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  arrow pointing to the right   Home arrow My Thoughts arrow Humanism arrow Humanism arrow Humanism doesn't cost much

Humanism doesn't cost much PDF Print E-mail

Religions are businesses

Humanism doesn’t cost much

I received a link the other day from about the wealth of churches. It’s about the business of religion and covers some of the wealthiest religions, where they get their money from and what they spend it on.

Not surprisingly, the big dog religion financially is the Catholic Church. They are apparently worth hundreds of billions and their fortune apparently mostly came from priceless works of art that, were probably plundered (I mean saved) during the World Wars.  They apparently have apparently spent 1/2 billion in the USA alone to pay off abuse victims.

Compare this with the America Humanist Association, whose annual budget is about $2 million. According to the 2010 annual report, they spend almost all of that on programs with over a million going to public awareness campaigns.  They don’t appear to spend any money on pay off abuse victims.

Now, why I am bothering to write about this?  Well, because we Humanists are miserable at funding Humanism. Even the church of Scientology is worth hundreds of millions.  And yes, we are hindered by the fact that we refuse to be unethical when we ask for funding our organizations and that does put us at a disadvantage.

However, if you care about the philosophy and think people would be better off if they were Humanistically inclined if not Humanists, then you should help fund the activities that will help get the word out.

I can’t tell you how many times I talk to people about Humanism and they have never heard of it before. In fact, when I did an interview with Skepticality, afterwards I got lots of emails from skeptics who had never heard of Humanism before.  If our friends in the skeptic movement don’t know we exist, then we shouldn’t be surprised that the general public doesn’t know either. We need to do better.

And part of the problem is that it doesn’t cost anything to be a Humanist.  There are no tithes to pay. And if you join a group, all that is required of you is that you pay an small annual membership fee to help pay for the newsletters they send you. The problem is that it costs money to compete in the marketplace of ideas.

So here is the challenge. Let’s start making the promotion of Humanism a priority. If you are in a local group, make a pledge to make a monthly donation to your group to help fund it.  Most groups don’t ask you for anything other then an annual membership fee to help pay for their newsletter for members. What would happen if 5 members donated $50/month? You would have an extra $3,000 to spend every year and with that, you could do something cool to let your community know you exist. Perhaps you could hire someone to do childcare for you so that families could start coming. I’m just throwing out ideas.

If you are not a member of a local group, donate regular to your state or national association. I’m partial to the Humanists of Florida Association and the American Humanist Association. If enough of commit to give regularly and make it part of our regular giving, there is no reason why we can’t have buildings and do projects that make us more relevant to the communities in which we live.

If you would rather fund good deeds then an outreach organization, give to one of these many fine Humanist charities.

I’m not saying that Humanists should be building a fortune so that we can make the richest religion or worldview list. What I am saying is that we should at least try to provide basic funding for our groups so that people will become aware that we exist.


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