The Generous Atheist Billionaires

The Illini Secular Student Alliance (ISSA), in cooperation with SSA national and the Champaign Urbana Freethinkers, have joined forces to put ads on five buses in Champaign-Urbana, beginning in November.

I love the concept:

Too bad I can barely see the phrase “Good without god”…

Looks much better now with these updated images!

Still, it’s nice to point out that a couple of the wealthiest philanthropists in the world aren’t religious at all.

(via Skeptic Money)

  • http://infalliblefailure.blogspot.com Jeff Satterley

    Too bad I can barely see the phrase “Good without god”…

    It does kind of draw you into th ad, though. It takes a little bit more effort to read what it says, so you notice it more once you are able to read it.

    (I’m certainly not in marketing, so what I just said might be complete nonsense. Sounds good, though :-)

  • Lynn

    Shiny. Looking forward to seeing the ads around town. I wonder how my in-laws, conservative (though not terribly religious) natives of Urbana, will react? Should make for interesting conversation at Sunday dinner.

  • Revyloution

    Terrible formating. I hope the print versions are easier to read than the jpg on my monitor.

    I knew that Gates and Buffet were both secular (Richard Branson too), but I’ve never seen them take any interest in ‘The Cause’. I wonder if they gave the nod to use their faces, or if the campaign is just using the Fair Use clause?

  • J. J. Ramsey

    Warren Buffet has a pretty good reputation, but Bill Gates? Given Microsoft’s tactics over the decades, citing him as “good without God” seems like a big mistake, even with his recent charity work.

  • http://eternalbookshelf.wordpress.com Sharmin

    I didn’t know Warren Buffet is an atheist. I love the Good Without God message, although you’re right: it is difficult to see (at least on the computer monitor).

  • Javier

    If you go to the Skeptic Money link (http://www.skepticmoney.com/illini-secular-student-alliance-has-new-bus-ads/), the blue background is darker and makes the white font easier to read.

  • Eshto

    No no no, there is no drawing into the, no, this is poor design. That color is burning out my rods and cones.

  • http://pinkydead.blogspot.com David McNerney

    Let’s not forget:

    First richest person in the world.
    Doesn’t believe in philanthropy.

    Carlos Slim is… a Catholic.

  • Hitch

    I’d agree that the posters have issues on the color/design side, but I’m glad that the point that non-believers are among the most generous philanthropes gets pushed more into the public awareness.

  • Greg

    Great concept, shocking ad.

  • http://thesnideatheist.blogspot.com the snide atheist

    Sure, some people can be good without god, but I say ‘thank god’ we have the bible for those who need it in order not to murder people and covet their neighbors’ asses.

  • http://uiucatheists.blogspot.com Edward of ISSA

    The images posted here are degraded versions which a blogger had posted in a rush. Check out the better quality representations here, http://www.skepticmoney.com/illini-secular-student-alliance-has-new-bus-ads/ if you like.

    -Ed Clint
    President, ISSA

  • http://agersomnia.blogspot.com Agersomnia

    Let’s not forget:

    First richest person in the world.
    Doesn’t believe in philanthropy.

    Carlos Slim is… a Catholic.

    Well, that’s better for me than thinking about Slim as of the same Country as me.

    Slim has declared in the past…

    It’s based on my conviction that poverty is not fought with donations, charity or even public spending, but that you fight it with health, education and jobs.

    and…

    Wealth is like an orchard. You have to share the fruit, not the trees.

    So much for a man who comes from a place where half the population is under the poverty line.

    In the US, the 10% wealthiest part of population have an income 80 times bigger than the 10% poorer.

    In Mexico, before Mr. Slim became the richest man of the world, the difference was already over 360 times between a group and the other.

  • Revyloution

    Slim has declared in the past…

    It’s based on my conviction that poverty is not fought with donations, charity or even public spending, but that you fight it with health, education and jobs.

    Senor Slim, I have a hospital and a school that are desperately under funded. Could you possibly make a donation to help them out?

    Oh, I thought not.

  • Valhar2000

    Well, I can tell you that these ads will not do much to advance the cause of acceptance of atheism in the FOSS community.

    Warren Buffet has a pretty good reputation, but Bill Gates? Given Microsoft’s tactics over the decades, citing him as “good without God” seems like a big mistake, even with his recent charity work.

    And, it seems, even outside said community.

  • The Vicar

    Meh. I don’t like the idea that donations to charity automatically make one “good” — by that perspective, I’m fairly certain that there are pedophiles out there who are more “good” than I am, merely because they are richer and can afford to give more than I can.

    And, for that matter, Bill Gates was one of the least ethical people in the computer industry the entire time he was actually working in it. (Among other things, he repeatedly tricked people into getting them to expose their source code to “partner” with Microsoft under the guise of pretending it would make everything more efficient, and then used the knowledge of their code as a basis to write a competing product without compensating them or even giving them advance notice. You can argue that the people in question were gullible because they believed him rather than getting a contract — although Microsoft has also violated contracts along those lines because the penalties were less than the profits involved — but you can’t say he’s “good”. To say nothing of the fact that the Gates charity foundation has spent a lot of tax-free money buying products from Microsoft…)

    Don’t know anything particularly bad about Buffett, but the claim that one is going to leave one’s money to charity is, well, something many people have said without following through. It would be better to wait until we can say “gave 99% of his wealth to charity”.

  • ludovico

    Mammon over God?

  • Nicole

    Print is a funny thing. Let’s hope this is one of those situations where the eye blinding colour was made that way so that it would print attractively.

    Monitor calibration. :( Print calibration, for that matter, depending on how it’s being done.

    I like the concept though!

  • http://www.unmails.com Tyler

    White text on cyan. My teacher would have killed me.

  • http://reanhouse.blogspot.com Sarah

    I second “The Vicar”.

  • J. J. Ramsey

    Valhar2000: “And, it seems, even outside said community.”

    Actually, I’m a fairly frequent FOSS user who usually prefers to avoid Windows.

  • Mat Rayman

    To all of the comments here about the bad color combo, it didn’t look that bad in the original. It seems that the colors got a bit messed up somewhere in the conversion process from the original .tif to .jpg. Don’t worry, it looks way better than this.

  • http://www.youratheistneighbor.blogspot.com keystothekid

    I think it’s a good idea. I don’t want to make it more complex than it is by saying that people aren’t good solely because they give out a lot of money. Bill gates has done countless questionable things. Not to mention the definition of ‘good’ is extremely relative.

    I like this idea because I’m tired of hearing religious people argue that without religion there would be no charities. I think the ads should have focused on that more than the being good without god. I mean, once you argue that someone is good and the only fact you throw out is the amount of money they donate, well, I’m sure there are tons of people who worship god and donate tons of money and then do terribly despicable things.

  • Miko

    J.J. Ramsey:

    Warren Buffet has a pretty good reputation

    Perhaps so, but he deserves to have the same reputation as Gates. Buffett made his fortune on a combination of charging rent for the use of unimproved land (i.e., using the threat of government force in order to make people pay him to leave them alone), exploiting interest on insurance premiums between pay-in and pay-outs (i.e., using the government’s cartelization of the credit industry), and through using previous earnings to buy ownership stakes in corporations without being directly involved int he running of the corporations (i.e., capitalism). And let’s not forget his recent stint of buying up troubled assets in the recent financial crisis, and then turning around and convincing the government to buy the assets for more than they were worth, effectively translating millions of taxpayer dollars directly to his pocket.

    Warren Buffett can be charged with exactly the same sin as Bill Gates: using the threat of the force of government in order to compel others to pay him rents. As such, he should be viewed in exactly the same way.

    Disclaimer: He does, however, seem like a fairly nice guy. It’s entirely possible that he’s just doing what he needs to do to survive in our twisted statist world and really does have pure motives despite either a) being unaware of the alternatives to statism and capitalism or b) thinking that he is unable to do anything about the exploitation inherent in statism and capitalism.

  • Mat Rayman

    Case in point: http://www.skepticmoney.com/illini-secular-student-alliance-has-new-bus-ads/

    Phil Ferguson’s blog post them looking much better. Maybe Hemant can replace them.

  • http://uiucatheists.blogspot.com Rohit

    Too bad I can barely see the phrase “Good without god”

    Hemant has used a jpeg sample of the ads. The actual ads are with a higher resolution and the words and clearly distinguishable in those. You can check them out at http://www.SecularSamaritan.com

  • http://uiucatheists.blogspot.com Becca Tippens

    ISSA officer here. The previews above are pretty low image quality. The actual versions are wayyyyy easier to read, and we’re pretty happy with them! It’s worth pointing out that the public transportation company here uses the same highlighting in light blue, and their bus ads are eye-catching and easy to make out, even from a distance.

    If you do have specific suggestions, however, I’m sure we could use them. We’re hoping to do more ads (funds permitting) in the coming months.

    Thanks for the recognition, Hemant!

    Sincerely,
    Becca Tippens

  • Deepak Shetty

    J. J. Ramsey

    Given Microsoft’s tactics over the decades, citing him as “good without God” seems like a big mistake, even with his recent charity work.

    There’s a difference between Bill Gates the businessman, Bill Gates the technical guy and Bill Gates the Charity guy. And though some mac/linux/open source types have a profound dislike of all things windows usually most of them do recognize the charity work of Gates. The general public couldn’t care less of shady business practices as long as their stocks go up.

  • Carlie

    I would like it better if it was just the charity statement, not the second or third richest person in the world statement. That makes it look like atheism is some sort of get-rich-quick scheme.

  • http://uiucatheists.blogspot.com Edward of ISSA

    The provincial cynicism here is truly extreme.

    Look here is the point of this ad: stereotypically people think jesus or god makes you charitable and that religion is the source of charity and maybe even that atheists are selfish angry loners not interested in doing it. This is totally wrong and we want to show it. You think Gates and Buffett have an unsavory history? Guess what theist charities/magnates and groups fare no better under the same microscope.. but that’s hardly the point.

    Open source community? Are you joking me? You know what makes it easy to criticize computer industry politics? Not dying of malaria. There’s a real chance of a viable vaccine for a disease that kills millions every year thanks in large part to Bill Gates(among others). That not “good” enough for you? Have some perspective for fuck’s sake.

    It doesn’t make them saints, it just makes them givers. No more, no less.

  • http://mysistersfarmhouse.com Rechelle

    My dad gave a fundraising speech at the Christian school where my niece and nephews attend that focused on the fact that even though Gates gives millions of dollars to charity, he is still not as good of a person as my sister because she is a Christian and he is not. He repeated the speech to me later because he was so impressed with his idea. My sister was impressed too. I was completely dumbfounded.

  • http://uiucatheists.blogspot.com Becca Tippens

    Haha, Ed, I didn’t realize that most recent comment was you. Was gonna try to “like” it, but now I can just walk up to you and say “like” at some point.

  • http://supercheetah.livejournal.com supercheetah

    Re: Bill Gates and open source…

    Most of the Free software and open source community won’t hide their disdain for Microsoft and Bill Gates, but they’ll recognize his philanthropy as a good thing, and many will even defend it. Even on slashdot (where you can find some of the worst things said about Microsoft and Bill Gates), many will jump to defend Bill Gates’ philanthropy as nothing but a good thing.

  • J. J. Ramsey

    Edward of ISSA:

    Open source community? Are you joking me? You know what makes it easy to criticize computer industry politics? Not dying of malaria. There’s a real chance of a viable vaccine for a disease that kills millions every year thanks in large part to Bill Gates(among others). That not “good” enough for you? Have some perspective for fuck’s sake.

    It’s all very nice that Bill Gates has followed the footsteps of some previous robber barons and become a philanthropist in his later years. That doesn’t erase his prior bad acts, nor is it yet enough to make his checkered reputation go away. Citing him as an example of someone who is “good without God” still looks a bit silly.

  • Deepak Shetty

    JJ Ramsey
    If you are looking for saints you might want to try being Catholic.
    To quote Edward

    Have some perspective for fuck’s sake.

  • J. J. Ramsey

    Deepak Shetty:

    If you are looking for saints you might want to try being Catholic.

    Um, the whole point of the bus sign campaign in question is that one doesn’t have to do that. And no, I don’t expect that someone who is generally good without God is going to be perfect. However, I do expect that someone cited as an example of someone who is “good without God,” be, well, good without God, and someone who spent his career as a robber baron of the software world is not a good example.

  • http://uiucatheists.blogspot.com Becca Tippens

    Just posted an explanation of the campaign. We’d love it if you could add the link to the original entry!

    http://uiucatheists.blogspot.com/2010/10/good-without-god-explanation-of-our-new.html

    Thanks!

    Becca Tippens
    ISSA Blogger

  • Deepak Shetty

    @Becca
    your links leads to a 404.

  • Deepak Shetty

    @ JJ Ramsey
    the ads only say you can be good without god (not that you will be so in everything you do). The charitable work done by Gates is good and wasn’t done for any religious reason. there is no opinion being passed on any other deed by Gates.

  • Chris M

    I’m hoping there’s no issue with using their image?

    I like the idea. You could also expand it to sports and acting and things of that nature. A lot of ‘heroes’ people think of, like Lance Armstrong (so I’ve heard) are non-believers.

  • J. J. Ramsey

    @Deepak Shetty: The point of saying that one can be good without God is to reassure people that atheists can be trustworthy, can be of good character. Such a message is undercut by showing an atheist who has a reputation of being shady.

  • Noodly1

    I don’t like it.

    There’s something smarmy and market-y about the whole “Are you?” part. Having a famous person as an atheist means it’s OK to be an atheist, hop aboard? Is that the underlying message?

    Honestly, if Bill Gates or Warren Buffet or any other materialistic “celebrity” being atheist is the reason one becomes an atheist, well, to me, that’s really sad. Might as well keep your religion if you’re not going to think for yourself.

  • AxeGrrl

    Edward of ISSA wrote:

    Look here is the point of this ad: stereotypically people think jesus or god makes you charitable and that religion is the source of charity and maybe even that atheists are selfish angry loners not interested in doing it. This is totally wrong and we want to show it.

    I completely agree :)

    I much prefer these over all of the ‘There probably isn’t a god‘ bus ads ~ they don’t even get into the whether-there-is-or-isn’t issue and simply make the point that ‘charity’ doesn’t automatically = ‘believers’.

  • Non-Litigious Atheist

    @Noodly1: Glad to find a kindred spirit! I didn’t realize there were any other atheists on here disillusioned by the drive to ‘market’ atheism (with famous people or with average ones like in the FFRF billboards). I guess some insecure people have a strong need for validation from other people? Who knows?

    Anyway, as I see it you should be an atheist because you think atheism is true. And that’s as far as it needs to go. Just like with astrology.

    If you have a truth to draw attention to, you should show why it is true – not market it like shopping mall crap that’s just marked-up cheap clothing in dim lighting.

    Noodly1 is successful without checking his horoscope. Are you?

  • J. J. Ramsey

    Non-Litigious Atheist:

    If you have a truth to draw attention to, you should show why it is true — not market it like shopping mall crap

    Marketing, though, can help make people aware of the truth to which we’re trying to draw them. Also, simply making atheists more visible helps make them less scary in the eyes of theists.

  • inmyhead

    The signs are great, but one big rule in design is that serifs are hard to read, no matter how big. The the white on bright blue is as you mentioned incredibly hard to read. The white will not stand out from afar, it will blur into the blue. I love the idea, but the type design could have been done a little better.

  • Non-Litigious Atheist

    Conformity, groupthink, and validation – the cornerstones of not thinking for yourself, just like any good free thinker would want.

    Don’t ask questions, just watch my political ad with my opponent dancing in a hula skirt.

  • muggle

    Hemant must have fixed it because they look great to me.

    Non-Litigious Atheist, it’s not a shallow thing; it’s a defending ourselves against certain stereotypes used to discriminate against us thing. Your argument is as ridiculous as saying gays and blacks and women have nothing to defend against. And nothing normalizes, rightly or wrongly, than have leaders in the community to point to and say they are us.

    I like these ads. I think they’re great. I think they totally shoot down one stereotype. I hope we do see more of them. Maybe some movie or athletic irreligious who have also likewise given a lot to charity.

  • J. J. Ramsey

    Non-Litigious Atheist:

    Don’t ask questions, just watch my political ad with my opponent dancing in a hula skirt.

    We can walk and chew gum at the same time, and we can broadcast attention-getting sound bites (or “sight bites” in the case of these ads) and engage in deeper discussion at the same time as well. While I think the particulars of these ads need work, as is pretty obvious from earlier comments, there is nothing wrong in general with ads letting people know that we atheists are out there and that we hardly all fit the stereotypes.

  • Non-Litigious Atheist

    @J. J.: I’m a little surprised to see you endorse psychological manipulation techniques. If atheist organizations engaged in love-bombing would that be OK with you?

    Or is it a matter of degree – manipulating people a little bit is OK, but manipulating them a lot is not?

    As I see it any manipulation is using people and therefore morally wrong. If manipulation is bad then it’s bad whether done constantly or once in a while.

  • Carver

    Warren Buffet and Bill Gates are not good examples of good people. They’re fabulously wealthy people who got there by using all the same under-handed means as the obscenely wealthy before them: fermenting resource wars in the developing world, dividing the working classes, union busting, bullying lesser competitors with law suits, excessive political involvement, marketing campaigns that are borderline illegal and definitely immoral (can you imagine if a person talked to you like Microsoft talked to you?) and so on.

    Then, for all his charitable work, Bill Gates pushes for the privatization of education in the U.S.

    What makes this praise even worse is that several studies have shown the lower-class people give a larger per capita portion of their income to charitable causes.

    The fact these exploitative billionaires are held as “good atheists” is one reasons I am so fed up with the majority of my fellow atheists who still listen to Dawkins, Harris, Hitchens, et al. It’s a self-congratulating middle-upper movement with no new insights.

  • Non-Litigious Atheist

    It’s a self-congratulating middle-upper movement with no new insights.

    @Carver: This is a rather interesting insight that hasn’t gotten much discussion, if any at all.

    I tend to agree that atheist organizations don’t really have anything to offer to average Americans, compared to say what churches have to offer them. Atheist organizations (at least the national ones) tend to attract people that are already quite well off with cruises to the Galapagos and pricey conventions.

    These are things I could never afford to attend in general, let alone as part of some atheist organization event. As in all things in life, the key is money. And if you ain’t got it, you ain’t worth a damn.

    There’s really not much incentive for lower middle class people to get involved, as we already have enough things to do, and can’t afford to travel all over the country, sacrifice huge chunks of our time, and so on–these are things for the rich.

    Whenever I hear about some guy traveling around the world in balloon or something, I think ‘lucky rich bastard’ :) Who else could just disappear for months at a time? Not your average working American…

  • Alex

    I don’t see how this is relevant to atheism. I could see if Bill Gates and Warren Buffett openly did their charity work as some sort of atheist statement, but they didn’t.
    This just seems to be troll bait for simplistic Christians.

  • Duncan

    Statistically, religious people give more and volunteer more than secular people. Even when the charitable causes are non-religious.

    http://www.hoover.org/publications/policy-review/article/6577

    For the record, I am an atheist.

  • Ed Magowan

    I don’t know what the point of the ads is, but I find them trite and annoying. Charitable giving is not my definition of ‘good’. YMMV

  • John

    Sorry, the ads are missing the most important point. We all have good and evil within us…and Christianity explains this. Even a little evil dooms us, since we fall short of perfection. If you can show me Bill Gates didn’t ever do evil, then I might be willing to consider your premise. The bottom line is God’s forgiveness should make us grateful to the point where we’ll do good in response. Unfortunately not all people who call themselves “Christian” are this way.

  • aera

    I think these adds leave too much to be critisized and feel too pushy for my taste. I’m an athiest, and to me these adds say: “Look at how rich and respectable athiests are! Christians arn’t as good as us because they are not as intellegent nor charitable”. Personaly, I dont feel that we should be advertising in terms of a competition of “who is better?”.

    I dislike Christians and other religious peoples who refuse to be open minded about others beliefe systems and need to force their particular beliefes into a public realm that affects me directly… as so, I also dislike athiests who do the same thing. I mean, I can’t argue that if people quit letting religion get in the way we wouldn’t be making giant leaps in the sciences… but at the same time I think people should have the freedom to believe as they wish, and that athiests have no more of a right to act snobbish about their beliefes than Christians.

    If anything our advertisements should be geared towards helping people who are afraid of a life without religion or who are having doubts about it come to terms with those new ideas. Instead we have them fear us as we pick at them with our shocking remarks and snide comments. We are just going to offend people deeper into their ignorant intolerant behavior this way.

  • HolyShit

    I don’t give a dime to anything and I don’t give a damn what you or your imaginary friend thinks. And I feel good!

  • Beebop

    Wow this is great! I live in Champaign so I will be looking forward to seeing these ads. Good thing they are on a moving vehicle,lol. ;)

  • scott

    Being a christian has nothing to do with being good, better than anyone or judging anyone else. Being a christian means one thing only, I have accepted Jesus as my savior. Everyone can be good and generous, and should be. Being a christian is about going to heaven or hell. If you dont think you have a soul, than ask yourself why you dont act any differently than the horses and cows. Everyone can be good and generous, everyone will go to heaven or hell. The only difference between christians and non christians is that christians have accepted Jesus as their savior. Doesnt mean were better than anyone, or more good. Just our soul is saved.

  • saved by grace

    I just want to say i think the bus ads are very sad. That our people and country founded on God are pushing God away. I do not think i am better than others, i am sinner and now a christian saved by the grace of God and the sacrifice of Jesus. I pray that others seek the truth of Jesus’s sacrifice for themselves and their souls. God loves you and wants you to come to him.

    • Seamus

      your country ins’t founded on god or religion. Do your research. The founding father’s were deists, agnostics and atheists.

  • matt

    Just wanted to point out that Buffett is an agnostic, I heard him say so a few years back in response to a question at one of his annual shareholder’s meetings.

    He specifically said “agnostic” and something to the tune of “I don’t believe I can know for sure one way or the other.” His father was a strong christian and Buffett says he has personally read the bible several times. He never picked up the religion, in my opinion, because of his highly logical and objective approach to determing truth.

    • Seamus

      Not to mention his masters degree in science! Also, since noone can be certain of anything an agnostic is, for practical purposes, an atheist.

  • Patrick

    How stupid is it that they didn’t capitalize “God”? That just makes them look childish and uneducated in grammar. When you are talking about the singular, monotheistic deity of the Abrahamic religions or otherwise, you say “God”, with a capital G. If they wanted to relay a message about “gods” in general, then it should have been pluralized.

    Stupid, stupid, stupid.

    • RecoveringTheologist

      Patrick, I don’t think they are just referring to the monotheistic deity. They are referring to “god” as in any god(s), aka organized worship of deities and other supernatural characters in general. After all, there are more than 2,500 gods worshiped by humans around the world today, it is difficult to keep them all straight.

      • Phanciology

        Besides, if they need to make a statement, then obviously they are going to change the capitalization of “god.” Maybe I would take you more seriously in your grammar arguments if you put your quotation marks outside the punctuation.

  • Ro

    Patrick,
    Ever thought why the word ‘god’ deserves a capital G? I don’t think it does- a non-existent entity doesn’t really have to be emphasized at all.

    Brilliant, Brilliant, Brilliant.

  • Jenna

    Without Bill Gates we’d have no computers in my school or public library. The point is, he’s helping people. EVERYONE has done things they aren’t proud of, and that doesn’t make him a bad person.

    • Mmichael649266

      Jenna,…if you would take the time to study God’s word, Hosea 4:6– you would notice that God firmly stated that ‘ My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge ‘.  God was stating our lack of knowing the truth.  Our Heavenly Father  wants all of us to know that he is to be first in everyone’s life.   Our education and computer skills are not major concerns with God;  he greatly desires for his people to know him first.   A person’s education is important,  but knowing him is the most important.   I strongly urge you to read and meditate on Proverbs 3: 5 and 6 and you will understand what’s most important.   Bill Gates helping people doesn’t mean that he’s any closer to God.  I’m sorry !____but Mr. Gates isn’t impressing our Heavenly Father by donating $26 billion to charity.  If this rich tycoon places his wealth above God and feels that he doesn’t have time to know his Heavenly Father in any way,  he will never see the Gates of Heaven.  Believe me when I tell you that when a person puts God first, the needed education and computer skills will start to grow.___________

      • Jay Jay

        And believe me when I say that we are not impressed by your God either

      • RecoveringTheologist

        Mmichael,
        You scare me. You remind me of myself when I was still drinking the coolaid after 20 years of brainwashing by my parents and community. First of all you completely missed Jenna’s point, but that is another story. You scare me mostly because you immediately dive into quoting of “God’s word” and trying to tell us about your understanding of what the Heavenly Father likes or dislikes. I would argue, you know exactly squat about what the Heavenly Father likes or dislikes. Has he personally told you what he thinks Gates should or should not do? Of course not. Your conjecture, while harmless in this particular case, is the essence of blind zealously that has caused immeasurable death and suffering for the past 6,000 years under the guise of the thousands of flavors of religion that have existed from our primitive beginnings.My suggestion is that you keep your conjecture to yourself, it would the world a better place. I rescind this only if you can tell me that God spoke to you on the topic. Who knows, maybe he said “Hey Mike, about that Bill Gates character, I don’t like the fact that he is giving billions to save the lives of children that live in mud huts , drink bacteria infested water and die by the millions from preventable diseases. I would rather he doesn’t do any of that and spends his time in church studying my book and learning about me. Matter of fact, have him donate the $20BN to the church because the world needs more extravagant shrines from which I can be worshiped in all my glory.”Your Heavenly Father (one god of thousands that are actively worshiped on earth today) is supposed to be the guy that created EVERYTHING right? Life, space, time, the lot. The milky way galaxy, is comprised of 200-300 billion stars, each hundreds of thousands of times the size of earth and each having 5-10 planetary bodies in their orbit. Scary big. Now, the milky way is only one galaxy of an estimated 300-500 BILLION galaxies in the known universe. Earth is immeasurably small spec of dust in the universe, which is probably why it only took the Heavenly Father 7 days to create it.  Don’t you think that something which possess this INCALCULABLE amount of power is capable of popping in on Mr. Gates just to say “hey Bill, please spend a bit more time learning about me.” if he actually thought it was important? In fact, couldn’t he pop in on all of us personally just to say hello? I mean, the amount of energy to do that, relative to creating the known universe is less than minuscule. In fact, it is so little effort that there is no way to describe it using English words (or any other language that I’m familiar with). A single visit with just a few important people like Mr. Gates would create the most powerful God cheerleader on the planet instead of the Atheists that you know today.But alas, no visits. Not to you, not to me, not to Mr. Gates, and not to little Timmy dying from cancer. Maybe because God is too busy? Or,  maybe because your Abraham god is fable just like the thousands of other culture’s gods you have dismissed as fables. Fables of gods originated throughout the ages by primitive societies that believed things like the sun being a chariot of fire dragged across the sky. They “knew” that the gods in the clouds. Of course, now we have airplanes and we know the only thing above the clouds is empty space. We have the telescopes and spectrum analysis technology, which surprisingly revealed the sun not a chariot of fire but a massive hydrogen fusion ball of fire 100,000 times the size of earth.For whatever reason America, like the middle east, continues its love affair with the worship of deities while much of the civilized world has moved on. Not sure why, but suspect it is related to how big the business of religion has become. For those of you still worshiping characters from iron-age story tellers, my only advice to you is this: USE YOUR MIND. It is a great tool, if you use it. Don’t just listen to what your pastor and friends at church say, use critical thought processes you possess or you’re no better than the primate from which you evolved. Do your own research.  As much as it may hurt (it hurt me!) the only conclusion you can come to is that you have been duped and your god , like others, is imaginary.This is a good place to start – http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

        • deliberate

          Well put, Micheal.
          I wish my ‘creator’ could b mo personal.. but wait, mayb he is; the conscience, luv, compassion… sympathy that the afore mentioned have that we ALL relate to is actually wot he/her/it bestowed upon us in the blueprint?!

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/village1diot village1diot

    And, for that matter, Bill Gates was one of the least ethical people in the computer industry the entire time he was actually working in it. (Among other things, he repeatedly tricked people into getting them to expose their source code to “partner” with Microsoft under the guise of pretending it would make everything more efficient, and then used the knowledge of their code as a basis to write a competing product without compensating them or even giving them advance notice. You can argue that the people in question were gullible because they believed him rather than getting a contract — although Microsoft has also violated contracts along those lines because the penalties were less than the profits involved — but you can’t say he’s “good”. To say nothing of the fact that the Gates charity foundation has spent a lot of tax-free money buying products from Microsoft…)

    How much of the population, do you think, knows/believes this? I really don’t see that being a big issue. Most people recognize Gates as a smart, rich guy. Now they will know he is a smart, rich, atheist guy.

  • Tim

    Who defines good?
    Who defines bad?
    Truth is objective by definition.

    For thousands of years religious individuals and groups have given more money and time than any other individual or organization in history.

  • James Bunkley

    You people are just as annoying as Christians.

  • Meg

    It says in the first sentence of the Carlos Slim Wiki that he is a philanthropist. Even though it later says that he owns 90 percent of the Mexican land line telephone market, and charges some of the highest fees in the world. A monopolist philanthropist! This is only relevant to a comment that was made, which was also irrelevant to the subject at hand. In the end, does it matter? People wont stop believing in God because it makes them comfortable. And atheists should know it doesnt matter if we believe in God or not. Stop trying to change each other and just learn to tolerate-the only true solution. :)

    • Seamus

      tell that to theists, who’ve pushed it down throats for centuries.

  • MICHAEL GREEN

    I love the idea !!! I’m just curious as to how much the crystal cathedral in California gave to the poor. Rock on, friendly atheist !

  • Rachel

    I really don’t think the purpose behind this is to promote people becoming atheist. I’m pretty sure it’s just about promoting acceptance. The message that I received is that, just as having belief in god does not make you good, not having belief in god does not make you bad. People are just people. There are good parts as well as bad, and having a certain trait does not mean that you are only good or bad. Basically, everyone is equal, inherently, and that one choice that is made does not necessarily cause the next.

  • Schulze

    If this so-called “Good” people would just pay their goddamn taxes, they wouldn’t have to spend so much on charity to look good. Gates and Buffet are two of the biggest assholes in human history.

    • Seamus

      Buffet pays more than his fair share AND contributes to charity. The Gates foundation has saved thousands of lives. What are YOU doing?

    • Hubastank

      I can’t take it. If I hear one more have-not complain about how Gates (and other highly successful people) does not “pay their fair share” I’m going to puke. 

      Check it out … Gates pays more taxes in a single year than you and I will pay in a lifetime. Probably more than you, me and our closest 100 friends will pay in a lifetime. What does he get for it? Zilch, because the wealthy don’t consume government services – the poor do. 

      His vision and work, whether you agree or not, has created hundreds of thousands of jobs, countless millionaires (who have also paid millions in taxes), created a corporation that has paid billions more in taxes, and ensured that a critical industry (computing software) was driven from American instead of some other country.And now he is taking what he made (and rightfully owns) and is giving it away to help MILLIONS of people, mostly children dying of disease and murder in the various crap hole countries around the world. And you bash the guy? Come on. And do you honestly think that a a man worth $50BN gives a f***k  about “looking good” to the pitiful masses?  Perhaps he just wants to make a measurable difference in the world. Frankly, he is doing it.I only wish I was the man he was. If I had $50BN I would have my own fleet of aircraft carriers and build 500 foot high granite monuments of myself on every continent – just because I could! Before we bash on people like Gates and Buffet we should ask what exactly we have done for the world.

  • Pete

    All this did is left me wondering who is the richest. If you tell me Rupert Murdoch, I’ll stab myself now. Probably some terrorist condoner in Saudi Arabia where bin Laden has a big mansion and everyone knows it.

  • Carlos

    Yet, when one compares the largess of these guys to the robber barons of the last century, (ie: Carnegie, Rockefeller, etc), Gates and Buffet look kinda stingy.

  • http://thingsfindothinks.com AndrewFinden

    “The question is not whether atheists can be moral [good] but from where the moral codes come to which we seek to adhere.”
    — Micahel Nazir-Ali

    • Seamus

      Human decency precedes religion. As a social group certain ‘ways of being’ are beneficial to harmony. It’s not rocket science.

  • Verimius

    Behind every great fortune there is a great crime.

  • Ullrich Fischer

    Bill Gates acted as he did when he ran Microsoft because to do otherwise would invite shareholder lawsuits and would risk his company going bankrupt. The high tech corporate world is very competitive and his competitors did exactly the same things which some people think makes Gates unethical. His charity work has saved millions of lives and may yet save us all. I don’t begrudge Gates his wealth. He got it the old fashioned way… he earned it… Unlike the bankers and other robber barons who have run the world economy into the ground while paying themselves obscene bonuses.

    For those of you who are thankful that the Bible helps prevent religious (cult) members not to murder or covet neighbours’ asses, consider the disproportionate number of believers in the prison population and the daily flood of scandals about self-professed true believers who get caught with their dicks in places the Bible explicitly prohibits. In light of the intense efforts to cover up such scandals, consider how many incidents of such behaviour by believers go unreported.


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