Negative & Positive things atheists do

I have been thinking lately that the majority of actions I take in support of my belief system are negative. They are things I just don’t do, or my response to it is simple negative reactions.

Some examples:

I generally do not donate to charities which are religion supported. This includes organizations like Boy & Girl Scouts. I ain’t buying your cookies & popcorn.

I try not vote for candidates who wear their religion. At times this makes it difficult to chose leaving me to chose between two lesser “evils”.

I do not engage with relatives and neighbors who follow the bronze age book of rules that is responsible for the Roman Empire, the feudal system in Europe, Slavery in the Americas.

The only positive thing I generally do is I will share the path of my rising above superstition, things like 9th grade Earth Science, the success of technology over disease, how modeling of nature helps us understand the behavior of atoms, leading to things like this computer.

I would like to see if there are ideas out there that would see atheist in general be less vilified, or at least get more positive press.

What do y’all think?

I only see 4 positives. Where is the negative you spoke of? Do you really think a non-profit agency is donating a bowl of rice to some poor slob in Nigeria and not expecting millions of dollars in donations from it? Actors, camera crews, trailors for the actors to live in, food and supplies, transportation, truck and bus rentals, private plane usage, (private helicopter drop offs). All of this counts as money spent on the victims., Non-profits are businesses. The ones that succeed don’t do a damn thing unless there is a profit in it for them. They make money on the suffering of the poor./

The world of non-profits is as sleezy as it gets. You have not even scratched the tip of the ice berg. NEVER GIVE TO A NON-PROFIT. Find somone in need and give them a helping hand.

And we know about non-prophets because they are visible and we can catch them. Churches and religious institutions have NO reporting requirements. They can pocket everything and usually do.

The problem, as Katz sees it, is that the Red Cross is a dysfunctional organization that excels at raising money but has shown little evidence of its ability to spend that money wisely or meaningfully. The Red Cross takes in close to 3 billion annually, refuses to open its books to the public, and, according to Katz, has consistently failed to produce a useful breakdown of its spending after major disaster efforts.


I say it is negative as it is something I don’t do…

I don’t murder people… Is that a 'negative?

Yes, in our interactions with others, we do what can be perceived as negative actions. Not donating to certain charities is a good example.

But for myself internally, atheism allows me to examine such topics as morality and my actions through a clearer lens. Instead of following edicts and accepting them as moral and “proper”, I examine such decisions and accept personal responsibility for my decisions and actions. One thing I have learned is that I am a continual “work in progress”. I am not bound by the walls of theism nor do I abandon responsibility and pass it along to some silly rule in some silly book. I will never achieve “perfection”, I understand that all l can do is attempt to learn and improve each day.

For me, once I learned I was an atheist and sank my teeth into this new perception, I believe I began a journey towards being a more moral and better person.


Well… You are a work in progress. LOL

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I am thinking of how could atheists respond in a more positive way? Even the very public Atheist speakers make mostly negative arguments. C. Hitchens comes to mind, at least in his videos.

I do the same, looking for a better way.

@Mark The problem is that most debates/arguments are a counter to nonsensical stories. They must be destroyed, and unfortunately, that usually requires an antagonistic and confrontational position.

I just try to remember my golden rule: attack the argument, not the person.

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So you discount Hitchens work, his exposing the hypocracy of religion to the world and call it a negative thing? You think his exposing the Catholic Church, Mother Theresa, and being an advocate for non-believers all over the world is negative? Really? Hitchens is one of the most positive people on the planet. Someone willing to stand against the hypocracy of religion. How do you get a negative out of that? There was nothig negative in anything Hitchens had to say.

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Weeeeeelllllll, on the surface that would seem to be an easy question to answer…

One of many things that comes to mind for me is the way I deal with the realities surrounding death. I do not fear death, although I have trepidation concerning the pain that may be associated with my death. Rather, my view is that dealing with death a in an honest atheist manner diffuses the huge element of the unknown and the associated fear. While I cannot say with absolute certainty what happens when you die, the evidence is overwhelming that the stage goes dark, the actors exit, the song ends, the car runs out of gas and stops, etc., etc… Having the confidence that the pain and suffering that many endure in the period just preceding death, will end, is immeasurably comforting to many. Religion says it will end and that you will then be reunited with many of your dead friends and relatives, worthy of a huge celebration. Fabricating a happy story to avoid confronting one’s mortality is, to me, the negative. I have had conversations with several of my grandchildren (age appropriate judgement in place) in which we discuss death and the inevitability of our demise. By calmly and rationally accepting death for what it really is (non-life), we can, hopefully, recognize the importance of making the most out of every day we live and to try to live life to the fullest, love to the fullest, experience to the fullest, and embrace understanding to the fullest. Ipso facto a positive.
So for me, I don’t view the truth or the pursuit of the demonstrably factual(or nonfactual) to be negative. Some matters in our lives can be viewed as negative and I don’t disagree that not participating in something you might view as having positive attributes could be seen through the lens of being negative. In these cases we have to find alternatives to support things which do not possess these contradictions, insofar as we are able. It is not an indictment of you or your values (or lack thereof) that something clearly deserving of scrutiny may indicate characteristics not worthy of your support.


Yes, the acceptance of our death is one of the benefits of giving up the idea you might wind up in a heaven, or a hell. I’ll just be gone and thankful that I got to experience life and all its wonders. It was always a bit creepy that I one is judged by someone I was told is perfect. If you are not a peer, how can you posses understanding? Even the Jesus myth fell short as they tried to explain the Trilogy as how god would be able to judge fairly.

At this time I am more interested in finding someone, or some Idea that transcends the myths people find easy to accept, a way to respond in a positive way to superstition. Snarky answers as I discussed above do not win people over to rationality. But at times it seems the only retort one can posit.

FWIW I am sure better education would help all leave superstition behind. I assume. this is why religions fight secular education so hard.

Not worry people, I’m not putting the pressure on you to be my savior/leader…:slight_smile:

Aw, c’mon, man! Dammit! I just finished making a thorny crown and a pair of leather sandals. Was about to go chop down a tree to make a cross. Glad I saw your post before I started on THAT project. :roll_eyes:


Well of course it is going to depend on how well a person is able to articulate an idea, but I have found that open, receptive minds appreciate the freedom one feels when liberated from the craziness of an all-knowing judgemental, contradictory asshole god.
Myths are fun and that’s why all cultures have had them. Some Native American cultures had/have myths which depicted animals in impossible situations, yet illustrative of moral lessons. I have heard many Cherokee myths which are both fun and instructive, yet demonstrably impossible in our physical reality.
These stories have served great purpose in serving to provide behavioral guidance and temporary explanations for children, while concurrently providing positive entertainment value, as well as moral focus, for adults. Much like the Santa myth, these stories are understood as myth by most adults, and children of course eventually realize their role in reality.
What you are asking for is a substitution for myth. Joseph Campbell has spoken quite eloquently on the role of myth in our society, including the role for it when there is a dearth of scientific understanding.
I agree that some religions oppose secular education for obvious reasons.
I also agree that snark and smarmy retorts are useless to

Sorrowfully, in the vast number of instances, winning someone over to rationality is not a likely outcome.
If children are taught to respect rationality, reason, understanding, knowledge, education, and the attempt to be objective, then the result will be that they will possess something much more powerful and useful than the myths. I raised my children with no recognition of a god myth and they are both well educated, aware, kind, caring, demonstrably moral, happy individuals.

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Dammit Tin, don’t quit so easily. I rounded up some old square-shank nails and was getting pumped up :man_dancing:

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I agree completely. Religion avoids dealing with death, and it can cause problems.

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Where the hell did you find those? I was just gonna settle for a few pieces of rebar with one end ground to a point. Sqare-shank nails, though? Sssss-weeet! The Devil is in the details. But what I was really looking forward to was having Mark as my first disciple, and wandering around the town bumming free meals off different households. Hell, Mark could even keep notes and write another book for the bible… :flushed: Oh, wait…

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I don’t eat babies anymore, does that count?

Nobody likes a quitter, Mr.Mac. Although, if your doc has put you on a low cholesterol diet, then I completely understand.