The magnitude of their misery outlined in a new book, “Overcoming the Silver: Why Christians of America will not give away more money” by Christian Smith and Michael Emerson.
Christianity is the dominant religion in the U.S., with an estimated 226 million followers in 2005, and 140 million belong to churches. The population of the U.S. exceeds 305 million euros.
“If Christians could somehow find a way to get to practices which reasonably generous, that could generate beyond what we currently give others a total of $ 133.4 million a year to devote himself to what ends and needs that have to choose, “according to the book.
“The good thing in the world Christians U.S. could do with an additional $ 133.4 million, year after year, is almost unimaginable, simply amazing, almost beyond comprehension,” said Smith of the University of Notre Dame, and Emerson, of Rice University.
A mere $ 500 million, for example, closing the gap funding needed to eradicate polio worldwide by 2010, they estimate, while $ 10 million to sponsor 20 million needy children around the world for food, education and health.
The book cites a number of sources for its figures on the concession. One found that 22 percent of all U.S. Christians gave nothing, 71 percent gave less than two percent of its revenue and nine percent gave 10 percent or more.
Smith said in an interview that there is no simple explanation for the lack of contributions. Factors ranging from pressure on consumers to spend money on themselves how the money is collected and how much information is given to people. Example, parents can also be an influence.
Another factor may be that people’s formal link with the organizations has declined over time, along with “a sort of responsibility to defend the institutions, and an overall decline in confidence in social institutions – the media, banking and so on, “said Smith.
“The less people trust less to give,” he added.
Megachurches could play a role because they appeal to non-members by offering casual encounters, but calls for very little in advance, except for the assistance and short entertainment services, he suggested.
However, the Mormons, who seem to seven times as much as a percentage of their income that Catholics are the exception. Smith said that the book does not include in its calculations of overall giving because “they are so sociologically distinctive in terms of giving” that deserve a mention.
“Mormons have a much higher expectation. Tithe to teach much more thorough. Each year, will meet with a local bishop to ask if decimated, and if there are no consequences,” said Smith.
Although the book only considered giving in the United States and not to compare the levels of giving in other parts of the world, said that Americans are more generous charity with people in other advanced industrialized nations. American religious believers are more generous than non-believers.
What the impact of the current economic turmoil, which remains to be seen.
“In general I hope that people give less,” said Smith, the director of Notre Dame’s Center for the Study of Religion and Society, adding that giving fell precipitously during the Great Depression of the 1930s.