The Social Psychology of Good and Evil

By Arthur G. Miller | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 17
SACRIFICING TIME AND EFFORT
FOR THE GOOD OF OTHERS
The Benefits and Costs of Volunteerism

MARK SNYDER

ALLEN M. OMOTO

JAMES J. LINDSAY

Helping others is a universally recognized virtue, as evidenced by the theme of benevolence and self-sacrifice for the benefit of others within the sacred texts of most of the world's religions (Schroeder, Penner, Dovidio, & Piliavin, 1995). Take, for example, the theme of helping, as it is illustrated in Jesus's parable of the Good Samaritan in the Bible:

“And who is my neighbor?” Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Je-
rusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat
him, and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going
down the road; and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. So like-
wise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other
side. But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was; and when he
saw him, he had compassion, and went to him and bound his wounds, pour-
ing on oil and wine; then he set him on his own beast and brought him to an
inn, and took care of him. And the next day he took out two dennarii and
gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more
you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’ Which of these three, do you
think, proved neighbor to him who fell among the robbers?” he said, “The
one who showed mercy on him.” And Jesus said to him, “Go and do like-
wise.” (Luke 10:29–37, RSV)

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