States with the least religious residents are also the stingiest about giving money to charity, a new study on the generosity of Americans suggests.
The study, released Monday by the Chronicle of Philanthropy, found that residents in states where religious participation is higher than the rest of the nation, particularly in the South, gave the greatest percentage of their discretionary income to charity.
The Northeast, with lower religious participation, was the least generous to charities, with the six New England states filling the last six slots among the 50 states.
[…]The most generous state was Utah, where residents gave 10.6 percent of their discretionary income to charity. Next were Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee and South Carolina. The least generous was New Hampshire, at 2.5 percent, followed by Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts and Rhode Island.
[…]The study found that in the Northeast region, including New England, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York, people gave 4.1 percent of their discretionary income to charity. The percentage was 5.2 percent in the Southern states, a region from Texas east to Delaware and Florida, and including most of the so-called Bible Belt.
[…]The study was based on Internal Revenue Service records of people who itemized deductions in 2008, the most recent year statistics were available. The data allowed researchers to detail charitable giving down to the ZIP code.
To ensure that states with differing costs of living were judged by the same standard, researchers calculated each state’s median discretionary income — the money remaining per household after variable but essential costs such as housing, child care and food are paid for. They then looked at the percentage of discretionary income that the typical household in each state gave to charity.
[…]Of the 10 least generous states, nine voted for Democrat Barack Obama for president in the last election. By contrast, of the 10 most generous states, eight voted for Republican John McCain.
This is interesting because it shows how disconnected atheistic rhetoric is from their actions. Atheists want to deny God. This is means that they deny that there is any Designer of the universe who defines how humans ought to be, and to whom they are accountable. Here is what atheists believe about morality, as a consequence of jettisoning the moral Lawgiver:
The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference. As that unhappy poet A.E. Housman put it: ‘For Nature, heartless, witless Nature Will neither care nor know.’ DNA neither cares nor knows. DNA just is. And we dance to its music.
— Richard Dawkins, “River out of Eden” (1995), p.133.
Now, do people who think that they are machines made out of meat accountable to no external standard have a rational basis for self-sacrificial moral actions? Hell, no. And that’s why what we see in this study. When you don’t have a reason to put yourself second, and someone else first, then you only do it when you feel good. But people who really are good do good when it doesn’t feel good. They do it as a way of honoring the will of the Person who made them – it’s working on the relationship, putting God’s values above our own. I do think that atheists can act morally in a universe made by God – by complying with the objective moral duties that God has designed them for. But I think it is harder to do that when they cannot rationally ground being good on their atheism.