Do Religion and Spirituality Make a Contribution to the Public Good? The Association of Religion and Spirituality with Volunteering
Keywords:volunteering, religious attendance, religious identity, spiritual but not religious, Australia
Involvement in religious communities has long been associated with a variety of contributions to the public good such as volunteering. However, the patterns of religiosity are complex in Australia, with many indicating ‘no religion’ and with a changing balance in the proportions attending Evangelical and Pentecostal churches compared with the mainstream churches. Approximately one quarter of the adult population describes themselves as ‘spiritual but not religious’. Based on a national survey conducted in 2016, the hours of volunteering among these diverse religious groups in the Australian community was examined. Overall, it was found that religious attenders contributed more than non-attenders to the public good through volunteering and that Evangelicals and Pentecostals contributed most, albeit doing much of their volunteering through their own religious organisations. It was found that much volunteering in religious organisations is conducted for the public good rather than for the religious organisations themselves.
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Data used in this article
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Australian Survey of Social Attitudes (2009) is part of the ISSP program (issp.org). The data used in this article was calculated by the author from the original data file: A. Evans (2009). AuSSA_A_religiosity.sav (computer file).
Australian Survey of Social Attitudes (2018) is part of the ISSP program (issp.org). The data used in this article was calculated by the author from the original data file. A. Evans, Nichola McNeill, Steve McEachern, Bruce Tranter and Shaun Wilson (2018) Australian Survey of Social Attitudes, 2018 (computer file).
Contributing to Society Survey (2016) was commissioned by SEIROS (Study of the Economic Impact of Religion on Society) and conducted by the Christian Research Association. The results quoted in this article were calculated from the original data file.
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