When some people say“ hey, I acknowledge extremists are bad, but what is wrong with going to church to volunteer,  give to the needy, help the community“ what do you all say?   just wondering

Views: 332

Comment by Ron V on November 18, 2012 at 8:16am
it's not about doing good things - we all can probably agree that is good for society- it's all the other stuff that comes with it - http://www.atheistrev.com/2009/11/whats-so-bad-about-religion.html?m=1
Comment by Ryan B on November 19, 2012 at 1:52am

I feel that in certain areas of the country (bible belt) there just aren't enough atheists to pull off a group that can organize and execute humanitarian efforts, let alone a refusal of people to even give to an atheist group.  Churches have a steady stream of tax free income through collection plates that they can use to fund these things.  There is also a fear of coming out as an atheist down here and joining a cause like this would automatically out you.  Its not that we don't want to help or we are purely focused on political/ethical issues, it is more of a logistics problem.

Comment by Marc Poulin on November 19, 2012 at 7:28am

I would definitely donate more time and money if I wasn't so lazy and poor. It has nothing to do with my lack of beliefs. 

Comment by Emperor Milos on November 19, 2012 at 10:13am

I say, you can do all of those things without the "church" part. There are plenty of places you can volunteer, donate, and help the needy that don't require you to kneel.

Comment by Colleen on November 19, 2012 at 10:25am
Hey Sarah, There are a number of secular charitable organizations. We had a discussion about this a while back. Maybe you can search for it. I think United Way is one of the bigger ones nationwide. I found a local secular charity through the atheist Facebook group for my county. This year we're adopting a family for the holidays and I'm going to train to volunteer for ESL and literacy classes. You have to understand that while many atheists share a desire to volunteer and donate, atheism is not a positive belief. You will have to look for other groups that share your values like secular humanism, skepticism, and so forth. Many of these groups are made up for the most part of atheists. They just go by a different name.
Comment by Emperor Milos on November 19, 2012 at 11:32am


If there are atheist groups out there that feed the hungry and reach out to the community I would take this comment back in a heart beat. As of right now I am not aware of any.

Here is a list of secular/atheist organizations that do what you are looking for.


The reason you never heard of any, is because none of them use atheism as the reason they help people. They do it because it's nice to help people, not because they want you to believe what they believe.

Many religious people brag about how much their churches do for the needy... but they forget to mention that with every loaf of bread for a homeless person, there is a bible, and an attempt to recruit them into their particular cult.

Comment by david garcia on November 19, 2012 at 11:41am
I think u all are missing my point ..yes of course there are plenty organizations that help the needy with food , money , and housing non profits are also tax exempt ..I believe that if u are in need of help there should be no reason why you should have to go to a church for help no way is that right ..because think about it if u need help .and the only church around u is a Mormon church or a Muslim church then they will try to convert u and u probably feel like u have to attend ..so in a community u should not have to feel pressure to join a faith just because they try to help u ...like everyone is pointing out ..there are non profits that give and help and don't want to convert u they just want to help ....my point was if someone says " hey if u want to worship a rock and u are still a good person giving volunteering then whts wrong witht worshiping a rock on Sundays "how do u all argue that
Comment by Emperor Milos on November 19, 2012 at 11:50am

hey if u want to worship a rock and u are still a good person giving volunteering then whts wrong witht worshiping a rock on Sundays "how do u all argue that

I can argue that by saying that if that rock's teachings tell you to discriminate against women, or be racist, or homophobic, or to hate people who worship other rocks, or no rocks at all, or if the leader of your rock worship group tells you that AIDS is punishment for people who throw rocks into lakes, or that condoms are a product of the evil mud and should be avoided, or if belief in said rock is responsible for most of the wars in our history, and for quite possibly the worst 1000 years of darkness in human history... no matter how much charity you claim to give, it doesn't make your rock any less filthy.

You are a good person not because of your worship of the rock, but in spite of it.

Comment by Colleen on November 19, 2012 at 11:57am
Agreed Milos - and these beliefs aren't just those of extremists. Sure there are believers that don't agree with the discrimination and abuse of power, and I support them as individuals, but I do not support the organizations that foster these ideas and actions (and I think they too should take a closer look at how their time and money contributes).
Comment by Dr.Grixis on November 19, 2012 at 12:01pm

Religion does often provide a sense of community that in the more peaceful countries is used for many different charitable projects to increase the position of the poor(er) and weak(er) members of society. When arguing about religion, I do feel that it is important not to disregard this well known aspect of (organized) religion and religious communities. It forms the basis of many people their affiliation with their church as well as a great source of happiness.

When discussing the Catholic church for instance, it is quite odd to discuss their horrible practices and ideas about condoms while disregarding other forms of charity that the Catholic church does do, both on a local and international level. Whether it balances out in favor of said religion is something to discuss, but it is definitely the case that religion can be a force for good.

Being in a conversation with a good person is the start of having a fruitful discussion, as such it is important to show respect for the goodness of the person you're discussing with, attacking religion in a very direct way without taking into account the human nature and the commitment people have with the good aspects of their religion is pointless. Not only are you not addressing the core fundamentals of people their religion, they would also most likely feel that you are creating a strawman argument of their position and their (personal) religious beliefs and actions.

Choosing a strategy in a debate and taking into account the personal characteristics of the person you're talking to is extremely useful and requires one to establish a position in which you can actually talk from person to person, asking questions about people their religious beliefs is often more useful than "attacking" religion is, both in gaining respect from the theist as well as being able to discuss religion in a way that is constructive on a personal level. 

A debate however is a completely different manner, in which I would prefer Cristopher Hitchens' ruthless dedication to honesty and truth.


You need to be a member of Think Atheist to add comments!

Join Think Atheist

© 2019   Created by Rebel.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service