Hi guys

I've been invited to a clothes swapping event at a friends house who is a Christian. For those of you who wonder what a clothes swap is (!), you get together all your old clothes that you don't wear any more and everyone gets together, tries on different clothes and hopefully gets a few nice things to wear!  Often we have some nibbles and drinks too, its a fun thing.

My friend has decided to raise money for Charity through the next clothes swap so everyone is donating £2 to Christian Aid.  I have a problem donating money to religious affiliated organisations.  I don't think Christian Aid preach the gospel but I know they are actively Christian.  They have a list of churches on their website that sponser them under a "Churches" tab at the top and they say "Christian Aids work is founded on Christian faith".

For this reason, I didn't want to donate my money to Christian Aid and my friend has said I can donate to a non religious cause and still come along.

It still bugs me though that even if my money goes somewhere else, I am still helping an event too run to raise money for Christian Aid.  Does anyone have any views on this? Thoughts please!  I might actually email this to athiest experience too!

Thanks!

Beccs

p.s. - I know its a small amount of money but its still the principle of the thing!

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Many atheists must be facing a similar dillemma because we are living in a religious world. Some times we may have to compromise on our principles due to heavy social pressures, but in this case, I believe, the pressure is not likely very heavy. It is possible that your friend is already knowing of your atheists inclinations. I think you can politely decline to donate.

Do others within her Church organisation know of your atheism? If so, perhaps this could serve as a wake-up to them that we are not amoral. The assumption being is that morality and charity are derived only from god. People need to understand this isn't the case.

Jason makes a good point. By showing that you are able to coexist with believers and put a positive face on atheism, you reinforce atheism as a viable alternative. I realize it's not how it is in the US, but you never know how it could impact someone's prejudice on atheism. My mother's church has a sister church in Brighton. Were it to be one of their congregation at this party to meet you, see that you're just as good a person as anyone else, that person can stand up for you (and us), if they were to overhear a US christian visiting, saying something bad about atheists. "Well, I met an atheist at a party to raise money for..." --You get the picture. Some minds have to be pried open... others just need to have their eyes opened through experience.

Also, you said that your hostess is fine with you donating to a non-religious charity in lieu of the one she is supporting. I think that's very fair, honestly. As well, you may find through conversation, that guests might decide to learn more about your charity as well! You really just never know. You could treat this as an opportunity to reach out to people, on so many levels.

Once you've handed your money to another person or organization you are empowering them. It's similar to buying illegal drugs. Yes, you get the feel good part right? But what you financed was an operation that gets a 12 year old kids head blown off by a rival cartel. I'm not suggesting that christians are aimlessly killing children but your money will be financing lock-in all night brain washings and resupplying bibles in every hotel room around the world. Money is the one true god! They won't admit it but they know it, that's why they want your money. Screw them, let their magic wizard in the sky provide! 

I forgot to finish that. This is between us non-theists, we don't want to come across this crass. Instead when your friend asks just say, "I'm sorry I only donate my time not money." "I feel that money is corruptive where as time is personal and genuine." "Dang it, I'm busy that night." 

Personally, I draw a hard line when it comes to functions at a church.

I have had family members mad at me because I will not attend Baptisms, for instance. 
The ONLY exception to my own rule (and I admit it is somewhat arbitrary) is funerals. For some close loved ones, it is the only service. I look at it more as being there for support of the family. I will not have anything to do with the service. And generally, I will go to a visitation and skip the service, or go to a reception, but skip a wedding. Thankfully, many more are taking place in a secular non religious service.

I simply will not endorse actively or passively, the coercion of first communions, baptisms, or other purely church nonsense.

Regarding this clothes swap, I will not give any money that could end up supporting organized religion.
They already get a break on taxes that I unwillingly am forced to underwrite, despite the separation of church and state.

That being said, Im not confronted with those types of events often. I have been in the South, and man oh man, is it hard to avoid down there.  

I personally walked by all the Salvation Army kettles this holiday season because the salvation army preaches that it is a sin to be gay, and I have people that I know and love who are gay/bisexual/etc.  I gave our money to JDRF the most since our son has type 1 diabetes, St. Judes ( I don't know if they are religious, but they treat really sick kids for free), I always put money in the collection @ McD's for Ronald McDonalds Childrens Houses ( I know, I shouldn't be @ McDonalds!), several organizations for animals, etc.  I know Salvation Army does good things, I just CAN'T give my money to an organization that preaches something so terrible.

" living in a religious world."
not in the USA. secular or bust baby:
http://www.facebook.com/events/318470384853590/
frontline no faithline

Hi guys

Thanks for your comments, all views are appreciated and its nice to be able to weigh up different opinions etc with other like minded people.

In the end, I decided not to go.  The reason being that it was supporting something I don't agree with; even though my friend had said I could donate elsewhere, I was still attending and helping a function with a religious fund raising aim.  Personally, I decided that's where I draw the line.

Thanks!

Just came across this post, although I may have somewhat ‘missed the bus’ so to speak on this discussion, your post touched a nerve, namely charity. :)


There are many complex and inter-related considerations, but one of the main ones is charity involvement and those run by churches.


The effectiveness of well-meaning charity?


I have always felt uneasy in giving money to charities, particular church run ones, but couldn't find definitive research on this and why I felt this way. Anyway, currently reading a book called 'Toxic Charity - How churches & charities hurt those they help' by Robert Lupton, who ironically is religious himself. The basic tenet of the book suggests that unless those in need have a stake in the solution (possible financial by way of a micro loan), then invariably charity money just creates a dependency culture. Empathy is a great emotion but can lead to over compensating and actually disempowering those you are trying to help and typically charities try to fix things with just well-meaning actions and lots of money, which never seems to work long term.


I think a lot of the time our empathy is combined with an element of guilt. Also I think this idea of giving has a selfish element to it as well, a sort of manifestation of feeling better about oneself,…….‘look I’m a good person everybody’. Something that I think churches use with their own flock? Remember how the world got on board with the feed Africa concerts leading to a sense of ‘in the moment group dynamic feel good factor’. I am not saying we shouldn’t give or help, but understand the reasons why we are doing it, certainly a lot of psychological factors, particularly social coercion.


Anyway interesting book, would recommend and glad you found your path on what to do with your recent dilemma. :)

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