Since I went there I might as well finish.

I mentioned an idea I've had for a very long time. I call it Atheist house,

And yes, its directly making fun of the Christian "houses" where children are sent to be abused for god. As a child, I was often threatened with being sent to places similar to "Grace House" from the movie "Saved!" or those boot camps kids get sent to where so many children died they had to move from places like Utah to South America to avoid prosecution. I was also threatened with being left abandoned at an orphanage. Threats like that were common even when I was 15 years old.

I'll be honest, maybe you guys will think it’s a crazy idea, maybe you really don't care (I think everyone reading this will care though), or maybe you'll think the idea is unrealistic or simply not a place we as a community should be focused. I think it’s important though, and I'll admit I may be biased I think the world needs places where people can find meaningful help.

"What's a parent to do? There's an atheist in the house | The United...

The United Methodist Church

When she was 15, she told me she was an atheist. I was not shocked. I was not emotional. I just rolled my eyes and smugly said, “Well, God isn't finished with ..."

-The first google response to googling the phrase "Atheist House"


My idea for Atheist house I think is fairly simple. It's a nonprofit dorm style living accommodation that provides several basic services for anyone seeking refuge from religious abuse (I chose these words very carefully). 

1. Shelter (aka a place to sleep safe and off the streets)

2. Food

3. Support (in the form of counseling assistance with finding employment etc.)

I don't see a need for direct financial support at this stage, though i could be oversimplifying things, I think most would prefer a stable footing to make their own way in the world. So, the support and goals would be geared towards helping people be fully self-sufficient know how and where they can find socialization and emotional support (those who leave Atheist house are always welcome to come back and talk, and encouraged to come back and mentor as well).

One of the reasons for my careful wording before is I don't think this not for profit should exclude religious people from our aid (if they want our aid). It would exist to assist with all people seeking refuge from religious abuse. This could include a Muslim or Hindu that has converted to Christianity or vice versa. along with people who come out as Atheist. I think also any who come out of LGTBI that face abuse from religious family should also be given access to assistance. The idea would be a clutch resistance movement against religious abuse wherever it exists, with a focus on religious abuse within family structures. Some might think calling it Humanist house or Secular house would be more appropriate thus, I think Atheist house is best as it tells the world that Atheists are willing to take a stand against religious abuse even if that means giving compassion to people who are still religious. I think this is a value most Atheists have, we care about humans and just because someone is religious don't mean they are less human.

For support, there can be various group support meetings where people can share experiences with others who've had similar experiences. We can work with local religious institutions to offer services based on any religious resident's need's as well, however clear guidelines for those we work with must be in place. My fear would be some religious person trying to guilt some poor child BACK into an abusive situation they were trying to escape, I've known religious people who try to put kids back with their sexual abusers. This can't be tolerated.

All residence are there of their own free will, and they receive services based on their requests for them. No one can be forced to stay against their will, or forced to take services to accept other services. (Like having to go to a prayer group to get food after kinda shenanigans that a religious aid group might pull) I think they only exception to that would be regular check ins with a councilor to ensure their needs are being met, and that safety health and wellbeing are maintained for all involved.

The goal of course would not be permanent enslavement to the home, but rather a stepping stone to full independence and healthy meaningful lives. I would hate to see time limits placed on people, but I think a clear goal should be set and all services should be provided with a clear path leading to full independence. Given my personal experiences I expect most people seeking aid would be between the ages of 16-25 but I have no data to back that up, I'd love to see some studies done I know for a fact religious abuse continues long into adulthood for most who are subjected to it. No one can replace a family, and I don't think it’s healthy to copy the "church family" mentality, however we are a community with responsibility to ourselves and each other and the greater secular (mixed faith) communities of the world.

I like firebrand Atheism, I think it’s important. I also think it’s important to fight religion in other way's too (specifically religious abuse). I think in time an openly Atheist charity that supports humanity and fight's abuse could receive donations from religious people as well, that would be one of the highest signs of success to me. The highest sign of success would be the freedom of young people from religious abuse and the freedom nightmarish hell they are forced to face every single day.

I have ideas on structure, daily lives, goals, ensuring a save and healthy environment and other topics but well this is quite long already maybe I should divide it all up into different blog posts.

Please share your thoughts, even if you think it’s a terrible idea. The more feedback the better.

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Comment by BenGee on October 23, 2016 at 6:50pm


I was curious about how realistic it might be to follow through making this a real non profit, so I began doing some research, 

I have found a federal grant between 1 and 15 million dollars that could help fund an idea like this.

I have a lot of thoughts to organize, documentation to write, numbers to calculate and eventually people to convince to join up, support, or help. But I'll try and put information here on how things are going for any who might be interested in keeping this idea in mind for their support.

Comment by BenGee on October 23, 2016 at 1:08pm

Thank you Michael,

This is exactly why my thinking was offer a stable platform for people to set out on their own from, rather than just giving people money, or a few meals. When you take the worry and stress of homelessness and hunger away to a person trying to get their start they can perform their best, when you supply like minded emotional support structures people can learn to thrive. Build a sense of community bonds, let them know that although family can be great if you don't have a family (cause they rejected you on religious basis), then community can still be there for you.

And for those abused by religion you can find strength in community, you can find experts and mentor's who've been there. Ultimately you can find healing and a new life without god.

(I think rejecting a family member for non belief or different belief is abuse, but by this I mean psychical or sexual abuse)

Comment by Michael Penn on October 23, 2016 at 8:21am

I'm not against firebrand atheism. In fact, I call myself a militant atheist because I'm tired of one religious group thinking they hold the high ground and have special privilege. Why would American Christians do this? It's because they believe all other religions are wrong. It's time they were taught that all religion is wrong.

Atheist House is a good idea. It could serve as teaching young people to succeed through family goals of working together for the common good of all without imaginary persons being involved. I have no data but done properly this would give an individual pride in self without the failure of god belief. Teaching helplessness doesn't make anyone great.

Comment by BenGee on October 22, 2016 at 3:24am

Thank you compelled, this is something I am passionate about. If it's going to succeed however it'll need many people supporting it, again thank you.

Also, anytime I hear a "prayer" request in my mind I hear "I'll pray for you that way I don't have to inconvenience myself by helping you." It's in keeping with the christian religion as a whole, don't ever do a damn thing for yourself, wait for sky daddy to send his son to save you, ask sky daddy for healing or things you want, when in need talk to someone else what kind of self respecting christian would care about anyone but themselves. Now I know there are Christians that do care about others, and I think some even mean it (I don't think much of people who pretend to care just so they can look good). But if you're gonna do something do it and don't ask your imaginary friend to do it for you, imaginary friends historically have a poor track record of ever getting anything (non imaginary) done.

While I like certified councilors ect, I'm also a huge proponent of peer support and mentorship. I'm mildly offended by the idea that I should HAVE to pay someone to (pretend) give a fuck about me. I think counseling can be very good, but no one deserves to be without peer support too!

Comment by Compelledunbeliever on October 22, 2016 at 2:48am

Ben, as much as many of us have had bad experiences with churches, there are good things and ideas from which we can borrow and build upon. Why in the world would it be a crazy idea to do good without theism? ( yes i am lightly admonishing you for expressing any doubt)

I lived around a similar program briefly at age 17 but it was of course a Christian organization.

Lets take two identical organizations that do the following for instance.

1) help people to get G.E.D.s and prep for interviews

2) Have volunteer (certified counselors)  

3) provide a place to hang out and shelter if needed

4) provide meals

Well we already do have that as you know. The problem is that people that use these service must bare the burden of theism as you have indicated.  Much more could be accomplished with real goals and work than sitting around praying about it.  The one i was involved with was a bunch of people heavily investing their time into garnering donations. The balance of the left over time consisted of trying to convert patrons. All that time Praying and converting could have been better used actually equipping people according to their needs, be it educational, emotional, or practical such as helping with clothing transportation etc.

Don't let go of this idea it is a good one and I believe be much more successful than Christian versions as no one will "just pray" for sky daddy to make it all better. The premise will include real goals and actions.     Keep up the good work you are a good thinker!



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