Encouraging religion to "beget" off!
Chris Stedman takes the old Christian idea of “works” vs “belief” and tries to use it to compare atheist charity to their religious counterparts. Is atheism without works dead? The shifting landscape of nontheistic service.
However the issue goes much deeper that this shallow tit-for-tat article makes out. Lets look at the bigger picture…
Why do Americans put such a high value on “service” compared to most other countries? Because there is a massive under-investment in publicly funded social services to deprived sectors of the community. So the giving is necessary because it is sorely needed.
Why the under-funding? Because the American right-wing’s religious dogma demonizes “big government”, and in recent decades their government’s social programs have been hugely scaled back by the Republicans, strongly supported by religious lobby groups.
So if you take all the U.S. religious giving, but then subtract all the programs that have been cut due to religious influence, you get a massive net deficit on the religious side.
So this article misses the main point. In the U.S., atheists tend to favor the Democrats and the intelligent use of social programs to close that gap as a fairer and more efficient way of addressing social inequalities. Why should atheists put such a high value of service when the social system itself is so broken? “Service” in this context is only the smallest band-aid over a gaping wound. You have only to compare the U.S. to other countries to see this.