Charity (practice)

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**1. Origins and Definitions of Charity:**
– The term “charity” originated in late Old English, initially meaning Christian love for one’s fellows.
– Etymologically linked to Christianity, entering English through Old French word charité from Latin caritas.
– The meaning of charity evolved to providing for those in need through generosity and giving.
– Charitable giving involves donating money, goods, or time to the less fortunate.
– Almsgiving is considered a religious act or duty.
– Charity typically involves giving to those unrelated and focuses on basic necessities like food, water, clothing, healthcare, and shelter.

**2. Criticism and Philosophies of Charity:**
– Oscar Wilde criticized charity as an inadequate mode of partial restitution that perpetuates poverty.
– Slavoj Žižek concurs with Wilde’s views on charity’s impact on the charitable.
– Friedrich Engels and Reinhold Niebuhr criticized charity for masking suffering, failing to address systemic issues, and substituting for true justice.
– Peter Singer advocates for equal consideration for all individuals in charitable giving.
– Scholarly debates exist on needs-based versus rights-based approaches to addressing poverty and food insecurity.

**3. Cultural and Religious Perspectives on Charity:**
– In Christianity, a charitable revolution occurred in medieval Europe with the founding of leprosaria, hospitals, and religious orders focused on charity.
– Tzedakah in Judaism and Sadaqa in Islam emphasize giving out of righteousness and justice.
– Dāna in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism promotes the virtue of generosity without expecting anything in return.
– Historical records suggest that charity has been a longstanding practice in Indian religions.

**4. Impact and Models of Charity:**
– Charitable giving increases as a percentage of income when income decreases.
– Religious individuals are more likely to donate to charitable organizations.
– Different faith groups prioritize charity for their places of worship in monetary donations.
– Various charitable organizations follow models where donors give to conglomerates that distribute to recipients.
– Institutions like orphanages, food banks, hospitals, and religious institutes constitute the majority of charitable giving in monetary value.

**5. Effective Altruism and Notable Figures in Charity:**
– Effective altruism uses evidence and reasoning to determine the most effective ways to benefit others.
– Encourages individuals to act in ways that bring about the greatest positive impact based on their values.
– Notable figures associated with charity include Dustin Moskovitz, Cari Tuna, Peter Singer, and others.
– The movement applies not only to the nonprofit sector but also to prioritizing projects and initiatives with significant benefits.

Charity (practice) (Wikipedia)

The practice of charity, which is the voluntary provision of assistance to those in need, serves as a humanitarian act, and is unmotivated by self-interest. Various philosophies about charity exist, with frequent associations with religion.

Illustration of charity, c. 1884
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