The link between Homilies and helping others

Professor Einofl from DePaul University found a direct link between religion and charity [We, Catholics are quite aware of this]. Through 88 depth interviews his “study documents how religious ideas and values, transmitted through language, motivate helping behaviors. While some quantitative studies of religion and helping treat congregations as a type of social network, this study argues that the connection between religious attendance and helping cannot be explained merely in terms of exposure to requests for help, compliance with external norms, and concern for reputation.”

“On the contrary, people learn ideas and values of helping through the language of sermons, texts, and conversations, and internalize them into their own identity. They act on these ideas and values by helping others, and use religious language to construct accounts of their behaviors.” [To Priest: See the importance your homilies have…please prepare to the best of you abilities]

People who did volunteer work, gave money to religious charities, and gave money to secular charities were significantly more likely than less prosocial people to have a strong sense of religious identity, equate religion with helping, find inspiration for helping others in Jesus, and experience religious growth or change over the life course

Source: Einolf, 2011 “The link between religion and helping others: The role of values, ideas and language” Sociology of Religion (Winter 2011)72 (4): 435-455

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