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An Atheist Church In The Uk

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Fim
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An Atheist Church In The Uk Feb. 4th, 2013 @ 06:54 PM Reply

Strictly speaking I suppose this is on the borderline of politics, but I'd prefer it to be discussed more intellectually here rather than fling it open in the general forum.

ITT: What happens at an atheist church?

An "atheist church" in North London is proving a big hit with non-believers. Does it feel a bit like a new religion?

Not many sermons include the message that we are all going to die and there is no afterlife. But the Sunday Assembly is no ordinary church service. Launched last month, as a gathering for non-believers, it is, in the words of master of ceremonies Sanderson Jones, "part foot-stomping show, part atheist church, all celebration of life".

A congregation of more than 300 crowded into the shell of a deconsecrated church to join the celebration on Sunday morning. Instead of hymns, the non-faithful get to their feet to sing along to Stevie Wonder and Queen songs.
There is a reading from Alice in Wonderland and a power-point presentation from a particle physicist, Dr Harry Cliff, who explains the origins of dark matter theory.

It feels like a stand-up comedy show. Jones and co-founder Pippa Evans trade banter and whip the crowd up like the veterans of the stand-up circuit that they are. But there are more serious moments. The theme of the morning is "wonder" - a reaction, explains Jones, to criticism that atheists lack a sense of it.

So we bow our heads for two minutes of contemplation about the miracle of life and, in his closing sermon, Jones speaks about how the death of his mother influenced his own spiritual journey and determination to get the most out of every second, aware that life is all too brief and nothing comes after it.

The audience - overwhelmingly young, white and middle class - appear excited to be part of something new and speak of the void they felt on a Sunday morning when they decided to abandon their Christian faith. Few actively identify themselves as atheists.

"It's a nice excuse to get together and have a bit of a community spirit but without the religion aspect," says Jess Bonham, a photographer. "It's not a church, it's a congregation of unreligious people."

Another attendee, Gintare Karalyte, says: "I think people need that sense of connectedness because everyone is so singular right now, and to be part of something, and to feel like you are part of something. That's what people are craving in the world."

The number of people declaring themselves to be of "no religion" in England and Wales has increased by more than six million since 2001 to 14.1 million, according to the latest census. That makes England and Wales two of the most secular nations in the Western world.

I'd be interested to spark a debate and ask for your opinions on this, personally to me it seems almost ridiculous that Athiests would come together in such a hypocritical way, and celebrating their non-belief in a church seems comparable to meeting up in a leisure centre to celebrate not playing any sports.

THOUGHTS?


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Response to An Atheist Church In The Uk Feb. 4th, 2013 @ 07:00 PM Reply

At 2/4/13 06:54 PM, Fim wrote:
THOUGHTS?

This is just a misnamed skeptic convention.
Basically.

They're just fucking with religious people by calling it "church".


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Response to An Atheist Church In The Uk Feb. 4th, 2013 @ 08:09 PM Reply

seems like a bit of an oxymoron mixed in with dick waving... and a bunch of hipsters trying to act cool.


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Response to An Atheist Church In The Uk Feb. 4th, 2013 @ 09:01 PM Reply

At 2/4/13 08:09 PM, Korriken wrote: seems like a bit of an oxymoron mixed in with dick waving... and a bunch of hipsters trying to act cool.

You seem not to like atheists very much.


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Response to An Atheist Church In The Uk Feb. 4th, 2013 @ 09:40 PM Reply

This seems more like either a school/hall of thought or a place where we "fuck" jesus.


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Response to An Atheist Church In The Uk Feb. 4th, 2013 @ 09:46 PM Reply

"For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred."

- 2 Timothy 3:2


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Response to An Atheist Church In The Uk Feb. 4th, 2013 @ 09:58 PM Reply

At 2/4/13 06:54 PM, Fim wrote: THOUGHTS?

I think what we have here is a contradiction in terms, especially from the individual who said (and I quote) "It's not a church, it's a congregation of unreligious people."

An Atheist Church In The Uk


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Response to An Atheist Church In The Uk Feb. 4th, 2013 @ 10:20 PM Reply

At 2/4/13 09:46 PM, Cynical-Charlotte wrote: "For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred."

- 2 Timothy 3:2

Something along these lines sums up my opinion.

Atheists, guys, c'mon. I'm religious and I'm more amused than offended, you guys keep insisting you're not a religion but you've got churches, sects, zealots and even a bible (The God Delusion). Hell, I've met atheists who can quote Dawkins like a priest quotes psalms. So what's next? Atheist Jesus?


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Response to An Atheist Church In The Uk Feb. 4th, 2013 @ 10:39 PM Reply

At 2/4/13 10:20 PM, Shade wrote: Atheists, guys, c'mon. I'm religious and I'm more amused than offended,

I think if you were to take a poll of most religious people on their reactions to this article, the majority of them would share your bemusement.

Contrary to popular belief, most religious people are actually pretty level headed. There were no mass riots or protesting when the Kevin Smith film "Dogma" came out, I doubt the average believer would get more than a modest chuckle from the thought of an atheist "church" existing. Although the thought of singing Queen and Stevie Wonder during a service is pretty cool...

you guys keep insisting you're not a religion but you've got churches, sects, zealots and even a bible (The God Delusion). Hell, I've met atheists who can quote Dawkins like a priest quotes psalms. So what's next? Atheist Jesus?

Oh the can of worms you just opened up... you're on your own. Have fun.


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Response to An Atheist Church In The Uk Feb. 4th, 2013 @ 11:33 PM Reply

At 2/4/13 10:20 PM, Shade wrote: Atheist Jesus?

I thought Dawkins WAS atheist Jesus.

and no, I don't too much like atheists. Some of em are ok, but a lot of them seem to have the same complex that many other groups have. that odd and irrepressible need to smear it in your face and beat you on the head with it.


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Response to An Atheist Church In The Uk Feb. 4th, 2013 @ 11:33 PM Reply

At 2/4/13 09:58 PM, Proteas wrote:
At 2/4/13 06:54 PM, Fim wrote: THOUGHTS?
I think what we have here is a contradiction in terms, especially from the individual who said (and I quote) "It's not a church, it's a congregation of unreligious people."

There are two other definitions of congregation in there that would fit the description perfectly, actually. No contradiction, there.

What do I think about it? It's a bunch of guys gathering together to form a community based on the fact that they're new atheists trying to fill the community void that leaving religion created. Power to them. Is it a bit of a mockery to Christian religions in it's organization (gathering in a building, having sermons, etc.)? Maybe. I'll give the benefit of the doubt that it's structured like that in order to create a community as effectively as religious churches have in the past (theist or atheist, you can't deny that the church structure creates an overwhelming sense of community, for those involved).

It shouldn't bug anyone, unless the people in that church/congregation start coming out and attacking you for what you believe in. Doesn't look like it yet, though.

Note: The article named it a "church", and the physical location is a former church, but from what I read the group themselves don't consider themselves a church. That's something to consider before calling this group of people hypocrites.


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Response to An Atheist Church In The Uk Feb. 5th, 2013 @ 07:19 AM Reply

This is a bad idea because it encourages beliefs such as the following:

At 2/4/13 10:20 PM, Shade wrote: Atheists, guys, c'mon. I'm religious and I'm more amused than offended, you guys keep insisting you're not a religion

You are actually denigrating the concept of 'religion' by claiming atheism is one. List the differences between atheism and, say, the zombie Jesus theory.

but you've got churches,

No I don't, and I have no intention of ever having one.

sects,

No there aren't.

zealots

Republicans have zealots too. Cannabis advocates have zealots. Hey, pot-smokers 'have churches, sects, zealots, and even a bible (High Times) too. Explain why cannabis advocates are not a religion but atheists are.

and even a bible (The God Delusion).

I spit on the God Delusion. It is a piece of shit. The Dice Man by Luke Rhinehart is better. Bet you don't hear any Muslims saying 'I spit on the Qu'ran'. I could post a picture of me burning the God Delusion on Facebook and nobody would give a shit. However, I don't even have a copy of it in my house, although I do have a copy of the Qu'ran and the Bible. What an irrelevant book.

Also, everyone who was an atheist before a decade ago (me included) was an atheist before the God Delusion came out.

Hell, I've met atheists who can quote Dawkins like a priest quotes psalms.

I have met atheists who can quote Monty Python, too.

So what's next? Atheist Jesus?

Christians 'know' that God impregnated a virgin, who gave birth to God, who then wandered around saying some incredibly important things before getting crucified, so his suffering could redeem everyone else's sins. They also 'know' he was then resurrected, wandered around a bit more and then got taken up to Heaven, where the souls of good Christians go. Muslims 'know' that God spoke to Muhammed and told him how to kick ass and take names on the Battlefield, as well as presenting him with a number of important rules to live by so good Muslims can go to Heaven. Consider how these are 'religions' and what makes this so.

I eagerly await your response.

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Response to An Atheist Church In The Uk Feb. 5th, 2013 @ 07:51 AM Reply

I like the part where Proteas tried to use a dictionary, but failed.


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Response to An Atheist Church In The Uk Feb. 5th, 2013 @ 08:23 AM Reply

kind of Ironic?ish?

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Response to An Atheist Church In The Uk Feb. 5th, 2013 @ 08:24 AM Reply

I'd probably go to a Pastafarian service....because I figure it would have to have a theme, like this week Spagetti & Meatballs with garlic toast points & a nice Red Chianti.

Next week Cheese stuffed Cantaloni's , fresh baquette & virgin olive oil, a nice Sangiovese

Yep ...now that would be a religion I could really sink my teeth in & enjoy ~:)


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Response to An Atheist Church In The Uk Feb. 5th, 2013 @ 11:12 AM Reply

First off the comment about, "That makes England and Wales two of the most secular nations in the Western world." England and Wales are both part of the United Kingdom and saying they are separate nations is like saying that each of the states in the United States are separate nations.

Now onto the atheist church. Most people here seem to think that this is just a big fuck you to Christianity however there is another possibility. Think of it this way why do religious people go to church instead of just praying at home with there family. Most religious people I have asked say they do it for a sense of community, to feel like there are others like them. So maybe this is just another fuck you to religion but personalty I think it is more likely that this is a way for atheists to get together, get a sense of community and get a feeling that there are others out there that are like them and are supportive of them.

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Response to An Atheist Church In The Uk Feb. 5th, 2013 @ 11:21 AM Reply

At 2/5/13 08:24 AM, morefngdbs wrote:
Yep ...now that would be a religion I could really sink my teeth in & enjoy ~:)

thanks, now I'm hungry.


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Response to An Atheist Church In The Uk Feb. 5th, 2013 @ 11:42 AM Reply

At 2/5/13 07:51 AM, poxpower wrote: I like the part where Proteas tried to use a dictionary, but failed.

Failed? I thought this was a casual discussion, I was unaware that I was part of a contest where failure was an option.

From what I see, the definition is largely associated with religious gatherings. Sure, it can be associated with random gatherings of people, but how often are you going to see the word used to describe a group of protestors as a "congregation?"


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Response to An Atheist Church In The Uk Feb. 5th, 2013 @ 03:26 PM Reply

At 2/5/13 11:21 AM, Korriken wrote:
At 2/5/13 08:24 AM, morefngdbs wrote:
Yep ...now that would be a religion I could really sink my teeth in & enjoy ~:)
thanks, now I'm hungry.

;;;;
Yeah, just writing it made my mouth water.
I've got a bit of a weakness to italian type tomato & pasta dishes along with red wine ~;)

Which is why if they ever form a Pastafarian church along those lines ....I'm gonna join ~:o


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Response to An Atheist Church In The Uk Feb. 5th, 2013 @ 07:03 PM Reply

At 2/5/13 07:19 AM, Earfetish wrote: This is a bad idea because it encourages beliefs such as the following:

At 2/4/13 10:20 PM, Shade wrote: Atheists, guys, c'mon. I'm religious and I'm more amused than offended, you guys keep insisting you're not a religion
You are actually denigrating the concept of 'religion' by claiming atheism is one. List the differences between atheism and, say, the zombie Jesus theory.
but you've got churches,
No I don't, and I have no intention of ever having one.

Did you read the OP? Atheist church.

sects,
No there aren't.

Atheists, Agnostics, Anti-theists, etc.

zealots
Republicans have zealots too. Cannabis advocates have zealots. Hey, pot-smokers 'have churches, sects, zealots, and even a bible (High Times) too. Explain why cannabis advocates are not a religion but atheists are.

Atheism is a religious belief, mainly the belief that there is no God/Allah/Buddha/Etc. Cannabis advocates have many religious folks among them, Mostly Rastafarians.

and even a bible (The God Delusion).
I spit on the God Delusion. It is a piece of shit. The Dice Man by Luke Rhinehart is better. Bet you don't hear any Muslims saying 'I spit on the Qu'ran'. I could post a picture of me burning the God Delusion on Facebook and nobody would give a shit. However, I don't even have a copy of it in my house, although I do have a copy of the Qu'ran and the Bible. What an irrelevant book.

The God Delusion is the first book I could name that many Atheists rally behind. I to have a copy of the Qu'ran, it's a very pleasant read.

Also, everyone who was an atheist before a decade ago (me included) was an atheist before the God Delusion came out.
Hell, I've met atheists who can quote Dawkins like a priest quotes psalms.
I have met atheists who can quote Monty Python, too.

Everyone quotes Monty Python.

So what's next? Atheist Jesus?
Christians 'know' that God impregnated a virgin, who gave birth to God, who then wandered around saying some incredibly important things before getting crucified, so his suffering could redeem everyone else's sins. They also 'know' he was then resurrected, wandered around a bit more and then got taken up to Heaven, where the souls of good Christians go. Muslims 'know' that God spoke to Muhammed and told him how to kick ass and take names on the Battlefield, as well as presenting him with a number of important rules to live by so good Muslims can go to Heaven. Consider how these are 'religions' and what makes this so.

Okay, I'll admit the Atheist Jesus bit is a tad silly. I mostly added that to rabble rouse.


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Response to An Atheist Church In The Uk Feb. 5th, 2013 @ 08:34 PM Reply

At 2/5/13 07:03 PM, Shade wrote: Atheists, Agnostics, Anti-theists, etc.

These are terms used to identify a certain philosophy, not to describe a unified group of people.

However, by unifying under one flag as a group of people with a similar belief, these individuals have, in essence, created something they were no doubt intending to lampoon; a church. If you read further into the article, some of the members even point this out that this could easily become an organized religious belief, or even a cult.


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Response to An Atheist Church In The Uk Feb. 5th, 2013 @ 10:33 PM Reply

At 2/5/13 07:03 PM, Shade wrote:
Atheism is a religious belief, mainly the belief that there is no God/Allah/Buddha/Etc.

No.
Atheism is the lack of belief in Gods.

Just like aghostism is not a religion. Or aunicornism. Or asaquatchism. There's just no word for each of those things because it's stupid, but there is one for God because there's a whole lot of people who believe in them. If 99% of people believed in fairies and fairy-believing was a central part of political systems and cultures all over the word, there would probably be a word for people who don't buy into that.

There can never be any official atheist church or dogma like there can never be rules for the non-hockey league that tell you how to play the sport of not playing hockey.

Atheism is nothing except not believing in Gods. It doesn't tell you how to live, how to think or what to do on Sundays.

I can make a stupid club and call it "The Atheist church" but that's meaningless. I can also call my cat "A locomotive" but that is also not going to make my cat any better at pulling cargo on rails than it already is.


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Response to An Atheist Church In The Uk Feb. 5th, 2013 @ 11:29 PM Reply

At 2/5/13 10:33 PM, poxpower wrote: There can never be any official atheist church or dogma like there can never be rules for the non-hockey league that tell you how to play the sport of not playing hockey.

I know you called what these people are doing a "skeptic convention," but they've set up an organization that looks, acts, and functions like a church. They're even calling it a church. There's more similarities to an organized religion (in this instance, not in general) than there are differences.

To borrow from a story that was once posted on here explaining the difference between science and religion... if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it's a duck, pox.


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Response to An Atheist Church In The Uk Feb. 6th, 2013 @ 12:07 AM Reply

At 2/5/13 11:29 PM, Proteas wrote:
To borrow from a story that was once posted on here explaining the difference between science and religion... if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it's a duck, pox.

now now Proteas, you know you can't challenge Pox's narrow as hell scope of reality. it causes him to malfunction. If you try to push the idea that Atheism can be turned into a full blown organized religion, he might go haywire and unleash a string of insults and derisions pointed at you.

sometimes, you just gotta let the special kid roll his turds into balls and eat crayons in peace.


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Response to An Atheist Church In The Uk Feb. 6th, 2013 @ 02:00 AM Reply

What the fuck that makes no sense.


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Response to An Atheist Church In The Uk Feb. 6th, 2013 @ 02:40 AM Reply

At 2/6/13 02:00 AM, Sensationalism wrote: What the fuck that makes no sense.

Thank you for the worthwhile contribution.

To me it sounds like nothing more then a "screw God club."
Specifically a place where they can get together and feel superior, but that is just my opinion.

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Response to An Atheist Church In The Uk Feb. 6th, 2013 @ 02:58 AM Reply

At 2/5/13 11:29 PM, Proteas wrote:
I know you called what these people are doing a "skeptic convention," but they've set up an organization that looks, acts, and functions like a church. They're even calling it a church. There's more similarities to an organized religion (in this instance, not in general) than there are differences.

Atheism is not a belief. There is no amount of calling yourself an "Atheist church" or an "Atheist cult" that makes atheism a belief.

You can call this a church if you want, but a church could be called a convention too. It's a Christianity convention / conference basically. They just have a special word for it.

If I made a bowling church, it wouldn't make bowling a religion or a belief system.


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Response to An Atheist Church In The Uk Feb. 6th, 2013 @ 11:39 AM Reply

At 2/6/13 02:58 AM, poxpower wrote: Atheism is not a belief. There is no amount of calling yourself an "Atheist church" or an "Atheist cult" that makes atheism a belief.

I didn't say it was.

You can call this a church if you want,

My desire is irrelevant in this matter, as is yours. They have designated themselves as a Church, and they have organized themselves as such, they are a Church. The only thing left for anyone to do is react, and if you're mad over it... oh well, you're not the only one. I sent this article to an atheist friend of mine last night, and she was furious, largely because it gives (in her mind) theists ammunition for what they've been saying all along, which is that atheism is a religious belief.

Personally? I'm not offended by this. In fact, I'm mildly amused by it, because in their attempts to lampoon organized religion, they've essentially created a group that acts and functions like one. And what makes it even more funny is that the irony is completely lost on them. It's like a Monty Python skit gone horribly wrong.


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Response to An Atheist Church In The Uk Feb. 6th, 2013 @ 02:25 PM Reply

At 2/6/13 11:39 AM, Proteas wrote:
Personally? I'm not offended by this. In fact, I'm mildly amused by it, because in their attempts to lampoon organized religion, they've essentially created a group that acts and functions like one.

It's not ironic since atheists don't criticize the "getting into a room every week" part of religion, nor do they bash the "let's be a community" aspect.

Haha. Give the loose definition of church / religion you go by, as an atheist, I apparently cannot do regularly scheduled events, talk about things with people or read books otherwise I am attending church, talking about my "religion" and have holy books WITHOUT EVEN REALIZING IT!!!!!!!!!!!1111


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Response to An Atheist Church In The Uk Feb. 6th, 2013 @ 09:01 PM Reply

At 2/5/13 10:33 PM, poxpower wrote: There can never be any official atheist church or dogma like there can never be rules for the non-hockey league that tell you how to play the sport of not playing hockey.

Eh, hypothetically there could be a church dedicated to avoiding the belief in a god - if a group of atheists created a dogma as to what they have to reject, and in turn these things lead them to living life in a way that they might otherwise not have due to an anti-theological structure (e.g. not allowing its' members to even talk about a god, even in jest), then I would call it an 'atheist Church'. Seeing that I've yet to see such a thing happen with atheists - a few books on the subject don't count as an official 'anti-theological structure' any more than Catholic writings on Christianity that are not sanctioned by the Church - it's completely irrelevant to reality, and the idea is silly, anyway.

Just saying - in theory it could happen.


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