Atheists Are Charitable Donors Too—Just Ask Médecins Sans Frontières

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December 12, 2011; Source: Reuters | Religion is the backbone of charitable giving in the U.S. Are atheists also charitably generous? This report from Reuters describes the largest online fundraiser ever of Doctors Without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières), powered by 50,000 hits on MSF’s U.S. website this past Sunday, compared to the typical Sunday count of 4,000, give or take. The infusion of hits came from “a horde of redditors, subscribers to the social media site,” including many from the atheism sub-reddit site. The atheists seem to have taken a charitable shine to this phenomenal organization. Many of the donations were tagged “because god won’t” or “good without god.” The Condé Nast–owned reddit seems to be atheist-friendly: the atheist sub-reddit site has 300,000 subscribers while the Christian reddit site has 20,000. The donations from atheist redditors will be used by MSF to respond to emergencies where they happen as opposed to being designated for a specific country or issue. MSF may used some to support the Global Fund to Fight AIDs, Tuberculosis and Malaria, which, as we noted here in the NPQ Newswire not long ago, has been compelled to cut back on projected new grants through 2014.

Any charitable atheists want to weigh in on their charitable priorities?—Rick Cohen

  • Jennifer

    I’m getting tired of we atheists getting a bad rap for being heathens and generally bad people!

    Personally, I have always been partial to donating to organizations that are secular and are not religiously affiliated – I don’t care what good religious organizations are doing.

    I work here now, but I love Boys & Girls Clubs – keeps kids off the streets, gives them support in more ways that people realize. Academic success is a top priority, along with healthy lifestyles and good character & leadership.

    Locally, an organization called Sacred Heart is one of my favorites. Despite its name, this is not a religious organization, rather it is a nondenominational Community Action Agency that focuses on fighting poverty and empowering the poor.

    I also donate to local theatre groups.

  • DT

    Empathy does not require any gods, only understanding, compassion and experience. I help/donate because I like people and I do not want to see anybody suffer unnecessarily for any reason.
    If you are not part of the solution, then you are part of the problem!

  • TrekGirl

    I support several local nonprofit groups, all nonreligious in nature. I tend not to support the larger, national organizations, even if they are secular. It’s not that I feel that larger organizations aren’t worthy (some are); I prefer to support the smaller ones that are helping people in my community.

  • Jack

    I don’t see what believing in God has to do with helping out others and making life better for everyone. What does helping out humanity and striving for a better future have to do with the belief that a being created us?

  • Lesath

    Your post actually understates the amount of donations by the Reddit atheists. /r/atheism raised $150000 for MSF in its donation drive.

  • adictgamer

    Atheists on a personal level may be more charitable than most because we know that these problems must be addressed by man not by wishfull thinking.

  • Anon

    Want to hear something funny? The world’s largest charity, the Gates’ Foundation, worth several BILLION dollars, is founded and run by Bill Gates, an atheist. Yet to hear of a Jerry Falwell, Billy Graham,or Pat Robertson charity