A friend posted this article on facebook http://www.christianpost.com/news/atheist-activist-modern-atheist-m.... It's pretty poorly written, and doesn't even provide a link to the original article that it's writing about, which is here http://www.huffingtonpost.com/walker-bristol/the-new-atheist-moveme....
The only thing I found interesting about the first article was the last sentence "According to a 2010 study by sociologists Robert Putnam and David Campbell, a person who never attends church has a six-in-ten chance that he will give money to a secular charity, while the figure for religious people is eight-in-10."
The original (second linked) article has some interesting points concerning atheism and what we're doing, if anything, to improve the world. But it mostly condemns atheism for being upper-class snobby white elitists who would rather print up big billboards than help our fellow man in any useful, organized-as-atheists sort of way. There are several atheists charities out there. I've never donated to them, but I do donate to my favorite charities-the local public radio station, the local no-kill animal shelter, the state natural heritage foundation, the local soup kitchen, among others. Most of my friends who are atheist/non-believers donate in some form or other-most with money, others with time.
So all of this has me curious-do you donate? Do you volunteer? Are you an upper-class snobby white elitist? (I myself am a lower-middle class snobby-about-food-and-movies white inclusivist.) Is it important that we improve the world in other ways than trying to bring reason into the discussion? And if so, how do we go about helping those who need it?
I do not donate or volunteer anything.
I personally do not donate, other than used items to AmVets. I have not donated money but we're being squeezed pretty tightly right now. I have thrown in a bunch of time building a kiosk and larger structure for the elementary school my kids attend.
I think each person has to answer to their own conscience as to what they're inclined to do for others. I suspect there may be a bit of the renegade in a few of us that wants solutions, not bandaids. That's probably a product of critical thinking. This unfortunately, will not solve the present situation(s).
I do think the articles bring up serious issue that effect all of us, irregardless of whether or not we are atheist. Once a person has established their atheism, even if only to themselves, they must ask "what now?". If atheism is merely an intellectual exercise, it seems to me it will be one without any lasting value. We are still here, surrounded by others, some of whom we love, some of whom we are acquainted and some of whom we have yet to bind as friends. There are many reason, especially considering my mortality, to lend a hand. The least convincing reason in my mind is that I myself may need that hand someday.
I'm glad this article came out. It is healthy to sometimes view ourselves with a critical eye. I will probably investigate some of the organizations to see if I can contribute in some way.
Probably the best aspect of being atheist? I am not bound by guilt from the old laws and ways. These days I ask myself "what kind of world do you want to live in?"
Greg, I think it's amazing that you've put in your time to build something for your kids' school! Money is easy to give (if you have anything to spare, that is), but time is much more valuable. So kudos to you.
I like what you say about following our own conscience. I give to those charities that do work that I feel is important. I'm not able to give a lot, but I do get a warm fuzzy when I give. I'm not afraid to say no to charities that I'm not familiar with or that I don't agree with.
The article does make me wonder if there's more that I can do, though, as far as volunteering my time. I'm going to keep my eyes open for something that piques my interest!
What a great attitude, John!
I feel the same way John, I found a charity here run by a church, they feed people every day, they ask no questions, they don't force prayer on them or religion, they don't even feed them in a church, they rent a converted warehouse half of which is used for a thrift store they run to raise money to feed the community. So long as they don't proselytize, I donate to them. I donate to our local Habitat For Humanity often, as well as our PTA thrift store and local Veterans organizations and several children's charities.
To answer the question I'm lower middle class and yes, I donate time, money and items to charities of all kinds.
I am a Mid-Western, Middle-Class, Housewife, who is a snob to Right-Wingers and Religious People. We donate all we can to JDRF who is trying to find a cure for Type 1 Diabetes (totally unlike Type 2) which our now 18-year old son 'got' when he was 10.
We also donate to many animal charities, and St. Judes Hospital. If I ever go through the McD's drive-through, all change goes to Ronald McDonald house. I give change to the canisters sitting around in local businesses donating to local families. We donated when different tragedies have happened around our country like Katrina and Sandy, and when the Haiti disaster happened. When my kids were in elementary school I donated TONS of time.
I will not donate to Salvation Army, because they preach that being gay is bad. I will not donate to any religious organization that preaches to anyone they are helping.
starvation army banked off foreclosure scam meltdowns and faith based init. from bush..
tithe!? ha bs
15 bucks or so a year.. $ for server m dns protection i bet
anyhew'... if someone born into poverty gets a laptop (OLPC, check that)
and learns the sciences; gets job out of the shit thanks to secular funding.. hello
I donate quite a bit. Much is via the community fund which allows direction into what charities we prefer. I research the charities. None goes to boy scouts, salvation army, or other religious groups. This year most went to health care or health promotion for underserved minority communities. Other years it has been to the local free clinic, or to environmental causes.
Donating time is difficult to me because of my long work hours and the interactions with people. I need breaks from homo sapiens. People can be too much.
The "elitist" canard is a cheap shot. Whatever people do to support their community, contributes.
I know the religious community never spends money to put up billboards supporting their point of view.
Or ostentatious churches. They are spending all of their efforts supporting the poor.
I was a homeless vet for eleven years, after my wife divorced me over epilepsy and the courts gave her 80% of my disability pay for alimony. I note there was little or no aid from either atheists or religious.
As for myself, I do not toot my horn on what I do donate or time I volunteer; I just do it. On the other hand, such surveys do not really hold much water: it looks good to say you donate money or time, and surveys only indicate the answers of those willing to answer them.