I saw what appeared to be a survey asking what people thought about atheist churches on the main screen a while back. That puzzled me. If the question was about having facilities to help indoctrinate secular values into youth, I would think that atheists would have the sense to not indicate a particular religion when doing so. Atheists can be former Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, etc. and even born and raised atheists. I support the notion of advocating secular values, but I would like to use a term like temple. I know, some people would say that temple indicates Judaism, but there are many cultures that make "temples". There are Buddhist temples, Jewish temples, Greco-Roman temples and temples of doom. What do you think?

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I have never been to one, and it bothers me.
How about "Heathen Pit"?

No! How about "The First Temple of Darwin & Common Sense"? Our motto should read:

"We prefer to be a transformed monkey and not a degenerate son of Adam.”
even better
I'd rather not use either term. I agree with Sarah, center is a good word to use. An atheist center sounds right. Atheist zone or place?
It still seems to have religious tones to it, but another advantage, however shallow, is that temples are way pretty. All the LDS churches around here are bland, 1-story brick borington boring borings. But even I have to admit the temples are pretty sexy, and Cathedrals are even better. We could make a giant gothic building with stained glass that bears a striking resemblance to the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Has anyone actually made an official church/temple for Pastafarianism? I'd say that would be worth a pilgrimage.
If you absolutely want to recycle old established terms for places of worship, such as 'church' or 'temple' (why not 'mosque' or 'ashram', by the way?), then I'd suggest 'sacred grove', or simply 'grove'.

Groves are easier to build(!) and maintain than traditional religious buildings, plus it's easy to relocate from grove to grove if need be.
Thank you. This is more along the lines of what I was thinking. Carl Sagan seemed to think that the natural world was full of things that were deserving of glorification. I don't believe in nature worship, and I am not pagan, but I do think that the discoveries of humankind are our greatest legacy and something worth preserving and promoting. One can be atheist without knowing anything of science, but it is not as worthwhile. I am of the modern atheist movement in which people accept the validity of science and promote learning. There are stained glass windows that tell the stories of Moses and Jesus. There are mosaics and beautiful architecture devoted to Allah. There are even limestone and marble temples devoted to Greek gods still standing. Yet, we do not have the discovery of gravity, evolution, the motion of planets, the genetic code, the atom, the wheel, or any other great discovery or aspect of nature presented in a lasting manner. Most importantly, the release and unshackling from religion should be portrayed and preserved. That is the only way that a continuous culture can emerge that won't be trod down by another religious uprising.
I'm with Larry and don't really care what word is used. In the US at least, there are organizational advantages gained by naming your gathering a church, temple, mosque, shrine, whatnot. As I mentioned in the other thread (which unlike this one became a war), I think how you feel about using a religious term is based on what you view the role of atheist gatherings.

--- For me, I don't mind using 'church' because the gathering is about getting together, sharing values and lessons, and building community bonds.
--- For some, atheism is more evangelical and they wish to define us as different and convert the believers. Hey, there's value in that because atheists are different and we think that our way is better for ourselves and humanity.

I fall into the former category because to me, atheism is just a fact of life, not a cause. Sure, I can put forth a good argument for why secular is better than sectarian but it's not my life. I'm not interested in devoting my energies to converting anyone and thus I don't care what the believers think of my non-religion. If they follow the establishment clause, I ignore them (other than occasionally chuckling or crying over their antics).

Much better discussion this time around. :)
For me this is de ja vu all over again, as I engaged in sometimes heated argument with Tim Gorski and Mike Sullivan when they were considering starting the NTCOF. Brother Richard seems to prefer "Assembly" as the word for the group he hopes to establish in the Atlanta area. A look at the etymology of the word "church" reveals it is only a synonym for other words, including "assembly", and it does NOT, in and of itself, refer to a solely religious group or assembly. I see no reason to allow Christians exclusive access to words. Temple, church, congregation, assembly, group, collective, gang... whatever. It all refers (in at least one definition) to a group of people. The main point of such a group, including the Christian ones, is the fellowship and socializing with (somewhat) like minded people. The propagating of the groups ideals and ideologies outside the group is secondary, except in the truly "fundamentalist" sense, in which nothing in life has any meaning beside "the message".
"Congregation" might be a passable word to use. Or "circle." The "Nature Chaplain" channel grew from my Nature Temple website. I think an inclusive term makes sense. Of course the main issue is: how to gather freethinkers in the first place.



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