There are lots of myths about Atheists … stories that are just not at all true. Many of these stories are quite wickedly spread about by those who should know better. Blackford and Schuklenk write up 50 of these murky myths in their new book.

Of course, many atheists in Australia are currently giving their money to the Red Cross or Caritas appeals to provide shelter for those in the Philippines left half dead by Typhoon Haiyan. Is this a surprise? I don’t think Jesus would think so. Here (NRSV Luke 10: 25-37) Jesus tells a story to deliberately point out that you don’t have to be a Jew or even a Christian to be a good neighbour. You might even be a Good Atheist …

Just then a lawyer stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he said, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” He said to him, “What is written in the law? What do you read there?” He answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” And he said to him, “You have given the right answer; do this, and you will live.” But wanting to justify himself, he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell into the hands of robbers, who stripped him, beat him, and went away, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan while traveling came near him; and when he saw him, he was moved with pity. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, having poured oil and wine on them. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said, ‘Take care of him; and when I come back, I will repay you whatever more you spend.’ Which of these three, do you think, was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?” He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.

In fact, there are many good atheists who are doing likewise. For example, Bill Gates and Warren Buffet have given more of their money to the sick and the poor than the combined gifts of all 265 popes in history, including Francis!