Religious Items are the Last Thing Haiti Needs...

I've constantly commented and blogged about how religion can throw your moral priorities out of whack in the areas of stem cell research, gay marriage, abortion, and even helping the poor. The best example of this is, of course, Mother Teresa who had a very questionable ideas regarding suffering and how the plight of poor people is making the world a better place.

You may recall the nonsensical initiative in which a United States faith group decided to invest money in sending solar-powered Bibles to Haiti (instead of direct monetary donations) right after earthquakes devastated Haiti. Many religious and non-religious groups set up ways to help the Haitians...and solar-powered Bibles weren't on top of the list of priorities.

Earlier today, a local newspaper published an article regarding a local church sending religious items such as stained glass windows (!), chandeliers (!), statues, altars, and pews. It's always amazed me that churches spend egregious amounts of money on religious items when they can have worship in very modest buildings that aren't filled with astounding frescoes, chandeliers, expensive statues, etc.

Haiti is a devastated country and one of the worst places to live at the moment. The country is still recovering from earthquakes and there is a recent cholera outbreak. In light of this, a local church decides that sending religious items is the proper response. Am I the only one who sees a problem with this? In times of great peril and the need for humanitarian efforts, religious items shouldn't be a first concern or even a concern at all. If you're going to help the Haitians, you should send monetary donations to the American Red Cross efforts in Haiti, Doctors Without Boarders, or another charitable organization instead of trying to bolster or reinforce religion.

It's great that this church community wants to help Haitians, but they should simply sell the religious items and send the money gained from the sales to get the most bang for their buck. Do you think that statues, altars, and pews are what emaciated people want? I don't. Haitians don't need stained glass windows, chandeliers, and other items mentioned in this article.

I knew I would get some flak for commenting on the article...and was right. Someone commented on a previous post of mine:

I just read the story in the timesleader regarding the donation of religious articles to a church in Haiti. Your comment struck me as a visceral response to anything positive about religion. Under your sense of intellectual honestly one would sum life up as this: You're conceived, you're born(maybe) you live briefly or at most 120 years. During that period you respirate, take in nourishment to sustain your body which grows at first but then starts to decline then die. You may reproduce but that truly does nothing for you as an individual. It's purpose is to perpetuate the species. You may delude yourself to think that your unique perspective on existence if imparted to anyone who will listen will bring you some type of eternal memorialization in the minds of future generations but in reality your situation probably assures you your wisdom no matter how profound will be forgotten with a few years of your demise. Just like the fondness you feel for one of your great great grandparents and the words they passed down to your generation.
If you think religious people are intellectually dishonest then that is your opinion. But in reality (which is the realm in which you operate) who really cares what you think. It will soon enough be forgotten.
I do thank you however for giving me a brief moment to reflect on what I believe.I beleive your need to comment was directed to me by the Spirit. And Justin, I don't believe you are trying to force your belief on others. Don't get mad that I am going to pray for you that you someday see the joy that comes from the belief in God. My name is not important. I hope you got that point from my writing.

This comment doesn't address my argument at all, but rather strawmans me and displays a great deal of existential angst that I don't have. I've briefly commented on "the meaning of life" and enduring accomplishments in previous posts and will soon post something more extensive.

I don't think that this donation of religious items to Haiti is a positive thing because the items could be sold and money can be sent to help dying people.*

* Someone may object to this post or raise objections like, "Well, why don't you use most of your money to help Haitians or sell your stuff to help the poor in your community? What about atheists who put up billboards? Shouldn't they donate to Haiti?"

At this moment, I'm a "poor college student" (really) and I spend money wisely. I don't spend much, try to conserve money, and spend little on entertainment. I need to build up money for college now and graduate school in the future. Later in life, I hope to donate much of my money to charities when I am able to. I'm not able to donate much at this moment.