"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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I'm not the author, and I understand where you are coming from, however:
1. Its no longer in my interest what 'others' think of us. I'm not a bitter curmudgeon. I think that history supports a group that is strong and confident. If you concern yourself with how you appear, opposing groups only utilize that concern to their own advantage. I can't think of any group that gained a stronger footing in society, by concerning themselves with "what the neighbors might think."
2. I would support a church of sorts, though not called as such. Not a place that espoused atheism, or denounced religion, but rather provided a location for children and adults to learn critical thinking. That would have on hand professionals who were able to decode and translate the latest fruits of science to the public. It could collect for secular charities for different causes. A place where those who simply don't believe in a deity may form a community that can be enriching,and a civic powerhouse that would fight for a strong wall between church and state.
3.The "we don't share beliefs" thing is bogus. Not because your wrong, but because it is immaterial. Do you really think that any two christians in the same church believe the same things? Maybe in a very broad strokes type way, but otherwise no. And yet they are able to gather together and create a real effect on their society.
4.Unless we stop deluding ourselves with the false "herding cats"mentality that has only served to slow our progression, the atheist movement of this generation will only appear as a blip in time. And our children and generations to follow will be forced to bend a knee and pay homage to ignorance.
what beliefs do we share? I have no "Beliefs". I have convictions born of evidence and experience, but no "beliefs".

Christians share a commn set of "beliefs". It is foundational to their doctrine / dogma...what makes them christian. It spans genesis and through to revelations. From virgin births, to ressurections, to salvation, damnation, life after death. It fills a volume of scripture, and thousands and thousands of volumes of 2800 sects' interpretations. But the root of their "belief system" is christian doctrine. Now..tell me: what is the "belief system" you and I share that is tantamount to the shared beliefs of relgioniists?

I don't care what people think of me/us as atheists either. I am simply concerning myself with not promulgating idiotic and false concepts of what atheism is. By even proffering a concept of an "atheist church", by even rasing such an oxymoronic and disconnected and impossible concept it plays into the hands of those who would brand us a religion.

If you want atheism to be perceived as an alternate "religion", thats fine. Alot of people active in the atheist movment in the 21st century have been fighting hard to dispell such stupidty.

As for atheism being a blip..not fuckin likely. The reason athesim is so open now, where as 400 years ago it would have gotten you roasted, is because of the coming of age of man's intellect, driven by the scientific age...which is only 300 yrs old. There is no going back, until and unless science is deemed obsolete. The growth in atheism and the advance in scientific discovery goes hand in hand.

I wouldn't concern yourelf with atheism's demise. Based on the pew poll stats, and based on european union stats, in 80 years christianity in the US will be a small minority.

Yours in reason,
Not at all
me personally as an atheist, and the concept of atheism is two separate things.
I dont care if they think I'm an immoral heathen, i do care that they think atheism is just an alternate religion, and has dogma and doctrine. Thats clear, yes?

that not everyone here shares my concern that theists, as uninformed and foolish as they are, are made even more uninformed and their idicoy reinforced by connecting a theist construct "church" with atheist "no god", I find surprising. But we are all entitled to our personal perspective.

No, atheism isnt going away... but why give false / erroneous impressions of what atheism is when we could be educating people as to what it means.

That you dont share that concern is fine. Thats what exchange of thoughts is about. But of those of you who don't understand my disgust with the "church" concept ... why not just do a dictionary.com search or the word "church".
Then, please... tell me how in the world one could ever associate atheism with a "church". Just take the few minutes to do that and perhaps my perspective becomes a tad more clear.


maybe the poll should have asked "atheist Synogogue" or "atheist Mosque"

Heheheh....kidding. sort of.
I must disagree with your concept of Christianity. I would go further and suggest there may be no such thing as Christianity. Do they have a common book? Yes and No. Do they believe Jesus is the Messiah? Yes and NO. Do they Believe he is a god or part of a god or just a prophet? Do they believe in the literal bible or do they attribute metaphor to some parts? If so which parts? For those who believe in the literal bible do they explain away the conflicts within the bible in the same manner? Do they believe in evolution? Yes and No. Do they believe in a centralized church? Yes and NO. I would put to you that the only thing common about christian belief is that Jesus is a central character.
I agree that atheists may have no shared beliefs. However did I really suggest any in my post. Is it possible that what we are really hung up on here is the term "church"? If it was suggested that we put together a number of "civic educational buildings" geared toward Science and logical thinking would that be more acceptable? I agree that the term "church" would not be beneficial toward atheists and non-atheists alike. But can we imagine a format allowing atheists to meet, and benefit society as a group? I think we can.
As for the rise in the popularity of atheism, I think it is wonderful that our numbers have grown, and done so quickly. However history shows us that atheism has been popular in the past and then been crushed out of the public view. I've read/heard a number of quotes from the early 20th century assuming that religion would soon be a relic of the past. Only to have the backlash of the 50's inject religion into our government. I would like to share your optimism, that we are here to stay and steadily grow.
What we have to consider is why, with nearly 1/5 the population of the U.S., do we have so little representation? I suggest its because we are not seen as having any influence on votes on our community. If anything a gathering of atheists would be an anti church. Not a gathering promoting a set of ideals, or preaching against religions, but the encouragement of differing ideas and debate. No, we have no dogma. We have no tenets, we have no atheist laws, but we have each other. That may be just enough.
my entire objection was ONLY to the use of the term Church. that was all.

having each other is a good thing, yes. and uniting, congregating, to share our perspectives, to be united activism to guarantee our full rights and ensuring the wall of separation of church and state remains strong, and even helping to speed the demise of theist ignorance simply by promoting science and reason and logic... all good things.

we have no argument.

Robert, I am not an absolutist, hopefully none of us are, but I'll say this: for atheism to go back into the closet, for it to be snuffed out like some cult, to be suppressed by superntaurlist dogma or patriarchy is no longer a reasonable possibility. The likelihood of supernaturalism to experience a resurgence that would supplant science and discovery and questioning and reason is as likely as a resurgence in the worship of Moloch. Before that happens the religionists will have already caused a man made armageddon through their crazy fanaticism.

But that's just my opinion.

Quit being reasonable, Nerd.

Wow, this entire discussion did not reflect well on the community. I was waiting for one atheist to call another a heretic.

Where's heretic when you need her?
your referencing Limbaugh because of the use of a single word to which you object is inane.
That you take such umbridge over the word disgust is facinatiing.

your saying I inferred that you or the entire community disgusted me or that I have no respect for A/N is patently false and inflamatory. I said the poll question disgusted me. That is all.
I'm going to assume you either didnt read what I wrote, are intentionally trying to inflame the situation, or you are a complete moron.

On a lighter note: Your descriptor of camel behavior is on target. Mercifully you didn't mistakenly say we spit. It isn't spit. ..it's actually vomit.

I would like to point out that this is a perfect thread to illustrate this point from Mr PZ Myers

Let's be clear about something else. This is atheism: we have no dogma, we have no infallible leaders, everyone is naturally flawed, and we recognize that within our ranks there is a huge diversity of opinion. Our strategy for dealing with these ideas is the same as the scientific approach — constant, relentless criticism. There is no Atheist Supreme Leader. There is no Atheist Pope. There is no Godless Ruling Council, no Atheist Inquisition, no Freethought Dogma.

Try having this discussion somewhere else. I know feelings got hurt on both sides but the fact that we can talk about both sides is almost a more important result then the original question itself.

As for me...

The poll wasn't anything but a poll (there are 1000's of them all over the internet) it says nothing but, hey have I got a question for you.

Personally I wouldn't go to a place that styled itself as an atheist church, I would however go to a place that was styled an atheist community centre, even if they did exactly the same thing. I know it is just semantics, but I feel words and labels are important but they only have as much power as you choose to let them have over you. For me church will always have a negative connotation, but for others it obviously doesn't. That doesn't mean they are any more wrong then I am wrong or anymore right then I am right. Its a discussion keep it coming I say.




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