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Author Topic: A question
AchillesHeel
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In regards to charity I don't think that religions are better at organizing or dispensing, they simply have their banner raised when they do it. Non religious organizations that are not declared as atheist organizations do plenty, atheists and any version of non-theist you prefer donate to them and religion based charities as well. The difference is that we do it on a personal level because we want to, we feel it is necessary even though we will never be rewarded for it.
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advice for robots
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You’re kind of talking about two different things—a religious group organizing some kind of service event and letting their name be known in the process (such as the Mormons and their Helping Hands organization), and service done by friends and neighbors for each other just because. Neither theists or non-theists have a corner on either. Belonging to a religious congregation definitely helps foster a sense of community and is a likely place to find friends you’d help regardless of any recognition you’re receiving for it. You’re not wearing your nametag when you do it. An organization of atheists would I’m sure build the same camaraderie between themselves.

My Mormon ward is organizing service projects for people all the time, and doing them somewhat under the ward’s banner. I was in a position where I had to organize many of those. But people in my ward also go out all the time to help somebody just because they want to help.

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Rakeesh
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While I agree with many of your responses there, afr, I do think Achilles is correct when talking about good work being done under a banner. This is mostly for Boris, since if I'm not mistaken he's the one who raised this as a reason not to allow public or member access to the books, but the church and its members most certainly do 'cry it from the rooftops' in terms of good works. It comes up almost as a guarantee whenever a discussion comes up, for example, about the benefits of religion, or why someone belongs to certain religions, or what they are proud of in their religion, so on and so forth.

That's not to say the publicity is *why* good works are done, but it's silly to speak as though it's entirely demure and subtle either.

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Black Fox
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quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
Black Fox, it seems that what you are complaining about isn't a lack of charity; it is a lack of organization. As general rule, atheists don't organize the same way that churches or even secular clubs so. That doesn't mean that they do less charitable work. They just don't necessarily do it under the auspices of a particular group.

I am not trying to argue that atheists are any less charitable than theists, if anything I've met a number of extremely generous, in both terms of money and community service, atheists. What I am trying to say is that religious groups do a good job of fostering a community environment that you don't see in a lot of other organizations. I think that a lot of churches do a good job of forming community bonds between groups that often don't interact in modern society. For example, were it not for church I would have an extremely limited interaction with the elderly portion of my community.

I'm certainly not trying to say that these connections can't be made in other ways, but religious communities can do a good job of creating those connections. My church in Minnesota was also proactive in getting people involved in charitable activities through both religious and secular organizations in the community.

Religious communities can, and do, make their membership aware of things happening to the fringes of society. For example, my church in Minnesota was big informing people what was happening to the refugee community in Minnesota as well as to some of the less privileged portions of society in the state. These certainly aren't exclusive traits to religious organizations, but I do see them as big positives for being the member of a religious community.

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advice for robots
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No, it’s not always done under the radar. I don’t see why it always should be, either. I would think if an atheist organization got involved in a similar cause they’d not completely shy away from the publicity. Like you said, some act of service done under a banner isn’t necessarily being done solely for publicity’s (read: narcissistic) sake. You might make your name known to attract other likeminded people and organizations to a cause that needs all the support it can get. You might show up “under a banner” because you’re one sovereign organization treating with another. You might be using the occasion to make what you think is a statement people need to hear. Or just to let the sufferers know help is here in an organized, competent fashion. The Red Cross wades in to all sorts of areas mired in suffering, and people know they can trust them when they see who they are. But in the end, the Red Cross is there to help people, not to promote the Red Cross.

Again, like I said, there’s service in an organized fashion, which is hardly the sole domain of religious organizations. And there’s service on an individual basis, which anyone can do as well. My guess is that the vast majority of all of that service is done precisely because people want to help out, and they’re finding ways to do so.

Also, it’s my opinion that you always get something in return for “selfless” service—be it the endorphin buzz, an enhanced sense of self worth, a strengthened bond of friendship with those you serve, a greater sense of community, satisfaction for a job well done, the feeling that you’ve done your part, the sacrifice aspect, etc. When you step in where help is needed you take part ownership of the situation, and, regardless of how thankless the task is, pride in sharing it. Now, I don’t mean that’s everyone’s motivation when they see someone in need, but it does end up in the equation.

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Jeff C.
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If you don't see yourself ever believing in Christ or the foundations of Mormonism, then you shouldn't become a Mormon. You especially shouldn't do this if you plan on lying.

I suggest you look at a wide variety of religions before making a leap into one. Just because you like Mormons, it doesn't mean you should become one. You should find a religion you agree with and then follow it. Honestly, there are so many out there that you're bound to find one you like.

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Black Fox
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quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
While I agree with many of your responses there, afr, I do think Achilles is correct when talking about good work being done under a banner. This is mostly for Boris, since if I'm not mistaken he's the one who raised this as a reason not to allow public or member access to the books, but the church and its members most certainly do 'cry it from the rooftops' in terms of good works. It comes up almost as a guarantee whenever a discussion comes up, for example, about the benefits of religion, or why someone belongs to certain religions, or what they are proud of in their religion, so on and so forth.

That's not to say the publicity is *why* good works are done, but it's silly to speak as though it's entirely demure and subtle either.

I literally can't think of an instance where my church raised its "banner" when doing service in the community. The only reason a lot of people would know we were religious or Catholic was if they directly asked who we were with. A lot of our donations as a church were essentially passed on to secular organizations who received the public credit for the good done. I don't think anyone was keeping score or trying to say that a certain percentage of donations came from Catholic communities.
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kmbboots
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So why do we call it Catholic Charities?
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