Saturday, 14 August 2010

Why?

Giving not just limited to the faithful
Atheist movement encourages generosity Beyond Belief


An atheist, Dale McGowan, executive director of the Alpharetta, Ga.-based Foundation Beyond Belief, wants to encourage his fellow non-believers to give more to charity.

He apparently thinks that the reason people of faith give more to various charities, both religious and secular, is that by giving to their religious institution once a week when the plate is passed, they form a "giving habit" and therefore are more likely to give even to other causes. The obvious question is, "What???" It is as if a person drives the same route everyday from home to work. Then meaning to go the drug store instead of work, they inadvertently turn left instead of right at a given intersection and end up at work instead of the store. So a person of faith who gives to a secular organization, the Cancer Society, let's say, must then pound their forehead in frustration and say, "Opps! I didn't mean to give to cancer research, but I give every Sunday at church and it's just become a habit! I can't seem to break it."

The article closes with Mr McGowan saying,
"The most important human calling is to care for each other, this world, and this life,"
And the obvious question, to me, is, "Why?" On what basis does he make this statement? On what grounds does he consider it to be true? Once again atheists try to whistle past the graveyard. Once again they attempt to pretend that the total illogic of their thinking doesn't exist, or at least will go unnoticed.

There is no objective reason why atheists should think that charitable giving is good. There is no reason why they should think that anything at all is good, because they have no other standard for their opinion than, well,... just that -- their own opinion. Now I'm not saying that charitable giving, religous or secular, is not good. I'm just saying that the atheist really has no basis on which to insist it is good, other than some warm and fuzzy feeling.

In the end, logical thinking is to the atheist as clothes were to the emperor -- just not there.

Take Care

(Updated to address comment #1, and an attempt to clear up any misunderstanding, based on my comment #2)

I am not saying that atheists do not do good. Many atheists may indeed do more "good" than many Christians. I am not talking about doing good; I am talking about defining what good is, and ultimately, the atheist has no objective basis for his definition other than his own opinion. Without an objective standard; that is, one from an authority above and outside of ourselves, "good" becomes only a subjective concept, subject to individual opinion. If he claims societal standards, these are nothing more than the sum of a number of individual opinions. If he claims "the benefit of humanity" (or the greatest part of humanity), that too is nothing more than an opinion. And without an objective standard, one person's opinion can not be claimed to be any more or less valid than any other.

I am not trying to be arrogant; just realistic.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

"There is no objective reason why atheists should think that charitable giving is good."

A devout Christian myself, I am embarrassed by this post. You can't think of a single objective reason to help others? Really? You do good only because God instructs you to? Yet these atheists do good without that belief. I disagree with their beliefs but applaud their efforts to do good in the world.

May God forgive your arrogance.

John K said...

I guess it comes down to this: define good. What basis does an atheist have for such a definition, other than his opinion? I am not saying that atheists do not do good. Many probably do more good than many Christians. I am not talking about doing good; I am talking about defining what good is, and ultimately, the atheist has no objective basis for his definition. Without an objective standard; that is one outside of ourselves, "good" becomes only a subjective concept, subject to individual opinion. And without an objective standard, one person's opinion can not be claimed to be any more or less valid than any other.

I am not trying to be arrogant; just realistic.