The Foundation Beyond Belief is an American foundation that collects money from atheists and donates to worthwhile charities. The intent is to show that atheists are good people and care about giving to good causes.
The only problem is that the FBB is slated to donate to The Quaker Peace and Social Witness for the next quarter. Quakers are known as pacifists, are probably nice people to get along with, and I’m sure the charity does good work but I don’t see why a foundation funded by atheists would want to support it. From the Quakers’ homepage:
We seek to experience God directly, within ourselves and in our relationships with others and the world around us. These direct encounters with the Divine are where Quakers find meaning and purpose.
So they are doing charitable work because it allows them to better connect with their god. And atheists are giving them money to do it?
The people who run the FBB defend themselves by pointing out that they ensure money goes towards charities that do actual good work. However, as a donor, I would have also assumed my money was going to groups that do it without religion. By supporting a religious charity, even one that does good work, the FBB is supporting the claim that you need a god to be good. There are thousands of secular charities that need money so why did they need to stoop down and choose one that does it all under the pretext of faith?
If I donated to the FBB I would immediately revoke my support. If I wanted to donate to worthwhile charities I can do so directly. I would rather donate to the FBB because it makes atheists look better and I could be certain it was going to a charity that doesn’t involve any religion. I hope the FBB reconsiders their choice or else I don’t see much of a future for them.
Above all, I think the idea behind the FBB is a good one. I’ve been working with a few people who are interested in trying it in Canada so I hope to see something soon.
Reported in the Pew Forum.