Surprise, surprise

Herewith one of the least controversial (but most relevant for our purposes) assertions in Sam Harris‘s brilliant Letter to a Christian Nation:

Countries with high levels of atheism are also the most charitable both in terms of the percentage of their wealth they devote to social welfare programs and the percentage they give in aid to the developing world.  [This highlights the] dubious link between Christian literalism and Christian values . . .

So conventional wisdom notwithstanding, the relation between religious faith and the charitable impulse is actually inverse.  In fact if you want your money to go directly to the poor, funneling it through religious institutions with their own bills to pay and agendas to forward is the least effective means you could choose.

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4 Responses to “Surprise, surprise”

  1. Anita Bernstein Says:

    Yes, but denizens of the Christian Nation give more money to charity (while being stingy, of course, in their government social-welfare spending) and adopt more babies per capita than people in other nations with comparable income and less piety. Atheism and a big charitable sector probably don’t mix. Do you, :-), want to put the Nonprofiteer out of a job?

  2. Nonprofiteer Says:

    The roots of religion are so deep in this country that we’re unlikely ever to have to find out whether an atheistic America could sustain a nonprofit sector. I’m just plumping for recognition of the irreligious good among us.

  3. learn to study the bible Says:

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  4. Nonprofiteer Says:

    Thank you for your gracious reply. Glad to have you as a regular reader.

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