Fox News (.com) ran an article yesterday about a new phenomena taking place across parts of Europe, and now in the U.S., that involves atheists in larger metropolitan areas getting together for music, reflection, and inspirational talk. Some may say that this all smacks of the same trappings used by organized religion in the form of ritual and imagery. Others say that it serves to tear down the walls of false perceptions that atheists are evil and untrustworthy. The group in L.A. also took donations for community service projects planned in the near future. I believe it is a good thing to positively promote the atheist movement but I also want to avoid any misconceptions that result from these types of services. It is an interesting development nonetheless and I hope it serves as an indication that our culture is finally moving forward and away from the handcuffing philosophy of religion. 

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Are these mega-gatherings to be applauded or looked at with suspicion? Your thoughts....

Tags: Fox, News, mega-churches

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So there appears to be a problem with atheists getting together for secular communion while avoiding the trappings of organized religion. We are a fairly cynical and suspicious bunch for the most part. Honestly, unless we adapt some means to come together in mass and show support for one another I believe our hopes to shove religion out civilization's door will be a painfully slow process. The downside is that it only takes one or two atheist assholes in attendance to screw up at an event and the media is all over us. But I truly believe it is important to get ourselves collected and demonstrate to society that we are here, not going away, and demand acceptance as a legitimate growing segment of our society. Hopefully closet atheists and those sitting on the fence of indecision will gain confidence from seeing fellow freethinkers gather together publicly for support and camaraderie.

Without complete transparency and openness the collection of funds at such events for charitable causes will be looked at with suspicion from the media and public in general. It is an opportunity to demonstrate that freethinkers are concerned about the plight of the less fortunate but we must exercise caution to avoid being taken advantage of by those who are quick to ridicule or find fault.

I'm not at all comfortable with the idea of an atheist "church". I tend to have George Carlin's view of church - "somewhere people go once a week to compare clothing".

I don't think that it's the right road to go down either and there is too many pitfalls on the way. I don't have any answers that work. I hope religion will evolve to oblivion but definitely not in my lifetime.

I don't like anything that looks like a cult/church. Been in too many of those. 

We need to be creative about how we build our communities. Churches can be very sick places...that type of organization should be looked at with skepticism. We ought to be careful that we don't end up emulatingreligious organizational stuctures by default. Let's be Free Thinkers and come up with our own gig.

I like it!  Writing a book that will call for new rituals.  Can't say much more.  You have to read the book.

I just threw up in my mouth a bit.

There seems to be an awful lot of calls to 'promote' Atheism going on around here.

Seriously Guys?? Do we really need missionaries?

I know that Theists routinely indulge themselves in 'Atheist Bashing', but they can't help it, it's in their nature.

Do we really have to descend to that level?

There are a lot of good people who find some sort of comfort in their religion. Misguided they may be (no doubt they think the same about us) but it's something they need to 'anchor' themselves in a world they find threatening and confusing. They need their religion like a baby needs a security blanket.

They either grow out of it in their own time, or they hang on to it until it's pried from their cold, dead hands.

I for one, am happy and secure in my Atheism. I really don't feel the need to harass and mock others for their beliefs, just because I don't subscribe to them. If I expect others to respect my right to be an Atheist, I should respect their right to their religious beliefs.

However, when they accost me on the street, or invade my home, and won't take no for an answer, they're denying me my right, and all bets are off!

Pacifiers and security blankets should eventually be discarded when an adequate understanding of our environment is obtained. But some will cling feverishly to their delusion despite the reality that it is no longer necessary. Death has that effect for most. It is a price we pay for being sentient beings that hold the capacity to understand our existence is finite.

I have no qualms about letting theists live their fairy tale but unfortunately they seem compelled to influence and control, through legislative and societal pressure, those that lack their belief in all things supernatural.

I am not affraid of being a 'missionary', it is not a bad position.

Sadly some have not faired well.... 

I'm surprised at the level of negative reaction to this story here on TA. Without a doubt, the greatest (maybe only) thing I miss from my decades as a Christian is the sense of community. I think community is just as important as an Atheist/Humanist. Maybe more so. Now my community doesn't have to build walls to keep "others" out!

I've followed this topic for years. There is actually an Atheist Sunday gathering started by an ex-Lutheran pastor here in Houston where I live. I follow their group with great interest, but I admit, what they do is too similar to church for me and kinda creeps me out.

I've also been following a few Atheist Meetup groups in Houston, and a Drinkinging Liberally group. This would be more my speed, but I just haven't had the time to join any of them.

Ahh 'community'. As I have matured, much of the reason I have had rather serious mis-givings about religion was from the 'community'. I am just a maturing, wide eyed child of the universe, trying to figure things out, asking questions, wondering about the deep questions, exploring the boundaries, and sometimes tasting the local flavors.

The answers offered, sometimes implied some very weird demands, with the most common being 'you must stop thinking'. Thinking makes demands on the human mind, and can be a boundary breaker. While religion seems to demand a premature certainty, thinking can break walls, kill sacred cows, and make the 'weaker argument appear stronger'.

Can a 'community', from a theist view point, of 'thinkers', be stable enough to have a future? The most similar model would be from colleges and universities. Maybe atheists need to be 'Friends of Education', not 'thorns in the side' of theists. Sadly, without some degree of challenge to theist over reach, the larger culture might decay to a web of sicking pettyness, and fake truth.    

My own feeling is that part of maturing, not just age-wise but psychologically, is becoming good company for oneself. If you just can't bear to be alone and without the company of others, you have issues.




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