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Passing the PlateWhy American Christians Don't Give Away More Money$
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Christian Smith, Michael O. Emerson, and Patricia Snell

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195337112

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195337112.001.0001

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A Mental Experiment in Raised Expectations

A Mental Experiment in Raised Expectations

(p.149) Chapter 5 A Mental Experiment in Raised Expectations
Passing the Plate

Christian Smith (Contributor Webpage)

Michael O. Emerson (Contributor Webpage)

Patricia Snell (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the results of a focused mental experiment wherein a nationally representative sample of American Christians was asked to ponder their response to the idea of their churches raising expectations on the financial giving of Christians. The idea in doing this is that having ordinary Christians all over the United States run this mental experiment in their heads will provide yet another angle on understanding how Christians think and feel about the issue of religious and charitable financial giving. The results showed that American Christians are ready and waiting to give ten percent of their after-tax income if only their churches were to ask them firmly to do so; earning higher incomes does not make American Christians more generous with their money; and racial differences among American Christians influence the matter of raising expectations of financial giving.

Keywords:   American Christians, donations, financial giving, racial differences, parishioners, pastors, after-tax income

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