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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Well my opinion on it is why make an atheist church and if your going to make one why call it a church?

The atheists call it 'Sunday Assembly'. It's also not a mega-anything. A mega-church has an average weekly attendance of thousands. A fraction of that number-- four hundred people-- showed up at the Sunday Assembly cited in the article. There just aren't that many around.

You were meant to get the idea that atheists are starting mega-churches across america. They're not. It's just the steady stream of misinformation oozing from the open sore that is Fox "News".

Maybe FOX was showing a weak tendency to optimism, in an area they unfamiliar.

Maybe FOX was showing a weak tendency to optimism, in an area they unfamiliar.

I don't think so, James.

Fox "News" sells candy to the Christian right and the all-day sucker is the "war on Christianity". We're atheists, so perhaps some of us might see overstating our numbers as a plus. But to the Christian right, "atheist mega-churches taking root across America" is seen as a rising threat.

It's meant to generate outrage, (and subsequently) votes and cash for God-fearing Republicans. In the right-wing theme park, atheists are the boogie men. We're out to kill baby Jesus and steal his lollypop.

Sunday Assembly has "taken root" in just 18 locations across America (scroll down). There are other atheist fellowships, such as the unfortunately-named North Texas Church of Freethought but these are typically standalone and have relatively small memberships. Compare that with 350,000 Christian churches alone, with collective memberships in the millions. 

For added perspective, here are photos from one atheist "megachurch" and Joel Osteen’s Lakewood megachurch.

So are you suggesting we 'appear' small, or should we pursue the 'appearance' of a vast horde?

I suppose any appearance of a 'representative' atheist on FOX would crimp the theist delusion of a perfect normality. If thousands of Atheists made an appearance at a revival gathering with big signs, PA system, and a full parking lot of news trucks, surely this would shock theists into battle or a 'soul searching'  retreat. Of course Atheists being accused of grand standing, would hardly come up to the level of a true theist mega-church. Forcing theists to confront the culture full on with little likely back door for excape might offer a teaching moment. Surely a loud mouthed minister would fluster under such an offensive...  

So are you suggesting we 'appear' small, or should we pursue the 'appearance' of a vast horde?

Neither one, James. I'm simply pointing out a weapon of mass distortion targeted squarely at reality.

Atheists are mistrusted and reviled, but a small minority, politically weak, and poorly organized. Fox "News", an extension of the Republican Party, is using this, not reporting it.

They grossly exaggerate our numbers and influence, construct false parallels with Christian proselytizing*, and make us the aggressors, gathering power to wage war on Christians. We have few voices that reach the Fox "News" audience to set the record straight, so this is the fantasy that takes hold.

*Speakers at Sunday Assembly are specifically asked not to talk about atheism.

Very good! Having to appear at a Benny Hinn revival would be significantly out of character for me. Having to hold a protest sign doubly so..;p)

"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."

There will be misconceptions.

More so it's people we're dealing. There will be social problems: cliques, crazies, buttheads -you name it. 

 I fear some nut bag thats affiliated with one of these places might decide to burn down some churches or something like that. I don't think it will take much to get people to hate atheists more.

 On the other hand... I'd go to check it out -I mean mainly smart, hot, atheist ladies and I think we can all count on better music than say christian contemporary too. It could be a lot of fun.

As long as the group acknowledges and addresses the problems that are inherent to any organization that grows rapidly and is run by humans i have no problem with it. Given the level of ammo that would be given to the religious from any kind of scandal or abuse, I sure hope they are watchful. I can already see us being sucked into the "well they are not 'real atheists' " argument just like the fundies do. Insert some wise quote from Yoda here (. .)

people sometimes needs church even if there is no god. i would go to one if there was one in reachable distance

I know right. Sometimes you're in the dire need for a toilet but can't find one nearby, and so you have no choice but to piss on a regular wall. I wish there were more churches and mosques everywhere so we could use their walls instead.

wt actual f? lol


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