Friday, February 19, 2010

An Atheist's Guide to Lent: Part Three, Almsgiving

     Welcome back to An Atheist's Guide to Lent: How to Lose god and Find Peace in Forty Days or Less!  

     We've already covered the Lenten tenants of fasting and prayer, so that leave us atheist almsgiving.  Many religious people have been conditioned to believe human beings are intrinsically concupiscent, "fallen,"  and sinfully inclined and that without religious salvation, humans can't do good.  Well, that just isn't so.  We non-believers have consciences and do good deeds.  Join us for forty day.  Give a forty day god-fast and atheist almsgiving a try!

Almsgiving
  1. From your atheist "prayer" exercises considering the frail mysteries of unknowing, life, the planet, and the universe, look at how you interact with the world and ask yourself how you want to be remembered, known.   Honor those you love who have died, by keeping them alive in your actions, embodying the best of their essence and learning from their shortcomings and mistakes.  Do good because it honors them, it honors the future, and it honors the every person with whom you come into contact.  
  2. Give credit where credit is due.  Quit blaming the devil, sin, or evil, and admit that you are the one that is capable of hurting others.  Quit putting off changing your ways for the better to the next life, because god will forgive you.  There will be no divine "do over."  Accept yourself, as you are, here and now.  Acknowledge your gifts and limitations, and then go do what is good, because you only have one life to make a difference.  
  3. Give alms to future generations by doing something that will decrease your carbon footprint in the world, because to a non-theist this is the only world, the one chance we've got.  There will be no parousia, no apocalyptic cleansing, and no rebirth into eternal life for the "righteous."  Planet Earth is at risk thanks to "dominion" theology, which gives us the "right" to use the planet for whatever purpose we see fit, and hypocritical religious fundamentalists, who decry "sinful" scientific knowledge (evolution, psychology, global warming, medicine, etc.) but are quick to use scientific advances (swords, guns, bombs, airplanes, biological weapons, etc.) to kill in the names of their gods.
  4. Research aid organizations that are god-free, that give aid to all persons without any imposition of personal religious beliefs or expectation that those receiving the aid must conform or convert.  Give because it helps others, not because you fear partial eternity in some purgatorial suburb of hell, while your loving, omnipotent, and compassionate god watches from a heavenly perch until satisfied with the torture you've endured and welcomes you into "loving" bliss.
     Thus ends our journey through the Lenten practices of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving.  If any of your other free thinkers, post-theists, agnostics, and atheists have other prescriptions for these "Lenten" practices, please add them to the comments below.
     So, what do you believers have to lose?  You can always quit and return to your pre-Lenten ways at any time, but maybe you'll come to see that non-believers are capable of choosing and doing good..  
     What's holding you back.  I dare you.   Give up god for Lent. 

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