“Churchgoers like to think of themselves as generous and cheerful givers, but for many the flesh appears to be weak when it comes to living up to their own standards for charitable giving” according to a report in The Association of Religion Data Archives:
A quarter of respondents in a new national study said they tithed 10 percent of their income to charity. But when their donations were checked against income figures, only 3 percent of the group gave more than 5 percent to charity.
The people most likely to misreport high levels of giving were those who said faith was very important to them and those who attend services more than weekly, according to a report by University of Notre Dame sociologists Christian Smith and Heather Price presented at the recent Association for the Sociology of Religion meeting in Denver.
The findings from the Science of Generosity Survey not only suggest the need to take a closer look at self-reported figures on tithing, but indicate the strong internal conflicts many religious individuals face when it comes to giving.
In the struggle between the charitable demands of faith and the desire to hold on to and accumulate personal possessions, mammon appears to be winning.