Hemant Mehta came to UC Berkeley yesterday to give a talk to the Berkeley Students for A Nonreligious Ethos. Yes, the Lucky Atheist met the Friendly Atheist! Great talk, really glad to meet him in person, really glad to meet some of the people in a university atheist group, plus we all went out afterwards for pizza and good discussion.
One thing that stuck with me was Hemant's experiences with moderate religious people and organizations. He emphasized that shock-value atheists aren't helping matters, and if atheist groups and Christian groups at universities are using their unique relationships to (in at least one case) build houses together, so much the better. Over the long-term we get more deverts by being good examples of how atheism is a better way to live.
So, I'm going to start an AGD (Atheist Good Deeds) series. This could be anything from donating time to personal improvement, like breaking bad habits. I'm going to do both in April. I'm going to get the kid I've been mentoring since 2001 to finish his GED exams, and I'm going to give up chocolate for the whole month. (Atheist Lentmadan, I guess.) What will you do?