Atheist Acts of Altruism

Reader Amélie stopped by a McDonald’s recently. When she drove up to pay, the cashier told to put her money back. The person in front of her had paid for her meal… and passed along this card:

Since Amélie is an “agnostic who leans towards atheism,” this posed a dilemma. She wasn’t sure what to do:

I can’t accept this. I prefer science-based thinking and ideology to be promoted and spread throughout the world. I don’t feel right — won’t ever feel right — accepting this free food knowing it was free for the purpose of spreading an ideology I don’t believe in. By the time I came to this conclusion I was back on the highway and halfway through my fries. My destination, aka home, was about 30 minutes away and I used that time to think about what I would do to make my world right again.

You can see what she did in response here. (I think it was a wonderful way to pay it forward.)

I’ll admit, though, regardless of intention, that’s a pretty nice gesture from the Christians. I’m a little upset they beat us to it. We can’t let them show us up like that. It comes off like Christians are the only people who would do something that nice… and, dammit, we know that’s not true! In fact, there’s no reason we can’t do the same thing — hell, we’ll come up with a fancy name like Fast Food Friends for what we’re doing, too. My proposal: Atheist Acts of Altruism.

For a few bucks (that most of us probably wouldn’t miss), we could make a random stranger’s day that much better. So let’s do it. Go do something nice for someone you don’t know. Pay for someone’s food without letting them know who did it. Send someone you haven’t talked to in a long time a nice email letting them know how much you care about them. Instead of eating the next baby you see, save it for the next person. Whatever you do, please email me and tell me what you did and how you felt. I’d love to compile them for a future post.

  • Brian Wood

    ALWAYS take their literature, their french fries, their fake altruism: it costs them money they can’t spend opposing gay marriage.

  • Yoav

    This isn’t the first time I hear of someone doing something like that but it’s the first time I heard of them leaving a jeebus note for the other person. In all other cases I remember it is really just someone doing something nice to a complete stranger, no strings attached. If I was in Amélie’s place I would have just told the cashier that in this case I would like to pay for the next customer’s meal but without pushing my agenda down their necks.

  • Nena

    Instead of eating the next baby you see, save it for the next person.

    That made me giggle madly.

  • Shay

    Bahahaha! That’s a good one Brian! I bought some literature from FFRF…I’ll stick some cash in some and hand them out randomly! We don’t do fast food very often! Great idea! I’ll report back!

  • Claudia

    I think calling this “fake altruism” is being too harsh. Is it altruism with an agenda? Yeah, so is feeding the homeless or cleaning up a highway under an atheist banner, I don’t see anyone complaining that this is merely cynical advancement of our agenda and that we don’t really care about people.

    You can walk and chew gum at the same time. It is perfectly possible to want to help others and wish to promote your worldview at the same exact time. I don’t agree with Christianity but I really can’t find it within myself to be outraged by the idea of someone buying me lunch (without regard to the fact that maybe you’re buying lunch for a secularist that works daily against your own mission) and telling me they did it for Jesus.

    I think paying it forward is a perfect response. If you worry about Christians “spreading the word” through these acts, don’t rail against the acts but do some of your own, in the name of Humanism, or rationalism, or just in the name of common decency.

  • Jeni

    Surely there’s a better way to spread one’s message than buying fast “food” that is killing the person eating it…

  • Jenny Wren

    A friend of mine does something like this, but her cards are signed Anonymous Atheist. I think I might make up some of my own. :)

  • Ben Zalisko

    This isn’t altruism or even fake altruism. It’s recruitment, an effective, but rather inefficient, method of personal advertising. The same goes for someone who would do the same thing and hand out atheist literature.

    I do this kind of thing every once in a while, but I don’t hand out cards or pamphlets, and I don’t try to get anything in return. I get pleasure from the idea of brightening someone’s day. I like the idea of living in a world where people are generous to one another. If I’m spreading ANY ideology, it’s that strangers are often, good, generous people. I would like any recipient of my altruism to consider more often the good nature of strangers rather than expect bad. However, I don’t try to convince them of this, and I don’t tell them anything through any form of media.

    The act speaks for itself.

  • CG

    I’m going to echo Ben, with an example.

    Coming home from vacation, my wife and I helped a man – father, brother, uncle, not certain – with a relative in the military to get to the fort/base he was heading to. He needed fuel – how he got as far as he did without enough gas, or cash, I really couldn’t say. Eh.

    Someone else had apparently been trying to gather bills from assorted people to cover the fuel cost. I decided to go one better, and had the attendant (this being Jersey) fill the tank up on my card.

    The man thanked me profusely, adding “God bless”. I felt a minor urge to respond along the lines of “No, not really”, but kept any thoughts to myself, and just told him he was welcome.

    I don’t know the man, I’ll never meet him again. That he was family to a service member didn’t even factor it. It was just a nice thing to do, maybe even the “right” thing.

    The so-called Golden Rule has some merit (if we ignore claims that it was handed down from on high).

    But I can’t help but wish more people understood that sometimes people do good (or try their best to) without external compulsion – we’re good (we try to be good) for goodness’ sake. I certainly understand the desire of handing out cards reading “Random Act of Kindness provided to you by your friendly neighborhood atheist”.

  • mb

    I don’t get why this was so earth-shattering to Amélie. So what if a christian does her a favor and gives her a card pushing jesus? Eat the free food and trash the card. If an event like this can shake your “faith” in atheism, then you need a refresher course in rationality.

    I also don’t think paying for random peoples’ meals at the drive-thru is a particularly effective way to practice altruism. People in line at the drive-thru probably have the wherewithal to pay for their meals otherwise why would they be there. Why not help those who can’t? And do it without proselytizing for or against religion; just do it because people are hungry.

  • AM

    I’m sorry to say, but I only see this as self-righteous smugness. You don’t take it, you’re being mean towards a good, kind and compassionate Christian; you take it even though you’re a non-believer it states “look what us good Christians do, what have you non-Christans done” or “how hypocritical that you’ll bite the hand that feeds you” so to speak.

    Attempting to repeat this as a non-believer is the keeping up with the Jones’ mentality. Sadly, by not doing this and staying quiet, Christians then display their smugness by showing statistics that they’re more likely to be charitable than atheists and prove that morality is a Christian value. It’s a case of “damned if you do, and damned if you don’t”.

    Personally I just prefer to say nothing, be charitable, be kind without labelling myself for some cause and if someone has the barefaced cheek to call me a good Christian, then I’ll set the record straight. Usually that solves the problem.

    Is it just an American thing that one has to be competitive and one-up one’s opponent? I’d like to think at the end of the day, it’s not about who does the most, it’s just about doing good. I don’t know maybe I’m just too much of an idealist.

  • Pierrot

    What bothers me is that the McDonald’s employee gave her the card. They could have just said the person in front of her paid for her meal and have a good day!

    I work in a truck stop and some customers leave religious propaganda anywhere they can for others to see and pick up… Even at the cash register! It always ends where it belongs (in the trash can!) when I see it.
    Religion is out of place at the workplace! And I’m sure McDonald’s is no different… So are they proselytizing? Did the cashier ask their manager? I would never allow an employee to give out religious propaganda.

  • Matto the Hun

    As far as good deeds, this is “okay” at best. “oh congratulations, you gave food to a person who already had food while two blocks down the street there’s a guy with almost nothing”. So this is ho-um as far as good deeds go.

    Further, I think it diminishes the act and reduces it to nothing more than cheep gilding to barely cover an excuse to proselytize.

    I do nice things all the time for the sake of being nice, or because it seems right. What I don’t do is use it as an excuse to throw my beliefs, non-beliefs or whatever in another person’s face. And I shouldn’t have to either. If someone wants to credit their God with my good deeds, I’ll happily correct them, but they’ve brought up the subject.

    Also, it was brought about up atheists cleaning the highway or helping the homeless. These are charitable and community acts and projects that are important and need doing where we are not represented or and not given credit for. And the difference is that when atheist groups help the homeless we don’t hold them hostage and make them sit through sermons in order to get the food like many (not all) Christian groups do. Those charity projects are about representation.

    That’s different from doing a misplaced good deed for a person who doesn’t really need a free burger. This is proselytization.

    Do we need to represent in charitable acts, yes. Do we need to twist good deeds into acts of naked proselytization like the religious do. No.

  • Nordog

    I’m reminded of an event back in 1980.

    I was in the Navy and I was with about 6 other enlisted men having lunch (and many drinks) at an open air resturant/bar at Pearl Harbor.

    We were in civilian clothes, but there was a table full of officers near by; they were all wearing their dress white uniforms.

    As the “lunch” progressed we became a bit loud and vocal. We deliberately began trash talking about officers so that those at the other table could hear us.

    In time they left. When we finally left, after a number of hours of eating and drinking, we were trying to figure out how to divide up what would have been a very large tab.

    The waitress said, “Don’t bother. The officers picked up your tab.”

    Yeah, we were outclassed in a big way (though, admittedly, it didn’t take much to do).

    In any event, being nice isn’t a competition. Who cares if the person is a Christian, and atheist, or who did it first?

    If I had been given the card in question and told that my fast food had been paid for I would think it was very nice, even if I thought the card was silly, dumb, or whatever.

    There’s not enough kindness in the world. I for one know that I cannot afford to reject any kindness that comes my way, even if the person being kind holds a view I think wrong (note bene: I’m not talking about “in your face” behavior masquerading as kindness).

  • http://www.twitter.com/jalyth Jalyth

    This might come across as bitchy, but what’s with the regular asking for money from us lately? I suppose it’s just irritating because I’m really broke. Or because I have just spent the last 6 days with a bunch of Christians and am super sensitive at this moment.

    I think what this Christian did is obnoxious, and I don’t want to emulate it. I don’t like people buying me stuff, randomly. It’s smug on their part and only serves to make them feel better. I’d rather buy my broke friend a drink…that’s paying it forward, too.

    (Hemant says: I’m not asking for money here for any purpose. But if you feel like doing something nice for a stranger, do it. You don’t need to spend money to do that. Be anonymous. Don’t emulate their Christian smugness.)

  • http://deanroberts.net Dean Roberts

    I’ve also commented on this post @ http://deanroberts.net/church/serving/mcdonalds-atheist-altruism-and-the-christian-gospel/ for those interested.

    Kind of like a Christian response to the article.

    I completely understand that you may feel differently and not agree with me. But it’s always good for us all to understand different viewpoints :)

    Thanks for drawing attention to this. I loved reading it on both Friendly Atheist and on Amelie’s blog.

  • David23

    I wonder how this card would go over, or even if the recipient would get it.
    “No one lovers you, go eat worms”

  • Red

    I did this frequently as a christian. We had business card-sized ads for our church made up to include with the free meal. Yeah, it was recruitment, but it was also doing a good deed.

    When I became an atheist, I made up similar cards for an atheist web forum I was heavily involved in and did the same thing with them. The cards were more focused on showing people that atheists are good people too, but it was also advertisement for the site.

    Aside from buying meals at a drive through, I would sometimes go into the gas station while I was filling up, buy a $5 or $10 gas card, then place it along with an ‘ad’ card inside the credit card reader at the pump.

    I think it’s a particularly effective way to increase awareness about nonbelievers. Most folks think we are evil and buying their lunch may help change that attitude.

    Plus, a christian doing this is likely to be buying a meal for someone who already agrees with them. An atheist doing it will almost certainly be reaching someone who either doesn’t know much about nonbelievers, or who already has a negative opinion of them. Seems like a good opportunity to me.

  • perdita

    I absolutely hate this idea. You may not think much of a McDonald’s employee, but they shouldn’t be used as some sort of recruitment tool – by atheists or Christians.

    Cashiers, baristas, all minimum wage earners with direct customer contact, are already used as easy targets by evangelists. And because they’re working they really can’t tell anyone off. So, no, I can’t see piling more onto their work day.

  • Dave B

    Amelie wrote in to say how upset it made her feel that someone did this to her. Why would we want to imitate a strategy that we know can be hurtful? If you want to do something nice for a stranger, ask first.

  • Ben Zalisko

    I though along the lines of Pierrot as well. Would the Christian still have bought the meal if the cashier had refused to pass on the card? That’s the true test of altruism v. advertising.

  • Matto the Hun

    I think what this Christian did is obnoxious, and I don’t want to emulate it. I don’t like people buying me stuff, randomly. It’s smug on their part and only serves to make them feel better. I’d rather buy my broke friend a drink…that’s paying it forward, too.

    High five sister!

    One other thought. We have Atheist billboards that say “Be good for goodness sake” Are we not on board with that anymore?

    If doing something nice is merely your excuse to proselytize, be it for religion or atheism, you are most certainly not being good for goodness sake.

    I used to walk by nice little old church lady’s sitting on benches in the square. They were offering Christian pamphlets. You could smile, decline, they’d smile back. They are perfectly honest and plain with what they are doing.

    Now I have another person who wants me hand me something to read. Only this time a “charity” that I don’t need or want is foisted on me only as an excuse to slip the material to me. Material that I would normally have turned now, and now either don’t have the chance to or will me unfairly made to look ungrateful if I did.

    This is deceptive. It is dishonest. It is not “nice.” It hijacks the idea of niceness, goodness, or kindness.

    I’ll take those nice old ladies on the park bench any day of the week. At least when you deal with them you know what to expect.

  • http://eternalbookshelf.wordpress.com Sharmin

    This reminds me how, whenever we go out to eat with extended family, people start arguing with each other, each person (usually my dad with the other adults who have full time jobs) wanting to pay the bill.

    @Nordog:
    Thanks for sharing the story.

    @perdita:
    You make a good point. What if the cashier or employee is not the same religion (or even the same denomination) as the person who wants to pass on the message, or just doesn’t agree with it?

  • http://yetanotheratheist.com Yet Another Atheist

    While driving to my girlfriend’s house one day I saw a woman standing on the side of the road with a sign, and a baby carriage beside her. As I passed by (I didn’t see her in time), I saw a real child in the carriage.

    Regardless of whether she was faking or not, I assumed the latter, turned around the car, drove up to her again, and handed her a $20 bill. She thanked me profusely, but I drove off quickly as there was traffic already building up behind me. As I said “you’re welcome”, tears started to well up and I got the impression that she actually needed it. Her sign had said, “Living in a shelter, need money…” for something-or-other. I stopped reading at “living in a shelter” and knew she really needed it.

    I didn’t do it out of compulsion for pleasing a higher power, or because a higher power demanded it of me; I did it because she needed it much more than I did, and I would gladly do it again in a heartbeat. We don’t have many homeless people in any of the surrounding cities and towns (probably two regulars that I’ve ever seen in the past 10 years that I have also helped), so it’s a rare opportunity for me to help.

  • Alex

    Just tell me when that Christian goes to a car dealer, I need a new car!

  • Red

    So is trying to put nonbelief in a better light to those who think badly of us proselytizing? So be it.

    Buying McDonald’s for someone doesn’t preclude us from volunteering to clean up roadsides or helping out at a soup kitchen. This is just one more thing we can do to get atheism into the public consciousness (and in a non Satan worshiping way).

  • TRex

    Earlier this year I gave $10 to man in a parking lot that needed gas. He was walking around with a gas can and his car was dead on the side of the road right next to the store. He had a giant cross around his neck so I made sure he knew I was an atheist. I said “I just want you to know that I’m an atheist and we are good people too.” He didn’t seem to care one way or the other, thanked me and left for the gas station down the block.

  • Randy

    Personally I’m more shocked she donates to HSUS and PETA, but to each their own.

  • Noel

    There is a difference between compassion and altruism.

    Exactly what it is about genuine altruism that is rational? It’s self-sacrificial emotionalism and whim.

    So self-sacrifice with an agenda (i.e., self-interest) is reprehensible, but somehow “real” sacrifice — for the sake of sacrifice — is noble and sincere.

    The Christian morality of humility and selflessness runs deep.

    We can do better. Unshackled from religion, atheists still need a philosophy proper to life.

  • TRex

    BTW, I didn’t give him money because I saw the cross around around his neck. I didn’t notice that until after I had handed him the money, then I pointed out my atheism. Made me feel good, but I usually just donate my time/labor to charities, not money.

  • http://www.twitter.com/jalyth Jalyth

    @Matto — I like where you said high five sister, as opposed to amen, sister. I’ll steal it, if I remember.

    I retract my earlier whine about ‘asking for money’. Camp quest sounds great. I really am just bitchy cause I just spent 6 days with 18 Jehovah’s Witnesses, 1/2 of whom I’m related to. So happy to be leaving for the airport in 25 minutes.

  • http://www.atheist-experience.com Matt Dillahunty

    I’m not sure, because this hasn’t happened to me, but I think I’d complain to the manager and try to encourage a policy that prevented this.

    “You’re welcome to pay for the order behind you, but we’re not allowed to pass messages to them on your behalf. McDonald’s simply can’t risk turning it’s store into a pulpit for every random cause, or offending our customers unnecessarily.”

    Would the teller in the window have passed along an advertisement for a product or service? Would they have passed along a pamphlet on a contentious political position? What if the card was from a satanist?

    It’s just a situation that should and easily could be avoided.

  • Mike

    Something similar happened to me awhile back in Las Vegas. I was having dinner with my wife’s employer and her husband. We were having a conversation about religion and I was expressing my agnostic views (I have since become an atheist).

    A gentleman from another table approached us, saying he overheard our conversation and he was concerned for my soul. He handed me some religious tracts and then his group left the restaurant. When we went to to settle the bill we were informed that the man who had approached us had paid our $1,200.00 tab. Needless to say we were shocked!

    About two weeks later I received an envelope addressed to me at my home in Chicago. The package contained more religious tracts and a card similar to the one in this post. The card indicated that the package was from the gentleman who had picked up the tab. I still wonder how he got my personal information.

    • Moleculo2

       Three people ate a $1,200 dinner?

      They must’ve been WHITE babies.

  • beckster

    I am having trouble finding the link, but I read an article awhile back about a study showing that while doing good deeds for people who aren’t asking for them makes the giver feel great it can actually make the recipient feel very awkward and paranoid. I have had someone try to pay for my food once and I thought it felt very weird. I didn’t like it. I’m going to keep looking for the link.

  • sware

    I approve of the idea of atheist awareness…showing people that we are not baby eating monsters bent on destroying all that is good and shiny in the world. I suppose I just don’t much care for this method. If I’m going to be kind to random strangers it’s in the form of manners like holding open a door or something like that. Not crazy about paying for a meal for someone that is about to pay for a meal on their own with money they obviously have. Maybe I’ll make up a shirt to wear around that says, “Have a nice day! ~Friendly neighborhood atheist” ;0)

  • Marguerite

    “Instead of eating the next baby you see, save it for the next person.”

    Awww, darn it, I was feeling really hungry for a baby…

    Seriously, I agree that the McD’s employee shouldn’t have passed that card along. It’s like me paying for the person behind me and asking the McD’s cashier to pass my business card along. I don’t imagine they’d do that, and I don’t see why they should pass the “Jesus loves you” card along either.

  • http://www.phoenixgarage.org/ cr0sh

    I was once in line at a local JITB, when a man (who looked either homeless, or just very poor) walked up to my truck and asked if I would buy him a burger, handing me a couple of dollars. I ended up buying him a regular meal, and told him the drink was on me. Unknown to him though (and I hope he looked in the bag – but I don’t know), I had put his money, plus my change.

  • Matto the Hun

    (off topic, but wait for it because I can bring it back around)

    @ Marguerite

    Wow, you are the only person I’ve ever heard of besides my mom that goes by Marguerite!

    Speaking of my mom and the topic of good deeds (see bringing it back!). I recall once in Penn Station there was a homeless guy sifting through the trash. My mom looks through her purse, palms a 20, comes up next to the guy and pretends to pick something off the ground. “Excuse me sir, did you drop this?” offering him the 20. She’s so damn cute and funny like that.

  • http://beyondthepopcorn.wordpress.com Amelie

    mb Says:
    June 24th, 2011 at 11:23 am
    I don’t get why this was so earth-shattering to Amélie. So what if a christian does her a favor and gives her a card pushing jesus? Eat the free food and trash the card. If an event like this can shake your “faith” in atheism, then you need a refresher course in rationality.

    A Christian buying me food does not shake my “faith” in atheism. I’m not sure how you get that from my blog post.

    It’s not earth-shattering to me. I said something about making my world right again, but that’s just me being dramatic & sarcastic. If you didn’t notice, my blog post is oozing with sarcasm.

    Honestly, it was just annoying that I couldn’t respond to this lady. I couldn’t say, “Thanks for the food, but I’m not nor will ever again be a Christian. You can have your card back.” Or something. I’m not sure what I would have said…

  • http://hoverfrog.wordpress.com hoverfrog

    Reader Amélie stopped by a McDonald’s recently

    That was her first mistake. The second was not ordering enough to take to the local homeless shelter. Feeding a couple of dozen (or hundred) people on someone else’s religious sales pitch is what we commonly refer to as just deserts.

    That is unless he miraculously knew exactly how much her “meal” was going to cost?

  • Wellyn

    This has got to be one of the stranger acts of charity and evangelism I’ve heard of.
    If I found myself in this situation, I would pay for my own meal and ask the cashier to give the money to the local children’s hospital (Every Maccas in my state has donation boxes for this cause) I’m sure I wouldn’t have to spend much time explaining that this is probably a better use for the money than feeding some random like me behind you in the drive through.

  • MattyAggs

    McDonald’s? Come on, you’re smarter than that.

  • elricthemad

    Despite being enlightened atheists, we don’t always have time (or desire) to make a tofu & sprouts wrap in a gluten free rice pita. Knowing intellectually that McDonald’s food is full of the wrong kinds of fat, preservatives and WAY too much sodium doesn’t stop us from craving it. If it is just a once in awhile thing, a naughty splurge or a mater of time and convenience; give into that Big Mac Attack. That’s my view anyhow. If its on the tab of a true believing Christian, all the better. Mmmmm, makes me want some fries right now.

  • Larry Meredith

    I just hang around high schools and offer pregnant teens money to pay for an abortion.

  • Josh

    Instead of eating the next baby you see, save it for the next person.

    I think I laughed a little to hard at this.

  • Laura Connell

    If this would have happened to me I would have not accepted the altruist’s payment, paid for my food and leave it up to the McDonald’s cashier to keep it and told her to toss the card. Lingering on it gives them too much credit when it’s for the wrong reason.

  • Derek

    Just toss the money you would have spent into the Ronald McDonald House collection box below the cashier’s window. Problem solved.

  • Brandon Lawler

    I disagree with the tone of response here. The religious customer was free to make that offer, but the cashier was out of line for reasons he or she probably did not understand. Had this happened to me, I would have asked the cashier to ring the purchase back up, allow me to pay for it, and then ask to sit down with the manager of the location for a few minutes. This is what I would explain:

    It is indeed kind of the person in line to pay for the meal, but it is also interfering with the transaction I’m making with the company. Had we both been standing in the venue, I would have been free to gracefully decline the gesture. However, the other customer was affecting my transaction without my consent, which directly affects my relationship with the company.

    Alone, that was not terribly objectionable, and had that been all there was to it, the distinction could be dismissed. However, the line is drawn where the cashier–a representative of the company–is distributing a document that was provided by the previous customer. When that occurs from the venue, the employee is acting on behalf of the company. In effect, the religious person has paid the company to provide a one-time free meal promotion (for the next customer) and to distribute religious material to that customer.

    Because the actions of the religious person directly affect the transaction and interaction between the company and the next person in line, the most appropriate action the cashier should have taken would be to decline the additional money and advise the driver that he was free to provide it to the next person in line if desired. This is especially the case with the religious material: that should not be distributed to customers under any circumstance unless company policy explicitly allows it.

    The manager’s role would then be to advise their staff of the company’s policy on the expression of religious viewpoints on behalf of the company and how that affects interaction between the company and the customers. (Most nonreligious companies, and almost certainly McDonalds, have a policy wherein employees may not discuss religious topics while on company time and in company attire to avoid those discussions reflecting upon the company.)

    At this point, if the manager seemed dismissive or abrasive, my next step would be to write a polite letter to the district or regional manager discussing the event and requesting an official response.

  • http://ntepreocupes.blogspot.com/ Ribs

    Why not propose Acts of Altruism instead, leaving off the “Atheist” title? I think random acts of kindness from any person of any background to others are important and create more good in the world.

    I understand wanting to eliminate the misconception that atheists are immoral, but I feel as though atheists performing acts of altruism because they’re atheist brings about the same off-feeling in my gut as the story does.

    I stumbled upon this blog post the other day, in which the blogger was the recipient of a kind act from customers at his serving job. He wrote about the strong impact this unexpected selfless happening has had on his life.

  • Michael

    I have great trouble seeing a Big Mac as an altruistic gift.

  • Siobhan

    For altruism I give via Kiva.org. This is an organization that gives microloans to people all around the world (and in the US) so that they can expand on their business or improve their home to improve their situation so they can continue contributing to their local communities. These are loans, not donations. You get paid back (but no interest). Then you can reloan the money to someone else.

    I have joined the Atheists group that is consistently sending out twice as many loans as any other group on the site and has been for years. This group provides a tool so you can identify the loaning agencies that are religious (or other criteria you set) so you can avoid loaning through them if you want to.

    This feels -great-. I’m helping people all over the world with small loans. When I got a small inheritance from my grandfather, we set aside about half of what was left (after taxes) to give away. We gave some to our friends, some to the state food bank, some to the red cross (this was right around the time of the troubles in Japan), and we put $2000 into Kiva.org. $500 of that went as a donation to the org itself, the rest I’ve been sending out as loans.

    I’ve already been paid some back and been able to reloan. I’m up to 37 loans. You can start doing this with as little as $25. That’s the base amount you put into a loan.

    This is a brilliant way to turn a small amount into a large impact on a larger scale.

    Oh, and here’s a direct link to the Atheist group on Kiva: http://www.kiva.org/team/atheists

  • http://hooglyboogly.co Brian

    When we talk about our good deeds it isn’t altruism or charity its egoism. Fact is the person who bought the meal wasn’t being altruistic because she requested the card be given to the person in the following car. She was spreading Christian propaganda. We don’t need to do this because Christians will simply say “look how they try to copy us to make themselves feel moral” or some such nonsense.

    Brian

  • Silent Service

    I was out all last week but feel compelled to comment on this.

    Paying for the person behind you in the drive through at McDonalds is not being altruistic. Pick up some much needed supplies at your local grocery store and drive them down to a homeless shelter. Buying breakfast for somebody at random in a drive-through just grandstanding to make yourself feel better and it isn’t helping somebody that really need help. In fact it likely excludes anybody that seriously needs help with a grocery bill.

    • Bob Kawalski

      Exactly!

  • Bob Kawalksi

    I am an atheist and an altruist. Your mentality of doing good things to show others that we are as good as or better than Christians is completely backwards. It might be time for you to rethink your morals.
    If a Christian (Theist) does something good for others…GREAT! If you do something good for others…GREAT! Either way someone gets helped, but if you or the Theist do it to be rewarded with honor or praise, or heaven… well at least someone got helped.
    The problem is that when you only help others for an ulterior, selfish motive, then people aren’t going to get helped when there is no reward, which is often when they need it the most.

    Also, paying for someone’s drive through is nice, but they ordered it and posses the means to pay for it. If you really want to do something good, give that money or your time to someone who really needs it, like the homeless.


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