A question was offered to me today from a Morman friend that I am working with. He asked what atheist groups do for society. This was a question that I am unsure of and thought that I would ask this group...any ideas???...not just on what Atheist groups do, but what could we do???
I don't think Atheist groups should do a thing for society - just as non-Republicans shouldn't be all getting together to do things for society. Now if you happen to be a Humanist, then you might have a foundation for social action. I happen to hold some core humanist values that have lead me to do a lot of volunteer work but I wouldn't suggest for a second that I did that volunteer work because I'm NOT a member of a religious organization.
It's a silly question isn't it? Kind of like asking what do people who don't like broccoli do for the community?
Ah, the atheist soup kitchen...
I believe that In general, Atheists don't discriminate as much and therefore feel the need to create an exclusive group to do good things.
If you would like some things to tell your Morman friend, I donate 12+ hours per week to working with kids(as much as I can while juggling a 40 hour per week job and partial ownership in 2 companies). Also, 20% of my capital gains(I don't pay much in taxes on those anyway) get donated to the MDA and Make A Wish.
He asked what atheist groups do for society.
They allow atheists to group themselves together and associate with eachother, similar to how churches allow christians to associate. More to the point, what does it matter what atheists do for the community? If you're a super nice person, does it change the validity of your point of view? no.
what could we do???
The same as any other group. If you see a problem, take steps towards fixing it and providing assistance to the victims.
Right now I'm training as a Community Emergency Response Team member with my county. Our job is to mitigate the loss of property and life when disaster strikes, and to asses the situation before first responders arrive. I'll be trained in basic medical care and so on.
Well,I pay my taxes every year (unlike the church.) I donate to several secular organizations. I'm a member of the 'Freedom from Religion Foundation' and the 'American Humanist Assoc.', and I converse with interesting, like minded people such as yourselves here on TA on topics that affect the secular members of our society in general, all who strive (I trust) to maintain that wall of separation between church and state that protects our freedoms and helps to keep the illegal activity of most of the self serving religious somewhat at bay. I also watch for and report on infringements locally as well as in society in general and act on alerts to petition local congress for equal treatment for all of society, not just those who think they're special.
But on a personal level I'm not so sure 'Atheist' defines us as a group, an atheist is 'A person who denies or disbelieves the existence of a supreme being or beings.' Okay, that just means that you’re fully awake. As a positive definition of myself all I have to do is look at the amazing advances in science and technology and the medical “miracles” that we as a race have achieved, and would like to count myself in as a member of the most advanced race of beings in the Universe (well, so far as we know anyways,) being part of something so important towards future generations to come, I say Go Humans! As a secular-Humanist-Naturalist I feel like a member of those who work for the betterment of society and not that of those who actually look forward to the end of times as prophesized in their bible. We're part of the proverbial right brain of society and that gives some meaning to my life in this world of confusion. So what should we do? Be active, be a part of the betterment of society and support like minds, because, after all, we're all we've got.
The most important thing we do as atheists is question the validity of religion. This in turn prods the religious to hopefully re-examine their belief system and the foundation on which it was built. In short, we prompt others to think.
But like broccoli as atheists we have no specific civic sense of duty.
the conversation continues - "My point of the discussion is that organized religion is one of the best groups which create a “community” which can be very effective in helping others because of there caring and their numbers. The amount of good that religious based organizations do is immeasurable." -
We take the place of the 'Sacred fool'. We ask dumb questions to embarrase! Cause people to think that the weaker argument is the stronger! Assert that the number of gods is different! Wear funny buttons! Take the side of socially marginalized groups! Notice the waste and off-all of sacred cows! And offend authority as needed!
All in the desire to overcome absurdity....
I wore a funny button just the other day!
Atheists aren't an organization even though there's at least as much diversity among theists than among atheists.
Still, wouldn't it be great if there were such a thing as an Atheist General Hospital? Well, maybe a Secularist General Hospital would be more palatable to the community at large.