SPEAKER: ROY SABLOSKY
SUBJECT: "THE MYTH OF CHRISTIAN CHARITY"
Researcher Debunks Religious ‘Generosity’ on Thursday at NYCA Meeting
You’ve heard it for years: Churchgoers are more charitable than secularists; the religious give more generously to the poor and the downtrodden. Did you ever wonder: So, how come we still have so many poor and downtrodden?
Roy Sablosky wondered. Sablosky, a longtime California Atheist who works in scientific publishing as a copy editor, sees a lot of research papers go over his desk, some of them sociological studies. One day he happened to notice that one of these papers had to do with studies which supposedly “proved” that religion fosters charitable generosity.
Curious, Sablosky decided to find out what other research is out there on this topic. “I read the scientific literature,” he says. “I wanted to find out what scientists are saying about this.” He found, to his surprise and chagrin, that the “studies” purporting to show that religious people are more “generous” were mostly unscientific and poorly done--no more than junk science.
Church Perpetrates Myth
Sablosky suspected that the myth of Christian charitableness was being perpetrated by the church itself and that sociologists were probably, consciously or unconsciously, influenced by this pervasive and largely unchallenged belief.
“The evidence out there for the greater charitableness of religious people is not valid,” says Sablosky. “It is based on poor methodology, bad assumptions and conceptual problems.”
For one thing, the methodology of the studies is predominantly based on surveys. “They just asked people!” he says. “There is evidence that people who are religious say things that are expected of them.” A study that relies solely on personal statements is notoriously unreliable.
Only 2% of Donations Go to Poor
Additionally, Sablosky points out that every year churches collect some $100 billion in donations. But most donors do not know that the average congregation in the U.S. gives only two percent (2%) of donated money to humanitarian projects. Some 98% goes to pay staff, upkeep of buildings, the priest’s car, robes, salary and housing.
“Only 2% of that money goes to feeding the hungry and homeless,” notes Sablosky. “In other words, you’re not donating money to a humanitarian organization when you give to a church, you’re giving to a sort-of private club to maintain the clubhouse.”
Moreover, churches consider proselytizing to be a charitable effort. When they say they give to “good works,” they consider that going out and trying to convert people is “good works.”
Come Hear the Expose'
Sablosky has become known nationwide in the secular community for his investigation and expose‘ of this topic and was a guest speaker at the Burbank convention of the Atheists Alliance International. He is on the Board of Directors of the American Humanist Association of Greater Sacramento. Sablosky attended Princeton University and received his BFA degree from the California Institute of Arts.
Come on Thursday, February 23, to NYC Atheists’ monthly meeting to hear this provocative speaker on a topic that is long overdue. An interview with Sablosky conducted by Dennis Horvitz, NYCA’s TV host, will be shown and then Sablosky will join us live via Skype to answer audience questions on the spot.
Why have we let religion perpetrate the myth that Christians are more caring, more giving, than secularists? Atheists are generally adept at debunking religion’s many myths but the myth of Christian generosity has eluded us until now.
WHAT: “THE MYTH OF CHRISTIAN CHARITY” - a talk by
Roy Sablosky filmed previously by NYCA, followed by
a live Q & A session with Mr. Sablosky via Skype.
WHEN: Thursday, February 23, 2012 at 6:30 p.m.
WHERE: SLC Conference Center
352 Seventh Ave. (Bet. 29 & 30th Sts.)
COST: We appreciate a donation of $5 to help defray the cost of
the conference center. Students and unemployed exempt.