OT (waaaayyyyyyyyy off-topic)

Ben Finney ben+python at benfinney.id.au
Fri Feb 10 23:45:28 CET 2012


Thanks for responding. Rather than take this discussion too far where
it's quite off-topic, I'll respond briefly and ask for a change of forum
if we want to continue.


Ethan Furman <ethan at stoneleaf.us> writes:

> Ben Finney wrote (from signature):
> > “It's a terrible paradox that most charities are driven by religious
> > belief. . . . if you think altruism without Jesus is not altruism,
> > then you're a dick.” —Tim Minchin, 2010-11-28

The quote is from an interview with Tim Minchin
<URL:http://www.guardian.co.uk/stage/2010/nov/28/tim-minchin-comedian>.

> 1) Why is it paradoxical? If anything it's a sad commentary on those
> who don't ascribe to a religion, as it would appear that they care
> less for their society.

It's an outcome of history that religious institutions have historically
been well-situated to be the facilitators of charitable work (and much
other work) simply because they have been ubiquitous in most societies.
The paradox is that they spend much of their resources away from the
worldly, i.e. secular, work of charity.

But charitable work is not dependent on religious belief, and indeed in
recent decades there are now a great many wholly secular charities (e.g.
International Red Cross and Oxfam) which do not divert their resources
from addressing the real world.

> 2) altruism: unselfish regard for or devotion to the welfare of
> others... no mention of religion of any kind, or Jesus in particular.

Yes, that's the point. Altruism is a human activity independent of
religious belief, yet the default assumption of too many is that they
are somehow necessarily connected.

> Altruistic-yet-paradoxically-religious-ly yours,

As you rightly point out, this discussion is off-topic here. So while
I'm open to discussion on this topic, we should move it to some other
forum.

-- 
 \        “Most people, I think, don't even know what a rootkit is, so |
  `\     why should they care about it?” —Thomas Hesse, Sony BMG, 2006 |
_o__)                                                                  |
Ben Finney



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