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What should replace religion? (Daniel C. Dennett)

January 28, 2011

“The thing is that people want to be good. We just have to help them with structures so they can amplify their goodness and join together. The sooner we create institutions that can do better than religions at helping people to do good, the sooner the toxic varieties of religion will fade away.”

Daniel C. Dennett, Co-Director of the Center for Cognitive Studies at Tufts University, on What Should Replace Religions? (from TVO via DoctorE)

I think this raises an important point: Re­ligious people like to talk about how much better religious folk are at doing charitable work than non-religious people. While I really think this point is debatable (a point I would only give them were I to see solid numbers from reputable sources on the matter), it isn’t so much the lack of a desire or a willingness on behalf of the non-religious that makes it seem this way. It is simply that the church has, for so long, had the monopoly on the organization of charitable work.

If we promote secular charitable works  organizations it will help those who are willing to help but unsure how to do so. Foundation Beyond Belief is one such place.  You can set up a month­ly donation and specify which charities you would like to support through FBB (some of the charities they support are religious, but they ensure that no one they supports proselytizes and you have the choice of which charities your money goes toward).  (I also want to point out that charitable giving isn’t the only way that one can be involved in charitable works.)

I also liked what he said early on in his talk about religious music.  It reminded me of some of the things that I have had to come to terms with in my journey out of religion.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. February 1, 2011 2:22 am

    Glad to see you back, TSA :D And I do agree that religious people aren’t more charitable than we are, just more organized.

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