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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It seems to me that Lori Lipman Brown of the Secular Coalition for America might have the only paid job in atheism. :) No really, my first thought at your question was, indeed, "lobbying." Unfortunately, it seems as though the big atheist orgs aren't into organized lobbying (that I know of--I've always thought SCA to be the only one actively doing anything in Washington). The most we can do, collectively, right now, is be individually active and push our orgs to push our congress people. We NEED more lobbying to uphold (actually enforce at all, really) the separation of church and state. Legislation is what gave us civil rights, women's rights, gay rights, etc. Legislation is the only thing that can give atheists equal rights. It's a sad fact of life--few act fairly unless forced to do so by law. And we need an organized structure of groups to bombard Washington like Christians do, like Jews do, etc. When we can get that up and running, then there's your paid job. ;)
Actually being useful, it's a job in atheism itself. Since we don't need people telling us what we're to believe. It seemed like an extremely odd question though, why would anyone want an "atheist only" job? We would become just as narrow minded as many theists.
When most people choose careers, they like to choose to do something they love. I believe spreading free thought is an act of good, and I can absolutely see someone, anyone, being very happy being able to do that on a full-time basis, without having to worry about fitting it around your day-today paid work that supports your life. Why wouldn't someone who loves spreading free thought want to do it for a living?

People get paid to do charity work and although that sounds contradictory, it is most times the only way that charity work can be done. Not everyone--in fact, very few people--can dedicate large swathes of time out of their lives to do good works because they have to make a living. I say, more power to anyone who can earn a living in atheism. As far as I'm concerned, the more people able to do this full-time, the faster the word spreads, and you get the rest...
Spreading the word on what atheism is and isn't is one thing, attempting to indoctrinate is another. Atheism and free thought are not synonymous as many seem to think, look at some of the militant atheists on Youtube. I would also think free thought is something a person has to find on their own, it's not really free if someone is telling you what is free and what isn't.

Atheism and charity also aren't synonymous, many theists also give to charity, albeit maybe more for the reason of being in good terms with their god, haha.
Now, I didn't say that atheism and charity were synonymous; I just said that I believed that spreading free thought is an act of good. And spreading free thought, to me, is not shoving atheism down anyone's throat. It's merely stating facts as we know them, encouraging critical thinking, and creating a reality based environment. In this way, maybe it can be said that atheists come into being on their own by following their brains. Some promotion of the things that foster this can't hurt, now can it?
Another way to spread free thought is to un-demonize atheists. We are so hated by society in general for no good reason. There are bad atheists as there are bad Christians, but there are good ones as well. Everyone recognizes a good Christian, but it takes a LOT of convincing for the average person to believe and atheist can be a good, moral person. That is why we need to up our profile and get representation in DC.
I agree with IsThisLatin about working to promote values you believe in. The christians have been doing this for ages, why can't atheists show the world they are good, concerned humanitarian folk. Many here would probably call themselves secular humanists right? Where are the secular humanist aid organizations and lobbying groups? Or are they working more under the radar than religious one? Or does the media ignore the work of atheist/secular humanist organizations?

My question might have have poorly worded and I didn't mean so much as proselytizing atheism as jobs in promoting free thought/secularism. "Jobs in atheism" was meant to be a broad categorization for jobs like lobbying, law, non-profit civil rights advocacy, teaching, writing, or whatever else their might be.

But this has turned into a very interesting discussion that has given me lots to think about! I have been looking for work since March and my funding runs out in mid August. There is very little money in science for research. I am seriously considering teaching as a fallback plan right now, but I have to move my family out of our rented house to some location somewhere and find a job doing something interesting (hopefully within my broad interests in science, science communication and education). Its getting crunch time for me. The job climate is not friendly right now, many qualified candidates with too few jobs. Employers can very particular about skill sets and less willing to train. Lots of resumes and applications out, a few interviews, but no offers or follow-ups. PhDs are getting Masters-level jobs, Masters need to start apply for Bachelors level jobs, etc.
I can relate with this on a summer-job level, I can't imagine how hard it is for careers right now.

It took me the better part of a year just to find a shitty food service summer job, and I can't get out of it to do something else this summer because the market is so tight even for part time burger-flipping and table bussing.
Lots of luck to you, Kevin. It's good to see someone willing to go out and do the work. There's way too much 'herding cat' conversation going on in the atheist community. I like organization and action . :)
It is always a sticking point with me! I try to get people to brainstorm instead of complain. I'm not a militant atheist, but do believe unbelievers should be better tolerated by society. Especially as has been reported in Free Inquiry and other areas that the "nones" are increasing steadily with each census.
You can get a job in anything.
You certainly can get a job doing anything, sir. Unfortunately, in the case of atheism, you really need to create your own organization and be very media saavy. No tax breaks for us! We have to obey the supply and demand of capitalism, baby!

Speaking in a Canadian context, I offer this description of Justin Trottier from the Globe and Mail, one of our nationally distributed newspapers:

"Justin Trottier is executive director of the Centre for Inquiry Ontario, making him the first full-time paid staff member at the first venue dedicated to humanists and freethinkers in Canada.

He is co-founder of the political advocacy group Canadian Secular Alliance, as well as president of the multimedia outreach group Freethought Association of Canada. "

So, atheists employed full time at proselytizing for no religion at all in the entire country of Canada: 1.

The market / demand curve just isn't very deep. In other words, we need to create our own demand. This is good for you! You can carve out your own niche market by creating demand in the minds of consumers. But financing that kind of start up takes a LOT of work and personal commitment. So if your looking for an organization to hand you a paycheck, I'm afraid you're out of luck, sir.

Best of luck to you, though. Appearing on talk shows and writing opinion columns is, I think, my own personal dream job!
"But financing that kind of start up takes a LOT of work and personal commitment. So if your looking for an organization to hand you a paycheck, I'm afraid you're out of luck, sir."

Thats what I was afraid of, otherwise I would have heard of job boards. I thought I read somewhere that secular humanist organizations get tax breaks? Maybe it was in a dream...

So who is going to invest in a multimedia consulting/lobbying/awareness increasing organization? Any famous, rich atheists, humanists or secularists out there with money burning in their pockets?




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