I was listening to Radio 4’s Beyond Belief yesterday episode “Are Institutions in Decline” and Rev Sam Wells makes a point to say that without the church there is no argument for caring for people that can’t be cured (at about 28:25). This really made me angry, as an atheist I believe that everyone should be cared for.
I moved to the UK 10 years ago and my favourite part of the UK is the NHS. It took care of my mother in law when she was dying of cancer, it has taken care of my daughter who has incurable auto-immune conditions, and it has helped me many times. I think it is ridiculous to think that people don’t understand that people need to be cared for without the church. Had this taken place in my home country of the USA we would have been brought to bankruptcy and my loved ones would have died quicker, so it isn’t the church that would have stepped in to save them (there are plenty of churches in the USA), it is the caring nature of humanity that stepped in and helped my family.
It isn’t just Christian morality that says that we have to take care of the sick and needy, this is answered by basic human compassion and Humanism is full of compassion. I can see no reason that we wouldn’t take care of the sick and needy without the church because it is something that just needs to be done.