Monday, September 12

Quote seen online today

I'm donating food and some clothes for a infant. How would I know if it arrived there or not?As long as Jehovah know that i'm helping the needy that's all that matters.

Um. No.

The only thing that matters is that the people are getting the aid they need. Being concerned with whether or not anyone knows you did it is selfish and completely irrelevant.


  1. I'm afraid I disagree. We live in an ugly, rotten, chaotic universe which is pretty much designed to snuff out all life in it, if you take the long view.

    Given the odds, fighting the good fight is all that matters. Indeed, it is all we have.

    (Of course, to do the right thing includes doing it well... checking out your charities to make sure they're not bloated, or worse, scams, making sure that what you donate is what's needed, et cetera. And Jehovah knows if you did that too.)

  2. This is a selfish, narcissistic view of the world.

    On the one hand, if the food and clothing makes it to people, it doesn't matter whether you donated it to them because you want Jehovah to know our because you care about the people you're helping.

    On the other hand, in hte bigger picture, I am not sure whether people doing acts of charity because they want to be rewarded is better for humanity. It seems to me that it is this sort of attitude that perpetuates a world filled with hate and greed.

    Judaism has 8 levels of tzedakah, or charity, and the eighth and highest level is when you give to someone who doesn't know who you are, and who you don't know at all. You just do it because it's the right thing to do, whether "God" knows you did that particular act or not.

  3. I'm not sure I understand your argument, Joe.

    I most definitely agree with you that we all must "fight the good fight" and try to drive back the pain and injustice and darkness in the world. However, I think that acts of charity done solely for the recognition by (insert deity/society/whatever here) is selfish and wrong. The focus should be on the person in need, not on getting recognition for doing the right thing.

    The thing that lit me off about the anonymous poster's comment is that he or she made it clear that recognition from "Jehovah" was "all that matters" - as if whether or not the donation actually gets to the intended recipient is unimportant and irrelevant. Maybe it's my introverted nature, but Jewish concept of charity Eve posted about feels intuitively "right" to me. Giving should be about the recipient, not the donor.

  4. As near as I can tell, Greg (and Eve), most major religions agree with you about doing charity done for recognition's sake not being charitable at all. We're all on the same page on that one.

    However, I do think that your assertion that the actual delivery of aid is "the only thing that matters" is, while a highly useful point of view, also a debatable one. (And has been debated for 4 or 6 thousand years now.) And I think that was the point of my comment.

    I guess you could restate my argument that "to do what you can do is all that matters." Which has important different nuances than the original quote, but shares an interest in motives and choices over results.

  5. Ah! I think I understand your argument now. I don't necessarily disagree, but I think for someone like me it gives a too-easy way out. :-)

    I guess it reveals a bit about my personality. I am far more results-oriented (and stubborn) than many people I know. How or why a thing is attempted is of vanishingly-small importance compared to the reality that the thing is successfully accomplished. A failed attempt, even with the best of intentions, doesn't really count for much to me. That by no means indicates that one should not try, but rather one should not give up until they succeed. I'm not much for a "well, at least I tried" sort of attitude - I'm more of a, "Damn, that didn't work. Let's try to do it another way" sort of person. :-)