In this Episcopal News Service article the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, puts forth a call for greater cooperation between Christians and Muslims to “forge a new vision of a prosperous society to challenge the orthodoxies of the global economy.” In short, he thinks both groups should work together on ending poverty. Certainly an honorable enough goal even if the article makes it sound like he plans to do this by redefining what it means to be wealthy more so than actually providing the poor with more opportunities to earn money. Still it wasn’t anything I would normally have much to complain about until I got to the following statement:
“We know where the roots of poverty lie—in the refusal to accept the meaning that God gives the world, a refusal which shows itself not only in atheism but also in the anxious and greedy spirit that cannot see the human context of economic activity,” he said.
What the fuck? Now we’re responsible for poverty in addition to the laundry list of other problems these sanctimonious assholes like to pin on us? The Archbishop obviously doesn’t spend too much time around very many atheists (probably afraid he might learn something) as I can attest first hand to how generous many of us really are. As of late I’ve been fortunate enough to experience the generosity of many atheists and agnostics who visit this site daily not to mention plenty of believers as well. But my own situation is hardly a significant example of putting the lie to the Archbishop’s claim. I know many atheists who volunteer their time and resources toward the goal of ending poverty quite often working alongside many people of faith in the process.
You don’t have to believe in God(s) to have a sense of compassion for your fellow man or the desire to lend them a helping hand. I think it’s a shame that some people such as the Archbishop truly feel that only through the threat of punishment by an angry sky fairy will people be moved to give a shit about each other. We’re all in this together and the more we help each other the more likely we all are to benefit.