Please, don't get me wrong. I am an atheist when it comes to the Abrahamic religions, you know, the three fighting brothers, and an agnostic for everything else since I don't know everything.
I had a past conversation with a Facebook friend a while back. He was an atheist and we had that in common because he was talking about the bible.
"I hate bible thumpers," he said and I could agree but I wouldn't use "hate" as my feeling. I actually feel pity for them.
I live in a Christian community. They know I'm untouchable but respect me and I respect most of them on one level; they do things for the homeless and poor. That's pretty much it. I posted something about Brutal Christians earlier.
So to my no-longer atheist friend I asked, "What has the atheist community done for anyone lately?"
Of course, he was a dick, got pissed at me and blocked me on Facebook.
We have no community except maybe for here. What has this community done for anyone lately? We do for each other by just talking BUT how about our community or any atheist community?
I haven't researched this but maybe some of you guys know if there have been things done like feeding the hungry or housing the homeless. Certainly, Christian communities do this and I've actually allied with them and helped.
For the most part atheist don't pat themselves on the back and announce their deeds to the entire world like a lot of Christians. I know of several non-religious charities that helped out with last years disasters, however a lot of us just choose to donate to various charities whether it be monetary or donation of time.
It is hard to organize a group around shared non-belief!
For my part, a friend and I grow and donate produce to our local Food Gatherers. This year and last we donated over 1000lbs of food each year. We make the donation in the name of Ann Arbor Atheists.
We have biker gangs that make sandwiches and lunches for underprivileged kids, and multiple non religious groups that do many charitable works in our community. religions don't hold the monopoly on charity, just the propaganda that goes with it.
I think that is a cop out by your ex facebook friend. Look at all the scientific development, great improvements, mostly atheists. I volunteer at a local community organization which is totally secular, a lot of christians volunteer there also, then again so do people of other religions, they are not banned, but we are non religious and many are anti religion. We are the largest organisation in the area have made huge contributions to the community, we contribute more to the commerce sector here than the Chamber of Commerce, do more charity work than all local churches combined, we are the social and technological hub of the area. Over 250 active volunteers, as I said, some are religious, but most are not. We do not call ourselves an atheist organisation, but there are a lot of atheists who make a valuable contribution.
You're answer could be "Nothing". Just because their religion is doing shit for people, doesn't mean their beliefs make you a worse person. Imagine the debate that would happen if religions were solely judged on how much good they did for people, in comparison to the evil they did to people?
This is where knowing history is important...
Check out Unitarian Universalist churches. The basic principle is a church offering philosophy and community but it is based mostly around atheism. I live in texas and there are a few nearby, the closest hosted an addiction recovery group today. The thing is communities become philanthropic not religions. A church just builds a community based on strong common ground.
We have two communty organisations here in Australia and they are probably in the US of A also. The Lions Club and the Rotary Club. These are secular societies with all types of people in them Christiians and others with no particular religion. They do a lot of excellent community work.
My first reply is, none of anyone's business. The good, if any, I choose to do is not to earn praise from anyone, create followers, get donations, or any of that religious claptrap. It is done because it makes me feel good.
My second response is, I do work in community with others on various things, like politics, that I care about. If you are a friend of Bernie's, for example, I do not care if you are green with 6 arms!
I think a hallmark of atheists, and the best thing about them, is their inclination to stand and think for themselves. Getting organized to "do good" as atheists seems like an odd concept to me........
In my mind, a lack of belief does not make a community. My community is my friends, many who share my views.
What we did for the community this year has gone unnoticed by most people because we do not scream it out.
This December I bought 40 hams and gave $400 in cash to the food bank, My friends donated turkeys ( up to 100 of them) and in addition, between us, a group of Atheists Secret Santa'd 70 families. This year we have made sure that every single parent in our community has a crib, play mats, a supply of diapers and formula for those that are not exclusively breastfeeding. We donated more that $7500 to people whose homes have burned down, have lost loved ones and in senior support.
And the best part? When I see someone we have helped, they are never embarrassed because they have no clue that I know they are having a hard time.
In addition, I am a volunteer, invisible telephone hotline person.
As atheists aren't really organized as a community,,, it would be and always is really hard to tell.
However, as religious promises are only fulfilled after death, they by comparison have virtually nothing to show at all. What they do have to show is a lot of death, war, destruction and indoctrination, along with a denial of facts (willful ignorance). So, not participating in religion is a good thing for society, which atheists do daily.
Reddit or GoFundMe can unite people for a cause regardless of participants' religious preferences. I think that's really the way to go. It shouldn't matter what your beliefs are if the intention is to serve others. In the past I've volunteered for meals on wheels. The subject of religion never really came up although I did have plenty of the recipients offer their blessings upon receipt of their meals. I think that ultimately people will project onto you their ideals of what a servant should be regardless of how you identify.
Interesting question. Would a group of non-secular gather together? I mean, they should, no doubts there. I would go, but in my community there's a taboo, or stigma attached to "non-believers" and I'm not sure how to organize such a thing.
This question you ask, has me thinking though.. what do I do? Do I do enough? Can I do more? Why is it that only religious groups are recognized as the only ones doing anything? Is it because they're organized and do it as a group? Are non-believers seen as people who don't do anything for the community, and are viewed as selfish heathen? Lol ...may..be...may
Well, I know FFRF has a 'non-belief relief' fund that it uses to help people all over the world. Some are in life threatening situations because of their atheist beliefs. FFRF also has a scholarship program and regularly sends checks to students that submit articles (many of them are very good reads). I'm sure there are many others.
Beyond that activism on those sites I mentioned helps to keep political 'theocracy' in check, and supports basic civil rights. As far as Christian communities, let me say this the sentence "I'll pray for you" is just a way for a believer to feel better about themselves while offering absolutely NOTHING in the way of assistance to someone that needs help.
We fight legal battles that are clearly based on religious pressures on others. We are educators, activists, researchers, scientists, authors, volunteers, altruists and mothers, fathers and families who lead by example. We also protect those who have experienced religious ideological harm. We protect a woman's right to choose. We support family planning. We give to the poor. We do it all without the conditional force of religion and the fear of god.
I go to a food bank at a church. Do not go to the church. Have befriended the clients and will help them out anyway I can. Donations, xtra food, money for gas, clothing are all ways I can helpout. Used to be an educational IEP advocate for children with specialneeds and taking families of special needs kids to doctor apts supporting them.
In the UK we have the secular society which supports local communities in ways such as charity drives, free evening lessons and lectures and so on.
Truth is I wonder if atheists need to organise themselves into benevolent communities, as individuals we do wonderful things. Many scientists, medics, and engineers are atheists/agnostic and they do work for all humans. But, all atheists do something even more important than that, they do not indoctrinate; do not brainwash the child; do not teach prejudice as a ticket to paradise.