Saturday, April 07, 2007


There's many rather silly stereotypes about atheists. Some are more annoying than others. Some are just bizarre.

In the annoying category is the myth that there are "no atheists in foxholes." I shouldn't need to point out that this isn't the least bit true.

On the bizarre side, many people think we're secretly worshipping Satan, or eating fetuses and kicking puppies. I'm afraid we don't worship something we don't believe in, no amount of ketchup could make the second the least bit appetizing, and although I don't particularly like dogs, I have no ill will in that regard.

But another very common myth is that atheists never do anything for charity. As the Society of Open-Minded Atheists and Agnostics (SOMA) does every year, we went and dispelled that myth as well.

One of SOMA's annual events is a "soul auction". These work very much the same way as date auctions in which the seller promises offers various services and auctions off their time to perform them. Tasks range from dates, to cooking, to swordfighting lessons.

This event took place Thursday night and went very well. I was given the role of playing the Devil and was given the task of setting the starting bid and making sarcastic comments. I was a bit leery of this because I haven't done much theater since high school but I've had a number of people tell me that they enjoyed it.

Over $800 was collected from 23 sellers with most going for $20-30. The high was $100 and the low $12. The proceeds from this event are split with the Douglas County AIDS Project. SOMA members also frequently volunteer by participating in the AIDS walk.

Traditionally, SOMA has been one of the largest contributors to this charity, beating out a large number of religious groups. One year, before I began attending KU, SOMA was poised to donate the largest sum, but rather than be beat out by a bunch of atheists, a religious group collected money from the members for a last minute donation. But that's fine with us. If we can guilt someone into donating more for a good cause, we're fine with that.

If anyone's curious as to what services I was offering to perform, I offered my culinary skills (I specialize in cream sauces and have recently been perfecting flambè'd desserts which fit the theme), as well as tutoring in Astronomy or Dance Dance Revolution.

So what is my soul worth? Apparently only $15.


Anonymous said...

We don't eat fetus? NOW you tell me.

Stephen said...

No athiests in foxholes.

I always interpreted that as the CE Christians (go to church on Christmas and Easter - the hardly devout) pray under extreme stress. I never thought it had anything whatsover to do with athiests. Of course, like alot of things, it's probably used literally. And, there's hardly anyone to annoy with a statement like that than atheists.

Sometimes you're the fly. Sometimes you're the windshield.