Atheists Helping the Homeless November 4, 2009

Atheists Helping the Homeless

This Sunday, Joe Zamecki and other atheists in the Austin, TX area are conducting a wonderful service project: they’re giving away free toiletries to homeless people.

We’ve received donations of money and items to give away from all over the nation, but we need more. We need to let more Atheists know about this project, so we can help more homeless folks.

The goals of this project are, in order of priority:

1 To help some folks in need,
2 To show by example that the idea that Atheists don’t care and don’t help people in need, is very very false, and
3 To have fun.

You can donate the items or money (to buy the items) by going to their homepage.

In addition, you can also show up this Sunday and help them out personally. They’ll be under I-35 at 7th Street in Austin at 8:00 a.m.

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  • Interesting. In response to charity work done by countless Christians over the centuries, atheists used to say, “We do just as much good for the poor, we just don’t brag about it of do it in the name of atheism.” Guess that’s changing – huh?

  • Sarah TX.

    I had a similar idea when I was driving home from work yesterday. I’ve pitched in a couple bucks.

  • TXatheist

    I brought this to your attention a month ago but better late than never. 🙂 Makarios, I’ve been in discussions and repeatedly heard atheists never do charity work or start hospitals or have charities so we put the name on there just to show we do. I’ve said what you said in the past many times when I donate to Save Darfur or Doctors without Borders or when I helped lead a team at Hands on Housing but this is a new adventure so I changed my mind on the atheist recognition thing.

  • Valdyr

    Interesting. In response to charity work done by countless Christians over the centuries, atheists used to say, “We do just as much good for the poor, we just don’t brag about it of do it in the name of atheism.” Guess that’s changing – huh?

    When the vast majority of the population believes you are incapable of goodness, high-visibility good deeds might be in order. Of course, given the level of “boo hoo, atheists are saying things!” bitching on your blog I’m sure you’d rather atheists just continue quietly keeping to themselves and pretending to not exist. Wouldn’t want to be “offensive” by publicly discussing beliefs, that’s just bad taste!

    If it’s unseemly bragging you want to talk about, Christians are by no means immune from criticism here. Off the top of my head, I can’t think of any powerful American Christians–the ones who have the greatest ability to do good for the poor–who aren’t filthy, stinking rich in the most conspicuous possible way. Or even worldwide–look at the Catholic archbishops of any nation, and worst of all, the Pope himself in his enormous palace, wearing only the finest designer clothes, eating gourmet food every day. How is this not a glaring example of hypocrisy from people who claim to follow the philosophy of a figure who made statements like, “It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom” and encouraged his followers to give away their possessions to the needy, living only with the bare minimums of survival? Does it look to you like the Pope and Pat Robertson and Billy Graham are giving away absolutely everything they can to charity?

    Where is your condemnation for these people? Why do you only seem to be able to criticize atheists, when the most prominent examples of people who supposedly believe they have a mission from God to live a humble and compassionate lifestyle are flying around in private jets and wearing ten thousand dollar suits? Why are you so utterly fixated on sneering at a dissolute, powerless minority when you have in front of you countless people of your own group wielding immense power and influence whose lifestyles are in direct contradiction of their stated beliefs?

    It really seems as though no act of atheist charity can be good enough, and no Christian hypocrisy or failing can be bad enough, to be worth noticing. Bill Gates donates alarming sums of his personal fortune to charity on a regular basis, with merely a nod of recognition here and there, while the Pope in his opulent palace tells HIV-positive Africans not to use condoms and his church is often considered the greatest charity organization in the world.

  • I think this is great!

    How do we atheists handle other atheists who have hangups about volunteering for religious organizations, like Habitat for Humanity? Wouldn’t that be a great way to break down stereotypes about atheists, by working with the religious?

  • TXatheist

    Bjorn, good question. I’ve helped Hands on Housing because they don’t start out with a prayer before working on homes like Habitat for Humanity which does.

  • Seems to me that a charity is a charity whether done in the name of god, or in the name of no god. Kudos to everyone on this…

  • muggle

    makarios, after reading Valdyr’s comment, I clicked on your link and woah, much bigotry against Atheists or what? Geeze, anything we say or do will be twisted by you. I’m sure you’ll use this comment as well as his.

    What’s interesting is your lack of ability to turn the other cheek, love your neighbor as yourself, refranin from casting the first stone, etc. And you accuse Atheists of being child-like. Wow. What a hateful sinner you are.

    Valdyr, thanks for pointing this out. Your comment is right on the money. He posted in a ridiculous attempt to get us to either stop being charitable or be so invisibly. Hmmm, I wonder why given that his stock in trade seems to be villifying Atheists.

  • TXatheist

    makarious, yeah, your blog isn’t much to brag about.

  • It’s like we’re being asked to make it “don’t ask, don’t tell,” for Atheism.

    I don’t like that policy for anyone. If we can’t shout out who and what we are, America ain’t so great. Well that’s not the case, currently. So I shout it out. I have yet to get in trouble with the law for speaking out.

  • j

    The whole point of the “Atheists help the homeless movement” has nothing to do with Atheists caring about the homeless. Atheists could give a crap less about the homeless.

    The point of it is so Atheists can say see you don’t need religion to do good in the world. That is why they are helping the homeless is to take a shot at religion.

  • George

    Your efforts on behalf of the poor are to be commended.

    It does, though, strike me that you refer to these works as “good” (which they are). Doesn’t the fact that you recognize something as “good” suggest that there is an absolute standard of right and wrong or good and bad against which we measure what we do; a standard outside ourselves to which we aspire? The athiest, C.S. Lewis pondered this question, and his conclusions are outlined in his book, Mere Christianity.

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