Imagine No Religion... huh!?!
Recently Portland got a booster shot of liberal/humanist hubris in the form o ten billboards from The Freedom From Religion's, "Imagine No Religion" campaign. As one whose life and livelihood originates from and is centered in the area of religion let me respond to such an imagination.
Imagine no religion and you have to:
Imagine no civil rights movement...Let's start with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Rev. Ralph Abernathy, T.J. Jamison, Joseph Lowery, Fred Shuttleworth and Rev. Jesse Jackson to name a few. Without such people there would have been no non-violent protests voter rights or education for African-Americans. Go to 1775 when "Society for the Relief of Free Negroes Unlawfully Held in Bondage" was organized in Philadelphia having been founded by Quakers.
Imagine no Habitat for Humanity, Oxfam, Medical Teams International, or Christmas in Action...Start with Clarence Jordan, a Christian who began Koinonia Farm in Georgia in 1942. Add Millard and Linda Fuller, who left an affluent life for a place in which they could live out their Christian values and you have an organization which has dedicated over 300,000 homes and provided shelter to 1.5 million people around the world. Oxfam, began by Quakers, help people deal with disaster, warfare, labor rights issues and situations such as clean water and access to resources.
"Medical Teams International, formerly Northwest Medical Teams came about because of a business man's TV viewing. He saw a young Cambodian refugee, about the age of his daughter, and wondered, "What if that refugee were my own daughter? He asked God about how he could make a difference and Ron Post was leading medical people overseas in less than a month.
Christmas in Action, formerly Christmas in April", happened when 1972 Bobby Trimble took a Sunday school lesson at his Midland church to the extreme and started what would quickly become a national program benefiting thousands. “I was teaching from the second book of James, somewhere around the 14th verse,” Trimble said. “To paraphrase, it says if you see someone in need of food and clothing and you say, ‘I will pray for you,’ what good have you really done that person. I told the class that that’s what the churches were doing. So we started working on the homes of some of the women of the church.”
Imagine no relief efforts and crews in New Orleans and Texas following hurricanes. A year after Hurricane Katrina blew into New Orleans faith-based groups still hand out emergency food and items to those who live in the area. To this day Presbyterian Village continues to operate as a base from which crews of youth and families are sent out to make a difference in the New Orleans area.
Imagine the millions of children who would die without sponsorship from World Vision, Compassion International and other such groups. Both these major organizations flowed from pastors and mission people seeing the need of hungry and orphaned children. Founded at the end of the Korean Conflict their focus was on Southeast Asia but has grown to include six continents.
ChhunNa an HIV/AIDS child in Cambodia receives “school materials, pen, bag and clothes" and even "a lovely bicycle from the project; I will ride a bicycle to school instead walking. The staff members give me and my family encouragement and strength". In addition World Vision workers attempt to work in communities to end the discrimination for those with HIV/AIDS.
Anna, a six year old, in the Dominican Republic, who doesn't smile and when her mother is asked what the Compassion team could pray about, said she didn't "believe that God will answer any of her prayers or dreams for her children." But because of one Christian she has as Brian Seay says, "Melanie [who sponsors Anna] is now one of the only people in Anna’s life that will consistently tell her she is loved and it’s ok to dream big dreams because God will hear her prayers.
More could be said about the Renaissance and keeping learning alive during the "dark ages". Even more could be said about those who, because of their faith, were challenged to do what was right, [if you're an atheist I'm not sure what you base "rightness" upon] even though it was risky, dangerous or deadly. It is apparent to me that the pseudo-intellectual non-religious just don't know about what they're talking. I shouldn't be surprised.