Agnostic and Atheist Scholarships
Do you know there are Agnostic and Atheist scholarships and many Christians especially would think they shouldn’t give these unusual and unknown scholarships to Agnostic and Atheist people because it just supports their views even more. The fact is there are specific unheard of scholarships for nearly every interest, belief and activity you invest in, including atheism and agnosticism. Atheism is typically defined as disbelief in a god or higher power, while agnosticism does not necessarily deny the existence of a higher power but asserts that since religious claims are unknowable and improvable, humans can not characterize and define religions or that higher power. Many of these unknown scholarships are not specifically called atheist or agnostic scholarships, so you may have to poke around for them a bit more but there are still quite a few out there. Many of the Atheist scholarships listed here are sponsored by PFund which is an organization which serves as a resource for many gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals and groups. The following will give you a good start in applying and learning about these types of unusual scholarships.
American Atheists’ Youth and Family subgroup funds several scholarships for active community and school participation. The Chinn Scholarship is a $1,000 grant to an outstanding gay/lesbian Atheist. Current college students as well as high school seniors with a 2.5 GPA in academic subjects may apply for the Atheist scholarship. The award is based on the applicant’s activism and a 500-1000 word essay. The deadline for application is January 31 and in addition to the monetary award, students receive a free trip to the American Atheists’ National Convention.
The American Atheists Founders’ Scholarship grants a first place award of $2000 and runner-up prize(s) of $1000 to atheist students. Similarly to the Chinn Scholarship, current college students or high school students entering college next year are eligible as long as they are Atheist, can demonstrate activism and a 2.5 minimum GPA. The application deadline is January 31, 2011 and decisions will be made regarding decisions by March 1, 2011.
The Silverman Secular Humanist Scholarship is available to students who are secular humanists studying at the College of Charleston in South Carolina. Founded by Herb Silverman, who is also a retired math professor from the college and the president of the Secular Coalition for America, the Agnostic scholarship honors academic effort and financial need in a student who offers promise in the area of critical thinking and is a secular humanist. This is a $1700 renewable scholarship as long as a 3.0 GPA is maintained.
The Mark Twain Scholarship for Atheist students is available to freethinkers who completely reject anything that inhibits any type of freedom, be it religious or otherwise. Recipients must attend a secular university or college and major in one of the following areas: arts and humanities, applied arts, education, science, social sciences, mathematics, engineering or law. An essay is also required for this $300-$500 scholarship. The deadline for one of the eight Agnostic scholarships is December 31 of each year.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation sponsors several essay contests for Atheist college scholarships annually. All of the following contests reward several winners with the same monetary amounts per placement: first prize – $2,000, second prize – $1,000, third – $500, fourth – $300, and honorable mention – $200. The 17th Herbert Bushong essay contest honors free thinkers in the area of religion and offers several awards based on essay responses. The 32nd FFRF Michael Hakeem Memorial College Essay Competition is for students in North America under the age of 25 and rewards students for choosing reason over faith. Conversely, the FFRF Brian Bolton Graduate/Mature student essay competition is specifically for graduate students and adult students over the age of 25 and this year the essay topic is a focused piece on the separation of church and state.
As you can see many of the unknown scholarships deemed atheist or agnostic champion freethinking and science and reason over faith. Due to this, be prepared with evidence of activism in your school and out, be ready to explain your rationale and beliefs (of lack thereof), and be equipped to write persuasively on a related topic, as many of these Agnostic Atheist scholarships are essay based.