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Comments about ‘Giving and God: Why do people give to charities?’

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Published: Friday, Nov. 1 2013 9:30 a.m. MDT

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cjb
Bountiful, UT

Giving to others in need because you want to be blessed by God is good.

Giving to others because you are empathetic and love and care for them is better.

The Scientist
Provo, UT

Religion teaches me that god is in control of the universe and has a "plan" (of happiness?). If this is true, then those who are rich were meant by god to be rich, and those who are poor were intended to be poor by god. Then this god who supposedly intentionally put the poor in their horrible situation, commands me to help them, and if I refuse, he threatens to punish me or withhold the "blessings" that he supposedly bestowed upon me willy nilly in the first place. So if I respond to his "command" and help the poor and needy, then he further "blesses" me (see Mosiah 2), and because he has supposedly told me this "plan" of his, when I do help the poor, I cannot do so without knowing I will be "blessed", which makes it virtually impossible to act in a purely charitable, unselfish manner towards the poor.

But I don't believe this convoluted nonsense about a so-called "plan of happiness", and I see that I was simply lucky to be born in good (great) circumstances. As such, I help the poor purely and simply because they need help and don't deserve suffering.

ClarkHippo
Tooele, UT

@The Scientist

Your analogy would be good except for two things.

1. You assume that "blessings" are found only in monetary gain and that if one person has more money than another, God is blessing the former person more than the latter.

2. You assume that those who believe in God have only one motive in helping others in need, and that is a selfish motive.

Growing up my family did not have a lot of money. My parents always owned used cars, we never visited Disneyland or the Grand Canyon and the first time I flew on an airplane was for a school trip, yet I never once felt inclined to shake my fist at heaven and demand more stuff from God.

One year for Easter my family volunteered to help feed some homeless people. When we got home that day, I don't recall my dad gathering us in prayer and saying, "Okay God, we did our part, now give us more money."

Nope. Instead, my dad's prayer was for all those who needed a lift upward, not just in terms of money, but in terms of love, friendship and kindness.

jeanie
orem, UT

Scientist,

I agree with you. I don't believe in that plan of happiness that you describe either when it come to helping those who need help.

My religious beliefs teach me compassion for those that suffer. God did not dictate the poor be placed where they were. The plan of happiness I believe in is not the micro picture of this life with all of its astonishing unfairness and tragedy and a micro-manager god playing chess with people for his own amusement, blessing those who conform and punishing those who don't. Rather, it is the big picture of what this life is ultimately for, what suffering can teach us as participants and and those who try to relieve it.

Part of living this life well is helping our brothers and sisters through it, like ClarkHippo's father did and like so many others like you (Scientist) apparently have done.

1.96 Standard Deviations
OREM, UT

The Scientist-

Your worldly definition of "poor" and "rich" is much different than God's and the scriptures. Open your spiritual eyes to some scriptures about being rich or poor:

D&C 11:7 - "[...] he that hath eternal life is rich"

Matthew 19:23 - "Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven."

2 Nephi 9:30 - "But wo unto the rich, who are rich as to the things of the world. For because they are rich they despise the poor, and they persecute the meek, and their hearts are upon their treasures; wherefore, their treasure is their god. And behold, their treasure shall perish with them also."

Luke 6:20 - "And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said, Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God"

In the eternal scheme of things, being poor (worldly speaking) can actually be a blessing in disguise. Being rich (worldly speaking), is fraught with eternal risks.

Lastly, don't forget:

2 Nephi 2:24 - "But behold, all things have been done in the wisdom of him who knoweth all things."

the truth
Holladay, UT

@Scientist

You miss on4e very big fact.

Whre much is given much is required.

Those "rich" are in a bad place if they are not using their "blessing" of wealth wisely.

and God will hold them responsible.

And god will not hold the poor guiltless of envy, or thievery if they guilty of such.

Everyone is responsible for their choices,

God gave us agency, and he gave agency to all others as well to act as they will.

We don't know why we have the financial situation we have, sometimes it is by our choices, sometimes it is where God placed us, sometimes it is because the choices of others.

But it is our test in this life how we deal with it and the gifts and talents God gives us, and to remain obedient and faithful, and to endure.

Pops
NORTH SALT LAKE, UT

We all have challenges to deal with. Some have the challenge of wealth, others the challenge of poverty.

sharrona
layton, UT

RE: 1.96 Standard Deviations, I agree with you on helping the poor,But

Luke 6:20 - "And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said, Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God".

A longer helpful verse Matthew 5:3 KJV, "Blessed are the ‘poor in spirit’, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Or, 3Nephi 12:3 Yea, blessed are the ‘poor in spirit’ who come unto me, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

3Nephi 12:6 And blessed are all they who do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled with the “Holy Ghost”. S/B God blesses=(divine passive) those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they will be satisfied=(cortazo). ( MT 5:6 NLT). JS did not read Greek.

1.96 Standard Deviations
OREM, UT

sharrona-

Thanks for adding those scriptures for more insight. I ran out of space in my previous post and couldn't add more scriptures. I also want to include Alma 32:12-16 here, but don't have the sufficient space. Here are excerpts I think that relate to our subject:

"[...] for it is because that ye are cast out, that ye are despised of your brethren because of your exceeding poverty, that ye are brought to a lowliness of heart; for ye are necessarily brought to be humble.

And now, because ye are compelled to be humble blessed are ye; for a man sometimes, if he is compelled to be humble, seeketh repentance; and now surely, whosoever repenteth shall find mercy; and he that findeth mercy and endureth to the end the same shall be saved.

[...]

[...]

Therefore, blessed are they who humble themselves without being compelled to be humble; or rather, in other words, blessed is he that believeth in the word of God, and is baptized without stubbornness of heart, yea, without being brought to know the word, or even compelled to know, before they will believe."

The Scientist
Provo, UT

ClarkHippo and others,

My comment and point makes none of the assumptions you claim, and the point is still valid. So long as you assume that god has a "plan", you cannot give to or help the poor in pure charity - for ought you know, helping anyone could constitute sparing them from the "trials" god had intended for them, and you are thwarting his plan! And you do it knowing you will be "blessed", tainting the motive of the charity: you are no longer helping a person in need, but are selfishly exploiting their god-ordained "misfortune" in order to lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven".

Nonbelievers have no such problem. When we help it is purely and simply because help is needed.

the truth
Holladay, UT

@The Scientist

You are kidding yourself if you believe all nonbelievers are that altruistic or that no believer can not do good out love for their brother.

But you can not separate that good comes from doing good, for everyone involved. There is nothing wrong with that.

Samson01
S. Jordan, UT

God's plan as I understand it is for us to become like him.

One of God's attributes is a pure love. Charitable giving is one vehicle to that end.

I don't give to score points with God. I give and in the giving I learn to love. One of the great results of that act is that I rarely come away from a charitable act the same as I approached it in the first place. I went in flawed and came back a little less flawed.

The description of motivation that "The Scientist" uses is a straw man that he sets up to make a point that may or may not be valid. The validity of the point he/she makes is unknowable on an individual basis unless confessed.

I suspect that what we see in his/her characterizations is a reflection of "The Scientists" preconceived notions about those who participate in organized religion. This would be consistent with previous posts of a similar nature.

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