Warning: The following post contains strong but typical language used by anti-Christians in the blogosphere. You may find it jarring but understand that this is tame compared with much which is out there. Apologists must be prepared to confront the enemy and not become distracted by his language. The argument is taken from a current website. I have not provided the URL as I do not wish to publicize it. I have rewritten portions for space considerations and copyright concerns but the gist is the same.
The charts are courtesy of The Atheist Turtle and are derived from data provided by:
Social Capital Community Benchmark Survey Executive Summary (The Executive Summary was prepared by the Saguaro Seminar: Civic Engagement in America, a project of the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. The Executive Summary summarizes the macro trends and findings of the Social Capital Benchmark Survey. Individual community sponsors with help from local academic partners may have other local interpretations of the data.) www.cfsv.org/communitysurvey/docs/exec_summ.pdf
Mat (Mature Atheist Turtle to Ary – Christian Preacher): Hey Fundie Christian. You think you are so great and wonderful because you preach the gospel to the most remote areas of this globe and build churches, schools, hospitals, and so on. I know what you say: ‘What about atheists? Where are the atheist charitable organizations? Atheists do not do charity in the name of atheism, but Christians do charity in the name of Christianity.’ What is the point of getting rid of religion then since it contributes to the betterment of the world while atheists don’t? How do Christian missionaries alleviate the suffering of the hungry children in poverty stricken and war-torn countries? Or is the gospel preached so that they will learn to lick Jesus’ feet and thank him for not sending them to hell? Is there a divine purpose in their suffering? The fact that Christians really believe in this makes me want to vomit.
Ary: It’s true. We do send missionaries out to tell people about Jesus, but we also help people around the world by building schools, hospitals, showing them how to raise more crops, and many other things other than just preaching to them. But, it’s also true that Christians give more money and spend more time volunteering than non-Christians.
Mat: When you Christians do good deeds solely for your religion, you remain forever on the lowest stages of moral development. You are slaves because of fear of eternal damnation and your wish to suck up to your ‘sky daddy.’ Therefore, you remain infantile, lacking the ability to think for yourself. You claim that your religion makes you incredibly moral, but what you don’t realize is that your moral development has been stunted by blind adherence to Christian doctrine. On the other hand atheist charity results from the desire to better humanity, not to earn oneself points in heaven.
Ary: Salvation is not based on a point system; just the opposite, it’s pass/fail based on your answer to a one word question: Jesus? And to make it easy it’s multiple choice; the answers are yes, or no. The charitable works are fruit showing that relationship.
Mat: Christians only want to earn points to get into heaven and to advertise their faith. That makes their giving purely a selfish act. On the other hand, atheists desire only to improve the lives of other human beings and therefore we are the truly honorable people. Religion is evil. It causes humans to invest time, energy, money and resources to build and maintain institutions devoted to ignorance and superstition; while diverting resources that could be used to for hospitals, or schools. Think about it: For every church built, how many hungry mouths could be fed? How many hospitals could be built with the money? Religious people ‘toady’ to their invisible sky-daddy instead of actually helping people. Their focus on the Jesus-ass licking is a wasteful disgrace and a landmark of hypocrisy in people who claim that Christianity (or religion) is the cure to the world’s problems. For goodness sake, how could you fundie fools contribute more to the world through religion when you’re so freakishly obsessed with the afterlife, sins and guilt?
Ary: Christians from the earliest days of the church have a tradition of helping each other as well as the less fortunate. It is part of what being a Christian is all about but it is not a requirement as it is in Islam and it doesn't matter if the cause is religious or not. Christians give more money and time to secular causes than non-believers do.
Mat: Now you are just rationalizing for trying to score points.
Ary: It's true that most missionaries find a satisfaction in giving of their money and time that provides a reward in and of itself. If that renders the donation invalid then invalid it must be since it is not possible to divorce that benefit from the gift. The fact that it pleases the Lord is lagniappe.
Mat: You say it is unimportant? You're deluded.
Ary (smiling):It is not the position of the church to claim that atheists are not capable of charitable acts but the atheist too receives a reward in some form or other. You just miss the 'little' extra, the sweetener.
Mat: So, you're saying that Jesus has little to do with your motives?
Ary: I'm saying nothing of the sort. I'm merely saying that lagniappe, that little extra fills in the gaps, it expands and encompasses the act, it takes it from the ordinary and makes it extraordinary. Jesus showed how the small can be important, the strong - weak, the first - last.
Mat: Circles, you Christians are always talking in circles.
Ary. I suggest that you check out 1 Corinthians 13. Charity is so important that we have a word that means both love and charity, Agape.
Mat: I think it's time to turtle up.
One final note for this post. It may seem that the arguments of Mat are a bit contradictory and repetitive. That is also typical and is consistent with the original material.