Atheists are the most generous—even without heavenly reward!
By HANK PELLISSIER - IEET
Added: Sat, 26 Nov 2011 04:09:46 UTC
Who gives the most to charitable causes? Those who believe in gods or those who don’t?
“Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven…” (Mark 10:21)
“Any charity you give is for your own good. Any charity you give shall be for the sake of GOD. Any charity you give will be repaid to you…” (Koran 2:272)
Charitable behavior gets big perks in the afterlife, according to Christian and Islamic theology. Philanthropy, in these creeds, is a highly profitable long-term investment, a down payment on ecstatic immortality. Quite the bargain!
But atheists? No heaven awaits them. No pearly gates, eager virgins, harping angels, fluffy clouds, or succulent oasis. No reward whatsoever. Atheists have no faith, no expectation of benefit from a deity. So, atheists are probably selfish, right? Pitiless, parsimonious. Totally stingy misers, not passing a penny off to the poor…correct?
WRONG! Atheists, non-believers, secular humanists, skeptics—the whole gamut of the godless have emerged in recent years as inarguably the most generous benefactors on the globe. That’s right. Hordes of heretics are the world’s biggest damned philanthropists. Both individually and in groups, heathen infidels are topping the fundraising charts.
First, the facts.
The current most charitable individuals in the United States, based on “Estimated Lifetime Giving,” are:
1) Warren Buffett (atheist, donated $40.785 billion to “health, education, humanitarian causes”)
2) Bill & Melinda Gates (atheists, donated $27.602 billion to “global health and development, education”)
3) George Soros (atheist, donated $6.936 billion to “open and democratic societies”)
A century ago, one of the USA’s leading philanthropists was Andrew Carnegie, atheist.
Regarding “group efforts”—Kiva.org, the micro-financing organization that has distributed $261 million to people in 61 nations, has “lending teams” that post their generous efforts online. The leading team on November 22, 2011, is “Atheists, Agnostics, Skeptics, Freethinkers, Secular Humanists, and the Non-Religious.” These 18,127 benevolent blasphemers have lent $5,623,750 in 187,920 loans. Their simple motto is: “We loan because we care about the suffering of human beings.”
Trailing behind in the #2 slot are the “Kiva Christians” who have loaned $3,211,250. Their supernatural rallying cry is, “We loan because: Pure and undefiled religion before God the Father is this: to care for orphans and widows in their misfortune and to keep oneself unstained by the world. (James 1:27)”
I’m gleeful that the irreligious are the most altruistic because I was incessantly told the inverse by credo-worshipping commenters after I published my article “Tax the Churches and Give the Revenue to Hungry Children.” Pious posters informed me that my secular proposal would seriously damage charitable causes, because it would hamper the vast, sublime generosity of the devout. Ha! The numbers above suggest that their contention is just the usual sanctimonious drivel. A favorite slogan of atheists is, “We Don’t Need God To Be Good” and the philanthropy figures I’ve presented indicate that is exactly the case, indeed, we seem to be “BETTER without God.”
In actuality, there are complex difficulties in funding religious organizations; I discovered this five years ago when I donated money to a impoverished tribal village in the Philippines that was being educated, and medically treated, by a Catholic layperson. The tribe had a sickly population of 66 individuals; within two years it had ballooned up to 100, even sicker at this point, with tuberculosis and malnutrition. When I strongly suggested to the Catholic layperson that my next contribution should be a bag of 10,000 condoms, to halt the population explosion, she replied, “Oh no, we are Catholics, we only practice natural birth control.”
After that exchange, I moved my atheistic generosity to Kiva.
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