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Why is Richard Dawkins giving to the Haitian relief effort?

Richard Dawkins, author of the book The God Delusion, made a donation to the Haitian earthquake relief effort. His Foundation for Reason and Science has aligned with 13 other groups, such as The Atheist Alliance, Unreasonable Faith, and The Skeptic Society, to start a mechanism for atheists to be charitable. Their new web site, called "Non-believers Giving Aid" is a way to show that atheists are caring and compassionate.


But isn't this showboating attempt to make atheists seem as though they are humanitarian champions just a little bit disingenuous? A token gift given very publicly at a time of intense human need is very different from the constant service and love given on the ground, without any need for attention, by numerous Christian organizations and individuals every day.


Take, for example, the CNN report about the Haitian orphanage called Brebis de Saint-Michel de L'attalaye. This is an orphanage run by an organization known as Answered Prayers. Two sisters, Jamie and Ali McMutrie, have been selflessly serving and caring for Haitian orphans for the last 3 years.  This is just one of numerous Christian organizations that run orphanages and missions throughout Haiti and the rest of the world. Countless individuals give up their own comfort in order to go to a place that's filled with violence or poverty in order to share the love of Jesus.


Julian the Apostate once attempted the same type of campaign as Dawkins. Writing in a letter to Arsacius in the 4th century, he lamented that "the impious Galileans support our poor as well as their own." He then went on to lead a campaign to get the pagan temples to care for their own poor, but it failed miserably.


Jesus taught that we would be judged by how we treated "the least of these" (Matthew 25:30-40). He said that when we saw somebody, especially a fellow Christian, who was naked or hungry, we should look at it as an opportunity to care for Him. . . that we've done it unto Him.


Our love for Jesus is our motivation to love our neighbor. What is the motivation of the atheists? Is it truly love, that's willing to give selflessly, whenever and wherever there's need, with no hope of recognition, or merely a pharisaical attempt to prove themselves?


Julian, "Letter to Arsacius." Based in part on the translation of Edward J. Chinook, A Few Notes on Julian and a Translation of His Public Lectures. (London: David Nutt, 1901), 75-78, as quoted by D. Brendan Nagle and Stanley M. Burstein in The Ancient World: Readings in Social and Cultural History (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1995), 314-315. Then Again: Primary Source, http://www.thenagain.info/Classes/Sources/Julian.html (accessed 2-27-2009).

Comments

  • Obvious Human 4 years ago

    ...Your use of beliefs in a god and Jesus as fact in your article are disturbing, try taking all of that out, and then justifying the fact that the Atheist's had an alterior motive... I don't know where you heard about it, but It hasn't been on CNN, HLN, FOX, MSNBC at all. They've always had a charitable fund, just not for Haiti until now. I find it ironic that you claim atheists/agnostics/skeptics/freethoughtists as showboating, when christian people are always praising Jesus openly, whenever anything happens, even for no reason at all! Showboating comes in many ways, you might take a look at yourself, before you publish another propaganda paper

  • ScottyC 4 years ago

    Maybe you can send a donation to Pat Roberton's charity?

  • Don 4 years ago

    Charitable giving should come from the heart, from empathy for those in need, and from a desire to give to improve our world. Giving to good causes, with out strings attached, should always be exalted no matter what is the motivation.

    I feel that it is disengenuous to fault anyone for giving to a cause such as the Haiti rescue effort. I am more concerned about people, atheist or christian, who don't give!!

  • Monica 4 years ago

    Empathy and compassion are human characteristics. Mr. Dawkins knows that so he and others give because it's the right thing the do.

    No deity has ever rebuilt a destroyed home or fed and clothed the naked and starving, it was us... it has always been us.

    Very sad article by a sad little person.

  • Seawolf 4 years ago

    What's that scripture verse you Christians like to use (whenever it is convienent)? Oh yes....

    MATTHEW 7:1-5:
    "Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull the mote out of thine eye; and behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast the mote out of thy brother's eye."

    My advice to the author of this trite essay would be, "Diane needs to worry about Diane and Richard Dawkins will worry about Richard Dawkins. And we all should worry about Haiti." The end.

  • Stacy 4 years ago

    This is really a disgusting article. There are hundreds of celebrities screaming out of the woodwork with donations, but you focus on a group that gave quietly because you disagree with their faith? I'm praying for you.

  • Captain Atheist 4 years ago

    Wow, brilliant piece of bigotry there. As an Atheist, I deny the existence of a "Holy Spirit." I do not need to believe in something in order to be kind to another human. Dr. Dawkins is not being charitable to try to assure a place in a non-existent "Heaven." Dr. Dawkins is doing this because it is the right thing to do. He doesn't need some supernatural thing to tell him how to be a good person.

    If heaven is supposed to be filled with those of your ilk, I am glad I won't be there. Hope you and Pat Robertson have fun together.

  • Wendy L 4 years ago

    Taking a cheap shot like that just shows ignorance on the part of the author. It doesn't take a belief in a good to be humane.

  • Love Believes the Best 4 years ago

    Captain Atheist,
    A believer's acts don't secure them a place in heaven(Titus 3:5). The only thing a person can "do" is believe(John 1:12,Heb. 11:6)The acts that are done afterwards are to be evidence of our believing He is who He says He is.(1 John 4:7-12)
    What Ms. L seems to have forgotten is that every person has a conscience(Romans 2:6-16, emp.16), believer or not. Non-believers doing what is right, are obeying it and won't be found guilt of neglecting their fellow man in this instance(Ecc. 12:13-14)
    Regardless of motive or faith, I'm not going to put aperson down for doing the right thing. Micha 6:8 What has God required of thee oh, man, but to do justly to love kindness and to walk humbly with your God?

  • Love Believes the Best 4 years ago

    Captain Atheist,
    A believer's acts don't secure them a place in heaven(Titus 3:5). The only thing a person can "do" is believe(John 1:12,Heb. 11:6)The acts that are done afterwards are to be evidence of our believing He is who He says He is.(1 John 4:7-12)
    What Ms. L seems to have forgotten is that every person has a conscience(Romans 2:6-16, emp.16), believer or not. Non-believers doing what is right, are obeying it and won't be found guilt of neglecting their fellow man in this instance(Ecc. 12:13-14)
    Regardless of motive or faith, I'm not going to put aperson down for doing the right thing. Micha 6:8 What has God required of thee oh, man, but to do justly to love kindness and to walk humbly with your God?

  • Baby Ruth 4 years ago

    Love Believes the Best seams to be using the bible as proof that everyone has a conscience, believer or not. Which is contradicting the point Love Believes the Best is trying to make. What proof do you have of consciences? Are they like a liver, does everyone physically have one?

  • Love Believes the Best 4 years ago

    Baby Ruth,
    Why do think that scripture use by a believer is contradictory rather than suportive?
    What proof? Observe the behavior of toddlers. They experience joy in sharing, try to cover up what they shouldn't have done, etc. before they have any significant life experience.
    What is your reasoning or motives for "doing the right thing"? That was the issue in the first place.

  • Dennis 4 years ago

    If the religious organizations did not want recognition for their efforts, why don't they provide aid and funds anonymously? Most, if not all, aid organizations publicize what they do, if for no other reason than to get more people to be aware of worthy causes and contribute. To single out non-believers is absurd.