When I think of what kinds of things atheists should be doing to change the way the general public perceives us, I will now be thinking of people like Jaclyn Glenn. In a recent YouTube video she and her friends went out on the streets of LA for two days to raise money for Children’s Hospital. The catch is that on the first day they had a sign saying they were doing it on behalf of the United Methodists and on the second day, they had a sign saying they were doing it on behalf of the United Atheists. Check it out:
The moral of the story is that we need to go out and be proud. Not just proud, #AtheistProud. More atheist groups and individuals need to do this kind of thing. We need to be out there doing charity work and being seen doing charity work.
I hate it too. I don’t like using charity work as a publicity stunt for my lack of belief in deities. Unfortunately this is the world we live in. Religious groups make people think they are moral by using charity to push their beliefs. Atheists do not and as a result, we are the least trusted group of people in America right up there with rapists while Catholic Priests (many of which are actual rapists) are perceived as moral authorities. Clearly we are doing something wrong.
I think at least for a little while we need to rip a page from the religious playbook and instead of giving to charities quietly, we start using charities to promote our point of view. Jaclyn Glenn’s experiment showed two things. 1. That when atheists are out there raising money for charity, we get attention. Sure, some of that attention is negative, but those people who oppose atheists raising money for children really look stupid to the general public. It is like that one dude in the video said, “They are raising money for children. They are on our side.” And 2. atheist are generous people. We can give nearly twice as much as religious believers despite our small numbers. – I say give here because I doubt many religious believers donated when they thought that atheists were the ones raising the money.
So here is what I want my fellow non-believers to do. Go out there and raise money for charity in your city or town in the name of atheism. You can do this in small towns too. You may be surprised how many atheists you might meet, but you might also be surprised that religious believers might be willing to donate too. Even if you only raise a little bit of money, you raise awareness for atheism and you still raised a little bit of money for a good cause.
A few years back, my brother and I created t-shirts that said, “Atheists for Autism Research.” We, along with some of our friends, proudly wore those shirts to an Autism Speaks charity walk. There were lots of people wearing shirts promoting their churches, but we were the only ones with atheist shirts and people noticed. I don’t think we got any negative comments, but we sure did get a lot of positive ones.
You can buy an updated version of that shirt HERE for the minimum cost they will allow on Zazzle.
- 4 Things Atheists Should Be Doing (skepticink.com)
- Atheists Are Everywhere! (skepticink.com)
- What humanist military chaplains can offer (Video) (examiner.com)
- ‘Throwing Atheism In Everyone’s Face’ (skepticink.com)