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Against Charity

November 2, 2013

One of the central moral principles of Christianity, one of the most popular stories in religious history: Jesus and the Samaritan. The giving to another regardless of caste, prejudice, race, culture, purely based on sympathetic feeling for our fellow man. So how could one possibly be against this seemingly benevolent action?

Because charity in modern day Britain is not about an action by yourself. It is not a positive, assertive act by you to help another. It is something we are conned into by someone in a shopping center with a clipboard, grabbing hold of us and making us feel guilty in some way. We then give negatively, defensively and for the wrong reasons. It is less charity, more an act of repentance, of atonement, of penitence,  to deflect the feeling of guilt that we are out shopping buying things for ourselves. 

This is a modern day version of priests in a former era who paid off the church to be forgiven for their sins. It is not a moral act of goodness, but is symbolic of our corrupt culture. I am sure that some give to charity and do charitable acts out of a well-thought and well-meaning process. But for the most part, charity is a taint on us, it signifies our inner guilt and weakness, it is not a sign of moral integrity but of  moral dishonesty, with ourselves and with others.

Be judged by your self-chosen actions, not by actions performed to appease others. 

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3 Comments
  1. I disagree with your premise, sir. Giving isn’t good because of your intention, giving is good because of the effect. Does it matter to the starving child in Africa why the middle class soccer mom dropped a five dollar bill in a metal tin? Is he really concerned whether the mom donated because she was feeling guilty or because she felt the selfless call to help another in need? No. He’s just glad he didn’t starve to death yet.

    • Thanks for your comment, I am glad someone took me up on this, as it was a controversial post. I think the distinction I was trying to make is that a society or people that manipulate other peoples feelings of guilt to get them to act in ways they want them to is indicative of a morally corrupt and unfavorable society. People starving in certain parts of the world is a bad thing. But then so also is poor education and having more babies than you can support in a world where there is simply not enough resources. Ideally goodness must come from within in my opinion, and this is better than simply acting because manipulated by others. Because moral autonomy is a central principle to me. I don’t agree with the utilitarian, consequentialist, pragmatic approach to ethics that tries to justify action purely based on external factors of behavioral consequences. I think without an inner conscience driving our most ethical acts, and without always bearing this ideal in mind, we will lose something central to our moral sensibility as human beings.

      • >I think without an inner conscience driving our most ethical acts, and without always bearing this ideal in mind, we will lose something central to our moral sensibility as human beings.

        I get that this is your point, and I don’t really have a problem with it. I think my main concern is that there is a more important issue than why someone is being kind/giving/selfless. Regardless of why a person is giving, isn’t it more important that they ARE giving? I mean, maybe we should focus on keeping children fed, clothed, and educated, and once that’s accomplished we can turn our attention to encouraging giving for the right reasons.

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