The idea that religion exists as a means to make people live in harmony, even within a singular community, just doesn't hold up. I do, however, think the world would be a much better place if people started from the positive places you think they do. Maybe someday they will. I certainly hope so.
Liberté. Égalité. Fraternité.
"Progressives aren't really progressive. They're regressive, all the way back to Sodom and Gomorrah." - author unknown
Well, I am still searching for a secular, objective, rationale for a welfare society that continues to support adults who are unwilling or unable to provide for themselves. The utilitarians believe that the role of government is to provide for the greatest good for the greatest number. That seems secular and somewhat objective. It seems to understand that society should not be overly concerned about the lowest elements of society at the expense of the greater good for the greatest numbers. I read Stiglitz's Price of Inequality and he seem to fall back on religious morality. Obama has stated that he supports measure to make society more equal because the Bible tells him so.
Remarks by the President at the National Prayer Breakfast | The White House
FDR understood the wrongness of providing welfare to people and urged work programs. He called that type of charity a narcotic that destroyed the spirit. Sure, I gave an example of Laotian monks but that attitude pervades SE Asia, Central Asia, and southern Africa that charity is small and not meant to provide everything. Blind Laotians offer massages to earn money, for example.
Franklin D. Roosevelt - State of the Union Address -- 1935
It is a little offensive when I hear Americans talk about equality. We live in a world in which 2 billion live on less than $2 a day and only the richest 700 million (10%) make more than $15.000 a year. That rich group includes basically all Americans yet some complain about jobs going overseas, ignoring the tremendous improvement in poverty worldwide because of this shift.
But I digress. I am still looking for some objective, non moralistic, logic for supporting some who seem completely unable or unwilling to support themselves. There are billions in the world who could use those resources better. Greatest good for the greatest number. (And for the longest period of time, as Gifford Pinchot added.)