Ask an atheist!

Facebook and the blogosphere are telling me today is Ask an Atheist day. If you’re already reading this blog, you’ve probably had plenty of questions to ask atheists questions in the past. Nevertheless, I’m going to follow suit with JT and announce that I will respond to all comments in this thread asking a question. So fire away!

  • Art Vandelay

    Okay, I asked JT a question about Rudolph so I’ll make yours a little tougher.

    A few months ago, I decided to do one of those adopt a child things where I give like 35 bucks a month and I thoguht while helping out some child in Africa it would be a nice experience for my girls to have a foreign pen-pal and gain some perspective outside of their sheltered little Americana lives. So I just clicked on the ad which was on FTB by the way and we found a girl with the same birthday as my daughter and signed up. Not until afterwards did I realize that this was a Christian ministry and it’s main mission is spiritual healing. All of a sudden…it just feels kind of sleazy. I don’t want to demonstrate God’s unconditional love through my charity; I just want to feed and innoculize a kid in Africa. No exaggeration…this thing is really Jesus-y.

    So I messed up by not making sure it was a secular charity and now I’m stuck promoting Christian faith…something which I despise. So what’s the lesser of two evils here? Do I keep giving to this kid and allow my money to be used for Christian indoctrination or just start over and find a new organization that does something similar. I kind of feel sleazy either way.

    • godlesspanther

      The lesser of two evils? I can’t say for sure. If I were in your situation I might just flip a coin.

      You certainly can chalk this up to a learning experience. Before getting involved with an organization, find out about it. Who are they? What, exactly, do they do? Who are they connected with?

      Religious organizations in general tend to hide their proselytizing intentions. You are not going to get that information up front. This does not just apply to Christian groups. The Krishnas, Scientology, Moonies,and even some lesser-known cults set up front groups and try to hide their affiliation with the larger group and the true motives of the operation.

      So — I can say research before getting involved — that for sure. The lesser of two evils? I would not feel that it is my place to make that decision for anyone other than me (I’m not a xtian.)But I will say this — if you dig further into this group that you are donating to, you would be likely to find that they are connected with some really shitty things. Prominent xtian organizations almost invariably have connections with anti-gay, anti-women, anti-science agendas.

      • Art Vandelay

        Hey wait…it’s Ask an Atheist Day. You have to answer! Serously though…I’m an idiot. Now they have this girl praying for me. I don’t know if their Christian donors get off on that or what but nothing makes me more uncomfortable than some 9 year old girl living in a mud hut whose favorite food is broth sitting around praying for me.

        • http://oldtimeatheism.blogspot.ca/ andyman409

          Well… did the praying at least work? :)

    • http://www.facebook.com/chris.hallquist Chris Hallquist

      Start over, and chose a charity based on effectiveness not gimmicks. Check out <a href="http://www.givewell.org&quot;GiveWell.org.

  • Reginald Selkirk

    What do you think of this article about Samaritans being written out of the Old Testament?

    • http://www.facebook.com/chris.hallquist Chris Hallquist

      I really don’t know enough about the Old Testament to say.

  • Jerb

    What is the one book on ethical philosophy that I should read?

    • http://www.facebook.com/chris.hallquist Chris Hallquist

      Peter Singer’s The Life You Can Save. His other books are pretty good too.

  • M.Nieuweboer

    Alas it’s already April 20th, but this thread is a bit short, so I’m going to take my chance anyway.
    Can an atheist adhere to a belief system like Marxism without being contradictory? If yes, how about Buddhism?

    • http://www.facebook.com/chris.hallquist Chris Hallquist

      Yes. Being an atheist isn’t the same thing as being rational.


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