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.
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.
> (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.
> 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.
> 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.
> 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.
> 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 ;)
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.
> (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.
> (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?
> 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.
> 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...