The Pros And Cons Of Generosity

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Whenever one finds themselves involved in the age-old debate of whether citizens of the United States are greedy or generous, their arguments are usually fueled by opinion rather than fact. The fact of the matter is, that citizens of the United States are generally magnanimous people. In fact, as an American citizen I believe that my fellow citizens are quite charitable, generous, and pragmatic. The evidence to support this claim includes the following facts: that American citizens rank first in the world in charity, that most Americans are generous because of their religious upbringings, and that Americans find that generosity isn’t just beneficial for society but for the giving individual as well. When discussing charity, it’s important…show more content…
The First Amendment to the United States Constitution allows individuals to practice any religion that they desire. Due to this, there are hundreds of different religions and denominations practiced in the United States. Most, if not all of these religions emphasize the belief that charity plays a vital component to their faith (Religions and Denominations). In Christianity, charity holds an esteemed position in company with the seven virtues (It’s Social Ties). In Islam, charity belongs to the five pillars of Islam, in where 2.5% of one’s wealth must be donated per Islamic calendar year (Clark, Janine A). In Judaism, the Torah requires 10% of one’s yearly income to be allotted to righteous deeds or causes (Jacobs, Joseph). Practitioners of these three major religions are chief benefactors to the United States’ predominant position amongst other countries in the World Giving Index. Findings by the National Study of American Religious Giving show that 73% of American donations goes to religious organizations, which stands to be quite significant because it highlights the importance of religion in American philanthropic life (Three-Quarters). The…show more content…
This sentiment may sound like a paradox at first, but can be easily explained. America, notoriously known around the world as a nation of people who are hedonistic, curiously stands as the most philanthropic nation in the world. In a study published by the Journal of Neuroscience, researchers found that people are more likely to give when they think it will make them feel better. When one sees a commercial with an orphaned child, he or she may donate to a cause that helps the child find a loving home (5 ways Giving is good). Although seeing or hearing about suffering children may make one uncomfortable, that distress isn’t driving them to dig into their pockets and donate. Instead, donations flow forth when people feel hope about putting smiles on suffering faces. That feeling of hope, or similar euphoric sensations, are driven by the brain‘s reward systems. Researchers studied why people tend to donate more when they are happy and the astounding conclusion shows that giving releases endorphins (Why Giving Makes You Happy). Endorphins are groups of hormones secreted within the brain and nervous system that activate the body’s opiate receptors, causing an analgesic, or healing effect (Skoglund, Andrea). These endorphins also reduce the stress hormones that cause unhappiness as well as promote an addictive feeling of exhilaration throughout the body. This “Helper’s high” produces a mild version of

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