“Humanism ought not to experience any financial crisis since all the richest men in world history, to-date, have all been atheists”. A friend once remarked mockingly. But I wont blame him. For even though it is a fallacy to assume that humanism will be bombarded with ‘generous’ donations just because these men are/were ‘unbelievers’, the fact of their belief is not wrong. From Andrew Carnegie, Bill Gates to Warren Buffet, freethinkers lead the pack. But do they care about Humanism?
Well, we all have reasons for believing in whatever we believe in and to invest in whatever we are convinced will not negate our ideals; and of course, our source of daily bread. Hence, I will not blame any of these ‘Atheist’ Richest men for not turning specifically to support organised Humanism but the ideals that do not negate it.
The Bill and Melinda Gate Foundation supports projects all over the world. George Soros’ Open Society Institute also has a mission to promote values such as good governance, among other leagues of reforms such as legal, economic among others. Ted Turner, the founder of Cable Network News, CNN, started the United Nations Foundation with lofty goals. All of these, without bias, are aimed at furthering the ideals of what they believe in and live by, Humanism.
Unfortunately however, only Larry Jones, the founder of the Institute of Humanist Studies, Albany, has thought it wise to use part of his wealth to affect the growth of global organised humanism. Since its establishment, the IHS from India, Uganda to the US has supported countless projects. In fact, the International Humanist and Ethical Union has been enjoying robust IHS support for projects and staff development for years. Indeed, Larry Jones opened another chapter in the anal of global funding of organised humanism, unlike many other rich atheists who refused to identify directly with their own.
But how long will this continue? How long will it take for these rich men to understand the simple language of ‘U-N-I-T-Y’? When would they realise that it is not just ESSENTIAL but profitable to support Humanism? Will a Christian or Muslim ever donate to the cause of Humanism? Oh no! No Muslim, Hindu or Christian rich man will ever support Humanism (but they could back those Humanistic ideals in the shade of human rights). What we then have, in the final analysis, is OURSELVES!
The present global economic meltdown has therefore made it imperative in the light of the above reality that all humanists with some dollars to spare ought to spare it for the sake of Humanism. It is OUR belief, and it is only through OUR collective efforts that we can sustain it.
Lets do it!
Yemi Ademowo Johnson, Editor