Charity

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Charity

Post by Bobinwales » Thu Jan 19, 2006 10:01 am

We don’t have any dictionaries in the pub, so I was unable to check my definition of “charity” when the subject came up last night.

I thought it to be simply a selfless act, but the dictionaries I have checked this morning all seem to lean towards helping the poor.

Any thoughts please.
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Charity

Post by podictionary » Thu Jan 19, 2006 2:33 pm

The ones I checked mostly say "to those in need" which would usually be understood to be the poor. The Concise Oxford English Dictionary and The Oxford Dictionary of English both define "charity" as an organization with this aim. But laws that define what a charity is for tax purposes have slightly broader definition; education is often included.
I looked at the etymology of "charity" too and it is usually rendered as "Christian love" but is also traced back through Germanic languages to Latin "cartatem" meaning dearness (expensive), fond, affection. Merriam Webster even links it to Sanskrit "kama" (like in kama sutra) meaning love.
Please give a listen to http://www.podictionary.com the audio word a day.
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Charity

Post by minjeff » Thu Jan 19, 2006 3:26 pm

I've always understood that an act cannot be charitable unless the receiving party truly has no way of repaying your deed. So, this is probably why it is usually rendered "Christian love" because true Christian love is about giving of oneself, expecting nothing in return. Not trying to get too theological, but there are several examples that come to mind if anyone is interested.
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Charity

Post by Bobinwales » Sun Jan 22, 2006 1:02 pm

Sorry, I cannot accept any of this. Charity has nothing to do with any religion, let alone sticking it onto Christianity alone.

What has been intimated here is that I cannot be charitable because I have no faith, or Rubin Goldstein and Abdul Patel cannot show charity because they are not Christian. Utter bunkum!

I am not looking for an ethical opinion here; what I want is a view on whether etymologically a charitable act has to benefit the poor, or can be a selfless act such as paying for a bench on a footpath so that strollers can sit for a moment. Charles’ Sanskrit link to “love” would seem to suggest helping the poor is not the only definition of the word.
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Charity

Post by Wizard of Oz » Mon Jan 23, 2006 9:12 pm

Sorry, I cannot accept any of this. Charity has nothing to do with any religion, let alone sticking it onto Christianity alone.

What has been intimated here is that I cannot be charitable because I have no faith, or Rubin Goldstein and Abdul Patel cannot show charity because they are not Christian. Utter bunkum!
.. well said Bob ..

WoZ of Aus 24/01/06
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Charity

Post by Laurie Reinders » Wed Jan 25, 2006 11:33 pm

I have many aethist friends that are extremely Charitable. I can't swallow the opinion that Charity is "Christian Love" alone.

I was raised with the understanding that charity is the kind act you do without wanting something in return. Such as giving your excess toys from Christmas to the local hospital-etc.

The kindest acts of charity are often given here in the village where I reside (where people are middle-class & above) to our park...like that park bench you mentioned Bob (2 doctors & their wives just donated a nice one on a long path near my home)or by the retired 'wealthy' giving their spare time as volunteers for our village board (where we often have the need for free legal advise or doctor's wisdom to help solve the issues that arise).

I can't imagine how awful the world would be if we saved our acts of charity (really just another word for kindness. The Latin caritas=affection) for only those less fortuneate.

Recently a foundation (charity) began just to save an historical church down the block. If ordinary citizens hadn't banded together to commit this act of charity the church would've been bulldozed. Since they had volunteers from all walks of life with various types of expertise, the church has been saved & is currently owned & being renovated by an architectural firm (the foundation raised money to help pay for a new roof & more so the firm could afford the renovation).

That's my 2-cents!
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