A Cheerful Giver–to what?

Commenter Mark Johnson observes that religion often produces the worst rather than the best in our society.  His point should be an obvious one, but it’s not, and here’s why: people who give money to religion are counted as giving money to charity; therefore, it appears that religious people are more charitable than non-religious people, though all they’re really doing is giving money to a club that was willing to have them as a member.  In 2004, religious organizations received the largest proportion of charitable contributions, with 35.5 percent of total estimated contributions going to these organizations, according to Giving USA.  If you discount gifts to religion itself, secular humanists stack up quite as well as zealots–better, if you note our enthusiasm for acknowledging social needs as public problems, and our advocacy of wide-ranging public solutions.

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