"Atheist Church" Poll is Counter Productive and Ill advised

I was sort of surprised when I signed in a few minutes ago that there was a poll asking about whether one would approve of / attend an atheist "church". Frankly , and with all due respect for the poll's author... I was disgusted for a number of reasons.

First, the term "church" is antithetical to atheism. A church is a place of worship, for theists. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/church

Secondly, with all the mentally impaired theists calling atheism a "religion" and atheists working to counter their idiocy by telling them that atheism is a religion "like balness is a hair color, like NOT collecting stamps is a hobby" ... here we go talking about an "atheist church", giving them ammunition to renew their claim of atheism = religion.

Thirdly, exactly what do all of us have in common to justify a close knit social structure akin to a theist church? Do we all share a "belief system" in common? A common "world view"? I doubt it. You don't know mine, and I don't know yours, and nothing in being atheist defines one.

Do we feel the need for some "spiritual support" (oy!) by a group of like minded "non-believers"? I'd proffer that we all share in common only one thing...the ONLY thing inferred by "atheism": No belief in God/gods. period. Not much there around which to form a close knit "church" like structure.

Oh yes, we likely have some basic axiomatic principles we all support, like respect for science, the need for evidence to accept a "fact". Most of us accept Evolutionary theory as genuine. Some large percentage of us support the equality for women, and womens right to control their reporductive processes.

But there are already science clubs. There are already womens rights organizations. There are abortion rights orgs. etc. The concept of a Church (argghhh) which seeks to somehow service MY need or ANYONES need driven by one thing and one thing only: "No belief in God/gods" is not only unnecessary, but I find it both irrational and counterproductive to how Freethinkers are perceived.

That's not to say I object to clubs, reading groups, discussion forums, even activist organizations to ensure atheist rights of non-belief and separation of church and state are kept sacrosanct. Hell, I belong to a number of those and they serve a clear and defined purpose. But a formalized "church" is down right misguided. The very concept sets us back 50 years. The poll is misguded and ill advised.

That's my opinion. I could be wrong.
But I doubt it.

Yours in Reason and Reality,

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Jay said: For me church will always have a negative connotation,

ah... but you see, Jay..for me it simply has a theist connotation. Because thats it's only normal application. Alas, no one seems to want to admit that.

C'mon a gathering would be fun - we dont need to call it a church. We could call it the Fight Club, or just a place to fight about what to call it.
Fight Club might be right. :D
Yes, but what would the first rule be...... : )
Let's take a time out while I boil this thread down to its essential elements, the areas that I think we can all agree on:

1. There is a poll on the A|N home page about the idea of an atheist church.
2. The existence of this poll is unlikely to significantly advance the theist agenda or retard the atheist agenda.
3. Nobody here would attend anything called an atheist church.
4. Everybody here seems at least mildly interested in an atheist community center of some sort.
5. The words "infer" and "imply" are frequently mistaken for each other, even by really smart atheists.

You may proceed.
Okay, more than a little off topic. I've always been under the impression that "infer" and imply" could be used interchangeably...so once I read number 5. I chuckled a little to myself, before becoming completely insecure about the definition of "infer." Take a look at the usage note, cracks me up. :D

in⋅fer  /ɪnˈfɜr/ [in-fur] verb, -ferred, -fer⋅ring.

–verb (used with object) 1. to derive by reasoning; conclude or judge from premises or evidence: They inferred his displeasure from his cool tone of voice.
2. (of facts, circumstances, statements, etc.) to indicate or involve as a conclusion; lead to.
3. to guess; speculate; surmise.
4. to hint; imply; suggest.

–verb (used without object) 5. to draw a conclusion, as by reasoning.

1520–30; < L inferre, equiv. to in- in- 2 + ferre to bring, carry, bear 1

Related forms:

in⋅fer⋅a⋅ble, in⋅fer⋅i⋅ble, in⋅fer⋅ri⋅ble, adjective
in⋅fer⋅a⋅bly, adverb
in⋅fer⋅rer, noun

1. deduce, reason, guess.

Usage note:
Infer has been used to mean “to hint or suggest” since the 16th century by speakers and writers of unquestioned ability and eminence: The next speaker criticized the proposal, inferring that it was made solely to embarrass the government. Despite its long history, many 20th-century usage guides condemn the use, maintaining that the proper word for the intended sense is imply and that to use infer is to lose a valuable distinction between the two words.
Although the claimed distinction has probably existed chiefly in the pronouncements of usage guides, and although the use of infer to mean “to suggest” usually produces no ambiguity, the distinction too has a long history and is widely observed by many speakers and writers.
Nicely said.
Thank you very much you said it better then I could.

The only dictionary references I can find tied to "church" sadly are all religious ones.

Even through the entomology of the word. (lol I hope I am right or I will look pretty stupid)

This is why a "label of church" will never again apply to me in any form.
You're my hero in atheism!
you nailed it!

Unfortunately as sussinct as your essay is there will be people, atheists, who cannot, will not, or simply lack the capacity to understand it.

kudos to you.
I suppose that exactly how bent you get about the word 'church' is directly tied to how you view your atheism. If your goal is to 'differentiate ourselves', then I can see where the language becomes an issue. However, if the most important thing to you is the rights of non-theists and the removal of religion as a major influence in public policy, then integration of our world and theirs seems like a sensible path. At least it can be discussed as a good idea. If theists are more comfortable with me because I go to a church, then that is a good thing, in and of itself.

As to the word being strictly religious, it is now. But words evolve broader definitions or connotations all the time (see: marriage) and church could easily be broadened in its usage to include non-religious gatherings.

As to the poll, it is simply ridiculous to be upset about asking the membership ANY question and I can't see it doing the atheist cause, whatever that is, any harm.



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