November 23, 2008

Promoting Atheist Community: Atheist Philanthropy

Board_directors_heidelberg.Image via WikipediaIn a recent post on promoting atheist community, I offered some suggestions about how best to begin the process of developing atheist community. I indicated that the first step would involve determining the sort of community we wanted, and I provided some brief recommendations. It was my hope that others would chime in, and I am happy to report that this is indeed happening.

Mojoey of Deep Thoughts and the Atheist Blogroll (join the Atheist Blogroll here) had an interesting recommendation of his own:
I would like to suggest another area for consideration, Philanthropy. I’ve been kicking around the idea of starting a philanthropic organization whose members are part of the atheist blogging community. Funds could be collected via donations. A small board of directors could oversee dispersal to appropriate charities or programs.
I think this is a fascinating possibility with a few different benefits. First, an effort like this would indeed promote atheist community. Those involved in running, promoting, and communicating with the organization would be coming together to work on common goals.

Second, as Mojoey mentions, this would be good for our image. Now, let me be very clear in what I am about to say so there is no confusion. I am not generally in favor of atheists worrying too much about our public image because I believe that our efforts along these lines will matter little to those who demonize us. However, I believe that something along the lines of what Mojoey is describing here would be good for our self-image and might help us gain access to the media in order to educate the uninformed about atheism. In these ways, I do see such an effort as having a positive impact on our image.

Third and perhaps most intriguing of all, Mojoey's plan would allow us to help others in the name of atheism. Like many of you, I contribute regularly to a variety of charitable organizations as well as those dedicated to preserving separation of church and state, promoting atheism, and the like. But this would be different. This would allow me to reach out in various ways to help others in the name of atheism. Of course, I can do this now as an individual through targeted contributions to select groups, but under Mojoey's plan, this would actually be a way to come together with other atheists.

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