I imagine that most on this site have already heard about, and already have opinions relating to Sunday Assembly.

I'm helping to launch Sunday Assembly in Pittsburgh, PA (USA). For my part, I'm really enjoying it.

It's one thing for atheists to gather and 1) agree that religion is BS, 2) enjoy meeting like-minded people and 3) recover from religious indoctrination. What I like is the regular sense of community that we are creating.

I welcome comments and dissenting opinions, but please no long, belligerent rants. I will blog about this as things develop.




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Comment by Andrew Bradford Hoke on September 21, 2014 at 11:51pm

I haven't updated this in a while, but a lot has been happening with SA Pittsburgh.

Our big launch is the 28th, we had another great organization meeting tonight (at PF Chang, and I can recommend the Buddha's Delight), and things seem to be going great.

We'll post video 2 weeks hence by my estimates.

Thanks for the interest :)

Comment by Andrew Bradford Hoke on August 10, 2014 at 10:00pm

We had another good meeting tonight. We were all happy that, we got a venue, our application with London got approved, we had another new person join us and we also decided on our logo.

There was other cool stuff too, but there was a scare. We met in a public place, and someone who overheard some of what we were saying was shouting threats like "I'll do the time," in speaking about getting violent for offending his beliefs I assume.

I guess we do have to prepare for protestors (violent and otherwise) for our assemblies. Maybe Pittsburgh is different from other towns, but belief in God runs pretty deep in many people here.

At the same time, doesn't this prove the point? That belief in a celestial boogeyman can and does cause human on human violence?

Comment by Andrew Bradford Hoke on August 9, 2014 at 9:06am


That's an interesting point about religion laying claim/ hijacking marriage as an institution. I'd never looked into the history of marriage before, and this gives me some food for thought, and I may do some research on the subject.

Comment by Andrew Bradford Hoke on August 8, 2014 at 2:34pm

Thanks Pat, I appreciate all of your comments.

SA is a bit absurd, and I suspect that's part of the appeal for me.

And it should come as no surprise to me that individuals on this site are capable of skepticism :) You, Future and others are giving me other perspectives, and if I didn't want other perspectives I wouldn't have raised the subject.

I like seeing daily reminders that people across the world are involved.

It could be that I am actually a humanist (do you have to be human to be a humanist?). I like our species.

What drives me is that religion causes suffering; of this I'm sure. I think it starts as man vs. self, then man vs. man and man versus group. All of these are division and subtraction, and I'm more interested in addition and multiplication.

Comment by Andrew Bradford Hoke on August 8, 2014 at 2:26pm


That's totally cool, and we're good as far as I can tell.

And I am not trying to argue this point, but SA is not exclusive for atheists, in fact lots of practitioners of religion attend, and are welcome to do so.

I believe it is the Humanitarians that have, instead of clergy 'Celebrators' or some other name for individuals who are available to officiate at weddings of the non-religious or the same type of thing at funerals for the non-religious. There is some demand among atheists/ freethinkers for such a thing.

I advocate nothing of the sort. It could be that SA starts doing that thing, and I get turned off and leave. We haven't even had a program yet, so everything I'm doing is prospective.

The best part is really just meeting new like minded people. My personal belief is that anyone who went through religious indoctrination suffered. Some of us eventually get over it, and some never recover.

Thanks for the well-wishing. Like I said, I'm not here to argue or try and change minds, but I am here to inform interested parts what my people and myself are doing here in Pittsburgh.

Comment by Michael Penn on August 8, 2014 at 9:08am

Religion first hijacked marriage and other roles like it in the 1500's. Before that it was more private and no big deal.

Comment by Future on August 8, 2014 at 8:50am
Hopefully I'm not coming across as rude, as that is not my intention. I just know that organizing atheists into a routine gathering with a facility and administration has not been a popular venture on this site. A few months ago a new member was actively promoting himself as an atheist minister of sorts, and 99% of AN was so turned off by his mission and his demeanor that they almost couldn't help but treat him rudely. He was trying to stress how atheists are in need of a source for administering weddings, funerals, etc. - which is bullshit of the highest order. Just because religion has traditionally hijacked those roles, doesn't mean that it is a necessary component. I'm not sensing that angle from what you are describing, so good luck with your venture. Just know that the more it takes on the characteristics of religion, the more overt criticism you will hear from the atheist community.
Comment by Andrew Bradford Hoke on August 7, 2014 at 9:04pm

Again, I welcome dissenting opinions and thoughts. Thought and reason are why I no longer belong to a church.

I thought church could have been a perfectly pleasant affair, except for the usual absurdities. Deal killer.

Comment by Andrew Bradford Hoke on August 7, 2014 at 8:59pm

Michael, that' kind of what we had in mind:

"I'm not sure I could even meet at something calling itself "the atheist assembly." I could, however, attend atheist meetings somewhere like a city hall or some other place used for a monthly meeting of like minded folk."

The difference between that and what we're doing is that we add popular music and a pseudo Ted talk.

I am running the risk of someone who is trying to change your mind. That is not my intention. If I ignore your comments, I feel rude. Therefore I just try to respectfully share my thoughts.

Comment by Andrew Bradford Hoke on August 7, 2014 at 8:57pm

Sunday Assembly Pittsburgh has applied for a grant called "Awesome Pittsburgh." I'm hoping that the committee sees the value in an international organization dedicated positivity about the human race. If we get it, it would be the trifecta.

We can get by without the grant, but it would really be a boost.

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