet handicaps get a lot of money from welfare. Welfare pays about the same rate as a college diploma. Someone born penniless can apply for interest free loans to go to a university or start a small business and the loans give enough money for food. Often those loans are so excessive that the poor hold more money than the middle class. Most con artists on the streets often ask for money for religious institutions. Anyone else begging for money on the streets almost certainly wasted theirs or lost everything in a poorly thought out gamble.

I don't have unlimited funds to help people with. I find it almost always more impactful to give it to a group of people who need it. The charity organizations do a great job of filtering groups of people who actually need help and making use of economy of scale to squeeze the most of out of that money. The results might be less visible, but they have a lot more impact, and the ones I donate to actually mail me a report of what they've been up to.

Offline lilhobbit37

Re: The Purpose of Charity
« Reply #42 on: January 29, 2014, 07:49:54 AM »
So from what you are saying you feel you have more in common with strangers from another country you have never been to than people in your own country simply because the color of their skin is the same as yours? Or just not white? (Since you mentioned both Asia and Africa I'm assuming the criteria isn't Asian but rather nonwhite)

Also just because your area may appear well off does not mean there are no starving, no homeless, no needy. I find it hard to believe that every beggar you have seen is not actually in need. Are there those that con? Yes. But I think people jump to that conclusion very fast to feel better about not helping them.

In that sense, it isn't a faceless mass and you don't like the face you see.

Offline Moondazed

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Re: The Purpose of Charity
« Reply #43 on: January 29, 2014, 08:06:00 AM »
Point blank here… I try not to judge people. My responsibility to my fellow man is to help them, not judge them or try to dictate to them. They are old enough to decide what is more important to them - food, alcohol, smokes. If I have cash on me, I will give it to them.

I have been lectured more times than I can count about giving street beggars money and my response is always the same. Don’t judge a book by it’s cover. You do not know for a fact they are going to spend the money on smokes or alcohol. Ever cross your mind that they may be smoking cigarettes they picked out of public ashtrays? Or from the side of the road or sidewalks?

I used to hold that view until we bought a farm that had an outbuilding with a room in it someone had lived in and we let a homeless person we met through a friend stay there.  I learned a lot from him, not the least of which is that there's a network of people who make it their business to live off of others.  He'd gone to someone in Richmond who helped others learn how to panhandle effectively and bragged about it one night when he'd been drinking.  Not surprisingly he was an alcoholic and in the two months he was with us he was in the hospital twice.  I made a couple of calls and discovered that he'd been 'in the system' in detox at least a dozen times, enough times that he wasn't welcome at the shelter that was attached to it anymore.  There are other shelters he could go to, so no one thinks he was left without resource.  At the point that I told him I didn't want addicts around my son he disappeared.  It made me really sad, but you can't help people who won't help themselves.  I won't give them money, period, after that experience.  I'll give them food, I'll donate clothing, especially outerwear, but that's the extent of it for me.

When it comes to homelessness I think a big part of what needs to be addressed is addiction and mental illness.  Please don't think that I'm saying that every person suffers one of those maladies, I don't mean to say that, but I think it's fairly prevalent and when Reagan cut mental health funding and everyone bought into the 'free everyone from institutions' line, I think it left a sector of the population with very few options.

I cannot +1 Valthazar’s post enough. It is one of my greatest gripes (along with the whole ‘why the hell are you adopting from another country when there are so many children needing loving homes in the US?!’ gripe) simply because people ignore the starving here in the states. They ignore the homeless here in the states. They ignore those living in conditions that rival 3rd world countries. They simply turn a blind eye to it… or even worse… make the demeaning comments about the people being too lazy or too entitled to work. It irritates the shit out of me because I am a firm believer in taking care of your own before trying to take care of everyone else.

Have you tried to adopt a baby in this country?  Not to go entirely OT (even as I do so :) ), but I know several people who have and it's a loooooong process.  I also think that many Americans are ignorant of just how many kids end up in the foster care system in this country because people assume there aren't a ton of kids waiting.  Couple those things with the horrific conditions some children live in in other countries, and I can see why people adopt from other countries.  No one is shining a spotlight on the horrific conditions some children live in in this country because it doesn't garner news ratings and it's not popular with the people who have very deep pockets when it comes to campaign contributions, let alone the people who tout smaller government.[/quote]

Yes, I have donated to other countries on occasion. But the exception has always been after a tragedy (the tsunami, the earthquake in Japan, his last storm that hit the Philippines). Humanitarian aide to another country is all fine and good - but being that I live in the US, I believe that I should be helping those that are here.

I've always struggled with this one.  I want to help people, I really do, but it feels selfish to say that I'll only help people who fit into the Us in the Us vs. Them paradigm.  My son and I have had some fascinating discussions about things like this and foreign aid and what actually helps people as opposed to just throwing money at them.  I wish I had a solid opinion in one direction or the other.  I think the first step is revealing the true conditions that some Americans live in, no matter how much a large percentage of Americans want to ignore them and pretend that they can just 'pull themselves up by their bootstraps'.  Once you put a human face on that theory and actually look into it deeper than idealism, you discover that while that's true of some people, it's definitely not true of all of them, or even most of them.

Offline Moondazed

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Re: The Purpose of Charity
« Reply #44 on: January 29, 2014, 08:10:25 AM »
I live in a state where there is almost no poverty or homelessness. Welfare does a very good job of taking care of them, what with free healthcare and housing. Jobs are abundant, and minimum wage jobs pay almost the same as fresh graduate jobs. The jobless are often handicapped people, yet handicaps get a lot of money from welfare. Welfare pays about the same rate as a college diploma. Someone born penniless can apply for interest free loans to go to a university or start a small business and the loans give enough money for food. Often those loans are so excessive that the poor hold more money than the middle class. Most con artists on the streets often ask for money for religious institutions. Anyone else begging for money on the streets almost certainly wasted theirs or lost everything in a poorly thought out gamble.

Wow, what state do you live in???  I would love to see some actual data to back up your claims.  I'm not being a smartass, just to be clear.  There are no doubt people who try to game the system, there always are, but I think political interests have done a very good job of convincing people that most of the pennies are bad pennies, and I just haven't seen that played out in many of the people I've known who found themselves in need.

Offline alextaylor

Re: The Purpose of Charity
« Reply #45 on: January 29, 2014, 08:43:24 AM »
So from what you are saying you feel you have more in common with strangers from another country you have never been to than people in your own country simply because the color of their skin is the same as yours? Or just not white? (Since you mentioned both Asia and Africa I'm assuming the criteria isn't Asian but rather nonwhite)

I'm saying that I have more in common with people who are culturally common. Like everyone above said, you help people in your own backyard first. Then other people's backyard. It's not so much a matter of skin color, but I feel it's my responsibility to be helping someone in my region (SE Asia/Australia/Middle East) first.

America has one of the highest per capita incomes and the most number of billionaires in the world. It's the duty of Americans to help America. Similar goes for Europe. Maybe Australia too but Australia is also a state with a very good welfare system.

But I think people jump to that conclusion very fast to feel better about not helping them.

In that sense, it isn't a faceless mass and you don't like the face you see.

You're right that I don't like the face I see. But it's more that it feels bad to help them, rather than feeling better about not helping them. Feed the starving, sure. But most of these beggars have the nerve to say "I don't want food. I want money."

There's also the issue that begging pays well:
http://www.thestar.com.my/story.aspx/?file=%2f2010%2f8%2f23%2fnation%2f6902765&sec=nation
http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/14-beggars-from-china-nabbed-rm16000-seized/
http://www.demotix.com/news/2651439/syndicate-beggars-are-back-suburbs-bangsar-kuala-lumpur#media-2651454
http://news.asiaone.com/News/AsiaOne+News/Malaysia/Story/A1Story20100823-233367.html

Wow, what state do you live in???  I would love to see some actual data to back up your claims.  I'm not being a smartass, just to be clear.  There are no doubt people who try to game the system, there always are, but I think political interests have done a very good job of convincing people that most of the pennies are bad pennies, and I just haven't seen that played out in many of the people I've known who found themselves in need.

Selangor, industrial and high tech capital of Malaysia. Malaysia makes much of its money from oil, aggressive exploitation of the land, and outsourced electronics. The political parties target the high income and lowest income group, because the middle class group calls out the government on corruption. They no longer even bother hiding the fact that the welfare system is just buying votes from the lower income groups and youths. The system taxes the middle class heavily and gives the money to the poor.

It's hard to get a proper, unbiased citation for this, but there's election data. The poor states (Sabah, Sarawak) have the strongest support of the government, whereas the richer states (Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, Penang, with the exception of Johor) have the least support for the government.

Offline lilhobbit37

Re: The Purpose of Charity
« Reply #46 on: January 29, 2014, 08:47:50 AM »
Ok I apologize I didn't realize you didn't reside in the US.

Offline TorterrableTopic starter

Re: The Purpose of Charity
« Reply #47 on: January 29, 2014, 08:48:34 AM »
Interesting and well-made arguments, everyone.

Towards Iniquitous Opheliac, but also for everyone else: You say you don't want to judge people, correct? I am assuming that your point of view is that you give help; no one should get it in their heads to act like they dictate to where the aid goes, for they would then be assuming a power beyond their rights. However, I would like to point out that it seems you are judging when you determine that the tsunami or natural disasters in Japan are more important than the day-to-day poverty happening in America. What does a disaster mean to you in terms of donating and being charitable?

Towards lilhobbit37: So do you think that providing a "blanket of charity" in order to help others is the best way to provide charity? Does it achieve charity's goal of actually helping the majority of people, even as it feeds some of their addictions? Or does the existence of this blanket merely provide people who want the benefits of helping others (good feeling, tax breaks, etc.) a way to reap those benefits?

Towards Moondazed: The story was good evidence, in my opinion. Now that you have it in mind, and now that you don't tend to donate money, but material goods that money can buy instead, do you still think the point of charity is to help others? Considering that our current systems of charity (the majority seem to be based around money) do not seem to live up to your standards, do you think that the majority of charity today is still ultimately ineffective? Also, even though you have donated clothes and material objects, it seems to me that a resourceful "con man" might still be able to convert those into drugs and smokes and whatever else.

Offline TorterrableTopic starter

Re: The Purpose of Charity
« Reply #48 on: January 29, 2014, 08:53:10 AM »
Towards alextaylor: You say that people have a responsibility to help those who are like them more than to those who are unlike them. Would this mean that you believe that people should take care of their own first? Does this imply an omnipresent self-interest in the idea of being charitable to others? As in, does the focus on helping those who are like you first as opposed to others who seem so far away imply that we are ultimately trying to be charitable (at least somewhat) to ourselves?

Offline lilhobbit37

Re: The Purpose of Charity
« Reply #49 on: January 29, 2014, 09:02:13 AM »
I don't understand what you mean by blanket of charity. I'm usually too poor to do much in the way of monatary donations, but I do what I can. I lived in my car before, and I gave my last dollar to a homeless shelter that was collecting donations even though I'd been told no shelters had space for me. Because at least I could hopefully help others get what they needed even if I didn't have it for myself at the time. I figured at least I had my car to protect me from the elements and that was more than some had.

My point if I have one is that donations and charity for me is about doing what I can to help others who are worse off than me. Yes some of them may be druggies or alcoholics but they are still just as likely to die from the cold as me or you. Who am I to decide they don't deserve a chance to change.

That doesn't mean I have to blindly give money to someone who has proven to be playing the system like the person in moon's post, however, that would not prevent me from continuing in the future to give, because there are hundreds and thousands out there that are not playing the system and need that help.