Sunday, December 05, 2010

Atheist Charity

Today I went on Facebook for the first time in months, there I saw a post from someone that said:

“It is better to live a moral life without regards to religion, than to live a religious life without regards to morals.”

Underneath that, someone I don’t know had commented:

“Perhaps that’s why you see so many Atheist organizations feeding the poor.”

Now, I honestly don’t know if that comment was straight or sarcastic, but in case it was sarcastic, I want to address it here.

You see, unless you’re an idiot teen who has decided not to believe in God in order to piss of your conservative, religious parents, Atheism isn’t exactly a banner to rally under. People tend to join groups based on things they believe, not things they don’t believe.

To be completely honest, that comment really, really pissed me off.

There are no outwardly ‘atheist’ charities, so atheists don’t donate to charity, right?

Wrong. Dead Wrong.

Regular readers know I’m an Atheist. What you may not know is that before I moved to the US, I had three separate standing orders on my bank account that donated to three separate charities. One was to fund a shelter for abused women, one was to a charity that fed starving African children and the last was to a charity that fought against animal cruelty.

Now, I know the animal cruelty charity was the RSPCA (the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), but the other two, I honestly can’t remember.

They may have been ‘religious’ charities, they may not have been…but my point is that it really doesn’t matter. I donate to charities that support causes I believe in, I don’t give shit whether they’re religious or not.

In fact, the whole idea of an ‘Atheist’ charity is ridiculous. We’re a minority, and if a charity set itself up as, I don’t know, ‘Atheists for Prevention of Animal Cruelty’…all they’d be doing is giving the vast majority of people a reason not to donate. After all, while donate to a charity run my immoral, Godless atheists when there are so many nice charities named after saints?
Put simply, Religion does not equal morality and Atheists donate to charities, including openly religious ones.

If we want to go down the ‘Atheists are immoral’ road, how about we talk about the Westboro Baptist Church? Or the sheer number of Catholic priests who have been caught molesting small boys? What about the televangelists who get their ‘flock’ to send them millions of dollars claiming that by sending a ‘gift’ of a thousand dollars they can basically buy God’s favor? That doesn’t sound very moral to me.

On the other hand, what about Jerry Holkins who, despite being almost the ultimate ‘Godless Gamer’ stereotype, set up ‘Child’s Play’ along with Mike Kruhulik… a charity that makes millions of dollars every year for Children’s hospitals… just because they realized they could use their influence with the world’s gamers to do some good?

Here’s the deal:

My first novel is going to be released in January, and for all of that month, I’m donating every single penny I make in royalties to Child’s Play. This isn’t a response to this guy’s comment. This is something I planned to do ever since I decided to publish my novel and sell it.


Because I believe in their cause. I admire the people behind it. I’m not doing this to buy my way into Heaven or to avoid going to hell when I die. I’m doing it because I think buying a kid a Nintendo DS to take his mind of the hours of painful dialysis he has to sit through is more important than buying myself one.

Put simply, I don’t give a shit whether the charity is religious or not. I don’t care if my money goes to a secular Children’s Hospital or one named after a Saint. I don’t care if the kid my donation ultimately benefits is a Christian, Mormon or Scientiologist.

Doing the right thing and being moral has nothing, nothing to do if you’re religious or not.

1 comment:

Woman atop her Soapbox said...

Just because you worship something does not automatically make you a moral person... just like not worshipping something turns you into some demon who hates everything. A giving heart is a giving heart no matter if you are in a body of believers or not. I agree with you whole heartedly.

Congrats on getting the book published!