Philanthrôpía

The notable Greek philosopher, Plato heavily discussed philanthrôpía, which is a humanitarian effort to promote the welfare of others, and whilst overlapping with charity, charity is about donating finances to help a cause, philanthropy is about seeking the find a solution to the problem by examining the root causes. Greek poet, philosopher and playwright, Aeschylus coined the term 5th century BCE and it literally meant ‘love for humanity’. It’s about benevolence towards the whole of humanity without prejudice, which focuses on universal good will.

Aeschylus

philanthropy

A person, group, business, company, enterprise or organization that are focused on using their income, money, resources and time to contribute to the cocreating of optimum health, human rights, right to life, civil rights, ethical, fair, just and moral shared prosperity for all, stability, unity government, solidarity, cohesion, animal rights, right to housing, right to free education, right to be a parent, right to free preschool education, right to a standard of living, creation of living wage, right to internet access, economic stability, financial stability, equal rights, equal opportunities, employment rights, childrens rights, sustainable development, sustainable development goals, united partnership, multi-party working, community empowerment systems, equal distribution of income, wealth, fairness and justness across society, the country, europe and the world and contribute to the cocreation of global and national peace agreements, peace treaties, the universes truth and a fair, just and transparent system of checks and balances.” – Source

There are many notable philanthropists, who have donated time, effort and financial support to causes that aim to benefit society. Some of the ones most well known in the public eyes are Bill Gates, George Soros, John D. Rockafeller, Howard Hughes, Alfred Nobel, and Elon Musk, and between them they’ve set up countless foundations to help various causes and pumped billions of dollars into various projects to help the needy. Without question, Warren Buffet has pledged more of his fortune in donations than anyone in history and he claims that by the time he reaches death, he will have given away his multi-billion dollar fortune to several key charities and foundations, including $37 billion pledge to the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation which they will receive upon his passing. His aim is to attempt to help solve educational problems, and world health and hunger problems.

Is philanthropy an ethical and moral stance, or can it be about political agenda, or a display of power? Obviously creating organisations to help people in need is in principal a good thing, but imagine a philanthropist donating a massive chunk of their fortune and then announcing that they will run in the next presidential election in the U.S.A. Many people would vote for them as they believe that they are all about the people, but what if the donations are about political gain and notoriety? If you’re worth $80 billion and you donate 10% of that, then you’ll surely help disadvantaged people, but you’ll not miss that money as you’ve still got $72 billion, yet people with see your actions as admirable. Spreading the wealth in the world we live in is more crucial than ever as the elite become richer and more powerful, whilst the majority of humanity suffer to get by on a daily basis, and we are in a crisis of inequality.

“In my view, philanthropy goes against the grain; therefore it generates a lot of hypocrisy and many paradoxes. Here are some examples: Philanthropy is supposed to be devoted to the benefit of others, but philanthropists are primarily concerned with their own benefit; philanthropy is supposed to help people, yet it often makes people dependent and turns them into objects of charity; applicants tell foundations what they want to hear, then proceed to do what the applicant wants to do.” – George Soros

Why do some religions need gods?

I’ve just been in a discussion with someone about pro-choice in relation to ethical dilemmas; ie: termination of a pregnancy or assisted dying. These subjects are of course controversial, but essential human rights, and it’s down to the individual to be certain that their choice is of a sound mind, and their decision is theirs and theirs alone. No one has the right to judge a person regarding what their decision about their body and life entails. Yet so many theists of the god worshipping variety seem to think that it’s their duty as servants of their god to condemn and project their resentment, because they believe that their creator is the only one to give or deny life, but this is so narrow minded. Humans deserve dignity and freedom of choice, and theists have no rights to judge. But take away theism that involves a god and things look considerably different.

As soon as a god appears in the picture, the importance of human life, or death gets sidelined as the focus becomes what their god demands from its followers. They claim their gods are morality givers, but as basic human rights go, most deity driven religions favour rights that are portrayed within the pages of their holy scripture, and other rights that aren’t covered are of little to no importance. Take the pro-life stance as a prime example. Only god has the right to take away life, so theists tend to be anti-abortion regardless of the situation and they place the priority of the unborn over the pregnant woman, yet as soon as the baby is born, they couldn’t care less, especially if the child grows up to be homosexual, or of no faith.

“I have three precious things which I hold fast and prize. The first is gentleness; the second is frugality; the third is humility, which keeps me from putting myself before others. Be gentle and you can be bold; be frugal and you can be liberal; avoid putting yourself before others and you can become a leader among men” – Lao Tzu

Once you start to observe nontheistic religions, you notice a pattern, and that pattern is about humans caring for humans and other sentient life, and trying to lead a virtuous existence. Jainism is an ancient religion that originated in India and their main principle is ‘the function of souls is to help one another’. Another godless religion, Buddhism, is about trying to eliminate suffering, and Śīla is about expected ethical and moral behaviour that will lead a person down the path of liberation. Taoism, which is an ancient Chinese religion mainly focuses on compassion, humility and frugality that are known as the three treasures. They attempt to create an equilibrium with Tao, which is ‘the way’, and is about living in harmony with nature and energy of the universe ‘chi’.

“Religion is excellent stuff for keeping common people quiet. Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

Most other religions that don’t observe a god work in a similar pattern of becoming the best person you can possibly be by following guidelines on how to lead an ethical, virtuous life, in harmony with nature. Yet, look at religions that observe gods and all of that tranquility vanishes. It’s about controlling the masses, and creating a theocratic way of life where disobeying laws can have severe consequences, especially in countries that adopt Sharia Law. Do religions really need gods if they’ve caused so many conflicts through history due to different interpretations of pretty much the same concept, just a different god?

Are theists nihilists?

I’ve just engaged with someone on Twitter and the last thing I said was ‘if we are made in god’s image then his image is annihilation, making theists nihilists’, and this got me thinking about the amount of times theists have claimed that atheism is built around nihilism, and thus deem everything worthless as the universe appeared randomly. The first question that I’d ask here is how does anyone know for sure that the birth of the universe was random. How does anyone known that there wasn’t a natural chain of events that led to the primeval atom? Scientists can go back in time and roughly assert when the universe began, but whilst there are strong theories of why it happened, no one knows how and what led to it. We could get really deep into theories but instead I’m going to focus on creationism and how belief in that can allegedly give life purpose.

Theists who believe that their gods created everything from nothing centre around the Abrahamic faiths, and insist the universe and all life is created by an all-powerful, all-knowing supreme being that created us so that we can serve him. If you can find someone who’s suffered a life of slavery, ask if they felt their like had purpose or meaning by having to fear and obey their master, or upon judgement they’d be treated accordingly to their behaviour. This obviously leads to sin and temptation, and in the mind of the religious to lead a virtuous, sin-free life, then you must obey the rules set out, and resist temptation. Only by following these rules does it give you the illusion of morality as obeying the will of your master potentially leads to reward in the next life, or afterlife. Theists often see this life as a rehearsal for the next, and they don’t care about the state the planet is left in, as this life is just to seek salvation from Christ, or whoever they believe in so they have promise of fulfilment after death. Many theists don’t accept climate change, or many of the other ecological problems we face as they believe god has a purpose and as mere humans we are to serve not to question.

Theists are always saying that atheists believe the universe started randomly and everything we see came from random events. This means that if everything is without purpose, then it’s meaningless. What a miserable point of view to project onto people who aren’t willing to accept god created us. Even if life is random, which there’s clearly no doubt as evolution is only influenced by survival, what makes the birth of life, and the trillions of objects of life on the Earth without meaning? We still don’t know, however likely it is, that we might be the only planet that’s in the right location to harbour life. Just imagine we are alone in the universe, this makes the randomness of Earth building life have meaning, as it’s said that life is precious.

Regarding the title of this article, do I think theists are nihilists? Well, the evidence speaks for itself. We are all allegedly built in the image of god. God is vengeful. He brutal. He’s unforgiving. He’s jealous. He wants everything his own way and be the only god his flock worship. He’s destroyed the planet bar everything that lived on the ARK, yet theists are convinced that what he did in the Great Flood was justified as his perfect creation had gone rogue and he no longer had control over us as he allegedly gave us free will to be whatever we desired. This all-powerful god allows death and destruction spread throughout this world and never prevents any of it. We are in the midst of a pandemic that god could have prevented, but he clearly enjoys watching destruction and his servants lap it up and claim that wearing masks during COVID-19 is an infringement on their rights. If that isn’t a case for theistic nihilism I don’t know what is.