What Christian Charity Should This Atheist Donate To? May 14, 2009

What Christian Charity Should This Atheist Donate To?

Atheist Kim is setting a few goals for herself, but she needs some motivation.

That means rewarding herself if she succeeds and punishing herself if she fails.

The reward part is easy: I offer up my loins.

The punishment part is more complicated. One suggestion is to give money to a charity she doesn’t like.

That didn’t seem like a punishment (can there be a bad charity?) until Kim realized there are several conservative, Christian, anti-choice, anti-gay organizations she would never voluntarily give money to.

So which group should she choose? Which one would motivate her enough to accomplish her goals so that she doesn’t have to give money to it?

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  • What Would Professor Pat Pending Do?

    The 700 Club sounds like a wonderful choice. I don’t think I’d give them money at gunpoint (and even then, I might tell them to pull the trigger while I hoped they’d miss).

  • Gavrilo

    Why hope they miss? why miss this occasion to meet your Lord and Creator??

    just kidding here 😉

    Now, I don’t really understand the point of funding a charity you don’t support to punish yourself. By funding an anti-choice group, for instance, you’ll also be punishing other people…

    One way around this would be to go to Kiva, and then loan money either for the Atheists group as a reward, or for the Kiva Christians group as a punishment?

    This way, you’d have the punishment of supporting the Christian group, but not the moral issue of funding a cause you don’t share.

  • GG

    Why does it have to be a charity she doesn’t like? If you’re morally opposed to a charity, don’t donate to it for any reason. Maybe she could choose a charity she likes, but increase the amount to the point it hurts.

    Or she could just do whatever it is she’s supposed to do and stop procrastinating by making elaborate (as defined by contacting prominent atheist bloggers to poll their readership) reward/punishment scenarios around the outcome of her tasks. When I want to accomplish something, I find having fewer people involved usually makes it more efficient. 🙂

  • Wow, this post seems pretty off color or am I reading it wrong?

  • jynnan_tonnyx

    This seems like a good motivator, but if she doesn’t meet her goals, her donation to any “anti-choice, anti-gay organizations” effectively punishes us all.

  • Liberty University is the last place I would ever donate money. I’m not sure if it counts as a charity organization though. However, it is definitely not a university.

  • “Answers in Genesis” is a registered charity. You couldn’t give to them though, it would just be wrong on too many levels.

    George W Bush is writing a book, Decision Points (presumably in crayon) and he may well register as a charity in order to publish it and escape certain taxes.

    The Tony Blair Foundation is a registered charity if you really want to do something to make his smug arsed grin get any wider.

    I feel a little sick at even suggesting these.

  • Kat

    “Gospel for Asia”. Bleh.
    I once bought some art from my SIL were “most of the proceeds go to Charity” only to find out the “Charity” was this organization that constantly proselytized and tried to convert (mostly Indian) people, using things like food, water, and supplies as “incentives” to convert.

    Or “Operation Rescue” This is Pat Robertson’s “Charity” that has been known for shady use of funds (i.e. funding a diamond mind for Pat, or something along those lines) after the Tsunami a few years back someone told me it was better to donate to them than the Red Cross because “most of the money would go to the people and not advertising” (yeah right), but not knowing they were religious I did. They STILL send me crap all the time, even though I’ve told them to stop, numerous times. The BBB warns against giving money to them.

  • Who is she really punishing by donating to a cause that promotes intolerance or scientific illiteracy, herself or the rest of humankind?

    Screw all of the self-serving rationalizations and just get off your ass and do what you need to do.

  • Lost Left Coaster

    Don’t do it that way. Her punishment should be giving money to a great organization in a quantity that she cannot reasonably afford. Just define it ahead of time — “If I need to punish myself, then I’ll give $200 to the Secular Students Alliance” or something like that. That way, a great organization gets money, but if it is too much money for her, that is still good incentive to accomplish her goals (and then give a donation to SSA later anyway.)

  • Wait, wait. Since when has your loins become the standard reward for procrastinating atheists? Maybe I would have started working out a long time ago if I would have known that…

  • Giving money to a charity whose aims you are opposed to just seems stupid. It seems like a selfish act which would ultimately hurt others, For example, giving money to an organisation which opposes same sex marriages. Either she should give money to a charity she does support or she could try doing some positive volunteer work for a religious charity. That way she learns some humility and tact, does some valuable interfaith work and educates herself about those with religious views.

    Also, could we ease off the tendency to leer at female atheists. It’s funny when you’re joking about having a crush but it starts being inappropriate and creepy when you’re offering your loins or asking people which atheist’s breasts they’d most like to see.

  • Since curing a bacon loin takes a few weeks, you may want to consider cutting those loins off a.s.a.p. to get a head start. There’s nothing like thick slices of cured loin, on rye bread, with mustard or mayonnaise …

  • I did this once as motivation for going to the gym. Long story short, I’m now a member of the Discovery Institute. Oh, the emails I get.

  • NAMBLA….

  • anonymouse

    I would never donate to a charity that I didn’t believe in.

  • TXatheist

    I go out of my way to give to GoodWill and not to Salvation Army. Give to a xian church that is gay friendly, like some Episcipol church or UU.

  • Punish yourself in some non-monetary (but not self-destructive) way.

  • Salvation Army: Good Cause, horrible organization.

  • beckster

    If you must punish yourself, don’t punish the rest of us too. Instead, punish yourself by attending some horribly long boring church service. I recommend a LDS service or Catholic mass. I would be tearing my hair out by the end of one of those. Or you can go to a pentacostal service and play with rattlesnakes for punishment. Just don’t give them money because that hurts us all.

  • Anna

    or you could donate to a worthy organization in a way that you find uncomfortable: like blood if you you have a needle phobia, or something like that. or you could require yourself to run a charity race or something. then it’s punishment AND motivation all at once.

  • Deny yourself chocolate for 6 months. Force yourself to volunteer at a local worthwhile charity more hours than are convenient or to give money to a worthwhile charity in a way that makes you feel the economic squeeze.

    DON’T give money to a horrible “charity”. The reason is simple; you don’t only punish yourself, you punish other people. If you give money to the American Family Association it’ll make you nauseous sure, but your money will be used to fight to deny rights to GLBT Americans. Don’t punish yourself in a way that does harm to others!

  • You guys don’t seem to get it. I’ve actually done this before and it works.

    The key is to make the “charity” so incredibly horrible that you just can’t make yourself donate there. That way, you will do ANYTHING IN YOUR POWER to achieve your goal. It’s a super motivator.

    The key is to write the check ahead of time, post-dated, properly addressed, and give it to a trusted friend with the following instructions. “If I don’t achieve my goal in the next 30 days, you are to mail this. It doesn’t matter if some impostor claiming to be me says that she made a terrible mistake and she’s changed her mind. You must mail it on the approved date.”

    Trust me, you WILL achieve your goal.

    Mine was finishing a short story, and the check was $100 to the George Bush library. I was never so happy in my life to tear up a check.

  • If you donate to a good charity, then you aren’t as motivated to achieve your goal, because if you fail, you have still done good in the world. You can’t make it a win-win.

  • CatBallou

    I’m still a little bit confused about the loins bit. Are you two in a relationship? Does everyone know this? (I’m kinda new here.)

  • NikolaHalcyone

    Operation Blessing International. It was started by Pat Robertson (bluck!) & is affiliated with the 700 Club (super bluck!). But, they do pretty amazing things around the world.
    I volunteered for them a number of times in New Orleans in 2006 & 2007 doing Hurricane Katrina Rebuilding. They offer great resources to their volunteers at no cost (other non-profits down there, it’s very expensive for volunteers). The staff are conservative, fundamentalist Christians, but they don’t force it on anyone. I volunteered with Atheists, liberal Christians, Buddhists, Jews, etc. Never a problem. And, they don’t force any type of belief in God on the people that they help or witness at all.

    Good luck!

  • absent sway

    Wait, so your loins aren’t motivation enough?

  • I’m still a little bit confused about the loins bit. Are you two in a relationship? Does everyone know this? (I’m kinda new here.)

    Ha, no. Nothing of the sort. Just playing around. All in good fun 🙂

  • The “loins” part threw me as well, but I was looking for a link to pictures.

  • DiscipleMakers Mission:
    “Founded in 1981, DiscipleMakers is a Pennsylvania-based Christian mission organization ministering to college students. DiscipleMakers seeks to fulfill the Great Commission of Jesus Christ on college campuses through Biblically based training in evangelism and discipleship. We exist to help students discover the only answers to their questions that will ultimately satisfy them and prepare them for the realities of this life and the next. DiscipleMakers believes these answers are found in the Bible which records the history of God’s redemptive plan, culminating in the person of Jesus Christ. Our strategy is based on the belief that colleges and universities are critical places to make the kind of disciples that can change the world for Christ.”

  • The only charity that I have found interesting in quite some time is http://www.heifer.org/.

  • llewelly

    Is there any evidence these sorts of self-administered punishments have any effect?

  • No way I’d ever give money to a charity that I don’t support their work. Charity is something I take too seriously.

    I’d go with a different motivation, say if you don’t follow through in the given time Hemant comes and confiscates your tv/ipod/etc. for a month.

  • Lexi

    “Is there any evidence these sorts of self-administered punishments have any effect?”

    a) losing money registers as pain in the brain (https://www.technologyreview.com/blog/editors/17442/)

    b) similar things have worked for other people http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/sunday/commentary/la-op-ayres27jan27,0,4217688.story

    c) may revise the plan about a hatable charity and just do a decent Xian charity, of course attending X hours of church could could work too (that was a good suggestion!)

    Granted she could have just given the money to me if she lost (I would like that), but she could still feel a little good about that, because she’d know that money would go toward balancing out the awesome impulse buy I made today! (and then it would be more like she got me a present . . .) This way she’ll feel really terrible for not meeting her goal! But yeah, not punish the rest of us is a good point.

    Margaret got it right.

  • I did a similar bet with myself when i wanted to quit smoking. I had to pay a not insignificant fine per cigarette, that was donated to the GOP. I only cheated a couple of times, and writing that first check made me sick, but i didn’t write another.

    The point is that you don’t want to give that group money, and that serves as an extra motivator when you are procrastinating/whatever.

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