An Atheist Mission Trip… Without the Proselytizing

There are a lot of reasons I love what Foundation Beyond Belief is doing right now, but supporting The Pathfinders Project is currently at the top of the list. We spend a lot of time talking about how to improve the world and occasionally donating to causes that make the world a better place… but this project actually sends atheists overseas to do hands-on work.

This is what Humanism in action looks like:

Pathfinders Project is a yearlong international service and research trip sponsored by Foundation Beyond Belief. From July 2013 to July 2014, four humanists will complete clean water, education, and human rights projects in collaboration with local nonprofits and NGOs in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. As they complete these projects, the Pathfinders will collect data on each country and partner organization with the ultimate goal of evaluating sites for the forthcoming Humanist Service Corps.

That last part is huge: This project is building the foundation for a future Humanist Service Corps, where students will be “living and working in developing countries.”

To make this project a reality, the four students who will be spending a year overseas have obtained grant money and fundraising to the tune of over $40,000. But they are about $16,000 short.

If you can help them on this incredible journey, please consider chipping in on their Indiegogo page. I love the perks :)

I feel it’s important to reiterate that this is *not* about spreading atheism. This is not that kind of mission trip. Staks Rosch interviewed the Foundation’s Development Director (and contributor to this site) Bridget Gaudette and asked her about that:

Will the pathfinders be “preaching” humanism?

“No ‘preaching.’ There will be no proselytization. Their actions, while openly identifying as humanists, will be all of the ‘preaching’ the locals will get. There will be no discussion of the Humanist Manifesto ;-)”

This is the beginning of something huge. And this is a major commitment from four young activists. Support this project and show them that you value what they’re about to do.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • Paul Caggegi

    Love this.

  • LM

    This post brings up something I’ve been thinking about. If we atheists truly think that people’s lives would be better off without religion and that people in developing countries are particularly at risk to the influence of faith healers, imams, preachers, priests, etc., then shouldn’t we be proselytizing? I’m not trying to be impertinent, but given how quickly religion is spreading, especially in the developing world, it seems that the only way to combat it would be to send out atheist missionaries (not a phrase I like, but I can’t think of anything better) to promote a secular lifestyle.

  • Bridget Gaudette
  • Guest

    For everyone that loves this idea, please help us make it a reality. Direct link:

  • Bridget Gaudette

    This is an amazing project. If you want to help, please click here:

    Every bit helps.

  • Bridget Gaudette

    Me too. Shout it from the rooftops. Tell your friends :-)