Hi, all

I am new to this group and this is my first post here.
OK, with my introduction out of the way, I want to let you all know why I joined this group … actually, why I initially joined this group, because I am now getting inspired to share other ideas as well. But, the reason I initially joined was to share an idea I have for proselytizing atheism or at least promoting atheism in a positive way. Christians and Christian organizations abound in every corner with their evangelizing. Some are intentional, and others not so much. An example of the not so much is a YouTube channel that I watch. I am a backpacker and watch a lot of YouTube videos on backpacking. One channel I watch is this guy who interviews backpackers who are thru hiking the Appalachian Trail. I find these interviews to be very interesting and inspiring, except for at the very end of his interview where this guy says “God bless you on your journey” or something to that effect. Is this guy intentionally proselytizing, or is he merely wishing them a good journey, I don’t know, but it bugs the heck out of me every time I hear him say it. Anyway, back to why I’m writing. I am, myself, planning to thru hike the Appalachian Trail. For those who don’t know, this is a 2200 mile hike from Georgia to Maine. There are many trail towns that thru hikers depend on while doing this hike and many “Trail Angels”. Trail angels are people or groups, including many church groups, that give these thru hikers support by giving them free food, rides into town, shelter, and other such things, at the many trail junctions. There are also Hostels at many of the trail towns (towns on or relatively close to the trail) that provide inexpensive lodging and amenities, and a break from trail life. Of course some of these hostels are churches or individual Christians as well. On one of my searches for a hostel in a trail town that I am planning to resupply at, the only option for inexpensive lodging is one of these Christian hostels. It got me thinking that there must be free thinking folks and organizations along the Appalachian Trail that could, if inspired to spread some humanitarian goodness, do so by being “Trail Angels” and/or providing secular hostels and/or shuttle services. There are actually three major long trails where thru hikers depend on “Trail Angels” and hostels: The Appalachian Trail, that goes thru fourteen east coast states; the Pacific Crest Trail that goes from Mexico to Canada through California, Oregon, and Washington; and the Continental Divide Trail that goes from Mexico to Canada through New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana. There are thousands of hikers that attempt to thru hike these trails every year, and the numbers grow every year. I would think there must be some free thinkers and free thinking / atheist / humanist organizations that reside close to these trails. Providing these services, I think, is one of many ways free thinkers and free thinking / atheist / humanist organizations could be shining a positive light. If any of you want more information on how you could provide these services, let me know.

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