The Round Table (Rational Pagans Forum)

Science & The Supernatural: A Discussion of the World Around us - Based on Science with an Interest in the Supernatural ...
It is currently 22 Aug 2017, 15:34

All times are UTC - 5 hours


Forum rules


Please note: Discussion here should be relatively civil. Attack the post, not the poster. Thanks!



Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 5 posts ] 
Author Message
PostPosted: 12 Apr 2010, 22:18 
Offline
Grand Poobah
User avatar

Joined: 18 Sep 2007, 11:26
Posts: 5793
Location: Buffalo, NY
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/03/us/03religion.html

Quote:
ALPHARETTA, Ga.

Four or five Sundays in 2005, his own atheism notwithstanding, Dale McGowan took his family into the neo-Gothic grandeur of St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral in Minneapolis on a kind of skeptic’s field trip.

Mr. McGowan went because he wanted his three young children to have “religious literacy.” He went because his mother-in-law, Barbara Maples, belonged to the congregation. He went because, as a college professor with a fondness for weekend sweatpants, church gave him the rare chance to wear the ties she invariably gave him for his birthday.

Something else began to strike Mr. McGowan on those visits. He listened to the vicar preach about ministering to the poor, and he learned that the cathedral helped to sponsor a weekly dinner for the homeless. Most importantly, he watched as the collection plate moved through the pews and as his mother-in-law, who volunteered at those dinners, dropped in her offering.

All those details added up to a nonbeliever’s revelation. The theology and the voluntarism and the philanthropy, Mr. McGowan came to realize, were part of a greater whole, a commitment to charity as part of religious practice. And on that practice, this atheist felt lacking. To put it in church slang, he was convicted.

Rather than adopt faith, however, Mr. McGowan set out to emulate it, or at least its culture of giving. He set out to, in effect, create the atheist’s collection plate. By now, five years later, that impulse has taken the form of a nonprofit foundation that solicits donations from atheists and bundles them into contributions to organizations in fields like public health, environmentalism, gay rights and refugee aid.

Within the next week or so, Mr. McGowan expects to cut checks for a total of $12,025, the first benefits collected and disbursed by the Foundation Beyond Belief. The foundation has 316 donors who each have committed to contributing $5 to $250 per month — a system of regular giving that is modeled on the Christian tradition of paying weekly tithes.

“I don’t want to just be about negating somebody else,” Mr. McGowan, 47, said in a recent interview at his current home in suburban Atlanta. “And there are a lot of atheists who don’t want to be always fighting the culture wars. We need a positive expression of our values and a sense of community.”

The message has already found followers. Ingo Soeding, a 43-year-old management consultant in Chicago, first discovered Mr. McGowan on Amazon.com as the author of several books on raising atheist children. Mr. Soeding now is donating $50 a month to the Foundation Beyond Belief.

“I like the regularity of it,” Mr. Soeding said in a recent telephone interview. “My wife and I get several requests a year from friends doing marathons or walks for charities. Or something like Haiti happens. And, of course, we support them. But that’s reactive. We wanted something more conscious, more deliberative.”

Mr. McGowan’s effort, while unique in its tithing system, is part of a broader upsurge of charity by atheists. A coalition of 20 secularist groups, calling itself Non-Believers Giving Aid, was formed after the Haitian jumping, rumbling, tectonic disaster to take in donations that ultimately went to organizations like Doctors Without Borders. The charity known by its acronym S.H.A.R.E — for Skeptics and Humanists Aid and Relief Effort — has raised $102,000 for relief in Haiti. The amount surpasses the total for previous efforts by S.H.A.R.E tied to Hurricane Katrina ($80,000) and the Asian tsunami ($45,000). About half of the 1,200 donors to Haiti were giving for the first time.

“This is a way we can show that skeptics are compassionate people,” said Sherry Rook, the vice president for development at the Center for Inquiry, an advocacy group for secularism that is based in Amherst, N.Y., and operates S.H.A.R.E. “Not just individually, but en masse.”

Still, the recent efforts at atheist philanthropy amount to an admission, whether overt or tacit, that the United States’ nonbelievers have lagged far behind believers in generosity. A 2002 study by Independent Sector, a coalition of charities and foundations, found that the vast majority of charity in this country came from households that support both religious and secular organizations. Purely secular households accounted for just 12.5 percent of all money donated in the United States, and they also give less on average than do religious households.

Mr. McGowan has made the same point several times in his blog. In a posting about “things the religious (generally) do (much) better than secularists,” he listed giving generously, connecting good works to beliefs, and building community. More important than simply raising money, he wrote in a recent post, “is focusing and encouraging that generosity and compassion in the first place.”

Where Mr. McGowan differs from proponents of religious philanthropy like Arthur C. Brooks, the Syracuse University social scientist and author of “Who Really Cares,” is in their contention that atheists give less because they are less virtuous or less benevolent in general.

From a practical standpoint, atheists almost entirely lack the communal infrastructure of religious people — the system of congregations, the pattern of weekly meetings — that enables philanthropy. Both the Foundation Beyond Belief and S.H.A.R.E. rely almost entirely on outreach via the Internet.

But it is also true that the written and filmed jeremiads against religion by Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris, Bill Maher and Richard Dawkins have forged an atheist “brand” that dismisses religion as a baleful force, superstitious at best and lethally divisive at worst. A figure like Mr. McGowan, along with the authors Susan Jacoby and Rebecca Newberger Goldstein, embodies an internal rebellion by secularists who are willing to credit organized religion, whatever else its failings, with appealing to a human desire for community.

“One of the things I’m trying to get past,” Mr. McGowan put it, “is a dismissive attitude about why religious people give — that it’s out of fear, a fear of God or a fear of damnation. It’s out of a human need. And we secular humanists have to have enough self-confidence to look at what they’re doing right as well as wrong.”

E-mail: sgfreedman
@nytimes.com

_________________
Chloride and Sodium: Two terribly dangerous substances that taste great together!


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: 13 Apr 2010, 12:07 
Offline
'Lustrous Potentate
User avatar

Joined: 24 Mar 2010, 11:06
Posts: 411
Quote:
found that the vast majority of charity in this country came from households that support both religious and secular organizations. Purely secular households accounted for just 12.5 percent of all money donated in the United States, and they also give less on average than do religious households.

They may give less on average overall, but I wonder what percentage of giving from religious households is to secular vs. strictly religious causes. Donating to Pastor McCheese to support your local McJesus franchise isn't helping anyone but Pastor McCheese and his family.

I wonder how they would count me. I'm a member of a Reform Judaism synagogue, and an atheist. I'm sure there are plenty of non-believing members of churches too, who are involved for the social aspect.

I don't see the necessity of starting new non-profits specifically for atheists when there are already plenty of secular charities available. The two charities I support the most are the local homeless shelter (completely secular) and the International Rescue Committee, a secular organization that helps those displaced due to war and natural disaster. 90% of donated funds are spent on programs and services; that's the most important stat to me.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: 14 Apr 2010, 08:56 
Offline
Second-Sight Apprentice
User avatar

Joined: 21 Aug 2008, 13:41
Posts: 267
Location: West Virginia, USA
That was a great article. Most churchs (at least that I have seen) take up a cause and try to fund it as best they can. Nice to see that idea in the atheists community and I would hope they start to advertise they are out there for those looking for them.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: 18 Apr 2010, 12:11 
Offline
Grand Poobah
User avatar

Joined: 18 Sep 2007, 11:26
Posts: 5793
Location: Buffalo, NY
ahem: please note forum rules:
Quote:
Please note: Discussion here should be relatively civil. Attack the post, not the poster. Thanks!

_________________
Chloride and Sodium: Two terribly dangerous substances that taste great together!


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: yueqin
PostPosted: 14 Apr 2017, 01:57 
Offline
Acolyte

Joined: 13 Apr 2017, 23:59
Posts: 48
pandora charms sale clearance
mulberry
kate spade
hollister clothing
mulberry handbags
cheap jordan shoes
coach outlet online
sac louis vuitton
air max
sac longchamp
ralph lauren outlet
discount oakley sunglasses
moncler jackets
longchamps
michael kors bags
pandora charms
ralph lauren uk
longchamp bags
christian louboutin
nike tn pas cher
nike blazer low pas cher
ray ban sunglasses cheap
rolex replica watches
michael kors bags
air max 90
cheap rolex replica watches
ghd hair
polo ralph lauren outlet online
louis vuitton handbags
ray ban sunglasses outlet
true religion outlet store
longchamp pliage
toms outlet
michael kors outlet online
cheap oakley sunglasses
cheap nfl jerseys
yeezy boost
red bottom
lebron shoes
longchamp outlet store
michael kors outlet online
true religion outlet store
fitflops
adidas uk
fitflops
michael kors outlet online
longchamp handbags
true religion jeans outlet
cheap oakley sunglasses
swarovski sale
nike roshe one
tigers jerseys
harden shoes
yankees jerseys
coach factory outlet online
air max outlet
fitflops sale clearance
cheap oakley sunglasses
coach outlet online
michael kors outlet clearance
nfl jerseys cheap
birkenstock outlet
ed hardy clothing
coach outlet store
red bottom heels
cheap oakley sunglasses
louis vuitton outlet online
adidas trainers
adidas superstars
fitflops clearance
discount oakley sunglasses
adidas sneakers
christian louboutin outlet
adidas yeezy boost
coach outlet store
yeezy boost
christian louboutin outlet
adidas nmd runner
burberry sale
oakley sunglasses wholesale
coach factory outlet
ralph lauren sale clearance uk
prada outlet online
louboutin shoes
packers jerseys
pandora jewellery
michael kors bags
sac longchamp
christian louboutin shoes
cavaliers jerseys
michael kors outlet clearance
mont blanc pens
gucci
michael kors outlet canada
phillies jerseys
coach outlet online


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 5 posts ] 

All times are UTC - 5 hours


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
cron
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group