Hey there! Sign in to join this conversationNew here? Join for free
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    Let us say that you come home one evening and someone is dying in front of your house. For some reason, in this particular case, you would be able to prevent them from dying with the paltry sum of £10. I think most would agree that you are morally obligated to save them.

    Extending this situation, couldn't you say that people are morally obligated to donate to reputable charities whenever they physically can? We are constantly given the opportunity to prevent someone from dying, yet geographic separation seems to remove any moral obligation that we might feel.

    Based on this logic, I am stating that it is immoral to not donate to reputable charities (e.g. Save The Children, British Red Cross, etc.) whenever you possibly can, as you are denying the chance to save someone's life.

    Anyone care to disagree?


    This was posted from The Student Room's iPhone/iPad App
    Offline

    12
    ReputationRep:
    Its a good point, but what makes it different is its scale.

    Its similar to if someone were dying on the high street. Everyone would assume its everyone's responsibility, and be disgusted how no one was helping.
    Offline

    3
    ReputationRep:
    If you can guarantee that giving £10 will save someone's life then that's fine. If it was in my street then I'd know that they live in a country where not only their life could be saved, but also so that they would then go on to receive proper medical care.

    You can never say for sure whether a life can be saved when you give money to charity. There are many more life threatening issues in other countries that just aren't as simple as "£10 saves a life". Plus the fact that if you were in the street and there was only you there then you would feel a responsibility, whereas the majority of people who donate to charity never see the people they "help", have no idea where their money is going, and therefore the sense of responsibility (and dare I say it satisfaction when you know someone's survival is solely down to you) just isn't there.
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    Fair enough, so you would say that the main reason that people don't donate to charity is because of the fact that they do not know with certainty where the money is going, and because they need a sense of satisfaction that they have definitely made a positive change in the world?

    I think that this reveals a slightly depressing side to humanity, its inherent selfishness. We need charities to give us that aura of moral superiority that we sometimes feel we lack, and we are therefore motivated by our desire to improve ourselves, even when engaging in an apparently selfless act of charity.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    But there will always be poverty and disease in the world and you can't save them all but it doesn't mean you shouldn't try, but there doesn't seem to be an end to this poverty/disease issue


    jojotheflower, meow, over and out
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by xenopoecilus)
    Fair enough, so you would say that the main reason that people don't donate to charity is because of the fact that they do not know with certainty where the money is going, and because they need a sense of satisfaction that they have definitely made a positive change in the world?

    I think that this reveals a slightly depressing side to humanity, its inherent selfishness. We need charities to give us that aura of moral superiority that we sometimes feel we lack, and we are therefore motivated by our desire to improve ourselves, even when engaging in an apparently selfless act of charity.
    I would disagree, for me I would like to know that the money I've given is doing something good and not going to the wrong people otherwise I may as well just throw the money away


    Posted from TSR Mobile
    Offline

    16
    ReputationRep:
    When I earn a lot I'll give money to charity - for now, whilst I'm trying to live independently for the first time / get a good job / get on the housing ladder I'll save all the money I have. It's not that I can't afford to give to charity - I could give £5 a month and eat less chocolate, like everyone else - nor that I don't want to, it's more that I want to use all my assets to make myself financially stable. In the long run I'll give plenty, but currently I feel it would be irresponsible to give away money when other people (the state and my parents) are paying for me to be at university.

    Is that selfish? I don't know.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    if you're rich, then yes you should donate to charity, maybe less known ones as popular ones can be known to only donate a small % of what they recieve... (on a side note, I wonder if the royal family donates any money, if anyone knows...?)
    For lots of people they don't physically have enough money to donate, why should families struggle to eat for a morale obligation. For over a year I volunteered in a charity shop and I think by doing so I helped that charity get more money than I would if I were just donating regularly.

    edit: I think actually doing something is much better than throwing money at an issue hoping it will go away.
    Offline

    14
    ReputationRep:
    I would say you should donate to charity, but absolutely do not sign up to one of those £3 a month ones.

    A while back I was speaking to a friend who was managing their mum's affairs for a few months (Alzheimers), her bank account was in a shocking state when he got involved.

    He had got a list of direct debits/standing orders from her bank, there were *15* regular charity donations going out monthly, quarterly, 6-monthly and annually. Worked out at about 47 quid a month in total, on her pension of £120 a week. Because of her "problems", she thought she was just signing for a one-off donation, not a regular commitment. And of course, the first charity she set up a direct debit for, sold her name to all the other charities as an easy target.

    He cancelled all of them, and *every single one* phoned her up and tried to talk her into taking them out again, calls of up to 30 minutes in some cases. He intercepted a few and told them to get lost, and then he told me about a radio phone-in where a guy who was a charity caller revealed some of their techniques.

    Apparently, they're all aiming for the 3 quid a month direct debit as a minimum, but they start off higher and "haggle". It's all psychology; ask for 10 or 20 a month and then let the "customer" think they've got a good deal by letting them haggle it down to 3-10 quid a month. Add the sob stories, make the customer aware that while they're living in a nice warm house, there's homeless people, starving Africans and sad one-legged donkeys who would just be glad of a blanket. They draw subconscious parallels between your life and the lives of those they're "helping" - "£3 a month Sir, what's that? That's less than one cup of coffee a week to you, but to them it's life-changing". It's hard work for a "normal" person to challenge their arguments but vulnerable people get talked into it too easily.

    Even the charities she was donating to, kept sending begging letters. "You're paying 3 pounds currently and we are very grateful but we could save more lives with 4 pounds or 5 pounds or 10 pounds, whatever you can spare".

    Well thanks to their greed, they're now getting nothing. Now you know why charities make it so difficult to bung them a few quid "anonymously". It's all got to be cheque or direct debit so they can trace & hassle you themselves, or sell your details on a "mug's list" to other charities.

    I don't doubt that most of them do a good job and I sympathise with many of them, but it's a shame they're never grateful for what they *do* get and they treat their regular donors appallingly.
    Offline

    18
    ReputationRep:
    Yeah, I completely understand where you're coming from. Morality - it's just one of those things where humans are never consistent.
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by xenopoecilus)
    Let us say that you come home one evening and someone is dying in front of your house. For some reason, in this particular case, you would be able to prevent them from dying with the paltry sum of £10. I think most would agree that you are morally obligated to save them.

    Extending this situation, couldn't you say that people are morally obligated to donate to reputable charities whenever they physically can? We are constantly given the opportunity to prevent someone from dying, yet geographic separation seems to remove any moral obligation that we might feel.

    Based on this logic, I am stating that it is immoral to not donate to reputable charities (e.g. Save The Children, British Red Cross, etc.) whenever you possibly can, as you are denying the chance to save someone's life.

    Anyone care to disagree?


    This was posted from The Student Room's iPhone/iPad App
    Yup think you're basically right and that most people in the West have an obligation to give much more than they typically do.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Octohedral)
    When I earn a lot I'll give money to charity - for now, whilst I'm trying to live independently for the first time / get a good job / get on the housing ladder I'll save all the money I have. It's not that I can't afford to give to charity - I could give £5 a month and eat less chocolate, like everyone else - nor that I don't want to, it's more that I want to use all my assets to make myself financially stable. In the long run I'll give plenty, but currently I feel it would be irresponsible to give away money when other people (the state and my parents) are paying for me to be at university.

    Is that selfish? I don't know.
    Hmmm Ive never thought of it like that before, so what your saying is its viable not to give to charity now because the money that your using could potentially put you in a situation where you can offer more at a later date?
    Offline

    15
    ReputationRep:
    There's a lot of charities I don't donate to because I disagree with their aims and in the long run I don't think what they're doing is all that good.

    I donate time and money to some charities, but I don't feel an obligation to, I do hate people who get on their high horses about charity.
    Offline

    15
    ReputationRep:
    Guarantee the money will get to them...
    Offline

    11
    ReputationRep:
    Its not immoral, because no one is obligated to donate money to charities. Everyone has different morals too.
    • Community Assistant
    Offline

    21
    ReputationRep:
    Community Assistant
    (Original post by siwelmail)
    Guarantee the money will get to them...
    That is my doubt too. Even if I donate my money for charity, I don't know whether it get to organizations. I would donate, if I have enough money and I'm sure that my donation come to help completely.
    Offline

    15
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Kallisto)
    That is my doubt too. Even if I donate my money for charity, I don't know whether it get to organizations. I would donate, if I have enough money and I'm sure that my donation come to help completely.
    I'd prefer to take a homeless guy a sandwich, much more personal and you know it's worth it (hopefully)
    • Section Leader
    Offline

    20
    ReputationRep:
    Section Leader
    I've abstained from this thread for a few days to consider it. It's a very hard problem, and I see it as dependent on how one thinks of the moral relationship between commission and omission. Consider the scenario in which there is an evil in front of you, which you have the power to ameliorate - are you obligated to do so? Certainly it is moral to act in this case, but is it immoral to do nothing?

    As a bystander, you have neither caused the evil, nor contributed to it, but is it nevertheless your responsibility to act upon having found it? If one chooses not to act, then what is the difference between having contributed to it and not? You are, in effect, now complicit in it; your omission of action has directly resulted in the continuation of that evil, and by choosing not to act, you have assisted in its continuation.

    The question is: Is wilful inaction a category of action itself? If it is, then you share a responsibility to do away with evil whereupon you uncover it, and donating to charity is a means to this end; if it is not, then you have no responsibility, though nevertheless may admit that morality is preferable to amorality.

    The former position (that you have a responsibility) is the more difficult of the two, because you must additionally reconcile it with the degree to which it is true: Indeed, how much must you give to charity? On the other hand, the latter position requires one to justify a distinction between those actions which cause evil and those that 'merely' enable it. Consequentialist philosophies, concerned only with the outcomes of decisions, would see no difference between the two.

    My own inclination leads me to side with the idea that there is no such distinction, arrived at by a consideration of the extreme case: Supposing you were omnipotent, such that it would require absolutely no effort to right the gravest evil in existence - I'm compelled to say that not to do so would be loathsomely malevolent. Such a being, by virtue of his omnipotence, unabashedly implicates himself in the evil, as he has made an active choice to avoid intervention. Definitionally, if a given thing exists, then any omnipotent being must also in some way approve of its existence.

    Having made this conclusion, I must therefore admit responsibility over the welfare of others, but the degree to which I have such a responsibility remains unknown to me, and I don't claim to know what it is.

    Up until this point, I've only concerned myself with the principle of charity - other considerations may be made separately. How do you know the efficacy of a given charity? Are you also obligated to determine which is the 'best' charity? Even if decided to be immoral, should the state impose the helping of people by law? Does it make for a better society to force charitable donations from others, or to risk lawful penalty for not having saved a drowning man? And so on.

    My stance on these questions is that it is nevertheless better to do some good compared to none, and that what is actually important is one's intentions. After all, the best a person can do in life is to have good intentions - there is never any guarantee that evil will yield to them.
 
 
 
  • See more of what you like on The Student Room

    You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

  • Poll
    Brussels sprouts
    Useful resources
  • See more of what you like on The Student Room

    You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

  • The Student Room, Get Revising and Marked by Teachers are trading names of The Student Room Group Ltd.

    Register Number: 04666380 (England and Wales), VAT No. 806 8067 22 Registered Office: International House, Queens Road, Brighton, BN1 3XE

    Quick reply
    Reputation gems: You get these gems as you gain rep from other members for making good contributions and giving helpful advice.