I prefer not to think of myself as a non-believer. I believe in plenty of things. I believe in the reality of my coffee cup. I believe in the worth of the Constitution of the United States of America. I believe the sun will almost certainly continue to shine in the sky tomorrow.
I have reason to believe in these things. I’m a believer, in many respects.
Other things, I don’t have reason to believe in. I don’t believe in vampires. I don’t believe that Barack Obama was born in Kenya. I don’t believe in gods. I don’t believe that magnets strapped onto my wrists will solve any health problem. I don’t believe emails that claim to be from Nigerian princes who want me to hold on to large amounts of their money for a while.
There are many things that I don’t believe in, and that makes me a skeptic, but it doesn’t make the label of non-believer an adequate description of my personality.
Still, I understand what Richard Dawkins was getting at when he founded the group Non-Believers Giving Aid. Some people believe that only adherents of major religions provide financial relief to people in need, and Dawkins wanted to prove that people who don’t have religious belief are generous as well.
Non-Believers Giving Aid has been working with Doctors Without Borders to provide assistance to post-earthquake infrastructure in Haiti and to disease control in Pakistan, among other efforts. Residents of the U.K. and the U.S.A. can help out by making their own donations to the group.