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Doing good without god

I recently found a forum called the Happy Atheist Forum.  From what I've seen so far, it seems to be a fairly pleasant group of people discussing all sorts of topics, including religion, atheism, philosophy, politics, etc.  One of the threads mentioned charitable organizations founded and run by atheists.  This piqued my interest, since I am a very compassionate person and enjoy helping people who are in need.  So, I'd like to share some information about these types of organizations and to do some advertising for them.

Atheists Helping the Homeless is an organization in Austin, Texas.  They have been running for about two years now.  They have events they call "giveaways" (no, it's not a sweepstakes).  They give food, clothing, toiletries, and other essential items to homeless people.  It's a relatively new organization, but they've helped over 1,500 people so far and more chapters are forming outside of Austin.  This is an organization that I could feel comfortable contributing to.  If I lived in Austin, I would certainly donate my time in any way that it was needed.  Since I do not, I will definitely consider donating money instead.  I don't know if I'll try to start my own chapter all the way up here, but if I find a similar organization here in Knoxville, I'll be happy to help out.

Foundation Beyond Belief is a secular humanist organization that collects money from its members and then forwarding that on to other charitable organizations.  They have a team of people who research different organizations and try to pick the best ones based on efficiency and other factors.  Each quarter they pick one charity from each of 10 categories: (health, poverty, environment, education, human rights, peace, animal protection, child welfare, other worldviews, and the Foundation itself) and donate money to those charities based on the preferences indicated by each individual member (when you donate money, you pick how you want it distributed among those ten categories).

The Fred Hollows Foundation works to end avoidable blindness and to improve health.  Many developing countries have high rates of blindness due to malnutrition and other factors.  Helping prevent this blindness is one step in breaking the cycle of poverty.

Freethoughtpedia has a list of charities and non-profit organizations established to effect social reform.

Kiva is a non-profit organization that lends money to people in developing countries in the effort to help those countries develop faster.  People lend money to Kiva and then Kiva distributes it out to its beneficiaries.  The money is repaid, and so this is not technically a charity, since lenders can expect to get their money back in time.  However, it is a way to help other people who otherwise might not ever have the opportunity to break out of their poverty.  There is a team on Kiva specifically for atheists who wish to lend.  So far, each of the 18,000 members has made an average of 10 loans and the the team has lent a total of $5.7 million.  This actually places it as the highest-ranking team on all of Kiva, the second being Kiva Christians at $3.2 million.    I'm not the most financially-blessed person ever, so this might be a good option for me since I can get back the money that I loan.

At any rate, there are plenty of organizations that are out there for skeptics, such as myself, to make the point that we do have morals, we do care about other people, and we want to contribute to making this world a better place for all of us.  We can do good without having a god that we worship.  We can be ethical.  We can be moral.  And we can be charitable.

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