Tuesday, January 03, 2006
Great Non-believers: Bill Gates
The richest man in the world has given "37% of his wealth--more than $28 billion--to charitable causes, largely via the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation," says Forbes magazine. It's tempting to discount Gates' generosity on account of his wealth, but, as Forbes points out, if you "add up the donations made by billionaires Warren Buffett, Paul Allen, Michael Dell, Larry Ellison and Steve Ballmer and you get about $2.55 billion--not even the equivalent of a decent tip on a $28-billion tab."
The Gates foundation spends the bulk of its money on global health, fighting AIDS and malaria, with education coming in second. (Obligatory shot at religion: None is wasted on building bigger churches, preachers' salaries, or proselytizing.)
Gates is an agnostic, although he seems to respect religious principles. In a PBS interview with David Frost, he said, "I don't know if there's a god or not, but I think religious principles are quite valid." When a TIME reporter asked, "Isn't there something special, perhaps even divine, about the human soul?" he replied, "I don't have any evidence on that."
Despite my admiration for Gates's philanthropy, of course, I reserve the right to hate Microsoft. :-)
Posted by Jewish Atheist at 12:30 PM