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( Janice )

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What Fuels Atheism in America?

@Vicki: You ask, "If I may paraphrase: how many Athiest groups operate homeless shelters, hospitals, foreign assistance organizations, and other actually helpful charitable establishments?"

You are missing the point. Atheist 'groups' don't set up institutions to help others that advertise as 'atheist' institutions, because to do so would be counter-productive and exclusionary, some of the very things we atheists dislike about the religious counterparts. Instead, atheists join existing non-religious organizations or start their own *non-religious* organizations, because the point is to focus on the people that need help, not promoting a particular religion or viewpoint.

Direct Relief International, for example, an organization I have personally donated to in the past, has a 98.8% efficiency rating on, and no specific stated religious affiliation, motivation or bias. I chose this charity both due to its good reputation, and because it is not religiously motivated.

Doctors Without Borders, another organization with an excellent reputation, has no specific religious affiliation as far as I know. Neither do the Peace Corps. There are many, many others. I have no idea how many people in these organizations are atheists, but it wouldn't surprise me if quite a few of them were.

Perhaps your question shouldn't be, 'how many atheist groups operate charitable organizations', but 'why do so many charitable organizations feel the need to affiliate themselves with a specific religion?' In my opinion, people can be helped just as efficiently, and perhaps more efficiently, by people who have no underlying motivation to spread their own particular religious viewpoint or dogma.

April 13, 2011 at 1:28 p.m. ( | suggest removal )