Gates, Buffet, Morality, and Charity
An editorial in the Indianapolis Star’s Faith and Values, section, Aug 21, paid tribute to the generosity of Bill Gates and Warren Buffett. Why was no mention given to their religious beliefs and the role that God plays in their humanitarian efforts to help others less fortunate than they? The answer was simple. Neither believe in God, you know, the God that created the universe in six days.
Here are two men who arguably are among the greatest humanitarians in history, and both are currently encouraging other wealthy people to give half their wealth to the needy. Amazing! All billionaires and most multi millionaires could easily afford to do this great act of charity. Gates and Buffet have committed 30 billion (billion with a B) dollars each to charity. I can only assume that the Gates and Buffet are motivated from other than from God.
Religionists claim this is unlikely; they claim without God there is no morality and no concept of goodness and charity. In a recent Billy Graham column in the Indianapolis Star and other news media, the Reverend Graham seemed perplexed on the matter. He claimed that moral nontheists are good because “they were born with sunny dispositions or their parents taught them to be good children.” Thank you Dr. Graham for your wise proclamation. The Reverend Graham and other religionists are apparently unaware that Christians don’t have a monopoly on love, empathy and charity. In fact, these traits have long been observed in primates and other mammals. They are natural evolutionary traits. Empathy in animals and humans is important to the very survival of a species. Doing unto others as you would have them do unto you was a successful practice in our pre-human ancestors well before it was written in religion’s holy books. Empathy is, simply putting oneself into the position of those less fortunate, imagining their pain to a point where merciful action is taken if possible.
Theists who have difficulty when non-theists do good works often surpassing Christian charity, claim in desperation that God made non-theists good people and therefore He deserves the credit. My religious Mother-in-law often told me I really believed in God but just didn’t know it. Theists believe that atheists and agnostics are charitable and empathetic through no credit of their personal philosophy, character and ethics. What a shame and what an injustice routinely attributed to nonbelievers. Gates, Buffett, and others are living proof that goodness and charity are innate in humans and attainable by all regardless of their religion or non-religion.
Gates and Buffett are not the exception. Moral and charitable Non-theists and non-Christians are numerous. Do an Internet search under Famous Non-Theists or check out FFRF’s long list of well-known non-believers. I recommend that those critical of non-theists get over the unfortunate and misguided belief that the supernatural way is the only path to goodness and charity. It just ain’t true.