Part of the allure of organised religion is the sense of community it boasts, individuals gathering once a week to dialogue their lives, bible, deity ect. My question is should the atheist community also benefit from these tactics? Studies have shown that individuals (particularly young impressionable teens) feel a sense of belonging when part of a group… would it be wrong to take advantage of this like religious sects have? A common concern may be that individuals may attend to follow “the crowed” but if in the preparation of these gatherings a conscious effort to educate and encourage critical thinking was undertaken, would it be so wrong to steal the Christians dirty tactics?
Personally I thought most atheists would agree that weekly meetings with like-minded individuals sounded ideal but after briefly mentioning it to a fellow atheist friend I was deterred, what are your thoughts on this matter?
recently joined a local "meetup" group. no scheduled meet since joining, though they have had many in the past. really looking forward to it.
That sounds great, good luck with it ;)
I understand why you suggest to keep professing about atheism at a minimal our intention as atheists shouldn’t be to indoctrinate people into reason; however, religion has taken over, demanding a place in our existence whether it be the nice man professing at the corner of the street, the countless churches, or the signs erected on motorways titled “come back to Jesus”. Religion has already provided countless external triggers to respond to. Yes the burden of proof is on them, but how many people know this?
Many cities have vibrant atheist communities, either through Meetup.com groups or other organizations. My city has at least a dozen such groups (with overlapping membership), several of which meet weekly. We have book clubs, do charity work, have social events, participate in community events, etc.
And I live in Kansas. Seriously.
Think Atheist is having our first 2012 meet up in Baltimore md. Via This link. I personally plan to get a page going to gather people that will host and set up TA events in their part of the world. I'll be sure to have a system wide email about it in the near future.
It seems what is best is a bi monthly meetup.
I've been thinking of joining SOFREE, a free-thinkers group. I've been putting it off though... procrastinating...
I don't know, honestly. I can't say I'd be against meeting with a group of atheists once a week just for the sake of it, but then again I might not like the idea so much if there was any sort of agenda behind it. On a social level, one of the things appealing about being an atheist is that anyone can be one. Not much is expected in the way of guidelines or specific choices in lifestyle. I don't feel as if other atheist are watching my every move, nor am I watching anyone elses as a means of an example. I just live the way I want, believe the way I choose...and that's all there is to it. I'm one of the few that doesn't mind admitting to the fact that I LIKE the outsider element of atheism, even if it has absolutely nothing to do with the reason why I am one. I just don't mind when others are offended by my views, even if I seldom (VERY seldom) aim to offend anyone (I don't mind doing so when it's necessary in order to prove a point to religious bullying, which happens from time to time).
That's what I'm talkin about, I've been touting this for months!!! Where can secular people go when their religious friends go to church? We need a secular counterpart to these churches, a sort of community center for atheists. I envision the same setting as a church, everyone sits in "pews" and sings a rousing rendition of "Imagine" led by a minister/director or musical guest/member, then the director brings up discussions of realistic topics such as that of Think Atheist’s "Sunday School" with a portion of time set aside for Q&A's, then some more rousing atheistic sing along music, and then they could have classes on such topics as natural law, evolution, science class type experiments, maybe a video room for DVD's such as "Religulous" and documentaries from the likes of "Nova" and "The Discovery Channel" and the "History Channel.” And they could have some musical instruments for a community band project with member songwriters with the director as a music organizer, they could play secular songs or write their own, all wrapped around that sense of family and community. And like churches we need one in every little town and city in the country, and maybe push the president for tax breaks like the church gets because a community of nonbelievers is just as important (or more so) as a community of believers, this all makes perfect sense to me. Religion does it, there’s churches everywhere, yet there’s nothing for us nonbelievers, it'll get kids off the streets, people will have a regular place to go once or twice a week (or more), it's a simple process, church without religion, a sense of community with fellow nonbelievers, I can't believe we don't already have these in place, it's not just good for us, but good for the community at large, a grass roots effort to give secular people a similar experience as their church going counterparts, but to bring science and logical thinking with a community sense of togetherness, where kids can learn along with their parents, and not necessarily just about atheism but about our world and what we can do to improve it without the need for deities. Maybe you college kids don't get it because you may have a support group in your universities, but us regular folks don't have that, we need something local, and it's just not out there, we have to travel miles to find like minded people (if we can find any at all,) and if we had our own "Atheist Churches" well, you know what they say "'if you build it, they will come" and eventually, once the word gets out, I bet they would fill up fast, I believe they are all around us, they just don't want to have to travel half way across the state to meet up with people they would never see otherwise, it's all about availability and accessibility and is desperately needed throughout the country.
(You’ll have to excuse my grammar, it’s late and I’m half asleep)
I agree! Something like what the Humanistic Judaism movement (which is a form of secular humanism) has in Michigan: http://www.birminghamtemple.org/. My city has a big, empty church campus that once was home to an evangelistic megachurch that collapsed under the weight of its own pride and greed. Oh, how I wish we had an extra $12.5 million lying around to buy it and convert it to a freethought center!