Kindness - Religion Term Paper

Pages: 6 (1841 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 8  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Mythology - Religion

Kindness - Religion

Kindness as it is reflected in the Holy Bible, the Holy Spirit, and in Our Lives

Kindness is often exhibited through acts of altruism, and the definition of altruism is: "unselfish regard for or devotion to the welfare of others..." (Merriam-Webster Online, 2004).

It is interesting to note that according to the National Opinion Research Centre (NORC), "Americans on average perform 109 altruistic acts each year" (The Christian Century, 2003). Those individuals surveyed by NORC, who do not attend worship services (in a church, synagogue, mosque or temple), perform, on average, 96 acts of altruism, or kindness, in a year. But those who do attend worship services average doing 128 acts of kindness each year.

Why do people who attend spiritual services tend to perform more acts of kindness than those who do not attend services? According to the article in The Christian Century, "faith-based acts of kindness proliferate because the core values of all major world religions incorporate charity-related deeds in their beliefs."

Kindness Shown through an Outpouring of Money to Tsunami Victims

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The devastation and death in Asia, resulting from the recent tsunamis, is beyond what most people in non-impacted regions of the world can fathom or in any way relate to. Every day the death count rises dramatically higher; as of December 31, an estimated 100,000 people have perished, but many thousands of people may added to that tragic toll as time moves on. Meantime, help is being offered by millions of Americans, according to an article in the Washington Post (Markon, et al., 2004).

As never before, people are turning to the Internet to donate money," Markon wrote. "At Amazon.com alone, more than 53,000 people had donated more than $3 million by yesterday evening..." And at Catholic Relief Services, the kind people who were attempting to donate money online "overwhelmed" the organization's Web site.

Online donations to the Red Cross, as of noon Wednesday, December 29, had totaled $18 million; that is just three days after news of the huge disaster had reached U.S. soil.

Term Paper on Kindness - Religion Kindness as it Is Assignment

The "instant-response capabilities of the Internet, combined with a desire to reach out to bigger audiences," has given impetus to corporations to "encourage donations on their own high-traffic Web sites," the article continued. American Online, Yahoo, Google, Amazon.com and many other Web-connected companies are offering links to the Red Cross and other agencies, giving Internet users easy access to express their kindness through donations.

Kindness towards Tsunami Victims through Creative Fundraising

According to an article in the Los Angeles Times, "...people across the United States are finding a variety of ways to give" (Bernstein, 2005). For example, an 11-year-old boy in Seattle "stood in the rain" selling hot chocolate, to help raise funds for the victims in Asia; his name is Thomas Wilson, and he's in sixth grade. His sign read, "Hot Chocolate for Tidal Wave Relief," and he said that by lunchtime on Friday, December 31, he had raised about $400 (with help from his brother, two sisters, and neighbors). "People are coming left and right," said Thomas Wilson; they are saying, "keep the change" and giving him $20 bills.

A cabdriver in New York City - of Trinidadian ethnicity - "handed $150 in cash to the director of a Jewish relief agency."

The Times' story also reports that workers in a production company in Burbank, California, "started out collecting blankets, and now expect to donate as much as $20,000 in cash and checks." And in Alhambra, California, at a beauty school, a "haircut marathon" will kick off Monday, January 3, to raise funds for the tsunami relief effort.

Further, there is a thoroughbred racehorse company - that owns racehorses in Kentucky, Australia and Ireland - "is trying to raise $1 million by auctioning stud services for some of the world's fastest horses."

Kindness is being shown by a lady named Chanatip "Bobby" Jacobson, from Sherman Oaks, California: she has raised, according to the Times' piece, "about $2,000 from friends, family and associates, which she plans to match with her own money." Ms Jacobson, who is a native of Thailand, "plans to travel to the stricken region to hand out money to people who need items like concrete to rebuild their homes."

The story of Ruth and her Mother-in-Law, Naomi

In the book of Ruth, Chapter One, Ruth and Naomi were going through some very difficult moments in their lives. Both of their husbands had died - and that was a particularly challenging position for women to be in during that time period, since females did not have a lot of options as far as employment. Meantime, the two women had just moved back to Naomi's hometown, and that created some tension for Naomi because she had left her hometown ten years earlier, and her neighbors had not understood at that time why she had left her community.

Naomi and her husband, according to the story told in the journal Campus Life (Penney, 2002), "had moved away from family and friends to live in Moab - an enemy nation." And on top of that, Naomi's sons had married Moabite women, and now Naomi was returning from enemy territory with a Moabite woman, Ruth, the wife of one of her sons, which was a provocative and even dangerous situation for Naomi. Add to that the fact that the two women were poverty-stricken, and the situation was clearly dire.

It happened that Hebrew law at that time required that farmers with grain available were obliged to allow the poor to gather grain for sustenance. Ruth began gathering grain in a field owned by Boaz, who approached her and asked who she was (albeit he had already heard that Ruth was a Moabite woman). And, "he was moved to help her," Penney writes, and told his workers "so make sure she was protected from harm and was given extra grain."

He then invited her to eat "with the rest of his workers," an act of kindness which "overwhelmed" Ruth; she certainly "wasn't expecting help from anyone, yet for some reason this man showered her with blessings."

The Story of Jesus Christ Giving New Sight to a Blind Man

In the New Testament book of John (Chapter 9, verses 1-34), a story is revealed (re-told in the journal, The Other Side) as to how Jesus "performs an act of unsolicited kindness that results in the blind man receiving his sight" (Kinniry, 2000). The truly important aspect to this story is not just that Jesus gave sight to a blind man, which by all accounts he had the power to do, at will - albeit that is a powerful ingredient to the story. The real story within the story, however, is that many people today have the same approach to the AIDS pandemic as people in Jesus' time had towards blindness: "...certain sicknesses are punishment for personal or parental sins," Kinniry writes.

But Jesus, in John, Chapter 9, verse 3, "confounds that theory. 'Neither this man nor his parents sinned,'" Jesus is quoted as saying. "He was born blind so that God's works might be revealed in him'. Instead of being a victim of sin," Kinniry continues, "the blind man is proclaimed a participant in the working of the Spirit." And that represents a transition from "judgment and blame to respect and dignity," Kinniry concludes.

Kinniry is part of a ministry to help AIDS victims called "Siloam," a title which gives honor to the pool of water in Jerusalem, where the blind man washed his eyes (at the direction of Jesus) and was then able to see. "Persons living with HIV / AIDS who hear this story also see beyond the surface," Kinniry writes. They in fact "nod their heads 'yes'," upon hearing the story, "because they know there is a deeper meaning to their illness than what they or anyone else can see superficially."

And moreover, he concludes, "If respect and dignity are the common ground of our humanity, kindness is its most common expression."

The Parable of the Prodigal Son

This is the story - from the Gospel According to Luke - about the father who had two sons, and the youngest of the sons, after demanding and receiving his share of his father's estate, traveled to a distant land and spent all his money on prostitutes and reckless living. When that son became destitute and was working in a field of pigs, he came to his senses: why was he nearly starving to death in a foreign country when, if he returned home, he could also work with pigs, but be fed and housed by his father?

So he returned to his father, prepared to beg for mercy and admit that he was a sinner; but, according to the story, his father saw him at a distance and "was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him" (World Religions: Comparative Analysis, 2004).

And after the son confessed that he… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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