As I have mentioned elsewhere on this blog, I have had three debates with Dinesh D’Souza, an extremely smart, articulate, and conservative fellow, on the Problem of Suffering. The debates were not about whether there is a problem (yes there is!), but about whether the problem is, or should be, insurmountable for faith. For many people (like me) it is insurmountable. But I don’t think it necessarily is for everyone. Dinesh does not think it should be for anyone (including me).
In one of the debates Dinesh argued – I don’t know why, as I don’t recall the context – that contrary to what you might think, it is precisely conservative Christian believers who are more prone to give to charity than liberal non-religious people. To back up his point, he referenced a study Who Really Cares, by Arthur C. Brooks, who also seems to be an extremely smart, articulate, and conservative fellow. Brooks claims, apparently, that it is not the bleeding heart liberals but the anti-welfare conservatives who give more money to social causes. Really? UGH!!
I haven’t brought my self to read the book yet. It sounds like a recipe for depression, and how can we read everything we want? I’m so inundated (apart from my reading for work, which I do all day long most days) with fiction that I’m desperate to read (just been reading Virginia Wolf for, I’m ashamed to say, the first time; amazing. I have piles of Anthony Trollope I want to read [to my shame, once more, never done it]; and some Victor Hugo [Les Miserables – now *that’s* a big book!– was one of my favorites in grad school, but I’ve never read Hunchback. And on and on and on) that I simply can’t seem to find time to read non-fiction, even though I should.
Anyway, I have no reason to doubt that Dinesh misconstrued what Brooks has to say, and I do need to look into it. Because I find it disturbing. Why is it that Christians give more money to charity (not just to their churches, apparently) than non-believers? It should be just the *opposite*! Those of us who are liberal humanists who are committed to living life to the fullest and to helping others do the same should be giving MORE than the believers who think it’s all going to be worked out one way or another in the cosmic end (OK, for the theologically astute: I realize I’m over-simplifying). We (I) think this life is all there is. We (I) should be putting our believing brothers and sisters to shame when it comes to charity and to helping out our fellow man and woman. But apparently we are not.
I would love to know more ways to raise money for good causes. (As if I’m looking for something to do with all my spare time… Still, I would love to). For now I’m doing this blog. As I’ve tried to make clear, I’m not committing myself to this (and it *is* a real commitment of time and resources) simply because I think the world needs more of me and I’m desperate to share my pearls of wisdom with all takers. I do want to share my thoughts, but what is driving me is the charity. I want to raise money for the hungry and homeless. That simple.
We are doing pretty well on the blog. Over the course of a couple of months we have raised over $8000. But it’s not enough, and I’d like to do more. I’m not sure how much more I can do in terms of quantity, but if I can do more by way of quality, I’m open to suggestions!
This is where you come in. If you feel moved to donate more money independently of your subscription – feel free! Every penny goes to the charities I’ve discussed. But also: if you have suggestions about how to attract more members to the blog, let me know. We are currently getting about two new members a day. That may not sound like much, but at $24.95 a pop, over the course of a year – well, you do the math. But I’d like more. A lot more. But how? Feel free to email me to let me know what we can do to improve things and draw more people in. You will earn my special once-in-a-lifetime blessing if your suggestion does not require a huge expenditure of TIME! 🙂
Apart from all that, I want to thank all of you who have joined the blog. The interactions have been terrific, and even though I sometimes begrudge the time (I’m always begrudging time; I’ll blog about that sometime; my wife [rightly] thinks that my obsession with time is a bit of an imbalance 🙂 ), I have enjoyed writing these posts and hearing and responding to your interactions. But mainly I’ve enjoyed seeing the money come in to fight, in a very tangible way, causes that I – and you – believe in.