Controversially, we believe that introducing a state-funded basic income – a guaranteed, minimum amount of cash each month to every citizen – could help fuel the atheist cause. The idea of basic income is to empower people to take control of their lives and ultimately, emancipate them from systemic oppression. A key feature of oppression is poverty, and it has been shown that people who suffer with poverty the most, tend to be more religious.
Specifically, “in places without strong social safety nets to provide people with opportunities for upward mobility, people are more likely to rely on religion for comfort”.
Therefore, by supplying every person with a basic income and thus lifting them out of poverty, future generations will be empowered to control their own lives. Effectively, they will feel less at the mercy of a God if they don’t feel like they are permanently spinning out of control.
The power to live without belief
But poverty relief is not the only benefit here. When people have financial security they are more likely to pursue a variety of interests, read more and enjoy leisure time in ways that impoverished people cannot. When we emancipate people, we give them the opportunity to live better. It is not just a case of handing over money and expecting people to find happiness from this alone, it is about allowing people the freedom to explore new ideas which poverty has previously excluded them from. This educates and promotes critical thinking; both important components if one wishes to overturn religious belief.
To back this up further, those from wealthier backgrounds typically hold fewer religious beliefs (except in America, which bucks the trend).
Atheism is by its nature a negative force in that it exists to attempt to usurp religious belief (you cannot “believe” in atheism). If people feel safe and secure, they tend not to think about God(s), and so the need to promote atheism shrinks.
This makes the case for basic income for atheists a very powerful one, because it might one day make religious belief redundant. That, surely, is the best outcome an atheist can hope for.