Atheists Get Big Rewards For Giving To Tornado Victim Who Told CNN She Was An Atheist

By now you’ve probably seen this CNN footage in which Rebecca Vitsmun blitzed Wolf with some hardcore aggressive in-your-face atheism:

Well, as you probably guessed, lightning quick god-hating and anti-theist reflexes like that don’t just come with being your average garden variety atheist. Rebecca is one of us, a member of an atheist group in Oklahoma. (Yes, I was shocked too: apparently they have atheists in Oklahoma. Turns out there is even a vicious rumor that known Oklahoma atheist associates of Rebecca Vitsmun interviewed me a few months ago.)

Well, in order to help Rebecca rebuild her life of sinful defiance of God’s love, atheists are rallying together to contribute! But how can you motivate atheists to donate money? What is in it for them if there are no supernatural rewards?

Never fear. The indiegogo page they set up lures atheists cunningly:

$25: Free Bible. For 25 dollar donations, we will leave a free Bible in the nightstand of your next hotel stay. Go ahead, take it. Its yours.

$50: Get Out of Hell Free Card. You never know if you’re praying to the right god so dont take any chances. Your Get Out Hell Free card will cover you just in case you’re wrong.

$100: A Lucky Break. Sometimes it seems like nothing’s going your way and you just need a little luck. Donate 100 bucks and you’ll get that lucky break.

$125: Phone Call From God. For a mere 125 dollar donation you will receive a phone call from any god you choose just to brighten your day.

$250: Guardian Angel. Why do some folks seem to have it so darn easy? Probably have a Guardian Angel over their shoulder. Get one now for 250 bucks.

$500: First Class Upgrade. With so many religions, the flight to the afterlife could have as many stops as cross-country on Southwest. You dont wanna do that in a middle seat in coach. Upgrade to first class, stretch out, order a cocktail and prepare to meet your maker at baggage claim.

$1,000: Take it With You! They say “You can’t take it with you!” but we say “Why not?” Why spend so many years collect all that stuff just to leave it for your kids to fight over? For 1000 dollars we’ll have it shipped ahead of you so it’ll be waiting for you when you get there.

$2,500: First Choice for Reincarnation. Nobody wants get late picks when it comes to reincarnation. All those eagle & dolphin spots go fast. Move to the front of the line!

$5,000: Full Access to God’s Planbook. They always told you “God has a plan” but what exactly is it. For 5000 grand you’ll know. Why did your dog have to get killed by a car? Had nothing to do with your dog. God just wanted that guy to slow down a bit. Why’d you slip on that ice and fall down all those stairs? God digs scars. Spend 5k and see what’s coming next and why.

$10,000: The Holy Grail. Of legend. Can use for both hot and cold beverages. Special powers. Dishwasher safe.

All those tantalizing incentives must be the reason atheists have already donated over $54,000. Atheists. Those greedy suckers.

Donate. Just because it’s the right thing to do.

For philosophical stuff by me on moral motivation:

On The Moral Value (and Danger) of Dutifulness

But Why MUST I? Kant’s Ironic Formulation of Liberty as Duty

Why Be Morally Dutiful, Fair, or Self-Sacrificing if the Ethical Life is about Power?

In Honor of Firefighters

About Daniel Fincke

Dr. Daniel Fincke  has his PhD in philosophy from Fordham University and spent 11 years teaching in college classrooms. He wrote his dissertation on Ethics and the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. On Camels With Hammers, the careful philosophy blog he writes for a popular audience, Dan argues for atheism and develops a humanistic ethical theory he calls “Empowerment Ethics”. Dan also teaches affordable, non-matriculated, video-conferencing philosophy classes on ethics, Nietzsche, historical philosophy, and philosophy for atheists that anyone around the world can sign up for. (You can learn more about Dan’s online classes here.) Dan is an APPA  (American Philosophical Practitioners Association) certified philosophical counselor who offers philosophical advice services to help people work through the philosophical aspects of their practical problems or to work out their views on philosophical issues. (You can read examples of Dan’s advice here.) Through his blogging, his online teaching, and his philosophical advice services each, Dan specializes in helping people who have recently left a religious tradition work out their constructive answers to questions of ethics, metaphysics, the meaning of life, etc. as part of their process of radical worldview change.

  • http://twitter.com/AndreasMoser007 Andreas Moser

    Cute. But 54,000 $ would save many more people’s lives in other parts of the world than Oklahoma. Donating money in rich countries with insurances and social safety nets doesn’t make too much sense: http://andreasmoser.wordpress.com/2012/11/04/no-donations-for-sandy/

    • 3lemenope

      If every life had the same subjective value then the utility of each dollar spent would be the appropriate metric. But they don’t. If there is a dastardly train-track ethics problem with one track holding your mom as a potential victim and the other had five random strangers, the five random strangers are going to get pulped, and there is nothing wrong with choosing in that way. Familial, friendship, and social relations are not mere sentiment and don’t reduce to adiaphora. Even national ties, weak as they seem, are not morally insignificant, since the activities and travails of a fellow citizen/resident are more likely, on balance, to have a relevant effect on you than those of one who resides in some other country.

    • David Simon

      True enough, but the tie among countrymen who have never met is a lot weaker than the tie between family members, and the ratio here is a lot higher than 1:5. If we take GiveWell’s estimate of about $2500 per life saved (via mosquito net programs), then the $54k could have saved about 21 people.

      In the train-track problem, an Alephian choosing to save 1 stranger who is a fellow Alephian, instead of 21 Omegian strangers, is IMO making the less-ethical choice.

      Which is not to disrespect the importance of charity given to first-world disaster victims. I certainly think that such donations are praiseworthy actions; just perhaps not optimally praiseworthy.

  • picklefactory

    Atheists in Oklahoma? Yes, they’re called the “Flaming Lips”. :)


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