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: 293

Replies to This Discussion

Yes, the christians didn't even bother really changing the name. And to put it in layman's terms...rabbits are fertile and horny...
Hmm, there was probably some lie they mixed in, like "Oh, your holy day is really about this, and you've just confused what God told your ancestors."  I wouldn't put it past them, judging from what I've read of early church history.

Neither I believe does the word "bunny."

I'm only seeing many instances of 'harem'.  Which version do you have yours set to?

King James - (copy and paste)

  1. Leviticus 11:6
    And the hare, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you.
    Leviticus 11:5-7 (in Context) Leviticus 11 (Whole Chapter)
  2. Deuteronomy 14:7
    Nevertheless these ye shall not eat of them that chew the cud, or of them that divide the cloven hoof; as the camel, and thehare, and the coney: for they chew the cud, but divide not the hoof; therefore they are unclean unto you.


Ah, NIV is my default version.  No hares there.


Also, the passage is quite incorrect.  Rabbits are tasty.



I see what you mean about the idea of an atheist ‘bible’ for want of a better word could cause problems – but I bet you anything you like that we do have enough in common to create a group that could agree to come together.


Basically that’s the only way of evolution survival in my view right now.


At the moment christians and Muslims are growing hugely with big families and secure cultural norms that bond them and keep them positive and happy…


It is these family bonds and ties that support us in our lives to gain success.


Most of the atheists I know don’t have this family support – unless they are fortunate enough to be born into a family that is all supportive – and most of them seem to have few amounts of children and be quite insular.


I think we do need to be out and proud like the gay community has done and like the neo atheists support.


I’m wondering if in some future date I might have the time and the energy to conduct extensive surveys of atheists to find their common bonds and work out a book that might unite us all against the rest of the world as an independent cohesive group that stood for something more than what it isn’t – it doesn’t believe in god.


You’re always going to get descent in any group.  just think about the young male who doesn’t want to attend mass at church or what ever – that doesn’t mean that he isn’t a christian and won’t marry a good christian girl, get married in a church, adhere to the christian ways as best he can and then have his children baptised and go to Sunday school…



What about Life Day!  as we are all cousins – I’m quite excited about evolution after just reading Dawkins book the greatest show in town.  And have that wheel of all life with all our shared ancestors right down to the first one in there somewhere as something to print out and show your kids that day.


I think it’s worth having links to all these centres such as humanist centres and others also on the page to give more variety and access to already established groups.  But they do service a minority and I’d like this wiki page to cover more breadth if we can.


The reason I found the Humanists dull was that I was 20 something and they were all over 70 by the looks, as well as I had a small child who was interrupting the speaker.


This is really exciting.  I get the idea that we can invent a cultural group – and post it as fact on wiki – it’s very post modern I know, as it hasn’t evolved as such – but it has, because here we all are talking about it – we just lack the geography to create it practically – but it doesn’t mean that even though we don’t all practise it, we do all proscribe to it and would if the circumstances where different geographically.


I think we need to set up some consensus here at Nexus and at other atheists centres – say for example the brights or Dawkins group – and then come to some conclusions.  It’s a lot of work I know.  I have limited time – on average probably about 1 hour a day – which does add up over time – so it’s not out the question.  It’s just a matter of saying on task and keeping up with a focus – which is why I mentioned before about having a mission statement and other organisational aims stated out at the beginning to help us keep on track.


I couldn’t do it on my own – my sills are quite limited to lots of enthusiasm, a willingness to embrace science and fact based world view and good typing skills – but it think here it will be mostly copy and paste.


We could have a calendar also that can be printed out and put on any wall – to remind us of the days.  I’m more than excited to start celebrating the new atheist calendar with my kids.  Many the parenting books that I’ve read talk about creating routines with children and regular cultural celebrations that they will remember and continue into adulthood, that give the child a sense of place in the world – this is great for their generally sense of well-being and position in the world – they generally though suggestion religious celebrations – an atheist calendar is a fab idea.  I think we also need notorious atheists to promote it – Ricki Gervase would be funny! LOL and the obvious Dawkins etc…


Even if our wiki page only reflected what atheists currently do would be great – so that it would be a place that other like minded could gain insights and ideas from others – then it doesn’t need to be proscriptive as more as more evolutionary – it evolves over time according to what members find themselves doing as their life goes by with atheistic reasons attached EG


I want to be buried in a cloth with a tree planted on me because when I read about it, it seemed to be environmentally friendly – and I like the idea of parts of me feeding a tree that my family can come and see in future generations etc…


I love your ideas so far – I think we could really grow on them – and also I would like to respect individuals ideas – so that we might have a mixture some might mix with others, but other people might have more attachment to theirs staying the same – in which case they can be respected individually – what I’m suggesting is that we are inclusive and have a list with sub sets of lists – I don’t know how far we might go – but I’d like to be as broad and inclusive as is reasonably possible.  With the exception of supernatural thinking of course.



The trouble as I see it is that if one converts to atheism there is no community – in the sense of a tribe that covers all needs.


As a women with young children I am perhaps more vulnerable to my needs being met that a single man free to pursue what ever he wishes in work and society.


My needs are about raising children in a way that is fitting to my world view – sharing care with others, sharing ideas of parenting sharing ideas of diet, health, morals, education etc…  it’s very complex and completely underrated.


I need a community to help raise my children – I need traditions and cultural practises.


I feel fractured from society – everything I attend is soaked in supernatural themes – everything – play group parenting groups etc etc…


Right down to simple things like god bless you or morals about behaviour when kids are playing together… and I’ve got to go home and uncontaminated my children from this religious attack with NOTHING with which to replace it.


It is because you are an atheist – because as an atheist you don’t cow tow to a god that knows all –and therefore agree that it’s OK to abuse women or mutilate children – because god said so – you have the power of reason and logic and evolution of ideas based on FACTS not bull-crap.


I agree that uniting us all under the banner of what we don’t believe – atheism – we don’t believe in god – isn’t helpful – that’s another important reason why I think having some culture that is positive is useful and attractive.

David, Mark


When looking at human nature as it has been relatively recently historically – say 10,000 years ago, looking at hunter gatherer societies – to which we are pretty closely unchanged from in terms of evolution – we can see that they have complex cultural practises that support their survival and social interaction.  This is the human natural state.  They didn’t used to have gods, then they started worshiping animals, then women, then in the recent 2,000 years the male obsession started with one male god.


My point here is that humans need culture.   It’s part of us.  Atheism isn’t going to last long without culture.  It will die out with what ever gene gave us our theism in the first place IMO.


Thanks Mark for your comments in support of creating such a cultural framework.  It’s supportive and reassuring to have your input and wisdom.


Joseph – I’m open to using what ever terminology suits and is most fitting for clear delivery – I think this idea could evolve to be very worthwhile and useful to atheists around the world.


I understand your concerns.

I’m not promoting that we have a book that tells us how to be atheists – I’m simply wanting to fill a void that I have in my life. As unlike you who have the luxury of living with 33% of other none believers, every single child that my children currently play with have parents with supernatural beliefs – Christian, Hindu and Parse – to be exact. Which is causing me to feel quite uncomfortable, isolated and in need of some definition for myself to promote as they promote their version of reality to my kids.


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