The churches have their clergy who live large. What about the atheists? How does one make a living in Atheism?

I am just finishing a masters degree in biology and looking for work. I've been talking the talk about atheism and liberal politics for years and now I would like to walk the walk. Are their resources to make a living in atheism/free thought? My resume is available online at for those interested and happy to advise.

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One way you can get out into the community is to volunteer! It won't make you money but it will do a few things;
-You can volunteer as an atheist and show everyone that you can be a good person without a belief in a god
-A GREAT networking tool...if you are looking for a job, you could meet someone that could get you a foot in the door!
I do the former and am hoping for the latter. ;)

Unfortunately, my wife and 2 kids need me to earn some kind of living...
At the sake of sounding snide I must ask why you have chosen to seek employment outside of Biology proper?

When I see a priest or minister, I see someone who needs to get a real job. We have an awful lot of people already very successfully espousing secularism and liberal free-thought. So, I suppose you must begin the articulate espousing (that's something of a job description), but I personally hope we never see the day where there is an institution for espousing anti-theist sentiment. Unless that institution is, say, a philosophy or history of religion class.
I am seeking all interesting opportunities regardless of field. I've learned alot with 8 years in science and am open to applying my methodology and skill sets in new and exciting circumstances, including biology where 95% of my applications have gone.

But surely there are other opportunities in atheism other than writing about it. Atheist humanitarian organizations? Non-profits to develop tools for secularism? Etc.
Personally one of the best things I think you can do as an atheist is further the field of science and our understanding of the a Biology major you're mostly there. Doing scientific research is a heck of a way to battle ignorance.
Yes, but only if people know about and understand it. One of my frustrations with research is the (seeming) irrelevance to the general public's lives. I would like to promote science to the lay audience. This is a sticking point with several blogger/scientists I think. Fighting the misrepresentation of science. That should be a full time job in itself!

Well there's an avenue. Be a science writer or journalist. Of course you need to be on top of a multiplicity of areas of science to do the job the justice that it requires. Or you could work at becoming an expert in a field, (by doing science), and then publishing in the manner to which you refer. Prof. Brian Cox for example, is a physicist who does that:-

curiously, i've been thinking a similar thing myself.

more specifically, i want to work on projects dealing with rationalism, skepticism, free-thought, humanism, and atheism. with the emphasis on skepticism. the Center for Inquiry is exactly the kind of group i'd prefer to become affiliated with professionally.

for the good, i have extensive experience with speaking, presentations, and production work related to live events, audio and video shoots, and media events. i currently run sound for a broadway show. my resume is strong in production and audio.

the downside is i do currently make a very good living for myself within my field, and it would be a shame to take a pay cut. the flip-side is that i've been finding myself -very- drawn into activism for rationalism and skeptical thought and the promotion of science and logic in general. i'm smart in those areas, but don't have a science degree.

i was inclined to work to make some documentary style independent films in this genre. i have two ideas in mind right now that i'm just itching to up and do. i have the talent, experience, and contacts to do this. however i'd need to get some funding and make some determinations about distribution to pursue these ideas. i was definitely hoping to connect with organizations like the Center for Inquiry to see about pursuing this as a joint effort.

i would find it personally fulfilling to put my time and effort into something i believed so strongly in. i do think that atheism is a natural "side effect" of rational thinking. rationalism and skepticism is a much easier sell than atheism, and i think it's the right thing to promote as a positive. (instead of the negative approach of being anti something). since i'm accomplished with production work and am therefore well skilled at creating media to get this message out, i'd prefer to put my skills to work on this than on the thing i'm currently working on. (which is a GREAT job, but i don't have the same kind of personal investment in as i would something like this).
"i've been finding myself -very- drawn into activism for rationalism and skeptical thought and the promotion of science and logic in general. i'm smart in those areas, but don't have a science degree."

Exactly, I've hit a point in my life where I think more about making progress on certain issues I am passionate about than earning a living. Sure, I want to make a name for myself. I have lots of ideas and energy, and I do have the science degree...

So I can relate to what you are saying. CfI is a fantastic institution, but I'm not sure they have enough money to hire out projects. If you are interested in documentary film making, whether short or large scale, should try to seek money from a foundation, larger society or private individual.
When in doubt, consider law school.

Seriously, while I would understand not wanting to defer earning $$$ any longer, I am a former scientist type (albeit with only a bachelors) who went to law school and has done well. I am in private practice, but there are plenty of opportunities to work for public interest (and even atheist or at least secular causes) with a JD. Americans United for Separation of Church and State, the ACLU, and the Freedom from Religion Foundation are just three examples of fine organizations that hire lawyers. Plus, if you choose your courses wisely, you would at least have on option of private practice after you graduate.

From your resume, it looks like you can write, and that is the only thing that typically trips up the technically trained in law school. In truth, many scientists and engineers find law school a pleasant break. A strong background in science is a requirement for a field like patent law, and is very helpful for a whole host of legal areas - reproductive rights, end of life issues, research issues (like stem cells), environmental issues, the list is long! Take it from me - the bar needs many more scientists!
Unfortunately many states don't allow atheists to run for office, but then again its never too late for a little civil disobedience. Dawkins, Hitchens, and Harris have made lucrative careers using atheism; mostly by writing, PR, journalism, and the like. You have a MS in Biology though, science is under attack by the religious right in this country; so in a way you'd be doing the secular community a favor by continuing a career in science. You can always write about your beliefs (or lack thereof) on the side, and get your writings published in your spare time. Not to mention that the scientific community is predominantly secular anyway....
I would definitely be interested in finding some sort of place where secular/irreligious/atheist job openings would be posted.

As an Illustration/Fine Arts major, I'd love to find regular, paid work in a company or organization I can really stand behind.




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