Whoops! I was clicking around the FBB website not long after publishing my last post, and I happened to notice these changes to the Frequently Asked Questions page which I somehow missed. I think this question was there before, but the answer has clearly been updated with their new beneficiary selection plan:
Q: What are the criteria for selecting a beneficiary?
A: Among other considerations, beneficiaries are chosen for efficiency, effectiveness, moderate size (annual budget under $10 million), compatibility with humanist focus on mutual care in this world and this life, and geographic diversity. In addition to direct research, FBB makes use of Charity Navigator, the Better Business Bureau, GiveWell, GuideStar, and other third-party sources of information and charity review. Beginning in January 2011, beneficiaries in nine of our ten categories will be strictly secular, while a tenth category called CHALLENGE THE GAP will give our humanist members the option to support a non-dogmatic, non-proselytizing, progressive religious charity.
So, it looks like they’re only going to have ten categories still. Does that mean that the FBB administrative category is one of the nine “strictly secular” ones? Even though the FBB has a specially designated category for giving money to religious organizations?
This one looks like an entirely new Q&A to explain the changes to the previous one:
Q: If you include a category for religious charities, how is this a “Foundation BEYOND BELIEF”?
A: “Beyond Belief” refers to our humanist and atheist members. Some of those members choose to support only secular charities, while others like to occasionally demonstrate humanistic generosity across lines of belief. So long as a large portion of our membership wants the latter option, we will keep it alive. And thanks to our donation distribution system, each member can tailor his or her donations precisely. Most important of all, no member is bound by someone else’s definition of humanist giving. It’s freethought in action, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
Hmm. I thought that freethought was “a philosophical viewpoint that holds that opinions should be formed on the basis of science, logic, and reason, and should not be influenced by authority, tradition, or any dogma.” It’s a lot more than just having different opinions for the sake of thinking as “freely” as possible. I’m not satisfied with saying, “Ah well, I guess we disagree, but that’s just freethought in action!” Because I value freethought, I want to talk about it, understand why you think the way you do, have you understand where I’m coming from, and (hopefully) reach some logical conclusion together.
I know that there are some people who believe they can demonstrate their atheist/secular humanist generosity by giving money to religious people, who use it to show how generous and kind religious people can be. What I don’t know is why they think that. I would still love to hear reasons.