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All You Need is Love. (Pass it on.) PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Alison Smith   
skeptilovelogo

Recently, I was working out of the JREF offices in Ft. Lauderdale. Sean McCabe, Randi’s personal assistant, volunteered to drive me to the airport when my weekend of sandy beaches was over, and it was time to return to my home – land of sandy deserts (Las Vegas).

We had some time to kill before heading to the airport, and drove around in circles for a while. We passed a sign outside a building that said, simply, “Please Give Peanut Butter. Thank You,” and decided there was no better way to kill time than giving peanut butter to random people who asked for it. We drove to a gas station, picked up peanut butter, and headed back to the building to find someone to hand it to – not knowing what the building was, or what the peanut butter was even for.

I mean, perhaps it was like asking your neighbor for a cup of sugar when you’re baking cookies. Just more elaborate.

But, in fact, we found ourselves donating peanut butter to a Christian outreach group benefitting the homeless and impoverished in Ft. Lauderdale.

Back in the car, Sean and I talked about how skeptics don’t necessarily get much credit for charitable acts. In fact, many believers will use the argument that since most skeptics don’t believe in God, skeptics must not be generous at all – they have no one watching over their shoulder telling them to be.

That’s just a bunch of crap, and most of us know it. But now I’ve launched a new site, with the help of many, that will document the charitable acts of non-believers and also invite people like you to participate in events, nation-wide drives, and projects in your local communities.

The site is called SkeptiLove.

Already, we’re involved in tons of projects. I’ve decided to close the doors on SAPS for a while, starting after Dragon*Con, and to focus on this instead. It will be nice to have a site that won’t necessarily generate enough hate mail to fill a dump truck. SAPS will still be around. Someday, I’m hoping to merge the two ideas. But for now, I think I’ll keep the happiness separate from the debunking.

The SAPS food drive for Three Square will be done in the name of SkeptiLove.

We still need help on one of the TAM projects, and I’m hoping that’s where you will come in. If you are coming to TAM and have a bit of spare money, or are coming to TAM under financial strain, contact skeptilove@gmail.com. We’re arranging pair-ups for dinners.

And there’s a lot more going on, too.

Yesterday, the JREF donated nearly 1,000 shirts to the Ft. Lauderdale organization Jack and Jill Children’s Center, and they did so with lots of SkeptiLove.

George Hrab, F. Wagg, and David Federlein all gave songs that you can’t hear anywhere else to SkeptiLove so we could put them on a CD and promote the cause. We’ll have 300 copies of the CD at TAM, and they are totally free so long as you promise to give it a listen, and visit the site. It’s a great CD. Really. And I am eternally grateful to the people who worked so hard on making it happen.

And after TAM? There are plans in the works to cook dinner at the Las Vegas Ronald McDonald House, and to hold a clothing drive to benefit Opportunity Village. Both of those are events local to Las Vegas, but if you’re coming to TAM and want to help out, just follow the SAPS Red Wagon and I’ll be available to answer any questions (or to take spare clothes off your hands if you want to bring them to TAM, and have space in your carry-on).

And if you volunteer somewhere already and don’t have time to add additional projects to your plate, we get that, too. If you send in details of your charitable ventures, we’ll post your story on the site.

If you want to participate but think this all sounds a little expensive, there are alternative ideas for the financially constrained skeptic as well. Maybe you’d like to teach a group of children magic tricks, stand in the street and tell random passersby that you appreciate them, or read to people in the hospital. There are millions of ways to participate, and we hope to post them all.

Thanks for participating. All you need is love. Pass it on.


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written by kenhamer, July 05, 2009
The site is called SkeptiLove.

"Is"? Or "will be"?

Right now, http://www.skeptilove.com/ doesn't seem to work.
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written by asmith, July 05, 2009
Is. The link is working just fine for me.
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written by Kuroyume, July 05, 2009
Link works for me.

The notion that atheists and skeptics are Scrooge-like hoarders and aren't giving of time, money, and skills is just another myth to disparage us. Catholics, for instance, are expected to put into the basket at services. These donations aren't specifically designated for charity. They also go to provide the clergy with their living expenses and fill the Vatican cauffers.

As noted in another article, I used to donate blood regularly until it was discouraged in the light of the AIDS epidemic. I regularly donate books to libraries (when accepting) and clothes, books, and other items to GoodWill. At the moment, though, financial donations are not possible due to the declining economy and my increasingly declining income (which is dependent upon sales not a set annual/hourly rate). At this rate, I might be the one on the street corner asking for handouts and visiting soup-kitchens for nourishment. smilies/sad.gif

Best of luck with your efforts!!! smilies/smiley.gif
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written by daveg703, July 05, 2009
@Kuroyume
I believe you meant to write "Vatican coffers".
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written by Crazy Cakes, July 05, 2009
many believers will use the argument that since most skeptics don’t believe in God, skeptics must not be generous at all – they have no one watching over their shoulder telling them to be.
Those people always scare me. If they ever lose their faith they will have no reason not to kill me in my sleep, because they no longer have God telling them not to.
And of course there's the issue of whether something is really charity when you are (or feel) 'forced' to do it.
Luckily most of them will realize that something is wrong in their thinking if you point this out.
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written by jimgerrish, July 05, 2009
I'm a non theist, but I'm not a non believer. As a skeptic, I believe in those ideas I can prove, or for which there is sufficient evidence that I don't need to prove. A true non believer would not believe that anyone reads these posts.
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written by BillyJoe, July 06, 2009
And of course there's the issue of whether something is really charity when you are (or feel) 'forced' to do it.
The phrase "cold as charity" is applied to those folks who do charitable works to build up their position in Heaven rather than for the benefit of the people thay are helping and for whom they actually care not one iota.

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written by BillyJoe, July 06, 2009
As noted in another article, I used to donate blood regularly until it was discouraged in the light of the AIDS epidemic.
I read that in the other article and I still don't understand what you mean.
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written by GusGus, July 06, 2009

He apparently means that he is not acceptable as a donor.
.
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written by BillyJoe, July 06, 2009
...um...because he belongs to an at risk group?
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written by CasaRojo, July 06, 2009
Very cool idea Allison. Wonder how a "church" of atheists would go over? 'Our Lady Of Perpetual Skepticism'? And we could have a life size statue of you out front and sell grilled cheese sandwiches with your likeness on them. But seriously folks (did I just say that again?), I'm serious! :-) Why not a 'church' of atheists whose main thing was congregating for the primary purpose of helping the less fortunate? Prolly get burnt down by fundamentalist [type your fav region here]...
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a church
written by Sadhatter, July 06, 2009
So my question is with all the bru ha ha about us not being able to claim church status.

Why don't we just lie?

I mean normally i would be against lying.I am against armed violence as well, but if the police started pulling gestapo tactics i would change my mind fairly quick.

My melodramatic point is this.

If the government is going to say " you have to believe in a god" o.k. say we do, then give a convoluted as hell description of him/her/it and then use our tax exempt status to do some good.

At some level i can see this as cowing down, but on another level i see it as throwing a metaphorical brick through a metaphorical window.

Any thoughts?
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Volunteering and the Church
written by DKrap, July 06, 2009
I find it terrible that skeptics, atheists and other non-believers, non-church members have to defend themselves about charity or volunteering. I have donated much, financially and in the form of property, to Goodwill and other organizations. Also, I have served on the board for charitable trusts (for no pay) that raise money to benefit poor public schools.

I find that almost all churches that "serve" the community have anohter motive underlying the "giving." At the same time they give something of value, they recruit or "educate" the person receiving the donation about their religion and church. Religious "giving" is not free to the recipient, there are significant advertisements going on at the same time. It's like going on a "free" trip from a timeshare company, you have to sit through the sales pitch to get the trip. Same with churches.
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Churches and acts of compassion
written by MrIncredible, July 06, 2009
My father died about 8 years ago. The last two weeks of his life were horrible – a heart attack, hospitalization, and watching him rapidly decay while feeling utterly helpless. It was the worst time of my life emotionally and physically.

I bring this up because my parents’ church members were there in some capacity almost 24x7, bringing food, watching our kids when we went in to visit, hugging us when we needed it, and so on. I almost felt a little guilty for disparaging religion for all those years. After my dad’s passing I thought a lot about what I’d witnessed, and I realized that while religion as a whole is still a scourge and a money making scheme, churches often do wonderful things. When they operate on a human rather than theological level, they become conduits for kindness.

So, maybe CasaRojo is on to something. I’ll never believe in a god, but I’ll always believe in helping people. In fact, I’ve always maintained that atheists are more attuned to human suffering than their theistic counterparts because we know that this life is all we have and is thus ultimately precious, plus we never say dumb things like “He’s in God’s hands now”. If there were a “church” of nonbelievers, I’d sign up.
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@ Sadhatter
written by FrankH, July 06, 2009
I live in the UK. The last time the government asked me my religion was during the last census. I, along with 390,126 others, reported my religion as Jedi.

The Office of National Statistics revealed the total figure in a press release entitled "390,000 Jedis there are". smilies/smiley.gif

If I were forced to declare a belief in a God I would choose the Flying Spaghetti Monster.
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written by KingMerv00, July 06, 2009
monstrmac1,

Thank you for you very educational post.
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written by Willy K, July 06, 2009
written by Crazy Cakes, July 05, 2009
...If they ever lose their faith they will have no reason not to kill me in my sleep, because they no longer have God telling them not to.

I thought that their god tells them they MUST kill all non-believers. That order is clearly illustrated in the holy books of the Abrahamic religions. smilies/cry.gif
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written by Willy K, July 06, 2009
Churches and acts of compassion
written by MrIncredible, July 06, 2009
...I almost felt a little guilty for disparaging religion for all those years. After my dad’s passing I thought a lot about what I’d witnessed, and I realized that while religion as a whole is still a scourge and a money making scheme, churches often do wonderful things.

PEOPLE do wonderful things.
According to Wiktionary one definition of religion is:
"A collection of practices, based on beliefs and teachings that are highly valued or sacred."
IMHO what destroys the value of any Human religion is the belief in a supernatural being. Once someone crosses that threshold they are can't be trusted to maintain rationality. smilies/cry.gif
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written by Alan3354, July 06, 2009
My wife sends money to a lot of charities, god knows who or how much.
Partly for my own "refresher", and to give students assistance, I show people how to solve math problems (most seem to be high school students) on a site www.algebra.com. So far, I've done 3,300 or so.
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written by MadScientist, July 06, 2009
I know other godless skeptical people like myself who contribute a lot of time and money to helping others, but we all figure that's our business and we don't talk about it.
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written by BillyJoe, July 07, 2009
I know other godless skeptical people like myself who contribute a lot of time and money to helping others, but we all figure that's our business and we don't talk about it.
...um

...well, I guess you are actually typing about it hey? smilies/grin.gif

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Don't let your left hand know what your right hand is doing...
written by AlmightyBob, July 07, 2009
I didn't look up the verse, but somewhere in the B***e there's a passage where Jesus criticizes those who give and make a big hoopla about it.

Yes, some believers give to charity and some don't.
Yes, some non-believers give to charity and some don't.
I've personally never heard of believers stating that non-believers don't give because they don't believe, thought there's doubtless some of those out there.

And there's probably a place for people who want to give and don't want to be associated with religious-based charities.

But something still rubs me the wrong way when Alison writes of creating a site "that will document the charitable acts of non-believers".
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Huh?
written by AlmightyBob, July 07, 2009
To Willy K, who wrote:

"I thought that their god tells them they MUST kill all non-believers. That order is clearly illustrated in the holy books of the Abrahamic religions."

As you are stating this as a known fact, could you possibly point where this occurs?
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@AlmightyBob
written by asmith, July 07, 2009
I really suggest you visit the site and see what's actually going on there. This is what the sidebar of the site says:

SkeptiLove is devoted to reporting on the generous acts of non-believers, and to bringing skeptics, critical thinkers, agnostics, atheists, humanists, and secularists together to participate in charitable projects.

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written by Willy K, July 07, 2009
written by AlmightyBob, July 07, 2009
As you are stating this as a known fact, could you possibly point where this occurs?


Whoever sacrifices to any god, except the Lord alone, shall be doomed. (Exodus 22:19 NAB) smilies/tongue.gif

There are more. I have NEVER heard any believer denounce all of the bad stuff.
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written by akeredolujide, July 25, 2009
Deuteronomy 13:12-16 (New King James Version)
12 “If you hear someone in one of your cities, which the LORD your God gives you to dwell in, saying, 13 ‘Corrupt men have gone out from among you and enticed the inhabitants of their city, saying, “Let us go and serve other gods”’—which you have not known— 14 then you shall inquire, search out, and ask diligently. And if it is indeed true and certain that such an abomination was committed among you, 15 you shall surely strike the inhabitants of that city with the edge of the sword, utterly destroying it, all that is in it and its livestock—with the edge of the sword. 16 And you shall gather all its plunder into the middle of the street, and completely burn with fire the city and all its plunder, for the LORD your God. It shall be a heap forever; it shall not be built again.




Deuteronomy 17:2-7 (New King James Version)
2 “If there is found among you, within any of your gates which the LORD your God gives you, a man or a woman who has been wicked in the sight of the LORD your God, in transgressing His covenant, 3 who has gone and served other gods and worshiped them, either the sun or moon or any of the host of heaven, which I have not commanded, 4 and it is told you, and you hear of it, then you shall inquire diligently. And if it is indeed true and certain that such an abomination has been committed in Israel, 5 then you shall bring out to your gates that man or woman who has committed that wicked thing, and shall stone to death that man or woman with stones. 6 Whoever is deserving of death shall be put to death on the testimony of two or three witnesses; he shall not be put to death on the testimony of one witness. 7 The hands of the witnesses shall be the first against him to put him to death, and afterward the hands of all the people. So you shall put away the evil from among you.


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written by monstrmac1, July 26, 2009
Sorry akeredolujide, we're only accepting entries in the non-fiction category today....
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