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Where are the Skeptic Society’s Mother Teresas?

Commenting on Sam Harris and his facile denunciations of religion, Mike Gene hits the mark:

Harris ends with this basic argument: “There is no question that many people do good things in the name of their faith — but there are better reasons to help the poor, feed the hungry and defend the weak than the belief that an Imaginary Friend wants you to do it. Compassion is deeper than religion. As is ecstasy. It is time that we acknowledge that human beings can be profoundly ethical — and even spiritual — without pretending to know things they do not know.”

But these are empty words. For example, is Harris (or Dawkins) recognized as someone who displays compassion? He can talk about it and write about it, but does he live it? What has the rich Sam Harris done to “help the poor, feed the hungry and defend the weak?” And while there are dozens of atheist organizations that bash religion, where are those that refrain from bashing religion, but instead devote most of their energy to “help the poor, feed the hungry and defend the weak?” For example, every Christmas, you can’t miss the Salvation Army people collecting money to “help the poor, feed the hungry and defend the weak.” Why don’t we also see the “Army for Reason” doing the same thing every Darwin Day? And if we did, would it be a PR stunt or would the desire be genuine?

If Harris wants to claim there are “better reasons to help the poor, feed the hungry and defend the weak,” he needs more than rhetoric. He needs a rich tradition of action to draw from. As it stands, he would struggle to come up with examples.

SOURCE: telicthoughts.com…

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8 Responses to Where are the Skeptic Society’s Mother Teresas?

  1. Harris and Dawkins are parasitic on Judeo-Christian values and traditions. It’s really rather pathetic.

  2. In “Who Really Cares?”, Arthur Brooks presents data showing that in America, practitioners of religion–any religion–are more likely to give to charity, including secular causes, than are the non-religious. Though the book is primarily written to refute the stereotype of political Conservatives as stingy, he shows that both religious Conservatives and religious Liberals give a larger share of their income to charity than secular folk of similar politial bent.

    http://www.amazon.com/Who-Real.....038;sr=8-1

  3. In my country there is a say that could be translatead as: “Between saying and doing there’s the sea”.
    Basically, instead of saying all these guys could better explain for what reason a typical atheist should follow charity instead of the old latin say “homo homini lupus”

  4. 4
    The Scubaredneck

    Here’s an interesting tidbit about charities in general: each year, Money Magazine does a special issue talking about charities in America. In the article, they rate various charities in terms of how much of the money donated actually goes to program.

    The perinnial winners? Religious charities (specifically such groups as Campus Crusade and The Navigators). In fact, secular charities such as The United Way and the American Red Cross never even deserve significant mention because so little of their money actually goes to program.

    The take-home message: without the impetus of religious faith, there isn’t much reason not to line your pockets with the donations of folks rather than actually use it to benefit the folks for whom it was given.

    The Scubaredneck

  5. Russ: The non-religious may give less financially, but I’m not so sure about time. They seem quite committed to their political causes, and readily devote their time to them. And why give money if it can be taken by political force from the religious?

  6. And why give money if it can be taken by political force from the religious?

    Seriously. They get a big, fat tax deduction for their contributions to socialist groups like Greenpeace and the Sierra Club. It would be nice if people of faith got similar tax credits.

  7. I wonder if Bill Gates or Ted Turner are particularly religious. I’m not saying they are atheists, but is their immense giving religiously motivated? Gil could always argue that their worldview is parasitic of Judeo Christian tradition, but I would then have a question for Gil. When forming a worldview is a secularist, an atheist or an agnostic required to come up with ideas that are new to humanity? That would be a pretty tall order. Are we not allowed to consider what works well and is in the best interests of humanity? If someone already came up with notions that we agree with are we being parasitic by incorporating those notions into our worldview? Societies that have nothing to do with the Judeo Christian tradition also have rich moral and ethical traditions. This is a universal throughout all human societies. Just becase someone regards certain teachings as good sense and not divine law does not make them a parasite.

  8. “Seriously. They get a big, fat tax deduction for their contributions to socialist groups like Greenpeace and the Sierra Club. It would be nice if people of faith got similar tax credits. ”

    I contribute to many organizations, almost all of which are faith-based, and all of these contributions are tax-deductible. I’m not an attorney, but my impression is that people of faith DO get the same treatment in the tax code as those who donate to so-called “socialist groups.”

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