My atheist friends and I have had several talks about the stereotype of the 'soul less' atheist. The common opinion among my friends seems to be that it's ridiculous to presume that people need a god to tell them to be good people and that atheists are just as good of people as anyone else. Not shockingly, I passionately agree.
I have previously made the point that it's unfair to generalize any group in regard to disposition because disposition is affected by immeasurable factors - some of which might be commonly shared within a group but still should not be defining characteristics of the group. It's a fact that atheists tend to be intelligent and intelligent people tend to be more skeptical and skeptical people tend to be more morose. From this line of reasoning you cannot say that atheists tend to be more morose because by saying that you are reversing the flow of the line of reasoning and in doing that, you could very well make assumptions which are incorrect when considered in the opposite way. For example - intelligent people tend to be skeptical, but it is correct to then assume that skepital people tend to be intelligent? Not necessarily.
Regardless, I have decided to do an experiment with my atheist friends to see if they're willing to put their money - or rather their time and energy, if only for a day - where their mouths are.
One of the biggest fears I have with growing old (though not yet being 30 I have quite a while to really worry about old age - I'm human and I still consider it) is Alzheimer Disease. I don't know why this is the one disease I'm really concerned with, but maybe I'm concerned by it because it's degenerative and causes the person suffering from it to forget, to lose knowledge. The other day I saw an advert for something i had no idea existed, the Memory Walk which is sponsored by the Alzheimer's Association in order to "raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer care, support and research". When I saw this advert, I automatically thought, that's what I'm going to organize to show people atheists care about helping people just as much as any other group.
I've already called a few people and discussed the idea, and I've written to Seattle Atheists to make sure they already don't have something in the works with this. The hardest part of this project will be recruitment of team members, but not because atheists don't care. These kinds of fund raising activities require people to something which most people dislike doing - asking for money. I hate doing it, and I can see a good deal of my friends declining to participate because of an aversion to this kind of thing as well. Also, while I may deem Alzheimer's research an important cause, that doesn't mean my friends will agree that it's a cause worth applying work and time toward.
This will be an interesting experiment to say the least, and I will keep this blog informed in regard to the successes, failures, and lessons learned along the way.