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