Bowling for Atheists: Haiti Proves that Nonbelievers Care Too
By MICHAEL SHERMER - TRUE/SLANT
Added: Wed, 20 Jan 2010 00:00:00 UTC
This article also appears on The Huffington Post under the title
Atheists For Haiti http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michael-shermer/atheists-for-haiti_b_429022.html
On Friday, January 15, I received in email from Richard Dawkins explaining that his Executive Director Elisabeth Cornwell has organized a campaign to raise money on behalf of the victims of the Haitian earthquake-induced tragedy, and he wanted to know if the Skeptics Society would like to participate, which of course I unhesitatingly agreed.
The campaign is called Non-Believers Giving Aid (http://givingaid.richarddawkins.net/) and is set up through PayPal. Richard Dawkins has generously offered to cover all the PayPal fees (up to $10,000) and the Skeptics Society got things started off with a bang with a $1000 donation. Within minutes of itâs launch on Saturday morning, tens of thousands of dollars started pouring in as members of the other participating groups (Sam Harrisâ The Reason Project, The James Randi Educational Foundation, Atheist United, Atheist Alliance International, and many others) jumped in without hesitation. (All monies go to Doctors without Borders and the International Red Cross—you choose.)
In less than half a day we passed the $50,000 mark, $100,000 in less than 24 hours, $175,000 by Sunday morning, and over a quarter of a million dollars by sunup Monday morning, and still climbing as I post this commentary. Weâll easily surpass a million dollars within days. Not a bad showing! But beyond the aid needed by the Haitians, why does this matter? Why do I need to brag about our generosity? Because people tend to believe that religious people are more generous than nonreligious people, and so it is important that we show our true colors now. As I noted for the press release issued by Dawkinsâ foundation: âItâs all well and good to say that we nonbelievers are just as moral as believers (we are, but thatâs a philosophical point)—actions count more than words and real donations are where the theoretical rubber meets the practical road. This is our time to pony up and show the world our true character.â And pony up nonbelievers did, in spades.
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