/ Atheist churches - welcome or a waste of time?

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Jimbo W on 04 Feb 2013
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-21319945

Personally, I think that anything that might serve as a focus for community, in contrast to so much individualism in our society, and stimulate contemplation about the world we live in (and problems therein) has to be a step forward. To dwell on the wonder of life and nature can only help us to foster more value in it, and important consequences thereof. I wish them well.
Philip on 04 Feb 2013
I don't believe in atheists. Until someone shows me incontrovertible proof of the existence of an atheist I will remain sceptical.

Also, their "Atheist Church" is rather reminiscent of my university lectures - modern science taught in buildings that are hundreds of years old. Quite quaint really.
Clarence - on 04 Feb 2013
In reply to Philip:

Actually if they are delivering reasonable quality science lectures for a nominal donation with a bit of a sing-song at either end of the session I'd be there like a shot! It sounds flipping brilliant! Like a university only cheaper and with a bit of the student union experience rolled in.
Kemics - on 04 Feb 2013
In reply to Jimbo W:

I go to the crag every sunday (if I can) closest I'm going to get to it.

Dave Garnett - on 04 Feb 2013
In reply to Jimbo W:

What a depressing development. Self-righteous Sunday morning meetings with people desperate to hear the sound of their own voices is something I try to avoid. I'm afraid I'm a secular atheist.

I'd rather go to a nice traditional CofE service with a decent organist.
dale1968 - on 04 Feb 2013
In reply to Jimbo W: thought that twas what a pub was for, discussion, put the world to rights, singing, and praying to the altar at the end of the night
GrahamD - on 04 Feb 2013
In reply to Jimbo W:

I don't tend to chose my companions on their religious beliefs or otherwise. Its irrelevent to me.
Jon Stewart - on 04 Feb 2013
In reply to Dave Garnett:
> (In reply to Jimbo W)
>
> What a depressing development. Self-righteous Sunday morning meetings with people desperate to hear the sound of their own voices is something I try to avoid. I'm afraid I'm a secular atheist.
>
> I'd rather go to a nice traditional CofE service with a decent organist.

I quite like the idea of taking the nice things about church - a get-together, sing-song and a life-affirming talk - and doing them because they're nice, rather than because they're part of some creepy, anachronistic tradition based on irrational belief ancient myths. Personally, I could do without the singing along, as I find bad singing very embarrassing. I'd like the science lectures though, and the chance to hang out with people who see the world in a similar way and who are interested in the same ideas.

I can see why people might worry that by parodying religion, it's "too close" to being a religion in itself. But it's very negative to pick out this risk and dismiss the whole idea as "self-righteous" and all the rest of it. I don't see that bringing people together to interact and share a positive view on the world can be "a depressing development". There are gatherings of people who I might not get on with (say, a radical lefty-vegan yoghurt-weaving get-together) but while I might gently take the piss, I think it's great that people come together and share ideas and interact rather than sitting in their own cut-off world, travelling in their own cars to the supermarket where they pay on a self-check-out till and don't interact with anyone unless it's absolutely unavoidable.
dissonance - on 04 Feb 2013
In reply to Clarence:

> Actually if they are delivering reasonable quality science lectures for a nominal donation with a bit of a sing-song at either end of the session I'd be there like a shot!

but the lecture can be done without the atheism bit or the lets pretend to be religious. There are various options already available (skeptics in the pub etc)
Each to their own and I guess it will meet some peoples needs but i will avoid it personally.
Clarence - on 04 Feb 2013
In reply to dissonance:

> but the lecture can be done without the atheism bit or the lets pretend to be religious.

Yes it can be done but to be honest I have never seen it done around here. Possibly in that there Lundun maybe. If atheist churches take off then I can certainly find plenty of atheists around here to give it a go.
Flinticus - on 04 Feb 2013
In reply to Clarence:
Are atheist parents going to be dragging their children along, in the best clothes?

Stay in bed!

Jimbo W on 04 Feb 2013
In reply to Dave Garnett:

> What a depressing development. Self-righteous Sunday morning meetings with people desperate to hear the sound of their own voices is something I try to avoid. I'm afraid I'm a secular atheist.

I really don't see why it need involve self righteousness or people desperate to hear the sound of their own voices - or would you put those like Prof Brian Cox in that kind of box too.

> I'd rather go to a nice traditional CofE service with a decent organist.

You might like my brother's playing, provided you get on with Bach, Reger, Reubke or Francis Pott ;)

http://www.christianwilson.co.uk/Media.asp
Dave Garnett - on 04 Feb 2013
In reply to Jon Stewart:

But self-righteous is exactly what it looks like. And I really don't need that clueless prat Alain de Botton coming up with 10 pseudocommandments either.

I see there's a link to Mark Steele saying 'just because you are an atheist doesn't mean you're rational' - too right.

In the words of Brian: 'you don't need to follow anybody. You are all individuals!
dissonance - on 04 Feb 2013
In reply to Clarence:

> Yes it can be done but to be honest I have never seen it done around here. Possibly in that there Lundun maybe.

well the same could be said of that church but more so.
Skeptics in the pub are fairly widespread (eg sheffield, leeds, manchester, birmingham etc all have one) so depending on where you are could well find something.
Or, if you are near one of the main university towns just see what public lectures they host.
Dave Garnett - on 04 Feb 2013
In reply to Jimbo W:
> (In reply to Dave Garnett)

> I really don't see why it need involve self righteousness or people desperate to hear the sound of their own voices - or would you put those like Prof Brian Cox in that kind of box too.

Probably not, and I've been to loads of public science lectures (as well as the day job ones I was obliged to got to, or give). But that's quite different - they don't have this pseudoreligious aspect. Before we know it there will be an orthodoxy and a self-appointed heirarchy.


>
> [...]
>
> You might like my brother's playing, provided you get on with Bach, Reger, Reubke or Francis Pott ;)
>

That's what I'm talking about!
Jon Stewart - on 04 Feb 2013
In reply to Dave Garnett:

I would see where you were coming from these events were essentially content-free, but I get the impression that the speakers are there to talk about something interesting, not just waffle on or moralise. I too am little bit dubious about the moral angle as it should be wholly obvious how to behave onself without "guidance" of any form - but from that article I don't see myself as in the position to judge that it's self-righteous nonsense or really great speakers sharing experiences and knowledge. I imagine it's like anything: some good bits, others not so good.
GrahamD - on 04 Feb 2013
In reply to Dave Garnett:

> But self-righteous is exactly what it looks like.

Exactly. Why would you choose to associate with a bunch of folk purely on the basis they are atheists ? Anyone who wears atheism as some sort of badge is tha last sort of person I'd want to be with !

In terms of community, our local church organises plenty of events I'm happy to go along with (as does the cricket club, as does the pub, as does the council) - I'll just skip the religious ones.
Ramblin dave - on 04 Feb 2013
In reply to Jon Stewart:
> (In reply to Dave Garnett)
>
> I would see where you were coming from these events were essentially content-free, but I get the impression that the speakers are there to talk about something interesting, not just waffle on or moralise.

I appreciate the idea of hearing speakers talk about something interesting - including atheism - but dressing it up as an "atheist church" seems pretty daft.

TheDrunkenBakers - on 04 Feb 2013
In reply to Flinticus:
> (In reply to Clarence)

> Stay in bed!

I agree.

OK, scenario 1. Wonderful Spring/Summer/Autumn/Winter Sunday morning, the choice is either go out on motorbike, camping, walking, climbing, or go to this atheist 'church'?

Scenario 2. Its a crappy morning of the same seasons and the choice is to stay in a warm bed with a hot coffee with my lovely wife or go to the bouldering wall, or go to this atheist church.

Hmmmm, I wonder.
Jon Stewart - on 04 Feb 2013
In reply to GrahamD:
> (In reply to Dave Garnett)
>
> [...]
>
> Exactly. Why would you choose to associate with a bunch of folk purely on the basis they are atheists ?

Same for people who consider themselves humanists?

Atheism is just not believing in god. But there is a wider belief system in science, rational thought, and which opposes the privileges afforded to religious institutions and argues for political changes for a secular state. Do you think these people are awful?
ads.ukclimbing.com
captain paranoia - on 05 Feb 2013
In reply to Jimbo W:

I don't see the point. I don't need a weekly lecture on morals.

If I want to attend a social gathering, I go to the pub; a much more pleasant way of spending a Sunday evening...
ERH - on 05 Feb 2013
In reply to Jimbo W:

They sound just like the type of people who come up to you in the street and start trying to make you believe what they do.
Jimbo W on 05 Feb 2013
In reply to captain paranoia:

> I don't see the point. I don't need a weekly lecture on morals.

Why should it be a lecture? Why can it not be a discussion of how we should behave.. ..there are enough pressures that propose the question as legitimate: the limits of spending of the state, justification in priorities in spending, profligacy of a societal elite, limitation of world resources, climate change, etc etc

> If I want to attend a social gathering, I go to the pub; a much more pleasant way of spending a Sunday evening...

Well it is pleasant, but I don't see why you can't do both, and why the process of going to somewhere that isn't convenient or comfortable isn't in itself precisely a reason to do it... ...i.e. to meet people you might otherwise have very little in common, and which except in a limited regard, you don't select, that, if it grows, is likely to transcend social boundaries.
ice.solo - on 05 Feb 2013
In reply to Jimbo W:

pointlessness is not criteria for prevention.
i too wish them well.

unless they dont allow gay marriage in which case thay can go to hell.
andic - on 06 Feb 2013
In reply to Jimbo W:

I don't think it is hurting anyone but what jumps out at me is that it dosen't sound much fun and so why have they nothing better to do?

I expect that there are two kinds of people in attendance: people making a point and those who feel lonely and disconnected.

captain paranoia - on 06 Feb 2013
In reply to Jimbo W:

> Why can it not be a discussion of how we should behave..

That's a fair point. But the things you mentioned sound like politics to me, and there are already plenty of forums for political discussion, if that's your bag.

I suppose that maybe I ought to be trying to encourage other people to adopt my morals, if I think my morals are correct. That's one aspect of religion that I wholly accept (even if I might disagree with the moral stance adopted by some religious people); it's the unnecessary 'enforcing functions' (belief in, and submission to a deity and/or church hierarchy) that I don't need.

But I think my stance is that the majority of people are empathetic, and their behaviour is based on that empathy; in other words, I don't think I need to tell most people how they should behave. Maybe it's the ones who lack empathy that need 'help'; I seem to recall a statistic about how there are a disproportionate number of psychopaths/sociopaths in corporate executive positions...

That and indolence...

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