My basic point here is that facts don’t lead to conversions to atheism or reality based thinking.

Humans have needs and they will compromise on facts in order to meet them.

Atheists therefore need to create communities and a culture that meets the needs of humans – all humans – not just young single humans who like living on the net – or ones that can type well – or intellectualise etc.. but children, computer illiterate people, busy people etc…

Christians have churches

We need community halls

Christians have festivals and rituals that meet the needs to share celebration with people of like minds – we need something similar that meeds our need to share with community and celebrate life. Let’s do what the christians did and take over their festivals with something atheistic.

I need suggestions but things like the Hubble take off anniversary or Darwin’s birth or other such celebrations of importance to the growth in our knowledge of the world based in science. Was Darwin born around December??? : )

We need to get away from the indoctrination of Christmas and Easter, but we need to replace it with something that is suitable to our world view.

I have an interest in converting others to atheism. I don’t really know why – but I suspect its something to do with the fact that I have needs – social needs – that aren’t being met – and perhaps the additional normal reaction that I would prefer it if more people shared my world view.

I live with a theist, all my friends have some form of supernatural believe – so why am I an island – my father is an atheist and he brought me up as such. Although it took me until I was 31 to actually let go of any supernatural belief from my mothers religion or supernatural thinking friends. Why? My theory is that because it didn’t meet me needs.

Now I have 3 children. I’ve managed to persuade the eldest who is 9 that there is not God. I suspect that this may stick. IF it continues to meet his needs to do so.

Since deciding that I was an atheist and encountering Naturalism on the net and gaining support on the internet from other atheists around the world, mainly in American and the UK – and since also reading lots of books on the matter of evolution, physicals, etc – I now have a good grounding in science and scientific understanding of the world.

BUT still my needs are not met.

I need real people to spend time with, a culture, social scene, connection. The local atheist group meet at 7 pm at a pub on a week night. They drink beer. How is this useful to my dinner, teeth, book and bed routine? How is this useful to my need for my children to socialise with others of a like minded world view?

We not all determined to have atheist friends and family – I have one – my father – who lives a very long way away.

It’s all very well shouting the facts from the roof tops – but that clearly doesn’t convert people. Harris states in The Moral Landscape that our beliefs and reasoning and faith is all mixed up in the frontal lobe (although yes, he puts it way more logically and eloquently than I do) – this relates to another article I’ve read that basically tells us that facts don’t change minds – values change minds. That we all start with a bias and basically build on that bias – it takes ‘spiritual’ experience to change our bias or beliefs.

I think we need atheist halls – we need atheist culture – we need atheist community that is inclusive of all – old, young, poor, rich, able bodied, disabled, educated, low skilled, black, white, literate, illiterate – a community and place that is inclusive of all.

My basic take on it is that people have basic needs. They get their basic needs met through many avenues. Sometimes – in fact often it is more effective to get needs met if we submit to having supernatural beliefs or faith. This means that supernatural belief is more attractive to people in order to meet their basic needs – to have a religious faith.

I get a list of basic needs from Marshall B Rosenberg’s book – Nonviolent Communication –

Autonomy Interdependence Spiritual Communion
• to choose one’s • acceptance • beauty
dreams, goals • appreciation • harmony
values • closeness • inspiration
• to choose one’s • community • order
plan for fulfilling • consideration • peace
one’s dreams, • contribution to the
goals, values enrichment of life Physical Nurturance
(to exercise one’s • air
Celebration power by giving • food
• to celebrate the that which • movement, exercise
creation of life and contributes to life) • protection from life
dreams fulfilled • emotional safety threatening forms
• to celebrate losses: • empathy of life: viruses,
loved ones, dreams • honesty (the bacteria, insects,
(mourning) empowering predatory animals
honesty that • rest
Integrity enables us to learn • sexual expression
• authenticity from our limitations • shelter
• creativity • love • touch
• meaning • reassurance • water
• self-worth • respect
• support
Play • trust
• fun • understanding
• laughter • warmth

What I’m proposing is that if an atheist culture or community – however it was created – covered meeting these basic needs then we would have a lot more chance of converting people to thinking of reality in terms of reality and not of supernatural thinking.

What incentive does someone have of changing their beliefs or letting go of theistic beliefs when it would mean that they would be letting go of their basic needs being met.

So if belief is needs based – how can we better change others to seeing the world more as it is – as opposed to through the lens that is obscuring the reality in order to meet basic needs?

We need then to provide the same services as the church does, in our atheism.

Right now, I have a family with kids and the local atheists meet at the local pub at nights late and drink beer. How is this conducive to supporting my needs to mix social with others of my world view? How is this meeting my need to have my children grow up with adults who can share a real view of the world with them? It’s not. It’s exclusive and un supportive.

IMO if atheists want to get with it – they need to create a culture that is inclusive of ALL parts of society – until then it will be confided to young single people or old professors who are lucky enough (determined) to have friends and family sharing their views.

We need to start buying buildings and creating community gardens and activities that include old people young people children, single people married people gay people disabled people and so on…

I know we have online communities – but these are for a narrow group of people who have time to sit on the internet and can read and can type – and even can intellectualise.

How can we increase that support base to include all aspects of our society and meet a much broader set of needs?

Views: 261

Replies to This Discussion

Yeah, we should turn Christmas into ... oh, I don't know ... maybe Christmas?  :-D  Christmas IS secular, man.  Even the religious types often barely pay any attention to the religious parts.
It would be why we have Christmas-Easter Catholics.
Yeah, I remember what Easter mass was like.  There would be hundreds of people standing around the back edges ... couldn't even participate in the Catholic calisthenics.

I did not know how, even though I was there with 3 catholics--they didn't tell me CRAP, and I had to sit in the bench with my long ass-legs while people shuffled past me and I felt awkward.

Of course, they were too retarded to tell me at the time that I could have gone up, crossed my arms, and asked for a blessing rather than being in everyone's way on the bench(we were riiiight at the outer end, so yes, everyone had to get past me and my largeness. Thanks assholes!).

The question is why would you even *want* a blessing?

@Park, Great holiday idea, I am all in on that one.

@Dawn, Very good idea about holidays based on scientific discoveries. I also believe your thoughts on social needs being met are spot on. What do you thin kthe best ways of implementing them might be?

I agree one thing religion brings and atheism is missing is the culture, holidays and social rituals people find so comforting and enjoyable.  I do not feel basing "humanist" holidays on scientific researchers birthdays or anniversaries of scientific discoveries is the way to go however.  For one thing, in my mind Atheism is not about science it is about rational thought which science happens to back up.  Really, who would believe in magical, invisible people they read about in some old book?  Perhaps holidays based on the equinox and solstice dates.  Those dates are rather close to the big Christian holidays of Xmas and Easter.  And they are nicely spread out  over the year.

Indeed, the times of the solstices and equinoxes were four of the major holidays in the ancient European Neolithic and Bronze Age world. The christians felt obliged to eliminate them from their converts minds which they did by twisting reality, and that was nothing new to them. 

In the course of the research work for a major thesis (M.Sc in archaeology), I was able to reconstruct the calendar of those times. Eight major points emerged. The other four were the quarter days. 

The local meetings--I've been kicked out of them, by suggesting that we listen to minorities and discriminated people when they have a beef with the words we're using to talk about them--the white, young, relatively well-to-do males told me to shut up, that it didn't matter, and that I was impinging on their rights to say whatever they want by suggesting it.


I don't go to any more meetings around here. I can't take having to fight for the right to speak just as much as the rest of the males there, rather than taking a backseat. Also, I find them as shallow and nonsensical as any christian group--just choosing another view to hold a seat of power from. It's disappointing, and yes, I think atheists need local family-friendly meeting group--right now it's always young, males, whites, and relatively well-to-do--when I know churches do everything from trips to Chicago to bowling nights.

We do need this, I'm just not the one to implement it--I have a horrible track record of getting anyone to listen to me due to being a feminist and not being attractive at all. Anyone else with an actual chance want to try?

Wow, your local groups suck.  What's wrong with those guys?  My group at least pays attention to the women, when they speak up from their place in the kitchen.

Basically it's all young college guys who are only interested in attractive girls--they've regularly scared away any of the other girls who either won't date them/aren't pretty enough for them--the gender mix of our group is around 90/10, as well, I'm 'not the face they want', as far as I've seen. They also have zero minorities--it's all whites.

Even when I was there I felt uncomfortable and although I tried to fit in at meetings--I simply didn't. I asked them why there wasn't more diversity in the group and got a shrug in return--they didn't even want to entertain the idea that it was their fault and they might need to change something to attract more people, or at least people other than young white males.

And yeah, they do suck. That's why I don't waste my time on groups anymore if I see the makeup to be mostly white males--I find them to be utterly shallow, conceited, and misogynist but vehemently opposed to the idea that they're being assholes.

After the big throwdown I declared I wasn't going to any more meetings first-then I was told I was an idiot for walking away, as it was important for me to be part of it--then later comments simply said "fine, don't go to any more meetings--it's not like you have any opinions anyways."

 It's very hard to be part of a movement that feels so exclusive, locally--perhaps if there was at least a close mix of genders--40/60, or if every time I went to have a conversation with another girl there wasn't 5 dudes edging me out to talk to her. I'd have liked, as well, for a solitary women's event to be organized--when all of the activities seemed geared towards the guys of the group--Monty Python, etc. There was also the fiasco at the southern atheist meetup where a guy basically talked down to a girl by making a joke at her serious inquiry, then when I disparaged that sort of behavior--I was told that it was none of my business and that I wasn't supposed to read it--as well as I was told off with a fucking internet meme--just so I knew how little I was respected--and no one defended me AT ALL, and that's when I knew--it was pointless being part of the group any longer.

You have to be inclusive of people--you cannot simply chase them away with "IT'S MY RIGHT TO SAY WHATEVER I WANT." or "YOUR OPINION DOES NOT MATTER." as well as many of the people organizing these events need to ask and realize that not everyone is interested in the same things as them--movies are okay, but where is a crafting day or an evolutionist poetry meetup or a festivus party?

Yeesh, sounds like a major deep-south problem, if it persists even into the atheist groups.  You're getting the heck out of there, after college, I hope?




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