Sunday Assembly is a growing phenomenon across the world. Take a look at this story and video.

While I agree with the intentions of the Sunday Assembly movement to allow atheists to meet up I wonder what others think about it. Would you attend one? I think the idea of local atheists having a local meeting up place is a good idea but trying to inject a “religious” fervour with hands in the air or singing makes me cringe a little.

I do attend Atheist meetings but they tend to be focused on what actions need to be taken to move us towards a more secular world. Atheist Ireland are setting up local groups nationwide and they are starting to gain popularity. We will usually meet in a local hotel or bar where we can have Sunday lunch but it is very informal. It is generally entertaining and informative with robust intellectual conversation and wit. I cannot envisage anyone producing a guitar and there certainly is no “happy clappy” atmosphere.

There seems to be a perception out there that if we are not part of a religious congregation that there is a void in our lives that needs to be filled. I think some atheists may even feel this way. I do understand the sense of nostalgia that some may feel if they were once with a church but I see no merit in trying to recreate it.

I expect that the religious will be more vocal in calling “atheism a religion” and use Sunday Assembly as an example. Maybe I am wrong in my perception so if anyone would like to comment? Have you attended one or would you if a local one started up?

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"if a variety of atheist approaches can encourage theists to drop their God fantasy."  - do we even need to do that?  Can't we all just exist together?  I understand that in the US it's a battleground, so more tolerance of atheists is needed.  In the UK it's reversed: Christianity is the tolerated minority.  We just let them get on with it. 

Why does the UK continue to have a official religion if only a minority are actually Christian. Or are they simply non-practicing Christians who would claim Christianity as their religion even if they stay home and read the paper Sunday morning?

Is it just plain old inertia?

People simply don't care. England is a highly secular society.

That's how it is.  People don't care.  The official religion is Christianity because that's the religion of the establishment. 

Yes, England is very secular. Mainstream Christianity is losing ground everywhere. I lived in London for five years and the only religions I noticed were Evangelicals or Muslim. Ireland (where I am) is similar. This story talks about the crisis of faith being even worse than at first thought. I agree but would substitute the words “even worse” with “even better”. Break out your guitar!!

Why does the UK continue to have a official religion if only a minority are actually Christian.

Substitute the word royalty for Christian. Yes, cultural inertia.

I agree Ed. I meet other Atheists on a regular basis. We meet up to discuss secular matters that we can impact on in a political or social sense. On a personal basis I have no desire to meet any of them to fill some kind of void in my life that somehow I would have if I was part of a religious community. I enjoy the intellectual stimulation I get and enjoy hearing of their experiences but I am never looking to be hugged.

I don’t even think Christians attend church for the community spirit as much as they attend it for the sake of tradition. They get something from the ritual itself as much as they do from the presence of a community. I think it is often the loss of ritualistic behavior that cause the sense of “emptiness”.

Theists are happy to be herded like sheep each week because they are members of a flock but the atheists I know (and I know hundreds) are more like cats when it comes being rounded up.

Camaraderie among our fellows is nothing like the "religious community". I feel you nailed it on the head with your analogy. 

I agreed with Ed in the previous comment, that any congregation of atheist's that is more "church like" would serve very little purpose or than some strange desire to be "apart of something".

Meeting locally with fellow secular free thinkers to discuss secular matters & current topics sounds mentally invigorating, and un-churchy.

I like a couple of quotes from Reg's second article link: "It would appear that Sunday Assembly is becoming an unstoppable force.".

“We have three in Ohio,” said Mr Jones. “I’m going to do a talk at our Silicon Valley one on November 9 via robot telepresence. Imagine the headlines,” he said, laughing. “Robotic preacher addresses atheist church.”

The “atheist church” mocker has attracted criticism from Christian factions. The Blaze, an American Christian website, received hundreds of comments for its article “Godless congregation: atheist church steals from Christian tradition to launch rapidly-expanding house of worship.”

“You know how little girls play 'house’?” wrote one. “This is grown ups playing 'soul’.”

And...

“We’re super positive about what churches and mosques do,” said Mr Jones. “We don’t bash them and a lot of religious people attend our events.” The issue of loneliness, especially in big cities, is one that must be tackled by religious and non-religious organisations alike, he said.

At first, I felt some embarrassment watching them singing and putting hands in the air. Then felt positive that the founders are comedians. Maybe we're finally gaining enough psychological security to be able to laugh at ourselves. No, I still don't identify with those members; I just identify with "atheism", and I don't mind if it's in baby steps.

This could be a significant, critical mass phenomenon for atheists, or at least an alternate avenue for lots of church-ees to consider. My money's on its positive evolution.

I know when I was a Christian still going to church and listening to Christian radio, they would always talk about how many women would go, and their husbands would come on Easter and Christmas Eve.

I have been a part of congregations that are supportive and helpful to each other. I recognize now how shallow it was. Those who prayed the right way we're the popular ones, just as those who are the most charismatic in a business get the promotion.

One thing I miss is having the human contact that came with going to church on Sunday. Having someone you can call if you get terribly sick and need help just preparing a meal, or someone who you can go to lunch with, and joke with.

I don't miss going to church itself. I enjoy sleeping in on Sundays :-)....but I miss people. I'm a social person, and isolation to me is torture. I know not everyone is like that.

I like the idea of a Sunday gathering, simply for the emotional support and community feeling. If I could meet 2 or 3 other Atheist mothers and sit for an afternoon and joke about stuff, watch our kids play....that would make me so happy.

I don't like superficial friendships. I don't like talking for the sake of talking. But I do think it's important for people to stay connected. Especially during times of need.

I think mothers need other mothers. That's the way we evolved. We evolved in communities.

The evidence is that we evolved as cooperative breeders, and human mothers need helpers of all kinds. 

Wouldn't it send a message to believers that there's something missing in an atheist's life if they don't go to some sort of "church"?

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