Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Clearing out

We have been encouraged to clear out old emails, as a lot of space is being occupied on the server unnecessarily. Came across this article, which was emailed to me back in 2005

The role of the Salvation Army as lead provider of disaster relief in the hurricane-hit USA has led a former deputy leader of the Labour party to admit the crucial place of faith in works of charity. Writing in The Guardian, Roy Hattersley notes that a general appeal for 40,000 volunteers by the Red Cross was "virtually ignored" but "almost all" the groups who responded to the disaster "have a religious origin". "Free thinkers’ clubs and atheists’ associations" who often regard faith "as a positive force for evil" were "notable by their absence", he writes. Although liberals and atheists like himself have no disapproval for the likes of drug addicts and prostitutes, whose lives lead them into distress, he notes examples of Christians who actually respond to their anguish. Free-thinking "has not made us as admirable as the average captain in the Salvation Army," he concludes.Source: The Guardian (12/9)http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,,1567604,00.html

Couldn't help wondering whether anyone other than the Salvation Army would have produced the same set of questions from Roy Hattersley.


St said...

Although by and large he writes better than he speaks, which was his failure as a politician I felt, I have a lot of time for Roy Hattersley's form of honest politics. He is prepared to admit where his world view falls short without agreeing entirely with his opponents' world view. Cracking example.

imagine a new world said...

Bitterly disappointed to hear such rubbish from a guy I respect - Roy not you Mike! :) - where are his sources for his assertions? Where is his evidence that this is true?

'Yet men and women who, like me, cannot accept the mysteries and the miracles do not go out with the Salvation Army at night.' I do! And I no plenty of others who do. I once sat in a CU meeting where a lady appealed for help with a homeless shelter and precisely 0 people responded. The BBC also recently showed some research that claimed more atheists than religious people said they would help someone who had collapsed in the street.

The issue of what causes us to do good needs far better debate and far better research. Those of a religious nature may do good whatever they believe - because of their kind nature they may be attracted to a community that preaches love for example. This has inspired me to get back to blogging where I'm going to write about this some more!

Mike Peatman said...

Thought that might provoke a response from you, Matt, and I wasn't disappointed.

Maybe the US atheists aren't so motivated by humanitarianism. Who can say?

btw wasn't Hattersley a minister's son, too?

imagine a new world said...

Haha glad I didn't disappoint! I'm very interested in what motivates people to do good but I can honestly say that I've seen little difference between atheists and those of a religious nature. There are people in both groupos who do amazing work and there are those in both groups who do f all. The difference may be the Quakers but I'd have to look into that and that group is kind of a cross between both worlds.

Mike Peatman said...

I think arguing who's better than who to prove or disprove theism is futile. You end up in an argument that's little better that "my dad's bigger than you dad" in a school playground.

To be fair, I think Hattersley was just sharing his disappointment that people with his own world view were not conspicuous by their response to that particular situation.

imagine a new world said...

Totally agree but I think Hattersley could have achieved what you say without the really harsh, unfair and unproven statements.