Monday, January 18, 2010
Non-Believers Giving Aid: a religion-free way to help disaster victims
Spurred by the horrific suffering in Haiti, the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science (RDFRS) has joined forces with 13 other freethought groups or associates, to collect donations to non-religious relief organizations. Those participating are Atheist Alliance International, Atheists Helping the Homeless, Atheists United, The British Humanist Association, James Randi Educational Foundation, Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers, New Humanist magazine, Pharyngula, Rationalist Association, Reasonable New York, The Reason Project, The Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science, The Skeptics Society and Unreasonable Faith.
We have set up a new dedicated bank account and PayPal facility in the new name of Non-Believers Giving Aid. All of the money donated will be distributed to disaster relief.
Clearly the immediate need is for the suffering people of Haiti, and all the money raised by this current appeal will go to that cause, but the new account will remain available for future emergencies too. There are, of course, many ways for you to donate to relief organizations already, but doing it through Non-Believers Giving Aid offers some advantages:
1. 100% of your donation will be go to these charities: not even the PayPal fees will be deducted from your donation, since Richard will personally donate a sum to cover the cost of these (capped at $10,000). This means that more of your money will reach the people in need.
2. When donating via Non-Believers Giving Aid, you are helping to counter the scandalous myth that only the religious care about their fellow-humans.
It goes without saying that your donations will only be passed on to aid organizations that do not have religious affiliations. In the case of Haiti, the two organizations we have chosen are:
Preachers and televangelists, mullahs and imams, often seem almost to gloat over natural disasters – presenting them as payback for human transgressions, or for ‘making a pact with the devil’. Earthquakes and tsunamis are caused not by ‘sin’ but by tectonic plate movements, and tectonic plates, like everything else in the physical world, are supremely indifferent to human affairs and sadly indifferent to human suffering. Those of us who understand this reality are sometimes accused of being indifferent to that suffering ourselves. Of course the very opposite is the truth: we do not hide behind the notion that earthly suffering will be rewarded in a heavenly paradise, nor do we expect a heavenly reward for our generosity: the understanding that this is the only life any of us have makes the need to alleviate suffering even more urgent. The myth that it is only the religious who truly care is sustained largely by the fact that they tend to donate not as individuals, but through their churches. Non-believers, by contrast, give as individuals: we have no church through which to give collectively, no church to rack up statistics of competitive generosity. Non-Believers Giving Aid is not a church (that’s putting it mildly) but it does provide an easy conduit for the non-religious to help those in desperate need, whilst simultaneously giving the lie to the canard that you need God to be good.
Please help us to help the suffering people of Haiti.