Confirmed: Atheists more motivated by compassion in charitable giving than believers are; Update: Numbers added

posted at 10:15 pm on May 1, 2012 by Allahpundit

First nonbelief is linked to analytic thinking, now this. So that’s why people hate atheists. We’re too darned smart and soulful.

Obama’s been spiking the football all day. Now it’s my turn. Picture me pointing at the computer screen, performing an impromptu Ickey Shuffle, and then slamming that pigskin to the ground so hard that it knocks the money out of my wallet and straight into your favorite charity’s donation box. Touchdown.

That doesn’t mean highly religious people don’t give, according to the research to be published in the July 2012 issue of the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science. But compassion seems to drive religious people’s charitable feelings less than it other groups.

“Overall, we find that for less religious people, the strength of their emotional connection to another person is critical to whether they will help that person or not,” study co-author and University of California, Berkeley social psychologist Robb Willer said in a statement. “The more religious, on the other hand, may ground their generosity less in emotion, and more in other factors such as doctrine, a communal identity, or reputational concerns.”…

In the first study, Saslow and her colleagues analyzed data from a national survey of more than 1,300 American adults taken in 2004. They found that compassionate attitudes were linked with how many generous behaviors a person was likely to report. But this link was strongest in people who were atheists or only slightly religious, compared with people who were more strongly religious.

In a second experiment, 101 adults were shown either a neutral video or an emotional video about children in poverty. They were then given 10 fake dollars and told they could give as much as they liked to a stranger. Those who were less religious gave more when they saw the emotional video first.

As usual with these studies about religion, the headline is irresistibly sexy — you’d be excused for thinking at a glance that it was claiming atheists are more compassionate — and then when you read the fine print the reality is more mundane. The study’s not saying that atheists are more compassionate, it’s saying that atheist charitable giving depends more heavily on actually feeling compassion for the victim than believers’ giving does. The believer may tithe or may decide that, as a matter of religious duty, he/she should set aside a certain amount of income to be donated among various charities. In that case, the motive is more an aspiration to behave virtuously than to satisfy some swelling of sympathy. For most (but not all) nonbelievers, I suspect, it’s sympathy that’s the key trigger. That’s how it is for me: I give generously when I feel moved to do so but I don’t set out to spend a specific aggregate amount annually. I do need to feel moved, though. Assuming most other atheists are like me, that means our pattern of giving is more volatile than a believer’s is likely to be, and that in turn probably means that believers are more likely on average to give. (Studies seem to bear this out.) I’d be curious to know, though, whether the amount of the average atheist donation is greater than the amount of the average believer’s donation. If it’s true that sympathy is more important to us, I’d expect that flush of emotion might drive us to give more when we do choose to donate. But since we’re probably donating less frequently than believers do, it may well be that we end up giving less annually in total than believers anyway. Anyone know of any numbers to confirm or challenge those assumptions? I can’t find any with quickie googling.

Update: John McCormack of the Standard e-mails with a link to this Arthur Brooks piece from 2003. The numbers are … not good:

The differences in charity between secular and religious people are dramatic. Religious people are 25 percentage points more likely than secularists to donate money (91 percent to 66 percent) and 23 points more likely to volunteer time (67 percent to 44 percent). And, consistent with the findings of other writers, these data show that practicing a religion is more important than the actual religion itself in predicting charitable behavior. For example, among those who attend worship services regularly, 92 percent of Protestants give charitably, compared with 91 percent of Catholics, 91 percent of Jews, and 89 percent from other religions…

Charity differences between religious and secular people persist if we look at the actual amounts of donations and volunteering. Indeed, measures of the dollars given and occasions volunteered per year produce a yawning gap between the groups. The average annual giving among the religious is $2,210, whereas it is $642 among the secular. Similarly, religious people volunteer an average of 12 times per year, while secular people volunteer an average of 5.8 times. To put this into perspective, religious people are 33 percent of the population but make 52 percent of donations and 45 percent of times volunteered. Secular people are 26 percent of the population but contribute 13 percent of the dollars and 17 percent of the times volunteered.

These differences hardly change when we consider them in isolation from the other demographics, using a statistical technique called tobit regression. Religious practice by itself is associated with $1,388 more given per year than we would expect to see from a secular person (with the same political views, income, education, age, race, and other characteristics), as well as with 6.5 more occasions of volunteering.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Comment pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6

listens2glenn on May 1, 2012 at 11:08 PM

And what would an “expression of atheism” look like exactly on your daily course of actions?

.
The field of Science, and the Performance Arts.
.

Oh, yeah, atheists are the only group that has to “tolerate” christian injection, because I guess there are no other religions/beliefs in this country and Christianity is the only true religion. /sarc

kastor on May 1, 2012 at 11:19 PM

.
No. All sects have to tolerate each other.
I’m not against Christians tolerating expressions of atheism or other religions as long as said “expressions” don’t break existing laws.

Example: Within the United States I would reject the devote Moslem’s right to perpetrate an “honor killing” of a family member, because our existing laws TRUMP his Sharia Law. Period.

But my original point was that I’m against atheists being intolerant of expressions of Christianity in the public square.

listens2glenn on May 1, 2012 at 11:37 PM

Dr. Manhattan on May 1, 2012

Explain the chemical reaction that makes you an atheist. You have no choice, you understand. There is nothing apart from the laws of chemistry and physics by which all things must be explained.

mankai on May 1, 2012 at 11:38 PM

Hey atheists: I’m about to come out publicly @ work as a Jew by way of a Star of David necklace that I ordered. I work not too far from a decent-sized MOSQUE.
My muzzie customers probably don’t realize that I’m Jewish. I have a choice of wearing my necklace ‘out’ and risking possible fall out-or playing it safe and keeping it ‘in’.
Try THAT on for size.

annoyinglittletwerp on May 1, 2012 at 11:38 PM

Mankai pretty much nailed it. You don’t find many atheists who came to their view looking for comfort.

Client Number Nine on May 1, 2012 at 11:39 PM

mankai

Agreed.

Dr. Manhattan on May 1, 2012 at 11:40 PM

I know many nice agnostics and a few nice atheists, but I find it hard to believe that they’re more compassionate than Christians. I guess that makes me an atheist where this study is concerned. I would like to know more about their research and the questions asked in this study. I’d also like to see a comparison of the Salvation Army’s charitable acts and the Atheist Non-belief Compassion Fund (what’s the name of their charity again?). The study also based their findings on what people reported regarding charitable giving. Many give without reporting it.

Christians, individually and in groups, help a lot in times of adversity. I’ve had family members help sandbag levies during serious flooding, clean up flood damage, travel to Mississippi to help after Katrina, raise money to help those in need, help out in soup kitchens, help raise money for various school groups. As for a set percentage of donations, we don’t have a 10% tithe rule at church, people donate what they can afford.

After a tornado hit our city, the majority of help came from religious organizations, especially in the clean-up efforts. Various church organizations in the area have raised enough money to build around 30 new homes. In groups and individually, Christians have come from several states away to help. I’m still looking for the atheist organization that has come in to clean up the debris, clear out fallen trees, rebuild homes.

Ibanez Lotus on May 1, 2012 at 11:40 PM

This was fun, thank you for sending me off to bed with a smile on my face Lt and Dr. I have to go say my prayers now, I’ll include everyone here. God Bless!

peacenprosperity on May 1, 2012 at 11:40 PM

They were then given 10 fake dollars and told they could give as much as they liked to a stranger. Those who were less religious gave more when they saw the emotional video first.

Wait. Are you sure this study wasn’t about people who receive gubmint grant money?

TugboatPhil on May 1, 2012 at 11:41 PM

Good night.

Dr. Manhattan on May 1, 2012 at 11:42 PM

Atheists more motivated by compassion in charitable giving…

Compassion for Gaia, that is.

KS Rex on May 1, 2012 at 11:44 PM

So now you guys can sit down and listen for a minute about what we think…now that we aren’t going to be hung, or exiled, or burned at the stake for saying what we believe.

Dr. Manhattan on May 1, 2012 at 11:05 PM

I had the opportunity to visit some churches in the former Soviet countries in the mid-90′s, just after communism fell. I was told some pretty harrowing tales of what the atheist authorities would do to Christian believers.

Johnny 100 Pesos on May 1, 2012 at 11:44 PM

Atheists have been taking it up the ass in this culture too long.

Dr. Manhattan on May 1, 2012 at 11:05 PM

.
Dr. Manhattan, you just simply are not going to get away with that statement, here.

Ever since the ’70s, atheists have been empowered by the courts to “lord it over” non-atheists, whenever a conflict arises.

listens2glenn on May 1, 2012 at 11:44 PM

mankai

Agreed.

Dr. Manhattan on May 1, 2012 at 11:40 PM

Then arguing is futile… as is every thought you’ve ever had.

mankai on May 1, 2012 at 11:45 PM

So many you atheistic types are just sad ugly people. You keep proving it over and over with your simplistic trite little jokes about Jesus and his followers.
Just plain ugly. You know it and you revel in it. It is YOU.
CW on May 1, 2012 at 11:34 PM

And you’re a warm, caring, non-judgemental Christian who loves and accepts all others despite you disagreeing with them…

Oh wait, I got you mixed up with Jesus.

kastor on May 1, 2012 at 11:45 PM

Billy ‘White Shoes’ Johnson emails to say, “The Ickey shuffle? Damn.”

Mr. Wednesday Night on May 1, 2012 at 11:31 PM

Exactly! Billy’s problem, he didn’t give it a name.

And a video? Who doesn’t remember the Ickey Shuffle?? Oh…really? 80% of the people on here?

TugboatPhil on May 1, 2012 at 11:47 PM

Johnny 100 Pesos on May 1, 2012 at 11:44 PM

The Soviets weren’t exactly enamored with Judaism either.

annoyinglittletwerp on May 1, 2012 at 11:47 PM

Mankai, not knowing which particular chemical reactions are responsible for respective thoughts and emotions doesn’t mean God has to be involved. The problem I find when arguing with believers is often times we approach things differently. Just because your beliefs happen to explain the cosmos and give life meaning doesn’t mean mine have to. It seems like every time science answers a question, ten more naturally pop up. In theory, I think we would be able to explain all the processes of the mind through physics and chemistry, but whether or not we ever develop the tools to observe these processes is another subject.

Client Number Nine on May 1, 2012 at 11:48 PM

Hey atheists: I’m about to come out publicly @ work as a Jew by way of a Star of David necklace that I ordered. I work not too far from a decent-sized MOSQUE.
My muzzie customers probably don’t realize that I’m Jewish. I have a choice of wearing my necklace ‘out’ and risking possible fall out-or playing it safe and keeping it ‘in’.
Try THAT on for size.

annoyinglittletwerp on May 1, 2012 at 11:38 PM

.
Watch your back, girl. You live too close to that out-of-control Southern border, for comfort.

listens2glenn on May 1, 2012 at 11:48 PM

Mankai pretty much nailed it. You don’t find many atheists who came to their view looking for comfort.
Client Number Nine on May 1, 2012 at 11:39 PM

Usually they came to their view by looking for truth and logic and reason.

kastor on May 1, 2012 at 11:50 PM

listens2glenn

Atheists are of such low status in this country that if one were to run for President, he or she could never win. That is no longer true of any other significant religious or ethnic minority.

Dr. Manhattan on May 1, 2012 at 11:50 PM

The wonderful nuns who shepherded me through school for 11 years helped to make me the “good and charitable” atheist I am.

:)

Ladysmith CulchaVulcha on May 1, 2012 at 11:52 PM

But my original point was that I’m against atheists being intolerant of expressions of Christianity in the public square.
listens2glenn on May 1, 2012 at 11:37 PM

What about Christians being intolerant to other groups in a public square? Or is your opinion only the right one?

kastor on May 1, 2012 at 11:52 PM

The Soviets targeted religion because by definition all religions were counter-revolutionary. I’m not sure how much more simple I can explain that. It was about power and party orthodoxy, not belief or nonbelief in God. Stalin is laughing in his grave if that’s the story you are going to tell your kids about why all those millions died.

You: “You see Jimmy, it was Atheists who were the real villains of the 20th Century, they killed millions because they believed in God!”

Stalin: lol

Dr. Manhattan on May 1, 2012 at 11:53 PM

Agnostics aren’t going to judge who is more generous.

Which is generous of them.

profitsbeard on May 1, 2012 at 11:54 PM

mankai

Yup.

Dr. Manhattan on May 1, 2012 at 11:54 PM

Mankai, not knowing which particular chemical reactions are responsible for respective thoughts and emotions doesn’t mean God has to be involved.

If chemical reactions are the sole determination of your thoughts, then your thoughts are a-rational at best. When the wind blows it doesn’t decide where it will blow or how it will blow, it merely follows the laws of physicals. When a scientist pours chemical A into test tube B this mixture may cause it fizz over the top, but the chemicals did not choose to do this, they had to do this. If your thoughts are equivalent the the chemicals bouncing in your head, then your thoughts are merely the predetermined outcome of the impersonal laws of physics. Matter can rationally deliberate on truth, it merely reacts.

Your position refutes itself.

DrummerDude on May 1, 2012 at 11:55 PM

Hey atheists: I’m about to come out publicly @ work as a Jew by way of a Star of David necklace that I ordered. I work not too far from a decent-sized MOSQUE.
My muzzie customers probably don’t realize that I’m Jewish. I have a choice of wearing my necklace ‘out’ and risking possible fall out-or playing it safe and keeping it ‘in’.
Try THAT on for size.

annoyinglittletwerp on May 1, 2012 at 11:38 PM

I doubt anyone will care.

lexhamfox on May 1, 2012 at 11:55 PM

CW on May 1, 2012 at 11:34 PM

And you’re a warm, caring, non-judgemental Christian who loves and accepts all others despite you disagreeing with them…

Oh wait, I got you mixed up with Jesus.

kastor on May 1, 2012 at 11:45 PM

.
You don’t know any of us here well enough to say whether or not we live the Jesus walk-of-life.

listens2glenn on May 1, 2012 at 11:56 PM

The study makes sense to me. Jesus said “love your neighbor” and even “love your enemy”, i.e., treat people with compassion whether or not you “like” them. Christians give of their money and time out of genuine desire to serve God and help their fellow men.

By contrast, atheists only help people who they have emotional connections with. The atheist “golden rule” could be paraphrased: if you’re not my friend or relative, screw you.

joe_doufu on May 1, 2012 at 11:56 PM

Atheists have been taking it up the ass in this culture too long.

Dr. Manhattan on May 1, 2012 at 11:05 PM

But the funny thing is that atheists have more freedom to be atheists in nations with a Christian heritage, than Christians have in Atheist nations.

Johnny 100 Pesos on May 1, 2012 at 11:57 PM

The study makes sense to me. Jesus said “love your neighbor” and even “love your enemy”, i.e., treat people with compassion whether or not you “like” them. Christians give of their money and time out of genuine desire to serve God and help their fellow men.

By contrast, atheists only help people who they have emotional connections with. The atheist “golden rule” could be paraphrased: if you’re not my friend or relative, screw you.

joe_doufu on May 1, 2012 at 11:56 PM

Go ahead and love your enemies.

I’m under no obligation to love mine.

Good Lt on May 1, 2012 at 11:59 PM

listens2glenn on May 1, 2012 at 11:37 PM

What about Christians being intolerant to other groups in a public square? Or is your opinion only the right one?

kastor on May 1, 2012 at 11:52 PM

.
Examples, please.

DISCLAIMER: the Westboro Baptist Church doesn’t count.

listens2glenn on May 2, 2012 at 12:00 AM

You don’t know any of us here well enough to say whether or not we live the Jesus walk-of-life.
listens2glenn on May 1, 2012 at 11:56 PM

Sorry for pointing out the hypocrisy.

kastor on May 2, 2012 at 12:00 AM

I doubt anyone will care.

lexhamfox on May 1, 2012 at 11:55 PM
I’m a known face because I walk EVERYWHERE. That’s the issue.

annoyinglittletwerp on May 2, 2012 at 12:00 AM

But the funny thing is that atheists have more freedom to be atheists in nations with a Christian heritage, than Christians have in Atheist nations.

Johnny 100 Pesos on May 1, 2012 at 11:57 PM

That’s because of restrictive political systems.

Christians are also given a hard time in theistic Islamic nations – ie, RELIGIOUS nations – so this argument is specious.

Good Lt on May 2, 2012 at 12:01 AM

Allah…
I wouldn’t be so fast to quote a “study” which exists in the same vein as “Democrats are smarter than Republicans”.

No really, studies of this nature are just prone to produce the type of result that you know very well the researchers were looking for. Kind of like Climate Change…

But I’d ask, where are the atheist food/pantry kitchens? Personal experience has only shown Christians running those sorts of things.

Sharr on May 2, 2012 at 12:01 AM

Watch your back, girl. You live too close to that out-of-control Southern border, for comfort.

listens2glenn on May 1, 2012 at 11:48 PM

I’m less worried about the border that’s 200+ miles away than I am about the mosque that’s a few BLOCKS away.

annoyinglittletwerp on May 2, 2012 at 12:02 AM

Funny that you call it “pack behavior” when it is animals, and “compassion” when its humans. Because hell, humans never display pack behavior, say like forming massive oppressive religious systems for the purpose of tribal self preservation.

Dr. Manhattan on May 1, 2012 at 11:22 PM

Nice straw-man arguments. I never said those things. I used a current-events example to forestall an anticipated rebuttal. Good heavens, man, don’t show up to a battle of wits unarmed! Some of us here have actually *studied* logic and rhetoric.

But to pick up your non-sequitur non-rebuttal (since you concede that there are in fact no examples of “compassion” among non-humans), what evidence is there that “forming massive oppressive religious systems” has ANYTHING AT ALL to do with “tribal self preservation”?

Be careful in your answer – I happen to know a bit about both “tribal systems” and the Medieval Church (which is what most ignorant fools like to trot out as Exhibit A in support of their myth of “massive oppressive religious systems”)

You still want to play? (or, “You call that a knife? THIS is a knife!”)

skydaddy on May 2, 2012 at 12:02 AM

We’re too darned smart and soulful.

Pride goeth before the fall.

And why is it that abortionists NEVER bring up “Jesus” when they talk about abortion?

GarandFan on May 2, 2012 at 12:02 AM

since you concede that there are in fact no examples of “compassion” among non-humans

Ahem…

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2099658/Remarkable-story-nurture-mans-primate-cousins-rejected-baby-chimp-adopted-mother-zoo.html

And that’s just with one simple Google search.

Good Lt on May 2, 2012 at 12:07 AM

You don’t know any of us here well enough to say whether or not we live the Jesus walk-of-life.
listens2glenn on May 1, 2012 at 11:56 PM

Sorry for pointing out the hypocrisy.

kastor on May 2, 2012 at 12:00 AM

.
Don’t ever be sorry for pointing out hypocrisy, when you can identify it.
But you better be SURE you have legitimate evidence to back-up your charge, before you make it. If your evidence must be interpreted “in the eye of the beholder”, then the charge ain’t gonna stick.

listens2glenn on May 2, 2012 at 12:07 AM

You don’t find many atheists who came to their view looking for comfort.
Client Number Nine on May 1, 2012 at 11:39 PM

Usually they came to their view by looking for truth and logic and reason.

kastor on May 1, 2012 at 11:50 PM

As did I. As did C.S. Lewis, who said something along the lines of, “If I was looking for comfort, a bottle of port would have sufficed.”

Christianity is a distinctly uncomfortalble worldview, because you are constantly reminded (well, I am, at least) that I am utterly hopeless on my own and helpless to save myself from myself.

skydaddy on May 2, 2012 at 12:08 AM

Drummer Dude, the fact that the process that leads to thought is arational doesn’t mean that the thought itself is also arational, if that makes any sense.

Client Number Nine on May 2, 2012 at 12:10 AM

And why is it that abortionists NEVER bring up “Jesus” when they talk about abortion?

GarandFan on May 2, 2012 at 12:02 AM

.
Uh oh, now you’ve gone and done it.

You said “abortion”.

Now this thread’s really gonna “go viral”.

listens2glenn on May 2, 2012 at 12:11 AM

The Soviets targeted religion because by definition all religions were counter-revolutionary. I’m not sure how much more simple I can explain that. It was about power and party orthodoxy, not belief or nonbelief in God. Stalin is laughing in his grave if that’s the story you are going to tell your kids about why all those millions died.

You: “You see Jimmy, it was Atheists who were the real villains of the 20th Century, they killed millions because they believed in God!”

Stalin: lol

Dr. Manhattan on May 1, 2012 at 11:53 PM

Stalin doesn’t laugh. 50 years after his death the Soviet Union was gone, and religion in Russia is more powerful than ever.

Gelsomina on May 2, 2012 at 12:11 AM

.
Examples, please.
DISCLAIMER: the Westboro Baptist Church doesn’t count.
listens2glenn on May 2, 2012 at 12:00 AM

Why not them? They count just as much as any other religious group when it comes to free (hate) speech.

But how about those religious groups who go around with their abortion propaganda and to abortion clinics?

Anti-gay rallies. There is a pastor in NC who just basically said he would beat the gay out children if they said they were gay.

The point is, you said all groups should be tolerant of others. Love thy neighbor as thyself right? Practice what you preach and worry about yourself and let your god(s) do the judging.

kastor on May 2, 2012 at 12:12 AM

By contrast, atheists only help people who they have emotional connections with. The atheist “golden rule” could be paraphrased: if you’re not my friend or relative, screw you.

joe_doufu on May 1, 2012 at 11:56 PM

That isn’t true. The “emotional connection” Allahpundit referenced extends to tragedies you read about in the newspaper, hungry people on holidays, 911 and a host of other emergencies where decent folks (believers and non alike) think they can help.

Ladysmith CulchaVulcha on May 2, 2012 at 12:12 AM

since you concede that there are in fact no examples of “compassion” among non-humans

Ahem…

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2099658/Remarkable-story-nurture-mans-primate-cousins-rejected-baby-chimp-adopted-mother-zoo.html

And that’s just with one simple Google search.

Good Lt on May 2, 2012 at 12:07 AM

Charming, indeed. But that’s not an example of compassion. These are animals – intelligent, social animals who normally have a large range – who are confined in a limited space, with limited social interactions. Perhaps the young male who picked up the abandoned infant was simply mimicing behavior he’d seen females perform. For all we know, the infant was a toy. Did the male bring the infant to the doors-where-food-appears, knowing the infant needed food he was unable to provide? No.

Show me a lion that turns vegan because he thinks it’s wrong to kill.

skydaddy on May 2, 2012 at 12:15 AM

listens2glenn on May 1, 2012 at 11:48 PM

I’m less worried about the border that’s 200+ miles away than I am about the mosque that’s a few BLOCKS away.

annoyinglittletwerp on May 2, 2012 at 12:02 AM

.
I understand, but a mosque that’s only 200 miles from the border has got to be a staging place for all kinds of nefarious activity.

listens2glenn on May 2, 2012 at 12:18 AM

Did the “fake” money have “In God We Trust” printed on it…”

Seven Percent Solution on May 1, 2012 at 10:42 PM

Or more to the point, did it have trains and Uncle Pennybags on it?

Yes, atheists will give more Monopoly money to charities to prove their compassion. They can’t come up with an undefeatable proof for a reason to give, but in their margin for irrationalism–because life ultimately doesn’t make sense–they allow themselves to be moved into giving.

Do you notice how many “skeptics” fall for all these atheist-flattery studies that hardly encroach on shouldering any burden of proof? (I’m not including Allah in that.) They’re special-purpose “skeptics”.

Axeman on May 2, 2012 at 12:19 AM

Don’t give me the garbage that atheists have it bad anywhere.
Voter from WA State on May 2, 2012 at 12:01 AM

I assume you are referring to atheists in the US. Other parts of the world do not take do kindly to the idea.

kastor on May 2, 2012 at 12:20 AM

Skydaddy, here you go.

Client Number Nine on May 2, 2012 at 12:21 AM

listens2glenn on May 2, 2012 at 12:18 AM

Texas has its own NAVY. Perry’s got it under control. LoL

annoyinglittletwerp on May 2, 2012 at 12:22 AM

Axeman, that shp has sailed. It’s already established that Faith has done far more good for people than Non-Faith. Where are the Ayn Rand Sisters of Charity? The Marx Memorial Hospitals? The Camus Institutes for the Relief of the Poor? The Malthus Food Cooperatives?

Quod Est Demonstratum.

skydaddy on May 2, 2012 at 12:23 AM

Just wait till the next study says atheists are more moral than church goers.

Speakup on May 2, 2012 at 12:23 AM

That isn’t true. The “emotional connection” Allahpundit referenced extends to tragedies you read about in the newspaper, hungry people on holidays, 911 and a host of other emergencies where decent folks (believers and non alike) think they can help.

Ladysmith CulchaVulcha on May 2, 2012 at 12:12 AM

The experiment showed an “emotional video about children in poverty” and got people to give money to a third party (as if that makes any sense). So you’re stretching things. I was wrong, too. I should have said the atheist golden rule is: “if I’m in the mood to be generous, here’s a dollar, otherwise, screw you.”

joe_doufu on May 2, 2012 at 12:25 AM

Er, doesn’t this mean that widespread atheism is bad for society? It will make our help for the disadvantaged more based on emotional rhetoric than the actual fact that it might help (rather like Democrat social policy, come to think of it). Sounds to me just another reason why even atheists (as advocates of rationality) should be advocating the inculcation of religion in the general populace.

expatmanca on May 2, 2012 at 12:30 AM

I should have said the atheist golden rule is: “if I’m in the mood to be generous, here’s a dollar, otherwise, screw you.”

joe_doufu on May 2, 2012 at 12:25 AM

We still disagree. I am an atheist, and I joined the Army to serve my country. I am an atheist, and I joined the Red Cross. There’s more to generosity than money (which was scarce until recent years). Good people exist everywhere.

;)

Ladysmith CulchaVulcha on May 2, 2012 at 12:31 AM

Client Number Nine, that’s not a response to my challenge.

The article says that primate behavior may be interpreted to give hints about the origins of human morality, NOT that non-humans exhibit compassion.

The article states flatly, “indeed Dr. de Waal does not contend that even chimpanzees possess morality”

Social animals can be expected to exhibit altruistic behavior – army ants sacrifice themselves by the thousands to buikd a bridge across a river for the marching swarm, but no sensible person would call that “compassion.”

Did you miss this paragraph?

Macaques and chimpanzees have a sense of social order and rules of expected behavior, mostly to do with the hierarchical natures of their societies, in which each member knows its own place. Young rhesus monkeys learn quickly how to behave, and occasionally get a finger or toe bitten off as punishment. Other primates also have a sense of reciprocity and fairness. They remember who did them favors and who did them wrong. Chimps are more likely to share food with those who have groomed them. Capuchin monkeys show their displeasure if given a smaller reward than a partner receives for performing the same task, like a piece of cucumber instead of a grape.

Can you say, “learned response”? You’re familiar with the work of B.F. Skinner, I assume?

As Merlin said to Arthur (in the film, Excalibur) “You’ll have to do better than that!”

skydaddy on May 2, 2012 at 12:33 AM

Be careful in your answer – I happen to know a bit about both “tribal systems” and the Medieval Church (which is what most ignorant fools like to trot out as Exhibit A in support of their myth of “massive oppressive religious systems”)

skydaddy on May 2, 2012 at 12:02 AM

C’mon a real adaptation has no side-effects! I understand that what the atheists hate about God is that he is not perfect–but that’s also what some hate about religion–even when there is nothing to criticize except its survival and the survival of its practitioners.

Axeman on May 2, 2012 at 12:33 AM

So how much did this pseudo science BS cost us?

sablegsd on May 2, 2012 at 12:35 AM

Axeman on May 2, 2012 at 12:33 AM

Uh, what? Sorry, man, that made NO sense.

skydaddy on May 2, 2012 at 12:36 AM

If they are spending so much time nowadays telling everyone how good they are then how do they ever find the time to actually be so?

viking01 on May 2, 2012 at 12:37 AM

“Atheists more motivated by compassion in charitable giving than believers are”

Atheist doctors ‘more likely to hasten death’

Study finds medics’ faith affects care of terminally ill, as hospital clinicians admit ‘ethically controversial’ decisions

TigerPaw on May 2, 2012 at 12:41 AM

I don’t have any doubt that atheists can act compassionately, out of a sense of, “this is all we have, let’s make the most of it.” And I don’t think that Christians have a lock on morality. The Bible is pretty clear that we are ALL “made in the image of God,” that the truth of God is revealed to ALL through God’s Work (the physical universe), and that God’s Law is written on EVERY human heart (see Romans).

So I’m not bashing atheists. Heck, I was one for a week or so, back in college.

skydaddy on May 2, 2012 at 12:47 AM

Religious monks worked to perfect beer.

This expression of brotherly love and compassion cannot be overlooked.

Cloture on May 2, 2012 at 12:49 AM

Why not them? They count just as much as any other religious group when it comes to free (hate) speech.

But how about those religious groups who go around with their abortion propaganda and to abortion clinics?

Anti-gay rallies. There is a pastor in NC who just basically said he would beat the gay out children if they said they were gay.

The point is, you said all groups should be tolerant of others. Love thy neighbor as thyself right? Practice what you preach and worry about yourself and let your god(s) do the judging.

kastor on May 2, 2012 at 12:12 AM

.
I may be wrong (God knows), but I find it difficult to believe that the members of the Westboro Baptist Church are really Christian believers. I don’t deny their free speech rights, I deny that they represent Christianity. To be sure, everything I know about them comes from the “regular” news sources, but I haven’t observed them (yet) practicing anything that could truly be called love.

Standing in front of an abortion clinic, handing out literature doesn’t constitute “intolerance”.\
I’m not sure what an anti-gay rally IS, so you’ve got me on that one.

I’m not familiar with the pastor in North Carolina that you speak of, but there’s NO chance that Jesus would “beat” the homosexuality out of anyone. But he wouldn’t accept it as a legitimate alternative “normality”, either. He would get the person delivered of whatever was causing the “temptation” if the person willfully acknowledges that they want it. In the case of a child who has not already established their own relationship with the Lord, Jesus looks for the OK from the consenting parent or guardian.

“Loving your neighbor as yourself” is in conflict with “worry about yourself, and let God do the judging”.
.
I’ve got to call it quits and call it a night, here. I’ll undoubtedly bump into you again here in the future.

listens2glenn on May 2, 2012 at 12:49 AM

skydaddy, I just realized you’re mainly trying to refute the study. Yeah, it’s a load of garbage mainly because compassion and charity aren’t concepts that translate easily to the scientific realm. This was more than likely done by a social scientist who knew the answer he wanted before he figured out the right way to ask the question to get that answer.

Client Number Nine on May 2, 2012 at 12:51 AM

listens2glenn on May 2, 2012 at 12:49 AM

amen!

skydaddy on May 2, 2012 at 12:51 AM

Can you say, “learned response”? You’re familiar with the work of B.F. Skinner, I assume?

skydaddy on May 2, 2012 at 12:33 AM

Not only that, but male chimpanzees make “charges” (big, showy displays of superiority) for dominance.

Just think of how far ahead we’ll be when we get rid of that whole phony notion of “equality” for primate dominance.

It’s an inkblot test. We look into the organic structure of primate society and we see something in there that looks like “morality” and suddenly we say that “morality” itself is natural–even accompanied by stratification.

Axeman on May 2, 2012 at 12:52 AM

Good Lt. and Dr. Manhattan,

Oh you poor atheists. You can’t stand the FACT that every single nation that has gone atheist, which has been run by atheist has ended up mass murdering its population.

The blood of 100s of millions of murdered human beings lay at the feet of atheist.

And how do your atheist excuse it, by blaiming communism, dictators. How sad for you.

There are Christian leaders who have also committed horrific acts. However, these are not the norm in human history. However, ALL nations which end up having atheist leaders, an atheist government, a dominant atheist ideology, ALL end up mass murdering their population.

Yes, N. Korea, USSR, China, Cuba, etc., but also the horrors carried out by the atheist in Mexico against Catholics during the Cristero Wars…guess what? the government wasn’t like N. Korea, USSR, China, Cuba, etc. Oops, Dr. Manhattan and Good Lt. your theory starts falling apart. I also can point to the French Revolution….oh decades, centuries before Communism.

The French Revolution was an atheist based revolution. Catholics were mass murdered. Forbidden from practicing their religion. Catholic Churches were burnt, desecrated, destroyed, demolished. Catholic schools were taken over by atheist, practicing of Catholicism was forbidden and anyone caught practicing it was murdered on the spot or by other horrific methods. Countless of nuns, priests, Catholic lay men, women and men were slaughtered by atheist during the French Revolution. Their crime? Being Catholics, practicing Catholicism, being baptized, celebrating Mass, taking Holy Communion, etc.
Catholicism became an underground movement in France during the French Revolution thanks to the atheist were people had to have special hiding places to celebrate Mass, baptize their children, give holy communion and confirmation. And they did this knowing that if they were caught, the atheist would kill them on the spot or torture them and then kill them.
Atheist carried out horrific mass murders of Catholics during the French Revolution…will you also excuse it with communism? Please, learn some history, which does not favor the “facts” of atheists.

the atheist replaced Jesus, God, with the goddess of reason. the Church of Notre Dame was turned into a brothel with prostitutes as the goddess of reason having sex in the middle of the church, where women were raped, children abused at the hands of atheist because the women and children “Dared” to practice Catholicism.

The French Revolution is what an atheist paradise looks like. It is what atheist reason and logic lead to.

Do tell, Dr. Manhattan and Good Lt. was it also due to Communism?

Shall we go into the Spanish Civil War were the atheist on both sides of the conflict committed untold, horrific acts against priests, nuns, lay practicing Catholics?

Keep on telling yourself that it is only the fault of communism, not atheism if your lie helps you sleep at night.

Cpt. Kirk on May 2, 2012 at 12:52 AM

listens2glenn on May 2, 2012 at 12:18 AM

Texas has its own NAVY. Perry’s got it under control. LoL

annoyinglittletwerp on May 2, 2012 at 12:22 AM

: )

listens2glenn on May 2, 2012 at 12:53 AM

OK, a race with the non-believers to see who can do more good th’s the other guy?

Why didn’t I think of that?

Cleombrotus on May 2, 2012 at 12:54 AM

OK, a race with the non-believers to see who can do more good th’s the other guy?

Why didn’t I think of that?

Cleombrotus on May 2, 2012 at 12:54 AM

Christians will win. They’ve had more practice.

Johnny 100 Pesos on May 2, 2012 at 12:57 AM

Uh, what? Sorry, man, that made NO sense.

skydaddy on May 2, 2012 at 12:36 AM

I’m not rebutting you. I comment on the posts of people I agree with probably more often than those I oppose. What I noticed is IF “oppressive religious systems” are a survival adaptation, then the main beef is that it does not meet their tastes.

Axeman on May 2, 2012 at 1:02 AM

Religious monks worked to perfect beer.

This expression of brotherly love and compassion cannot be overlooked.

Cloture on May 2, 2012 at 12:49 AM

Can I get an Amen up in here??!!

:D

Ladysmith CulchaVulcha on May 2, 2012 at 1:03 AM

When did HotAir turn into Little Green Footballs? Sneering at religion now? Nice.

Spassvogel on May 2, 2012 at 1:03 AM

skydaddy, I just realized you’re mainly trying to refute the study. Yeah, it’s a load of garbage mainly because compassion and charity aren’t concepts that translate easily to the scientific realm. This was more than likely done by a social scientist who knew the answer he wanted before he figured out the right way to ask the question to get that answer.

Client Number Nine on May 2, 2012 at 12:51 AM

Thanks you. I realize that staying on point and using logical, rational arguments are becoming something of a rarity, but I do try to hold up my end. :-) So when some troll like Dr. M. offers up a non-sequitur counter-non-argument… well, that’s a Sudoku puzzle for me – a trifle to keep the mental gears oiled, not much more.

FWIW, I took home a LOT of debate trophies BITD, and somewhere I’m pretty sure I still have my NFL double-ruby pin (the highest you could earn back then). I don’t often lose on points. :-D

skydaddy on May 2, 2012 at 1:05 AM

Cpt. Kirk, what’s great about being an atheist is that we don’t have any dogmatic texts telling us how to live, so there’s no shared responsibility. Now I’m not as passionate about something I don’t believe in as others, so I don’t blame all Christians for the Crusades, but the text that was indirectly used to rationalize those crimes against humanity is the same one you keep on your bedside table and reflect on every night. See the difference?

Client Number Nine on May 2, 2012 at 1:06 AM

IF “oppressive religious systems” are a survival adaptation, then the main beef is that it does not meet their tastes.

Axeman on May 2, 2012 at 1:02 AM

Ah, ok. I hope that’s not true, though.

skydaddy on May 2, 2012 at 1:07 AM

But the funny thing is that atheists have more freedom to be atheists in nations with a Christian heritage, than Christians have in Atheist nations.

Johnny 100 Pesos on May 1, 2012 at 11:57 PM

That’s because of restrictive political systems.

Christians are also given a hard time in theistic Islamic nations – ie, RELIGIOUS nations – so this argument is specious.

Good Lt on May 2, 2012 at 12:01 AM

Not all religions are the same. Bad religion can be even worse than anti-religion. As you point out, some Muslims can be as evil as some atheists have been in history.

I am convinced that Christianity is more likely to be true than atheism or Islam. False beliefs encourage intolerance. The fact that one religion stands head and shoulders over atheism as well as other religions in certain merits should be something for you to consider.

Johnny 100 Pesos on May 2, 2012 at 1:10 AM

but the text that was indirectly used to rationalize those crimes against humanity is the same one you keep on your bedside table and reflect on every night. See the difference?

Client Number Nine on May 2, 2012 at 1:06 AM

You don’t need to believe in a God or Gods to use a book as an ethical and moral guide for your life, or to misuse an ethos for horrible purposes.

That’s why religious people bring up things like Mao and Stalin. It’s not that all Atheists are communists and mass murderers. Simply that Atheism isn’t an aegis against falling into violent dogmatism, and pretending otherwise is facetious.

Good Solid B-Plus on May 2, 2012 at 1:12 AM

Mention the Salvation Army and everyone immediately knows compassion is involved.

Mention Atheism and you have to hire a research team.

viking01 on May 2, 2012 at 1:13 AM

You don’t need to believe in a God or Gods to use a book as an ethical and moral guide for your life, or to misuse an ethos for horrible purposes.

That’s why religious people bring up things like Mao and Stalin. It’s not that all Atheists are communists and mass murderers. Simply that Atheism isn’t an aegis against falling into violent dogmatism, and pretending otherwise is facetious.

Good Solid B-Plus on May 2, 2012 at 1:12 AM

Well said.

And goodnight.

skydaddy on May 2, 2012 at 1:14 AM

You don’t know any of us here well enough to say whether or not we live the Jesus walk-of-life.
listens2glenn on May 1, 2012 at 11:56 P

Raised any dead lately? I walked on water today, I guess the dirt and gravel it was embedded in kinda helped./

I know I don’t do this.
http://www.thenazareneway.com/essene_law_virtue.htm

S. D. on May 2, 2012 at 1:20 AM

Client Number Nine on May 2, 2012 at 1:06 AM

Let me guess, you’re a lapsed Roman Catholic, right?

Cleombrotus on May 2, 2012 at 1:24 AM

I cannot believe that people actually waste their time on studies like this. All I can give this is a big blankin’ who cares?! And I bet they got some gubmint to conduct the study. What a waste–like it proves exactly what?

stukinIL4now on May 2, 2012 at 1:24 AM

Count how many Catholic and other Christian hospitals there are.

Then count how many atheist hospitals there are.

Yeah.

Rebar on May 2, 2012 at 1:26 AM

You don’t need to believe in a God or Gods to use a book as an ethical and moral guide for your life, or to misuse an ethos for horrible purposes.

That’s why religious people bring up things like Mao and Stalin. It’s not that all Atheists are communists and mass murderers. Simply that Atheism isn’t an aegis against falling into violent dogmatism, and pretending otherwise is facetious.

Good Solid B-Plus on May 2, 2012 at 1:12 AM

Aah, mon frere. You also know that “atheism” is different from the individual atheist, and that some of us are–erm, how shall I put this–fun!!

p.s. Went back to the headlines re: your exchanges with “Mitchell”. Exploded laughter 3 Times!!

:D

Ladysmith CulchaVulcha on May 2, 2012 at 1:29 AM

Clembrotus, you nailed it. I’d be in denial if I said the Church didn’t make me the person I am today, and when I have children, I would love for nothing more than to raise them Catholic like my parents did me. If they choose not to follow the theology in adulthood, I’ll know I set a good foundation for socialization.

Client Number Nine on May 2, 2012 at 1:33 AM

Cpt. Kirk, what’s great about being an atheist is that we don’t have any dogmatic texts telling us how to live, so there’s no shared responsibility. Now I’m not as passionate about something I don’t believe in as others, so I don’t blame all Christians for the Crusades, but the text that was indirectly used to rationalize those crimes against humanity is the same one you keep on your bedside table and reflect on every night. See the difference?

Client Number Nine on May 2, 2012 at 1:06 AM

And you had to go back how many centuries to find what you considered wrong doing by Christians? hahahaha!!! I don’t have to go centuries or years to find real mass murders carried out by atheist. A few days will do, but I can also go back centuries to find horrors carried out by atheist against humans beings all in the name of reason, science, logic.

Additionally, sadly, you have believed the lies and propaganda about the Crusades which would have NEVER happened had not the Muslism conquered Jerusalem and were on the move to conquer Western Europe. Please learn some Middle Eastern and Europan history before blindly bring up the Crusades to attack Christianity. Thanks!

Yes, some individuals, some Christian armies carried out horrific acts during the Crusades, but unlike you were taught, these weren’t the norm. Amazing how as an atheist, you are spewing the Muslim propaganda about the Crusades.

Read books such as, “Islam at the Gates”, which give a fair and unbiased account of the Crusades and Islam during the time. Yes, Christian leaders carried out horrors, just like American soldiers today have done unspeakable things, but these weren’t the norm during the Crusades just like it sin’t the norm with our brave men and women today. However, if we were to listen and believe Muslim “news” and propaganda, guess what, we would be saying how horrific ALL AMerican soldiers were in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Try to research the Crusades, the Conquering of Spain and other parts of Europe by the Muslims before you keep on speaking nonsense.

and you atheists aren’t dogmatic? don’t rely on books to excuse your beliefs? Geez, tell that to all the atheist who constantly quote Richard Dawkin books, Hitchen books, etc. science books, etc. to justify their atheism.

Atheist are some of the most dogmatic, irrational, emotional, illogical, hate historical facts, most poorly informed individuals one runs into in the path of life. AND yes, the horrors of the French Revolution carried out by atheists, the horrors carried out by atheist during the Cristero Wars, during the USSR, China, Cuba, etc, etc, etc, were carried out by the dogmatic believes of atheist.

Cpt. Kirk on May 2, 2012 at 1:35 AM

Aah, mon frere. You also know that “atheism” is different from the individual atheist, and that some of us are–erm, how shall I
put this–fun!!

Well of course. One of my best drinking buddies is an avowed Atheist of the ‘evangelical’ variety. We’ve had more religious arguments than I can count, many of them fueled by alcohol, but even more of them stone sober. It’s funny that I’ve been going back and forth with “Mitch” on here, because this guy is the *exact* opposite when it comes to outlooks on life. In fact, I’d call him a bit of a benign hedonist. Because he knows, in his own mind, that death is the cessation of his consciousness, he wants to enjoy life as much as possible, and live as long as he can. I know other non-believers of a similar bent; because they ‘know’ there is no afterlife, it makes them feel that our brief lives on Earth are incredible precious.

p.s. Went back to the headlines re: your exchanges with “Mitchell”. Exploded laughter 3 Times!!

:D

Ladysmith CulchaVulcha on May 2, 2012 at 1:29 AM

Heh, I try my best. :)

Good Solid B-Plus on May 2, 2012 at 1:37 AM

Good Solid, I agree. I find the average evangelical atheist much more repugnant that the avgerage evangelical Christian. There’s no reason for me to actively convert anyone to nonbelief unless I truly felt that person was unhappy as a believer.

Client Number Nine on May 2, 2012 at 1:38 AM

Client Number Nine on May 2, 2012 at 1:33 AM

You’re referencing the Bible as “dogmatic texts telling us how to live” gave it away. That’s always been their problem. If they even read it at all, they read it as if it’s a technical manual; as if it’s a rule book instead of an explanation.

I was raised a hard core Catholic myself, but as I grew older it simply no longer held any relevance to real life so I simply drifted away from it. Never rejected or grew hostile; it just didn’t answer any questions.

Problem was, though, neither did anything else. But the questions still needed answering.

Cleombrotus on May 2, 2012 at 1:45 AM

Cpt. Kirk, being on a tablet, it’s too much work to quote what I want to reply to, but you said that during the Crusades some Christians did some horrendous things, but not all Christians are to blame. I couldn’t agree more! You should apply that idea to atheists, and then you’ll see my point about shared responsibility. Stalin was a horrible human being and an atheist, not because he was an atheist.

Client Number Nine on May 2, 2012 at 1:47 AM

Cleombrotus,

Eh? and you are in the mind of people to know how we read the Bible? Interesting.

First we have Client Number laughingly claiming that atheist aren’t dogmatic or rely on books written by others to make atheists dogmatic.

now we have you telling us Christians how we read and practice what is in the Bible.

I wonder what was hardcore Catholic for you. May it be that you just didn’t like the fact that the Church was telling you that the life you were leading was wrong? Maybe, right? Or that you didn’t understand the Bible and Catholic teaching, maybe, right?

Catholicism, Christianity holds great relevance to real life and it does both, explain the reason to life, the why and how we must live and lead our life.

Cpt. Kirk on May 2, 2012 at 1:53 AM

Comment pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6