Atheist movement and major donors

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Most atheists likely live in East Asia (see: Asian atheism)

A beggar in Cambodia. In Cambodia, the vast majority of the population adheres to a nontheistic form of Buddhism called the Theravada school of Buddhism.

A comprehensive study by Harvard University professor Robert Putnam found that religious people are more charitable than their irreligious counterparts.[1]

Major donor fundraising involves building relationships with high-net-worth individuals for the purpose of fundraising.

According to NCVO Knowhow Nonprofit:

Major donors should be a valuable and ongoing source of income. The time spent cultivating a potential major donor is crucial and also cost effective: one donor can seriously change your organisation’s income. It is also easier to build a long term, meaningful relationship with a substantial donor than to use direct mail.[2]

Religious organizations are far outpacing atheist organizations when it comes to fundraising (see: Atheist fundraising vs. religious fundraising). See also: Atheism and charity

In 2017, the atheist activist Lee Moore declared:

If you look at the major atheist groups right now, like the national groups, the ones that are doing the real activist work... They are not bringing in the kind of donations they used to. Most of them are starved for cash. They're downsizing left and right. Because people aren't just giving like they used to. And I talked to a lot of the major donors out there and they said, "Well, we're kind of tired of seeing the atheist community just fight amongst itself and not really get anything done. We'd rather not give money if we don't think it's going to go somewhere."[3]

See also: Atheist factions and Atheism and social skills

Atheist movement, women and a smaller base of major donors

See also: Atheist movement, women and a smaller base of major donors and Atheism and women and Atheism and sexism

Studies indicate that women in the Western World tend to be more religious than men.[4]

Surveys throughout the world and other data indicate that women are less inclined to be atheists (See: Atheism and women).[5] [6]

According to the article Top 10 Trends: How Major Donors are Changing and What To Do About It :

Older ladies are THE major donor demographic.

Here’s something amazing. Women are far, far more generous than men. (Hey, we knew this, didn’t we?)

A recent study found that women are more than TWICE as generous than men.

For every $100 boomer and older men gave, women in the very same economic circumstances gave $258!!

Women are more likely to give to charity, and they are more likely to give more. (Women Give 2012, Women’s Philanthropy Institute, Indiana University.)[7]

According to Fortune magazine women donate more to charitable causes than men:

“Women are very involved in charitable giving,” explained Nancy Heiser, vice president of wealth management at UBS. “The reasons are simple: Women are living longer, making more money and may be inheriting twice—once from their parents and again if they outlive their spouses.”[8]

In addition, in recent years, their has been increased divisiveness between men and women within the atheist movement (see: Atheist factions). Also, there is a higher prevalence of violence against women compared to many Christianized individuals/countries (see: Irreligion and domestic violence and Secular Europe and domestic violence and Mass rape during the occupation of Germany).

Todd Stiefel

CNN declared in 2013:

Todd Stiefel is far from a household name, and the odds he gets recognized on a street corner, even in his hometown of Raleigh, North Carolina, are small.

For Stiefel, a slim, scruffy ex-Catholic, his public persona is his wallet and activism. Through the Stiefel Freethought Foundation, the 38-year-old has made an indelible impact on... nonbelievers. Most of the highest-profile atheists campaigns –- flashy billboards in high-traffic areas, news-making efforts to get atheists to come out of the closet, and boisterous rallies - are funded by his fortune.

Stiefel isn’t shy about his far-reaching goals.

“What I am trying to accomplish is multifold, he told CNN. “I consider myself working on the next civil equality movement, just like women’s rights, LGBT rights and African-American Civil Rights. We are still in the early stages of eliminating discrimination against atheists and humanists. That is something I really want to accomplish.”[9]

The Blaze reports Stiefel saying about donations to atheist causes:

“There’s some who focus more on the critique of religion and there’s others who focus on other aspects of the movement,” Stiefel continued. “I try to focus more on the importance of defending the Constitution and separation of church and state — and ending discrimination against freethinkers..."

Stiefel emphasized the difference he sees between targeting religion and hammering its adherents.

"There’s an enormous difference between criticizing religion and religious people."[10]

See also:

Todd Stiefel's ineffectiveness in substantially changing American views on atheists via his donations

A 2016 press release of a University of Minnesota study on atheists reported:

Survey data collected in 2014 shows that, compared to data collected in 2003, Americans have sharpened their negative views of atheists...

The findings of this most recent survey support the argument that atheists are persistent cultural outsiders in the United States because they are perceived to have rejected cultural values and practices understood as essential to private morality, civic virtue, and national identity. Moreover, any refusal to embrace a religious identity of any type is troubling for a large portion of Americans.[11]

The atheist Dan Arel reported:

In 2014, Pew Research found that atheists ranked down at the bottom of the list, only 1 point above Muslims as the least trusted religious demographic in the United States...

Now, according to a new study released by University of Minnesota sociologists shows that today, atheists are the most disliked.

The study compared a previous 2003 study with the new study, originally conducted in 2014, and found that Americans have only sharpened their dislike for atheists and religious nones.[12]

According the American atheist author Kevin Davis, atheism has an "unshakeable stigma".[13]

Claims of being an oppressed minority by American atheists are often not taken seriously

See also: Atheism vs. Christianity

Dennis Prager is a vocal opponent of atheist indoctrination in public schools.[14]

Atheist Tom Krattenmaker was quoted in Time magazine as saying about American atheists, "Even though we’re despised in some parts of the country and discriminated against in some ways, we don’t really get bullied or picked on. That makes it harder to gain sympathy for our views."[15]

In the United States, a significant amount of atheists are white males and the American atheist population has been criticized for its lack of racial diversity and lower amount of females in its population (Western atheism and race and Atheism and women). The Pew Research Forum reported in 2013 concerning American atheists: "About four-in-ten atheists (43%) have a college degree, compared with 29% of the general public."[16] In 2012, the Pew Research Forum reported regarding American atheists: "And about 38% of atheists and agnostics have an annual family income of at least $75,000, compared with 29% of the general public."[17] See also: Atheism/Christianity and socioeconomic status diversity

Hate crimes in the United States against atheists/agnostics are very low in number

See also: Atheism statistics

According to a 2007 Pew Forum survey, about 4% of Americans are atheists/agnostics.[18] A 2008 Gallup poll showed that 6% of the U.S. population believed that no god or universal spirit exists.[19]

According to 2013 FBI statistics, 6/10 of a percent of hate crimes were against atheists/agnostics.[20][21]

David Gorski on a donation to the Center for Inquiry from a major donor

David Gorski at Scienceblogs wrote about atheist/skeptic organizations and financial mismanagement:

In any case, this makes me wonder: What is it about rationalist/skeptic groups that make them seemingly have such a hard time running their organizations well from a financial standpoint? After all, just a couple of months ago the Center for Inquiry (CFI) sent out letters desperately begging for more contributions. The reason was that CFI had one large benefactor whose yearly contribution funded approximately 20-25% of the yearly CFI budget. As clueless as I may be about finances, even I know that you don’t use such donations to run the operating expenses of an organization, because you can’t count on them from year to year and it’s too big a chunk. You use this money for special short-term projects and a rainy day fund. Not surprisingly, when this mysterious donor stopped donating earlier this year, suddently CFI was in deep doo-doo from a financial standpoint, prompting the desperate plea for donations and deep budget cuts. I realize that the down economy has played havoc with many nonprofit and charitable organizations, but these issues with skeptical organizations seem to go beyond just that.[22]

Charles Simonyi

See also: Atheism and cowardice

Richard Dawkins
The Oxford University Professor Daniel Came wrote to the New Atheist Richard Dawkins:: "The absence of a debate with the foremost apologist for Christian theism is a glaring omission on your CV and is of course apt to be interpreted as cowardice on your part."[23]

In 1995, Richard Dawkins became the Charles Simonyi Professor of the Public Understanding of Science which was a post created by an endowment of £1.5m from Dr. Charles Simonyi. In September 2008, Richard Dawkins retired from his post as Simonyi Professor of the Public Understanding of Science.

Since World War II a majority of the most prominent and vocal defenders of the evolutionary position which employs methodological naturalism have been atheists and agnostics.[24]

Thomas Huxley was an agnostic in the 19th century who was a vociferous proponent of evolutionism.

The Simonyi Professorship Home Page promotes the idea that Richard Dawkins is "Darwin's Rottweiler" and has an article published in the Seattle newspaper EastSideweek which states the following:

...Thomas Henry Huxley, earned the nickname "Darwin's bulldog" from his fellow Victorians. In our own less decorous day, Dawkins deserves an even stronger epithet: "Darwin's Rottweiler, perhaps," Simonyi suggests. Now, thanks to Simonyi's gift of £1.5 million sterling to England's venerable Oxford University, the Rottweiler is unleashed."

Yet, Dawkins refuses to engage in creation vs. debates and he has a reputation for avoiding his strongest opponents in debates regarding the existence of God and related matters (see: Richard Dawkins' refusal to engage in creation vs. evolution debates and Richard Dawkins and debate

The Oxford University Professor Daniel Came wrote to the New Atheist Richard Dawkins:: "The absence of a debate with the foremost apologist for Christian theism is a glaring omission on your CV and is of course apt to be interpreted as cowardice on your part."[23]

Louis J. Appignani

In 2016, the New York Times reported:

...the University of Miami received a donation in late April from a wealthy atheist to endow what it says is the nation’s first academic chair “for the study of atheism, humanism and secular ethics.”

The chair has been established after years of discussion with a $2.2 million donation from Louis J. Appignani, a retired businessman and former president and chairman of the modeling school Barbizon International, who has given grants to many humanist and secular causes — though this is his largest so far. The university, which has not yet publicly announced the new chair, will appoint a committee of faculty members to conduct a search for a scholar to fill the position.

“I’m trying to eliminate discrimination against atheists,” said Mr. Appignani, who is 83 and lives in Florida. “So this is a step in that direction, to make atheism legitimate.”

Religion departments and professors of religious studies are a standard feature at most colleges and universities, many originally founded by ministers and churches. The study of atheism and secularism is only now starting to emerge as an accepted academic field, scholars say, with its own journal, conferences, course offerings and, now, an endowed chair...

“There was great reluctance on the part of the university to have an endowed chair with the word ‘atheism’ in the name, and that was a deal-breaker for Lou,” Mr. Siegel said. “He wasn’t going to do it unless it had the word atheism in it.”...

Mr. Appignani said he rejected a last-minute proposal from a dean to call it a chair in “philosophical naturalism.” Instead, he and the university leaders worked out the title, broadening the scope by including humanism and secular ethics.[25]

Appignani's attempt to "make atheism legitimate" by influencing academia will face opposition among philosophers of religion. The majority of philosophers of religion, or those who have extensively studied the issue of the existence of God, are theists (72 percent).[26]

For information related to atheism and morality and secular ethics, please see:

See also

Notes

  1. Multiple references:
  2. MAJOR DONORS,NCVO Knowhow Nonprofit
  3. Moore and Steve Shives Talk About the Future of the Atheist Movement, video quote comes 21 minutes and 13 seconds into the video
  4. Multiple references:
  5. Khan, Razib (November 18, 2010). "Gene expression; Sex differences in global atheism, part N". Discover magazine website.
  6. Myers, P.Z. (June 29, 2010). "The woman problem". Pharyngula [blog].
  7. Top 10 Trends: How Major Donors are Changing and What To Do About It
  8. Research echoes Heiser’s sentiment. According to WPI’s 2010 Women Give study, American households headed by single females give 57% more than those headed by single males.
  9. [The money man behind atheism’s activism], CNN, 2013
  10. Exclusive: Atheist Movement’s ‘George Soros’ Says Bible Has ‘Moral’ & ‘Factual’ Flaws; Touts His Vision for Secularism, The Blaze, 2012
  11. Atheists Remain Most Disliked Religious Minority in the US
  12. Study: Atheists remain the most disliked religious minority in the U.S.
  13. An Atheist Walks into a Christian Meeting about Atheism by Kevin Davis
  14. How atheism is being sold in America
  15. 5 Challenges Atheists Face, Time magazine, Hemant Mehta/Patheos, April 24, 2015
  16. 5 facts about atheists By Michael Lipka, Pew Research Forum, October 23, 2013
  17. “Nones” on the Rise - Demographics, Pew Research Forum, October 9, 2012
  18. Pew Forum Religious Landscape Survey - Key findings
  19. Belief in God Far Lower in Western U.S. Gallup.com. Retrieved on 2012-02-05.
  20. 2013 FBI hate crime statistics
  21. Atheism: The Next Civil Rights movement, Vlad Chituc, The Daily Beast, 4-6-2015
  22. Richard Dawkins sues Josh Timonen, Posted by David Gorski on October 24, 2010
  23. 23.0 23.1 Richard Dawkins accused of cowardice for refusing to debate existence of God, The Daily Telegraph, May 14, 2011
  24. University of Miami Establishes Chair for Study of Atheism, New York Times, 2016
  25. Does it matter that many scientists are atheists?