Charity

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(L. caritas). For some philosophical and religious currents c. is synonymous with “compassion”. Distinguished from tolerance. A moral quality involving the practice of an active love directed toward all beings in need, especially human beings. Includes experiencing the pain of the other as one’s own pain, and the intention to offer appropriate help and cooperation. It is part of the ethical foundation of all universal religions. C. permits the overcoming of tribal, state, and class hostility and intolerance. It requires moving beyond the habit of dividing human beings into “us” and “them,” and is a characteristic proper to the humanist personality. Various activities of humanitarianismare also inspired by feelings of c.