Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Does This Donation Make My Atheist Look Good?

Located in Central Oregon at the eastern foothills of the Cascade Mountains, Bend is an energetic city with a growing population of over 76,600. Bend is noted for its scenic setting, year-round recreational activities and growing economy. At an elevation of 3,625 feet, the city covers 32 square miles.
    In other words, they say "Bend is blah". Some of you may enjoy it but I'm not talking about you, I'm talking about the teenagersHaving been a teenager at one time I can recall doing some things that would possibly have made the national news on numerous occasions if they were to be done today. My past idiotic behavior does give me some insight into things sometimes. 
  The Friendly Atheist posted a blog about a church that had been vandalized You can read his blog here.  
Please note: this is in no way indicating I think the Friendly Atheist blog sucks or have a problem with him in any way. This is an opinion formed from the response to his blog. That's all
     In his blog you find a call to arms asking for people to donate. It has a widget showing $1955.00 had been donated at the time of this posting. Readers are encouraged to post the widget on their web sites. The first, the VERY FIRST comment is from a painter  

"Revyloution Says:
June 14th, 2011 at 10:28 pm I live in this town, and I’m a painting contractor. I sent out an email to the churches as soon as I heard what was happening, volunteering my equipment and time to get this fixed.
I was checking here, Hemant, to send you a note about this. Thanks for being so on top of it!"

     Now that is action, positive action. I think this guy offering his time and equipment is perfect. I mran what more could the church hope for? If the painter would refrain from telling anyone he is an Atheist until his work was done that would be even better. While the congregation was thanking him he could say  "Yea, some say I'm the best Atheist painter in the area"  
     Maybe someone could call the local paper and tell them about the baby-eater who donated to help the church and the city by removing the work of some punk teens. Wouldn't that have covered it? Church helped- Atheist give lesson in how to  lead by example- City thinks about providing more activities for teens. Everyone wins. 
   Now what? Hmmmm I heard about a church that needs a new roof cause god struck it with a bolt of lightening, let's help them now!
     A lot of people seem to not have a problem with giving money to the church and if they wish to do that,  fine. I think it is important to do something showing most Atheists do not condone putting the letters FSM and associated symbols on a church or on any building without permission. A public statement such as this one from Bobby Henderson
"Last night, vandals spray-painted “Praise the FSM” and pirate-fish on two Christian churches in Bend, Oregon.
This is not ok. This is counter to everything we stand for and acts like these only set back our cause. I don’t know who did this, but I will try to find out."
   Blogs by Atheists that condemn such actions are a good way of showing how most of us feel.
But IMO that is enough. Now the cause has raised over $1,900. Was the goal to provide enough money for church picnics through the summer too?

   I know this was a well-meaning gesture but there are so many other people who need help and don't feel comfortable going to the church because they are Atheists. The problem is the church is the only place that offers the help they need.  I think we need to do something about that.  As Atheists we can't hope to remove the hold organized religion has on people and not expect to fill the gap that will open if we are to succeed. 
Society of Saint Vincent de Paul 
numbers about 950,000 in some 132 countries worldwide, whose members operate through "conferences". A conference may be based out of a church, community center, school, hospital, etc., and is composed of Catholic volunteers who dedicate their time and resources to help those in need in their community. Non-Catholics may join with the understanding that the society is a Catholic organization.
Can Atheists pull something like this off? If the Catholic Church were to go under tomorrow and take the Society of Saint Vincent down with it would non-believers be able to help those in need?
 I got an email in response to the Angry Atheist podcast, it said -
"Why is it if I get beat up by christians I am given help and understanding and kudos, but if I am a long standing atheist who has helped others and given to others for many years, and me and my children are at great risk of losing our lives, we are ignored by the very people who are always screaming for more humane treatment, for helping each other? Read more about it here 
   This is not the first time I have heard people saying Atheist don't help people as often as they should considering they generally consider themselves to have more compassion for people than the brainwashing organized religions do.
   Besides the cause above there are other ways to help. Here are a couple of links  for charities that don't force you to read a bible or talk to jesus in order to get help and the problem they address are bigger than some bored teenagers with a can of paint. Now that we've taken care of the tax-exempt church that takes donations constantly from it's members, and wants people to believe god needs their money........let's help somewhere else.


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