Atheist Billboards Declare Prayer, Bibles Not Helping Disaster Victims

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You may donate to the Philippine Typhoon Relief via Non-Believers Giving Aid

American Atheists launched six billboards on Monday in central New Jersey attacking the non-helpful responses by some religions to recent natural disasters. These responses have included praying for the victims and sending bibles and rosaries instead of requested relief supplies that can save lives.

While at least $300 million has been pledged by nations around the world to help survivors of Super Typhoon Haiyan, the Catholic Bishop Conference of the Philippines, a billion-dollar non-government organization, has responded to the disaster by sending 1,000 bibles and 12,000 rosaries to survivors, according to CBS News. Additionally, the Pope tweeted for Catholics to pray for the typhoon victims. His message was retweeted 30,000 times.

“Imagine if the Pope had asked for people to send money to victims or to send needed supplies. How much more useful would that have been to the people of the Philippines? This is insulting,” said American Atheists President David Silverman. “Over 5,500 people have died, so Pope Francis leads people in prayer, and they send bibles and rosaries. This is repugnant; natural disasters should not be viewed as opportunities for proselytization.” Silverman continued, “Religion is not charity. It’s business masquerading as charity, and it needs to be recognized as such.”

Written By: American Atheists
continue to source article at news.atheists.org

42 COMMENTS

  1. the Catholic Bishop Conference of the Philippines, a billion-dollar non-government organization, has responded to the disaster by sending 1,000 bibles and 12,000 rosaries to survivors, according to CBS News.

    Faith-head thinking!!!! – You need clean water, hot food and medicines. – Here are some magic beads to help you pray for them.
    12,000 packets of water purification tablets and some $10 solar cookers anyone????
    http://www.aidforafrica.org/member-charities/solar-cookers-international/

    At least the Bibles could be used for lighting cooking fires or for toilet paper!

  2. OMG, Are these people for real?! Sending bibles and rosaries and prayers, indeed! I can just see those poor people with sunken eyes and swollen bellies, desperately looking for something to eat and getting bibles instead! What the hell are they thinking.Oh, pardon me, they don’t think.

    • In reply to #2 by Christiana Magdalene Moodley:

      OMG, Are these people for real?! Sending bibles and rosaries and prayers, indeed! I can just see those poor people with sunken eyes and swollen bellies, desperately looking for something to eat and getting bibles instead! What the hell are they thinking.Oh, pardon me, they don’t think.

      No, they think, they just think like deluded idiots. They think If these people die with the bible they will be with god. They never quite think about actually not dying, it’s god’s plan after all. That’s why we call them death cults.

    • In reply to #2 by Christiana Magdalene Moodley:

      OMG, Are these people for real?! Sending bibles and rosaries and prayers, indeed! I can just see those poor people with sunken eyes and swollen bellies, desperately looking for something to eat and getting bibles instead! What the hell are they thinking.Oh, pardon me, they don’t think.

      Yes, its real. I know because I live here in the philippines. Well, deaths means business so why should they help extend their lives,better help to end it.

  3. “Religion is not charity. It’s business masquerading as charity, and it needs to be recognized as such.”

    I have been banging this drum for years. It is great to see someone with a public voice saying the same thing.

    This is repugnant; natural disasters should not be viewed as opportunities for proselytization

    Truer words could not be said.

    • In reply to #3 by crookedshoes:

      “Religion is not charity. It’s business masquerading as charity, and it needs to be recognized as such.”

      I have been banging this drum for years. It is great to see someone with a public voice saying the same thing.

      This is repugnant; natural disasters should not be viewed as opportunities for pr…

      The sad reality is, the people here in the philippines, mostly, don’t see it that way.

    • In reply to #5 by Lancshoop:

      “Imagine if the Pope had asked for people to send money to victims or to send needed supplies”

      He did, we are;

      And they still took up urgently needed freight transport facilities with magic beads!!!

      end of thread

      That’s where the beads fall off, if the tie is not secure, isn’t it?

      • In reply to #6 by Alan4discussion:

        In reply to #5 by Lancshoop:

        “Imagine if the Pope had asked for people to send money to victims or to send needed supplies”

        He did, we are;

        And they still took up urgently needed freight transport facilities with magic beads!!!

        end of thread

        That’s where the beads fall off, if the tie is not se…

        Its as simple as this: if their didn’t lift a finger, why should they extend a hand? The church will always its better to give to them so they will receive.

    • In reply to #7 by old-toy-boy:

      How do atheist bill-boards help disaster victims? (someone needs to ask).

      It has two functions:

      1. to divert donations from bibles to relief. This is a cumulative effect. Imagine the effect of all bibles converted to relief for all time.
      2. To discredit the church con.
      • In reply to #12 by Roedy:

        In reply to #7 by old-toy-boy:

        How do atheist bill-boards help disaster victims? (someone needs to ask).

        It has two functions:

        to divert donations from bibles to relief. This is a cumulative effect. Imagine the effect of all bibles converted to relief for all time.
        To discredit the church con.

        Hopefully, it makes people think. Which is a rare occurrence these days.

      • In reply to #23 by stevenwood21:

        In reply to #7 by old-toy-boy:

        How do atheist bill-boards help disaster victims? (someone needs to ask).

        By encouraging people to send real aid instead of good wishes. Is that not doing something?

        Only if it works. Does it work? Is the increase in the amount of actual aid, greater than the cost of the billboard?

    • In reply to #9 by Roedy:

      “I’ll pray for you” is a socially acceptable way of saying “no” when someone asks for help.

      that senseless line is perceived as a good trait here in the philippines.

  4. When people are absolutely desperate, they will try anything, including Catholic woo. So this is the most important time to pump in bibles.

    But the Philipines is already saturated with Catholic woo. Surely that should rate them some real help. Apparently not.

    • In reply to #10 by Roedy:

      When people are absolutely desperate, they will try anything, including Catholic woo. So this is the most important time to pump in bibles.

      But the Philipines is already saturated with Catholic woo. Surely that should rate them some real help. Apparently not.

      Hopefully they will begin to see that they are on their own when it comes to the Christian god. Not only does their god not protect them from catastrophe, it makes sure they are sent books and beads to continue their delusion. It’s too sad for words.

  5. Along similar lines, here is a fatwa that I might actually be able to appreciate.

    http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5hawAKrDVWv8XoitfU1rUXm00azkw?hl=en

    Pray less, work more, says Islamic preacher
    (AFP) – Jun 5, 2008
    CAIRO (AFP) — For Egyptian-born Muslim cleric and television host, Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, there is a simple answer to Egypt’s productivity problem — pray less, work more.
    “Praying is a good thing … 10 minutes should be enough,” Al-Jazeera television personality Qaradawi says in a religious edict, or fatwa, published on his website.

    Pray less, work more. Excellent.

    • The guy handing that poor woman a bible certainly has no lack of comestibles !In reply to #14 by Agrajag:

      In a similar vein, bibles were distributed after the earthquake in Haiti: Thank you, this looks delicious.

      Steve

  6. At the end of the Muslim prayer session, you get to improvise, picking any verse from the Qur’an you please. Most people pick the shortest verse. The whole business is so onerous and boring, everyone wants to get it over with.

    The prayers require quite a bit of standing, bowing, scraping. It is amazing watching octogenarians doing it as nimbly as teens. It acts like a miniature exercise program to keep people limber. From a productivity point of view, it is probably better than a coffee break.

    Ideally there washing the whole body involved as well, in a ritually important order. In a world that had never heard of hygiene, this must have seemed fanatical.

    • In reply to #17 by CyberGod:

      They need to plaster these billboards all over the Philippines too. I’ve never seen so much useless prayi
      You can’t do that in the philippines because this is country is dominated by religion. Posting this here will only give religious leaders an opportunity to vilify atheists.

  7. Perhaps a more appropriate billboard would be

    ‘Disaster victims need real help -not billboards with bigoted comments on about what other sections of the community ought to be doing.

    This Atheist billboard is despicable and the money wasted on producing it a crying shame given that the theme of it refers to an international disaster where tens of thousands of people have died or are in urgent need of our help.

    The fact of the matter is that The Vatican has directly contributed to the appeal. Millions of dollars are being raised through collections at Churches and schools. The aid is being delivered by faith based agencies as well as secular agencies who work together to deliver the aid in the most effective way possible. Quite often the faith based agencies can get access to areas where others can’t go particularly in heavily political or conflict situations. They create trust and negotiate with the controlling authorities to allow medical, food water and shelter and whatever other aid is appropriate. They don’t label the aid as coming from a believer or a non-believer, they just deliver it. In fact some of the aid purchased through non-believers giving aid could well be delivered by a CAFOD or Christian Aid because they have the experience, infrastructure and logistics to deliver it.
    In the case of the Philippines which is 80% Catholic and very religious, Bibles and Rosaries are important to the people there and will bring them comfort hope and strength. That would work for me as well; a QPR home shirt in the pack would considerably boost my moral !

    • In reply to #19 by Lancshoop:

      In fact some of the aid purchased through non-believers giving aid could well be delivered by a CAFOD or Christian Aid because they have the experience, infrastructure and logistics to deliver it.

      Interesting. Are you saying that some of the money NBGA gives to Doctors without Borders may end up going to CAFOD or Christian Aid ? Have you got evidence for that ?

      They don’t label the aid as coming from a believer or a non-believer,

      Nevertheless some theists do use charitable donations as evidence for the moral superiority of religion. You see this quite frequently on the internet.
      This is why I funnel my donations through non-religious charities whenever practicable.

      Michael

    • In reply to #19 by Lancshoop:

      Perhaps a more appropriate billboard would be

      ‘Disaster victims need real help -not billboards with bigoted comments on about what other sections of the community ought to be doing.

      This Atheist billboard is despicable and the money wasted on producing it a crying shame given that the theme of it…

      Try reading the rest of an article next time, instead of getting defensive:

      We are not an aid organization and, unlike some churches, we don’t pretend to be one. However, we can use our megaphone to raise awareness about the uselessness of prayer and other religious items for “disaster relief.” Instead, we direct our web site visitors to other secular organizations that offer real support to the real victims of tragedy.

      …and…

      The press release as written originally indicated that the billboards directed people to atheists.org/relief, while the billboard images shown read, “Learn more at atheists.org”. We apologize for the mismatch. Being that character and word count on billboards is extremely limited and brevity is a top priority, the billboards do in fact direct people to atheists.org, and thereafter encourage visitors to go to American Atheists’s Relief page at atheists.org/relief: There is a large banner on the front page of that site, replacing the usual rotating banners about our lawsuits, upcoming convention, and other activities.

      Lastly, I might also add that sending Bibles and rosaries is little more than a distraction from what really needs to be done in the wake of a disaster, and should be discouraged for that reason. “Boosting morale” requires actual relief effort, not fake remedies.

      In the words of one commenter, joe3eagles; “Imagine if responsible drivers would concentrate on their own driving and stop trying to get drunk drivers off the road. To each his own, right?”

    • In reply to #19 by Lancshoop:

      Perhaps a more appropriate billboard would be

      ‘Disaster victims need real help -not billboards with bigoted comments on about what other sections of the community ought to be doing.

      This Atheist billboard is despicable and the money wasted on producing it a crying shame given that the theme of it…

      To say that the disaster is just a test from some god definitely is more despicable and distasteful that this.

    • “Millions of dollars are being raised through collections at Churches and schools.” A good thing.

      But how many millions of dollars could the church donate (note that according to YOU, the church is just raising funds from others, it is not donating it’s own money) if it had not spent more than a Billion-yes, Billion-paying off the victims of the pedophile priests?

      The ‘Church’ is a very corrupt organization.

  8. “Religion is not charity. It’s business masquerading as charity, and it needs to be recognized as such.”
    Reminds me of an observation made by (I think) Sam Harris about the Catholic church, that, while it claims to donate millions to charity, it is actually just passing on donations made to it (keeping a proportion of the money for itself, of course) by others who actually earned the money.

  9. Rather than encouraging people to pray; why doesn’t the Pope, in his capacity as “God’s representative on Earth”, apologise for God’s failure to prevent the disaster or give people sufficient warning to evacuate. He might even consider justifying God’s action in allowing or causing this disaster.

  10. No, religious organizations aren’t really charities, as by far the bulk of the money that is donated to them is dissipated internally. Yet in the US they receive full tax benefits under the law. Over and above providing little meaningful benefit for disaster victims and other needy people, they’re a burden on society, falsely justifying it on the basis of charity that they don’t actually provide.

    Their members think of themselves as “nice” and “considerate,” and indeed they are…to each other, if only in a superficial way, on Sunday mornings. But in reality, to the world at large, they’re anything but those things. Monitor a typical conversation in an adult Sunday School class about helping panhandlers some time. Their oblivion to the lesson of the story of the Good Samaritan might amaze you.

  11. I would just like to add to this thread, though I am not sure why. It seems pretty hopeless. The understanding of faith is pretty absent, and the ignorance concerning ‘giving’ from faith communities is woeful.

    However…

    This afternoon I raised over £500 for aid to Philippines. I am a curate in the church of England and over the past two weeks my church has raised over £600 to this cause. We have also prayed about the situation and others, as a consequence, have gone on to be inspired to give in other ways.

    Not sure anyone will like to read this since the thread seems intent on ignoring the facts, that church people give a huge amount to ‘aid’. It is ironic that a network committed to reason and science cannot pause long enough to look for evidence.

    Ho Hum

  12. Over 5,500 people have died, so Pope Francis leads people in prayer, and they send bibles and rosaries

    I wish that we atheists would refrain from making disingenuous statements such as this one. The article suggests that the catholic church sent bibles and beads and didn’t send real aid. In fact, the church sent both. A more legitimate statement would be something along the lines of “The catholic church wasted valuable cargo space sending religious trinkets instead of real aid”.
    We should distinguish our statements from those of the the superstitious by being ruthlessly honest, in spite of the fact that emotional hyperbole is more effective in the short term.

    • In reply to #40 by JeffGilbert:

      Over 5,500 people have died, so Pope Francis leads people in prayer, and they send bibles and rosaries

      I wish that we atheists would refrain from making disingenuous statements such as this one. The article suggests that the catholic church sent bibles and beads and didn’t send real aid. In fact,…

      Absolutely agree.

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