I am referring to a website called "First Church of Atheism".
They are apparently recruiting atheist ministers online. The purpose of this they say is to have non-religious ministers offer services such as weddings and funerals etc without the religious references.
Even so I still don't see the point of an atheist church? Sure if you want to have non-religious state ministers, thats fine. But do we really need a church? Does that not send out mixed messages to what atheism is? I'm very irritated too by the fact that this site keeps referring to atheism as a belief.
What are your thoughts?
Took me ten minutes - I am now an Ordained Minister - just to find out what it was about - at first, I thought it was a joke, but they are selling 'stuff' - http://firstchurchofatheism.com/index.php/shop/pack-marriage-certs/
I think it is just another way to market stuff.
Perhaps calling the collective a “church” was done so for legal purposes? I don’t claim to be knowledgeable on legal matters, but it seems to me that religious institutions are afforded special protections and privileges in the law. Perhaps this is just someone’s way of working within a system that may have very specific criteria for considering which institutions are allowed which privileges.
Another side to consider is that “churches” seem to wield political influence. Perhaps they’re trying to tap that angle as well… not to mention that churches are able to take in funds, tax-free.
These are nothing more than speculations of course. I personally don’t like the association of atheism with religion. It sends the wrong message.
The purpose of this church is to annoy thinking Atheists.
It appears that the sole purpose of "The First Church of Atheism" is to ordain "Atheist Ministers". That's a bit rubbish I think.
Churches or similar institutions have social perks our community could benefit from. I don't give a damn what proper noun you assign it, the purpose of a church is much more intrinsic to basic human needs and desires than the simple-minded dissemination of canonized doctrine.
One of the weaknesses that prevents many of the on-the-fence type cafe Christians I know from taking the leap and simply stating their lack of belief openly is the risk of loosing a place of belonging, and friendship.
Humans are predominantly not solitary creatures by nature... we all need at least a few friends to be happy, healthy, and sane. If potluck on the weekend, and an afternoon visiting with friendly acquaintances fills that need - so be it. There is also the social networking that comes with a built-in community - the bigger the community, the more successful that networking can be.
I wouldn't advocate the model this "Church" is promoting - but I think there IS definitely a niche that some sort of Atheist themed temple could fill.
It really would not be difficult to identify and generate suitable analogues to the fulfillment that a church community provides. Science has FAR more wondrous "miracles" than any half-cooked fairy tale with talking snakes, or lecherous incestuous holy men of God could offer. Scientists, Engineers, and Explorers I would argue deserve a Sainthood far more than any canonized Catholic for their contributions to humanity have had far more effective and positive impacts.
I wondered about this too, but then I found out, in order to preform these ceremonies, you have to be legally ordained, or to use my preferred term, licensed, and in many states, these ceremonies can only be performed by a member of a church. Thus, the First Church of Atheism. It's just a loop hole. You can get ordained licensed for free, and are legally allowed the same benefits that clergy get at certain places, such as parking spots, discounts, and access to patients or prisoners should they ask for an atheist to do whatever it is a priest would do for a patient or prisoner. It is also a license to have a congregation of people to pr(T)each to. All of this is absolutely optional, and is in no way intended to be something that an Atheist should consider, but they can if they wish. Let's say a friend wants to have a wedding, but doesn't want it to be religious. Since you're their friend, and a ordained licensed minister, then you can perform the ceremony to their exact wishes, and if you're a good friend, you won't charge them a fee for doing so, like most priests would.
Organizing Atheists is a bit like herding cats, so I imagine that there won't be many Atheist congregations sprouting up all over the place, but it would be a very heartening sight to drive by a park one day and see an Atheist minister teaching a group of interested people about the world, be it physics, mathematics, art, or music, or what have you, all in the name of self fulfillment, with a little sign set up saying something like Atheist Sunday Class.
If I weren't afraid of being lynched by the church going citizens of my town, I'd set up an Atheist Sunday Class.