I went to About Atheism’s web site where a man named Austin Kline (I believe) stated that because Bill Gates only found ‘value’ in some religious principles but not in ‘organized religion’ because he had ‘better things to do on Sunday than go to church’. . .and that Warren Buffett, who does ‘not subscribe to the religious principles he was brought up with’ among other things that they are (according to this Mr. Kline) not only ‘definitely atheists or agnostics’ and PROOF that ‘you don’t need religion to do good things or be a good person’.
Then again. . .despite these men doing praiseworthy things by ‘not’ keeping all the money for themselves. . .just what, exactly, are they ‘doing’ and for whom, and what, exactly, are they themselves ‘getting’?
One could argue that first of all, considering the amount of money they have as well as the incredibly lavish goods they ALREADY POSSESS, it would take too much time and effort for them to spend any more money. IOW–these aren’t people who are SUFFERING ANY by giving away money. They aren’t ‘downsizing’ to help, they’re giving away surplus–and taking tax breaks, and ‘looking good’–without any effort at all.
Second, they are not donating ‘anonymously’. They have ‘gotten a reward’ in the fulsome praises not just of people they help but from the media, from the ‘lasting memorials’ (names on Foundations, etc.). They will have their ‘historical footnote’ that will ‘live on’ after them.
Third, by donating ‘what’ and ‘to whom’, they exercise a ‘control’ over ‘who gets helped’. Thus, they foster their own beliefs and work toward what THEY feel is ‘right and good’, relatively speaking.
Now, compare those Christian saints.
First, not all–in fact, the vast majority–of Christian saints did not GIVE AWAY MONEY.
What they GAVE was Christ–lavishly, and to ANYBODY–not just to those who fit the narrow criteria of whatever would foster an agenda or ‘look good’ for the record books.
Some --kings and queens–DID give what they possessed to make life better because they felt that in SHARING material goods they modeled the real wealth–Christian charity–to others. Some–like Mother Teresa, though themselves poor, managed to gain the fickle support of media and other ‘promoters’ and were briefly ‘recognized’. . .but the vast majority of those who received the gift of Christ from Mother Teresa were NEVER RECOGNIZED. They were the poor, the dying, the outcaste, the hideously ill, dirty, dangerous, ‘human rubbish’ that we don’t even NOTICE when we are pursuing our sanitized, politically correct ‘helping others’.
Mind you, I am NOT saying that atheists are worthless, evil, uncaring monsters. They are not. I truly believe that most of those who call themselves atheists yet who quietly live according to Christian principles (even if they don’t really believe in their ‘perception’ of the Christian God) are going to be found to have enough ‘concept’ and enough ‘service’ to that God to be found worthy of heaven–not for their ‘material sharing’ but for that service to God.
I am saying that unless a person (Christian or nonChristian) is giving to others from a heart, soul, mind and strength that is bent on serving GOD --even if that person doesn’t RECOGNIZE that it is GOD whom he is serving–then ultimately, the ‘good’ done is only TEMPORARY, LIMITED, and in the end USELESS FOR THAT GIVER.
So – I give $500,000 with a ‘blare of trumpets’ to Planned Parenthood. (Heck, or even to the American Life League). Unless I am doing so because this is a loving gift for God, from me, to others. . .the ‘reward’ I will get is my own SELF SATISFACTION ALONE. Even worse, I will likely delude myself into thinking that “because I gave money, I’m a good person. I don’t have anything to worry about even if there IS a god because hey, I’m doing good and isn’t that what life is all about? I’m home free, no matter what. So why try to do anything else? Why try to see if I’m trying to live a good life --it’s obvious that I am-” and so I’m completely oblivious to not only my other faults but I’m blinded by my PRIDE into thinking that I’m so great that I don’t even NEED GOD.