January 7, 2011

Kiva Atheists

KivaOne of the obvious problems with donating to charities is that one can only help so much before running out of money. There are so many groups worthy of support that few people are wealthy enough to support them all to the degree they might wish. What if there was a way to help others by loaning money?

If you haven't heard of Kiva, it is a popular microlending service where donors can support entrepreneurs in poor countries via small loans. Even small contributions, when pooled, can be very effective. Interestingly, the largest lending team on Kiva is the the Atheists, Agnostics, Skeptics, Freethinkers, Secular Humanists and the Non-Religious.

Members of the atheist team make loans because they care about their fellow humans and want to alleviate suffering. In contrast, members of the Christian team make loans because:
Pure and undefiled religion before God the Father is this: to care for orphans and widows in their misfortune and to keep oneself unstained by the world. (Jam. 1:27)
The atheist team has more than twice as many members as the Christian one and has loaned considerably more money. Go figure.

Have any of you participated in Kiva? If so, I hope you'll tell us about it. It seems like a great way to support people in developing countries and challenge stereotypes about atheists.

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