What A Good Boy Am I!
Gaudencio P. Tan

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From: "Positive Atheism"
To: "Gaudencio P. Tan"
Subject: Re: FORUM_Why_Are_There_No_Atheist_Charities
Date: Saturday, June 23, 2001 2:26 AM

There are several reasons for this:

1. Atheists generally think that it is immoral to "advertise" atheism by doing good works and then boasting that it was our atheism which prompted us to do this. The truth is, it was our humanity and nothing more. Morality is the doing of good simply because it is the right thing to do or because it needs to be done. If somebody does something in order to bring credibility to the good name of a group or organization, this is not morality at all, but is nothing more than marketing and salesmanship." In other words, "They already have their reward" (attributed to Jesus in "The Sermon On The Mount").

True morality does not seek a reward of any kind.
 

2. Atheists generally think it is immoral to attach the name of a controversial group to any good works project. When doing good works, we need all the cooperation we can get. Here in Portland, if I wish to help feed the poor and homeless in my city, I must donate money to the Christian organizations who then require the poor to listen to high-pressure sales pitches for the Fundamentalist Christian religion before they are allowed to eat the food that I, an atheist, bought them! So instead, I lobby for the government to create ways for the poor in Portland to get food without involving themselves in religion.

I would never support erecting an "atheist" help organization because atheists in America are so viciously hated that the organization would never get any support from our fellow-citizens. This fear of atheism is so widespread that certain poor people would refuse to go to an "atheist" organization for help, just as many refuse to go to religious organizations for help because it is religious or because it is the wrong religion. I hear that the situation against atheists is at least as bad in the Philippines, that a number of Filipinos consider atheists to be "wicked" simply for being atheists, that atheists could live otherwise exemplary lives and still be hated because we don't believe in the Christian religion.

In the same sense, I don't want to support a help group whose obvious mission is to spread the Gospel of Christ -- a message that I find absolutely reprehensible. I wouldn't want Christians or Muslims to have to wonder if their donations are going to help people, or if it were just supporting the spread of the word of atheism.

True morality does not concern itself with who gets the credit for doing good, and does not exploit poor people for the purpose of propagandizing them.
 

3. As it stands, feeding the poor is an extremely profitable business in America, because it guarantees not only lucrative donations from the public (very little of which actually goes to helping the poor) -- but now, George Bush has made it so they can get tax dollars to buy the food that the poor people can only eat after spending an hour listening to high-pressure Fundamentalist Christian propaganda. The reason these organizations are so concerned about Bush giving them our money is not so they can help the poor, but so they can get more of our money. Bush admitted that the reason he is pushing this is so that they can get more resources to finance the anti-abortion movement (admitting that at least some of the money is not going to help the poor and that at least some of the money ends up being profits for organized religion).

While certain business deals can be called "moral" as opposed to "immoral" (crooked; dishonest), being in business is not itself morality: morality is not concerned with making a profit from doing good, but does good simply because it is right or needs to get done.
 

In short, I consider it immoral (or, at minimum, devoid of anything commendable as "morality") for the churches to pat themselves on the backs for being in the business of drawing attention to themselves by setting up profitable "help" agencies. It is one thing to do good works because they need to be done. It is another thing altogether to organize business entities for the purpose of doing those works to the end that religious people can say, "What a good boy am I!"

Cliff Walker
"Positive Atheism" Magazine
Five years of service to
     people with no reason to believe

Graphic Rule

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